Edward Snowden, Booz Allen Hamilton, “NATO 3”: Connecting the Dots

Today’s breaking news is that Edward Snowden – a Booz Allen Hamilton contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA) who released internal NSA documents to The Guardian and The Washington Post – has fled to Latin America.


He’s been joined by Wikileaks employee Sarah Harrison. Missed in much of the hoopla surrounding Snowden’s “OJ Simpson in his White Bronco Take Two“: Booz Allen’s central role in Chicago’s “NATO 3” domestic terrorism case.

NATO 3” is shorthand for Jared Chase (29), Brent Betterly (25) and Brian Church (21), three Occupy activists who drove up to Chicago in late-April of 2012 before the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit. Weeks later, they saw themselves faced with several domestic terrorism charges and many more serious felony charges.


Currently sitting in Cook County Jail – the most heavily populated prison in the U.S. and cited in a 2008 report by the U.S. Department of Justice for inhumane conditions – they face 85 years behind bars.

It’s the first time Illinois’ state terrorism statute has ever been utilized, with an official trial starting date set for Sept. 16, 2013 at Cook County Courthouse. That’s one day before the two year anniversary of the launch of Occupy Wall Street.

The Booz Allen Connection

Two undercover Chicago Police Department officers going by the names Mo and Nadia were instrumental to the eventual arrest and charging of the “NATO 3.” They were on a temporary 90-day assignment before the NATO Summit beginning in Feb. 2012 as part of Field Intelligence Team 7150 to keep an eye 0n any “criminal activities” of anarchists or Occupy Chicago.

A stack of  court records have come out during the pre-trial phase.

Some of those records show that members of the FBI’s Chicago Regional Computer Forensic Laboratory (RCFL) may be called to testify if the case goes to trial. A domain name search for Chicago RCFL’s web site shows that it was registered by Booz Allen.

Booz Allen Hamilton is referred to by its proponents as a “Digital Blackwater,” a reference to what Jeremy Scahill referred to as the “world’s most powerful mercenary army,” now going by the name “Academi.”

“[BAH] is one of the NSA’s most important and trusted contractors. It’s involved in virtually every aspect of intelligence and surveillance,” wrote investigative journalist Tim Shorrock in a recent article. “Among other secret projects, Booz was deeply involved in ‘Total Information Awareness,’ the controversial data-mining project run for the Bush administration.”

Booz’s Connection to the Pentagon’s Human Terrain System

As I wrote in my article on TruthOut, Booz Allen is also deeply involved in the Pentagon’s Human Terrain System and its Human Terrain Teams, which “map the human terrain” of communities abroad for the military and CIA as part of counterinsurgency warfare campaigns.

Booz Allen provides IT and logistical support for the HTS/HTTs. 


My piece further explained:

A career New York cop, Chicago Police Department (CPD) superintendent Garry McCarthy is no stranger to the Human Terrain System.

It wasn’t long he after formally assumed the mantle of CPD superintendent in 2011 that McCarthy drew fire for having allowed a spy ring tasked to “map the human terrain” of Newark, N.J.,’s Islamic community to operate there, where he served as police chief before taking the position as CPD’s top dog.

McCarthy also served as an NYPD commander when the police set up spy rings before the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City and during “CIA on the Hudson,” the joint NYPD/CIA project that was set up and run by former CIA Deputy Director for Operations David Cohen to “map the human terrain” of New York City’s Islamic community.

“Architecture of Oppression”

Snowden referred to the Frankenstein the NSA and its private contractors have created as an “architecture of oppression” in his exclusive interview with Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras in The Guardian.

“Digital Blackwater,” as AlterNet‘s Tom Hintze pointed out, is but a tiny piece of the “architecture of oppression.” The architecture also includes the use of undercover officers, agent provocateurs, and paramilitary-style policing of protests, to name a few.

Snowden’s comments to Greenwald speak well to the “NATO 3” case, which revolves predominantly on things they said to Mo and Nadia and things they said to one another on Facebook before heading to Chicago. It’s what Roger Shuy referred to as “language crimes.”

“[E]ven if you’re not doing anything wrong you’re being watched and recorded. You simply have to eventually fall under suspicion from somebody even by a wrong call,” Snowden told Greenwald. “And then they can use this system to go back in time and scrutinize every decision you’ve ever made, every friend you’ve ever discussed something with. And attack you on that basis to sort to derive suspicion from an innocent life and paint anyone in the context of a wrongdoer.”

NATO 3: Cook County Judge Rules Illinois Terrorism Statute Constitutional

Chicago, IL

Judge Thaddeus Wilson – holding down the house in Room 303 of the Cook County Courthouse in Chicago, IL – ruled the Illinois terrorism statute constitutional on its face.


This ruling was issued approximately two months after the attorneys defending the three clients known as the “NATO 3” issued a motion and memorandum arguing the law defied the dictates of the First Amendment because it is overly-broad as currently written, an argument rejected by Wilson.

Thus, it was confirmed that the three activists – Jared Chase from Keene, NH; Brent Betterly from Fort Lauderdale, FL; and Brian Church also from Fort Lauderdale – who were in the Windy City to protest the May 2012 NATO Summit will be charged by the State of Illinois with three counts of “conspiracy to commit terrorism,” “material support for terrorism,” and possession of an incendiary device (allegedly molotov cocktails) to “commit the offense of terrorism.”


“Mo” and “Gloves”

Mentioned only obliquely by Wilson in his ruling: two undercover police informants who played a role in pushing the terrorism plot forward, potentially manufacturing it wholesale and then slapping the label “terrorism” on it.

Known in Chicago activist circles in the run-up to the NATO Summit as “Mo” and “Nadia”/”Gloves,” Nadia is mentioned directly but not by name in Wilson’s ruling as someone “believed [to be a] co-conspirator” when Church asked her if she was “ready to see a cop on fire” in the days leading up to the Summit.

Gloves and Mo Together

“Nadia” wore a hidden recording device while having a slew of meetings with the “NATO 3” from May 1-May 16, 2012, the audio from which has been used as the evidence for the prosecution of the three.

“We think the terrorism charges should’ve never been brought in the first place,” Michael Deutsch of the People’s Law Office, an attorney co-representing Brian Church with Gelsomino, said in an interview. “It’s not a terrorism case, it never was and it never should’ve been – it’s politically-motivated use for improper purposes.”

The Scene From Within

The hearing unfolded roughly a week after a key oral argument between the two parties, lasting a mere 15 minutes in a small circular room featuring a painting of Martin Luther King, Jr. resting on the wall behind the left shoulder of Judge Wilson. Held in a room sealed off by sound-proof glass, the sound inside the courtroom was projected via a microphone and the speakers sitting on the other side of that glass.

Three uniformed police officers sat with the defendants in the front room and another four stood with the audience in the glassed-off back room featuring two columns of wooden church-like pews that ran three rows deep. Roughly 20 Chicago-area activists came out in support of the activists, many of them donning yellow shirts in solidarity with the “NATO 3,” two out of three who were also ushered out in yellow “protective-custody-level” IL Department of Corrections (DOC) prison garb.

“It’s what a lot of scholars and people who pay attention to national security call the ‘new normal.’ That is, because the terrorism statute is in play, you end up having police officers sitting in bullet proof vests in the court room,” attorney Thomas Durkin of Durkin & Roberts, representing Jared Chase, said in an interview. “Over time, you’ve got what legal scholars call ‘seepage,’ in which these ‘new normals’ start seeping into the court room incrementally.”

The hearing had an ominous feeling from jump street, with the State of Illinois bringing a nine-person cadre to Chicago, much bigger than the usual three-person team attending the hearings so far. Prior to the hearing’s commencement, People’s Law Office attorney Sarah Gelsomino, co-representing Brian Church, came to the attendants’ gallery and told supporters to remain calm because the ruling would likely not be favorable – a doomsaying hypothesis which merely 15 minutes later proved true.

Court Date Set for Two-Year Anniversary of Occupy Wall Street

Two other activists charged with similar crimes, Mark Neiweem and Sebastian Senakiewicz – part of the broader “NATO 5″ – also are still sitting in Cook County Jail with the “NATO 3” awaiting their final destiny. The Jail was under federal investigation for its conditions in 2008.


A final trial date for the “NATO 3” is still set for Sept. 16, 2013, the day before the two-year anniversary of the launch of the Occupy Wall Street movement.




“NATO 3”: Constitutionality of Illinois Terrorism Statute to be Decided March 27

Judge Thaddeus Wilson will hand down a ruling on the constitutionality of the Illinois terrorism statute – signed into law in the weeks after the 9/11 attacks – on March 27 at 2:00 PM CST.

That announcement was made at the first oral argument at Cook County Courthouse in Chicago, IL on March 18, which I attended and reported on for TruthOut. It took place between the People’s Law Office/other attorneys representing the “NATO 3” and the State of Illinois.

The domestic terrorism case, which started in May 2012 in the days leading up to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Summit in Chicago, has taken many interesting twists and turns since the start of the new year.

In January, the “NATO 3” defense team lead by the People’s Law Office issued a facial challenge to the IL Terrorism Statute. That motion posited that the statute’s verbiage is overly broad and in violation of the spirit of the First Amendment and due process rights.

As covered here on Antiwar.com, two confidential informants known by the names “Mo” and “Gloves”/”Nadia” helped push the plot along and were in the apartment during a violent military-style midnight raid that saw 11 swept up and held (nine, not including them) and the three young men now known as the “NATO 3” slapped with terrorism charges and a still-standing $1.5 million bond per person. They were in-town to protest NATO’s wars abroad, a week of action culminating in a march of thousands of people across downtown Chicago and many Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans tossing away their medals.

The three have sat in Cook County Jail for ten months, the largest prison in the US and one investigated by the federal government for its shoddy conditions.

Among the more interesting things to come out of the hearing is the fact that the defense has yet to receive many of the discovery materials it has asked for, including key evidence pertaining to the facts under which its clients are being charged. Further, the State of Illinois prosecutors argued that a facial challenge isn’t credible in this situation because the State wasn’t dealing with a hypothetical, but an “imminent threat” that the broadly-written and rarely-used statute  was meant to cover to stop preemptively.

Regardless of the ruling Wilson hands down, the trial is sure to wear on for months to come, with a final trial date set for Sept. 16, a day before the two-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street.

New Photo Released of “Gloves,” One of the Two NATO Summit Undercover Cops

Occupy Chicago has released another photo of “Gloves,” one of the two undercover police informants from the May 2012 NATO Summit, which took place in Chicago, IL. They have placed it on Facebook and Twitter.

Gloves,” acting as an infiltrator in the run-up to the Summit, oversaw the operation that ended in three activists – now known as the “NATO 3” – being charged with “conspiracy to commit and act of domestic terrorism” under Illinois state law, the first time the charge has ever been utilized in the state’s history. Two more activists were also entrapped by “Gloves” and “Mo,” making the group of so-called “domestic terrorists” now coloquially known as the “NATO 5.”

The photo was obtained via a snapshot of a video of an October 2011 rally that is up on YouTube (at about 3:38 in), suggesting that “Gloves” has been hot on the trail of Occupy Chicago for months and was deeply familiar with the local activist scene, its culture and its intricacies months ahead of the NATO Summit.

“This photo is further evidence that our movement was not infiltrated by CPD to expose an existing plan for violence,” Occupy Chicago’s press liaison, Rachel Unterman told Antiwar.com. “It’s not a coincidence – they have been watching and seeking any excuse to discredit us from the start.”

The trial for the “NATO 3” will take place on Sept. 16, almost two years to the date after the official launch of Occupy Wall Street.

Rolling Stone‘s Rick Perlstein explained in a story back in May – after the “Cleveland 5” had been arrested for conspiracy to commit an act of “domestic terrorism” on May Day – that no “domestic terrorism” charge has ever been overturned in the post-9/11 era.

Scott Olsen: ‘Freedom of Speech Literally Taken From Me’

Peace activist Scott Olsen reports on his public Google Plus account that he is slowly regaining his speech after being shot in the head with a teargas canister at Occupy Oakland. “I’m feeling a lot better, with a long road in front of me,” Olsen wrote. “After my freedom of speech was quite literally taken from me, my speech is coming back but I’ve got a lot of work to do with rehab.”

Olsen was at the front of the crowd when Oakland police lit up a downtown intersection with gas and “flashbang” grenades. Occupy participants say the police used rubber bullets, but the Oakland PD denies it.

After Olsen was hit, and as Occupy medics attended his wounds, another gas bomb was hurled at Olsen and those helping him. Investigators with the Anonymous movement identified the officer who shot Olsen as Officer Scott Bergstresser of the San Francisco Police Dept after a $1600 bounty was collected to find the name of the shooter. The investigators turned down the bounty, and it was instead donated to Olsen.

Early on, with his brain swelling inside his fractured skull, it was thought the former Marine could die. As the days passed, his condition improved, and now he’s on the road to recovery with a warning to police brutes and their supporters:

“Soon enough we’ll see you in our streets!”

To donate to Scott Olsen’s recovery, visit Iraq Veterans Against the War.

Confusing All Around: The Air and Space Museum Bumrush

Yesterday I read with excitement that otherwise docile protests in Washington, DC — the merging of the pre-planned October2011 rally with the spontaneous “Occupy” movement — rushed the Air and Space Museum and got it shut down. Guards shot pepper spray at the crowd, affecting several. The Museum, at the Smithsonian on the Mall in the capital, was featuring an exhibit about drones.

Today it turns out the most active participant in this rush was one Patrick Howley — a writer at the American Spectator. And he openly admits in his column that he ended up as an agent provocateur after first only planning to infiltrate and write a hit piece on the “socialist” movement and its apparent “indoctrination” techniques. But aside from this, the story is pathetic all around.

Howley reports the protesters, ever-bolder as they marched to the museum for a planned action, slowed down as they approached the building’s steps. Only about half rushed up them and tried to enter the building; only Howley and another protester actually got in the doors past the guards. In the ensuing moments, Howley and the protester were pushed and then pepper sprayed, and apparently the spray reached several others. Howley then ran through the museum thinking he had opened the way for the other protesters to streak through and hang banners and whatever other actions they planned. He turned around, squinting through his mace-swollen eyes to realize nobody had followed him.

Creepily, Howley is proud of the guard who sprayed him — he and the other guards “acted with more courage than I saw from any of the protesters.”

Now, the lefty blogosphere is outraged. This isn’t journalism! they shriek. Well, yes and no. It’s legitimate to infiltrate a movement in order to report; that’s classic stuff. But the result by Howley is less journalism than goofy slander — the piece he intended to write would have been rather weak without his little adventure.

But what’s puzzling is that Charlie Grapski of FireDogLake seems to have been snookered into kneejerk opposition to Howley’s actions, not just their intent. Sure, Howley did something he himself thought was terrible and would set-up and implicate the antiwar protesters as disruptive hoodlums. So… Grapski — and hundreds of commenters — agree with Howley? Yes, apparently.

“In light of his detailed description of his activities today the fact that they clearly document the commission of the crime of trespassing on federal property, if not the intent to incite a riot there, these admissions should not be taken lightly or ignored. … the presence and admitted activities of this self-proclaimed agent provacateur should be brought to the attention of federal law enforcement officials. … Who was really to blame for the chaos and disruption of a Federal Museum?

Blame? Surely, Grapski means who was the unintended hero in the righteous disruption of a museum that engages in imperial propaganda, when all others stood back and cowered? We’re supposed to be in solidarity with the masses of Tahrir, no? Well they burned down the party headquarters, buddy. If protesters had smashed up a few papier mâché drones in a museum wouldn’t exactly make Gandhi cry.

It’s time to embrace these nonviolent tactics that may happen to break the rules. It’s time to take some clues from the Occupy Boston participants who told the cops “No.” Let them eat their free-speech zones. They certainly have the seasonings handy.

Why is FireDogLake opposing this “crime of trespassing on federal property” — at all? This is the ONE truly heroic hardcore direct action against authority and the glorification of violence that we’ve seen! Smashing up a publicly owned shrine to remote death from the air — hurting nobody — is nonviolent. A sit-in — oooh, trespassing! — is also nonviolent and absolutely just. Who owns that museum? What crimes is that museum complicit in pimping to American children as legitimate?

Shutting it down was right. And sadly, it took some provocateur asshole to show us how it’s done.