[Marxism] Black bloc activists entrapped in Chicago

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun May 20 06:21:47 MDT 2012


Chicago police accused of planting evidence in 'Molotov cocktail' plot

Police say men planned to target Obama election HQ but supporters of the 
men say they intended to protest at the Nato summit

     Staff and agencies
     guardian.co.uk, Saturday 19 May 2012 21.15 EDT

Brian Church and Brent Betterly were among three men charged with 
terrorism-related offences ahead of the Nato summit in Chicago. 
Photograph: Chicago police/Reuters

Lawyers for three protesters arrested on terrorist-related charges ahead 
of the Nato summit have accused police of entrapping them and 
encouraging an alleged bomb-making effort.

The three were arrested on Wednesday night when members of the Chicago 
police department battered their way into an apartment in the Bridgeport 
area of the city.

According to court documents released on Saturday, the three men 
considered targeting Barack Obama's re-election headquarters and the 
home of Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The Chicago police department said the men, described as self-proclaimed 
anarchists and members of the "Black Bloc" movement that has disrupted 
international gatherings in the past, were arrested on Wednesday and 
charged on Friday with conspiracy to commit terrorism, providing 
material support for terrorism and possession of an explosive incendiary 

The three men charged were listed as Brian Church, 22, of Fort 
Lauderdale, Florida, Jared Chase, 27, of Keene, New Hampshire, and Brent 
Betterly, 24, from Massachusetts.

At a hearing on Saturday bail was set at $1.5m for each of the three. 
Their next court appearance is on Tuesday.

Supporters of the three men disputed the charges, saying the men had 
come to protest at the Nato summit peacefully and that the police had 
confused beer-making equipment with explosives.

A lawyer for the three, Michael Deutsch, said undercover police officers 
had entrapped them by infiltrating the group and encouraging the 
bomb-making effort. The Chicago police department declined to comment on 
the tactics employed in the case.

The Cook County state attorney's office said the three men had other 
weapons including a mortar, knives and a hunting bow. It said they 
considered attacking police stations and cars in Chicago to disrupt 
police operations for the two-day Nato summit that begins on Sunday.

"Some of the proposed targets included campaign headquarters of US 
President Barack Obama, the personal residence of Chicago mayor Rahm 
Emanuel and certain downtown financial institutions," the court papers said.
Protesters sit in the street in front of Rahm Emanuael's house in 
Chicago Protesters sit in the street in front of Rahm Emanuel's house in 
Chicago. Photograph: James Fassinger/Stillscenes

On Saturday several hundred activists protested outside Emanuel's home. 
The event was peaceful.

"The men had been making Molotov cocktails out of empty beer bottles 
filled with gasoline and fitted with cut bandanas for fuses," Cook 
County state attorney Anita Alvarez told a news conference after the 
bond hearing.

"It is pretty clear from the evidence they were making the bombs," 
Alvarez said. "There was a lot of discussion about making these Molotov 
cocktails and what they were going to do with them."

The charges were the state's first for violation of Illinois 
anti-terrorism statutes, she said.

"When it became evident there was an overt act in this conspiracy, we 
had to act," Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy said, adding 
the investigation that began in early May was continuing. "We did not 
want to take this case down as quickly as we did but we had to because 
of the imminent threat."

Deutsch, the attorney representing the suspects, said at the hearing 
that police had planted weapons at the scene of the arrests. "This is a 
way to stir up prejudice against a people who are exercising their First 
Amendment rights," Deutsch said. "There were undercover police officers 
that ingratiated themselves with people who come from out of town."

In a case earlier this month five self-described anarchists were charged 
with plotting to blow up a bridge near Cleveland after planting fake 
explosives underneath that federal agents had sold them.

Natalie Wahlberg, a member of the Occupy Chicago movement protesting 
against income inequality, said: "The charges are utterly ridiculous. 
CPD [Chicago police department] doesn't know the difference between home 
beer-making supplies and Molotov cocktails."

The National Lawyers Guild, a group of volunteer lawyers representing 
the protesters, said on Facebook that police "broke down doors with guns 
drawn and searched residences without a warrant or consent".

Alvarez said police obtained a warrant from a judge before executing the 
raid and arrests.

Thousands of security personnel have been deployed to monitor 
demonstrations in the week leading up to the two-day Nato summit that 
starts on Sunday. Obama and representatives from 60 countries are to 
discuss the war in Afghanistan and other international security issues.

On Friday roughly 2,500 people protested loudly but peacefully, mostly 
over economic issues, at a downtown Chicago plaza and throughout the 
surrounding streets.

Police said more than a dozen people had been arrested related to Nato, 
mostly for trespassing. One man was arrested during the protests after 
he climbed a bridge tower to rip down a banner advertising the Nat 
summit, police said.

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