By: Donnie Casto II
“I hear the train a comin’ It’s rolling round the bend, And I ain’t seen the sunshine since I don’t know when, I’m stuck in Folsom prison, and time keeps draggin’ on.” – Johnny Cash, Folsom Prison Blues
On September 6, 2006, President George W. Bush admitted to the existence of CIA-operated ‘black sites’ in which suspected terrorists could be taken without trial, charge, or access to an attorney. Enhanced Interrogation Technique,s a.k.a torture, are often employed at these facilities, and there is no set time table for release as the government has a right under the National Defense Authorization Act of indefinite military detention of any suspected terrorist who is a U.S. Citizen.
The Greek philosopher Plato said “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” The harsh truth of the uninformed, apathetic American became a reality with the publication of an article by The Guardian regarding a black site operating on U.S. soil at Homan Square in Chicago. The report also highlights that it was the Chicago Police Department, not the CIA or the military, running this operation in which 44-year-old detainee John Hubbard died in an interrogation room.
Worth noting: no coroner’s report or official record of Mr. Hubbard’s death exists. According to other detainees of the facility, the building houses military style police vehicles, detainees are not read their rights, are beaten by police officers and are denied any communication or access to legal counsel. At Homan Square in Chicago, they don’t process any paperwork recording your arrest, they don’t allow access to counsel, and you’re not logged in any police computer records. You’re gone, and no one knows why or even for how long.
Not that any of this should be a surprise to those who are ardent students of history of abuse in the Chicago Police Department. A quick step down memory lane will awaken recollections of the rampant police violence in the Roaring ’20s and ’30s during the reign of former Mayor ‘Big’ Bill Thompson, who was bought and paid for by mob boss Alphonse ‘Al’ Capone. Maybe memories of Vietnam protesters being beaten by Chicago Police at the Democratic National Convention during the reign of Mayor Daley come to mind? I’m sure there are other instances we could dig up of corruption and abuse of power by those in Chicago or any other large American city.
Two days ago, the Chicago Police Department released an official statement stating, “The facility is considered sensitive because many officers who operate there are often involved in undercover assignments, and advertising their location could put their lives at risk. Other sensitive units housed at the facility include the Bureau of Organized Crime, SWAT Unit Evidence Technicians, and the CPD ballistics lab. CPD abides by all laws, rules and guidelines pertaining to any interviews of suspects or witnesses, at Homan Square or any other CPD facility.
If lawyers have a client detained at Homan Square, just like any other facility, they are allowed to speak to and visit them.”
I’m pretty sure if that doesn’t inspire confidence in our law enforcement (I’m sorry, I meant junior military with a badge) the concluding statement will: “The allegation that physical violence is a part of interviews with suspects is unequivocally false, it is offensive, and it is not supported by any facts whatsoever.”
How long could such a place exist in a constitutional republic governed by natural law? According to noted Criminologist and Executive Director of the Chicago Justice Project, Tracy Siska, in an article in The Atlantic: “There was knowledge in the police-accountability community. We knew exactly where it was, but we couldn’t get the press in Chicago to cover the story. We think it started during former Chicago Police Department Superintendent Phil Cline’s time around 2006 or 2007 until about 2011 when the city had roving special units that worked out of Homan Square.”
Seems that Chicago, like our government in Washington D.C., took the warnings of the great Orwell classic 1984 and perverted it into an instruction manual. While this recent turn of events should disgust and outrage the reader, some might have forgotten that during World War II there were between 110,000 and 120,000 individuals of Japanese ancestry who were interred and held in camps scattered through the West Coast. Sixty two percent of these estimated 110 to 120 thousand individuals happened to be United States citizens. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the law authorizing their internment on February 19, 1942 with Executive Order 9066.
Traveling through time before the alleged events in Chicago should lead us all to ask some questions of ourselves and of those in government and law enforcement. It also beckons questions regarding the media, who Burke once stated is “the fourth estate of power” in the three branches of our government.
The question, posed mainly to American media: Why did it take a British media service to break the story of Homan Square? Were there no affiliates for NBC, CBS, FOX, CNN, or ABC in the media market of Chicago to cover this story? Why have most constitutional conservatives, and even to a degree, libertarians remained mostly silent on this particular case? Did the sheepdogs who barked against the door of the unlimited power that the Patriot Act would open get consumed by the wolves? Were they really wolves in sheep’s clothing? Will routine traffic stops now lead to indefinite detention without the right to counsel or even the ability to refuse illegal or unwarranted search and seizure?
Better yet, imagine if you will that this story brought to light children in the Chicago area who were deemed disruptive and just whisked away without parental notification or consent? I imagine though in the end, despite the utter moral and ethical contempt each of us should have regarding a government and a police department whose corruption knows no bounds, once the next celebrity sex tape or clothing mishap occurs this will be yet another unlearned lesson towards the final sum goal of living in a system that constantly reminds us each day we are free to do as they tell us to do.
In the end, maybe the words of the good Dr. Thompson serve us best to reflect on: “We cannot expect people to have respect for law and order until we teach respect to those we have entrusted to enforce those laws.”
Better start passing out those red pills of truth on the way to Barstow friends.