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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/18/12

Chicago's Scaring Itself Silly While NATO -- Not Protesters -- Disrupts the City and the World

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Scaring the American public silly is one of the tactics used by the government to get Americans to sacrifice their civil rights in ways they never thought they would.

In Chicago, the public would have been disrupted by the mere presence of heads of state and senior military officials of the 28 NATO countries, even if no protesters showed up. All the people of Chicago have to do is look at New York City during the United Nations General Assembly. The disruption is NATO, not the protest against NATO!  

But the government blames the protests against NATO for its need for draconian security measures.

We've seen it before. The American public allowed the Bush administration to use the tragic events of 9/11 to enact the Patriot Act which dramatically curtailed civil liberties in the United States, with some citizens, primarily Arab-Muslim Americans to be detained for lengthy periods without charge. The US kidnapped and tortured persons around the world, and kept thousands imprisoned in jails in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo.

Under the Obama administration, the Patriot Act has been renewed and other draconian measures passed. The NDAA allows indefinite detention of Americans by the US military. Officials can declare any happening a high-security event and impose felony charges on protesters who didn't even know there were senior level officials in the building. Police can now strip search anyone for any reason, or for no reason, without a warrant.

But, in Chicago, in preparing the public for the meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), government officials at the national, state and city level are scaring themselves and the public silly.

Rahm Emmanuel, President Obama's former Chief of Staff and now Mayor of Chicago, knows how to get federal money for beefing up a police force already on steroids. Estimates are that hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent on security in Chicago, while schools, mental health clinics and other services for the people are closed.

The hype on TV is about businesses closing and employees working from home. There are hourly updates on where protesters are and how many arrests -- eight Catholic workers arrested for non-violent protest, one arrested for bumping a police officer and a pre-emptive police raid by Chicago's Organized Crime Division on the apartment belonging to a local organizer Wednesday night that resulted in eight arrests. Chicago police are already unlawfully detaining, searching, and questioning NATO protesters.

"The National Lawyers Guild said that the NATO activist 'disappeared' without warrant or charges. 'Essentially these people were disappeared for more than 12 hours until we could finally locate them.' 18 May 2012 According to National Lawyers Guild (NLG) spokesman Kris Hermes, Chicago police officers raided the apartment complex on Wednesday evening without a valid warrant and detained up to nine people without cause. The NLG worked through the night to locate the arrested activists. They were unable to get any information from the Chicago Police Department (CPD) or even any acknowledgement that a raid had taken place."

Fighter jets were in the skies over Chicago on Friday before the NATO Summit. Military jets have been authorized to shoot down any aircraft that violates secure airspace over Chicago. U.S. fighter jets will be actively flying over Chicago as part of a security drill before the NATO Summit. The U.S. North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD) Command Region fighters -- including Air Force KC-135 tankers, Air Force F-16s, and a Coast Guard HH-65 Dolphin helicopters will be scaring Chicago citizens for about two hours.

Yesterday as we were moving colorful materials for the CODEPINK, Veterans for Peace and World Can't Wait protest against NATO violence and the use of drones, two women in the condo complex where we are staying initially refused to get into the elevator with us. They finally got on the elevator and immediately began talking about having just heard former Secretary of State Condolleza Rice at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. We mentioned that Rice was a warmonger.

By the time we got to the first protest site at the Obama headquarters, the owner of the condo had received a call from the building management office about the disruptive guests in his apartment. The owner told the management that his guests had their constitutional right to   protest and that he would sue the management office if we endued any harassment from the building staff!

Come join us in Chicago, a city scared more of fellow citizens than of the violence wrecked on people around the world by the US and NATO war policies!

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Ann Wright is a 29-year US Army/Army Reserves veteran, a retired United States Army colonel and retired U.S. State Department official, known for her outspoken opposition to the Iraq War. She received the State Department Award for Heroism in 1997, after helping to evacuate several thousand (more...)
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