Friends, THIS is how it starts.
As concerns about security grow in the run-up to the NATO summit, it’s becoming difficult to separate myth from reality.
Are there plans in place for a mass evacuation of downtown in the event of riots on May 20-21? A Red Cross memo out of Milwaukee indicates that there is.
Officials there have been asked to make plans to assist residents in the event of a mass exodus. Chicago officials say the plan didn’t come from them. The U.S. Secret Service isn’t talking.
There also are reports that a heavily armed security team will start making a very public appearance around federal buildings in the Loop this week. Officials with the Chicago NATO host committee were completely in the dark. They had no reports of any such plans.
A source told CBS 2 that security forces in full battle gear would not be seen this week.
As for the Red Cross plan, CBS 2 News has obtained a copy of an e-mail sent to volunteers in the Milwaukee area.
It said the NATO summit “may create unrest or another national security incident. The American Red Cross in southeastern Wisconsin has been asked to place a number of shelters on standby in the event of evacuation of Chicago.”
According to a chapter spokesperson, the evacuation plan is not theirs alone.
“Our direction has come from the City of Chicago and the Secret Service,” she said.
Officials at Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communication said the directive did not come from them.
The U.S. Secret Service did not return calls for comment.
Some downtown residents told CBS 2’s Mike Parker that the news has them on edge.
Brad Klein said it is “very unnerving. I feel a little bit unsafe, just a bit more than a little bit. It doesn’t make me feel like I want to be in the city during the NATO conference.”
One example happened last week, when protest groups revealed the plans for a security zone around the summit meeting site: McCormick Place.
Those protesters came directly from a meeting with the Secret Service when those details were released.
However, there was not a single confirmation from the feds.
One thing they have confirmed: Commuter trains will run under McCormick Place during the summit, but the Secret Service said in a statement to “expect delays.”
How bad will those delays get? They aren’t saying.
Conductors on the train said the rail agency is trying to determine how many cars to run per train. Since each train car, they say, will take up to eight minutes to undergo a security sweep, they want to run as few cars as possible.
Let me say at the outset that I believe the OWS people have a Constitutional Right to protest, assemble and put forth their grievances. Here's the rub, they are protesting at a NATO Meeting. NATO can't do squat for their 'cause'.
But these useful idiots can be used as the catalyst for Obumble to do whatever he wants. And if he puts even a small number of people on the street, out of their homes, no money or damned little, no food and two hungry kids and a dog named Bob...he's got a perfect storm.
That hungry, pissed off, homeless thing could cascade, quickly if enough people are away from their jobs. And shutting down the NYSE or the Chicago Board of Trade or the Commodities Market in Chicago, would screw up business here very quickly.