First-hand reports of torture from Homan Square, Chicago PD's "black site"



For some reason the picture of that site made me think of the place where Levy is tortured by Szell in Marathon Man.


A society who romanticizes the out of control cop quietly demands this abuse for the ‘others’.
I would suggest that the judiciary needs a independant armed police the police force and intelligence arm of its own with no-knock warrants and the power to deputize anyone under the pain of serious contempt of court punishment. Though it would need to have a cyclical duration maybe even staffed by draftees like a jury after which there would be a complete dissassembly and dismissal to prevent the apparatus from becoming a perpetuating and self-empowering abuse machine like the current police culture.


Interesting idea, but one totally doomed by human nature.
If you staff it like a jury system, you’re going to end up with people who had been brutalized by the police in the past using this system to take vengeance upon them. (Granted, this could be filed under the “karma is a bitch” heading.)
The better method would probably be to staff it with appointees from the ACLU, EFF, and other similar groups who oppose police overreach and brutality.


Same function as the Lubyanka but less architecturally distinguished. The US: “The Soviet Union, with its gulags and the Lubyanka,is an offence to human freedom and must be demolished. Right, now we’ve done that let’s build Gitmo and Homan Square.”


First, where is the American media on this? Isn’t there a single journalist in Chicago who knows of this?

Second, where is Obama? The current mayor of Chicago and Obama are old buddies. Does Obama believe Rahm Emanuel when he says this site doesn’t exist?

Third, a “black site” in Chicago. What the fuck?

And finally, is this really the only such place in the whole of the US?

We (humans, not just Americans) must all be well and truly brainwashed (or brain dead) to let this sort of shit not only continue but seemingly thrive.


I know it’s a trope that has been done to death but:

First, they came for the Jews…but I was not a Jew


This stuff has got close to - maybe even past - the point where nobody dares report on it. The Authorities can make life very difficult, perhaps even very short, for someone that tweaks their nose. And, for the benefit of the authoritarians that are listening here: this is a good thing! Nobody should be allowed to disturb the social order like that. If the cops are “accountable” they aren’t protecting us.


Since Chicago has had one-party rule longer than the USSR dd, I think the comparison is a fair one.


So we’ve got black prisons just like communist China now. Just shows how much better our propaganda machine is. We can let people talk about it without arresting them, and still effectively marginalize their voices so nothing ever comes of it. Over there, they’re still very much stuck in a mid-20th century propaganda model that’s not working nearly as well for them. USA! USA!


The hyperbole is contributing to the collective yawn. This isn’t a “black site” – it has a sign out front and a dozen police cars in the parking lot. A “black site” would be in another city, run by another agency, in an unmarked building.

1 Like

Well, in theory it’s a police warehouse. The Guardian reporter defends the characterization as a “black site” not because the building is secret - because the CIA has black sites that are public - but because of what goes on there. The argument against it being a black site is that what goes on there is, unfortunately, not any different from what goes on at police stations all across the city, according to defense attorneys.
Ironically, if it really was a black site, that would be progress in some respects, perversely. It would indicate that abusive police felt they needed to separate out certain behaviors that they enacted in secrecy because they weren’t officially tolerated in police stations. But that doesn’t seem to be the case.


Wouldn’t that make the traffic to and from Chicago police stations much more incongruous? The department needs only to conceal the use of the site for off-the-books detention, not the existence of the building or the fact that they own it, which makes ‘Yup, boring police logistics stuff, absolutely nothing to see and no reason for you to go inside’ a very sensible camouflage strategy.

Pretending to be something else entirely, run by someone else entirely, is a trickier and more involved cover story, and only really make sense if it is necessary to conceal the mere presence of the organization, which the Chicago PD obviously doesn’t, in Chicago.


down south we call them “Dirt Roads”


Hush hush … don’t talk about it - “it cannot be what may not be” - We’re the land of the free after all.

1 Like

Does this count as Godwin’s law?

Back to the past when flying saucers were the terror of the world. While a negative can’t be proven, more than a person’s account is needed to prove claim stated here. The conspiracy needed fora secret of this magnitude is incredible.

1 Like

Any questions?


I would have to conclude that you are not much on just how many working conspiracies are out there, nor how they function.

Organized crime is, by definition, a conspiracy. The term “conspiracy” is also applied to “spycraft” by the KGB/SVR: where the CIA uses the term “tradecraft”, the SVR uses the term “conspiracy”. For instance, instead of saying “improve your tradecraft”, or “do not use poor tradecraft”, the SVR would say, “maintain the conspiracy”.

Intelligence agencies do operate as conspiracies, just as does organized crime. To argue that the history of law enforcement is free from anything like conspiracies would be entirely ignorant of the history of law enforcement.

In fact, that very building is an apex of conspiracies: it is a sensitive building which is home to multiple undercover agencies. That they decided to do this, take prisoners to this building meant they are not very good at what they do. But, it is totally reasonable to consider that they slipped up.

Legally, these people have the burden of proof on them. They are also “nobodies”, and they are prone to methods of extortion by raising their heads. Legal counsel is not easy for them. Likely, they did not want more police attention, and definitely did not like the possibility of police hauling them in again… like that.

Extortion in these cases, to keep one’s mouth shut, can be performed by any of the detectives involved. Maybe just a phone call in the middle of the night, or a wave at the wrong place, at the wrong time. It is not difficult to do. As difficult as an undercover officer doing a few drive bys after work.

Now that the Guardian article has focused on the story, as well as local human rights groups, they are likely going to have to deal with some lawsuits and increased pressure from outside.

As for “flying saucers”, that hay day hit back during the height of the cold war. It was not mainstream fears, but to say the fifties American society was not full of irrational fear would be an understatement.

If there were a lot of people detained at this facility, likely reporters will have a lot of material to work with. If it was not so many people, forward momentum would be much more difficult.


Clearly a “bad thing”, glad to see boingboing pick up on this. A few posters noted that American media has not, and a quick search at Google News, at this time, Sunday night shows they largely still have not. Local Chicago news has picked up on this, because of the resulting rallies, and one mainstream source has: usatoday. (Where they put it in their print, I do not know.)

I would expect the story to continue to pick up steam, depending on how many people were incarcerated there. More people, more stories. Another factor is legal counsel willing to take their stories to court.

Coincidentally, I finished “kill the messenger” this weekend, and bothered to search around to see what arguments were made against the stories that reporter presented. It was an interesting indictment of mainstream US press.

No surprise then to see that this sort of story needed to be picked up by an overseas journalist outlet. They deserve to see the slow deaths of their establishments, that is for sure.

(Not that this is new, I am consistently finding much better investigative journalism at online news sources on hard hitting, volatile issues, then I am seeing picked up by the mainstream news sources.)

I bet this manner of story keeps kicking the US intel and law enforcement in the teeth. They are probably picking up the heat they surely already have on Guardian reporters, and getting angry with their british, old boy lapdoggies.