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!