Monday, March 30, 2009


March 29, 2009

Spanish Court Weighs Inquiry on Torture for 6 Bush-Era Officials
LONDON — A Spanish court has taken the first steps toward opening a criminal investigation into allegations that six former high-level Bush administration officials violated international law by providing the legal framework to justify the torture of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, an official close to the case said.
The case, against former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and others, was sent to the prosecutor’s office for review by Baltasar Garzón, the crusading investigative judge who ordered the arrest of the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. The official said that it was “highly probable” that the case would go forward and that it could lead to arrest warrants.
The move represents a step toward ascertaining the legal accountability of top Bush administration officials for allegations of torture and mistreatment of prisoners in the campaign against terrorism. But some American experts said that even if warrants were issued their significance could be more symbolic than practical, and that it was a near certainty that the warrants would not lead to arrests if the officials did not leave the United States.
The complaint under review also names John C. Yoo, the former Justice Department lawyer who wrote secret legal opinions saying the president had the authority to circumvent the Geneva Conventions, and Douglas J. Feith, the former under secretary of defense for policy.
Most of the officials cited in the complaint declined to comment on the allegations or could not be reached on Saturday. However their defenders have said their legal analyses and policy work on interrogation practices, conducted under great pressure after the 2001 terrorist attacks, are now being unfairly second-guessed after many years without a terrorist attack on the United States.
The court case was not entirely unexpected, as several human rights groups have been asking judges in different countries to indict Bush administration officials. One group, the Center for Constitutional Rights, had asked a German prosecutor for such an indictment, but the prosecutor declined.
Judge Garzón, however, has built an international reputation by bringing high-profile cases against human rights violators as well as international terrorist networks like Al Qaeda. The arrest warrant for General Pinochet led to his detention in Britain, although he never faced a trial. The judge has also been outspoken about the treatment of detainees at Guantánamo Bay.
Spain can claim jurisdiction in the case because five citizens or residents of Spain who were prisoners at Guantánamo Bay have said they were tortured there. The five had been indicted in Spain, but their cases were dismissed after the Spanish Supreme Court ruled that evidence obtained under torture was not admissible.
The 98-page complaint, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times, is based on the Geneva Conventions and the 1984 Convention Against Torture, which is binding on 145 countries, including Spain and the United States. Countries that are party to the torture convention have the authority to investigate torture cases, especially when a citizen has been abused.
The complaint was prepared by Spanish lawyers, with help from experts in the United States and Europe, and filed by a Spanish human rights group, the Association for the Dignity of Prisoners.
The National Court in Madrid, which specializes in international crimes, assigned the case to Judge Garzón. His acceptance of the case and referral of it to the prosecutor made it likely that a criminal investigation would follow, the official said.
Even so, arrest warrants, if they are issued, would still be months away.
Gonzalo Boye, the Madrid lawyer who filed the complaint, said that the six Americans cited had had well-documented roles in approving illegal interrogation techniques, redefining torture and abandoning the definition set by the 1984 Torture Convention.
Secret memorandums by Mr. Yoo and other top administration lawyers helped clear the way for aggressive policies like waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques, which the C.I.A. director, the attorney general and other American officials have said amount to torture.
The other Americans named in the complaint were William J. Haynes II, former general counsel for the Department of Defense; Jay S. Bybee, Mr. Yoo’s former boss at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel; and David S. Addington, who was the chief of staff and legal adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney.
Mr. Yoo declined to comment on Saturday, saying that he had not seen or heard of the petition.
Mr. Feith, who was the top policy official at the Pentagon when the prison at Guantánamo was established, said he did not make the decision on interrogation methods and was baffled by the allegations. “I didn’t even argue for the thing I understand they’re objecting to,” he said.
But Mr. Boye said that lawyers should be held accountable for the effects of their work. Noting that the association he represents includes many lawyers, he said: “This is a case from lawyers against lawyers. Our profession does not allow us to misuse our legal knowledge to create a pseudo-legal frame to justify, stimulate and cover up torture.”
Prosecutions and convictions under the Torture Convention have been rare.
Reed Brody, a lawyer at Human Rights Watch who has specialized in this issue, said that even though torture was widely practiced, there were numerous obstacles, including “a lack of political will, the problem of gathering evidence in a foreign country and the failure of countries to pass the necessary laws.”
This year for the first time, the United States used a law that allows it to prosecute torture in other countries. On Jan. 10, a federal court in Miami sentenced Chuckie Taylor, the son of the former Liberian president, to 97 years in a federal prison for torture, even though the crimes were committed in Liberia.
Last October, when the Miami court handed down the conviction, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey applauded the ruling and said: “This is the first case in the United States to charge an individual with criminal torture. I hope this case will serve as a model to future prosecutions of this type.”
The United States, however, would be expected to ignore an extradition request for former officials, although other investigations within the United States have been proposed. Calls for the Justice Department to open a criminal investigation have so far been resisted by the Obama administration, but for more than four years, the Justice Department ethics office has been conducting its own investigation into the work of Mr. Yoo and some of his colleagues.
While the officials named in the complaint have not addressed these specific accusations, Mr. Yoo defended his work in an opinion column in The Wall Street Journal on March 7, warning that the Obama administration risked harming national security if it punished lawyers like himself.
“If the administration chooses to seriously pursue those officials who were charged with preparing for the unthinkable, today’s intelligence and military officials will no doubt hesitate to fully prepare for those contingencies in the future,” Mr. Yoo wrote.

Scott Shane and Eric Schmitt contributed reporting from Washington.

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

Thursday, March 26, 2009
Cops may picket during IOC's Chicago visit March 25, 2009 7:31 PM | 9 Comments Leaders of Chicago's police union are considering taking the growing acrimony over contract negotiations public at a most inopportune time for Mayor Daley -- picketing on the day International Olympic Committee evaluators arrive next week to see the city. Fraternal Order of Police President Mark Donahue acknowledged that a picket line of cops while Olympic officials are in town April 2-7 is "being discussed," but he said nothing has been decided by the union and declined to comment further.

But multiple police sources familiar with union activities said that an "informational picket" is being planned for next Thursday, the day the IOC's 16-member evaluating commission is scheduled to arrive in Chicago. The sources expected the picketing to take place at City Hall, but the location is among issues still being discussed.

Union officials were angered recently by the Daley administration's decision to withdraw a pay raise offer already on the table in the ongoing negotiations. Police morale had already plummeted under the leadership of Supt. Jody Weis, whom many in the department view as an outsider with an unfairly harsh attitude toward disciplining officers. Daley hired Weis, a former FBI official, with the expressed purpose of improving the reputation of a scandal-plagued department.

The visit by Olympic officials has been eagerly anticipated by Chicago 2016 committee members, as well as the mayor. Chicago is the IOC's first stop on its tour of 2016 Games finalists, which include Rio de Janeiro, Madrid and Tokyo.
Daley administration officials did not immediately respond to questions about the possible picketing.

Angela Rozas contributed to this report.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Do You Want the Olympics Here?

Chicago Tribune Poll:,0,5364954,post.poll

Do you want the Olympics here?
Do you want the Olympics to come to Chicago?

Yes (3595 responses)


No (13052 responses)


16647 total responses (Results not scientific)
Be aware, very aware of this group. they have sold out the Washington Park Community for the notion that they will gain from the Olympics!

April 4, Saturday, 9 am. Washington Park Olympics Coalition. Field house, 5531 S. King Dr. Cecilia Butler.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Chicago Communities Speak Out On Olympics 2016
Below is a summary of statements given by representatives from 4o of Chicago’s 77 Communities

Female-61-Auburn Gresham….”I don’t feel the Games will be of any benefit to the Black Community”.

Female-6o-Woodlawn….”We don’t want to be uprooted and to do this for some games, that’s crazy!”

Female-68-Woodlawn….”I’m a senior and I’ve been hearing talks about what’s goin to happen to Black people, seniors, poor people etc. We will be replaced by the Olympics.

Female-28-Pilsen….”I believe the Olympics will bring more police harassment/brutality than usual to my neighborhood.”

Male-59-Rogers Park….”The Olympics is a crime against humanity”.

Male-69-Woodlawn….”What about putting the money towards seniors health?”

Male-25-McKinley Park….”Every year now, the city goes over budget. That brings mores taxes and layoffs. When projects like Millennium Park can go 325 million (double over the original budget) just imagine the possible cost overruns for development the size of the Olympics.”

Male-51-West Ridge…. “Our family, friends and neighborhoods will not allow these elitist, corrupt, fascist Olympics in our city, schools, clinics. Housing is too important!”

Female-63-Hyde Park…. “Mayor Daley should have been stopped when he took over the Park District. The city council should be held accountable for what this Mayor Daley has been able to do to this city during his administration.”

Male-26-Hyde Park…. “We don’t want the Olympics. With the economy as it is in the city, we can’t afford it.”

Male-72-Near North…. “The Olympics is in essence, a private event whose benefits will be enjoyed by major promoters and developers.”

Female-64-Oakley…. “Black companies have lost all business downtown and on the lakefront. Therefore, if we cannot work now, we will not work for/during the Olympics”

Male-41-Grand Boulevard (Bronzeville)…. “They plan to put us in FEMA camps and control the population.”

Male-65-Kenwood/Oakland…. “The community has been tricked into believing that they will get a convenant called a “Benefits Agreement.”

Male-56-Chatham…. “This is Chicago clout”.

Female-60-Near North…. “This city cannot handle it financially or socially. Daley should be ashamed of himself.”

Female-54-Grand Boulevard (Bronzeville)….”The Olympics has already begun to show problems for the citizens. The housing courts are overcrowded with African American residents/home owners who are being targeted.”

Female-54-South Shore…. “I’m against whatever Daley is for.”

Female-68-Chatham…. “The Olympics should be built on the land by the railroad under Roosevelt Rd.”

Female-28-West Lawn…. “The Olympics sucks. It will devastate the entire city.”

Female-58-Hyde Park…. “Cost to the city, missing information, history of the Olympics and Daley’s record are the reasons why the Olympics are not good for Chicago.”

Male-51-East Garfield…. “Building Chicago for Chicagoans. This should be our message.”

Female-44-Park Manor…. “The revenue gained from the Olympics will not help the people displaced from their neighborhoods.”

Male-60-Englewood…. “It won’t stop the gangs.”
Male-30-Englewood…. “Due to the economy and rise in crime, we will suffer.”

Male-23-Albany Park…. “The Olympics can affect us by higher taxes and other products becoming more expensive.”

Male-23-Oaklawn…. “The Olympics would be great if they come to Chicago because it would bring true champions to a great city. Like Michael Phelps and motivate our city. Being in a tourist friendly area is also entertaining on its’ own.”

Male-37-Grand Bollevard (Bronzeville)….”I really don’t think it would come here until our home has become stable. Also, we need to get this crooked mayor we have out.”

Female-24-Albany Park…. “I think if the Olympics comes to Chicago it will be good and bad. Good because it will make Chicago look good and be an attraction. Bad because people may lose their homes due to the construction and possibly taxes and living expenses might go up.”

Male-26-Norridge…. “I think if the Olympics were to be held in Chicago there would be an influx of recreational facilities to appeal to tourists.”

Male-22-Logan Square…. “I believe the impact that the Olympic Games would have on the city, is that it will expose the many problems Chicago has. With all the many people that would be flocking to the city, something is liable to happen. But on the bright side, it will show the beauty of the city and would probably be great for business.”

Male-22-Humboldt Park…. If the Olympics is held in Chicago, I think prices on taxes, gas and public events will rise higher than what they already are. I don’t think the mayor will want to show the ghetto parts of Chicago, so he will probably get rid of them and the people not caring who is affected in the process. I honestly believe the Olympics will just raise a lot of prices on simple necessities to renew the city of Chicago for tourists.”

Female-23-Portage Park…. “It would be a good opportunity for jobs but bad due to the southside area community having to re-locate or having the stadium be useless after the Olympics leaves it becomes an abandoned building.”

Female-35-Greater Grand Crossing…. “I believe it will help bring revenue in but a lot of people will have to move and relocate. So, it will inconvenience a lot of people.”

Female-22-Edgewater…. “People are going to go further broke to travel to Chicago and see the Olympics. At a time like this, our economic system is not going to get any better. Also, perhaps few people may think that by having the Olympics in Chicago this may make history.”

Male-25-Edgewater…. “Chicago is already one of the worst places to live in. With the Games, Chicago will not be able to meet the needs of the overwhelming number of visitors that will flock here. It will probably end up in worst shape than Atlanta was when the Games were last held on U.S. soil.”

Female-30-Forest Park…. “It is hard to believe that the community around Douglas Park will not change with the Olympics. I am a proponent of change if it benefits the community as it stands now. However, if they build up the surrounding community results in massive relocation and displacement, then the committee is not really doing all it can to protect or benefit us.”

Female-47-Garfield Park…. “I think the Olympics will greatly impact my community because of gentrification. I believe our children will be highly affected by this change.”

Male-29-Kenwood…. “I disagree with bringing the Olympics to Chicago because the areal reserved for the Olympics to take place would cause a lot of people in that area to lose their homes. It would also cause the property level to raise so house would not be affordable in that area.”
Views > July 15, 2008

Chicago’s Olympic Dreams Undeserved
By Salim Muwakkil

Despite widespread awareness of torture provoked by excesses in the war on terror, little is said about the history of
homegrown torture

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) recently chose the Windy City as one of four international finalists in the
race to host the coveted 2016 summer games.

But a group of local activists argues that a history of racist police torture has made Chicago inappropriate as an
Olympic site and is mobilizing to convince the IOC to reject the city’s bid.

“How can a city that has been condemned by the United Nations for allowing its police to engage in systematic
torture of black men be worthy of hosting the Olympic games?” asks Patricia Hill, a primary organizer of Black People
Against Police Torture, the group at the forefront of opposition to the Chicago Olympics.

Hill, who is also executive director of the city’s African American Police League, says that several allied groups have
joined in opposition to Chicago’s Olympic bid — including the local chapter of Amnesty International USA.

For nearly 20 years, a former Chicago police commander named Jon Burge and detectives under his command
routinely tortured more than 100 black males, claiming they were criminal suspects. Several independent
investigations and court decisions confirmed these systematic crimes, which occurred from 1972 to 1991.

The latest evidence was a 292-page report issued two years ago by court-appointed special prosecutor Edward Egan
that concluded Burge and his men used many torture techniques, including electro-shocking genitals, suffocating
people with plastic bags and burning skin on a hot radiator. But the statute of limitations prevented prosecution.
Thus, none of the cops involved has yet to pay any legal cost.

Groups like Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International condemned these crimes, which violate domestic laws,
the victims’ constitutional rights, as well as international treaties banning torture. In May 2006, the U.N. Committee
Against Torture sharply rebuked the United States for failing to hold the offending police officers accountable.

Despite widespread awareness of torture provoked by American excesses in the so-called war on terror, relatively little
has been said about this heinous history of homegrown torture. Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan raised the profile of
the case in 2003 when he granted pardons to four death row inmates after concluding their confessions were tortured
from them. However, about 26 prisoners are still incarcerated because of confessions forced by Burge’s corps of
torturers. Protesters are also demanding new evidentiary hearings and perhaps reparations for the victims.

Are Americans less concerned about police torture because it involved mostly black men, whose perceived image as
criminals allows us to tolerate their abuse? For many, even the most egregious police abuse of black men is viewed as
a necessary evil.

Black People Against Police Torture hopes to demonstrate that the cost for brutalizing black men has increased. “Daley
took something away from us, when he refused to act on charges of police torture in 1982 when he was state’s
attorney,” Hill notes. “And now we want to take something away from him.”

Hill’s group decided to oppose the city’s Olympic bid after the 2006 report concluded that nothing could be done to
prosecute the perpetrators of police torture. “After spending four years, conducting more than 700 interviews and
spending at least $6 million, the report came up with nothing,” says Lawrence Kennon, a Chicago attorney who has
been involved in the case since its inception and is a member of Hill’s group. “It was an insult to the people of

The tactic has apparently triggered additional action. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, in June, a federal grand
jury subpoenaed retired detectives who worked with Burge. The office of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is reportedly
conducting the probe and focusing on the sworn statements Burge and other detectives made during depositions in
2003. Those statements are not restricted by the statute of limitations and if they can be proven false, Burge and his
henchmen could face prosecution under obstruction of justice charges. But Hill says the anti-Olympics protests will
continue even if the feds prosecute Burge and his men.

“Daley and his cronies have yet to learn the lesson that you cannot brutalize black men with impunity,” she says.
“Look at the current rash of police shootings and brutality in our communities. If we have to deny Daley the object of
his desire to teach that lesson, so be it.”

Salim Muwakkil is a senior editor of In These Times, where he has worked since 1983, and an op-ed columnist for the
Chicago Tribune. He is currently a Crime and Communities Media Fellow of the Open Society Institute, examining the
impact of ex-inmates and gang leaders in leadership positions in the black community.

____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _
"I can promise that as attorney general, I will never cover up the truth and stand in the way of justice."
--Lisa Madigan campaign news release, September 23, 2002

RALLY at Lisa Madigan's Office
Friday July 18, noon
Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St.

Two years ago, Special Prosecutors Edward Egan and Robert Boyle released a report documenting the use of electro-
shock, suffocation with plastic typewriter bags, Russian roulette and severe beatings in Area 2 and Area 3 police
stations by Commander Jon Burge and his henchmen to obtain "confessions" from African-American men on the south
side of Chicago. But Egan and Boyle failed to bring brutal cops to justice, deciding that the statute of limitations on
their actions had passed. Now, federal prosecutors have subpoenaed a number of Burge's detectives before a grand
jury, raising the possibility of federal perjury charges.

Meanwhile, dozens of Burge's victims languish in prisons throughout Illinois. All deserve new trials. Lisa Madigan, who
was appointed to oversee these cases in 2002, has the power to initiate evidentiary hearings, but she has done
nothing in six years on the job. Mark the two-year anniversary of the release of the Burge report by demanding justice
for police torture victims. Toothless reports are not enough. ALL torture victims deserve new trials, while the
perpetrators of torture deserve prosecution and jail time.

Sponsors include Campaign to End the Death Penalty, Citizens for Earned Release, Illinois Institute for Community Law
and Affairs, International Socialist Organization, Justice Coalition of Greater Chicago, Men and Women in Prison
Ministries, National Alliance against Racist and Political Repression, October 22 Coalition against Police Brutality,
Stateville Speaks, Tamms Year 10, United in Peace; and 8th Day Center for Justice.

For more information, call 773-955-4841 or email cedp@nodeathpenalty .org

Saturday, March 14, 2009



There are 77 designated communities in Chicago. Statements were rendered from the following communities at the hearings. Summaries of those statements will be uploaded in the very near future.


* multiple representatives