three activists jailed since nato summit lose motion to dismiss terrorism charges

by Tim Phillips

The NATO 3, three incarcerated Occupy activists, were charged last year under the Illinois material support for terrorism statute. The statute was passed in response to the events of September 11, 2001. Its vague language allowed police and prosecutors to impose terrorism charges on the defendants for political reasons.

Today Judge Thaddeus Wilson denied the defendants’ joint motion to dismiss the terrorism charges, which were used to portray activists as dangerous on the eve of a large anti-NATO demonstration in Chicago last May. According to the defendants’ motion filed in January,

The prosecution used the vague statutory definition of terrorism to paint the anti-NATO protesters as violent terrorists, to discredit their demonstration and discourage people from marching on Sunday, and to justify their vast expenditure on law enforcement. The defendants were just pawns in this political operation and as a result of this vague and open-ended statute now languish in jail under exorbitant bail facing the most serious of charges.

The motion describes most of the prosecution’s evidence as “the defendants’ idle chatter, laced with bravado, and … egged on by … under-cover police agents.” The agents instigated “the alleged creation of … four homemade beer bottles of gasoline” and apparently retained possession of the bottles. Sadly, this case is just one of several examples of a pattern of entrapment in which law enforcement authorities choreograph arrests of activists by employing informants or undercover officers.

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