The American Bear


NATO 3 Indicted. The Charges: We'll Get Back to You on That.


Causing even the judge to express bewilderment at the prosecution’s unusual withholding of a new indictment against the NATO 3, Brian Church, Jared Chase and Brent Betterly, a grand jury in Chicago yesterday returned the indictment after they were arrested for allegedly planning to recruit people to throw Molotov cocktails at police stations, attack Obama campaign headquarters, and other targets ahead of the NATO protests in Chicago last month. The arrests took place after police infiltrators, acknowledged by the CPD, infiltrated the apartment where the three were staying.

The apartment was raided and the three were arrested six days after they posted a video on Youtube of a traffic stop in which they were harassed by Chicago police, including what appears to be an unconstitutional trunk search. Protesters say the charges are retaliation for posting the video.

In the video the police can be heard joking about Chicago in 1968 and taking “billyclub[s] to the f-ing skull,” and telling the young men, who tell the police that they were going to the upcoming NATO protests, that they will be “looking” for “each and every one of you.” The defendants now face 85 years in prison.

CBS local wrote yesterday:

It’s not unheard of for prosecutors to withhold the details of an indictment from defense lawyers until a case is assigned to a trial judge, but even the judge at Tuesday’s hearing seemed surprised that in this case, prosecutors are playing things so close to the chest.

The move means, for the so-called “NATO 3,” their lawyers won’t get the details of the indictment until July 2, at the earliest.

On the indictment, CBS reported:

when defense attorneys asked for a copy of the indictment in court, prosecutors declined, prompting [the defendants’ attorney Michael] Deutsch to tell the judge, “I don’t understand.”

Judge Adam Burgeois Jr. said he didn’t understand either, “but that’s the way they’re doing it.”

The CPD confiscated beer-making equipment in the raid on Wednesday night, May 16, the same night the previous charges say the three were observed filling beer bottles with gasoline. Upon the release of the first set of charges, the defense released photos of the beer making equipment, which appeared to be full of dark, foamy liquid resembling not gasoline, but beer.

Confiscated beer making equipment:

In order to carry out the alleged busy schedule of targeted mayhem, which included plans to “destroy police cars and attack four CPD stations with destructive devices…” and to attack “the Campaign Headquarters of U.S. President Barack Obama, the personal residence of Chicago Mayor Rahm [Emanuel], and certain downtown financial institutions,” the defendants were to “recruit four groups of four coconspirators (for a total of sixteen people.)”

In effect, the previous charges read that the defendants were to approach strangers and convince them to throw firebombs at police stations and other “targets.” Protesters present in the apartment have told reporters that the two police infiltrators, whom they say went by the names “Mo” and “Gloves,” tried to incite the defendants and others to acts of violence. When they were refused, those present in the apartment say, the infiltrators planted evidence. The use of police infiltrators has been acknowledged by CPD police chief Garry McCarthy.

(via queerencia-deactivated20130103)

It’s ironic that the same public that is so ready to believe all manner of wild conspiracies about the president’s being a secret Kenyan Muslim or about the government deliberately trying to turn control of the US military over to the United Nations, or about a government plan to kill off old people with “death panels,” will prove completely gullible and ready to suspend any disbelief when a police officer or a prosecutor makes some outlandish claim about three kids with beer fermenting equipment in their basement. Dave Lindorff

Chicago police union to City Hall: Where’s NATO overtime pay? | Chicago Sun-Times

Beating the shit out of protesters for time-and-a-half. What a sorry society we live in.

So much for the warm glow of appreciation [??] that has enveloped Chicago police officers since their performance during the NATO Summit.

The Fraternal Order of Police has filed its fourth grievance tied to the summit, this one stemming from the city’s apparent decision not to compensate officers for working a sixth or seventh consecutive day in a week.

Notice of the lastest grievance was posted on the FOP’s website under the facetious headline, “More Thanks for a Job Well Done.”

It states, “First, the city took the unusual position that officers could not request to be credited with compensatory time for any overtime they worked during the NATO Summit, knowing this was a clear violation of our contract. Now, after our mayor, superintendent and the citizens of Chicago have heaped praised upon Chicago police officers for their excellent work at the NATO Summit, the city has taken the position that officers are not entitled to compensation for working a sixth or seventh day during a single calendar week.”

FOP president Mike Shields goes on to say the wording of the police contract “could not be any more unambiguous.”

Should NATO Exist? | Democracy Now!

AMY GOODMAN: Phyllis Bennis, you were in Chicago. Thousands of people were protesting outside. What do you think of the results of the summit and whether the 63-year-old organization, NATO, should exist at all?

PHYLLIS BENNIS: I think that we learned a number of things from the NATO summit in Chicago this past weekend. One of them was that a number of European countries have a far more functional democracy than we do, in the sense that governments are far more accountable to public opinion, particularly on the war in Afghanistan. I think that NATO played the role that it has played for a very long time, which is to provide political—and to a small degree, military and economic, but primarily political—cover to United States operations. What we see in NATO is that this is a U.S. set of decisions, and NATO is being brought on board, encouraged to keep even a few troops there. My personal favorite of the moment is Austria. They have three troops in Afghanistan at the moment. You know, this is designed to make it appear to be a multilateral operation in Afghanistan. And in fact, this is a U.S. operation and needs to be treated as such.

I think that what we’re dealing with is a scenario in which a relic of the Cold War, the NATO alliance, which was always designed in a far more offensive way than defensive, I think, has reached, if it hadn’t before—and we can argue that separately—but certainly has reached the end of any shred of legitimacy in this period of history. You know, this is really about the hammer and the nail. When you’re a hammer, everything looks like a nail. When you’re a military alliance, every problem looks like it requires a military solution. NATO is a giant, big hammer. The problem is, Afghanistan is not a nail, Libya is not a nail. These are political problems that need to be dealt with politically. And by empowering, more than any other regional organization, a military alliance, NATO is really serving to undermine the goal of the United Nations Charter, which speaks of the importance of regional organizations, in political terms, for nonviolent resolution of disputes, not to put such a primacy and privilege on military regional institutions that really reflect the most powerful parts of the world.

NATO leaders agree on "irreversible" plan to end Afghan war | The AfPak Channel

No surprises: NATO leaders agreed on Monday to an “irreversible” plan to end the war in Afghanistan responsibly, pulling almost all troops out of the country by the end of 2014, but President Barack Obama warned that the danger of Afghanistan sliding into civil war or Taliban control still exists (ReutersTelCNNAPBBCWSJ). Newly elected French President Francois Hollande stuck to his campaign promise to pull all 3,400 French troops out of Afghanistan by the end of this year, and said that the French people have done “more than our duty” in Afghanistan (Tel). New Zealand announced Tuesday that its 140-person Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamyan Province would end its mission this year and return home in 2013 (Reuters).

President Obama left Pakistan off the list of nations he publicly thanked on Monday for helping to get supplies into Afghanistan, a clear indication of the United States’ continued annoyance over Pakistan’s hesitation to reopen NATO ground supply routes (AP).

[quick ed. The U.S. still refuses to apologize for killing 24 Pakistani soldiers “by mistake” and still won’t stop violating Pakistan’s sovereignty by using drones to vaporize civilians, understandably thorny issues inside Pakistan]

However, Obama did meet with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari briefly on the sidelines of the NATO summit, and said later that the two nations were making “diligent progress” on an agreement to lift the blockade on NATO supplies (Dawn).

Many Afghans remain uncertain about the promises made by the international community and the significance of the Chicago summit, calling it “just another conference,” and declaring that the presence of foreign troops makes the situation in Afghanistan worse (McClatchy).

Mayor Rahm Emanuel denied numerous protest permits and imposed other restrictions on the grounds that the expression of free speech by demonstrators would cause ‘inconveniences to traffic and ordinary businesses’ — this, after closing off more than seven square miles of the city’s commercial area himself. [These] hyper-draconian measures will, in many cases, stay in place once the power-players have finished their meaningless jaw-flapping and returned to their well-wadded entrenchments at home.

Chris Floyd, Bringing It All Back Home: Occupied Chicago is America’s New Normal

From Bernard Harcourt:

"[All] of this is, sadly, here to stay. NATO will come and go, but the new anti-protest laws, the new riot-gear, the two LRAD sound cannons, and all the normalization of this police state … that will be with us for a long time."

Chicago police attack credentialed press photographer


The uncredentialed livestreamers and reporters who cover Occupy Wall Street protests may feel that taking their chances with the police is part of their self-appointed role. On Saturday, however, a credentialed photographer for The UpTake, who was wearing a highly visible press badge, ran afoul of the Chicago cops.

Tracy Pollock was attempting to photograph police who had set up barricades and were using their bicycles as weapons to force back a crowd of protesters. As she pressed forward, one police officer first tried to rip her camera away and then pushed her over some bicycles, leaving her bruised but not seriously injured. Protesters helped her to safety.

This video was uploaded by The UpTake on May 20, 2012.

In Chicago, Afghanistan and Iraq Veterans Put NATO's Endless War on Trial | Robert Naiman

At the intersection of Cermak and Michigan streets in Chicago yesterday, veterans who served in Afghanistan and Iraq told their stories when they threw back their service medals in protest at NATO leaders, echoing a famous protest against the Vietnam War.

A lot of media coming out of Chicago last night focused on street skirmishes between a handful of apolitical adventurists and the Chicago police. But some media got the real story.

Zach LaPorte, a 28-year-old mechanical engineer from Milwaukee who served in Iraq in 2005 and 2006, said, “I witnessed civilian casualties and civilians being arrested in what I consider an illegal occupation of a sovereign nation,” Reuters reported. Former U.S. Army Sergeant Alejandro Villatoro of Chicago, who served during the Iraq 2003 invasion and in Afghanistan in 2011, said: ”There’s no honor in these wars…There’s just shame.”

The local ABC news affiliate in Chicago produced an exemplary story which highlighted the ceremony in which Afghanistan and Iraq veterans threw back their medals, giving veterans the center stage they deserved for telling their stories.

Veterans return medals at NATO summit


CHICAGO — Chanting “N-A-T-O, NATO has got to go,” rows of veterans marched in formation Sunday leading thousands in an anti-war protest as world leaders gathered here for a two-day NATO summit.

Upon arrival near the convention center where the summit is taking place, one veteran threw his medals on the road, calling them symbols of lies. ”I choose human life over war,” Jerry Bordeleau shouted through a microphone.

Dozens of veterans followed suit, with many dedicating their medals to the children of Afghanistan and Iraq.

(via jayaprada)


Photo’s from the NATO protest. This is what a police state looks like

All the people defending the police state, ask yourself why they are there. To protect the property and closed door meetings of the elite and corporate forces that warmonger around the world. They joined the police force and left the working class, they are now part of a privileged class of people that enforce the law and protect the status quo. The only violence I see is that which is deemed legitimate by the state: police repression.

Why are we there? Because we want a better world, we want to stop invading countries and killing people. We want to stop private contractors and mercenaries from raping and pillaging. 

You want to know why we’re frustrated? Because protest in this country isn’t valued. The representatives don’t care what we have to say. The capitalists don’t care how many unemployed, under-remployed, exploited and homeless there are dying in the streets. The ‘representative’ government does not represent you!

More appropriately, what land of the free and home of the brave? What free speech? What free assembly? What public space?

(via queerencia-deactivated20130103)

Occupy Journalists Stopped, Searched, Handcuffed & Interrogated at Gunpoint | Kevin Gosztola

Under cover of the night around twelve police cars stopped five journalists when they were heading back to where they are staying in Chicago during the NATO summit. All five have been covering protests against the NATO summit for the past few days.

The five journalists included Luke Rudkowksi, who streams as @Lukewearechange, Tim Pool, who streams as @Timcast, Jeoff Shively (@Giraffa), Dustin & Jess. They are known for their work livestreaming and tweeting out regular coverage of Occupy protests.

Rudkowski of We Are Change managed to record the Chicago police approaching the journalists in the car. The police have their guns drawn. They shout, “Hands! Hands! Get your hands up!” And then, “Fuckin’ hands!” Then Pool’s voice can be heard saying, “We’re being raided. For folks who are watching, we are being raided by the CPD right now as we speak.” […]

During the stop, search and interrogation, Chicago PD took the journalists’ hard drives and slammed them against “running boards four or five times.” They took Pool’s alternate batteries and slammed them too. Content recorded by the journalists was deleted from Ustream.

The stop happened about midnight or just after. And, according to Pool’s Twitter stream, the police were still following them on the police scanner around 2 am. They allegedly wanted the targeted journalists to announce where they were staying for the night so they could raid where the journalists were staying. […]

There appears to have been a conscious targeting of bloggers and livestreamers. The Chicago police, possibly with help from the Department of Homeland Security, FBI or other federal agencies, appear to be working off a list of “suspected” people or spaces where they must go “check in” on what is happening simply to ensure all is safe. Of course, this is illegal. Without a warrant or probable cause, rights are being clearly violated.

Video here.

Also read, from BoingBoing, NATO protests in Chicago: Police van drives into protesters, web video reporters detained, held at gunpoint (photos+video)

Again, we have rights as long as we don’t try to use them. Shameful.