Chicago’s ‘Black Site’ — A Compound to Rendition U.S. Citizens

Do you believe in the Constitution? Do you believe in due process or the notion that as something is being taken away from you, like your liberty, you’re entitled to procedural fairness (the government is staying within the parameters of the law as it seeks to prosecute you for violating the law)?

Of course you do. Well, what if I was to tell you that there is a place here in the U.S. that is systematically depriving citizens of their right to due process. It’s an interrogation compound or rendition camp, where extraconstitutional activity happens on a daily basis.

That place is known as Homan Square, a warehouse located on Chicago’s west side. According to an excellent article in The Guardian, the place is “the a domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.”

What sort of abuses happen there? Here’s a list of alleged abuses:

  • 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.

“Homan Square is definitely an unusual place,” Brian Jacob Church, a protestor who was held there in 2012, told the Guardian on Friday. “It brings to mind the interrogation facilities they use in the Middle East. The CIA calls them black sites. It’s a domestic black site. When you go in, no one knows what’s happened to you.”

Church told the paper that he and 11 other demonstrators were taken to Homan Square following a protest against the Nato summit. Church said he was handcuffed to a bench for upwards of 17 hours, during which time he was occasionally taken in for interrogation. He claims he was never read his Miranda rights. He was eventually charge with terrorism-related offenses.

“I had essentially figured, ‘All right, well, they disappeared us and so we’re probably never going to see the light of day again,’” Church said.

While there are two sides to every story, many believe that even if they allegations against the investigators at Homan Square are half true it’s a sign that things are headed in the wrong direction. By “wrong direction” think Orwellian police state.

“The real danger in allowing practices like Guantánamo or Abu Ghraib is the fact that they always creep into other aspects,” Tracy Siska, a criminologist and civil-rights activist with the Chicago Justice Project, told the Guardian.

“They creep into domestic law enforcement, either with weaponry like with the militarization of police, or interrogation practices,” she continued. “That’s how we ended up with a black site in Chicago.”

Scary stuff, especially if it’s all true. Really makes you wonder what the future holds. As it’s been said in the past, one of the biggest concerns a democracy faces is figuring out how to police the police.

I encourage you to check out the full article at The Guardian!

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Andrew N. March 5, 2015, 1:54 am

    Gee, more Gov’t corruption in Chicago. What a surprise! They have at least two former Governor’s and one Congressman in jail, all on corruption charges. It is the most corrupt city in America, and home of our current corrupt President. When will the rest of America learn? The last honest or decent politician from Illinois was Abe Lincoln.

    • Russ March 5, 2015, 9:22 pm

      Good 1

  • Oldforester March 4, 2015, 11:19 pm

    Well, the ‘whiners’ have come out of the woodwork full force. Let me see if I get this right. The poblem is the Democrats . . only it is really the Republicans . . or is it the anarchistic protestors who are really bringing us down? Of course!!! It is Pres. Obama! Look how he is trying to bring the country down with his universal health care program . . . except that program is almost a carbon copy on Romney Care, which Mitty Boy implemented while he was Gov. of good old Massachusetts. Must be Mitt’s doing! Except that it is really the Muslims, who are all terriorists! Pick your favorite entity to point a finger at. One commenter hit the naile squarely on the head – if you really want to see who to blame, who to point the finger at, look in the mirror. We have become the most overprivileged, spoiled, irresponsible, buck-passing glob of whiners in the entire world. Just two observations: 1. I noticed that when the death of Osama Bin Laden was announced it was cause for great celebration in the streets. Thousands of our finest young men (and women) could be seen on news footage from Times Square, dancing around like lunatics with a beer in each hand, showing how patriotic they are. 2. Following the terrorist attacks on US citizens on United States soil, there was, “a great pulling together and a great resurgence of patriotism” according to many news commentators in the days following those horrible attacks. What did not appear was a flood of young American manhood (and woomanhood) to the various armed services’ recruiting offices. Certainly, there was an increase of those wanting to enlist, but it was certainly not an overwhelming flood of outraged would-be defenders of our homeland. Wonder why? Ask a WW II vet what happened in the US the day after Pearl Harbor. Ask them about responsibility and the cost of the freedom you enjoy today. Then try to explain to them who is responsible for our sad state of affairs.

    • Erick March 5, 2015, 6:11 pm

      Good response and I agree with the point that everyone is blaming everyone else, when a lot of responsibility (but not all) falls on ‘We the People’.
      I would like to point out that even the older generations, those of WWI and WWII eras, committed some of the same follies that younger generations of today commit: relying upon government to solve problems. FDR was voted into Presidency several times, all the while spewing ideology of “government will solve your problems for you!” just like today’s politicians, both Democrat and Republican, ramble about.
      And it doesn’t stop with FDR. Other Presidents of the same era, and even before, like Woodrow Wilson and Theodore Roosevelt, preached the same ‘government salvation’ gospel too, along with many State and Federal Congressmen; and many people (voters) during those times ate it up.
      So even the older generations committed the same mistakes that generations of today are making.
      There really isn’t any significant difference between generations as far as behavior and human tendency.
      People don’t really change that much and neither does the world, but peoples’ perspectives of the world change as they grow older; and every generation looks upon new generations as “rotten”, “spoiled”, etc. …And the cycle continues.

  • Russ March 4, 2015, 8:47 pm

    Wall up Chicago and call it a prison.
    The majority of the criminals in America are already there.
    Hollywood can make a reality show about it.
    What a shithole and joke this all is.

  • Winston March 2, 2015, 9:32 pm

    Vote GOP? Vote DEM? Nothing ever changes for the good of the Bill of Rights either way- it just keeps getting more corrupted year after year.

  • Gary March 2, 2015, 5:54 pm

    Lets me think now………….. who is the Mayor of Chicgao, Ro.. somebody, a DEMOCRAP I believe. And a pretty untrustworthy one in my opinion, if we still allowed opinions?

  • KMacK March 2, 2015, 3:15 pm

    We live in a Republic functioning as a democracy.
    That means one thing: This thing exists because WE permit it to. WE elect the leaders that condone it. WE support the city that it is in. WE permit the police to do these things.
    That’s the wonder and horror of Democracy: Responsibility-we have it.

  • survivor50 March 2, 2015, 2:05 pm

    Mr Church and his fellow protestors were “possessing” Molotov cocktails for a NATO protest in Chicago… and the “Guardian” is hardly a source I’d trust to tell me which direction the sun will rise in the morning… a “BLACK” site hiding in plain sight, is hardly secret.

  • Chiraq March 2, 2015, 1:54 pm

    “The Guardian was refused access to Homan Square” Why don’t the local citizens just mob the building from all directions and overwhelm any “guards” blocking the entrance? Take cameras with you (everyone) and get inside to see what’s up in there? The power of the “mob” can overwhelm any guards blocking the entrances. Just a thought. If the Chicago police don’t give a crap about your Consitutional rights, then why should local Chcagoans care about being told they can’t enter thebuilding?

  • shootbrownelk March 2, 2015, 11:44 am

    If I ever lived in (heaven forbid) Chicago, I’d vote for a semi-trained monkey before I’d vote for Rahm Emanuel. He’s only Chicago’s mayor because of the O’Bummer political machine. Does anyone know how many Chicago ex-mayors are or were in prison? I’m curious.

  • John Tomczyk March 2, 2015, 11:13 am

    The law abiding public has a chance to change this by voting Mayor Emanuel out of office in the upcoming election. Vote for Garcia.

  • David W, Stephenson March 2, 2015, 10:28 am

    I’ve heard about this site, hey its the Chicago Way. Just like vote early and often, but seriously there is probably more than just Chicago because of obama. Because he thinks that anyone who doesn’t think like him is a terroist! Count me in I guess, I’m not falling for his shit!

  • teebonicus February 25, 2015, 2:51 pm

    How is it that this site continues to exist, and that no punitive action has been taken against the authorities responsible for its existence and practices?

    This isn’t just bad policy, it is blatant government criminality.

    • Dusty March 2, 2015, 11:57 pm

      FWIW- Your question should revolve arounf the big word “IF” it exists. i.e.- Domestic law enforcement does not do a lot of ‘terrorism’ investigations. Most are not really chartered for it. I can assure you mine isn’t. Second- take a really long, hard look at the credibility of folks that protest events like the NATO Summit- I suspect many are the same folks that protest WTO, NAFTA, whatever else you might imagine- (read “anarchist” types in general, either in name or functionally.) Lastly- domestic courts are highly likely to severely sanction any ‘evidence’, testimony or other information generated at such a site. I have found our courts not very supportive of Patriot Act notions and practices. In my experience most law enforcement really does not want to “play that game”.

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