Monday, November 15, 2004

Yasuharu Kuga

It didn't take too long from the completion of the Penn Project for the jumpers to pounce. Mere hours after a man tried to burn himself up in front of the White House, a new fence-jump attempt was made. The scoop from NBC4: A man was arrested at the White House around 5:15 p.m. Monday after he jumped over the fence onto the north lawn in an apparent protest. Uniformed Secret Service officers immediately spotted the man, who reportedly yelled something after jumping over the 6-foot fence. They ordered the man to stay where he was and took him into custody.

Update: According to WTOP News, the fence jumper was a Japanese man named Yasuharu Kuga: A Secret Service spokesman says Kuga was treated at a local hospital for injuries he likely had suffered in the fall over the fence. Kuga, who was dressed in military style camouflage clothing, spent the night in [a] DC jail cell.

Mohamed Alanssi

We interrupt this blog's lengthy silence to report on someone who didn't try to jump the fence, but apparently attempted to set himself on fire outside the White House on Pennsylvania Ave:

MSNBC/Reuters: A Reuters reporter saw the man try to present a Manila envelope to guards near a Secret Service post on Pennsylvania Avenue outside the White House West Wing. Moments later, a plume of smoke rose above the guard post while two guards wrestled the man to the ground and a third extinguished flames that engulfed the man's briefcase and overcoat a few feet away.

FoxNews/AP: Smoke hung in the air around the man as paramedics rushed to provide aid. The man appeared to be clutching his hand in pain, but it was unclear how serious his burns were.

Update: The self-immolating protestor was [allegedly] Mohamed Alanssi, 52, a Yemeni national who served as an informant to the FBI. He claims that the FBI paid him $100,000 in 2003 for information on Al Qaeda financing and for helping in the sting operation which caught Yemeni cleric Mohammed Ali Hassan Moayad. Apparently the FBI now refuses to give him his passport or pay him any more money to visit his cancer-stricken wife in Yemen.

Info from BBC, News24, Moonie Times, and AP via ABCNews.

(The Fence Watcher reflects that Alanssi could have stretched $100,000 a long way if he had a job and had exercised proper financial restraint.)