Chicago police have an odious
reputation for brutality. It's well deserved. On Sunday, it showed up
forcefully. The whole world watched.
Baton-wielding cops confronted protesters violently. Official policy
is swing first, ask questions later, and blame victims for police thuggishness.
More on that below.
On May 9, a National Writers Union (NWU) Chicago Chapter press release
"In 1968, the Democratic Party came to the City to nominate a president.
What happened then became a part of Chicago's history: a massive public
uprising of protest against an unjust war and a corrupt political system
that created a massive local reaction within the City's police department.
Violence and chaos resulted."
Forty-four years later things went from bad to worse. Imperial wars
rage out of control. Obama, the peace candidate, itches for more. Belligerent
nations never run out of targets or reasons to attack them.
The business of America is war. Congressional affirmation assured it.
In September 2001, Congress approved the Authorization for Use of Military
Force (AUMF) for "the use of United States Armed Forces against those
responsible for the recent attacks launched against the United States."
Carte blanche war-making authority was granted. America's war on terror
began. It rages out of control at home and abroad.
Section 1034 of HR 1540: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal
Year 2012 said:
"(1) the United States is engaged in an armed conflict with al-Qaeda,
the Taliban, and associated forces and that those entities continue
to pose a threat to the United States and its citizens, both domestically
(2) the President has the authority to use all necessary and appropriate
force during the current armed conflict with al-Qaeda, the Taliban,
and associated forces pursuant to the Authorization for Use of Military
Force (Public Law 107-40)...."
As commander in chief, presidents can wage wars anywhere at their discretion.
One follows another. Congressional budgets prioritize them.
Rule of law principles are spurned. So are democratic values. Vital
domestic needs go begging.
Thousands of Chicagoans want current policies changed. So do millions
nationwide and globally. Pacifism is unacceptable against sovereign
Orwell said in "times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes
a revolutionary act." His 1984 newspeak slogan was: "War is Peace. Freedom
is Slavery. Ignorance is Strength."
NWU added that it "Defends the First Amendment: No Restrictions On Peaceful
Public Communication, Assembly and Dissent."
"Our constitutional rights are vastly more essential—more critical—than
any efforts to secure the comforts and the privilege for the elites
gathering for the NATO meetings."
"We are appalled at the efforts by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his Administration,
backed by the Chicago City Council, to limit the ability of people to
speak truth to power, and to be able to
indicate the depth and intensity of their disgust at the on-going wars
initiated around the world by NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization)
and the U.S. Government, under control by both the Democrats and Republicans,
who will soon be meeting in Chicago."
Policymakers turn a blind eye to public demands and needs. Street protests
erupt. Cops confront them violently. Injuries and arrests follow.
On Sunday, the Chicago Tribune headlined "Injuries, arrests in clashes
between protesters and police," saying:
Confrontations led to dozens of injuries and arrests. For two hours,
police, in "full riot gear," faced off against fed up protesters wanting
Blocking free access to public streets ignited things. Cops decide they
know best. They make the rules. Constitutional freedoms don't matter.
Disagree and get bludgeoned.
On Sunday evening, a "pitched battle" between "an overwhelming number
of police and several hundred protesters" occurred near McCormick Place,
Despite permit permission to rally and march, organizer Andy Thayer
"The police are going to move us off the street. We've been telling
you this would happen. We went to a lot of trouble to make sure this
march was a safe and peaceful march."
Police ordered protesters as follows:
"You are hereby ordered to disperse. If you fail to comply you may be
arrested or be subjected to other police action."
From then on, things deteriorated. Perhaps cops were spoiling for a
fight. Who can know. Either way, they got one. In full battle gear,
they're advantaged. They don't hold back.
Lined up four-deep, they confronted protesters violently. Police Superintendent
Garry McCarthy walked behind them.
Protesters were struck and fell. A nearby detention area was readied
in advance. Police vans and buses were positioned nearby. Dozens were
handcuffed and arrested.
Secret Service agents detained several others. Earlier in Grant Park,
Mary Kirkland told protesters that the Defense Department said her son,
Derrick, was "killed in action."
"They start with lies and continue with lies," she told them. "I'm proud
to be here."
Iraq and Afghan veterans also came. Some spoke against wars. Around
40 others gave back medals. They handed them to NATO representatives.
John Kerry returned his earlier. In November 1971, he expressed disgust
about America's Vietnam War, saying:
"I gave back, I can't remember, six, seven, eight, nine medals."
In April 1971, he testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
He belonged to Vietnam Veterans Against the War (VVAW). He told committee
He came to discuss an investigation involving "over 150 honorably discharged
and many very highly decorated veterans." They later confessed to war
crimes. He recounted harrowing examples.
They "personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, taped wires from
portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off
limbs, bl(ew) up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages
(like) Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks,
and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam in addition to
the normal ravages of war, and the normal and very particular ravaging
which is done by the applied bombing power of this country."
He called America's involvement in Southeast Asia "the height of criminal
He now chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In 2001 and 2003,
he supported imperial wars on Afghanistan and Iraq.
In May 2011, he, John McCain, Joe Lieberman, and three other senators
co-sponsored S. 194: A Resolution expressing the sense of the Senate
on United States military operations in Libya.
Dishonor replaced doing the right thing. He's one of the Senate's richest
members. Wealth and power makes people want more by any means.
On May 19, NATO's opening ceremony included a minute of silence for
fallen servicemen and women. A bugler played taps. Obama, an unindicted
war criminal multiple times over, bowed his head.
The hypocrisy didn't go unnoticed.
A Final Comment
NATO calls itself a "political and military alliance for peace and security."
It was always for offense, not defense. Cold War hysteria was its pretext
to exist. Terrorism replaced communism.
Threats are hyped to wage wars for dominance and resource control. NATO
deplores peace and security. It threatens it and human survival.
Chicago protesters and many others know the threat. They want an organization
this dangerous disbanded. They want America's resources used peacefully
for vital homeland needs.
Messages on signs said "peace, jobs, equality." Others said "Free Bradley
They want everyone represented equitably, not just war profiteers, super-rich
elites, Wall Street crooks, and other corporate favorites.
They want humanity given a chance to survive. Odds are long unless NATO's
global menace ends.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized
Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge
discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News
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