When the Bush Administration ordered immoral actions by the CIA, they began changes within law enforcement which are marching our nation towards the establishment of a police state. Dick Cheney says that he would ‘do it again;’ he would order the torture of our suspected enemies. His ignorance is frightening. Torture is not only immoral, it does not produce accurate results. Abuse by law enforcement is on the rise in America. They wear military gear, use military weapons and vehicles, and in Chicago they practice what can only be called ‘black operations,’ where torture is acceptable.
What appeared to be an abandoned warehouse on Chicago’s west side has allegedly been used to detain and interrogate suspected criminals, ensuring they did not have access to legal representation. According to witnesses, this unlawful detention facility has been in operation for a long period of time.
Respect for law enforcement has been replaced by fear of the authorities. Increasing numbers of officers wearing military style clothing, use of force, and lack of tolerance have already created an enormous division between the police and those they are trained to protect. Now add to this illegally detaining suspects and torturing them. This demonstrates a determination by the authorities to create a police state.
Although such action is reprehensible, it is the natural order of things. When our Democratic Republic was replaced by an oligarchy, a need to strengthen the authority of law enforcement became inevitable.
This ordinary looking warehouse has become a symbol of the extremist acts perpetrated on Americans by the authorities. Two protests have taken place, and more are planned.
We can only imagine what occurs inside of that warehouse. Thirty years ago, long before the Homan Square ‘black-ops’ site was discovered, acts of torture by the Chicago Police Department were revealed.
A sixteen-year-old was arrested by the CPD. He was accused of setting a fire which resulted in the deaths of four people. The boy had experienced minor incidents with law enforcement previously, but denied setting the fire. His interrogators began beating the young man until he confessed. When attorneys arrived to witness the confession, the boy told them he had not set the fire. After the lawyers left the room, the officers began beating him again, and squeezed his testicles until he signed the confession.
Over a period of nearly 20 years more than 100 black men and women claimed that they were tortured and beaten by Chicago police. When the operations in the Bowman Square warehouse were exposed there was little surprise displayed within the black community.
The bigger question is how many other cities operate ‘black sites?’ And are there others in Chicago.
Our federal government set the standards when it justified torturing terrorist suspects. Now after the investigation of the Ferguson, Missouri, Police Department by the Department of Justice revealed an environment of racism and prejudice, trusting law enforcement has become increasingly difficult.
Statements made by government officials and affluent Americans prove that they are in denial of the reports from our inner city population. And the problem will certainly deteriorate with the numbers of both impoverished and homeless on the rise.
We can thank George W. Bush and Dick Cheney for teaching our authorities that torture is acceptable.
Commentary by James Turnage