Good Morning from Occupy Boston!
Stories of the Day: Chicago Police van deliberately runs into and injures NATO protester. See video footage here. Prosecutors on Saturday accused three activists who travelled to Chicago for a NATO summit of manufacturing Molotov cocktails in a plot to attack President Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home and other targets. But defense lawyers shot back that Chicago police had trumped up the charges to frighten peaceful protesters away, telling the judge it was undercover officers known by the activists as “Mo” and “Gloves,” not his clients, who brought the firebombs to a South Side apartment where the men were arrested. “This is just propaganda to create a climate of fear,” Michael Duetsch said. “My clients came to peacefully protest.” On the eve of the summit, the dramatic allegations were reminiscent of previous police actions ahead of major political events, when officials moved quickly to prevent suspected plots but sometimes quietly dropped the charges later. For more, see Detained Protesters Accused of Chicago Terror Plot. Darrin Annussek says he walked to Chicago from Philadelphia to participate in Occupy protests, only to be seized by police in a raid on an apartment at 32nd and Morgan. “For 18 hours, we were handcuffed to a bench and our legs were shackled together,” he said. “Some of our cries for the bathroom were either ignored or met with silence.” Annusek was released Friday morning along with four others reportedly suspected of preparing molotov cocktails. At least one other detainee was released several hours later Friday. Kris Hermes, of the National Lawyers Guild said: “There is absolutely no evidence of molotov cocktails or any other criminal activity going on at this building.” A tenant who agreed to host the out-of-town protesters says the police did seize his home-brew making equipment, including buckets, beer bottles and caps. For more, see Arrested Protester Charges Mistreatment After Police Raid Apartment. Three Occupy activists raided on May 16 and disappeared for a period of time by Chicago police were brought before a bond judge and officially charged with material support for terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism and possession of explosives or explosive or incendiary devices. The case marks the first time that state prosecutors have used the Illinois Terrorism law to prosecute individuals. Deutsch called the investigation, targeting and raid of these activists “worse than entrapment.” According to the NLG, two police informants infiltrated the group. The NLGE believes “they’re the ones who provoked this and they’re the ones,” who committed the “illegal activity” and had the “illegal materials.” For more, see CPD, FBI and Secret Service Claim NATO 3 Came to Chicago to Commit “Terrorist Acts of Violence.” One of the suspects, identified by police as Jared Chase, 24, is from Keene, N.H. and spent time in Boston, where he participated in the Occupy Boston protests last fall. A Facebook page bearing Chase’s name, picture, and other personal information, calls him a DJ and says he is studying 3D animation and game-programming at NHTI, a community college in Concord, N.H. For more, see NATO Suspect has New England Ties. This video shows Chicago police questioning occupiers about Occupy Chicago, the NATO protests, and threatening violence after arbitrarily pulling over their car in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago earlier this week. The video went viral after the activists posted it to social media. Now, three of them are being charged with terrorism in the wake of a warrantless preemptive raid on activists’ homes in Chicago. An attorney from the National Lawyers Guild describes the video: They were driving in a car and were pulled over without any kind of justification or reason by the Chicago police department. They were surrounded by police and they were questioned for a very long period of time about what they were doing in Chicago, why they were here to protest, what their political affiliations were, how they identified politically—All kinds of absolutely outrageous questions that certainly do not indicate any kind of illegal behavior because it is not constitutional simply to accuse them of a crime because of a political belief. For more, including the video, see Free the #NATO3! And a Los Angeles man was ordered held in lieu of $10,000 bail Wednesday for allegedly punching a Chicago Police sergeant off his bike during an anti-deportation protest in the Loop. The police report did not include any mention of the officer falling off his bicycle or suffering any injuries. Five of Johnson’s fellow demonstrators came to court to show support for their friend — which police said was one of two arrests for attacking a police officer in the run up so far to the NATO Summit. Johnson was the only NATO-related protester charged with a felony. The men who came from Dallas, New York and San Diego for the NATO weekend denied Johnson punched the officer. “He never pushed anyone off the bike. He’s a non-violent person,” said Chris McKay, who is with Occupy Walk USA. “The cop grabbed him by the collar and when he turned to see who he was, his arm brushed against the officer.” For more, see Danny Johnson, Occupy Walk USA team member, arrested in Chicago. And entrapment is illegal – but the question of whether law enforcement set up a legal sting or illegal entrapment is for a jury to decide. For more, see How FBI Entrapment is Inventing Terrorists and Letting Bad Guys Off the Hook. And as governments around the world, including our own, face more and more popular resistance, we’re witnessing a revival of the use of agent provocateurs. An agent provocateur is the well-used tactic of using undercover military or police to join a dissenting group or protest in order to provoke others in the group to carry out illegal actions and violence. The goal is to discredit the group from the inside. Sometimes the group gets discredited with those outside. Other times the group is enticed into internal divisions and collapses. For more, see How to Identify an Agent Provocateur. And in other news, a judge may have found unconstitutional the law that allows people to be held indefinitely without trial by the military, but the House of Representatives voted Friday to keep it anyway. On Wednesday, Federal Judge Katherine Forrest found that the law violates rights to free speech and due process. But House members defended it, ultimately voting 238 to 182 against an amendment to guarantee civilian trials for any terrorism suspect arrested in the United States. For more, see Bill to End Indefinite Detention Fails in House.
Other Occupies/Protests: The Twin Cities activists who had their homes raided by the FBI last September are starting to learn more about why they’re being investigated by a Chicago grand jury in relation to material support of terrorism. Lawyers for the activists have learned from prosecutors that the feds sent an undercover law enforcement agent to infiltrate the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee in April 2008, just as the group was planning its licensed protests at the Republican National Convention. Last fall the Justice Department’s Inspector General released a scathing report that criticized the FBI for invoking anti-terrorist laws to justify their investigations and harassment of groups including Greenpeace, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and the Catholic Worker. “This is exactly what the Inspector General’s report was talking about,” Sundin told City Pages this morning. “The FBI doesn’t have the right to spy on us. It’s an abuse of our democratic rights. We’re supposed to have freedom of association, not, ‘You can associate but we’re going to spy on you.’” For more, see Secret Government Informer Infiltrated Minnesota Activist Groups.
“I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.” John Cage