2012 NATO summit
Last week in my neighborhood on Chicago’s northwest side, I spotted some individuals who didn’t look like they were from around here.
While walking down the street Monday morning, my girlfriend ran into some guy who also appeared out of place.
While I hear there are some burglars operating in this part of town, I guessed these were probably the vanguard of thousands of protesters expected to arrive in the Windy City for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit over the next few days.
And tonight, with seemingly nothing else better to do, a group of protesters chose- of all places- to hang out behind my building, which is adjacent to railroad tracks belonging to the regional train system (Metra).
Turning in somewhat early tonight (10:45 PM- long week, not much sleep), I heard loud voices coming from somewhere outside. Seeing that this is a Friday evening, in which my building/neighborhood is typically hopping, I assumed one of the neighbors was having people over. But while closing up shop, I spotted several individuals partially-secluded by bushes just beyond the parking lot and some landscaping that comprises my “backyard.” I originally thought they were some local teens who sometimes hang out there sharing a cigarette, but these voices sounded older. Buttoning up the rest of my pad for the night I noticed that this obnoxiously-loud group still hadn’t left several minutes later. Around 11 PM, a Metra passenger train barreled down the line- at which point one of these schmucks rushed the tracks in a mock suicide attempt. Probably guessing that train operators called the incident in, five young men emerged from the dark and spilled out into my backyard- but not before one of them tried to rip a young tree out from the edge of the parking pad. Not having the strength to remove this perennial from the ground, another person came over to help his defeated buddy.
Needless to say… Charlie Brown’s X-Mas Tree 1, Wimpy Dudes 0.
Shortly thereafter, the small group finally exited the parking lot down a side drive and onto the main thoroughfare in front of my building.
So who were these chumps? Almost certainly NATO Summit protesters judging by their backpacks. I also think they were underage considering the many popular waterholes located just down the street from me.
Hopefully, these guys won’t be back tomorrow night. But I intend to stick around just in case their aspirations go beyond trying to dismantle a menacing young tree.
Activity continues to grow surrounding the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit taking place here in Chicago this weekend and into early next week. From the Chicago Tribune this afternoon:
The first rally of the NATO protest weekend went off peacefully but groups of protesters conducted impromptu marches afterward on downtown streets that Chicago police tried to contain.
The two groups of protesters that had been marching through the Loop converged at Michigan Avenue shortly before 3 p.m.
Police, who had allowed the groups to wander through Loop streets largely unrestricted, stopped them halfway across the Michigan Avenue bridge, not allowing them to go further north.
On the bridge, one protester in a black shirt and Mohawk jumped up and pulled down a NATO banner on the bridge. Police officers quickly surrounded him, put him on the ground, and handcuffed him. One police officer appeared to strike her head on the bridge during the incident. Another protester obtained a police officer’s baton and threw it across the bridge…
Loop workers watched the impromptu march from their offices windows as the downtown streets seemed devoid of the typical tourist traffic often found in Chicago on warm Friday afternoons.
Drivers became impatient, however, as demonstrators snarled traffic by walking among cars and bringing the streets to a standstill.
The rally was far from the angry, violent protests seen at other gatherings of world leaders…
While I’d like to think the summit will remain that way, significant threats to law and order could come from the “Black Bloc” and terrorists. So what exactly is the Black Bloc? From Phil Rogers on the website of Chicago NBC affiliate Channel 5 this past Tuesday:
As Chicago prepares for the NATO Summit this weekend, police in other cities, and even some veteran demonstrators are offering some advice: “beware of the black bloc”.
Black Bloc demonstrators are self-styled anarchists who appear at large demonstrations, often at world summits, and are known for inciting violence.
From Reuters’ Andrew Stern on MSNBC.com that same day:
The main risk, security experts said, is that so-called “BlackBloc” anarchists will wreak havoc.
A recent tweet posted on the Twitter site of #blackbloc, a shadowy anarchist group, said: “#blackbloc comrades, keep a low profile till u are forced 2 act. We do no 1 any good in jail all day.”
If recent reports shared on an unofficial Chicago Police Department blog are to be believed, Black Bloc demonstrators will make their presence known in the Windy City in the coming days. From Second City Cop yesterday morning:
Has anyone been checking the Greyhound Station lately? Because our network people who are monitoring the subversives relate the following:
• According to their counting, 700 members of “anonymous” are arriving from the East Coast;
• 1200 are arriving from the West Coast;
• upwards of 3300 members of the “black bloc” and associated groups are coming from Canada and Seattle;
All of this prior to Friday. Is there a bit of bravado and exaggeration in those numbers? Undoubtedly. But the ones that do show up are going to be the truly dedicated assholes just itching to disrupt, damage and destroy.
View more videos at: http://nbcchicago.com.
And then there’s the threat of terrorism. Andrew Stern wrote in a piece on the Reuters website last night:
The FBI said on Thursday there was “absolutely no indication” of a terror attack threat in Chicago, although the city was considered a potential target even before President Barack Obama and other leaders meet for this weekend’s NATO summit.
FBI agent Ross Rice said the agency will be on heightened alert in Chicago, with extra agents brought in to react if its intelligence network sniffs out a plot. The FBI has agents in 70 countries, gathering intelligence.
“Several international terrorist groups have elevated Chicago in their mind to their No. 1 target for terrorist attack,” Rice said in an interview at the U.S. government’s nerve center inside a non-descript suburban Chicago office complex. Reporters were asked to keep the location secret.
“But there’s absolutely no indication that we’ve developed that any group or organization has a plan afoot to disrupt the summit this week,” Rice said.
Jeff Coen also talked about the potential threat from terrorism during the NATO Summit and wrote on the Chicago Tribune website last Friday:
Experts agreed that although any pooling of world leaders presumably makes for a tempting target for the likes of al-Qaida and other networks, the city is probably not under any more serious threat than usual.
As I type this from Chicago’s northwest side late this afternoon- here’s hoping the experts are right.
“Thousands rally, hundreds then march.” Chicago Tribune. 18 May 2012. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/natosummit/chi-first-nato-weekend-rally-unfolds-at-daley-plaza-20120518,0,5210924.story). 18 May 2012.
Rogers, Phil. “Police, Peaceful Protesters: Beware the “Black Bloc” Channel 5 Chicago. 15 May 2012. (http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/chicago-nato-summit-protesters-black-bloc-151650715.html). 18 May 2012.
Stern, Andrew. “Chicago braces for violence at NATO summit.” Reuters. 15 May 2012. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47439309#.T7a8rVIUP8l). 18 May 2012.
SCC. “Those Whom the Gods Would Destroy…” Second City Cop. 17 May 2012. (http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2012/05/those-whom-gods-would-destroy.html). 18 May 2012.
Stern, Andrew. “’No indication’ of terror threat to Chicago NATO summit-FBI.” Reuters. 17 May 2012. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/17/nato-summit-security-idUSL1E8GHDSN20120517). 18 May 2012.
Coen, Jeff. “Terrorism at NATO summit viewed as improbable, not impossible.” Chicago Tribune. 11 May 2012. (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-05-11/news/ct-met-nato-summit-terrorism-risk-0511-20120511_1_nato-summit-summit-events-nato-host-committee). 18 May 2012.
Leaders from around the world are gathering in Chicago this spring for an important diplomatic summit hosted by President Barack Obama. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will hold meetings in Chicago from May 20-21, allowing the city to highlight its economic vitality, its arts and architecture, and its can-do spirit.
• This will be the first time an American city other than Washington has hosted a NATO summit.
• About 2,000 journalists from across the world are expected in Chicago to chronicle the events.
-From the Official Host Committee Website for the Chicago NATO Summit
It’s still a couple of days before the NATO Summit kicks-off here in Chicago, but activity related to the meetings is picking up. From Maudlyne Ihejirika and Rummana Hussain yesterday on the Chicago Sun-Times website:
After assessing the protests held thus far as a lead-up to the NATO Summit, “I think we’re off to a pretty good start,” Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Wednesday.
That was after another day that saw protests downtown, including an Occupy Chicago-organized rally and march by about 150 people Wednesday morning, where participants demanded a year-long moratorium on foreclosure evictions in Cook County.
By Wednesday afternoon, McCarthy said, his police department had overseen four major protests he said involved less than 300 people — and made 12 arrests…
However, he said, “So far, the events have been orderly. We’re equipped. We’re trained. And at this point, we feel that we’re off to a good, successful start, and we’re actually excited to get this done.”
Partly due to the small sizes and relative calm of these initial protests, some are suggesting the summit- and forecasts of tens of thousands of protesters seriously-impacting law and order around the city- has been overhyped. Brian C. Thomas blogged in Your Doubting Thomas (part of the Chicago Tribune’s ChicagoNow website) yesterday:
Here we are. NATO week. Our media has been in a collective frenzy about NATO and the commensurate mass protests and road closures. For over a month, NATO has been the story with underlying fear and trepidation.
I want to yell at the television: Hey! We’re Chicagoans, we got this!
Major cities close down when there is half inch of snow– we’re open for business the day after getting dumped with 30 inches– guys, we can handle a couple protesters.
A word of advice, Brian. Don’t yell at the TV- lest you want your significant other to give you endless grief about it.
And here’s some anonymous comments I came across while reading a May 15 post on the unofficial Chicago Police Department blog Second City Cop:
• “There will be loser protesters but not near as many as they think.”
• “Personally, I’m not intimidated by a bunch of aging hippies and school aged narcissists.”
• “All they have to do is lock their mother’s basements where these malcontent idiots live and that will be about 50% fewer protesters out there spewing their nonsense and causing trouble.”
Mooooooommmmmm!!! All kidding aside, who knows how many protesters will be showing up in the Windy City to protest these meetings. But they’re already arriving. From Kim Janssen on the Chicago Sun-Times website yesterday afternoon:
They’re here, and more are coming — lots more.
The first major busload of out-of-town anti-NATO protesters arrived in Chicago Wednesday evening.
Sixteen hours after they pulled off from a dark New York street corner at 4 a.m., more than 40 tired but excited Occupy Wall Street activists stepped down onto a leafy Lincoln Park block at 7 p.m. wearing Robin Hood masks…
An additional 16 buses — funded, like the Occupy Wall Street bus, out of a $218,000 donation from anonymous donors and National Nurses United — are due to arrive in time for Friday’s “Robin Hood Tax” rally from Los Angeles, Oakland, Portland, Boston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Providence and Washington, D.C.
While those who dismiss the upcoming NATO Summit and its “hype” are entitled to do so, it might be best to wait and see how things play out. There are a number of X-factors out there that probably don’t register on the radars of casual observers of these events.
Skinny Puppy, “Pro-Test” (2004)
Hussain, Rummana and Ihejirika, Maudlyne. “Top cop on NATO: ‘We’re off to a pretty good start.’” Chicago Sun-Times. 16 May 2012. (http://www.suntimes.com/news/12568934-418/top-cop-on-nato-were-off-to-a-pretty-good-start.html). 17 May 2012.
Thomas, Brian C. “Chicago and NATO: Have we proven we’re a first class cow town?” Your Doubting Thomas. 16 May 2012. (http://www.chicagonow.com/your-doubting-thomas/2012/05/chicago-and-nato-have-we-proven-we%E2%80%99re-a-first-class-cow-town/). 17 May 2012.
SCC. “It Begins.” Second City Cop. 15 May 2012. (http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2012/05/it-begins.html). 17 May 2012.
Janssen, Kim. “Busloads of protesters head to Chicago for NATO Summit.” Chicago Sun-Times. 16 May 2012. (http://www.suntimes.com/12572016-417/busloads-of-protesters-head-to-chicago-for-nato-summit.html). 17 May 2012.
One more post for local readers before I switch into “doomsday mode” for the next couple of days. It seems an evacuation plan is in place for Chicago residents should next month’s NATO summit require it. Mike Parker wrote on the website of CBS affiliate Channel 2 (Chicago) Wednesday night (hat tip Second City Cop blog):
Is there a secret plan to evacuate some residents of Chicago in the event of major trouble during the NATO summit next month? CBS 2 has uncovered some evidence that there is. It comes from the Milwaukee area branch of the American Red Cross.
CBS 2 News has obtained a copy of a Red Cross e-mail sent to volunteers in the Milwaukee area.
It said the NATO summit “may create unrest or another national security incident. The American Red Cross in southeastern Wisconsin has been asked to place a number of shelters on standby in the event of evacuation of Chicago.”
(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)
According to Parker, the Red Cross chapter spokesperson said the directive came from the City of Chicago and the Secret Service. The veteran reporter added that the City of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications said the directive did not come from them, while the Secret Service did not return calls for comment.
Needless to say, a number of downtown Chicago residents are concerned.
With an event like a NATO summit, obviously anything can happen. Some point to this directive as proof the federal government knows the “Windy City” could be in for a lot of trouble. Others claim a “false flag” event is being set up. My biggest concern is not so much of civil disobedience transforming into civil strife, but rather the summit being the target of terrorism. In which case, I’m glad to hear some initiative is being taken in putting together an evacuation plan should it be necessary.
Parker, Mike. “Milwaukee Red Cross Told To Prep For Chicago Evacuation During NATO Summit.” Channel 2 (Chicago). 25 Apr. 2012. (http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/04/25/milwaukee-red-cross-told-to-prep-for-chicago-evacuation-during-nato-summit/). 27 Apr. 2012.
Some more insight into the U.S. military training exercise being conducted this week around the Chicagoland area. Editor Jean Lotus wrote on the Forest Park Review website yesterday afternoon:
Things got choppy in Forest Park last night between 8 and 9:30 p.m. as five helicopters from the U.S. Special Forces participated in training exercises that involved landing and taking off from the village-owned property behind the Altenheim…
Participating were Special Operations military personnel from multiple branches of the military, said a U.S. military spokesperson, who declined to give his name.
“We had some multiple tactical scenarios for upcoming mission deployments these units all have. We landed helicopters at the Altenheim,” he said…
The exercises were “not tied to the NATO visit in Chicago in any way,” he said. “These exercises have been planned since February, 2011.”
Lotus reported that the training was being coordinated by the United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) out of MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, “which coordinates helicopter trainings around the country to ‘meet mandatory training certifications,’ according to the CEMC [City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications] website.”
I wonder if Forest Park first responders found themselves unexpectedly busy during the drill- seeing that the Altenheim is a senior citizen’s home. What a spectacle that must have been for the residents.
Lotus, Jean. “New use for the Altenheim: Special Ops training.” Forest Park Review. 19 Apr. 2012. (http://forestparkreview.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=38&ArticleID=6470). 20 Apr. 2012.
Here’s the latest on that “routine military training exercise” going on around the Chicagoland area from April 16-19. Michelle Stoffel reported on the TribLocal (Chicago Tribune) website this morning:
The U.S. military will be using the vacant Sheraton Northwest hotel for training exercises Thursday, police said this week.
Military personnel will land helicopters on the hotel, sometime during the late afternoon or evening, Arlington Heights Police Capt. Nicholas Pecora said.
The U.S. military informed Arlington Heights police they would use the former hotel for urban battle training, but did not disclose their particular mission, he said. Arlington Heights also informed neighboring Palatine and Rolling Meadows of the exercises.
The same military unit was swooping around downtown Chicago Monday as part of a similar exercise.
I don’t know about you, but the exercise is sounding less like civil strife/martial law training to me. And as I mentioned in that April 16 piece, the military already has significant urban warfare training resources and facilities at their disposal.
Therefore, I have to wonder if it’s a counter-terrorism drill in advance of the upcoming NATO summit in May, or in anticipation of something else?
Perhaps even some posturing as well?
“Inquiring minds want to know.”
Stoffel, Michelle. “Military training exercises planned for Thursday.” TribLocal. 18 Apr. 2012. (http://triblocal.com/arlington-heights/2012/04/18/military-training-exercises-planned-for-thursday/). 18 Apr. 2012.
More information is surfacing about the “routine military training exercise” that’s taking place around the Chicagoland area from April 16 to 19. Last night, I blogged about a Chicago Tribune piece and City of Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) statement from Monday about the drill, which “is conducted by military personnel in cities across the country, designed to ensure the military’s ability to operate in urban environments as service members meet mandatory training certification requirements and prepare for upcoming overseas deployments.” The Tribune reporters wrote that the training is not related to the upcoming NATO Summit scheduled to be held in Chicago next month. From the FOX Channel 32 (Chicago) website this morning:
Blackhawks and A/MH-6 Little Bird helicopters used by special forces circling low through downtown Chicago skies made for a scary scene along the Chicago River, as they rattled windows flying among the city’s skyscrapers…
FOX Chicago News viewers called in, describing men with automatic weapons, hanging out of helicopters.
The city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications on Monday announced that Chicago is the site of a military training exercise this week involving personnel and at least three helicopters.
But the bland press release from City Hall did nothing to prepare folks for the jarring scene that unfolded Monday evening.
“It was frightening,” Jessica Hill said. “I was definitely alarmed.”
At least three Blackhawk helicopters flying at time in close order formation – at other times separating fairly widely – zoomed around office and residential towers for several hours.
“I was pretty amazed,” Felise Llano said, “because they were definitely military.”
Witnesses described three to four very heavily armed men in each chopper. Several said some of the men appeared to be tethered and were at times literally hanging out of the choppers, and looked ready to jump.
No relation to Jessica, by the way.
As I mentioned last night, because this exercise has been held in other U.S. cities recently like Los Angeles and Boston, some suspect it’s training for martial law as the result of a potential SHTF event, like a U.S. economic collapse.
I suggested that it could be a counter-terrorism drill for a potential “American Mumbai” or dirty bomb terror attack (or other) on a major U.S. city.
FOX Channel 32 (Chicago) Video
“Blackhawks Circle Low Through Chicago Skies as Secret Service Releases Security Details.” FOX Channel 32 (Chicago). 17 Apr. 2012. (http://www.myfoxchicago.com/dpp/news/metro/military-blackhawks-circle-downtown-skies-honing-urban-battle-skills-chicago-20120416). 17 Apr. 2012.
And so it’s begun. This past Saturday, a march and rally were held across the city and suburbs of Chicago as part of “Chicago Spring,” which is to culminate in planned protests at May’s scheduled NATO Summit in Chicago. Evelyn Holmes and Eric Horng wrote on the website of ABC affiliate Channel 7 Chicago on April 7:
A march and rally across the city were the focus of what organizers called the kickoff of “Chicago Spring.”
Occupy Chicago called Saturday a citywide day of action. Groups all across the city rallied in 13 neighborhoods. Some events were in Chicago’s suburbs, as well. Those gathered talked about a number issues, like foreclosures, residents’ visions for their communities and genocide.
Afterwards, hundreds converged in the Loop and walked to Butler Field in Grant Park for a festival they said will help unify in the battles of the “99 percent.”
Channel 7 Chicago Video
Only 40 more days until the start of the NATO Summit, but as you can see, things are picking up in the “Windy City.” The City of Chicago is even getting its act together. From John Byrne on the Chicago Tribune website on April 7:
Expensive, state-of-the-art solar-powered garbage receptacles are being pulled from around downtown Chicago before next month’s NATO summit in favor of old-fashioned wire trash cans that police can more easily check for anything dangerous.
Holmes, Evelyn and Horng, Eric. “Occupy Chicago kicks off ‘Chicago Spring’ with rallies.” Channel 7 Chicago. 7 Apr. 2012. (http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=8612590). 10 Apr. 2012.
Byrne, John. “NATO summit prompts city to yank solar-powered garbage barrels.” Chicago Tribune. 7 Apr. 2012. (http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-04-07/news/ct-met-nato-trash-cans-20120407_1_solar-powered-garbage-bigbelly-nato-summit). 10 Apr. 2012.
The days sure are flying. And in nine weeks the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will be holding its meeting in Chicago on May 20-21. When it was announced this year’s G8 summit had been moved to Camp David, from surfing various websites/blogs it became clear to me that a number of Chicagoans actually believe many protestors who originally planned on coming to the Windy City in May for the dual summits would either change their travel plans and head out to Camp David (not knowing the “camp” is actually Naval Support Facility Thurmont, a U.S. military installation) or not bother showing up at all, the rationale being the G8 meeting is the “juicier” target.
Yeah, right. In the wake of the G8-to-Camp David announcement, protest organizers let it be known they are still coming en-masse. And I believe them. Because as crazy as it sounds, they have a chip on their shoulder. Don’t these “nattering nabobs of negativism” know the global financial system and U.S. economy are recovering and will soon be firing on all cylinders again?
Enough sarcasm. I saw this on the Occupy Peace blog’s main page today:
A European contingent is expected to attend this particular protest. It is hard to estimate what attendance will be, but it sounds like the preparations are being made with about 100,000 people in mind.
100,000. I’ve come across this number before (of course, no one knows for sure). With a “European contingent” to boot. The Europeans are pros at this stuff, and while Chicago can hope for their peaceful involvement, they’ve been known to shake-and-bake host cities in the past:
“Anti-NATO crowd burns hotel & border post”
Chicago residents are probably curious as to what the NATO summit protestors will be targeting in May. Providing some insight is Paul Street, who wrote in this weekend’s edition of the bi-weekly political newsletter CounterPunch:
Making the city’s planned twin “Global Crossroads” gatherings yet more problematic for local and national elites including Obama, the president’s “home city” (Chicago) is full of strong protests sites beyond summit headquarters. Potential targets include Emmanuel’s City Hall (a bastion of corporatist metropolitan union-busting, clinic-closing, prison-stocking, school- and social service-privatizing); the hyper-affluent near-North Side Gold Coast, whose multimillion-dollar mansions and condominium apartments and posh restaurants and art studios stand in sickening proximity to 15 city neighborhoods where more than a quarter of the children live at less than half the notoriously inadequate U.S. poverty level; the University of Chicago Economics Department (a leading player in the infection of the world with the inequality- and poverty-spreading disease of neoliberalism); the downtown headquarters of the Boeing Corporation, maker of the Predator Drone, the B2 Stealth Bomber, and the Blackhawk Helicopter, to name just three deadly Boeing technologies the Pentagon has purchased (at massive cost-plus taxpayer expense) to murder tens of thousands of innocent civilians, including countless small children, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Somalia, and Yemen.
An especially juicy Chicago protest target is top corporate Democrat Obama’s 2012 downtown re-election campaign headquarters (located in the Prudential Building at 130 E. Randolph St.). Obama’s center of operations “looks more like a company than a campaign. For the last year,” the New York Times reported two weeks ago, “an office that appears nearly as long and as wide as a football field has steadily grown, with more than 300 workers now sitting bunched together….a payroll of $3 million in January suggests the staff is larger than any ever assembled for a presidential race.”
Street, Paul. “Won’t You Still Please Come to Chicago?” CounterPunch. 23 Mar. 2012. (http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/03/23/wont-you-still-please-come-to-chicago/). 23 Mar. 2012.
The big news around Chicago yesterday was that the G8 summit scheduled to take place in the city in late May has been moved to Camp David (May 18-19). Meanwhile, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization will still be meeting in the Windy City (May 20-21). While protestors are claiming responsibility for the change in venue, others are trying to figure out who made the call, and why? I was reading a piece by Greg Hinz and Paul Merrion on Crain’s Chicago Business website yesterday that shed a whole lot of light on the development. Hinz and Merrion wrote:
The White House, not City Hall, made the bombshell decision to pull the G8 summit out of Chicago, multiple sources tell Crain’s.
Chicago host committee chief Lori Healey, sources in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office and Washington insiders all said Monday that the surprise decision came from President Barack Obama’s inner circle.
So, the White House made the call. And the reason, or reasons, why? Hinz and Merrion added:
Chicago had been given relatively little time to prepare for the summits, which sometimes are scheduled years in advance. Mr. Emanuel, rather, sprang the news on the city last June, notably failing to consult with organizers of the huge restaurant show, which was scheduled to meet on the same dates in May and which ended up having to reschedule to earlier in the month.
Some sources were saying Monday that the city never fully overcame the late start — particularly on the security side, with endless bad headlines here about protests and other woes to come.
Security folks felt the city was “overwhelmed,” one congressional source said. Even in the South Loop federal complex, building officials still have not been fully briefed on what to expect and how to prepare.
Okay, so a late start and security concerns did the Chicago G8 meeting in, if what Crain’s is saying is true. Chicago residents, businesses, and other parties had been constantly reassured by the City of Chicago and the Official Chicago Host Committee for G8 & NATO Summits that preparations for the two high-profile events were going smoothly. On the issue of security, one might wonder how prepared Chicago really is for what could turn out to be a turbulent May, among other things. The blogger(s) at the unofficial Chicago Police Department blog Second City Cop wrote earlier today:
There ought to be a line of people whose heads are on the chopping block over this crap. There was never a comprehensive plan that covered a myriad of concerns brought to light here and elsewhere. The incompetence and unpreparedness of the Chicago Police Department was, and remains, almost criminal in nature.
God forbid an actual emergency situation arises like 9/11 or Mumbai or a series of mass transit bombings. We’d be in the textbooks for years to come on exactly how not to run a disaster.
Well, what’s done is done. The protestors still plan on converging on Chicago en masse in May- and not just for a couple of days. I wish the City of Chicago and the host committee all the best in catching-up with what needs to be done for a successful NATO summit.
And please give the ground pounders on the Chicago Police Department what they need to do their job effectively in May and well beyond.
Chicagoans are watching.
Hinz, Greg and Merrion, Paul. “White House stuns city by pulling plug on G8 in Chicago.” Crain’s Chicago Business. 5 Mar. 2012.(http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20120305/NEWS02/120309916/white-house-stuns-city-by-pulling-plug-on-g8-in-chicago). 6 Mar. 2012.
SCC. “So Now What?” Second City Cop. 6 Mar. 2012. (http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2012/03/so-now-what.html). 6 Mar. 2012.
In a comment published under last Saturday’s “More G8 Rumors (UPDATE)” post on the unofficial Chicago Police Department blog Second City Cop:
we will build a copy of rock ridge. Right down to Howard Johnson’s ice cream.
2/25/2012 01:33:00 PM
Funniest thing I’ve read in a long time.
Seeing that the activist group Adbusters now wants to bring 50,000 protestors to Chicago in May for a G8/NATO summit pre-party and after-party, I’m guessing Mayor Emanuel and city businesses/residents are hopeful the month-long event turns out like the Occupy Wall Street movement… in London:
“Nadia Kamil Occupies Wall Street”
Chicago had been banking on protests and other activity related to the upcoming G8/NATO summits lasting only as long as their May 15-22 duration.
Sounds like they’ll be dealing with it for much longer than originally thought.
Adbusters, an activist group that’s been involved with the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, issued the following on its blog last week:
IN THE TRADITION OF THE CHICAGO 8
MAY 1- BRING TENT
Hey you redeemers, rebels and radicals out there,
Against the backdrop of a global uprising that is simmering in dozens of countries and thousands of cities and towns, the G8 and NATO will hold a rare simultaneous summit in Chicago this May. The world’s military and political elites, heads of state, 7,500 officials from 80 nations, and more than 2,500 journalists will be there.
And so will we.
On May 1, 50,000 people from all over the world will flock to Chicago, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and #OCCUPYCHICAGO for a month. With a bit of luck, we’ll pull off the biggest multinational occupation of a summit meeting the world has ever seen.
And this time around we’re not going to put up with the kind of police repression that happened during the Democratic National Convention protests in Chicago, 1968 … nor will we abide by any phony restrictions the City of Chicago may want to impose on our first amendment rights. We’ll go there with our heads held high and assemble for a month-long people’s summit … we’ll march and chant and sing and shout and exercise our right to tell our elected representatives what we want … the constitution will be our guide…
A warning to the City of Chicago, its businesses, its residents, and others:
And if they don’t listen … if they ignore us and put our demands on the back burner like they’ve done so many times before … then, with Gandhian ferocity, we’ll flashmob the streets, shut down stock exchanges, campuses, corporate headquarters and cities across the globe … we’ll make the price of doing business as usual too much to bear…
You can read the entire “Tactical Briefing” on the Adbusters blog here.
From the Illinois State Crime Commission/Police Athletic League of Illinois website (hat tip Second City Cop blog):
Crime Commission to Place Iraq Afghanistan Veterans in Security Positions
Member companies of the Illinois State Crime Commission/Police Athletic League of Illinois have an urgent need to employ Iraq Afghanistan Veterans for security positions during the G-8 conference. These jobs will pay $20-$30 per hour and may lead to permanent full benefit employment. All must be prepared for security clearances including background check and drug testing.
To apply contact ISCC’s Dan Elsner (Iraq Veteran/USMC) at 630-802-3591.
You can view the original posting on the ISCC/PAL-IL site here.
Sounds like the Russians might be coming to town next year.
On Wednesday, I noted that preparations by the City of Chicago and protestors are ongoing for the NATO and Group of Eight summits scheduled to take place here next May.
And this morning, the Associated Press is talking about the possibility of a NATO-Russia summit being held in the Windy City in 2012. From the AP:
NATO’s top official says a summit between the alliance and Russia could be held next year in Chicago if the two sides can agree on substantive issues to discuss.
(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)
I’m guessing this meeting would be part of the already-planned May 2012 NATO summit?
Besides the potential for more trouble by adding additional protesters to the mix, Chicago might become an even more juicier target to Al-Qaeda and other terrorists than it would be with just NATO and the G8 coming to town.
I keep on thinking about what ABC7 News Chicago’s Sarah Schulte said back in June:
It will be the first time since 1977 in London that two international summits will be held at the same time in the same city. Security experts say it will be a security challenge that no American city has ever had to face.
“Chicago could host NATO-Russia summit next year.” Associated Press. 30 Sep. 2011. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-chicago-could-host-natorussia-summit-next-year-20110930,0,698416.story). 30 Sep. 2011.
Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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