2011-09-09 "Police Department Establishes Counter-Terrorism Unit"
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.