Fearing Dirty Bomb Attack: NATO Summit Includes Mass Evacuation Plan and Deadly No-Fly Zone

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 | 9:12 PM

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Preparations for the upcoming NATO Summit in Chicago includes preparations for possible mass evacuation of Chicagoans, and a no-fly zone over the city. Pilots who violate the no-fly zone might face deadly force. 

At least 10 area hospitals held dirty bomb response drills last week. To prepare, of course, for a local dirty bomb attack.  The only conclusion possible is that authorities fear a large scale terror attack, possibly with nuclear material. 

But don't worry, Chicago, this is a great opportunity to show off your city to the rest of the world. Assuming, of course, that anarchists and/or terrorists don't turn your city into a war-torn heap of smoldering rubble this month. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit will be held from May 20th to 21st.

In a stunning report on April 25, CBS 2 News in Chicago reported that the Wisconsin Red Cross notified its volunteers in the Milwaukee area to be ready to receive evacuees from Chicago. CBS 2 says it learned of this when it received a copy of the email.

According to CBS 2, the Red Cross email said that the NATO summit “may create unrest or another national security incident. The American Red Cross in southeastern Wisconsin has been asked to place a number of shelters on standby in the event of evacuation of Chicago.”  The CBS 2 report noted that the Red Cross is acting in response to official requests, and they quoted a Red Cross spokeswoman as saying that, "Our direction has come from the City of Chicago and the Secret Service."

QUESTION: The extraordinary measure of preparing shelters in Milwaukee, so far north of Chicago, raises a lot of red flags.

It's not a bad idea to be prepared, certainly, but why not place those shelters closer to Chicago. Why not move them instead to a neighboring county? 

"They're planning ahead," said CBS 2, "they don't want to be surprised." Fine, but why Milwaukee? What possible need is there for moving people more than 90 miles away from the city?

SPECULATION: Law enforcement authorities fear the possibility of a massive terrorist attack on the City of Chicago, possibly a dirty bomb or two. Why else would evacuees need to be moved so far away?

DIRTY BOMB THREAT? The New York Post reported on April 27 that "Chicago's suburban hospitals are preparing for a worst-case scenario during next month's NATO summit. At least 10 Chicago hospitals performed drills this week, including Evanston Hospital, simulating a radioactive dirty bomb explosion." Fox News Chicago covered the story, too.  (Learn more about dirty bombs at GlobalSecurity.com and in this video by ABC News.)

The no-fly zone, issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is a no-brainer issue. There will be hundreds of diplomatic personnel from dozens of countries in Chicago, not to mention a lot of high-level military officials from the same. "In all," says NATO's own website, there will be "several thousand dignitaries" in town. To impose a no-fly zone for the NATO summit just makes sense. While most of us can envision a need to shoot down a threatening airplane, what if it went down in flames in the middle of downtown Chicago? And suppose the pilot just wasn't aware of the no-fly zone or misunderstood instructions? Shit happens, you know.

The no-fly zone advisory, said CBS 2 in a separate report, "bans non-commercial aircraft from flying within 10 nautical miles of downtown Chicago at altitudes below 18,000 feet." The FAA advisory says that the U.S. Government "may use deadly force against the airborne aircraft, if it is determined that the aircraft poses an imminent security threat."

The plans for mass evacuation to a neighboring state were made public a week ago. Even so, Chicago officials continue to urge business owners to remain open during the week of the summit. They keep telling people who live and work in the area to not worry, and to not take the week off to leave town. The schizophrenic nature of the messages - let's be prepared to evacuate but stay put until disaster happens - is bizarre and frightening.

QUESTION: What to the local and federal authorities know about threats to Chicago? Evacuation after a dirty bomb goes off will not help those who are killed by the initial blast or receive a fatal and untreatable dose of radiation. If a disaster does happen, and people are killed because they were urged to keep their shops open and go to work, will the government accept the liability? If someone had not shared that Red Cross email with CBS 2, we would not know about the evacuation plan. The government is not talking.

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