A leaked directive issued to the Red Cross indicates that the federal government has prepared plans to evacuate Chicago during the NATO summit.
An email sent to Red Cross volunteers in the Milwaukee area notes that the NATO summit in May could “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,” the email, which was leaked to CBS News, reads.
A spokesperson for the Red Cross Chapter told CBS “Our direction has come from the City of Chicago and the Secret Service”.
While the Secret Service has not commented on the news, officials at Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communication have denied having anything to do with the directive.
Two weeks ago residents were startled by urban warfare drills conducted in downtown Chicago on the authority of the OMEC. Huge black hawk helicopters were seen flying low and in between buildings for hours. It now appears that these exercises may be linked to the secret preparations.
In addition, earlier this week a number of Chicago area residents revealed that they have been asked to leave their homes in preparation for major rioting.
The residents received letters from management that read:
“We are STRONGLY recommending that all residents find places to stay during the conference from May 18 through May 21.”
“In the event of a riot or the potential of one near the building, all access doors will be locked including the garage door,” the letter continues. “For everyone’s safety, we will be instructing anyone in the building to stay in his or her unit.”
The fact that, “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,” dovetails with reports earlier this year that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) put out a request for contractors to construct temporary emergency camps inside the United States which can be ready for occupancy within a 72 hour time period and used to house emergency responders as well as “displaced citizens.”
The camps are primarily designed to house emergency responders, but will also be utilized to shelter “displaced citizens,” who will be “given the first opportunities for employment within the camp,” according to the solicitation. The camps will be able to service up to 2,000 people at one time.
Scenarios based around displaced citizens were also part of the 2010 Operation Vigilant Guard exercises in Chicago which featured Polish troops training with the Illinois National Guard.
Suburban hospitals are preparing for a worst-case scenario during next month’s NATO summit, in a FOX Chicago News exclusive.
At least ten hospitals performed drills, including Evanston Hospital, simulating a radioactive dirty bomb explosion. The “victims” are volunteers from the U.S. Navy’s Great Lakes training center.
“We want to make sure that, as we’re getting close to the NATO Summit, that our staff are ready and trained and able to take care of our community,” NorthShore University HealthSystem’s Dr. Brigham Temple said.
An estimated 500 medical professionals and other volunteers donned bulky protective suits, tested radiation detectors and ministered to about 100 US Navy recruits Wednesday.
They were posing as victims of a so-called “dirty bomb” that had exploded, leaving them with deadly radioactive cesium on their skin. Doctors and nurses would risk their own lives if they began treating the wounded before they are cleansed of radiation.
One thing everyone learned Wednesday is that the work is sweaty hard and the suits become steamy hot.
“Certainly, it is hot inside them,” Dr. Temple said. “But we do have plans in place so that we rotate the staff through so they are in those suits for a fixed period of time, usually 20-30 minutes. Then we have a new set of staff that come through and take their place.”
Dr. Temple said Wednesday’s dirty bomb scenario had been worked out in conjunction with the Secret Service and the federal Dept of Homeland Security.
U.S. authorities are preparing in the days ahead to deploy black-suited federal agents in and around federal buildings downtown.
They’ll set up checkpoints at entrances to the area and at individual buildings. From there to Evanston Hospital, where a young intern tried on a protective hood this evening, the watchword is “be prepared.”
“If something does happen, God forbid, we’ll be ready to do something about it,” Dr. Michael George said.
While the feds said there is no specific, credible threat of an attack inside the United States, they did warn Thursday that a so-called “lone wolf” terrorist might try to mark the first anniversary of the killing of Osama Bin Laden next week. That anniversary comes on May 2.
They’re afraid that a rogue terrorist might take advantage of the cesium found in old nuclear plant waste leftover from the Cold War and use it in a suitcase bomb, or a dirty bomb like it.
Despite city officials and the Secret Service refusing to confirm that they gave the Red Cross an order to prepare for the evacuation of Chicago during the upcoming NATO summit, Benedictine University is just one of dozens of institutions preparing to receive thousands of evacuees.
“Benedictine is one of dozens of colleges, universities, community centers or churches standing by just in case Chicagoans must leave their homes because of violence or any other reason connected to the NATO summit,” reports CBS Chicago.
However, as we reported last week, authorities have refused to even acknowledge that they told the American Red Cross to make such preparations, despite Red Cross volunteers in the Milwaukee area receiving an email instructing them that, “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 Red Cross spokesperson, “Our direction has come from the City of Chicago and the Secret Service.”
The Benedictine campus has been instructed to prepare for anything up to a thousand evacuees, with university officials pushing back bleachers and clearing floor space for cots.
Precisely what kind of incident would require thousands of people to be evacuated from areas of Chicago during the NATO summit has not been explained. The entire area around the summit will be in complete lock down with protests only allowed in designated “free speech zones”.
In addition, highways and roads will be blocked off with checkpoints while train passengers will face TSA-style pat downs and bag searches. A shoot-to-kill no fly zone will also be enforced over the city during the summit which runs from May 20 to May 21.
The whole spectacle appears to be an effort to whip up fearmongering as a prelude to the kind of police state showcase witnessed at previous global summit such as the G20 meeting held in Pittsburgh in 2009.
In a related story, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has “revoked permission” for a May 18 Daley Plaza rally set to begin a week before the NATO summit. Quite how Emanuel has the power to revoke the First Amendment is unclear, but the National Nurses United group that planned the demonstration have labeled the move a “violation of free speech” and planned to fight back.
From bioterrorism to heat stroke, the city’s hospitals are also prepared for NATO.
At Stroger hospital, tents and semi-trucks fill a parking lot outside the main hospital.
And at Rush University medical Center, an area right beside the ER can be transformed to triage and treat large crowds in case of a major bio terror event.
“This is not a typical ambulance bay,” said Lauris Freidenfelds, pointing to the a large space which contains sprinklers overhead and a special eyewash zone. It’s where ambulance usually park, but the director of security at Rush says it can quickly be transformed into a decontamination space.
The garage contains overhead sprinklers to help dilute any possible chemicals such as tear gas. It also has a special eyewash zone. And it then leads directly into the emergency room.
Freidenfields say the staff has gotten special training about crowd management because when people are “waiting to be decontaminated or feel like they’re contaminated, they can get into a panic situation.. and get nervous.”
And in a worst case scenario, doctors and nurses may be at risk themselves.. so the hospital is ready with bio contamination suits that cover every inch of a worker’s body, and provide a safe supply of oxygen.
The dangers facing protestors, on the other hand, may have more to do with the weather.. as forecasters predict a sunny weekend in the eighties.
So at Stroger, the decontamination tents, which look much like the ones used at the Chicago marathon, can act almost like a human car wash: offering a cooling zone with nozzles on the sides and tops that can spray people suffering from the heat.. or wash off people in cases where pepper spray or tear gas may have been used.
But despite all the preparations, Dr. Robert Feldman, director of disaster planning for the health system at Stroger Hospital, hopes this weekend is nothing more than one big training exercise.
“This is an opportunity for us to be able to setup the equipment, try it out and make sure all the systems work together,” Feldman said. “The most likely thing by far is that nothing bad will happen.”