Thursday, June 21, 2012

Is this the NATO Summit legacy?

Terrorists? Or three guys who should never have moved to Bridgeport? Photographs provided by Chicago Police Department.

The NATO Summit held last month at McCormick Place convention center fizzled out to a whole lot of nothin’ when it came to civil disobedience – just the usual few people acting up in a large crowd and not the large-scale rioting that some feared.

Nonetheless, we have a “NATO Three” – as in a set of defendants whom prosecutors are going to hold up as the ultimate example of bad behavior resulting from the type of people who feel the need to complain about conditions around them.

RATHER THAN JUST accepting the status quo!

It seems like some people are so determined to have a story line from this year that parallels the insanity that cropped up back in 1968 and the following year with the trial of the ‘Chicago Seven” (or Eight, or Ten, or however you choose to count the people involved in the criminal conspiracy that wasn’t all those years ago).

That’s why we’re getting this “NATO Three” rhetoric, which seems determined to portray the element that was going to use the protest activity (which on the whole really was so mellow and low-key) as a cover for their own subversive plot to overthrow Chicago, and possibly the world!!!!!!

Insert the sinister-sounding cackling from a criminal mastermind at this point.

ALTHOUGH WHEN I read about this particular plot, it comes across as sounding like something that “Dr. Evil” from the Austin Powers films concocted up – just like his “Preparation H” and his demand for “One Millllion dollars” in those silly parodies of the James Bond series of films.

This plot has three men facing criminal indictment for putting together the mechanism to create Molotov cocktails – those crude explosives – that would have been used to attack police squad cars and district police stations, along with the campaign office of President Barack Obama and perhaps even the Ravenswood Manor home of Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Of course, there are still those who insist that all the equipment that was confiscated when their Bridgeport neighborhood home/headquarters was raided was merely nothing more than beer-making equipment.

This raid created a stink when it took place in the days leading up to the NATO Summit, and it still smells.

LARGELY BECAUSE OF the fact that prosecutors are going out of their way to treat these defendants as though they were would-be terrorists being held at Guantanamo – no real charges, no trial, not much of a legal process, and unlike traditional prisoners of war, no sense that they’re going to be released when the war’s over.

I’m sure if they could get away with it, there are those who would want these three to be held indefinitely.

It seems they have been indicted, but this is the case where prosecutors refused to tell the defendants what charges they will face. They are not to be told until their next court hearing on July 2 – which is the date scheduled for arraignment.

Which literally means these three will be told in one instant what the charges against them are, and will be expected in the next instant to enter their plea of “not guilty” before being assigned to a trial judge.

IN FACT, THE Associated Press gets some bonus points (rare for a former Unipresser like myself to concede) for coming up this week with a copy of the indictment. This is very rare behavior, although I’m sure some people will think it adds to the sinister-ness of the overall case.

Perhaps learning that all three men face 11 charges each, ranging from the conspiracy to commit terrorism and material support for terrorism – along with more mundane charges such as attempted arson, solicitation to commit arson, conspiracy to commit arson and unlawful use of a weapon.

But the degree to which the legal process is working in bizarre ways (I have covered the courts in the Chicago area for more than two decades, and have never seen anything happen like this case) can’t help but create suspicions in my mind. Almost as though the crackpots who are complaining about a frame-up and conspiracy by law enforcement types might actually be correct this one time!

Sunshine, as in plenty of public disclosure, would go a long way toward convincing the masses that those people are off their rocker, and that there is some legitimacy to what is happening in the courts these days.


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