"NATO 3" [link]
"Undercover cop testifies at NATO 3 trial about role in explosives"2014-02-03 by Steve Schmadeke from "Chicago Tribune" [http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-02-03/news/chi-undercover-cop-testifies-at-nato-3-trial-that-suspect-bought-gas-to-make-explosives-20140203_1_nato-3-trial-four-empty-beer-bottles-nadia-chikko]:
Defense attorneys don’t dispute that their clients Brian Church, from left, Brent Betterly and Jared Chase, dubbed the NATO 3, possessed incendiary devices. But they told jurors that their clients never should have faced terrorism charges, calling it a political move by authorities desperate to justify millions of dollars spent on security for the summit.
Defense attorneys don’t dispute that their clients Brian Church, from left, Brent Betterly and Jared Chase, dubbed the NATO 3, possessed incendiary devices. But they told jurors that their clients never should have faced terrorism charges, calling it a political move by authorities desperate to justify millions of dollars spent on security for the summit. (Chicago Police Department)
An undercover Chicago police officer insisted Monday that he was only an observer as three men built Molotov cocktails in 2012, but he also admitted he was the first to raise the idea on the day the men were arrested, offered his bandana to use as wicks for the explosives and then cut it up into strips for them.
Officer Mehmet Uygun spent a second day on the witness stand as the first terrorism case ever brought by Cook County prosecutors nears an end. Closing arguments are expected Wednesday at the trial of the so-called NATO 3.
Brian Church, 22, Jared Chase,29, and Brent Betterly, 25, are charged with plotting terrorist attacks in the days leading up to the NATO summit in Chicago in May 2012. The three were arrested soon after building four Molotov cocktails on the second-floor landing outside a Bridgeport apartment.
Defense attorneys also got their first crack Monday at Uygun, attempting to show that he was an active participant who encouraged and helped the men build the Molotov cocktails.
Under questioning from Betterly’s attorney, Paul Brayman, Uygun admitted he had offered the men his bandana to use as a wick and had cut it up for them with a Swiss army knife provided by Church. But he maintained he did not help build the explosives.
“I was watching, sir,” said Uygun, the second undercover cop to testify.
When he announced on undercover recordings that he had “two bucks” to “fill up a little gas can,” Uygen testified, he was only trying to ensure he was present when the gasoline for the Molotovs was purchased. Uygun told jurors he did not pay for the fuel.
Uygen also insisted he did not know what his undercover partner, Nadia Chikko, was referring to when she said in a recorded conversation, “Can we use this rag? It goes in here, right?” just before the explosives were built.
Under questioning from prosecutors, Uygun said he had an unrecorded conversation with Chase as they walked back to the three-flat after buying the gasoline.
“You know what’s cool?” Uygen testified Chase told him. “Napalm bombs.”
Chase then told him that napalm would burn through police officers’ clothing and described a process for making napalm, Uygun testified.
The conversation was not recorded because Uygun said he was worried it would be too suspicious to carry his backpack – which contained a hidden recording device – with him on the short walk to and from the gas station.
Uygen testified that Betterly issued instructions at the Bridgeport home on how to assemble the Molotovs, telling Chase to fill four empty beer bottles about a quarter full and put rags inside.
“It smells like victory,” Chase said in the undercover recordings as Uygen said he unscrewed the top of a plastic red gas container and began filling the bottles with gasoline.
Some of the testimony bolstered arguments by defense lawyers that the NATO 3 were too dim to be feared domestic terrorists.
As dark fell and Chase was pouring the gasoline into the bottles, he can be heard in one recording saying he couldn’t see and asking for a lighter.
Uygun testified that Chase spilled gas in a small puddle on the porch, causing him to worry the accelerant could be ignited, in part since his partner and another defendant were also smoking at the other end of the landing. As a precaution, Uygen said he poured water on the gasoline.
Uygen told jurors he put the completed Molotovs in his backpack, called a supervisor to ask for guidance while pretending to take the explosives down to Church’s car and eventually placed them in a white metal garbage can in the apartment’s bathroom.
Police arrived soon after and made arrests.