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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/20/12

NATO Occupies Sweet Home Chicago

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So the anthem now goes something like this: C'mon, baby don't you wanna go/back to that same old place/sweet home ring of steel Chicago.

Robert Johnson must be spitting fire in his bluesy grave because the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), for its 25th summit, is occupying Chicago like it was Kabul -- with Americans treated as concentric circles of Taliban. The Department of Homeland Security has branded the summit a "National Special Security Event"; that means the Secret Service, in practice, has taken over Chicago.

It's lockdown time -- complete with Iraq-style concrete barriers; battalions sporting upgraded riot gear; "extraction teams" to snatch and grab pinpointed protesters in a "low intensity conflict" environment; and an Orwellian guest star, the LRAD (long-range acoustic device) -- a sound cannon bound to "ensure a consistent message is delivered to large crowds," according to the Chicago Police Department.

It sounds like a zany remake of John Landis' immortal The Blues Brothers. So what role would US President Barack Obama, the Drone Godfather, play? Aretha Franklin singing Think? Or Godfather of Soul James Brown leading the gospel choir to "see the light"? Obama, after all, is on a Mission from God himself -- the MC of the militarization of Chicago mirroring NATO's militarization of the planet.

As for the masses of Americans who refuse to be occupied, or who are bent on turning Occupy Chicago into Occupy NATO, their plight sounds more like Albert King; Born under a bad sign/I've been down since I began to crawl/if it wasn't for bad luck/I wouldn't have no luck at all.

Married to the mob

NATO's Chicago summit is essentially a celebration of the "Strategic Concept" [1] adopted at the Lisbon summit in November 2010 -- which is a sort of more palatable version of the Pentagon's "full spectrum dominance" doctrine.

Crucially, last month in a Pentagon/NATO funfest in Norfolk, Virginia, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton [2] stressed the Chicago summit would "recognize the operational, financial and political contributions of our partners across a range of efforts to defend our common values in the Balkans, Afghanistan, the Middle East, and North Africa."

One wonders what kind of "common values" are inbuilt in a bogus fight against a ghostly "al-Qaeda" in Afghanistan -- which has meant in fact NATO getting its ass kicked for interminable 11 years by hordes of enraged nationalistic Pashtuns with Kalashnikovs and rocket launchers.

And what kind of "common values" were packaged in the "humanitarian" bombing of Libya by the NATO/AFRICOM combo - when the end product, NATO rebel-controlled Libya, turns out to be a racist, hardcore Islamist heaven-cum-militia hell, now exported to neighbors such as Mali.

Not to mention that NATO adamantly refuses to acknowledge it killed scores of civilians in Libya as part of its R2P (responsibility to protect) mission on behalf of ... civilians.

Yet, when it comes to NATO "partners," things are as sweet as cherry pie.

Becoming a "partner" to NATO, especially for smaller countries, is not entirely dissimilar to being forced to a marriage with the mob.

More sophisticated techniques of extortion apply. Why don't you join our (nom du jour) freedom coalition? Why don't you contribute with some troops? Why don't you buy some gorgeous weapons from us? Or else ...

Have you ever loved a drone?

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Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst. He writes for RT, Sputnik and TomDispatch, and is a frequent contributor to websites and radio and TV shows ranging from the US to East Asia. He is the former roving correspondent for Asia (more...)

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