View Full Version : Lawyers Guild claims NATO activists "disappeared" without warrant or charges

Magda Hassan
05-18-2012, 10:32 AM
Lawyers Guild claims NATO activists "disappeared" without warrant or charges
[/URL]Lee Klawans (http://www.examiner.com/political-buzz-in-chicago/lee-klawans)
Chicago Political Buzz Examiner

According to an interview (http://www.nbcchicago.com/video/#%21/news/local/video-override/NLG-Spokesman-Details-Alleged-Arrests/151989345) with National Lawyers Guild (http://www.nlg.org/) (NLG) spokesman Kris Hermes, Chicago police officers raided a Bridgeport apartment complex (http://www.examiner.com/article/chicago-police-raid-bridgeport-apartment-of-suspected-nato-protesters-arrest-8) on Wednesday evening without a valid warrant and detained up to nine people (http://www.examiner.com/article/chicago-police-raid-bridgeport-apartment-of-suspected-nato-protesters-arrest-8) without cause.
The NLG is working in Chicago this week sending monitors to protests at the NATO Summit 2012 (http://www.chicagonato.org/) to insure activists rights are not violated. They are also functioning as lawyers for anyone detained during the week's activities.
The NLG worked through the night to locate the arrested activists. They were unable to get any information from the Chicago Police Department (CPD) or even any acknowledgement that a raid had taken place.

"We've called police officials at every level trying to find out where they were being held. We were denied any information at all about any people being arrested, let alone a raid happening last night. So essentially these people were disappeared for more than 12 hours until we could finally locate them," said NLG spokesman Kris Hermes.
They were found at the CPD Organized Crime Division police station lock up at 3340 W. Fillmore St. on the West Side.
Lawyers from The NLG were allowed to meet with nine individuals and reported that they were in low spirits, confused about why they were arrested and shackled at both their hands and feet at the meeting. No charges have been filed against them almost 24 hours after their arrest and an Illinois States Attorney at the station refused to meet with the NLG lawyers.

Magda Hassan
05-20-2012, 01:58 PM
Activists Charged With Providing Material Support for Terrorism Ahead of NATO Summit (http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2012/05/19/three-activists-arrested-in-night-raid-still-in-jail-ahead-of-nato-summit/)

Robert, one of the two activists released Friday night (photo: Steve Horn)
UPDATE – 11:24 AM ET The Chicago Tribune is playing its role as a lapdog that is willing to serve and be manipulated by the Chicago police. Here’s an interesting nugget (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/natosummit/chi-3-men-face-terrorism-charges-stemming-from-prenato-raid-20120519,0,7539852.story) from the Tribune’s coverage:

The arrests were the result of a month-long investigation into a group suspected of making Molotov cocktails — crude bombs usually created by filling glass bottles with gasoline, according to law enforcement sources and police records obtained by the Tribune.

Why does that strike me? The NLG attorneys representing the arrestees have not been shown any police records on any “month-long investigation.” The details I have been able to gather from speaking to arrestees personally make it seem like the police have, in the past 48 hours, fabricated all of these details about having some investigation in progress. Yet, the press get to see the records on arrestees so that the police can be sure people take the charges against the activists seriously and do not suspect police abuse or repression of activists.
UPDATE – 3:19 AM ET The three activists that remained in jail have now been charged with “possession of incendiary or explosive device, conspiracy to commit terrorism & providing material support for terrorism,” according to the National Lawyers Guild attorney Sarah Gelsomino who is representing the activists arrested and disappeared in a night raid on Wednesday in Bridgeport, Chicago. (h/t @OccupyChicago (https://twitter.com/#%21/OccupyChicago/status/203740816215261184))
As noted previously, the three activists remaining (https://twitter.com/#%21/OccupyChicago/status/203741344093577216) — Bryan Church, Jarred Chase, Brent Betterly — appear in the video posted of police threatening violence during the NATO summit. It now seems clear that police are charging them in retaliation (https://twitter.com/#%21/OccupyChicago/status/203741898547015680) for posting the video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TudIyxxAboA).
Gelsomino stated (http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/22690404) to the press that the charges were very upsetting. She called them “nebulous” and “trumped up” charges. She added that the NLG has not spoken to anyone involved in the investigation. An officer told them that each of these three men have been charged tonight.
“Charging these people who are here to peacefully protest against NATO for terrorism when in reality the police have been terrorizing activists in Chicago is completely outrageous,” she declared.
Gelsomino described the video for the press:

They were driving in a car and were pulled over without any kind of justification or reason by the Chicago police department. They were surrounded by police and they were questioned for a very long period of time about what they were doing in Chicago, why they were here to protest, what their political affiliations were, how they identified politically—All kinds of absolutely outrageous questions that certainly do not indicate any kind of illegal behavior because it is not constitutional simply to accuse them of a crime because of a political belief.

The charges came when it was 2 am in Chicago. They likely knew they would issue these charges around 9 pm when two activists were released. But since authoritarianism or police repression works best under cover of the night, they waited until very late in the night to issue charges.
It is important to recall that back in 2008, prior to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, eight activists were preemptively raided and ultimately charged (http://www.democracynow.org/2008/9/4/eight_members_of_rnc_activist_group) with “conspiracy to riot in furtherance of terrorism.” The national security state has a script, and when it comes to “National Special Security Events,” they stick to that script pretty well.
The three activists will appear in bond court tomorrow at noon at 26th & California.
(h/t OccupyPDX for video of Gelsomino’s statement to the press)
Original Post –
Victims of Night Raid Describe Being Disappeared by Police Ahead of NATO Summit
Two of the nine activists arrested in a preemptive raid of an apartment in Bridgeport on the south side of Chicago were finally released Friday night. They joined four activists that were released earlier. Three activists remained in jail without charge.
The activists had been held without charge for close to thirty-six hours and had been disappeared by Chicago police on Wednesday night. They were moved from the Organized Crime Division to Kedzie-Homan in District 4 of Chicago.
Dan, one of the activists, described a horrifying experience where he had been held for a “number of hours” but did not know how long exactly because the police did not ever give the activists the time. They were not charged at any point during their detention, but Dan says he was threatened with felony conspiracy charges.
The police held them as long as they did so they could get them to falsely confess or snitch on someone in the movement, Dan adds.
Officers were rude. They would not provide the activists information on why they were being held in custody. They would not make a differentiation as to whether they were being detained in custody or whether they were under arrest and charged with something. The limbo was held over the activists’ head to terrify them and make them say something the police could use against activists here to protest NATO.
The activists were shackled. They were taunted and called junkies, terrorists and told they smelled. One officer reportedly told one of the activists, “You don’t be a jackoff, I won’t be jackoff.”
In detention, they were fed White Castle, McDonald’s and then bologna sandwiches.
The two describe how they were arrested. Dan says he and others were about to go to sleep when they heard a bunch of loud footsteps coming from the backyard. There were a lot of flashlights so they knew it was the cops.
The activists were faced with an “onslaught of guns,” as the police busted down the inner door and tripped over a guy that was sleeping in the kitchen and roughed him up a bit. They came in with guns pointed at the activists’ faces and were screaming so they couldn’t really understand what they were saying. The activists froze and waited for them to give commands.
Police ransacked the home, throwing property. A watermelon and printer was thrown. They were dumping clothing and material out of bags. One of the arrested activists says police “destroyed everything.”
In Robert’s case, he was not in the apartment when it was raided. He had headed to the CVS Pharmacy nearby to get some beer and was arrested there. The CVS Pharmacy closed for police and then after Robert was arrested it reopened. Somehow the police knew to come arrest him.
Robert explains he had just gotten into Chicago and had hitched a ride from Gary, Indiana. He was brought to the apartment and then ended up being arrested at the CVS forty-five minutes later.
“I haven’t stayed anywhere except for in the custody of Chicago’s finest,” Robert said.
The activists were taken to the Organized Crime Division in unmarked vehicles. They were split up. The two released didn’t know what was happening with the three activists still in custody.
Split them up several hours ago so didn’t see the other three still in custody.
What is important to note is that all the activists arrested were part of the “Fuck the Police” or anti-police march that took place on the south side of Chicago on Tuesday night. They marched on the streets of Bridgeport and wound up making some of the residents angry. They also taunted and messed around with police that were trying to control them with bicycles and keep them off the streets.
Additionally, the three activists that remain in jail are in the video of three Chicago police officers pulling them over in Bridgeport on May 9. The video, which went viral, features police questioning protesters and threatening them ahead of the NATO protest. They search the protesters’ vehicle and threatened “pre-emptive police violence against those” who planned to attend the NATO summit protests.
One officer can be heard in the video saying, “We’ll come look for you, each and every one of you.” And, the police also say the now infamous lines among occupiers:

CPD Officer 1: “You like that, he knows these guys know, ’68. You guys know all about ’68. What did they say back in ’68?”
CPD Officer 2: “Billy club to the fucking skull.”

This whole episode is likely police intimidation, harassment and retaliation yet Chicago police chief Garry McCarthy won’t talk about it (http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2012/05/18/cpd-chief-wont-talk-about-night-raid-that-resulted-in-disappearing-of-activists/).
Finally, there are also numerous tips streaming into the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) of police swarming areas near homes where activists are staying. Police are clearly engaged in efforts to terrorize activists that have come to exercise their First Amendment rights and raise their voice against NATO.
The 48-hour deadline to charge the three activists still in police custody or release them is approaching. The police have until the afternoon tomorrow to charge the three activists or they will be breaking the law and the NLG will launch a legal challenge.
The effort to chill protest, however, is only invigorating protesters. No groups have canceled their plans to protest and promote messages of peace, justice and economic equality. No one has shifted their agenda for the NATO summit to focus primarily on the police. They instead are keeping the focus on NATO and renewing their commitment to showing the world that not all US citizens consent to the agenda and operations of the global military arm of the 1%.

Peter Lemkin
05-20-2012, 02:43 PM
I think we haven't seen anything yet - I fully expect Toronto-style Police over-reaction, military techniques and Police riot, etc. Protest?! You all lost your right to protest, privacy and due process on 9-11 [was eroding even before then]. They will only use whatever happens at this meeting to use further repression and denial of expression of First Amendment Rights [no Constitution anymore, folks - COG!] for the next big 'Pow-Wow'. The spiral is downwards and fast.....

Dawn Meredith
05-20-2012, 03:15 PM
Isn't this the very reason the NDAA was passed? Round you up for being there. Cook the evidence. Better yet infiltrate the protesters with "real terrorists". Now WHERE have we seen this before?

"Chilling effect" on protected acts or speech? Who cares? Remember what good old George W Bush told us : "The Constitution is just a goddamm piece of paper". Obama appears to agree.

Brings to mind the words of Obama's former Pastor, when taken IN context: "Not God Bless America; God Damn America".


Peter Lemkin
05-21-2012, 05:50 PM
AMY GOODMAN: We’re broadcasting from Chicago, site of the largest NATO summit in the organization’s 63-year history. While delegates from 60 nations are meeting in the heavily secured McCormick Place convention center, thousands of antiwar protesters have been in the streets.
On Sunday, protesters marched from Grant Park to near the NATO summit. The march marked the largest protest in a week-long series of actions against the NATO summit. The march was led by veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as well as members of Afghans for Peace. At the end of the march, Iraq Veterans Against the War held a ceremony where more than 40 veterans discarded their war medals by hurling them in the direction of the NATO summit. Vietnam Veterans staged a similar protest outside the U.S. Capitol in 1971.
On Sunday—former U.S. Army Sergeant Alejandro Villatoro served during the Iraq 2003 invasion and in Afghanistan in 2011.


VETERANS: No NATO, no war!

ASH WOOLSON: We don’t work for you no more!

VETERANS: We don’t work for you no more!



ASH WOOLSON: We don’t kill for you no more!

VETERANS: We don’t kill for you no more!

ALEJANDRO VILLATORO: At this time, one by one, veterans of the wars of NATO will walk up on stage. They will tell us why they chose to return their medals to NATO. I urge you to honor them by listening to their stories. Nowhere else will you hear from so many who fought these wars about their journey from fighting a war to demanding peace. Some of us killed innocents. Some of us helped in continuing these wars from home. Some of us watched our friends die. Some of us are not here, because we took our own lives. We did not get the care promised to us by our government. All of us watched failed policies turn into bloodshed. Listen to us, hear us, and think: was any of this worth it?


ALEJANDRO VILLATORO: Do these medals thank us for a job well done?


ALEJANDRO VILLATORO: Do they mask lies, corruption, and abuse of young men and women who swore to defend their country?


ALEJANDRO VILLATORO: We tear off this mask. Hear us.

IRIS FELICIANO: My name is Iris Feliciano. I served in the Marine Corps. And in January of 2002, I deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. And I want to tell the folks behind us, in these enclosed walls, where they build more policies based on lies and fear, that we no longer stand for them. We no longer stand for their lies, their failed policies and these unjust wars. Bring our troops home and end the war now. They can have these back.

GREG MILLER: My name is Greg Miller. I’m a veteran of the United States Army infantry with service in Iraq 2009. The military hands out cheap tokens like this to soldiers, servicemembers, in an attempt to fill the void where their conscience used to be once they indoctrinate it out of you. But that didn’t work on me, so I’m here to return my Global War on Terrorism Medal and my National Defense Medal, because they’re both lies.

SCOTT KIMBALL: My name is Scott Kimball. I’m an Iraq war vet. And I’m turning in these medals today for the people of Pakistan, Iraq, Palestine, and all victims of occupation across the world. And also, for all the servicemembers and veterans who are against these wars, you are not alone!

CHRISTOPHER MAY: My name is Christopher May. I left the Army as a conscientious objector. We were told that these medals represented, you know, democracy and justice and hope and change for the world. These medals represent a failure on behalf of the leaders of NATO to accurately represent the will of their own people. It represents a failure on the leaders of NATO to do what’s right by the disenfranchised people of this world. Instead of helping them, they take advantage of them, and they’re making things worse. I will not be a part of that anymore. These medals don’t mean anything to me, and they can have them back.

ASH WOOLSON: My name is Ash Woolson. I was a sergeant. I was in Iraq in '03, and what I saw there crushed me. I don't want us to suffer this again, and I don’t want our children to suffer this again, and so I’m giving these back!

MAGGIE MARTIN: My name is Maggie Martin. I was a sergeant in the Army. I did two tours in Iraq. No amount of medals, ribbons or flags can cover the amount of human suffering caused by these wars. We don’t want this garbage. We want our human rights. We want our right to heal.

JACOB CRAWFORD: I’m Jacob Crawford. I went to Iraq and Afghanistan. And when they gave me these medals, I knew they were meaningless. I only regret not starting to speak up about how silly the war is sooner. I’m giving these back. Free Bradley Manning!

JASON HURD: My name is Jason Hurd. I spent 10 years in the United States Army as a combat medic. I deployed to Baghdad in 2004. I’m here to return my Global War on Terrorism Service Medal in solidarity with the people of Iraq and the people of Afghanistan. I am deeply sorry for the destruction that we have caused in those countries and around the globe. I am proud to stand on this stage with my fellow veterans and my Afghan sisters. These were lies. I’m giving them back.

STEVEN LUNN: My name is Steven Lunn [phon.]. I’m a two-time Iraq combat veteran. This medal I’m dedicating to the children of Iraq that no longer have fathers and mothers.

SHAWNA FOSTER: My name is Shawna, and I was a nuclear biological chemical specialist for a war that didn’t have any weapons of mass destruction. So I deserted. I’m one of 40,000 people that left the United States Armed Forces because this is a lie!

STEVE ACHESON: My name is Steve Acheson. I’m from Campbellsport, Wisconsin. I was a forward observer in the United States Army for just under five years. I deployed to Sadr City, Iraq, in 2005. And I’m giving back my medals for the children of Iraq and Afghanistan. May they be able to forgive us for what we’ve done to them. May we begin to heal, and may we live in peace from here until eternity.

MICHAEL THURMAN: Hello. My name is Michael Thurman. I was a conscientious objector from the United States Air Force. I’m returning my Global War on Terrorism Medal and my military coins on behalf of Private First Class Bradley Manning, who sacrificed everything to show us the truth about these wars.

MATT HOWARD: My name is Matt Howard. I served in the United States Marine Corps from 2001 to 2006 and in Iraq twice. I’m turning in my campaign service—Iraq Campaign Service Medal and Global War on Terror Service and Expeditionary Medals for all my brothers and sisters affected with traumatic brain injury, military sexual trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder.

ZACH LAPORTE: My name is Zach LaPorte, and I’m an Iraq war veteran from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Thank you. I’m giving back my medals today because I feel like I was duped into an illegal war that was sold to me on the guise that I was going to be liberating the Iraqi people, when instead of liberating the people, I was liberating their oil fields.

SCOTT OLSEN: My name is Scott Olsen. I have with me today—today I have with me my Global War on Terror Medal, Operation Iraqi Freedom Medal, National Defense Medal and Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal. These medals, once upon a time, made me feel good about what I was doing. They made me feel like I was doing the right thing. And I came back to reality, and I don’t want these anymore.

TODD DENNIS: My name is Todd Dennis. I served in the United States Navy. I have PTSD. I’m returning my Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal because it was given to me, according to my letter, because of hard work and dedication and setting the example. I was a hard worker because I buried my PTSD and overworked myself in the military. And I’m throwing this back and invoking my right to heal.

MICHAEL APPLEGATE: My name is Michael Applegate. I was in the United States Navy from 1998 to 2006. And I’m returning my medal today because I want to live by my conscience rather than being a prisoner of it.

DAVE: My name’s Dave. I served in the U.S. Navy from ’99 to 2003 and participated in the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. I was wrong to sign myself up for that. I apologize to the Iraqi and Afghani people for destroying your countries.

BROCK McINTOSH: My name is Brock McIntosh. I was in the Army National Guard and served in Afghanistan from November '08 to August ’09. Two months ago, I visited the monument at Ground Zero for my first time with two Afghans. A tragic monument. I'm going to toss this medal today for the 33,000 civilians who have died in Afghanistan that won’t have a monument built for them. And this is for the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers.

VINCE EMANUELE: My name is Vince Emanuele, and I served with the United States Marine Corps. First and foremost, this is for the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Second of all, this is for our real forefathers. I’m talking about the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. I’m talking about the Black Panthers. I’m talking about the civil rights movement. I’m talking about unions. I’m talking about our socialist brothers and sisters, our communist brothers and sisters, our anarchist brothers and sisters, and our ecology brothers and sisters. That’s who our real forefathers are. And lastly—and lastly and most importantly, our enemies are not 7,000 miles from home. They sit in boardrooms. They are CEOs. They are bankers. They are hedge fund managers. They do not live 7,000 miles from home. Our enemies are right here, and we look at them every day. They are not the men and women who are standing on this police line. They are the millionaires and billionaires who control this planet, and we’ve had enough of it. So they can take their medals back.

CHUCK WINANT: My name is Chuck Winant. I’m here on behalf of six good Americans who really wanted to be here but they couldn’t be. They couldn’t be, because when they came to the U.S. border, they’d be immediately arrested. And the crime they’d be arrested for was refusing to continue to participate in the crimes against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. And these good Americans, who are exiled now from this country, who deserve amnesty, are Private Christian Kjar of the U.S. Marine Corps; Private Kim Rivera, Army, Combat Action Badge, refused redeployment to Iraq; Corporal Jeremy Brockway, U.S. Marine Corps, Combat Action Badge, refused redeployment to Iraq; Specialist Jules Tindungan, Combat Infantry Badge, paratrooper, refused redeployment to Afghanistan; Sergeant Corey Glass, Army, refused redeployment to Iraq; and Sergeant Chris Vassey, paratrooper, CIB, refused redeployment to Afghanistan. I have their awards in my pocket, and I’m throwing them back, mad as hell!

AARON HUGHES: My name is Aaron Hughes. I served in the Illinois Army National Guard from 2000 and 2006. This medal right here is for Anthony Wagner. He died last year. This medal right here is for the one-third of the women in the military that are sexually assaulted by their peers. We talk about standing up for our sisters—we talk about standing up for our sisters in Afghanistan, and we can’t even take care of our sisters here. And this medal right here is because I’m sorry. I’m sorry to all of you. I’m sorry.