In what can easily be the most major scandal in recent American history, short of the Snowden Leaks, a secret torture and interrogation facility was exposed in Homan Square, West Side of Chicago. At least six victims came forward and told The Guardian what happened to them and the details are both shocking and horrific. One of the victims, Brian Jacob Church was protesting in Chicago at the NATO summit in 2012 and was arrested along with two others for terrorism charges. Brian’s story is that he wasn’t charged for 17 hours, but was held in Homan Square in deplorable conditions.
Brian explained that he was shackled to a bench, denied a lawyer, denied access to make a phone call for 17 hours. Eventually the terrorism charges against him and his cohorts were dropped, but served two and a half years in prison for a “mob action” charge and possessing an incendiary device. But while this may seem light and not very shocking, what the other detainees endured is.
The list of abuse and violation of basic rights include:
Denying access to lawyers
Beatings, sometimes leading in facial and head wounds
Not keeping records of the arrestees on police databases
Shackling the arrested for extreme periods of time in stress positions
Being held in human “bird cages”
Detaining children/teens as young as 15
CIA/Guantánamo Bay style “enhanced interrogation techniques” used including sleep deprivation, severely heated rooms without access to water, slapping
General torture as one detainee says his genitals were “stomped repeatedly like they were trying to put a cigarette out”
One known death as a result of police “interrogation” in this facility
Only police officers are authorized to enter the facility. Lawyers and press were denied access to this site and flags are being raised as to why.
The Chicago Police Department denies any sort of illegal behaviour took place and issued a vague press release that raises more questions than are answered. The facility is also rumoured to house special police units such as SWAT, undercover police officers, and military issued equipment, weapons, and vehicles acquired from the American Department of Defense. It’s very convenient that only police officers allowed access to the facility because of “undercover work” when they house prisoners there as well.
“CPD (Chicago police department) 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. It also houses CPD’s Evidence Recovered Property Section, where the public is able to claim inventoried property.”
But Brock Terry, one of the detainees, described a scene from a dystopian film.
“I sat in that place for three days, man – with no talking, no calls to nobody,” Terry said. Speaking about his family: “They call police stations, I’m not there, I’m not there.”
Terry said he heard people yelling “no, no, no” and “stop”.
“They got kennels – like, for people,” Terry said to the Guardian. “I didn’t really want to believe that, but it is the truth.”
The horror story doesn’t end there as another victim, Hutcherson, who was arrested for a ridiculous charge when an undercover police officer said they wanted him to make change for a $50 bill to buy drugs. He was taken to Homan Square and was shackled. He had this to say:
“They had me handcuffed – both hands stretched-out,” Wright told the Guardian. “I was stretched out like I’m being crucified.”
“He takes his foot and steps on my groin, like he was putting out a cigarette or something, with his toe.”
He also explained being slapped and punched and eventually the officer left the room saying,
“It’s gonna get a little hot up in here,” as they changed the thermostat in the room turning the heat all the way up. Hutcherson was left in the stifling room for hours.
The accounts of the shackling in stress positions and “disappearing” people for days seem to match up across all the victims, but it appears that only the black men abused were tortured. Naturally, this story has gathered major exposure over social media and protests took place on February the 28th outside the facility.
The protesters had support from Anonymous and eventually decided to take the streets and march. There was also similar chanting and figures there mirroring Ferguson. More protests are expected in the days and weeks ahead as word of this off the books torture faculty spreads. Oddly enough, only one American news group has picked up this major story, MSNBC, but all they posted was the police press release and nothing more. Also check out this news clip from RT describing the madness.
Sirius Science News will be following this story closely as it develops.