Right Under Our Noses
Regular lurkers on this site know that I have a problem with solitary confinement in America’s prisons. I don’t care what you’ve done-no one deserves to be locked in a small box 23 hours a day. It’s not penitence. It’s torture, and we think it’s OK because of justice and our lust for vengeance. It’s fucking medieval and it should be stopped. My God, kill a person outright-spare him the insanity that life in solitary brings. Someday it will be recognized as cruel by the courts, but I’m guessing we are a ways from that.
But there’s new unconstitutional shit happening. Ever heard of Homan Square? Me neither:
The Guardian’s Spencer Ackerman published a scathing account of Homan Square in Chicago on Tuesday, detailing a ‘black site’ in which Guantanamo-esque interrogation techniques are used to question suspected criminals.
“What used to happen at Homan Square is that prior to a year ago, if you get arrested and you get brought down anywhere in any district, you would not pop up in the city computer as being arrested until they processed the police report, which could take anywhere from an hour to 15 hours. If they “arrested” you, then they have to report it. But if they don’t “arrest you,” nefarious things could happen and they could interrogate you without a lawyer. And they would move you around from district to district. So [for example] if the family shows up or the lawyer shows up and they say you aren’t here but you are, they’ve denied you access. But if they say you’re at [district] 17, then move you to 15, and then 12, they can question you without counsel. At Homan Square they don’t process paperwork about your arrest. You’re just gone. No one knows.
99 percent of the people from this site are involved in some form of street crime: gang activities, drugs—urban violent crime. That’s what makes the site even worse. It takes Guantanamo-style tactics on urban street criminals and shreds the Bill of Rights. Isolation, deprivation of food, other outside contact. It’s meant to be a lot of touchless torture. So they’re not touching you, which in the human-rights field is more powerful and scary because it doesn’t leave marks but leaves huge internal wounds. Most of the time, people aren’t physically abused. They’re cut off from society, not allowed phone calls, not fed as much. These are just tactics that are more sophisticated in urban-policing tactics.”
So torture tactics, rendition and the denial of habeas corpus have reached the street level. It should surprise no one, given that cops now have access to military accoutrements-why not go all the way?
We are a police state in all but name. This is probably not news.