Burlington, VT April 24 - FBI agents have apprehended a small group of left wing terrorists who apparently took possession of a Starbucks coffee shop in this small Vermont city. At least eight hostages were in the store when it was seized, though all were released unharmed. Initially, the terrorists claimed only to be seeking an end to the conflict in Iraq, however as negotiations with law enforcement officials continued over the course of the day, the demands issued by the group began to stray from this central theme, becoming a disjointed and convoluted laundry list of miscellaneous liberal causes.
The militant group's foreign policy objectives, at least as they pertained to Iraq, were lucidly and persuasively expressed through a series of well-choreographed interpretive dance routines, complete with percussive accompaniment. However, while the demonstration nominally centered on Iraq, many of the other demands issued over the course of the day appeared to have little or nothing to do with the war. In fact, it was clear that various group members seemed to feel strongly about a wide range of issues, and in many cases had erroneous or very limited information about the topics they wished to address. There was one somewhat baffling exchange in which a terrorist spokeswoman made an emotional appeal for an end to the "Israeli Pakistani" conflict.
Among the more than 80 other demands issued by the group was a call for President Bush to immediately "legalize it", and several exhortations for the release of convicted murderer and liberal icon Mumia Abu Jamal. There were also several calls for end to the "subjugation of our four legged brothers", assumed to be an endorsement of the vegetarian lifestyle, and a demand that the treasury department immediately begin striking a new fifty cent piece featuring the likeness of late Grateful Dead front man, Jerry Garcia.
Supporters gathered in large numbers outside of the coffee shop, holding signs and chanting the slogan "no blood for oil." The crowd of demonstrators, estimated to numer at least five hundred, held signs that bore poignant anti-war messages, as well as politically insightful puns concerning the names of Vice President Dick Cheney and President George Bush.
Negotiations were hampered by the militants' intermittent contact. The group repeatedly cut off communications with law enforcement, and were instead observed playing protracted games of hackysack and drinking coffee apparently stolen from the Starbucks shop they had occupied. A spokesman for the terrorists said that his organization planned to hold their ground, claiming that they had amassed enough provisions to withstand an extended siege by law enforcement. This spokesman told reporters that if necessary, his group was prepared to spend weeks barricaded inside the coffee shop, claiming that they had stockpiled significant reserves of fresh water and foodstuffs, as well as "a coupla brews, some really tasty buds, and Jeff even brought his bongos, man," adding "we're totally stoked."
Surveillance photos taken by the FBI seemed to substantiate the group's claims, confirming the presence of numerous containers of water and Magic Hat beer, as well as several large hempen duffel bags, each containing an estimated seventy boxes of microwavable veggie burritos, a staple of the hippie liberal diet.
The initial response to the incident was swift, with the Vermont state police marshalling more than fifty officers, as well as a SWAT team borrowed from nearby Montpelier. Late in the day, unable to ascertain whether the suspects were armed, marshalls performed a careful assessment of the suburban strip mall in which the Starbucks outlet was housed, probing for any opportunity to enter and defuse the situation.
In a fortunate turn of events later that evening, law enforcement officials discovered that the terrorists had apparently forgotten to lock the back entrance to the store, and a team of agents was sent in to apprehend the suspects. When law enforcement officials entered the building, they found the militants in a lethargic state, apparently having consumed sizable quantities of ale and marijuana. The hostages were freed unharmed, and the suspected terrorists were taken into custody without incident.