NATO Summit | Associated Press

NATO Summit

  • In court: Two more suspects in potential summit disorder

    20 May 2012 1703 GMT

    They're headed to court later today -- two men suspected of plotting to sow disarray during the summit. According to the Cook County State Attorney's Office:

    Mark Neiweem, 28, is charged with attempted possession of explosives or incendiary devices.

    Sebastian Senakiewicz, 24, is charged with falsely making a terrorist threat.

    We're expecting more details later from prosecutors. 

    Three other activists appeared in court Saturday. They're accused of manufacturing Molotov cocktails in a plot to attack President Barack Obama's campaign headquarters and other targets.
  • BREAKING: Obama's comments

    20 May 2012 1710 GMT

    President Barack Obama is speaking at the NATO summit now. Here's what he's saying:
    • The NATO summit will focus on Afghanistan's move to peace and stability after a decade of war.
    • NATO agrees on a vision for post-2014 Afghanistan and now must implement it.

  • A plea for Afghan women

    20 May 2012 1713 GMT

    Madeleine Albright, Meryl Streep and Sandra Day O’Connor are among 46 signatories of an open letter to President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai asking the leaders to protect women's rights in Afghanistan.

    "Presidents Obama and Karzai, this is the defining moment to lead on women’s human rights," the letter says. "Afghan women have never faced greater danger to the protection and advancement of their human rights; they need and deserve your support."

    Other notable signatories include:
    •  “The Kite Runner” author Khaled Hosseini
    • Joan Baez
    • Stephen King
    • Cynthia Nixon
    • Sting
    Read the letter here and see the signatories here.
  • BREAKING: Karzai's comments

    20 May 2012 1715 GMT

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai is appearing with U.S. President Barack Obama at the NATO summit right now. Here are some of his early comments. We'll post more soon.

      Karzai is thanking Americans for the help that their 'taxpayer money' has done in Afghanistan.He said that the transition out of war will mean Afghanistan is 'no longer a burden' on the world.
  • Police prep for protest

    20 May 2012 1717 GMT

    Chicago police meet to prepare for a 2 1/2-mile protest march from a downtown park to the lakeside convention center hosting the NATO summit. Thousands of protesters are expected.
    Police gather on Columbus, a block from Grant Park. (AP Photo/Ryan Foley)
    by RJFoley on May 20, 2012 at 12:55 PM via email
    Chicago police gather for quick street meeting ahead of the march/ (AP Photo/Robert Ray)
    by rray on May 20, 2012 at 12:55 PM via email

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  • Taliban: Do they want peace or war?

    20 May 2012 1726 GMT

    The Taliban took responsibility today for a suicide bombing in Afghanistan that killed two NATO troops. But earlier in the week, powerful Taliban council member Agha Jan Motasim told The AP that the majority of Taliban want peace. 

    So what does the Taliban really want? The AP's Middle East editor, Bob Reid, says such a seeming contradiction really isn't one.
    "What we have here is some differences of opinion in the Taliban, some are more anxious to talk and some more anxious to fight. We also have to be careful to understand when armed groups say they want peace, everybody wants peace. The question is always: On whose terms?"

  • Summit protesters: Speeches begin

    20 May 2012 1739 GMT

    At the site in Chicago where protesters have gathered, activists are starting to make speeches. "Are you ready to march against the warmakers?" said Chicago anti-war activist Joe Isobaker. Responded the crowd: "Yes!"

    -By Carla K. Johnson
  • Growing a protest

    20 May 2012 1751 GMT
    A group of activists holds signs representing corn stalks that read "Don't trade on me" in Chicago. Mary Patten, 61, holding the "don't" sign, says she is protesting how commodities such as corn are increasingly traded as financial instruments rather than used to feed people. (AP Photo/Ryan Foley)
    by RJFoley on May 20, 2012 at 1:02 PM via email

  • Obama and Karzai shake on it

    20 May 2012 1753 GMT

    President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, left, during their meeting at the NATO Summit in Chicago. Karzai thanked Americans for the help their 'taxpayer money' has done in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)


  • Dispatch from Russia

    20 May 2012 GMT 1758

    Russian President Vladimir Putin told NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen he wouldn't attend the summit due to a busy domestic policy calendar. That was the same reason the Russian leader cited for snubbing the G-8 summit.
    But Putin's refusal to attend the events was widely seen as an expression of annoyance with the U.S. policy.

    Russia long has viewed the U.S.-led NATO missile defense for Europe as a challenge to its nuclear forces, rejecting the U.S. assurances that the prospective shield is aimed against a potential missile threat from Iran. Russian officials have repeatedly criticized the U.S. and NATO for what they described as their reluctance to address Moscow's concerns about the missile defense plans.

    By Vladimir Isachenkov
  • NATO summit spouses: Hip-hop aerobics time

    20 May 2012 1804 GMT

    First lady Michelle Obama, in Chicago during the summit, just joined the spouses of NATO heads of state to watch a hip-hop aerobics class for children. Would she join in? she was asked. She declined, smiling and citing her dress and heels. But she didn't leave the children entirely empty-handed; she suggested they come to the White House and work out ... on the South Lawn. 

    We're working on getting video so you can see the kids dance -- and Mr. 

    By Jim Suhr in Chicago

  • "Taxpayer money"

    20 May 2012 1802 GMT

    Obama and Karzai met on the sidelines of the NATO summit to discuss Afghanistan's future. Standing next to Obama, Karzai thanked Americans for the help that their "taxpayer money" has done in Afghanistan.

    Karzai's use of the term "taxpayer money" caught the attention of AP's Middle East editor Bob Reid, who had this to say about it:

    Karzai’s comments thanking Americans for their “taxpayer money” may
    raise some eyebrows at the Pentagon and on military bases around the
    United States.
    At least 1,840 American troops have lost their lives in the Afghan War. Thousands more have been wounded, many of them maimed for life. That’s a considerable investment in blood as well as treasure.

  • Italy's premier: I'll leave NATO summit early because of quake

    20 May 2012 1810 GMT

    Italian Premier Mario Monti, in Chicago for the NATO summit, is telling reporters he'll returning to Italy before the meeting ends because of the earthquake in the north of his country. The magnitude-6.0 quake in northeastern Italy early today killed four people and was, one official said, the worst tremor to hit the region since the 14th century.

    By Frances D'Emilio in Rome
  • Video: Rasmussen talks about Afghanistan

    20 May 2012 1813 GMT

    We've posted earlier on NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen's pledge today to stay committed in Afghanistan and see it through it through. Here's more comments from Rasmussen himself. "Our goal, our strategy, our timetable remain unchanged," he told reporters in Chicago.
    by efredrix on May 20, 2012 at 2:07 PM

  • Quotable

    20 May 2012 1815 GMT

  • Romney weighs in on NATO

    20 May 2012 1820 GMT

    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney may not be attending the NATO summit, but he's hoping to get into the conversation. The former Masachussetts governor has an opinion piece in
    the Chicago Tribune today criticizing Obama's handling of the military.
    writes that Obama "has sent the message - intentionally or not - that
    the worth of NATO has diminished in America's

    Read Romney's opinion piece.

    By Ken Thomas in Washington

  • Afghanistan: The bill

    20 May 2012 1829 GMT

    $4.1 billion - Annual amount needed to maintain Afghan security forces

    Of this: 

    $500 million -  Afghanistan's estimated contribution
    $2.3 billion - U.S. commitment
    $1.3 billion - Amount covered by NATO nations (not including U.S.)

    More details on financing Afghan security forces.

    By Michele Salcedo

  • Of police, baseball and NATO summits

    20 May 2012 1841 GMT

    Even baseball is being forced to clench a bit for the summit. At fabled Wrigley Field, where the Cubs are taking on the White Sox in a cross-town series, the police presence is heavier than usual. "Usually there's one cop on every corner," bartender Brendan Melanson says from his vantage point at Murphy's Bleachers, just beyond the centerfield wall. "Now it is every 2 feet."

    By Don Babwin in Chicago

  • Make beer, not bombs

    20 May 2012 1844 GMT

    "That was beer making equipment, not a bomb."

    - A demonstrator interrupts Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy as he provides an update on protests, highlighting the arrest of three men accused of making Molotov cocktails. Their lawyer says suspect items found with the men were home brewing equipment, not bomb making materials.

    By Ryan Foley in Chicago

  • Afghan flooding

    20 May 2012 1842 GMT

    War-torn Afghanistan suffers from severe infrastructure problems and a difficult terrain. Flood waters ravaged a provincial capital in northern Afghanistan, killing at least 19 people and destroying hundreds of homes, officials said. The region gets hit nearly every spring by flash flooding from heavy rains and snow melting off the mountains.
    by Jaime Holguin on May 20, 2012 at 2:21 PM

  • One last push before withdrawing

    20 May 2012 1844 GMT

    by Peter Prengaman on May 20, 2012 at 2:38 PM

  • Timetable for US troops to leave

    20 May 2012 1854 GMT

    Afghanistan Bureau Chief Patrick Quinn, in the capital of Kabul, lays out the timeline for American troops to withdraw.

    by Peter Prengaman edited by Jaime Holguin 2:54 PM

  • In the Taliban's own words

    20 May 2012 1901 GMT

    The Taliban said in a three-page statement  today that it wants all NATO nations in the country to pull their forces from the war - just as France is doing. Here are some of the highlights from the English version of the letter posted on the Taliban's website:
    • "The declaration of the new president of France, Francois Hollande, that all its troops will be removed from Afghanistan at the end of this year is a decision based on realities and a reflection of the opinion of its nation."
    • "We call upon all the other NATO member countries to avoid working for the political interests of American officials and answer the call of your own people by immediately removing all your troops from Afghanistan."
    • Referring to a poll that found 69 percent of Americans thought the U.S. should not be at war in Afghanistan: "So the NATO member countries who claim to be the elected representatives of its people and consider their government the people's government - by the people, for the people - how will they answer the call of their people in this summit?"
    • "They are conjuring artificial excuses to prolong the occupation of Afghanistan, are wavering in their stance and do not seem to have a clear strategy for a political solution. ... The Islamic Emirate (which is what the Taliban call themselves) considers the claims of the invaders of finding a political solution as meaningless until they come out of their fluctuating unstable state."

    Read more.

  • NATO leaders gather

    20 May 2012 1906 GMT

    Heads of state are filling up the room with the main summit event minutes away now. A ceremony honoring military personnel for service will be followed by opening comments by the Secretary General and a welcome by President Barack Obama.
  • BREAKING: Protest begins

    20 May 2012 1907 GMT

    Thousands of demonstrators are beginning their protest march through downtown Chicago to the site of  the NATO summit.
  • Quotable

    20 May 2012 1910 GMT

  • Jackson calls for nonviolent protests

    20 May 2012 1913 GMT

    "As we march today we must be nonviolent. Not because we're scared, but because we're wise. ... We must go another way. . There's too much violence. There's too much poverty.

    - The Rev. Jesse Jackson, speaking at Chicago's Grant Park, to protesters as they begin a two-mile long march to the site of the NATO Summit.

    By Carla K. Johnson in Chicago
  • Front of the march

    20 May 2012 1917 GMT

    Police on bicycles are at the front of the march heading down Jackson Drive in Chicago. Police are on both sides of the street as protesters begin their two-mile long march to the site of the NATO Summit. (AP Photo/Ryan J. Foley)
    by RJFoley on May 20, 2012 at 3:13 PM via email

  • Syria tension

    20 May 2012 1918 GMT

    The main focus at the NATO summit is Afghanistan as we have reported, but Syria just won’t go away.
      AP verified amateur video from today shows the nation’s bloodshed continues without an end in sight. International diplomatic efforts to stop the violence have foundered.

    by Jaime Holguin on May 20, 2012 at 2:59 PM

  • Voices of the protest

    20 May 2012 1922  GMT

    "We knew we would be remiss if we didn't come out here and do a little dance," said Coleman Smith, who was protesting in Chicago. Listen to more of what Smith has to say.

    by rray on May 20, 2012 at 2:21 PM via email

    Coleman Smith holds his banner before the protest march begins in Chicago. (AP Photo/By Robert Ray)
    by rray on May 20, 2012 at 2:23 PM via email

  • No NATO appetite to intervene in Syria

    20 May 2012 1925 GMT

    Lebanon and Syria Bureau Chief Elizabeth Kennedy explains why all hopes rest on a U.N. peace plan for resolving the conflict in Syria.
    by Peter Prengaman on May 20, 2012 at 3:21 PM
  • Protesters' cause célèbre: Bradley Manning

    20 May 2012 1930 GMT

    One of the favorite causes among protesters is the situation of Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst facing life in prison for allegedly leaking secret military and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks. Protesters say Manning should not be punished for shedding light on U.S foreign relations and military action. They are handing out fliers, wearing pro-Manning buttons and stickers and hoisting signs calling for his release. 

    "He's a cause dear to many of us," says Sean Reynolds, an activist with Occupy Chicago. He says he believes Manning's alleged leaks helped spark the uprising in Tunisia that was part of the Arab Spring. 

    "Private Manning is a global democracy hero," he said. "He showed tremendous courage for the sake of what he thought America should be."
    Activist Sean Reynolds, 41, of Occupy Chicago, hands out fliers that read: "Blowing the whistle on war crimes is not a crime!" (AP Photo/Ryan Foley)
    by RJFoley on May 20, 2012 at 2:52 PM via email
    Manning sticker worn by Sean Reynolds. (AP Photo/Ryan Foley)
    by RJFoley on May 20, 2012 at 2:55 PM via email

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  • The sound of protests

    20 May 2012 1936 GMT
    Come along with AP journalist Robert Ray for the start of the protest march in Chicago.
    by rray on May 20, 2012 at 3:25 PM via email

  • Dining at the Khyber Pass

    20 May 2012 1941 GMT

    At a Chicago hotel where press credentials were being dispensed, a neighboring restaurant bore an appropriate title: Khyber Pass, named after the crucial mountain passage along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. NATO's mission in Afghanistan is perhaps the top item on the summit agenda.

    By Jamey Keaten in Chicago
  • Hip-hop aerobics

    20 May 2012 1943 GMT

    Earlier we told you about first lady Michelle Obama watching a hip-hop aerobics class for children with other spouses of NATO attendees. Here's the class she watched.

    Hip-hop aerobics, as seen by Michelle Obama. Nope, she didn't join in. (AP video/Jim Suhr)
    by Peter Prengaman on May 20, 2012 at 3:37 PM

  • Meet, greet and say 'cheese'

    20 May 2012 1950 GMT

    It's like the red carpet, only more stately. World leaders smile for the crowds as they arrive at the NATO summit.

    NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, left, and President Barack
    Obama, right, laugh as French President Francois Hollande
    arrives at at the
    NATO Summit on Sunday. (AP Photo/

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel talks to NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh
    Rasmussen, left, and President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/


    Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt (middle), talks to President Barack

    At left is NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
    (AP Photo/Kiichiro

  • Protesters on the move

    20 May 2012 1952 GMT

    Demonstrators just crossed 8th Street and Michigan Ave.

    By Shawn Chen in Chicago

  • A sense of where you are

    20 May 2012 2006 GMT

    Beyond NATO discussions, journalists are getting a primer on all things Chicago. In the lounge of the media center, pictures of the city's skyline stream overhead on screens. 

    Silver pillars list random facts about the Windy City: "Chicago has 552 parks, 26 miles of lakefront and 15 miles of public beach," for example, and name the growing number of web start-up companies that includes CareerBuilder, Orbitz and Groupon."

    To sate the appetite, there's food representing different neighborhoods - Gold Coast salad bar (a nod to the upscale neighborhood along Lake Michigan) and mini-beef sliders and Chicago hot dogs to represent  Wrigleyville, where the Chicago Cubs play; and, of course, Chicago-style deep dish pizza is available.

    By Anna Johnson in Chicago

    The Chicago skyline on Saturday night, just as heads of state, journalists and protests arrive ahead of the NATO Summit. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
  • Marching on Jackson Boulevard

    20 May 2012 2010 GMT

    AP's Carla Johnson caught up with protesters as they made their way down Chicago's Jackson Boulevard.

    Protesters march on Jackson Blvd., west of Michigan Ave.
    by Carla Johnson on May 20, 2012 at 3:33 PM via email

  • Room with a view (and many viewpoints)

    20 May 2012 2013 GMT

    Where it all happens. Heads of state and government attend the NATO Summit. (AP Photo/Eric
    , Pool)

  • Keep it moving

    20 May 2012 2018 GMT

    AP's Robert Ray, who's with the protesters, says there are so many journalists out in front of those marching in the main NATO summit protest that they're slowing it down. Police eager to keep things moving are shouting at them, "Arm's length" and "Keep moving."

    Video of the NATO march start.
    by rray on May 20, 2012 at 3:30 PM via email

  • Looking beyond 2014

    20 May 2012 2019 GMT

    Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and U.S. President Barack Obama talk about the transition to Afghan leadership in the country after 2014, when the NATO alliance leaves.

    by bwhitaker on May 20, 2012 at 3:41 PM

  • If the past is similar, will the future really be different?

    20 May 2012 2022 GMT

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai says the withdrawal of NATO troops will mean Afghanistan is "no longer a burden" for other countries.

    However, as Middle East Editor Bob Reid points out, that isn't all together clear: 

    The world thought the same thing when the Soviets left Afghanistan in 1989. But the country descended into civil war, paving the way for the Taliban, al-Qaida and 9/11. Afghanistan will still require considerable economic aid and political support to prevent history from repeating itself in the years ahead.
     Soviet soldiers are seen in Afghanistan in this 1988 file photo. (AP Photo)

     An American soldier with the NATO mission patrols in Kandahar on Jan. 7, 2012. (AP Photo)
    by Peter Prengaman on May 20, 2012 at 4:12 PM

  • Scenes from the protest march

    20 May 2012 2027 GMT

    They all came to protest but they had different causes. Peace activists joined with war veterans and people more focused on the economy for the two-mile long march.
    Protesters assembled at Grant Park with signs denouncing NATO, including ones that read: "War=Debt" and "NATO, Go Home."
    Vietnam veteran in a wheelchair leading the march. (AP Photo/Robert Ray)
    by rray on May 20, 2012 at 3:31 PM via email
    One of two buglers playing on and off at each other. (AP Photo/Nomaan Merchant)
    by David Scott on May 20, 2012 at 3:45 PM via email
    March on Jackson approaching Michigan Ave. (AP  Photo/Carla Johnson)
    by Carla Johnson on May 20, 2012 at 3:24 PM via email
    Crowd to Illinois State Police officers along Michigan ave: You are the 99 percent. (AP Photo/Carla Johnson)
    by Carla Johnson on May 20, 2012 at 4:00 PM via email

    Lorenzo Pacheco blows bubbles while perched in a tree in Grant Park before the protest march. (AP Photo/Charles Rex


    Hare Krishna followers dance beneath an inverted U.S. flags in Grant Park
    before the protest march.
    (AP Photo/Charles Rex


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  • Hack job?

    20 May 2012 2034 GMT

    The Chicago police department's website may have been targeted by hackers, says the city's top cop, Garry McCarthy. That website and one for the City of Chicago both were not working earlier today, and authorities were investigating. A statement posted in the name of the worldwide hacking collective known as Anonymous claims its members took the police site out of commission as the NATO summit began.

    A spokesman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel would say only that his office was aware of a "potential issue" with the city's website and that it's working with federal authorities.

    Chicago Police Superintendent McCarthy says whatever it was, he has other things to think about.

    "I'm more concerned with our deployment and handling the protest."

    In one Anonymous tweet, the group says the sites were taken down because of a violation of human rights.

    By Ryan J. Foley in Chicago
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