A year ago today, just after dawn, a powerful explosion shook the second floor at 514 Cedar Avenue South in Minneapolis.
The incident occurred in “Little Mogadishu” in the Cedar-Riverside neighborhood at the western edge of the campus of the University of Minnesota. The stricken building housed a halal market on the first floor and residential apartments upstairs. The force of the blast blew out upstairs windows, threw debris into the street, and started a blaze which eventually reduced the structure to a blackened shell, iced in with frozen waterfalls from the fire hoses. Eventually two bodies were recovered from the rubble, and another person died in the hospital from injuries sustained during the fire.
Fire officials initially said the cause of the explosion was unknown. But as soon as the FBI and DHS arrived on the scene the following morning (January 2), Fire Chief John Fruetel abruptly announced that the fire had been caused by a “gas leak”. He and other officials persisted in this explanation thereafter, despite adamant denials by the gas company that any leak had occurred, and despite the fact that the evidence was not consistent with a gas explosion.
Following standard procedure, the FBI immediately announced that the incident had “no connection with terrorism”. Before the investigation had even begun. Before the building had even stopped burning.
As soon as the fire crews had extinguished the last of the smoldering debris, the city of Minneapolis ordered the demolition of the remaining building, before any forensic examination of the structure could take place. Within three days of the explosion, the building had been leveled and the rubble was being carted away. The demolition was said to be necessary for safety reasons, despite the fact that buildings damaged by suspicious fires are typically shored up and stabilized so that arson investigators will have ample time to examine the ruins.
So why was this procedure not followed with the exploding Somali apartment building in Minneapolis?
In contrast, consider this news report from last month. On December 8, 2014, a small private jet crashed into a residential neighborhood in Montgomery County, Maryland, killing three people in the plane and three on the ground. A frame house caught fire and was badly damaged. Half of it was almost totally gutted.
Here’s what the Fire Chief Steve Lohr told a news reporter that day:
“We are in the process of shoring up the structurally unstable portion of this house so that we can finish the work of trying to account for those family members.”
Once again, why was this procedure not followed with the exploding Somali apartment building in Minneapolis?
What really happened in Cedar-Riverside on New Year’s Day 2014?
Why did honest descriptions of the day’s events cease as soon as the FBI and DHS arrived?
To provide context for the Cedar Avenue explosion, here are a few data points to consider:
- The neighborhood where the explosion took place is a known hotbed for Al-Shabaab operatives who recruit young men, primarily Somalis, for the jihad in Somalia and Kenya.
- The tenants of the destroyed building were Somalis.
- At a press conference two days after the explosion, the fire chief was flanked by Abdi Warsame (representing the Somali community on the Minneapolis City Council) and Keith Ellison (representing Islam in the House of Representatives), who watched Mr. Fruetel closely as he made his statements and answered reporters’ questions.
- Early reports that were later deleted from news websites described a legless man being blown out of the second floor of the building. Such injuries are not consistent with a gas explosion; however, they are consistent with a powerful explosive device that was being assembled on a tabletop and detonated prematurely.
- One of the Somali men who died in the fire had joined the U.S. Army when in his fifties, and had been stationed in Iraq.
- Immediately next door to 514 Cedar Avenue South is the Dar al-Hijrah Mosque, whose website shows it to be an unabashed admirer of Yusuf al-Qaradawi and the Muslim Brotherhood.
- The business that owned the destroyed building and the mosque next door has documented connections to a hawala transfer service that was identified by the U.S. government as performing money-laundering services for Somali terrorist groups.
There’s more, much more, about the shady goings-on in the immediate vicinity of the former halal grocery and Somali apartment building in Cedar-Riverside. See the Cedar Avenue archives for additional information.
As far as I can determine, there has never been any public announcement of the results of the “investigation” conducted on a pile of bricks and ashes by the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Minneapolis Fire Department. Despite fervent promises by city officials last January, there has never been anything forthcoming other than the blanket assertion that the explosion was caused by a “gas leak”.
Nor do I expect anything further from local, state, or federal authorities about what happened that day. Whatever evidence there might have been has been bulldozed in with the rubble and entombed forever in some municipal landfill.
And I’ll go out on a limb: I think the federal authorities know exactly what happened that fiery New Year’s dawn in Minneapolis. They know who the players were and what they were trying to do. And, for their own inscrutable federal reasons, the authorities have decided that no information about these matters will ever be released to the public.
Obfuscation and prevarication have been and will remain the order of the day.
Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.
Many thanks to Vlad Tepes for constructing the composite video used above.
For more information on the explosion and fire in Cedar-Riverside, Minneapolis, on New Year’s Day 2014, see the Cedar-Riverside Explosion Archives.