(APS) – FBI agents scoured the city of Cleveland yesterday after
receiving tips that Osama bin Laden incited an uprising at last
week’s Cleveland Browns football game against the Jacksonville
are asking all Clevelanders to shave and to cease wearing headgear
in order to help agents narrow the search," Detective Mike
Reynolds of the FBI’s Northeastern Ohio office said.
bin Laden was in the Cleveland area surfaced soon after the uncharacteristic
outburst of emotion by fans at Cleveland’s December 16 football
game against Jacksonville, during which a riot among the fans
caused officials to lose control of the game, which was cancelled
with 48 seconds remaining. Play was eventually resumed when NFL
Commissioner Paul Tagliabue intervened and required the two teams
to finish out the game, which Jacksonville won 15-10.
of suspicious citizens, watching video of the fan riot on ESPN,
phoned FBI offices to report sighting a bare-chested man resembling
the ousted Al Qaeda leader screaming at officials, throwing plastic
bottles on the field, while waving a sign that said, "I am
Osama bin Laden" at the camera.
started in an area of the stadium known as the "Dog Pound,"
where animal rights activists have gathered for Brown football
games for years. Dog Pound members frequently arrive early for
bowls of strawberries and cream and to discuss Sartre before games.
Dog Pound member Anthony Kowalski is among those who are confident
that bin Laden, along with high-level Al Qaeda officials, was
sitting in his block at the Jacksonville game. "I thought
I saw bin Laden a few seats down from me," said the tool
and die worker from Youngstown. "I was sipping a Chardonnay
when I first noticed him, but I didn’t say anything because it
is impolite to make value judgments based on other people’s appearances.
we take pride in the fact that international fugitives rarely
attend Browns games, much less sit in the Dog Pound," Kowalski
added. "Criminals meet frequently at Redskins games in Washington,
but they are elected officials." In contrast, Cleveland Stadium
rarely attracts such deranged characters, he said, quoting Shakespeare
in The Tempest. "There’s nothing ill can dwell in such a
temple: If the ill spirit have so fair a house, Good things will
strive to dwell with ’t.’ "
General John Ashcroft declined to comment when asked if any members
of terrorist cells found operating in the United States since
September 11th were known to be Cleveland Brown season ticket
holders. Nonetheless, under new powers granted to him by Congress,
Ashcroft ordered all Cleveland Brown ticket holders to be held
without trial until military tribunals can be organized. "Habeas
Corpus must be revoked in Cleveland in order to protect our freedom,"
with the Cleveland Browns reported that three season ticket holders
are listed with the names O. bin Laden are listed as season ticket
holders, one of which has a billing address in Kabul, Afghanistan.
However, Lori Snipes, assistant manager for the Cleveland Brown
ticket office, refused to speculate about whether the Al Qaeda
leader provoked the riot at the Jacksonville game.
Laden is a very common name," Snipes said. "If it turns
out that one of our ticket holders is wanted for international
war crimes trials, then he would likely lose many of the privileges
that go with season ticket holder status."
refusing to comment on the record, expressed surprise that bin
Laden might have been able to escape the intricate cave system
in the Afghan mountains and attend an NFL football game without
notice. "Given his anti-Christian bias, we had heightened
security at all [New Orleans] Saints and [Arizona] Cardinals games,"
said one official. "That he might have shown up in Cleveland
reflects the success of the new federal airline safety precautions."