3 Charged With Terror Conspiracy Ahead of NATO
Shannon McFarland and Tammy Webber
May 19, 2012
Three activists who traveled to Chicago for a NATO summit were accused Saturday of manufacturing Molotov cocktails in a plot to attack President Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home and other targets.
But defense lawyers shot back that Chicago police had trumped up the charges to frighten peaceful protesters away, telling a judge it was undercover officers known by the activists as “Mo” and “Gloves” who brought the firebombs to a South Side apartment where the men were arrested.
“This is just propaganda to create a climate of fear,” Michael Deutsch said. “My clients came to peacefully protest.”
On the eve of the summit, the dramatic allegations were reminiscent of previous police actions ahead of major political events, when authorities moved quickly to prevent suspected plots but sometimes quietly dropped the charges later.
Prosecutors said the men were self-described anarchists who boasted weeks earlier about the damage they would do in Chicago, including one who declared, “After NATO, the city will never be the same.”Editor’s Note: We all said that…The mere thought of the NATO protests sent Rahm Emanuel into an all-out preparation for war on the streets of Chicago. All of that preparation and subsequent warnings to the about “not wearing business suits to work” etc. made the normal “sheeple” live in constant fear of these dangerous protesters and even somewhat annoyed by their mere presence at the summit. This was completely intentional, as was MSNBC’s anchorwoman linking the NATO summit directly to “Obama withdrawing troops from Afghanistan” (this is meant to stir up kind of a hatred in the average MSNBC viewer of the “NATO 3″ even more, because it makes it look like the protesters were causing unnecessary violence at a meeting meant to end the war in Afghanistan. I know, it sounds absolutely RETARDED to anyone thinking clearly, but the average MSNBC viewer is going to see that and think the protests themselves are dumb because “Hey, Obama’s bringing the troops home, and these anarchists want to stop him from doing that!”). It’s just all so sick.
At one point, one of the suspects asked the others if they had ever seen a “cop on fire.”
Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy dismissed the idea that the arrests were anything more than an effort to stop “an imminent threat.”
“When someone was in the position (of having) Molotov cocktails — that’s pretty imminent,” he said. “It was not a completed investigation.”
The men allegedly bought fuel at a gas station for the makeshift bombs, poured it into beer bottles and cut up bandanas to serve as fuses.
The suspects are Brian Church, 20, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Jared Chase, 24, of Keene, N.H.; and, Brent Vincent Betterly, 24, of Oakland Park, Fla.
If convicted on all counts — conspiracy to commit terrorism, material support for terrorism and possession of explosives — the men could get up to 85 years in prison.
Outside the courtroom, Deutsch said the two undercover police officers or informants were also arrested during the Wednesday raid, and defense attorneys later lost track of the two.
“We believe this is all a setup and entrapment to the highest degree,” Deutsch said.
The suspects were each being held on $1.5 million bond. Six others arrested Wednesday in the raid were released Friday without being charged.
The three who remained in custody apparently came to Chicago late last month to take part in May Day protests. Relatives and acquaintances said the men were wanderers who bounced around as part of the Occupy movement and had driven together from Florida to Chicago, staying with other activists.
Court records indicated no prior violent behavior.
Longtime observers of police tactics said the operation seemed similar to those conducted by authorities in other cities before similarly high-profile events.
For instance, prior to the Republican National Convention in 2008 in St. Paul, Minn., prosecutors charged eight activists who were organizing mass protests with terrorism-related crimes after investigators said they recovered equipment for Molotov cocktails, slingshots with marbles and other items.
The protesters, who became known as the RNC Eight, denied the allegations and accused authorities of stifling dissent. The terrorism charges were later dismissed. Five of the suspects eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges, and three had their cases dismissed altogether.
May 20, 2012
The three protesters accused of conspiring to commit terrorism appeared in court yesterday, and prosecutors say the three had created Molotov cocktails and planned attacks on President Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s home and police stations.
Two other protesters have been arrested on unrelated explosives charges. Sebastian Senakiewicz and Mark Neiweem face charges separate from the other three. Senakiewicz, 24, has been charged with falsely making a terrorist threat, conspiracy and unlawful use of a weapon found during the search of the apartment. “Senakiewicz made statements during the course of the ongoing NATO investigation that he was in possession of explosives,” a law enforcement source told ABC7 but added that no explosives were ever recovered.
Neiweem, 28, has been charged with attempted possession of explosives or incendiary devices. He is known as “Migs” to his fellow members of the Anarchist Black Cross. “Neiweem made statements during the course of the NATO investigation indicating that he knew how to make a pipe bomb and requesting the materials to make a pipe bomb. No pipe bomb ever made he is being charged based on the statements that he made,” said a law enforcement source familiar with the case.
“The NATO 3″ — Brian Church, 20, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.; Jared Chase, 24, of Keene, NH; and Brent Vincent Betterly, 24, of Oakland Park, Fla.; — appeared in court Saturday on the conspiracy charges against them. The arrests were the result of a weeks-long police investigation, authorities said, hinting that they had audio recordings of the defendants making threats. From the court documents:
During the investigation, topics of conversation by the conspirators included committing acts of violence in other jurisdictions, planning escape routes, discussing and conducting late-night training sessions for engaging in combat with the police, and avoiding detection by law enforcement’s use of electronic surveillance, FBI informants, and forensic evidence. In one conversation, a defendant state that “the city doesn’t know what it’s in for” and that “after NATO, the city will never be the same” as before.
Court documents portray Church as the ringleader, who wanted to recruit 16 people to conduct raids, split into groups of four. The Tribune writes:
According to court documents, the men planned to first attack four Chicago police stations and destroy several squad cars with “destructive devices” in order to divert the department’s attention and resources.While authorities were distracted by those strikes, the group intended to hit Obama’s national campaign headquarters in the Prudential Building, Emanuel’s home in Ravenswood and other downtown financial institutions, prosecutors said. The group had already done reconnaissance work on the Chicago Police Department headquarters in Bronzeville in preparation for the attack, law-enforcement officials said.
The defendants were among those arrested Wednesday in a raid of a Bridgeport apartment by police that defense attorneys say was illegal. They were also in a car that was stopped by Chicago police last week. Video of that incident alleges police tried to intimidate and harass the men.
Court documents also refer to the three as being “members of the ‘Black Bloc’ group.” There is no such thing as a group, but rather “black bloc” is a tactic of wearing black clothes, bandanas and masks to conceal protesters’ identities from the police.
Michael Vasquez and Daniela Guzman
May 22, 201
The three men facing terrorism charges in Chicago have brought heightened attention to Miami’s ‘Occupy’ movement.
By Michael Vasquez and Daniela Guzman
South Florida’s chapters of the Occupy protest movement have generally been overshadowed by their larger siblings in cities like New York and Oakland, Calif., but three veterans of the Occupy Miami group are now the focus of news reports across the country.
The trio’s claim to infamy: They are charged with planning a terrorism strike during the NATO summit in Chicago with targets that included police cars, financial institutions and President Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters. The men, all in their 20s, could each face up to 85 years behind bars. The Occupy movement, meanwhile, risks being tainted as a violent fringe group of subversive anarchists.Editor’s Note: And this was EXACTLY THE POINT. To taint Occupy forever as a “violent fringe group of subversive anarchists”. Just like both the “Students for A Democratic Society” and the “Black Panther Party” were forever tainted by the actions of the “Weathermen” in the late 1960′s and early 1970′s. The only problem with this is that this time around, the Occupy protesters generally have been peaceful and cooperative in their respective locales. There haven’t been any instances (that I’ve heard of, anyway) of any rioting or terrorist attacks being carried out at all by the Occupy movement. This time around, it’s the police trying to “recreate ’68″, not us. (See video below: Cop tells protester’s that the NATO protests are going to be like 1968, with “a baton to your skull”) The young people want peace, they want to be heard, and they are tired of the media and the corporate government not listening to them and trying to categorize and demonize them. Whether it’s Fox News or MSNBC or CNN doesn’t matter: It’s all been tailored to certain memes that are used as mind control to keep the people fighting with each other. This is why Thanksgiving at my grandparent’s house is like a scene out of a horrific alternate universe, where MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News hosts are all forced to argue with each other for 2 and a half hours about non-issues and silly, petty political drivel. I know I’m rambling, but people need to understand just how much of “Brave New World” that groups like Bilderberg or the CFR have been able to implement while we obsess about the stupid crap and fake terror threats like this in the media and slowly start asking, more and more, for the government to “help us” get rid of people we don’t like.
Attorneys for the men say they were entrapped by law enforcement, and that weapons recovered at their apartment were in fact left there by undercover agents.
“Occupy Miami has always been a peaceful movement,” said one local Occupy Miami participant who calls himself Bruce Wayne. “The culture of the movement is nonviolent . . . no drugs and alcohol . . . we went to great lengths to assure our activities were legal.”
Wayne said his conversations with 27-year-old Jared Chase — one of the three arrested in Chicago — revealed no nefarious plans in the works. Wayne described Chase as “very calm and soft-spoken,” a person who “did a lot of listening.”
Chase, a New Hampshire native, was arrested last week along with Brian Church, a 22-year-old from Fort Lauderdale, and Brent Betterly, 24, of Oakland Park.
The men are expected to be formally indicted Tuesday. According to charging documents filed by the Cook County, Ill., State’s Attorney’s Office, the trio are “self-proclaimed anarchists” who traveled together from Florida to Chicago to be in town during the NATO summit. The event attracted thousands of protesters, many of them peaceful, but resulted in more than 100 arrests, mostly for minor offenses.
What the three Florida men had in mind, however, were dangerous acts of violence, police say. According to the charging document, one of the men boasted “the city doesn’t know what it’s in for” and that “after NATO, the city will never be the same.”
Prosecutors say the men assembled a cache of weapons that included a mortar, swords, and knives with brass-knuckle handles. The men also were assembling Molotov cocktails from beer bottles filled with gasoline, authorities say.
“At one point, Church asked whether others had ever seen a ‘cop on fire’ and discussed throwing one of the Molotov Cocktails into the 9th District Police Station,” the charging document states.
The state’s attorney’s office did not return The Miami Herald’s calls for comment Monday.
The trio are charged with material support for terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism and possession of explosives or explosive or incendiary devices.
The three men have become known as the “NATO 3,” and the serious charges they face have energized both critics and defenders of the Occupy movement.
Conservative commentators who were never fans of Occupy protests have made it a point to publicize the dangerous crimes the trio are accused of. Occupy supporters — as well as the attorneys representing the three men — say the arrests amount to a law enforcement set-up, with police informants supplying the weapons and fomenting violent plans within an otherwise peaceful group.
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