US Libertarian Party Urges Media Coverage of Chicago’s ‘Black Site’

MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Libertarian party Chairman Nicholas Sarwark told Sputnik on Friday that cases of physical abuse at an unofficial police interrogation site in Chicago should hit the headlines in US media. In February, the Guardian reported about a “domestic black site” in Chicago similar to US Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation sites overseas. However, the story did not receive extensive coverage in US media. “The allegations of physical abuse should be covered by the media.” Nicholas Sarwark said.

Sarwark stressed that any time American citizens are held without fundamental rights to see an attorney before questioning, “it is an outrage” earlier on Thursday, a protest against the “black site” took place in Chicago. Chicago Alliance Against Racist & Political Pressure community organizer Frank Chapman told Sputnik that US media were not present at the rally and only international media covered the event

Lawyers: Homan Square Allegations Are A Citywide Problem – Annabelle Bamforth

Chicago, IL- Allegations of physical abuse and denial of Constitutional rights of suspects held at the closely guarded Homan Square warehouse in Chicago have led to lawyers claiming that such accusations are not limited to one particular facility and it is a problem spread throughout the city.

Front police car

The descriptions of abuse at Homan Square, including shackling of arrestees for prolonged periods, suspects suffering head wounds while in holding, and officers holding suspects-even minors- without access to an attorney are not unique to this specific building, according to veteran criminal defense attorney Richard Dvorak. Dvorak said that “Everything that was described [in the Guardian story] was something that happens every day. I think it’s pretty systemic throughout CPD.”

First Defense Legal Aid Executive Director Eliza Solowiej also said the problems were not necessarily worse at Homan Square than at other police precincts. “It’s not just this facility. This is a citywide problem,” she said.

Criminal defense attorney Robert Loeb suggested that other Chicago detective headquarters may have more problems with inappropriate detention and interrogation tactics than at Homan Square.

The Chicago Police Department responded to The Guardian’s story revealing abuse allegations at Homan Square in a statement:

Read the rest via Lawyers: Homan Square Allegations Are A Citywide Problem | Ben Swann Truth In Media.

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 — Antiwar.com.

Illinois Herald endorses William Dock Walls for Mayor – Mark Wachtler

January 26, 2015. Chicago. (ONN) Enough is enough – let Dock Walls participate in the televised Mayoral debates. It’s bad enough that independents in Chicago need 20,000 signatures to run for office while Democrats and Republicans only need 500. But battle-hardened independents like Mr. Walls are then left off corporate media polls and purposely excluded from the debates. In response to that blatant injustice, and on behalf of independent and third party voters across Chicago, the Illinois Herald proudly and defiantly endorses William Dock Walls for Mayor of Chicago.

The Chicago Tribune, WTTW Chicago and even the League of Women Voters will all tell you that they only invite candidates to their debates and include them in their polls if they’re already polling a certain percentage. But it’s impossible to poll anything but zero if you’re not included in the polls – dirty trick #1. They may even tell you that they only include experienced candidates, until a wealthy amateur like billionaire Bruce Rauner or Willie Wilson comes around. Then they say money equals credibility – dirty trick #2.

So, let’s get this straight WTTW – the usually unbiased local Chicago PBS station. Being obscenely rich qualifies one to fully participate in a democratic election. But 30 years of experience with Chicago government and politics, including a position as aid to the late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, is worthless and meaningless?

That may be WTTW’s position, which should automatically disqualify them from ever hosting a Mayoral debate again. But here at the Illinois Herald, we’re a grassroots, independent news outlet that publishes independent news for independent thinkers and independent voters. And if there was ever an illustration of the anti-independent bias by Chicago government and Chicago media, it’s the blatant exclusion of the only verifiable independent candidate in the 2015 Chicago Mayoral race – William Dock Walls.

Read the rest via Illinois Herald endorses William Dock Walls for Mayor.

Illinois Libertarians Make November Ballot

Chicago IL, August 22, 2014 – Libertarians across Illinois are celebrating victory today as the State Board of Elections ruled to keep their candidates Chad Grimm for Governor, Alexander Cummings for Lieutenant Governor, Ben Koyl for Attorney General, Julie Fox for Comptroller, Christopher Michel for Secretary of State, Matthew Skopek for Treasurer, and Sharon Hansen for U.S. Senate on the ballot for the 2014 General Election.

Illinois' Libertarian Party Logo

The opposition, represented by the Republican Party of Illinois General Counsel John Fogarty, failed to nullify enough of the 42,986 petition signatures filed by the Libertarians to disqualify them, but it’s not because they didn’t try.

Party operatives combed through thousands of petition pages to identify 23,667 individual signature objections, which the Libertarians defended throughout a grueling 7–day, line–by–line review process in Springfield. While Libertarian volunteers were taking vacation days from work and carpooling to the State Board of Elections, the opposition bused in fresh loads of paid staffers each day.

The opposition resorted to hiring private investigators and trumped up accusations against 38 Libertarian circulators, forcing the Libertarians to launch a legal defense, provide evidence to support their circulators, and have circulators and an Illinois notary testify at State Board of Election hearings.

Opposition staffers were paid to interrogate petition signers, fishing for inconsistencies and asking voters to sign affidavits renouncing their signatures. There’s no need to imagine the chilling effect this will have on future ballot access drives, as Julieus Hooks, a petition signer who was accosted by an armed private investigator told the Chicago Sun-Times, “Next time somebody asks me, I’m not signing nothing. I don’t care what the petitions are for.”

So, while victory is sweet, it comes at a high price for future elections in Illinois and also for the current one, as Libertarian volunteers and funds were diverted to the petition defense and Libertarian candidates were sidelined from the campaign trail for two full months. But in spite of all the obstacles, the candidates are eager to resume campaigning for liberty and integrity in an Illinois that has been left bankrupt by the bipartisan status quo.

The celebration will continue at this year’s Libertarian Party of Illinois convention, September 12 – 14 in Bolingbrook. Bolstered by this win, a battle-scarred, but stronger Libertarian Party of Illinois looks forward to the challenge of Election 2014 and beyond.

For more information, contact Libertarian Party of Illinois State Chair, Matthew Skopek, at 630-220-7390 or Chair@LPIllinois.org.