Editor’s Note – Chicago is gearing up for what is apparently a very testy moment. Why, because it is hosting the NATO Summit May 19th – 21st. Reports over planning have been emerging for a couple of weeks, but this latest measure seems a bit odd. Maybe not odd, but certainly very intense. This bodes questions.
Do they have a very real fear that mayhem is planned? Should the good folks of Chicago be worried? We have seen G-20 summits and other events protested violently, but NATO. Heck, the USA is virtually the entire measure of NATO.
Is there terrorist chatter? Is this part of the feared reprisals from AQ over the one-year anniversary of the killing of bin-Laden? Is this the much anticipated “hot” summer, leading to the London Olympics.
Read about other plans and measures here:
CHICAGO (CBS) — Plans to keep residents and dignitaries safe during the NATO Summit include a no-fly zone, with a shoot-to-kill warning for those who break the ban.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, the government is informing small plane pilots that if they enter the no-fly zone during the summit, they may be shot down.
This is no joke. It will be enforced for May 19 to May 21.
The flight advisory was issued by the Federal Aviation Administration. The advisory bans non-commercial aircraft from flying within 10 nautical miles of downtown Chicago and below 18,000 feet.
“The United States Government may use deadly force against the airborne aircraft, if it is determined that the aircraft poses an imminent security threat,” the advisory says. “Be advised that noncompliance with the published (notice to airmen) may result in the use of force.”
The advisory says lesser violations by airmen might result in civil penalties and the suspension of airmen certificates, as well as criminal charges.
The only aircraft allowed to fly within the restricted area include regularly-scheduled commercial passenger and cargo carriers, police, and military planes supporting the Secret Service.
This no-fly zone is not new. It has been enforced in Chicago for presidential visits, and also after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks because of terrorism-related concerns.
Roger Butler, who lives near McCormick Place, was not surprised to hear of the temporary flight restrictions directly above his home.
“I think it’s important, I mean, security; we don’t want anything to happen to the city,” Butler said.
Whatever action is necessary must be taken, he said.
“You’ve got to do whatever it takes to make sure that people are safe,” Butler said.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Postal Service is removing some of the blue mailboxes in the downtown area and around McCormick Place in the week leading up to the summit. The Post Office says mail delivery may be disrupted for some zip codes during the summit.
With all the precautions, neighbors still have questions about security and restrictions. Michael Jackson, the district manager of CD One Price Cleaners, works at Michigan Avenue and Cermak Road, one block outside the area that will be closed off during the summit.
He welcomes the extra security, but hopes his customers won’t feel pressured to stay away.
“I believe that Chicago has shown a reputation of handling things correctly, and I don’t think that’s going to be any different in this particular case either,” Jackson said, adding that he was “absolutely” confident in leaders and officials in keeping everyone safe.
Downtown residents are hoping to get some answers to important questions about the summit at a meeting Wednesday evening, as more and more business and restaurant owners downtown expressing concerns.
The meeting is set for 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Ritz-Carlton, 160 E. Pearson St. It is geared toward residents of the Streeterville neighborhood.