Gitmo Comes to Chicago – Lucy Steigerwald

Though the war on drugs is far from over, recreational marijuana is now legal in three US states. This week, Alaska joined Washington state and Colorado in dialing back the conflict has been a staggering human rights violation, and fuel for the US’s increasingly militarized police. (To say nothing of its part in real wars throughout Latin America.)

Chicago police car

Though the fight hasn’t stopped, public opinion has substantially shifted in recent years. Since 2012, a majority of US citizens have supported legalizing marijuana. Though it behooves us not to get ahead of ourselves in celebrating this victory of sanity, it is also time to turn attention to the victims of police and prisons in America. They are the ones who are likely to still be suffering even after some of our more foolish laws change.

This week, investigative reporter Spencer Ackerman wrote a Guardian piece about what sounds a lot like a black site for political dissenters and other unsavory folks. This place is in Chicago, and no, it’s not quite Abu Ghraib, but the eerie parallels with war on terror excesses are clear and deeply distressing.

The place is called Homan Square. Reportedly, lawyers are not allowed, and arrests are basically off books, meaning suspects disappear into a blackhole of bureaucracy for however long they’re held. If you can’t find your client, but they were taken away by police, that’s where they are likely to be. Suspects are denied lawyers for 12-24 hours. Kids as young as 15 have been taken there. One death has been reported, and numerous beatings. Ackerman relates the story of a NATO protester who was shackled for 17 hours, and not permitted to call a lawyer. Other attorneys claim similar stories of lost clients, and being barred from seeing them at Homan Square. MRAPs are reportedly parked outside the building.

This sounds terrifying — especially paired with, say, the Chicago police commander who tortured 100 suspects, and got away with it for decades, before finally serving four years in prison.

Read the rest via Gitmo Comes to Chicago by Lucy Steigerwald —

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