Group of Eight

Potential Targets Of Chicago NATO Summit Protestors Identified

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”
YouTube Video

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.”

Stay tuned…

Source:

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.

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Friday, March 23rd, 2012 Civil Strife, Europe, Government, Recovery No Comments

Late Start, Security Concerns Doom Chicago G8 Summit Meeting

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.

Ouch.

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.

Sources:

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.

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Tuesday, March 6th, 2012 Government, Public Safety, Terrorism No Comments

Chicago Police Plan For NATO And G8 Summits In May 2012

“Say No to Police Repression of NATO/G8 Protests”

-Committee to Stop FBI Repression website

“Students for a Democratic Society Calls on Students and Youth to Protest the NATO/G8 Summit in Chicago May 15-22: Endorse the Call to Action!”

-Students for a Democratic Society website, posted this weekend

Show your disaccord! It doesnt matter who you are and where you are working, you can show your NO to G8 and NATO. All of you hardly working people can “dulcify” residence to teh oficial visitors of 38th summit G8 at Chicago. Whoever you are, footboy, pot-boy, cleaner, take your small part to say NO with their politics. “Accidentally” spilt coffe, “by mistake” cancelled order, broken down car in the entrance place to summit… lot of small things which can show our united disaccord. Active Crew Voice of anarcho-pacifism (Europe)

-“Resist the Chicago G8/NATO Summits May 2012” Facebook page, posted this weekend

Speaking of travel this morning, keep in mind the following if you’re planning to visit Chicago next May. From the Chicago Sun-Times’ Frank Main last Friday:

Battle lines between protesters and the police are already being drawn for the NATO and G-8 summits that Chicago will host next spring.

On Thursday, an anti-war organizer said he was scouting potential staging areas for crowds of protesters expected outside the summits in May.

Meanwhile, police Supt. Garry McCarthy said he’s been planning for three weeks. And he put a deputy superintendent, Debra Kirby, in charge of preparing the Chicago Police Department’s response.

“We have to train for mass arrests,” McCarthy said. “We have to train 13,000 police officers in arrest procedures and containment procedures. At the same time, we will not stop patrolling the city.”

According to Main, both summits will be held concurrently. From the piece:

The summits will be held from May 15-22. Chicago is the first U.S. city other than Washington to host a NATO meeting. The Group of Eight industrialized nations will meet here at the same time.

During the 31st G8 summit which the United Kingdom hosted from July 6-8, 2005, 225,000 protestors took to the streets of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Also worth mentioning- the July 7, 2005, suicide bombings (7/7) of the London transport system are thought to have been timed by the terrorists to coincide with the summit. 52 people, as well as the 4 bombers, were killed in the attacks, and over 700 more were injured.

Source:

Main, Frank. “Garry McCarthy to NATO, G-8 protesters: Police will be ready.” Chicago Sun-Times. 15 July 2011. (http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhall/6513155-418/garry-mccarthy-to-nato-g-8-protesters-police-will-be-ready.html). 18 July 2011.

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