The Chicago NATO Summit: Preview and Perspective

by | May 12, 2012 | Videos

by James Corbett
12 May, 2012

Ever since its inception there have been those who have warned that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, far from offering a simple “collective security” pact to ensure the integrity of its member nations’ borders, would in fact be used as an offensive tool of imperial adventurism and conquest. Since the NATO-led Kosovo bombing campaign of 1999 at the very least, those fears have appeared more and more justified.

Since that time, NATO has continued to take a lead role in more and more overtly offensive campaigns of aggression in theatre after theatre. By now it is commonly understood to be an extension of the Pentagon itself, a convenient international military instrument for Washington to wield whenever the pretense of an international consensus cannot be achieved at the UN Security Council.

NATO’s role in the 21st century has so far been defined by its decade-long invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. The decision to invade was made as early as the day after 9/11, 2001, when a meeting of the North Atlantic Council determined that “if it is determined that this attack was directed from abroad” the Council would take the unprecedented step of invoking Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, the so-called collective defense clause which stipulates that an armed attack on any of its member nations would be treated as an attack on all of the nations. The proof that this was an “attack directed from abroad” as required by the Council was supposedly provided by Frank Taylor, a US State Department official who gave a secret presentation that “conclusively” proved that Al-Qaida was behind the attacks.

To this day, the Taylor report upon which the Council made its decision to invoke Article 5 and begin the bombing, invasion and occupation of Afghanistan for the past 10 years has never been made public. It is still considered to be classified information.

Reports continue to emerge on a weekly basis of atrocities committed against civilians in the NATO-led Afghanistan occupation, further inflaming the ire of Afghanis, Pakistanis, and many others throughout the region, but these atrocities, to the extent that they are ever dealt with in the Western media are inevitably dismissed as examples of lone wolves and bad apples and quickly discarded from the 24/7 news cycle.

NATO forces have also been stationed in Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan over the past decade and participated in Operations as far afield as Macedonia, the Mediterranean Sea, and the Gulf of Aden. NATO also took a lead role in last year’s bombardment of civilians in Libya, which so far has resulted in the decimation of that country’s infrastructure and led to a system of tribal conflict and partisan strife that leaves the country in a precarious, destabilized position. In all, millions of troops have served under NATO command in countries outside of NATO member’s territory.

Recently, Admiral James Stavridis the commander of the US Military’s European Command and NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, lauded NATO and EUCOM as critical entities in the furthering of the Pentagon’s goals and objectives:

“This is an alliance of enormous resources,” he said of NATO during an interview with the American Forces Press Service earlier this month, “and it represents those that stand with us today in Afghanistan, in the Balkans, in the Libya operation and in [the Horn of Africa]. So these strategic, enduring partnerships in Europe are going to underpin the strategic focus on the challenges in Asia and in the Middle East.”

Earlier this week I talked to Rick Rozoff, director of Stop NATO, about Stavridis’ comments and what they reveal about the true nature of NATO.

Now, the citizens of Chicago, Illinois are bracing for the next NATO Summit, a periodic gathering of heads of state of the member countries to discuss policy and set the NATO agenda for the coming years. Perhaps fittingly, Chicago is increasingly being turned into a war zone in preparation for the meeting.

In February, it was first revealed that preparations for the summit would include the use of snipers and aerial surveillance, and that Mayor Rahm Emanuel had been given special powers in the lead-up to the summit, including the ability to contract directly for goods or services without the approval of City Council. In April, Chicago’s “Office of Emergency Management and Communication” announced military training exercises including blackhawk helicopter drills as part of “routine training” in the city’s Loop business district. Last month it emerged that the Milwaukee Red Cross was being encouraged to prep for evacuations that might take place as the result of violence or unrest at the summit, and it has since emerged that other locations including Benedictine University have been told to prepare evacuation shelter for as many as 1,000 evacuees. Unconstitutional clampdowns on free speech are also underway, with a rally of the National Nurses United Group that was scheduled to take place in Daley Plaza days before the summit being shut down by the city, which is trying to redirect the march to Grant Park.

Recently I talked to Julio Rausseo, a local Chicago activist, about the preparations for the summit and the protests that are expected to take place.

The NATO Summit is due to be held on May 20th and 21st. Doubtless on the agenda will be the envisioned drawdown of NATO forces in Afghanistan that is expected to take place in the next two years, as well as opportunities to expand NATO’s influence in other parts of the globe with the implicit aim of countering the growing influence of Beijing and Moscow in the key areas of Central Asia and the Caucasus. The Brits and Americans are also expected to lecture junior partners of the alliance on the necessity of sharing the burden of future assaults.

What will almost certainly not be discussed, however, is the fundamental question of NATO itself. Why this alliance exists decades after the Soviet menace that was the ostensible reason for its creation has been consigned to the dustbin of history, and why it has been more active in recent years than in the entire history of its existence, in far flung parts of the globe and on missions that admittedly have nothing whatsoever to do with the protection of its member states.

Instead, it falls yet again to the public to force these issues onto the table. In addition to the usual hurdle of gaining the attention of the world through a controlled establishment media that would not dare to raise these questions about such an institution, however, would-be protesters now face all the weaponry and pain-compliance technology of a 21st century police state.

As always, those who are interested in finding out more about the Summit and its true agenda are encouraged to seek out coverage in the alternative online media and to completely eschew the talking heads of the corporate news who will dutifully report NATO press releases as their takeaway from the meeting.



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