Home / Robert Farley / From Vietnam to Chicago to Gitmo

From Vietnam to Chicago to Gitmo

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What happened at Gitmo wasn’t torture.  Why, it was no worse than serious BDSM/ Special Forces training /frat hazing/ what the Chicago Police Department does on a daily basis.

These allegations recall Chicago twenty-five years ago. In 1990, after multiple allegations of torture, the CPD Office of Professional Standards conducted an investigation in Area 2 that identified fifty cases of torture by over thirty officers. Subsequent investigations led to the uncovering of over 100 victims, going back to 1968. Tactics included shocking, bagging [the head] and suffocating, suspension, whipping, burning, and beating. Most incidents were connected to Jon Burge and his “Asskickers.” Jon Burge brought many of the tactics he learned in Vietnam to interrogations of criminals of Chicago. Although Burge eventually lost his job,[4] other than two associated officers, no other officers were disciplined. Many remained and were promoted.[5] Even if the problem was a “bad apple,” it may very well have spoiled the bunch. Investigations identified over fifty officers over close to three decades. Not only that, but approximately one third of Cook County criminal court judges were attorneys or detectives involved in the torture cases.[6] So the fact that the allegations that began to surface about nefarious practices at Homan in the mid-2000s has gone mostly unnoticed is not all that surprising. When asked about why the Chicago media hasn’t broken the story, Tracy Siska, the executive director of the Chicago Justice Project, replied that many “reporters agree with the police perspective.”

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  • Someone needs to do a gritty remake of Dirty Harry where the renegade cop who gets results gets kicked off the force and convicted of a laundry list of felonies, and the staid by the book police detective, actually solves the crime without engaging in torture or murder.

    • tsam

      There are whole TV networks that show that sort of thing.

      But you can’t have epic car chases, explosions and machine gun fights that end with nobody going to jail without the cop who cares not for your stupid “rules” and “regulations” and “procedures”.

      • Oh, two someones go to jail. The perp and the cop who cares not for your rules. Also the guy on his last week before retirement has a nice party and gets to spend his golden years teaching his grandkids how to racially profile pedestrians.

        • tsam

          I don’t see any murdering robots in your proposal. GOOD DAY, SIR.

    • Brett

      The movie Untouchables sort of does that. Elliot Ness & Friends do all kinds of tough-guy, quasi-legal interdiction against Capone’s gang – but it’s ultimately useless, and what nails Capone are the income tax evasion charges based on publicly available information acquired through legal channels by the most bookish member on the squad.

  • rea

    I am not entirely sure why the seal of the City of Chicago shows a Native American over in Michigan (wearing what appears to be a Lakota headdress), not to mention Venus on the half shell with her legs crossed.

    • joe from Lowell

      Yahbut, it’s got the Mayflower. For some reason.

      • Snarki, child of Loki

        That was from when the Pilgrims got lost and wound up on Lake Michigan. The captain of the Mayflower tried to get them to disembark, but they were all “Fuck that! The natives here are too savage!”, so they sailed back to Plymouth Rock and the rest is history.

        • Hogan

          And that’s how badass the Pilgrims were. I’d have given up when I got to Niagara Falls.

          • Snarki, child of Loki

            That’s the point where you would have “turned slowly”?

            • Kurzleg
              • Snarki, child of Loki

                Nah, like this.

                Sigh. Kids these days…now get off my lawn.

          • BigHank53

            Look, once you figure out how to sail up the falls, down is a cinch.

            • The Pilgrims would have counted on their inherent holiness to levitate them. After all, god never failed them except when he left them to starve.

    • Hogan

      The Seal of Chicago was adopted in June, 1837 and The Charter and Ordinances of the City of Chicago had described the seal. “Be it Ordained by the Common Council of the City of Chicago, That the seal heretofore provided and used by and for the city of Chicago, the impression on which is a representation of a shield, with a sheaf of wheat in the centre; a ship in full sail on the right; a sleeping infant on the top; an Indian with bow and arrow on the left; and with the motto, ‘Urbs in Horto’, at the bottom of the shield; with the inscription, ‘City of Chicago: Incorporated 4th March, 1837,’ around the edge of said seal, shall be, and is hereby established and declared to have been and now to be the seal of the city of Chicago.

      The symbolism is simple. The sheaf of wheat stands for fertility of the Illinois prairies, the ship, Lake Michigan, and the Indians, the original settlers of the Chicago region. “Urbs in Horto” – “Garden City” – is the motto by which the early city fathers hoped Chicago would be. Only slumbering infant is a mystery, although it is accepted to mean peace and purity.

      According to Mike Royko, many thought the city’s motto should be changed from “Urbs in Horto” to “Ubi est mea?”

      • ThrottleJockey

        During the winters at least the motto should be, “Semper ubi longus sub ubi”.

  • ThrottleJockey

    Tracy Siska, the executive director of the Chicago Justice Project, replied that many “reporters agree with the police perspective.”

    Or it could be that many reporters are simply skeptical. Its not that the allegations couldn’t be true–obviously the Burge charges mean they could be–but the evidence I’ve seen is very unpersuasive. And I’ve had multiple run ins with the Chicago PD.

    Once after I had been racially profiled, arrested, and then illegally detained over night I filed a complaint with Internal Affairs. The IA cop looks at me and says, “You can file a complaint if you want to, but the incident you allege happened in a room full of officers, do you think they’re going to back up your story?” I’ve also seen Chicago cops ignore exculpatory witnesses when it didn’t back up their preferred narrative and implicate their racially profiled preferred suspect. So if I’m skeptical, you can see why much of the rest of Chicago is skeptical also.

    • JL

      Have you been reading the coverage beyond the initial story? The Guardian has run several stories interviewing detainees and to a lesser extent lawyers, the Intercept has run a story interviewing detainees, Al Jazeera has run a story interviewing lawyers. One of the people who was arrested with the NATO 3 wrote up his story back in 2012 (I would link, but I don’t want to get spam-filtered) and the Beachwood Reporter has a compilation of links that includes real-time accounts from 2012.

      I could maybe understand why you were skeptical of the first story, though I wasn’t. I don’t understand why you’re still skeptical now. Do you think all these people are making their stories up? In the context of the Chicago PD’s long and documented history of mistreating people, which your personal history with being mistreated by them has illustrated for you? What would you need in order to be less skeptical?

      • ThrottleJockey

        Hey, JL, thanks for the links. I liked the Jazeera piece. I’d like to see more defense attorneys speak out on the record…Reading between the lines, it seems as if part of the argument is over what constitutes “arrest” (as opposed to detention) and if Miranda warnings are generally required.

        Miranda warnings are not generally required, unless the police intend to use the suspect’s own statements, and often that doesn’t enter into smaller cases. I’ve been arrested 3 times and I’ve never been Mirandized. A 4th time I was ‘detained’ while the cop gave my buddy time to get money to bond me out.

        • Rob in CT

          I’ve been arrested 3 times and I’ve never been Mirandized. A 4th time I was ‘detained’ while the cop gave my buddy time to get money to bond me out.

          That… seems like a lot, don’t you think?

          I hope I’m not coming across like a dick: I mean, that sure seems like evidence of the CPD profiling. Unless, of course, you actually committed a bunch of crimes…

          • ThrottleJockey

            Only 2 times were in Chicago. Once was in Texas, and the ‘detention’ was in Missouri. Two of the times the cops didn’t like the uppity black man. Once I was the victim of a beating (they arrested everyone in sight) and I awoke in a hospital room with a cop seated next to me (he soon left). The detention was over a 10 year old ticket I’d forgotten about…ironically given to me by a town nearby Ferguson. So I’ve had a range of experiences some of which implicated the cops, and one of which was my own damn fault.

            • Malaclypse

              The detention was over a 10 year old ticket I’d forgotten about…ironically given to me by a town nearby Ferguson.

              Twenty-odd years ago, my then-girlfriend borrowed my car, parked in front of a hydrant, got a ticket, threw it away, and never told me.

              Two years later, long after we broke up, I found out about it because they would not let me re-register the car. Arresting or detaining people over unpaid tickets doesn’t make sense, unless the goal is wealth extraction when the arrest goes bad.

              • ThrottleJockey

                Oddly enough, Mal, that was one of my good experiences. The Missori trooper had me sit in the front seat, kept the cuffs loose, and told the booking sergeant not to process me. Meanwhile he had given my buddy my ATM card so he could get the money necessary to pay the fine. He even stood at the desk with me for the 20 minutes it took my friend to get the money. He told me that had I been pulled over in IL when it happened state law was that I’d have to spend 3 days in jail!

                Of course the speeding ticket was unquestionably my fault. They should be treated differently than parking tickets because, as in your case, you never know who was responsible when it comes to parking tickets. Theoretically the car might even have been stolen when the car got ticketed.

                • Malaclypse

                  Ah, I thought this was parking. Still seems excessive, but not as extreme.

            • JL

              Once I was the victim of a beating (they arrested everyone in sight)…

              Ouch. So sorry they did that to you! Or do you mean that the beating was by a non-cop and you were falsely arrested as the victim (which would still be terrible, just in a slightly different way)?

              I was not Mirandized either when I was arrested, but I also wasn’t interrogated, just asked the normal booking questions. If I was being interrogated about the alleged crime I would expect to be Mirandized (and in the accounts given, Homan Square is, among other things, an interrogation facility). Hilariously, someone in our group was interrogated and the cops realized midway through that they hadn’t Mirandized her (or realized that they weren’t going to get anything out of her) and tried to pull a “And we didn’t ask you those previous questions, okay?”

    • Cheerful

      The evidence you cite would seem to be reason to be skeptical of the police, not the story of the police abuses or the relevant evidence. Is there something I’m missing?

      • ThrottleJockey

        Yeah, sure. I’ve left out incidents where the police did their jobs well and honorably. I’ve seen both sides of the CPD.

        • JL

          So have I, but the bad was sufficiently bad and sufficiently not-just-a-bad-apple-or-two that, especially in combination with decades of evidence of how the CPD treats people, it made my view of them as an institution extremely negative. That doesn’t mean my view of every single cop in the CPD is negative, nor that I wish random individual cops ill – I do not – but I think the department itself is deeply broken, even more than other big-city departments I’m familiar with. I really find them contemptible as an institution.

    • wengler

      The January before the Iraq War, Bush came to town to talk to his rich friends at a hotel in Chicago. There was a protest in a ‘first amendment zone’ nearby.

      Though many of the broadcast station covered it, NBC did not. And how could they? I had parked in the NBC tower parking lot…right across the street from the protest. The corporate-backed news in this city reflexively protects the rich, white establishment from everyone else.

    • DrDick

      However, having lived in Chicago for 12 years and knowing several Chicago cops at the time, I am not at all skeptical.

  • Malaclypse

    going back to 1968

    Still preserving disorder, I see.

    • Snarki, child of Loki

      Oh, it goes back much further.

      Ms. O’Leery’s cow was accused based on profiling. Truth.

      • Joseph Slater


        • Malaclypse

          Actually, it’s about ethics in bovine journalism.

  • Shakezula

    Tracy Siska, the executive director of the Chicago Justice Project, replied that many “reporters agree with the police perspective.”

    After the St. Louis Post-Dispatch made an ass of itself trying to determine whether Michael “No Angel” Brown had a juvenile record, I am SHOCKED … Not really.

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