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NATO 3 Trial Reveals Surveillance Operation

By aaroncynic in News on Jan 24, 2014 8:20PM

Brent Betterly, Brian Church and Jared Chase have been charged in an alleged NATO summit terror plot. (Chicago Police Department booking photos.)

Defense attorney’s for the NATO 3 began their cross-examination of one of the two undercover police officers involved in the trial yesterday. Attorney’s for Brian Church, Jared Chase and Brent Betterly - three men facing terrorism charges after their arrest prior to the NATO summit in 2012 - questioned Officer Nadia Chikko, also known as “Gloves,” in the third day of the trial. The Sun-Times reports attorney Michael Deutsch, representing Church, said the three hadn’t thought about building molotov cocktails until Chikko’s partner, Mehmet Uygun, known as “Mo,” brought the idea up. According to the Chicago Tribune, in recordings played for the court, Chikko criticized a homemade mortar Church allegedly made with a length of PVC pipe which she said didn’t compare with a metal pipe she purchased after doing some Wikipedia research. Mo chimed in “dude, we got the Molotovs. That’s not wack.”

Chikko can be heard saying “You guys got anything? Should we make some? You got bottles,” in conversations that were secretly recorded. On the stand, she said that she was “going with the flow” when she made the remarks. When the conversation turned to filling bottles with gasoline, Chikko’s partner said he had money and would walk Chase to a gas station after Chase seemed reluctant. Chikko testified Mehmet did not give money to Chase or buy the gas on his behalf.

Defense attorney’s also asked Chikko about surveillance activities leading up to the NATO protests in May 2012. Testimony from Chikko revealed Chicago Police had been running surveillance for at least two months prior to the NATO summit in Chicago. As early as March of 2012, police went to coffee shops and punk shows searching for opportunities to infiltrate activist groups. According to Firedoglake journalist Kevin Gosztola, at one point, six officers were listening in on conversations of patrons at the Heartland Cafe. Additionally, Chikko said police kept an eye on Division Street and Permanent Records for “anarchists and criminal activity.” Chikko admitted that police had taken down license plates at a punk show prior to the summit. “If there was license plates, we’d record them,” she said. As to why, Chikko replied “we’re police officers. That’s what we do.”

Much of Chikko’s testimony seemed to be about mincing words. Referring to the annual May Day march, Defense Attorney Michael Deutsch asked the officer “You infiltrated that demonstration?” Chikko replied “No, sir. I’m not an infiltrator. I’m an undercover officer.” She later said “We weren’t looking for anarchists. We were looking for people who want to call themselves anarchists appearing as peaceful protesters, sir.” Chikko admitted her and her partner attended Occupy Chicago meetings. When asked if officers were assigned to “spy on Occupy Chicago and anarchists,” she replied “no, observe and listen for criminal activity.”

Yesterday’s trial adjourned when the officer said she didn’t know to what she was referring in a recording played for the court where she tells Church to “wait until the 15th.” Deutsch asked Chikko to review the recordings in the evening. After jurors left, Judge Thaddeus Wilson said “Hopefully she’ll have a better handle on it tomorrow.”