Obama or Anarchy?

The politics of prosecuting the "NATO Three"

by , May 21, 2012

Rahm Emanuel runs Chicago like he ran the Obama White House: with an iron fist and a foul mouth – and the NATO summit, being held in the Windy City, is the perfect occasion for him to demonstrate just how “tough” he can be.

“Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before.” Thus spake Rahm, during his days as Obama chief consigliere — and with the arrest of at least three individuals on the eve of the anti-NATO protests on charges of “material support for terrorism,” possession of incendiary devices, and conspiracy, we are seeing Rahm’s credo in practice. The “NATO Three,” as they’re known on Twitter, are accused of plotting to attack Chicago police stations, the mayor’s home, and Obama’s Chicago election headquarters.

Of course, any visible opposition to the militarism draining this country is a crisis for the War Party, whose shaky rule can’t tolerate visible protest of any sort. Using all the legal and bureaucratic resources given them by the “Patriot” Act and the Homeland Security State, Rahm and his friends in the White House are taking the opportunity to boast of how this is the first time state “anti-terrorist” laws have been used in a prosecution. This is how a phony “crisis” begets the opportunity for the State to smear its enemies and make more inroads on what is left of our civil liberties.

Using a battering ram, Chicago police knocked down the door to an apartment on Chicago’s south side, and arrested 9 individuals, ranging in age from early 20s to a 66-year-old pacifist with a heart condition: all but 3 were later released without charges, although not before being held in chains in an “interrogation” room and denied bathroom facilities. Police claim to have confiscated “Molotov cocktails” made out of “beer bottles and bandanas,” as well as beer-making equipment and such weird items as a shield with a “pointed edge.”

It wasn’t long before this tall tale began to unravel. Apparently the beer bottles belong to one William Vassilakis, who is reported as saying “If anyone would like some, I would like to offer them a sip of my beer.” This hardly seems like a comment a bomb-throwing anarchist would make, and the real story soon came out, one we are all too familiar with these days: at some point a male and female couple – obviously police informants or federal agents – turned up after ingratiating themselves with the residents, and it was they who actually brought the materials to make a bomb to the apartment, unbidden.

The Chicago Tribune reports: “One resident told the Tribune police taunted him and his roommate, repeatedly calling them communists and using anti-gay slurs.” Some news reports include the information that a copy of the works of Karl Marx was found on the premises. It’s a retro moment, to be sure, complete with bomb-throwing “anarchists” out of the Haymarket era, but rest assured that our 21st century cops have more tricks up their sleeves than J. Edgar Hoover and Lavrenty Beria combined.

From the right-wing Hutaree Militia members to the leftist “Occupy” group, political dissidents are being systematically targeted by our behemoth-like “national security” apparatus. As Dana Priest and Michael Arkin reported in their Washington Post series on “Top Secret America”:

Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States… In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings – about 17 million square feet of space.”

Our “anti-terrorist” Panopticon “has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive,” wrote Priest and Arkin, “that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.” This vast army of spies, informants, “analysts,” political appointees, and ambitious prosecutors must somehow justify the blank check they’ve been given by our political leaders, and so where there are no threats they must be imagined, invented, and created out of whole cloth. In a perfect illustration of this principle of bureaucratic self-justification, the vast majority of arrests on “terrorism” charges in the post-9/11 era have been the result of entrapment, in which the “terrorists” are cajoled, pressured, and relentlessly pursued by informants or infiltrators until they agree to engage in violence. It was inevitable that this bureaucratic imperative would lend itself to domestic political purposes.

There have been nineteen arrests in the run up to the Chicago anti-NATO events, in what is clearly an attempt to intimidate and isolate the protesters, but these arrests also serve a broader purpose. You’ll note one of the charges is that the “conspirators” were planning on attacking the Obama campaign’s reelection headquarters, a detail that gives the case a distinctly political cast. After all, those evil commie-faggot bomb-throwing “anarchists” were plotting to blow up Obama’s reelection effort! Although the GOP is trying to accomplish this in a purely metaphorical sense, aren’t those anti-government Republicans kind of like anarchists? It’s Obama or Anarchy — how about that for framing the presidential campaign!

It’s just the kind of dirty trick we might expect from a man who once delivered a dead fish to someone who had crossed him. This time, however, the stench of Rahm’s dirty tricks – it was his police department that sent in the infiltrators – may be his undoing. The use of infiltrators against a rival political movement is the hallmark of a police state, and as the details of the case come out in court it will become swiftly apparent that the alleged “imminent threat” was created by the very people who are supposed to be protecting us.

This case is emblematic of the new turn the Obamaites are taking: a hard “right” in preparation for the presidential campaign. The effort could backfire, however, if the less radical “occupiers” and their millions of sympathizers on the left wing of the Democratic party begin to wake up and realize the Obamaites are their worst enemies.

Then again, there’s no chance of that happening — is there?

NOTES IN THE MARGIN

Speaking of the “anti-terrorist” Panopticon: we here at Antiwar.com are engaged in our own legal attempt to discover the extent of the surveillance conducted by the FBI on our activities. Naturally, this was done in the name of “anti-terrorism,” and both I and our webmaster, Eric Garris, were personally targeted. The government refuses to release any information, and the whole process of yanking the truth out of them has become quite protracted – while the shadow of “Top Secret America” looms over us.

We need your support now more than ever, not just in fighting this personal threat to ourselves but in fighting the escalating propaganda war the War Party is waging in preparation for attacking Iran. Events are moving quickly – and we cannot fail to respond. The House recently passed a bill that would legalize the production and distribution of pro-government propaganda by covert agencies as well as the State Department and the Pentagon.

So here we have all the elements of a classic police state falling into place: universal surveillance, the infiltration and disruption of dissident movements, and a 24/7 government propaganda machine aimed at the citizenry. While the hour is late, there is still time to save this country from a fate the Founders feared – and we at Antiwar.com are fighting in the front lines. Please, help us in our fight – because it’s your fight, too. Make your tax-deductible contribution today.

Read more by Justin Raimondo