WBEZ | terrorism http://www.wbez.org/tags/terrorism Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago Iraqis react to deepening crisis back home http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-iraqis-react-deepening-crisis-back-home-110384 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Local Iraqis_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>President Barack Obama announced Thursday that the U.S. will dispatch 300 military advisers to Iraq to help fight a fast-moving Islamist insurgency. The news could provide some hope to local Iraqis in Chicago, who have watched the deteriorating situation back home with increasing alarm.</p><p>The night before Mr. Obama&rsquo;s announcement, a group of them came together to talk about their anguish at the deepening crisis in Iraq.</p><p>They met in an unmarked storefront right next to 50th ward alderman Debra Silverstein&rsquo;s office on Devon Avenue, in the West Ridge neighborhood. A call to a phone number on a flier in the window resulted in a fellow named Deeyah Qasim calling back. He said he was eager to talk to a reporter about Iraq, and would be at the empty office at 4:30 p.m.</p><p>In fact, Qasim gathered at least 40 Iraqis into the space &ndash; formally registered as the Baghdad Bridge Organization. A medical technician, Qasim arrived in the U.S. two years ago as a refugee from Baghdad.</p><p>The meeting space is comfortable, if sparsely decorated. The floors are covered with carpets, the walls with colorful fabrics. He installed a door to partition a space for women in the back, from men in the front, in keeping with their Islamic cultural norms.</p><p>Qasim explained that their gatherings at the space started with his and four other families, who got together socially. He said they decided it would be good for Chicago&rsquo;s growing Iraqi refugee community to broaden the gatherings, so they pooled together money out of their own pockets, formed a 501(c)3 non-profit, and rented the space.</p><p>&ldquo;They are meeting together and talking,&rdquo; he said, when asked to describe what people do at the center. &ldquo;And we give our kids like culture. Because we don&rsquo;t like to lose our special culture for the Middle East thing, OK? We give our children Arabic language, too, we have many classes&hellip;&rdquo;</p><p>Normally, the space is only open on Thursday and Friday evenings, after work hours. But on a Wednesday evening, men and women lined the walls, hoping to share their concerns about recent events in Iraq. One of them was Asaad Al-Ibrahimi, a refuge from Baghdad who came to the U.S. less than a year ago. He spoke Arabic, and 25-year old Shaker Alshummary translated into English.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s affected him immensely,&rdquo; Alshummary translated for Al-Ibrahimi, &ldquo;and he has people in Mosul &ndash;&nbsp;family members that have died. And it&rsquo;s took a toll on him mentally, and physically he can&rsquo;t work.&rdquo;</p><p>Al-Ibrahimi said he has been so distraught, he took a leave of absence from his warehouse job, and hasn&rsquo;t been to work since June 12. He said many of his young cousins went to Mosul to fight against militant Islamists from a group sometimes referred to as ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. They captured Iraq&rsquo;s second-biggest city last week. One of Al-Ibrahimi&rsquo;s cousins, newly married, was killed.</p><p>When asked whether he felt the U.S. should send soldiers to Iraq, Al-Ibrahimi responded in broken English, &ldquo;I hope. I hope (the U.S.) send(s) soldiers to Iraqi.&rdquo;</p><p>In fact, he said even though he&rsquo;s 46 years old and a grandfather of three, he would join the U.S. army if it sends troops there.</p><p>But not all agree that this would be an appropriate move. &ldquo;Actually we don&rsquo;t need soldiers, just we need support,&rdquo; said Qasim, &ldquo;like diplomatic support and equipment support.&rdquo;</p><p>Qasim and many others said they&rsquo;ve been frustrated watching the news play out from afar. He said all he can really do is implore Iraqis through his Facebook page, or via e-mail, to work together to resist the armed opposition to Iraq&rsquo;s government. &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t give the chance for the terrorist people to have control for another city,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Qasim and many others blamed &ldquo;foreign terrorists&rdquo; for the recent wave of violence in Iraq, and said they&rsquo;ve been aided by arms and other support from Saudi Arabia and Qatar in particular. Most shared Qasim&rsquo;s sentiment that if Iraq&rsquo;s Sunni Muslims, Shia Muslims, Kurds and Christians come together, they can drive the militants out.</p><p>But Hakim Hammadi disagreed.</p><p>&ldquo;All the Sunnah in Iraq, they are feeling they are outside the square of government,&rdquo; he said, referring to Iraq&rsquo;s Muslim minority group. Hammadi blamed Iraq&rsquo;s Shia prime minister Nouri al-Maliki for excluding Sunnis and other minorities from sharing power. &ldquo;This the wrong balance to government in Iraq,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Hammadi was the lone Sunni in the group on Wednesday night, and he dismissed others&rsquo; claim that &ldquo;foreign terrorists&rdquo; caused the problem. The 60-year old attorney, who came to the U.S. as a refugee two years ago, was also a member of the Ba&rsquo;athist Party, which ruled Iraq under Saddam Hussein.</p><p>Despite their assurances that Iraqis of Sunni, Shia, Kurdish and Christian backgrounds all partake congenially in activities at the Baghdad Bridge Organization, the discussion exposed deep rifts. When Hammadi said he believes the only way forward for Iraq is to split into three separate states &ndash;&nbsp;one for Shia, one for Sunni, and one for Kurds &ndash;&nbsp;many scoffed at the notion.</p><p>Among those who refuse to entertain the idea of partitioning Iraq was Rina Abdulamir, a 19-year old student at Northeastern University. Abdulamir has been in the U.S. since she was a small child, but teared up when she spoke of her homeland.</p><p>&ldquo;I wish to go back there, I wish to go back there and we all build it together &ndash;&nbsp;all Shia, Sunnis, Kurds,&rdquo; she said, &ldquo;And I wish to work with my degree that I got here, since I&rsquo;m working on my justice degree.&rdquo; Abdulamir said she could imagine working in the Iraqi government, or as a lawyer.</p><p>Despite occasional tensions in the room, after two-and-a-half hours of discussion, everyone said they were grateful to be heard. They said part of their stress has been feeling like nobody outside their community cares about events in Iraq. They said just getting their voices out there made them feel better.</p><p><em>Odette Yousef is WBEZ&rsquo;s North Side Bureau reporter. Follow her </em><a href="http://www.twitter.com/oyousef"><em>@oyousef</em></a><em> and </em><a href="http://www.twitter.com/WBEZoutloud"><em>@WBEZoutloud</em></a><em>.</em></p></p> Fri, 20 Jun 2014 08:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-iraqis-react-deepening-crisis-back-home-110384 Fighting Al-Shabab in Somalia and the "godfather of exotica" music http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-10-09/fighting-al-shabab-somalia-and-godfather-exotica-music-108879 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Somalia attack.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Ahmed Samatar, James Wallace Professor of International Studies at Macalester College, weighs in on the United States&#39; latest raids on terrorist targets in North Africa. Plus, we take a listen to music of Karla Pundit, who pays homage to exotica.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-fighting-al-shabab-in-somalia-and-the-go/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-fighting-al-shabab-in-somalia-and-the-go.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-fighting-al-shabab-in-somalia-and-the-go" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Fighting Al Shabab in Somalia and the godfather of exotica music" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 09 Oct 2013 11:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-10-09/fighting-al-shabab-somalia-and-godfather-exotica-music-108879 Terror alerts, Senators McCain and Graham go to Egypt and Ramadan comes to a close http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-08-06/terror-alerts-senators-mccain-and-graham-go-egypt-and-ramadan-comes <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP756814503407.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We discuss Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham&#39;s agenda in Egypt. The U.S. and U.K. perceive Yemen as a possible terror threat. Radio Islam&#39;s founder Imam Malik Mujahid explains why he thinks the end of Ramadan has no link to potential terrorist acts.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F104298753&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-senators-mccain-and-graham-go-to-egypt-a.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-senators-mccain-and-graham-go-to-egypt-a" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Terror alerts, Senators McCain and Graham go to Egypt and Ramadan comes to a close" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p></p> Tue, 06 Aug 2013 11:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-08-06/terror-alerts-senators-mccain-and-graham-go-egypt-and-ramadan-comes Chicago man who backed terror group gets 14 years http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-man-who-backed-terror-group-gets-14-years-104985 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP402325795479.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A Chicago businessman was sentenced to 14 years in prison Thursday for providing material support to overseas terrorism, including a Pakistani group whose 2008 attacks on Mumbai, India, left more than 160 people dead.</p><p>The judge sentenced Tahawwur Rana in U.S. District Court in Chicago to the prison term followed by five years of supervised release.</p><p>The Pakistani-born Canadian declined to address the judge prior to sentencing. Rana, 52, faced a maximum 30 years in prison.</p><p>Jurors in 2011 convicted Rana of providing support for the Pakistani group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and for supporting a never-carried-out plot to attack a Danish newspaper that printed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005. The cartoons angered many Muslims because pictures of the prophet are prohibited in Islam.</p><p>But jurors cleared Rana of the third and most serious charge of involvement in the three-day rampage in Mumbai, India&#39;s largest city, which has often been called India&#39;s 9/11.</p><p>Rana&#39;s attorney, Patrick Blegen, had argued for a more lenient sentence that would take into account his poor health and the emotional impact of his separation from his wife and children. He said Rana had suffered a heart attack while in the federal lockup. He also argued that Rana did not present a future risk.</p><p>&quot;Judge, he is a good man and he got sucked into something, but there&#39;s no risk that he&#39;s going to do it again. None,&quot; Blegen said.</p><p>Judge Harry Leinenweber said he was baffled at the descriptions put forward by his family of Rana as a kind, caring person, saying it was so &quot;contrary&quot; to the person who aided the plot on the newspaper&#39;s office.</p><p>&quot;On the one hand we have a very intelligent person who is capable of providing assistance to many people,&quot; the judge said just before announcing his sentence. &quot;But what is difficult to understand is: a person with that intelligence and that background and history of helping others ... how that type of person could get sucked into a dastardly plot that was proposed.&quot;</p><p>The government&#39;s star witness at Rana&#39;s trial was admitted terrorist David Coleman Headley, who had pleaded guilty to laying the groundwork for the Mumbai attacks. The American Pakistani testified against his school friend Rana to avoid the death penalty and extradition. He is scheduled to be sentenced in Chicago next week.</p><p>Headley spent five days on the witness stand &mdash; taking up more than half the trial &mdash; detailing how he allegedly worked for both the Pakistani intelligence agency known as the ISI and Lashkar.</p><p>Prosecutors also presented Rana&#39;s videotaped arrest statement to the FBI, during which he said he knew Headley had trained with Lashkar. They also played a September 2009 recorded phone conversation between the men.</p><p>Prosecutor Daniel Collins argued for a tough punishment that would deter others who would take part in similar plots and reflect the seriousness of the offense.</p><p>&quot;There&#39;s not much worse than mass murder of this scale,&quot; he said of the plot, which was not ultimately carried out.</p><p>The judge responded that he doubted any sentence he imposed would deter anyone bent on committing a terrorist attack.</p><p>&quot;Seems to me that people determined to carry out terrorism really don&#39;t care what happens to them,&quot; Leinenweber said. He added, however, that a long sentence would help prevent Rana from taking part in any future terrorist activity.</p><p>The judge also rejected the government&#39;s argument that the plot against the Danish newspaper was meant as a broader attack against the Danish government, amounting to an act of terrorism that should mean a harsher sentence.</p><p>Leinenweber said it seemed clear the plot was solely targeting an independent newspaper on private property, and was likely intended to intimidate other media outlets that might defame Islam or its prophet.</p><p>The defense attorney, Blegen, also noted that there was no shortage of government targets in Copenhagen if they had wanted to strike at Denmark&#39;s leaders.</p><p>Rana&#39;s wife was not present at Thursday&#39;s sentencing, and the defense attorney said the woman, a Canadian citizen, was recently denied entry to the United States.</p><p>Rana was also accused of allowing Headley to open a branch of his Chicago-based immigration law business in Mumbai as a cover story and travel as a representative of the company in Denmark. In court, a travel agent showed how Rana booked travel for Headley.</p><p>At the trial defense attorneys chipped away at Headley&#39;s credibility, portraying him as a manipulator and habitual liar. Jurors&#39; decision not to convict Rana on all counts could suggest they weren&#39;t fully convinced by Headley.</p><p>Rana&#39;s trial in 2011 came just weeks after Navy SEALs found Osama bin Laden hiding in Pakistan. Some observers had expected testimony could reveal details about alleged links between ISI and Lashkar-e-Taiba. In the end, though, much that came out in testimony had been heard before through indictments and a report released by India&#39;s government.</p><p>The Pakistani government has maintained it did not know about bin Laden or help plan the Mumbai attacks.</p></p> Thu, 17 Jan 2013 09:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-man-who-backed-terror-group-gets-14-years-104985 Charged with terrorism, NATO protesters plead not guilty http://www.wbez.org/news/charged-terrorism-nato-protesters-plead-not-guilty-100563 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/NATO5bannerCROPSCALE.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; height: 244px; width: 300px; " title="Occupy Chicago protests Monday at the courthouse. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" /><em>Updated July 2 at 3:58 p.m.</em></p><p>Three NATO protesters who face charges under Illinois&rsquo;s terrorism statute pleaded not guilty Monday in a hearing that kicked off what could turn into months of pretrial wrangling over evidence discovery.</p><p>The defendants &mdash; Brian Church, 20, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Brent Betterly, 24, of Oakland Park, Fla.; and Jared Chase, 27, of Keene, N.H. &mdash; each face 11 felony counts ranging from material support for terrorism to arson conspiracy. Cook County prosecutors say they plotted to use crude firebombs known as Molotov cocktails during a NATO summit in Chicago.</p><p>On Monday the trio appeared in yellow jail jumpsuits and leg shackles before Criminal Court Judge Thaddeus L. Wilson.</p><p>After the pleas, Assistant State&rsquo;s Attorney Matthew Thrun told Wilson that prosecutors had handed defense attorneys 372 pages of discovery materials. Thrun said those included documentation of secret recordings authorized by another Cook County judge May 4 &mdash; less than two weeks before the trio&rsquo;s May 16 arrests during a police raid of an apartment in Chicago&rsquo;s Bridgeport neighborhood.</p><p>Thomas Durkin, a lawyer for Chase, complained to Wilson that the materials seemed to address evidence no earlier than May. The case&rsquo;s indictment, Durkin pointed out, accuses the trio of committing the terrorism and arson offenses beginning &ldquo;on or about October 01, 2011.&rdquo;</p><p>Thrun responded that &ldquo;discovery is not complete at this time.&rdquo;</p><p>After the hearing, defense attorneys said their pretrial goals include learning more about the case&rsquo;s informants. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s going to be a lot of fighting around the discovery of this case because we know that there were other law-enforcement agencies involved in the investigation and the provocateurs,&rdquo; said Michael Deutsch, an attorney for Church. &ldquo;And that&rsquo;s the tension because we need to fight about all these things that we have a right to have in discovery yet, while we do that, our clients are going to be sitting in jail.&rdquo;</p><p>Deutsch said defense attorneys would meet with prosecutors to see if they could reach an agreement to reduce $1.5 million bonds set for each defendant May 19.</p><p>At one point during Monday&#39;s hearing Betterly smiled and nodded to two dozen supporters in the courtroom gallery as they stood and raised their fists in the air &mdash; a gesture that ended seconds later when a sheriff&rsquo;s deputy ordered everyone to sit down.</p><p>Later, a man who identified himself as an Occupy Chicago activist held up a handmade sign expressing support for the trio. A deputy quickly grabbed the activist and brought him to Wilson.</p><p>&ldquo;I absolutely will not tolerate that,&rdquo; Wilson warned. &ldquo;Don&rsquo;t bring any signs in my courtroom again.&rdquo;</p><p>Another NATO protester &mdash; Sebastian Senakiewicz, 24, of Chicago &mdash; faces four counts of falsely making a terrorist threat. A fifth protester &mdash; Mark Neiweem, 28, of Chicago &mdash; faces two counts related to explosives or incendiary devices. Arraignments for Senakiewicz and Neiweem were scheduled for Monday but postponed.</p><p>All five defendants were arrested before the summit, a two-day gathering that ended May 21.</p></p> Mon, 02 Jul 2012 05:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/charged-terrorism-nato-protesters-plead-not-guilty-100563 Indictments slap NATO protesters with 11 counts http://www.wbez.org/news/indictments-slap-nato-protesters-11-counts-100275 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AlvarezAndMcCarthy3croppedscaled.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 209px; " title="State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, flanked by Chicago police Supt. Garry McCarthy, last month said the men came to Chicago to harm cops and intimidate residents. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" /></p><div>Cook County grand jury indictments have slapped three out-of-town protesters with 11 felony counts and a Chicago protester with 4 felony counts for allegedly plotting or threatening terrorist attacks during last month&rsquo;s NATO summit.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The counts against Brian Church, 20, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Brent Betterly, 24, of Oakland Park, Fla., and Jared Chase, 27, of Keene, N.H., include material support for terrorism, terrorism conspiracy, arson conspiracy, arson solicitation and attempted arson. The three men also face two counts of unlawful use of a weapon and four counts of possession of an incendiary device.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Chicago resident, Sebastian Senakiewicz, 24, faces four counts of falsely making a terrorist threat.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Prosecutors in the highly publicized cases did not share the indictments with the defendants or news reporters but quietly filed them June 13 with the Clerk of the Circuit Court, where defense attorneys discovered them this week. The indictments provide no information about evidence.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;They&rsquo;re playing hide the ball,&rdquo; said Michael Deutsch, one of Church&rsquo;s lawyers. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s part of their strategy to keep the information as long as possible away from the defense to prevent the defense from beginning to prepare.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez&rsquo;s office did not return messages about the cases Wednesday. In a news conference last month, she called Church, Betterly and Chase &ldquo;domestic terrorists who came to Chicago with an anarchist agenda to harm our police officers, intimidate our citizens and to attack their politically motivated targets.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The prosecutions mark the county&rsquo;s first use of an Illinois terrorism statute enacted shortly after the al Qaeda attacks of September 11.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Defense attorneys call the cases sensationalized efforts to justify security spending for the NATO summit, a two-day Chicago gathering that ended May 21. They say the investigations relied on a pair of infiltrators who manufactured the alleged crimes.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Judges ordered Church, Betterly and Chase held on $1.5 million bonds and Senakiewicz on a $750,000 bond.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Attorneys for all four men said Wednesday they intend to enter not-guilty pleas.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A fifth protester, Mark Neiweem, 28, of Chicago, was charged with solicitation for explosives or incendiary devices and ordered held on a $500,000 bond.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Arraignments of the five are expected July 2.</div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Wed, 20 Jun 2012 14:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/indictments-slap-nato-protesters-11-counts-100275 Occupy activists try to lift spirits of jailed comrades http://www.wbez.org/news/occupy-activists-try-lift-spirits-jailed-comrades-100080 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/99percentSCALED.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; width: 192px; height: 287px;" title="An Occupy Chicago activist Wednesday heads from the Cook County Criminal Courthouse after a hearing for two NATO protesters facing bomb-related charges. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell) " /></div><p>Sebastian Senakiewicz and Mark Neiweem are getting less public attention than <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/prosecutors-keep-terror-indictments-defendants-100044">three other NATO protesters</a> jailed on bomb-related charges. But Occupy Chicago activists on Wednesday pulled off a defiant display inside a Cook County courtroom to let the two know they are not going it alone.</p><p>The scene was a hearing at which prosecutors announced that a grand jury had indicted Senakiewicz, 24, and Neiweem, 28, for allegedly talking about building explosives to wreak havoc during the military alliance&rsquo;s summit in Chicago last month. Two or three diligent reporters were on hand but not a single television camera. The media &ldquo;pen&rdquo; &mdash; a cordoned section of the courthouse lobby &mdash; was barren.</p><p>The courtroom, though, was full of Occupy activists willing to buck warnings from a beefy sheriff&rsquo;s officer against creating any sort of spectacle.</p><p>After the hearing, as Senakiewicz and Neiweem were led to the courtroom&rsquo;s side door, their Occupy comrades made their move. There were just a few seconds for the defendants to get a glimpse of the gallery and, when they did, they saw a dozen fists in the air.</p><p>&ldquo;They can waive back to us in solidarity and they can feel that love and support that our whole movement has for them,&rdquo; said Rachael Perrotta, one of the Occupy activists.</p><p>Prosecutors last month charged Senakiewicz with falsely making a terrorist threat and Neiweem with solicitation for explosives or incendiary devices. A judge set their bonds at, respectively, $750,000 and $500,000 &mdash; amounts their attorneys say will keep them locked up.</p><p>At Wednesday&rsquo;s hearing, Judge Maria Kuriakos Ciesil set their next court appearance for July 2.</p><p>The Occupy activists vowed to be there.</p></p> Wed, 13 Jun 2012 16:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/occupy-activists-try-lift-spirits-jailed-comrades-100080 Illinois ventures into unchartered waters by using own terror laws http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-ventures-unchartered-waters-using-own-terror-laws-100010 <p><p>Three suspects appear in a Chicago court Tuesday to face terrorism-related charges for allegedly plotting to hurl Molotov cocktails at President Barack Obama&#39;s campaign headquarters.</p><p>But it&#39;ll be state, not federal attorneys handling their case.</p><p>Even as lawmakers in Illinois and at least 35 other states adopted ant-terrorism laws after Sept. 11, 2001, they agreed the anti-terrorist fight was best left to legions of U.S. government lawyers.</p><p>So the decision by Cook County State&#39;s Attorney office to test Illinois&#39; law for the first time against activists arrested before last month&#39;s NATO summit surprised many experts.</p><p>Former federal prosecutor Phil Turner says Illinois state prosecutors are entering &quot;unchartered waters.&quot; He says their lack of manpower and expertise compared with their federal counterparts raises doubts about their ability to secure terrorist convictions.</p><p><span id="_oneup">Defense attorneys say all three intend to enter not-guilty pleas. It&#39;s unclear if they&#39;ll do that Tuesday.</span></p><p><span>All three suspects have remained in jail since their arrests days before May&#39;s NATO summit.</span></p></p> Tue, 12 Jun 2012 08:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-ventures-unchartered-waters-using-own-terror-laws-100010 NATO terrorism defendants kept in ‘observation’ cells http://www.wbez.org/news/nato-terrorism-defendants-kept-%E2%80%98observation%E2%80%99-cells-99442 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS5837_AP120519150342-scr_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A spokesman for Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart says three anti-NATO protesters accused of planning terrorist actions have been held around-the-clock since Saturday in white-walled &ldquo;observation&rdquo; cells, where they are isolated from each other and the rest of the inmate population and kept from writing materials, books and all other media.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s for their own safety and the safety of the [jail] staff and other inmates,&rdquo; the spokesman, Frank Bilecki, said Tuesday afternoon. &ldquo;Obviously we&rsquo;re concerned about their mental status and well-being.&rdquo;</p><p>A medical staff member checks on the three every 15 minutes, Bilecki said. The cells each have one window through which natural light passes and a larger window for the observation, he added.</p><p>Gary Hickerson, acting executive director of the office&rsquo;s Department of Corrections, ordered the observation because the defendants are young and because their charges are serious, Bilecki said. The decision had nothing to do with defendants&rsquo; behavior since arrest, he added.</p><p>The sheriff&rsquo;s spokesman says the State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s office had no input into the protesters&rsquo; jail conditions.</p><p>But a lawyer for one of the alleged terrorists says the conditions amount to &ldquo;sensory deprivation&rdquo; intended to hamper their defense. &ldquo;This is a way to break someone&rsquo;s spirit and break their ability to cooperate with their attorneys,&rdquo; said the lawyer, Michael Deutsch, who represents Brian Church, 20, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.</p><p>Deutsch complained about the conditions in a court hearing about the case Tuesday afternoon. Defense attorneys said they were &ldquo;negotiating&rdquo; with jail staff members to improve the conditions.</p><p>Those talks may be paying off. Bilecki said the jail was planning to move the three protesters Tuesday evening into the general inmate population.</p><p>Church and the other protesters &mdash; Jared Chase, 27, of Keene, N.H; and Brent Betterly, 24, of Oakland Park, Fla. &mdash; face charges of terrorism conspiracy, providing material support for terrorism, and possession of explosives or incendiary devices. Cook County Judge Edward S. Harmening on Saturday set their bonds at $1.5 million each.</p><p>Authorities accused the trio of possessing Molotov cocktails and planning or proposing attacks on targets including President Barack Obama&rsquo;s campaign headquarters and Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s home. The three were among nine people arrested during a police raid last Wednesday at the South Side apartment of some Occupy Chicago leaders who helped organize protests against the NATO summit.</p><p>Church, Chase and Betterly appeared at Tuesday&rsquo;s hearing in tan jail uniforms but did not speak. Judge Adam D. Bourgeois Jr. granted a request by prosecutors to continue the case until June 12.</p><p>At least two other anti-NATO protesters arrested last week face serious felony charges. Sebastian Senakiewicz, 24, of Chicago is charged with falsely making a terrorist threat. Mark Neiweem, 28, of Chicago is charged with solicitation for explosives or incendiary devices. A judge on Sunday set their bonds at $750,000 and $500,000, respectively.</p><p>Senakiewicz and Neiweem are scheduled for a status hearing Wednesday.</p></p> Tue, 22 May 2012 15:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/nato-terrorism-defendants-kept-%E2%80%98observation%E2%80%99-cells-99442 Steep bond for NATO protesters held on bomb charges http://www.wbez.org/news/steep-bond-nato-protesters-held-bomb-charges-99354 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Gelsomino1cropscale.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px 0px; float: left; width: 177px; height: 230px;" title="Defense attorney Sarah Gelsomino on Sunday afternoon calls the amounts ‘punitive.’ (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" /></div><p>A Cook County judge set steep bonds Sunday afternoon for two more activists accused of planning violence during the NATO summit.</p><p>Criminal Court Judge Israel Desierto set a $750,000 bond for Sebastian Senakiewicz, 24, a Chicago resident charged with falsely making a terrorist threat. Desierto set a $500,000 bond for Mark Neiweem, 28, a Chicago resident charged with solicitation for explosives or incendiary devices.</p><p>&ldquo;These bonds are extremely high and punitively so, as a result of the sensationalized and politicized allegations that the state&rsquo;s attorneys raised today,&rdquo; said Sarah Gelsomino, an attorney representing the defendants.</p><p>Jack Blakey, head of special prosecutions for the Cook County State&rsquo;s Attorney&rsquo;s Office, declined to comment about the bond hearing after reading a prepared statement about the charges.</p><p>Blakey said Senakiewicz identified himself as an anarchist and part of the Black Bloc movement and claimed several times he had bombs. At one point, Senakiewicz said he had &ldquo;two homemade explosives that could blow up half of an overpass for a train and that he was holding off on using them until NATO,&rdquo; Blakey said. Prosecutors said a search of Senakiewicz&rsquo;s home did not turn up any explosives.</p><p>Blakey said Neiweem told an associate about a store where materials to make a pipe bomb could be purchased, then &ldquo;pressed a piece of paper into the palm of the associate&rsquo;s hand and stated that, if the associate obtained the items and brought them to his house, then they could create a bomb.&rdquo;</p><p>On Saturday, Cook County Judge Edward S. Harmening set $1.5 million bonds for three other activists, all charged with terrorism conspiracy, possession of explosives or incendiary devices and providing material support for terrorism. Authorities accused the trio of possessing Molotov cocktails and planning or proposing attacks on President Barack Obama&rsquo;s campaign headquarters, Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s home, four police stations and financial institutions downtown.</p><p>Prosecutors called those three defendants &ldquo;self-proclaimed anarchists&rdquo; and listed them as Jared Chase, 27, of Keene, New Hampshire; Brian Church, 22, of Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and Brent Betterly, 24, of Massachusetts.</p><p>Chase, Church and Betterly were among nine people arrested during a Wednesday night police raid in the Bridgeport neighborhood. The raid targeted the apartment of some leaders of Occupy Chicago, a group leading protests against the summit. Senakiewicz and Neiweem were arrested Thursday at other locations.</p><p>Prosecutors said all five cases stem from the same investigation.</p><p>Defense attorneys said authorities built all the cases using an informant duo &mdash; a man who went by the name &ldquo;Mo&rdquo; and a woman who went by &ldquo;Gloves.&rdquo; The attorneys said that the duo tried to manufacture crimes.</p><p>Defense attorneys also claim that authorities targeted the activists for their political beliefs.</p><p>Court filings by prosecutors state that most of the defendants self-identify as anarchists. State&rsquo;s Attorney Anita Alvarez, questioned Saturday about the relevance to the criminal case, answered that &ldquo;some of the techniques that they were exhibiting all go in line with their beliefs.&rdquo;</p><p>Another possible issue is the length of time authorities held the defendants before allowing them to go before a judge. The bond hearing for Senakiewicz and Neiweem did not occur until almost three full days after their arrests. Their attorneys say neither defendant had an earlier opportunity to see a judge.</p><p>Leonard Cavise, a DePaul University law professor, points to a 1991 judicial ruling. &ldquo;The United States Supreme Court has said that the police have an obligation to get the defendant in front of a judge as soon as practically possible but not longer than 48 hours,&rdquo; Cavise says. &ldquo;The reason we have this 48-hour rule is because we want to get the person away from the police as soon as possible before they coerce a confession out of them.&rdquo;</p><p>Violating that rule, Cavise adds, could lead a judge to throw out any confession from trial.</p><p>Sally Daly, a spokeswoman for the state&rsquo;s attorney, insisted that Senakiewicz and Neiweem were held according to the law.</p></p> Sun, 20 May 2012 16:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/steep-bond-nato-protesters-held-bomb-charges-99354