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.

Loading...

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.

  • ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February
    ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February

    Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) sustains its strong sales in its February performance. Toyota’s strong performance last month was due to the  high demand of the Vios, with sales of 2,012 units and of course the rest of Toyota’s line up such as the Fortuner, Innova, Wigo, Hilux, Avanza and Corolla Altis. Toyota’s luxury brand, Lexus, recorded 60 units last month. …

  • No apology, but Noy seeks understanding
    No apology, but Noy seeks understanding

    There was no apology, but President Aquino yesterday expressed regret, took “full responsibility” and appealed to the nation for “deepest understanding” for the Jan. 25 Mamasapano raid in which dozens died, including 44 police Special Action Force (SAF) commandos. “To every Filipino who has felt failure or has been hurt because of the events related to this operation, it is with abiding humility that I ask for your deepest understanding,” Aquino said in a speech before the 246 new graduates of …

  • MVP on endorsement: Thanks, I’m no politician
    MVP on endorsement: Thanks, I’m no politician

    Businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan is grateful for Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s praise and presidential endorsement, but says he is not a politician. In an interview on the sidelines of the launch of the search for The Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) of the Philippines 2015 Wednesday night, Pangilinan dismissed the idea of running for president in the 2016 elections. “I’m not a politician, I’m just an ordinary business person,” he added. Santiago endorsed Pangilinan as a presidential candidate …

  • No Lenten break in operations vs lawless groups – AFP
    No Lenten break in operations vs lawless groups – AFP

    The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is not suspending its offensive against the Abu Sayyaf, New People’s Army (NPA) and other lawless groups during the Holy Week, an official said yesterday. Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc, AFP public affairs office chief, said the AFP leadership is leaving it up to area and division commanders whether to raise the alert status in preparation for the Holy Week. Those deployed in areas where there are ongoing law enforcement operations against terrorist groups …

  • Probe harassment vs human rights lawyer, CA orders AFP
    Probe harassment vs human rights lawyer, CA orders AFP

    The Court of Appeals (CA) has ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to investigate a human rights lawyer’s claim of harassment, including surveillance, by several military officers. In a 22-page decision, the former Special Sixth Division of the appellate court granted the petition for writ of amparo and habeas data of Maria Catherine Dannug-Salucon. The CA ordered the AFP to identify the officers behind the surveillance and file charges against them. The CA ruling said …

  • Noy vows to dismantle bata-bata system in PNP
    Noy vows to dismantle bata-bata system in PNP

    President Aquino vowed yesterday to dismantle the culture of factionalism or the bata-bata system within the Philippine National Police as he continued the search for the next PNP chief. Speaking at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) commencement exercises here, the President said the country needed solidarity among leaders and members of the police force so that the policemen would be effective protectors of Filipinos. “Our challenge to the next chief of our national police force: …

  • Envoy to expats: Retire, invest in Phl
    Envoy to expats: Retire, invest in Phl

    Retire and invest in real estate in the Philippines, especially now that the country has made it to the top 10 retirement destinations in the world. This is the message being spread by the Philippine embassy in Washington, with Ambassador Jose Cuisia Jr. leading the refrain in meetings with various Filipino-American communities in the US. In his talks, Cuisia said that an affordable cost of living as well as warm climate and people are just some of the things that make the Philippines a top …

  • PNPA spotlight falls on Ampatuan grandson
    PNPA spotlight falls on Ampatuan grandson

    The stigma of being a namesake of the principal suspect in the 2009 Maguindanao massacre did not prevent Cadet First Class Andal Ampatuan III from entering and graduating from the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA). Ampatuan III, now with a rank of police inspector, is a grandson of former Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. The younger Ampatuan was among the 246 graduates of the PNPA “Lakandula” Class of 2015. Ampatuan III’s mother is Bai Rebecca Ampatuan, a daughter of the …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options