Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Breaking News

CNN (and others) are covering the developing story of five suspicious packages found on bridges throughout Boston. They're claiming that 4 of the 5 have been "disabled," but also saying that none of them appear to be real bombs but some sort of hoax. One of their reporters says that one of her sources told her the package contained circuit boards and lights that show a smiley face and a middle finger.

*** Update - 3:40 pm ***

A possibly sixth package found in Sommerville, MA. CNN is saying that the authorities in MA think that they may have linked these hoax devices to college students, but of course CNN is hyping a dry-run. If this was college kids they're pretty screwed. The Coast Guard has already shut down traffic in the Charles River and various businesses have evacuated.

They also just said that one of the possible six packages has been "rendered safe."

They just said that one of the packages contained a children's toy that "flipped the bird" when opened. This all is clearly a hoax to me.

*** Update - 5:37 pm ***

Wow. Way to go ATHF:

The suspicious devices which forced bomb units to scramble across Boston today were actually magnetic lights that are part of a marketing campaign for a television cartoon.

The reports forced the temporary shutdowns of Interstate 93 out of the city, a key inbound roadway, a bridge between Boston and Cambridge, and a portion of the Charles River but were quickly determined not to be explosive.

"It's a hoax -- and it's not funny," Gov. Deval Patrick said.

All of the devices are magnetic lights which resemble a character on the show "Aqua Teen Hunger Force", on Turner Broadcasting's Cartoon Network.

WBZ has obtained a statement from Turner Broadcasting:

"The "packages" in question are magnetic lights that pose no danger. They are part of an outdoor marketing campaign in 10 cities in support of Adult Swim's animated television show Aqua Teen Hunger Force. They have been in place for two to three weeks in Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Portland, Austin, San Francisco and Philadelphia. Parent company Turner Broadcasting is in contact with local and federal enforcement on the exact locations of the billboards. We regret that they mistakenly thought to pose any danger."

A total of ten devices were found in Boston, Cambridge and Somerville.

The first device was found at an MBTA subway and bus station located under Interstate 93 on Wednesday morning. The device was detonated and determined to be harmless, but as a precaution the station and the interstate shut down temporarily.

Then, around 1 p.m., four calls came into Boston Police reporting suspicious devices at the Boston University Bridge and the Longfellow Bridge, which both span the Charles River, and the corner of Stuart and Columbus Streets and at the Tufts-New England Medical Center.

Another device was found in Somerville under the McGrath Highway Bridge.

An angry Mayor Thomas Menino said a stiff penalty will be pursued against whoever was responsible for the devices.

"It's about keeping a city on edge. It's about public safety," he said.