Police: 3 terror suspects at NATO summit were plotting to hit Obama's campaign HQs
By Michael Martinez and Paul Vercammen
updated 5:54 PM EDT, Sat May 19, 2012
Chicago (CNN) -- Three men charged with conspiring
to commit domestic terrorism during the NATO summit were plotting to
attack President Obama's Chicago campaign headquarters, the Chicago
mayor's home and police stations, authorities said Saturday.
A police investigation
that began early this month revealed that the three suspects are
"self-proclaimed anarchists" and members of the "Black Bloc" group who
traveled together from Florida to Chicago to commit violence as a
protest against the NATO summit, authorities said in a statement.
Diplomatic marathon: G8 focusing on Greece; NATO, on Afghanistan
"Black Bloc" was the group blamed for violence that occurred in recent "Occupy" protests, such as in Rome last year when anarchists in ski masks torched cars and clashed with police and even other Occupy protesters.
The three men were
planning to destroy police cars and attack four Chicago police district
stations with destructive devices as a way to undermine police response
to other planned actions at the NATO summit, according to a statement by
Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez and Chicago Police
Superintendent Garry McCarthy. Downtown Chicago financial institutions
were also among the proposed targets, authorities said.
An Illinois judge set
bail at $1.5 million for each of the three suspects: Brian Church, 22,
of Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Jared Chase, 27, of Keene, New Hampshire;
and Brent Betterly, 24, who told police he resides in Massachusetts,
The three men were
charged with material support for terrorism, conspiracy to commit
terrorism, and possession of explosives or incendiary devices,
authorities said. The three men were arrested Wednesday, and charges
were announced Saturday, according to authorities.
According to authorities,
Church said he wanted to recruit four groups of four co-conspirators --
or 16 people -- and that reconnaissance had already been done on the
Chicago Police Department headquarters.
The three men also
possessed or built improvised exposive or incendiary devices, a mortar
gun, swords, a hunting bow, throwing stars, and knives with
brass-knuckle handles, authorities said.
In court, prosecutors accused the three men of preparing for "violence and destruction," such as stockpiling Molotov cocktails.
But a defense attorney
called those accusations "propaganda" and contended authorities
"infiltrated" a peaceful group and set up the three men.
The three defendants stood expressionless in court, each handcuffed behind the back.
A couple dozen of their
supporters in the courtroom could be heard faintly scoffing at
prosecutor Matthew Thrun as he called the defendants "self-proclaimed
anarchists ... making preparations for violence and destruction."
Thrun said one of the
defendants could be heard planning an attack and quoted him as saying,
"this city does not know what it is in for, and it will never be the
According to Thrun, the
defendants bought gasoline at a BP station, cut bandanas for fuses, and
had four empty beer bottles to be used as Molotov cocktails.
Thrun told the court that Church made a remark while assembling the Molotov cocktails: "Ever seen a cop on fire?"
Defense attorney Michael
Deutsch accused authorities of "police misconduct," saying undercover
agents infiltrated a "peaceful" group.
"They even bought the makings of Molotov cocktails and gave it to them," Deutsch said in court.
The National Lawyers
Guild, which says it's representing the three defendants, said Chicago
police arrested a total of nine activists Wednesday at a house in
Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood and then released six of them.
The guild described the
three defendants as "Occupy activists" and said police provided no
evidence of criminal intent or wrongdoing.
"It's outrageous for the
city to apply terrorism charges when it's the police who have been
terrorizing activists and threatening their right to protest," attorney
Sarah Gelsomino with the lawyers guild and the People's Law Office, said
in a statement.
Judge Edward Harmening set the three defendants' next court date for Tuesday.
On Sunday, NATO kicks off its two-day summit in Chicago, and the war in Afghanistan is expected to dominate discussions. Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistani President Asif Zardari are both expected to attend the meeting.
A user's guide to the NATO summit
NATO leaders are currently on a timetable to withdraw all of the alliance's combat troops from Afghanistan in 2014.
CNN's Paul Vercammen reported from Chicago and Michael Martinez from Los Angeles.
In: Regional News
Tags: terrorist, plan, attack, NATO, obama,
Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States (load item map)
Marked as: approved
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