Saturday, May 19, 2012

Three NATO Protesters Charged in Chicago Terror Plot, PLUS Special Insider Info About Black Bloc Anarchists (UPDATED)

See special section below about "black bloc" anarchist tactics

May 19, 2012 - Three anti-NATO protesters in Chicago, arrested on Wednesday, have been formally charged with providing material support for terrorism, conspiracy to commit terrorism and possession of explosives.

Prosecutors allege that the trio was planning to attack Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's home, Barack Obama's campaign headquarters and more. The three men are Brent Vincent Betterly, 24, of Oakland Park, Fla.; Jared Chase, 24, of Keene, N.H; Brian Church, 20, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Mugshots courtesy of Chicago Police Department
Left to Right:  Brent Vincent Betterly, 24, of Oakland Park, Fla.;
Jared Chase, 24, of Keene, N.H; Brian Church, 20, of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
"The suspects were each being held on $1.5 million bond," reports USA Today. "They apparently came to Chicago late last month to take part in May Day protests. Six others arrested Wednesday in the raid were released Friday without being charged. Chicago police Lt. Kenneth Stoppa declined to elaborate on the case beyond confirming the charges against the three who were still in custody. Police identified the suspects as Brian Church, 20, of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; Jared Chase, 24, of Keene, New Hampshire; and Brent Vincent Betterly, 24."  UPDATE, MAY 20: Fourth person arrested: Chicago-resident Sebastian Senakiewicz, 24, was arrested Thursday and charged with one count of terrorism/false threat...

Chicago Police say the three men are self-described anarchists, members of the "Black Bloc" movement, which, says The Guardian (UK), "that has disrupted international gatherings in the past, were arrested on Wednesday and charged on Friday with conspiracy to commit terrorism, providing material support for terrorism and possession of an explosive incendiary device."

"The men had been making Molotov cocktails out of empty beer bottles filled with gasoline and fitted with cut bandanas for fuses," Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said in a press conference. [See video, above.] "It is pretty clear from the evidence they were making the bombs," Alvarez said. "There was a lot of discussion about making these Molotov cocktails and what they were going to do with them."

However, The Guardian and many other media are getting the Black bloc (small "b") wrong. It's not a movement, it's a method of protest.

The Chicago Sun-Times got it right. They accurately reported that "Participants wear black clothes, bandanas, masks and anything else to conceal their identities from police. Black blocs first drew the attention of mainstream America in 1999 during demonstrations against the World Trade Organization in Seattle. A black bloc went on the offensive, bashing windows of many businesses in downtown Seattle including Starbucks, Gap and other businesses with a global reach. Black bloc vandals also damaged property during the 2010 G-20 meeting in Toronto."

Black Bloc Tactics:

Typical black bloc "uniforms" 
A guy named Mike Castle has a lot of insider info about black bloc tactics on his website. Castle, a self-described "technologist," says of himself, "I make software, mostly for the web and Android, as Roasted Vermicelli. I talk about stuff on Off the Hook. I also bike, cook, and agitate for a better world."

I suppose Castle's idea of a "better world" is one in which self-appointed SS-wannabe amateur storm troopers use anarchist methods to trash innocent merchants' storefront windows.
Typical black bloc attitude

Of black bloc, Castle says that "The Black Bloc has gained alot of publicity in the past two years. What people dont understand is that the Black Bloc is not an organization or a group. It is a tactic. It helps reinforce security and execute our goal in the presence of high-profile demonstrations."

They are worldwide, these destoyers. "From Seattle WTO to the most recent action in Genoa," said Castle, "the Black Bloc has certainly been the main focus by the media and the police in major demonstrations. Therefore, it is necessary to introduce newer and better tactics into the struggle." Still not convinced that these people are bent on being destructive?  READ MORE about Black Bloc here...