Saturday, September 17, 2011

Chicago Police Department Establishes Counter-Terrorism Unit

Sept. 9, 2011 Chicagoist

While Chicago police are already busy training for the mass arrest of
activists at next year’s G8 and NATO summits, the department is creating a
counter-terrorism unit in preparation as well. Chicago News Cooperative
reports Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy quietly started the unit last
month and is expected to have it fully operational by year’s end. McCarthy
helped the NYPD with their counter-terrorism strategies after the World
Trade Center Attacks.

McCarthy apparently hopes to bring lessons from New York’s
counter-terrorism program, with the unit acting on intelligence from the
regional Joint Terrorism Task Force.

If McCarthy plans on taking pages from the NYPD’s playbook however, it
could walk a dangerous line over civil liberties concerns. Huffington Post
New York reports since September 11, 2001, the New York Police Department
has turned into an extraordinarily aggressive intelligence agency, acting
in conjunction with the CIA, often clandestinely. The department cast a
giant net that’s produced a report on every mosque within 100 miles of the
city, has detectives in foreign cities, and has even taken a close look at
every cab driver of Pakistani decent.

While the CNC and Huffington Post reports focus mainly on relations
between police and local Muslim communities, it’s no secret law
enforcement has employed such tactics on activists, particularly left wing
activists, as well. In 2008, the FBI employed a former left wing activist
to incite protesters at the 2008 Republican National Convention. Last
year, they raided the home of Joe Iosbaker, one of the organizers of the
coming G8 and NATO protests. The social-action Quaker organization known
as American Friends Service Committee has been under surveillance by
Chicago Police and the FBI for decades for their protests of presidential
inaugurations and military recruiters.

Considering the history of documented evidence of infiltration and
intimidation by law enforcement towards activist organizations, we wonder
if we’re not seeing the beginnings of a new Red Squad in Chicago.

No comments: