|Camp David — National Archives Image|
Madison Ruppert, Contributing Writer
President Barack Obama has moved the upcoming Group of Eight (G8) summit from the city of Chicago to Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland, just 62 miles away from Washington, D.C.
An aide for the president said that he has decided that he would prefer a more “intimate setting” for the meeting, although I think it is obvious that what he really wants to avoid is a large-scale protest.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) summit in May is still going to be held in Chicago and I think it will likely draw some quite sizable demonstrations.
Even the Tribune has to take note of the fact that “Summits in large cities typically see clamorous protests,” and given the current situation around the world, it’s quite obvious that it would draw a crowd who isn’t all too happy about what these elites are doing.
“It’s not about Chicago being able to handle logistics, as evidenced by the fact that the NATO and ISAF meetings will be held there, which are far larger than the G8 meeting,” Caitlin Hayden, a spokesperson for the Obama administration’s National Security Council, said. “There are a lot of political, economic and security issues that come together at the G8.”
“This was really about the president looking for a more informal setting with these close partners,” she claimed.
An unnamed official said that Obama wanted this type of setting in order to encourage a “free-flowing discussion with his fellow leaders.”
I think it is much more likely that they want to avoid those pesky protesters exercising their right to free speech and assembly who hassle the godly leaders of the Group of Eight.
The G8 meeting is slated for May 18 and 19 with the NATO summit to held on May 20 and 21 in Chicago, during which they will reportedly be discussing the war in Afghanistan and their planned withdrawal.
I think they will also likely be addressing the anti-ballistic missile shield and other hot topics like the expansion into the Asia-Pacific region and China’s moves to counterbalance this shift.
Current Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, former White House Chief of Staff for Obama, reportedly lobbied Obama personally, attempting to get both summits held in Chicago.
In response to the announcement, Emanuel’s office released a statement saying that he wished “President Obama and the other leaders well at the G8 meeting at Camp David and look forward to hosting the NATO Summit in Chicago.”
“Hosting the NATO Summit is a tremendous opportunity to showcase Chicago to the world and the world to Chicago and we are proud to host the 50 heads of state, foreign and defense ministers from the NATO and ISAF countries in our great city May 19-21,” the statement added.
“I’m sure it was a decision that was not made lightly,” Lori Healey, the executive director of the host committee said of the move to Camp David.
Chicago police have estimated that anywhere from 2,000 to 10,000 activists were going to show up to protest the G8 and NATO summits and in response the Tribune reports via police sources that “the department has already sent about 8,400 of its roughly 12,000 sworn officers through some form of crowd-control training.”
Some 2,400 officers mostly from tactical and gang units have received training intended to prepare them to be on the front lines of crowd control wearing black body armor sometimes referred to as a “turtle suit” due to its full-body coverage and bulky appearance.
Oddly, the head of one Chicago-based anti-war organization called the decision “a major victory for the protesters,” even though thanks to H.R.347, the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011, known as the “Trespass Bill,” if signed by Obama (it is currently awaiting his signature), will make it impossible to protest the G8 meeting.
Andy Thayer, a spokesman for the Coalition Against NATO-G-8 said that “the protests will go forward” adding, “We believe that NATO is, frankly, the de facto military arm of G-8 and anybody who’s upset with G-8 should be upset with NATO.”
Thayer is simply incorrect on that one. The Group of Eight includes Russia, and claiming that Russia is militarily aligned with NATO is a bit ignorant given the situation with the anti-ballistic missile shield.
According to the Tribune, many officials were not made aware of the decision and did not find out until the news broke publicly.
Harvey Grossman, the director of the Illinois branch of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) expressed a bit more concern than some of the other activists who commented, which I think is valid.
“Some of the primary concerns people have have [sic] been taken off the plate,” Grossman said. “People wanted to reach out to that audience. They wanted to show their level of dissent to the economic policies. It’s a disappointment in terms of the ability to engage.”
I just want to note the egregious amount of errors in the Tribune article. It’s almost laughable, but I guess we should expect as much from the crumbling mainstream media.
It is very clear to me that this move to Camp David is intended to prevent widespread protests by opting for a more remote location with tighter security, very similar to the way the Bilderberg Group operates.
Maybe if Obama doesn’t sign the Trespass Bill in time some brave activists will actually show up and protest the G8 meeting but if he does sign it into law, I doubt many people will be ready to risk the jail time, and that’s exactly the intent of the legislation in the first place.
RELATED ACTIVIST POST ARTICLE:
Confronting the NATO/G8 Hydra: Episodes of American Resistance, part 1