The Guardian recently reported on a secret CIA-style ‘black site,’ located within the domestic United States, and used by local law enforcement to render and interrogate criminal suspects. Americans thought it was fine foreign nationals suspected of terrorism to be shipped off to Cuba. Now it’s being used against citizens; political protesters and low-level criminal suspects.
As of right now, FOX News, MSNBC and CNN have said very little. Trending and front-page topics include Hollywood gossip, but not the domestic secret prison being used to hold American citizens. In any case, this was inevitable. If a nation-state believes that its rules can be bent or misapplied to foreign nationals it is only a matter of time before it turns those legal interpretations inward. This is what we are seeing here.
It sounds, at first glance, like what is commonly called a “conspiracy theory.” So did the Edward Snowden leaks at first. The idea that a police department within the United States is extra-legally rendering citizens to secret detention facilities cannot be reconciled with the naïve trust many law abiding American citizens have; “But they’d never do that!”
Those within the criminal justice community may be less surprised. We’ve seen this coming from the early 90s. And it wasn’t a conspiracist, or a fringe element, who brought the domestic detention facility to our attention. It was, by and large, the attorneys of the victim-suspects. Families and lawyers, wondering where their loved ones and clients were, eventually began to notice that they were being detained. But they couldn’t be found in any public detention facility.
The location is no secret today. Family members found out where it was: they visited and were intimidated off the premises. Homan Square, in Chicago, Illinois. The intersection of West Fillmore and South Homan Avenue.
I repeat: Chicago, Illinois. The intersection of west Fillmore and South Homan Avenue.
At what point do Americans, realizing that the criminal justice system has failed, realizing that there are no viable solutions within the existing legal framework, begin to stand up and fight back against these institutions? Not talk, but act?
At least one man has been killed in the Homan Square detention facility. His name was John Hubbard. How many others have died that we do not know about? And how many more secret detention facilities exist within the United States that we do not know about?
Politicians are doing damage control. A few have called for “an investigation.” This is supposed to placate you. But we should not buy it. Existing authority structures, having reached the point of building what can only be called totalitarian infrastructure, for it has no legitimate use apart from repression, cannot be trusted to investigate, reform, or remedy this problem. Do you want an investigation, or do you want the building razed to the ground?
The only solution can be direct action from those people who live in the area. Trusting the police, trusting existing power structures to investigate, is what allowed the secret detention facility to come into existence in the first place. The builders of totalitarian infrastructure are not going to destroy what they built. They’ve created a livelihood that depends on its existence.
This is the mindset of the legal figures and politicians now calling for “an investigation,” Cook County commissioner Richard Boykin:
“I hadn’t heard of the sort of CIA or Gestapo tactics that were mentioned in the Guardian article until it was brought to my attention,” Boykin said in an interview outside Homan Square. “And we are calling for the Department of Justice to open an investigation into these allegations.”
“It’s one thing to quell demonstration and protests,” Boykin said, “but it’s another thing to use antiquated Gestapo tactics that are more commonly found in parts of the underdeveloped world or in places like China or Russia.”
This is how far the adversarial legal system has declined. It isn’t one thing to quell demonstrations and protests, but another to build secret prisons. These are all the same basket. It is the framework for a totalitarian police state. The fact that the legal authorities who are calling for “an investigation” off-handedly comment that quelling protests and demonstrations is acceptable should tell you this: you’ve gone past the point where protests and demonstrations can be effective.
You know what you have to do, friends in Chicago. Best of luck to you.