US: The Torture of Democracy

The disappeared: Chicago police detain Americans at abuse-laden ‘black site’

  • Exclusive: Secret interrogation facility reveals aspects of war on terror in US
While US military and intelligence interrogation impacted people overseas, Homan Square – said to house military-style vehicles and even a cage – focuses on American citizens, most often poor, black and brown. ‘When you go in,’ Brian Jacob Church told the Guardian, ‘nobody knows what happened to you.
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The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

Alleged police practices at Homan Square, according to those familiar with the facility who spoke out to the Guardian after its investigation into Chicago police abuse, include:

  • Keeping arrestees out of official booking databases.
  • Beating by police, resulting in head wounds.
  • Shackling for prolonged periods.
  • Denying attorneys access to the “secure” facility.
  • Holding people without legal counsel for between 12 and 24 hours, including people as young as 15.

Continue reading

Ferguson controversy prompts protests in Chicago shootings

People protest on West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson last month. File Photo. | Alex Wroblewski / Sun-Times

MARY MITCHELL, SunTiumes,

 09/17/2014

There is no doubt in Tamara Ball’s mind her son was murdered during a confrontation with Chicago police officers in July.

Ball, the biological mother of 16-year-old Warren Robinson, claims witnesses saw him with his hands in the air before he was fatally shot.

“The lady said when she saw my son, my son’s hands were in the air… he had already been shot in the leg. She said he was on his knees begging for his life,” Ball told me.

But Police said the teen crawled from under a car and pointed a .387 caliber semiautomatic pistol at two police officers.

Presumably, the Independent Police Review Authority — the agency charged with investigating police-involved shootings — will track down those witnesses.

But it can take up to 18 months before IPRA renders a decision on whether or not police were justified when they shot this teenager multiple times. Continue reading

December 4, 1969 — “Nothing but a Northern Lynching”: The Assassination of Fred Hampton

[It is 43 years since the US government murdered the young, brilliant revolutionary leader of Black Panthers in Chicago, Fred Hampton.  The magnitude of this crime must never be forgotten or forgiven.  As he had said, “You can kill a revolutionary but you cannot kill the revolution.” The following article of observation and remembrance is by one of the attorneys who represented the families of survivors of the murderous December 4, 1969 raid by the FBI and Chicago police on the home of Fred Hampton, Deputy Chairman of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party. We thank the valuable website, Black Agenda Report, for making it public. — Frontlines ed.]
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Fred Hampton

Fred Hampton

by G. Flint Taylor, People’s Law Office, December 4, 2012

At 4:30 in the morning of December 4, 1969, 14 heavily armed Chicago police officers, acting at the direction of Cook County State’s Attorney Edward V. Hanrahan, raided a tiny apartment on the west side of Chicago where local Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton and eight Party members were sleeping. Minutes later, Hampton and Peoria, Illinois BPP leader Mark Clark lay dead, several of the other Panthers were seriously wounded, and the survivors were hauled off to jail on attempted murder charges [3].

I was a second year Northwestern law student working at the fledgling People’s Law Office when I received a call that “the Chairman had been murdered” and was directed to come to the apartment. The crime scene was shocking – – – the plasterboard walls looked like swiss cheese, ripped by scores of bullets from police weapons that included a machine gun, a semi automatic rifle, and several shotguns. A large pool of blood stained the floor at the doorway where Hampton’s body had been dragged after he was shot in the head, and there were fresh blood stains on all the beds in the apartment.

I had met Chairman Fred only months before when I escorted him to the Law School to speak to the student body in venerable Lincoln Hall. He was only 21 years old, but he captivated the audience, as he always did, with his dynamic and analytical speaking skill [4], a mixture of Malcolm X, Dr. King, and Lupe Fiasco. It was his unique leadership, together with the revolutionary politics [5] he so convincingly espoused, that made him a primary target of law enforcement. Continue reading

Surge in police shootings seen in Chicago

[In this AP news report, note how AP repeats, without any journalistic data, the police mantra that “it’s all caused by violent youth.” — Frontlines ed.]
Jul 24, 2011
by Kelsey Wheatcroft
CHICAGO, IL (AP) -A published report says 40 suspects have been shot by Chicago Police this year, including 16 who died.The number of deadly officer-involved shootings already outpaces all of last year, when 13 people died in police shootings.Total police shootings, deadly and otherwise, so far in 2011 are nearly as many as in all of 2010. Such shootings are at a midyear high compared to the past four years.Some officers blame the increase on a new boldness among youth who start shootouts with police.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Chicago Protest of Government Repression of Palestine Solidarity, January 25, 2011


On Jan. 25, demonstrators held rallies in over 50 cities worldwide to protest the FBI’s Sept. 24, 2010, raids on 14 peace activists and subsequent Grand Jury subpoenas of 23 different activists — 9 of whom are involved in solidarity work with Palestine. All of those who received summons to testify before a Grand Jury in Chicago refused, through their attorneys.

Chicago: Warehouse sweatshops, no!

By Gavrielle Gemma

Joliet, Ill.

There are 150,000 workers toiling 365 days a year in sweatshop warehouses in the Chicago region. With dockworkers and truck drivers, they load and distribute most of the products we wear, eat or use. The gigantic, concrete, windowless warehouses hide the brutal and unsafe conditions inside.

Warehouse Workers for Justice are exposing this and fighting back.

In the warehouse or “logistics” industry, high-tech restructuring has meant fewer workers move mountains of goods to megafirms like Wal-Mart, K-Mart and Target. This has created super-profits for them.

With unemployment high in Illinois, corporations are using this to drive down wages. While manufacturing plants with good union wages are closed, the warehouse industry is expanding; it pays minimum wage and denies benefits like sick or vacation pay to workers.

WWJ says 63 percent of warehouse workers are hired through temporary agencies, which often pay piece rates. A worker might make 90 cents a piece for each refrigerator loaded off a truck; sometimes that 90 cents is split between two workers doing the job together. Continue reading