Thursday, January 30, 2014

NATO3 in 6 words: "Those 3 guys are getting railroaded."

Case Illustrates State Manipulation of Atmosphere of Fear

Well, it's started.  The State's Attorney's office has begun what will certainly be a whole bevy of prejudicial jury instruction requests in the NATO3 case -- the first being an instruction to the jury to disregard the whole question of what law enforcement was doing with its surveillance of public meetings and other Constitutionally-protected speech -- "Just focus on what we want you to focus on," they're saying.

And this is to be expected. Far from bringing to light any kind of threat to public order, the prosecution of three young men in Cook County court is illustrating just how bad the surveillance and persecution state we live in has become.  Frankly, it's a mystery to me why State's Attorney Anita Alvarez -- or, if not her, at least someone she answers to -- didn't pull the plug on this embarrassing proceeding before it got this far.

All I can think of is that they were hoping to channel the energy of that great Chicago impresario, L. Frank Baum, responsible among other things for that famous line: "PAY NO ATTENTION TO THAT MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN!"

Consider, for a moment, a bottle . . . .

"Just a bottle," you say? But  -- don't look at anything except what I tell you to look at! -- on second glance, isn't it clear that this is a very suspicious-looking bottle?  Even -- a dangerous bottle?

State's Exhibit M
"The Bottle"

In fact, isn't it clear that this bottle poses a clear and present threat to public security?!?!

Or so the the State's Attorney would have us believe.

Luckily, it isn't possible to tell people to "don't look at anything except what I tell you to look at." People are paying attention to the manipulation going on behind the scenes.

When the jury and the public use their senses and their heads, they will see that the bottle is part of an elaborate scheme, engineered by law enforcement.

State's Exhibits A thru O
(with apologies to Rube Goldberg)

And they'll see the scheme is not about protecting the public safety, but rather about befuddling the public.

The illustration is humorous, but what's going on here poses extreme danger to our society.  Because the manipulation that's going on in the NATO3 prosecution is NOT just the attempt to pin some charges on a few young men. Rather, it is the perpetuation of a state of fear in the United States that is used as a pretext for blanket surveillance, persecution, and an undeclared war -- including extrajudicial assassinations that continue around the world every month.

The authorities in Cook County -- and their allies in Chicago City Hall, and their allies in the White House -- are counting on their ability to convince the public, "Don't look at anything except what I tell you to look at!" and "PAY NO ATTENTION TO THAT MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN!"

And that's where they've gone wrong. The average citizen is just too smart to put up with this treatment. Consider, for instance, the 80-year-old parishioner who came up to me on the way into church on Sunday, elbowed me, shook her head, and said, "Those 3 guys are getting railroaded." Funny: I had just gotten done assembling a thousand or so words and half a dozen images for my previous blog post about the NATO3; she said it all in 6 words.

"Those 3 guys are getting railroaded."  I think that's the message that the public is going to take away from this prosecution. And I hope they won't let it end there.  I hope the public will say, "Now that we're on the subject, we want to know all about what the government has been doing.  Tell us all about:
* state surveillance
* state secrecy
* state violence
Since it's the government that pulled back the curtain in the first place, isn't it time for the general public to get the full story?

Related posts

The NATO 3 prosecution sounds like a comedy of errors, and in many ways it is. But there are at least four things about it at that are deadly serious and should serve as a call to action for people who care about liberty and justice.

(See Keystone (Undercover) Kops and the Lemonhead Gang)

I think there may only be one person left in America who hasn't realized that the NSA surveillance scandal is killing the Democratic Party . . .

(See Obama's Surveillance Problem Is the Dems' Surveillance Problem )

As we have known all along, we need the public to think about how crummy the whole drone program is, and then they will be ready to be on our side. The best way to get them really thinking is to shine a spotlight on the secrecy, evasiveness, and deceit involved in the U.S. drone program.

(See Drone Killings: Come Clean)

Before there was the NATO5 -- or the NATO3 -- there was NATOin5. People tweeted their summaries of NATO in just 5 words (hashtag: #NATOin5). It all started with an interview between Eric Zorn and Andy Thayer about NATO ....

(See #NATOin5)