NATO protesters planned Obama HQ attack

Three men were charged with plotting to attack President Barack Obama's campaign headquarters and lob Molotov cocktails at police as days of protest heated up ahead of a NATO summit.

Police on Saturday insisted there were "no imminent threats" to the leaders of more than 50 nations set to meet at the two-day summit in Chicago.

But they were out in force to monitor the boisterous -- but so far peaceful -- protests which spread through the city in the days leading up to the summit.

"The individuals we charged in this investigation are not peaceful protesters," state attorney Anita Alvarez told reporters.

"They are domestic terrorists who came to Chicago with an anarchist agenda to harm our police officers, intimidate our citizens and to attack their politically motivated targets."

The three "self proclaimed anarchists" arrested in a raid Wednesday had gathered an arsenal of weapons including throwing stars, gas masks, knives, a hunting bow, brass knuckles and a shield with protruding nails, Alvarez said.

One allegedly boasted "have you ever seen a cop on fire" as they planned to destroy police cars and attack four police stations -- including headquarters -- in order to undermine the response to their attacks, Alvarez said.

Some of the other proposed targets included the home of Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel and "certain downtown financial institutions," she added.

Lawyers for the three men insisted that they are innocent, peaceful activists who were instead the target of a police "setup" aimed at intimidating and discrediting the protest movement.

"We believe it is a setup, an entrapment to the highest degree and it is sensationalism by the police and the state to discredit the protesters that have come here to non-violently protest," said Michael Deutsche of the National Lawyers Guild.

The three men believe they became targets after posting a video on YouTube in which they were stopped and harassed by police about their protest plans, Deutsche said.

They were befriended by either informants or undercover officers -- a woman nicknamed Mo and a man known as Glove -- who ended up framing them for the crimes, he said.

"They're the ones who brought the materials and tried to get our clients to engage in illegal activities," Deutsche told reporters after the men were ordered held in jail on $1.5 million bonds.

Hundreds of protesters rallying to free the "NATO 3" marched through the city's business district blocking traffic and chanting "our passion, our freedom, is stronger than their prisons" Saturday.

"The police in Chicago have a long history of not telling the truth, especially about dissidents and activists," said John Barton, 40, a protester from the Chicago suburbs.

Ben Mandley, a protester from Oregon who came to rally against "racist American imperialism overseas," took a wider view of the arrests, and said the true terrorists are the leaders of the NATO member states.

"While we have known terrorists -- people who are known to bomb innocent people -- in town, charging anyone with terrorism besides those people needs to be a complete fallacy," Mandley, 21, told AFP.

Police and prosecutors dismissed the allegations of a setup and insisted they were acting swiftly to protect the public.

"These charges are not just based on conversations, nor were they based on idle talk," Alvarez said.

Chicago police superintendent Garry McCarthy expressed his frustration with a simple "they can say whatever they want."

Fears that demonstrations could turn violent have put Chicago on edge, with some downtown businesses boarding up their windows and even telling office workers to ditch their suits and ties and dress down to avoid being hassled.

Police and protest organizers have vowed that there will be no repeat of the trouble that erupted at G20 summits in London and Toronto or the riots that scarred Chicago during the 1968 Democratic National Convention.

Several street protests held so far this week have been peaceful, and most of the 15 people already arrested were engaged in acts of civil disobedience, such as refusing to leave the building housing Obama's campaign headquarters.

The three men facing terrorism charges are Brian Church, 22, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Jared Chase, 27, of Keene, New Hampshire; and Brent Betterly, 24, of Massachusetts.


Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea
    US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea

    The US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was recovering from surgery Thursday after having his face and arm slashed by a knife-wielding activist in an attack applauded by North Korean state media. The United States condemned the "act of violence" which saw the ambassador rushed to hospital where his condition was described as stable after two-and-a-half hours of surgery that included 80 stitches to a deep gash on his right cheek. In a brief despatch, North Korea's official KCNA news …

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines
    US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said Wednesday he had found one of Japan's biggest and most famous battleships on a Philippine seabed, some 70 years after American forces sank it during World War II. Excited historians likened the discovery, if verified, to finding the Titanic, as they hailed the American billionaire for his high-tech mission that apparently succeeded after so many failed search attempts by others. Allen posted photos and video online of parts of what he said was the …

  • New Moro rebel group emerges
    New Moro rebel group emerges

    A radical Muslim cleric trained in the Middle East and considered one of the leaders of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has broken away from the terror group to form his own band of jihadists who are now reportedly providing sanctuary to bomb expert Basit Usman and at least five foreign militants, the military said yesterday. Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla, citing reports from the field, said the Justice for Islamic Movement (JIM) was …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

  • Pacquiao big hit so far in Vegas sports books vs Mayweather

    LAS VEGAS (AP) — Manny Pacquiao has always believed he can do what 47 other fighters before him have failed to do — beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. in the ring. …

  • Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media
    Australian drug smugglers being taken to Indonesian island for execution - media

    By Jane Wardell and Beawiharta SYDNEY/DENPASAR, Indonesia (Reuters) - Two convicted Australian drug smugglers were removed from a prison in Bali on Wednesday to be taken to an Indonesian island where they will be shot by firing squad, Australian media reported. The planned executions of Myuran Sukumaran, 33, and Andrew Chan, 31, have ratcheted up diplomatic tensions amid repeated pleas of mercy for the pair from Australia and thrown a spotlight on Indonesia's increasing use of the death …

  • Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit
    Jolo apologizes to Bong in visit

    Cavite Vice Gov. Jolo Revilla wept and embraced his father as he apologized for the “accidental” shooting incident in their Ayala Alabang residence, the family’s spokesman said yesterday. Lawyer Raymund Fortun came out of the private room at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in Muntinlupa City to speak to reporters, who were barred from entering the hospital compound during the visit of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. …


Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Poll Choice Options