More than 40 protesters were arrested and at least four police officers were injured, as thousands of demonstrators staged street protests in Chicago on Sunday during the May 20-21 NATO Summit. Protests resumed on Monday, but were considerably smaller, with one group of demonstrators gathering outside the Boeing corporation’s headquarters to protest the aircraft company’s involvement in producing military weapons for NATO.
Protesters associated with causes ranging from opposition to the war in Afghanistan to immigration reform and Occupy Wall Street, converged on McCormick Place Convention Center where President Barack Obama hosted NATO heads of state and leaders of 13 additional “NATO partner nations.”
In comparison to the violence that has marked many other international conferences in recent years — G-8, G-20, NATO, WTO, IMF and World Bank — the protests in Chicago stayed largely peaceful, but on Sunday clashes between protesters and police escalated as protesters hurled red paint, bottles, sticks, stones, and other objects.
Even more serious drama was added to the mix with the arrest of three men on charges of conspiracy to commit terrorism and possession of explosives, and the follow-up arrests of two additional activists, one of whom was charged with saying he intended to blow up an area bridge, the other who was accused of attempting to buy ingredients for pipe bombs. Information that officials have released thus far has been sketchy, but the alleged terror plots appear to be less serious than some headlines originally indicated. Attorneys for the defendants are claiming entrapment, saying that the plots would not have originated without the aid of police undercover operatives.
Arrested on Wednesday, May 16 were Brian Church, 20, of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; Jared Chase, 24, of Keene, New Hampshire; and, Brent Vincent Betterly, 24, of Oakland Park, Florida. They were charged May 19 on conspiracy to commit terrorism, material support for terrorism and possession of explosives. They were caught in possession of beer bottles filled with gasoline, to be used as Molotov cocktails. On May 20, activist Sebastian Senakiewicz, 24, of Chicago, was charged with falsely making a terrorist threat, while Mark Neiweem, 28, of Chicago, was charged with attempted possession of explosives or incendiary devices after he allegedly sought materials to construct a pipe bomb.
Prosecutors told a judge at a court hearing on May 20 that Senakiewicz, a native of Poland and a self-proclaimed anarchist, had publicly bragged he could blow up a downtown bridge with explosives he was keeping in a hollowed-out Harry Potter book. A police search of his home yielded no explosives. Mark Neiweem allegedly wanted to build a pipe bomb and wrote up a list of ingredients, asking others to get him the materials.
With all this alleged revolutionary plotting and street protests grabbing headlines, the actual revolutionary activity by President Obama and the NATO leaders taking place inside the conference was given short shrift in the mainstream media. As The New American has pointed out in previous articles, the wars being carried out in the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Libya under the banner of NATO are unconstitutional, illegal, immoral, counterproductive, and financially unsustainable.
NATO, which is, in effect, a subsidiary of the United Nations, is being used by U.S. gloablists as a cat’s paw to carry out foreign military designs that they know the American public would not support and Congress will not back with the constitutionally mandated formal declaration of war.
(The official list of the 28 NATO member countries is available here)
The 65-point Chicago Summit Declaration issued on May 20 amply demonstrates the NATO leaders' intentions to continue expanding the organization’s military interventions worldwide. In the Declaration, the NATO leaders congratulate themselves for the alleged success of the NATO-led mission in Afghanistan and their timetable to withdraw forces by the end of 2014. However, even in the unlikely eventuality that NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) troops have exited Afghanistan by that time, NATO’s “mission” there will continue. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, joined by Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai, announced that a new NATO-led mission will focus on training, advising and assisting Afghan forces after they have assumed full security responsibility across the country. "Let me be clear: this will not be ISAF under a different name" said Rasmussen after the meeting. "It will be a new mission, with a new role for NATO" A new mission and a new role that will continually "evolve," as have the mission and role of NATO itself.
President Karzai has enjoyed the support of Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama even though he has run a thoroughly corrupt regime that has enriched his family, has maintained close relations with Iran (and admitted to taking “bags of money” from the Tehran regime), and has said that his country would support Pakistan if it went to war against the United States.
Nevertheless, President Obama and his NATO confreres are comfortable with an open-ended policy that continues to spill American/NATO blood and spend American/NATO treasure for Karzai and friends through 2014 — and beyond. It was 20 years ago, during the Clinton administration, that NATO went into the Balkans; thousands of NATO troops are still stuck there.
In addition, the Chicago Summit Declaration also patted NATO on the back for its military intervention in Libya. And regarding Syria, it said: “We are following the evolution of the Syrian crisis with growing concern and we strongly support the efforts of the United Nations and the League of Arab States.” Does that mean NATO forces may soon be backing a regime change in Damascus? Many NATO moves and statements point in that direction. The declaration also limns the extensive intertwining of NATO with the United Nations, the European Union, and the enormous EU and UN bureaucracies, and cites numerous UN resolutions as authority for its various “mandates” throughout the world.
Photo of Chicago NATO Summit: AP Images