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$100 Million NATO Invasion Of Chicago Coming Soon

By Stephen Lendman

A $100 million NATO invasion is coming. Low intensity conflict may follow. The “City of Broad Shoulders” may get more than it bargained for.

Nelson Algren once called Chicago the “City on the Make.” NATO’s May 20/21 “on the make” invasion isn’t welcome.

Chicago announced an Obama-hosted “diplomatic summit.”

Thousands plan protests against it.

The Coalition Against NATO/G8 War & Poverty issued a statement, saying:

The city has carried out a campaign to intimidate and vilify protesters, claiming that protests lead to violence. In fact, the main source of violence in the world today is the wars being waged by NATO and the US.

We will march in May during the NATO meeting to deliver our message: Jobs, Housing, Healthcare, Education, Our Pensions, the Environment: Not War!

We and tens of thousands will be in the streets that day for a family friendly rally and march, with cries so loud they will be heard in Camp David and across the globe. We will be in the streets that day to fight for our future, and speak out against the wars and their cutbacks are designed to benefit the 1% at the expense of the 99% of the world.

Last August, dozens of activists from 73 organizations met to plan large protests and marches when NATO arrives. United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) coordinator Joe Lombado said “(t)he entire world will be watching us.”

NATO doesn’t foster democratic values, liberation, and peace. It’s about wars, death, destruction and human misery. It requires draconian austerity and soaring debt to support it. A Chicago-style welcome awaits.

Organization representatives fear large-scale crackdowns before and during protest demonstrations. Those involved plan to repudiate confrontations. They’ll also stand up for their constitutional rights.

Dozens of NATO heads of state and other top officials plan attending. Large delegations are coming with them. So are similar partner nation contingents.

The Chicago Tribune and Sun Times reported on elaborate security preparations. Hundreds of state police and National Guard forces are involved. So are thousands of Chicago cops.

Secret Service staff also will be out in force. The ACLU said they’ll set up a security perimeter around McCormick Place. Part of Lake Shore Drive will be closed. It’s one of the city’s main arteries.

Enormous amounts of anti-scale steel fencing will be erected. Thousands of linear feet of concrete barriers will be strategically placed.

Secret Service spokesman George Ogilve declined to give specifics. The ACLU threatened court action unless details are released well in advance.

At issue are fundamental freedoms. They include speech and assembly rights. They’re also about police refraining from crackdowns on non-violent protesters.

Will Chicago respect what NATO and Washington never do on so-called “liberating” missions? Activists want to know. The city has an odious reputation. More on that below.

Permits were granted for six protest events. Other groups got them earlier. Chicago cops cracked down anyway. A Secret Service/Chicago police business panel session revealed one planned tactic.

“Extraction teams” will snatch and grab protesters from crowds. Who for what reasons wasn’t explained.

Company representatives attending were told business won’t be affected. Staff won’t be deterred from moving around freely. How they’ll distinguish them from protesters and pedestrians isn’t clear, especially in large crowds.

Occupy Chicago plans 10 protest days. A May 12 “People’s Summit” will be followed by other events. Themes will highlight education, healthcare, the environment, immigration, other issues, and imperialism. On May 20, a “No to NATO” march is scheduled.

‘We at Occupy Chicago,’ it said, ‘cordially invite you to join us and thousands around the world in a week of action in protest. We will highlight the connection between our local struggles, global struggles, and the policies of the thieves and oppressors of NATO and G-8.

Read more …

Filed under News Commentary NATO Summit Chicago Protest

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Past summits violent; security expected to be “fortress-like”


At the NATO 60th anniversary summit in 2009, the host cities of Strasbourg, France and Kehl, Germany (border towns) became highly secured and heavily armed military fortresses.           

 Thousands of riot police and military troops were deployed along with anti-aircraft artillery, warplanes, helicopters, and surveillance aircraft.  Curfews were enacted, and the everyday movement of citizens was controlled and credentialed.   

 In his blog “Stop NATO,” Rick Rozoff says that Chicago’s Mayor has portrayed the summit as a benign affair, but that “it will be nothing of the sort.”

 In the Chicago Tribune, Mark Jacob and Stephan Benzkofer report that when the world leaders arrive, they will be protected by armored vehicles, magnetometers, terrorist watch lists, and heavily armed police and soldiers.  The security measures, they say, may be unprecedented in Chicago history.

 On April 4, the city approved a parade permit for a protest march to take place on the first day of the summit, May 20.  The rally will start in Grant Park at the Petrillo Music Shell, and proceed west down Jackson Boulevard to State Street.  Heading south on State, the march will then turn east on Harrison and then to Michigan Avenue.  On Michigan, the protesters will head south to McCormick Place, the venue for the event.  To date, the US Secret Service has not announced what security perimeter will surround McCormick Place, but it is anticipated that it will be substantial.

As the city continues to prepare, the Tribune reports that the Department of Streets and Sanitation has been ordered to remove the “big belly” trash cans that line the parade route and dot other loop streets.  These cans are bulky and enclosed, and can conceal contents and create problems during periods of unrest.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke about the summit goals recently at a speech following a visit to NATO’s Allied Command Transformation headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia.  The Command is focused on training, concept development, and research to improve the military effectiveness of the alliance. NATO officials said it was the first time a U.S. Secretary of State had visited the Command, which is the only NATO command in North America.

Secretary Clinton said that there will be a focus at the meetings on the next steps the alliance will take in Afghanistan.  She said that NATO will make it clear to the Afghanistan government, its citizens, and insurgents that NATO will not be abandoning the country, but that by the end of 2014, Afghans will be fully responsible for their country’s security.  She added that the US does not seek permanent military bases in the country.

Filed under Chicago Police State NATO Summit US Government

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