As NATO's top-brass met in Chicago to debate a way out of the mess they created in Afghanistan, the freedoms they claimed to stand uphold there were being eroded on their doorstep. The city's Mayor, Rahm Emanuel, who rules Chicago's notoriously corrupt City Hall like a personal fiefdom, brought in a raft of draconian measures designed to suppress protest against the military coalition currently bringing death and destruction to central Asia. Meanwhile, inside the NATO summit, the US leadership has finally bowed to the inevitable- Obama announced that US forces will begin to withdraw from mid 2013.
Some of the city's policies were outright pedantic, rivalling the UK's SOCPA in their pettiness. All banners and placards to be held by more than one person had to be registered, and all authorised protests could only go ahead with a $1 million insurance policy. Whilst Emanuel claimed they would be temporary, he has since announced they will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Activists in the UK should heed this warning considering the so-called temporary laws brought in for the Olympics.
Even before the summit, the authorities signalled their intent to crush dissent. On May 16th, three Occupy activists were arrested on 'terrorism charges' after a police raid allegedly caught them in the act of making molotov cocktails. The defendants' lawyer claims the material was actually a home-made beer kit and rumours are abound that under-cover cops from the Chicago Police Department (CDP) worked alongside the FBI to entrap them.
Unfortunately for the three young men, they had filmed CPD officers searching their car and intimidating them as they entered the city. The video has been a hit on You Tube, and no doubt irked the boys in blue. Whatever the motive, a variety of commentators claim the case is fishy. Even more images have emerged since the summit, showing the bloody heads of protesters who found themselves on the wrong end of a baton or two.