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Torture, by those trusted to Serve and Protect

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posted on Oct, 4 2009 @ 08:51 AM
Loud shrieks of terror and agony pierce the night silence like a hot blade, but this is not from the usual locales we would expect? You are probably thinking of places like: a house in occupied France during the Second World War, a camp in Burma administered by soldiers of the Empire of Japan, a run-down building in Belfast, or even a holding cell at Abu Ghraib run by Saddam Hussein or the US Army, but it is a place we all know of and are familiar with to a certain extent.

There is a story that has come to my attention, some years ago, and it has dogged me ever since. From time to time, I have checked to see if someone would bring the story to light in depth for all those who appreciate transparency, integrity, and the rule of law here on ATS. So far, nothing has been mentioned, so I thought; now is the time to bring the story forward for debate.

We have been flooded with alleged torture and brutality allegations at the hands of our military and intelligence services when dealing with detainees in far-flung places like Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay, Bagram AFB, or secret prisons beyond the former Iron curtain, but this story is one that strikes home, and in our very own backyard. It is a story that stinks to high heaven, and one that was placed in a box for many years to be forgotten; until the hand of justice shook the contents for all to see.

This story hails from a prominent American city, but riddled with allegations of corruption, fraud, and other heinous acts by government bureaucrats and law enforcement. Some will play it off as the dichotomy of this city, and there is nothing we can do about it, but I refuse to settle for that. Heinous acts levied against the populace by sworn public servants, must be pursued with extreme vigor and aggressiveness. The allegations below are just a footnote, in long and troubled history of the city in question, but one that really turned my stomach. These allegations are not for the squeamish so reader discretion is advised.

. . . torture of criminal suspects for two decades, coercing dozens of confessions with fists, kicks, radiator burns, guns to the mouth, bags over the head and electric shock to the genitals.

Now you may be thinking these are the hallmarks of the Gestapo, KGB, Stasi, or the Kempeitai; groups known to use extreme brutality against suspects in the past? These are allegations levied against former Chicago Police commander of the detectives’ division, Jon Burge, during his tenure as a police officer.
Up until now, he has lived a life of relative normalcy with a pension in Florida accompanied by tropical shirts and umbrella drinks.

It was only in 1993 that he was relieved of his post and fired amid allegations and complaints that began in the 70's on into the 90's. Only after an investigation by the professional standards office, was he fired and removed from service.

An investigator for the police department's professional standards office reviewed 50 complaints of abuse against Burge and his officers - electric shock, beatings, jabs with a cattle prod, pistols jammed in mouths in a mock execution, suffocations - and declared that the abuse was systematic.

As many as 108 men have accused Burge and his detectives of torturing confessions from them.

With fundraisers and benefits, thousands of officers supported Burge and his men.
In 1993, Burge and his officers, who had been suspended without pay for more than a year, met different fates. The officers were reinstated. Burge was fired.

He took his pension and moved south to Florida. He left behind people angry not only with him but with the system that took his job but otherwise let him walk away unpunished.

This case is truly a black mark on law enforcement and the city of Chicago. It is an utter disgrace that this man was allowed to walk freely and remain uncharged.

However, what I mentioned earlier, is only the tip of the iceberg surrounding the case, and it contains gross misconduct, dereliction of duty, barbarism, and torture by none other than a police department in the continental United States.

Commander Burge’s conduct came under serious question in 1982, when there was a series of fatal shootings in Chicago against police officers.

Allegations exist that torture began in 1972.[9] However, the most prominent example occurred in 1982. On February 9, 1982, there was an incident on the streets in which a suspect took a police officer's weapon, then shot and killed both the officer and his partner.[10] This incident occurred within Burge's jurisdiction, who was then a lieutenant and commanding officer of Area 2. The two fatalities brought the total to five officers (including two Cook County Sheriff's Officers and a rookie CTA cop on February 5) who had been shot in the 60-square-mile (160 km2) area on the South Side within about a month.[11]

Burge’s slow undoing can be traced to the 1982 arrest of Andrew Wilson for the shooting deaths of two police officers. Wilson’s account of electric shock, some of it aimed at his genitals, didn’t provoke a response from the Cook County state’s attorney, Richard M. Daley (“Deaf to the Screams,” August 1, 2003), but in 1987 the Illinois Supreme Court, suspicious of Wilson’s many injuries, granted him a new trial. He was convicted a second time without the use of his confession and sentenced to natural life. (See “House of Screams,” January 26, 1990, and “The Shocking Truth,” January 10, 1997.)

Some would say, “desperate times deserve desperate measures,” and perhaps, that is what Commander Burge and his men had on their minds’ at the time? Of course, it is a tragedy that fellow officers were murdered in the line of duty, but that is no excuse to resort to barbarism when dealing with potential suspects.

This case has rocked the Illinois legal system and some big players in Chicago politics have been involved in one way or another. Lets begin, with Mayor Richard Daley; who at the time of the torture allegations was the state’s attorney for Cook County.
He would have been in the know, regarding these heinous accusations. This went on under Daley’s nose with no investigation by his office to substantiate the allegations made against Burge. Below, is some telling evidence concerning the possibility of Mayor Daley turning a blind eye amid the allegations made against the Chicago Police Department. According to the source below, the Police Superintendent at the time was aware of the allegations going on regarding torture of suspects in police custody, and attempted to notify Daley, but only inaction resulted.

The special prosecutors’ report also demonstrates that there was a high-level governmental cover-up of Andrew Wilson’s torture. In 1982, an internal investigation revealed that Wilson was tortured, but no one was ever indicted. Wilson, whose abuse allegations led to Burge’s firing, was convicted of killing two police officers in 1982.

The report reveals that on or about February 25, 1982, Richard Brzeczek, police superintendent at the time of the investigation knew about the torture and wrote a letter to Mayor Richard J. Daley, who was then the state’s attorney of Cook County. Brzeczek asked him to criminally investigate the torture of Andrew Wilson. Daley and his first assistant, Richard Devine, the current Cook County state’s attorney, did nothing.

[edit on 4-10-2009 by Jakes51]

posted on Oct, 4 2009 @ 08:52 AM
Just the evidence above, would compel Daley to act and push for an investigation and eventual indictments, being the head law enforcement officer in Cook County. However, for whatever reason, he chose to remain silent and inactive. It is a serious dereliction of duty on Daley’s part as prosecutor. His inaction, cost Cook County taxpayers dearly, when alleged torture victims filed suit against the city and the county.

The allegations also raised questions about the conduct of Mayor Richard Daley, who was Cook County state's attorney in the 1980s when much of the alleged torture took place, and current State's Atty. Richard Devine, whose office continued to oppose the inmates' allegations of torture.

It has cost taxpayers nearly $30 million in lawsuit settlements and legal fees paid by the city to numerous lawyers who have represented the police officers.

In addition to shoddy job performance during that period, his present remarks on the subject are of question as well? When asked about the Burge case and his tenure as prosecuting attorney, here is what he said:

Daley said he bore no responsibility for what happened inside the Police Department.

I was very proud of my role as a prosecutor. I was not the mayor. I was not the police chief. I did not promote this man in the '80s, he said. So let's put everything in perspective.

Of course this rhetoric is nothing new for those that live in Chicago, but this is the fine art of passing the buck! It is pathetic for him to deny involvement or at least culpability, given the fact that he was the prosecutor at the time and was made aware of the accusations by the Superintendent of police.

As mentioned earlier, this case rocked the entire legal establishment in the state of Illinois. Some of you may remember when now disgraced former governor, George Ryan, released all inmates from death row due to findings of wrongful prosecution and unwarranted death sentences in 2003, before leaving office.
Four men in the group were pardoned and immediately released from prison. They claim to be some of Burge’s victims.

The four men had long claimed that they falsely confessed under torture overseen by Cmdr. Jon Burge, who was fired from the Chicago Police Department in 1993.

To put this into perspective, Governor Ryan, commuted all death sentences to pardons and life imprisonment without parole as a result of shoddy police work and questionable convictions. Even, President Barack Obama, joined the fray; and push through crucial legislation regarding police interrogation in Illinois while still a state Senator in 2003; before he left the state for national politics.

In 2003 Obama pushed through a bill requiring police to videotape homicide confessions. Similar bills had failed before. But Obama won over police and lawmakers because he didn't just talk about injustice. He talked about efficient policing, and he noted that videos could also serve as a "powerful tool to convict the guilty."

This case has been a festering wound for very long time, given the fact, that Burge was fired from his position in 1993; and has yet to stand before a judge and jury. He was able to have a pension as a result of not being convicted of a felony in relation to the torture allegations made against him. However, the tide is changing, and in walks a crusading Federal prosecutor, Patrick Fitzgerald, who has shaken the Chicago political establishment to its core.
He is of note for pursuing now disgraced, former governor, Rod Blagojevich, and his alleged attempts to sell President Barack Obama’s US senate seat.
Since in office, he has pursued the crooks with unprecedented zeal and commitment. In relation to the matter at hand, Fitzgerald found a legal loophole to get Jon Burge into a court room and before a judge.

Burge was charged with lying in his answer to a questionnaire about abuse. His written reply includes the statement: I have not observed nor do I have knowledge of any other examples of physical abuse and/or torture on the part of Chicago police officers.

The charge above stems from his involvement in a Federal lawsuit submitted by an alleged victim in 2003. It echoes back to Fitzgerald's predecessors Eliot Ness and his Untouchables and their crusade to put Al Capone behind bars by any means necessary.

If people commit multiple crimes, and you can't prosecute them for one, there's nothing wrong with prosecuting them for another, Fitzgerald said at a news conference to announce the charges against Burge. If Al Capone went down for taxes, that was better than him going down for nothing.

As of now, justice may be at hand for Jon Burge. The trial is set to begin in the near future amid legal maneuvers by the defense to stall efforts by the prosecution. Sooner or later, Burge, will have his day in court and made to answer for these atrocious allegations made against him. As always, he is innocent until proven guilty, but the evidence speaks for itself about Burge’s career as a Chicago police officer. So as we debate about alleged atrocities against detainees in what seems like the world over, keep in mind, that this type of behavior has occurred in our very own backyard, and has ravaged the city of Chicago both financially and in a legal sense. We are a nation of laws, as they say, but how can we espouse that message to the world, when instances like this and others, are allowed to go on in our very own country unquestioned and forgotten for so many years? This is a serious question you should think about after reading this, because if this happened to people in Chicago, it can happen anywhere. All sources provided in the immediate thread are below, plus sources of honorable mention that didn’t make the cut; but are worthy reads for independent analysis and deeper understanding.

*Below, source not cited or used in thread, but an important read about Burge’s military career in Vietnam and the disturbing parallels found by the author, John Conroy, and his civilian career in law enforcement.*

*Below, Youtube video about Burge*

[edit on 4-10-2009 by Jakes51]

posted on Oct, 4 2009 @ 01:01 PM
The Chicago Machine....

Great post S & F

Anybody who is familiar with the finer details of this and many other related situations regarding the Machine would not be surprised. What is surprising is the lack of outcry.

posted on Oct, 4 2009 @ 01:07 PM
reply to post by SLAYER69

I am amazed that this story has remained on the back burner for so long as well. It took an out of town prosecutor, originally from New York, to make any head way in the case. The crooks are shaking their in boots at the sight of Patrick Fitzgerald. With him around he has declared war on the Chicago Machine. This is just speculation, but I thought he would have been reassigned as a result of Barack Obama being President? I wouldn't put it past Mayor Daley if he had asked for such a favor from the President. and get the hounds off of him. Very interesting stuff.

[edit on 4-10-2009 by Jakes51]

posted on Oct, 4 2009 @ 01:19 PM
Excellent post! If I could give you more than one flag I would, but as it stands you get one and a star.

I wouldn't trust these people to walk my grandma across the street in broad daylight in front of 1000 witnesses.

posted on Oct, 4 2009 @ 01:32 PM
reply to post by Sundancer

Thanks for the reply, Sundancer. I agree with you about these people, and I wouldn't trust them with getting a kitten out of the tree with a thousand witnesses. They are scum and give the city of Chicago a bad name and reputation. Hopefully, Patrick Fitzgerald can nail Mayor Daley to wall before leaving the city as Federal Prosecutor. However, after repeated attempts with the most important being the "Hired Truck Scandal," from 2004 and others, the mayor remains the king of Chicago and Illinois's de-facto governor. He is just to powerful, just like his old man. Here is a little about the "Hired Truck Scandal," and it just another disturbing footnote in the seedy world that is Chicago politics.

The Sun-Times investigation began when a reporter on his way to work passed by an abandoned gas station, the home of a single red truck that bore a sign saying it was leased to the city of Chicago's Hired Truck Program. The reporter eventually staked out a city water crew for five days, watching four Hired Trucks sit idly during each eight-hour shift. Each truck cost taxpayers $50.17 an hour.

The scandal eventually sparked a Federal investigation into hiring practices at Chicago City Hall, with Robert Sorich, Mayor Daley's former patronage chief, facing mail fraud charges for allegedly rigging city hiring to favor people with political connections. On July 5, 2006, Sorich, 43, was convicted on two counts of mail fraud for rigging city jobs and promotions.

posted on Oct, 4 2009 @ 01:32 PM
reply to post by Jakes51

We are talking Chicago here....

The Machine is so well entrenched that no amount of Political or Legal maneuvering will dislodge it. We aren't dealing with suicide doors and violin cases here. They are a powerful political and economic bloc. With any group of power they need to learn that they shouldn't keep beating on the little guy.

That's just not cool

With all respect.

[edit on 4-10-2009 by SLAYER69]

posted on Oct, 4 2009 @ 01:48 PM
reply to post by SLAYER69

Yes, the corruption and tomfoolery has been entrenched for as long as the city has been incorporated. However, it is little guy that is getting kicked in mouth by the shady dealings by the politicians. People say there is a "hidden tax," and that is to pay for the corruption. It's a bunch of crooks fattening their wallets at the expense of their constituents and it's an outrage!

However, I commend Patrick Fitzgerald for trying to pry the machine loose, but sadly, I think he is singing to the choir. They will get him out of there sooner or later after a few lower level pawns are sacrificed to protect the king. When he is gone, it will be business as usual. Cash filled envelopes, dead walking out of their graves to vote, continuation of labor rackets, and on and on. Chicago is famous for the Bears, the Bulls, Sox/Cubs, the beef industry, organized labor, Italian beef sandwiches, deep-dish pizzas, and some of the finest corruption in the political arena this country has to offer.
My neck-of-the-woods must be part of the twilight zone and one of the most morose cities in the country.

[edit on 4-10-2009 by Jakes51]

posted on Oct, 4 2009 @ 01:53 PM
reply to post by Jakes51

Hi Jakes, During, and after reading this thread some other stuff seemed to "melt" in with this.

I've studied a little about the origins of the Mafia, Costa Nostra, The Mob, Black Hand, the Five families, and how all of the mentioned groups act together. Yes, they are not all the same.

Any ways, Chicago is like one of the dirty little secrets; similar to Arizona when discussing the activities of the international crime syndicates.

Al Capone for example was nothing more than the "Chicago Man" for the Genovese Family. He wasn't the "Lone Outlaw" as portrayed in Hollywood, and I think there are very "controlled" reasons for this.

Quite simply the 5 families of New York(who actually have earlier origins from elsewhere) are still extremely powerful, and the Genovese Family who ran Chicago have moved even further into shadowy existence. Now, any mention in a "crime sense" is thrown back to Vito Genovese who directly ran Capone. The modern family is well to do, and respected bankers.

All this being said, what You presented should send a shock wave through America. Abu Graib(Sp) is not 8000 miles away, but right in the Heartland, or as Our new Czars call it, the "Homeland"

I've long heard that the Italian crime families usually kill off the hired help, or cut them off when they "retire"; so as to not pay for feeding, and clothing of them any longer.

This Borge character being from Chicago, and as high in the Police force as he was, I would feel positive, almost assured he was a "connected minion".

I have no doubt many other People in city/state government not only new what he was doing, but at an arms length directed him.

What I am curious about is when will Borge be taken out; executed. He seems to be an educated man, and I'm sure he's got some audio recordings here, and there. Audio implicating, or outlining a larger structure.

I mean how many of his tortured, and convicted victims were actually targeted by "other People" to take the fall?


posted on Oct, 4 2009 @ 01:54 PM
You know how you like to think the US is the policeman of the world ? Well, these are the metaphorical kind of 'police' the world gets. Except for the torture, nothing metaphorical about that.

posted on Oct, 4 2009 @ 02:09 PM
reply to post by sanchoearlyjones

Man, now that hit me for a loop. As you mentioned, Al Capone began his criminal career in New York and later settled in Chicago. I am aware of the connection with the Genovese family in New York. He began in Chicago as the understudy of mob boss Johnny Torrio who had Genovese connections.

With Capone at the helm, the Chicago Outfit became their own entity within the five families of the commission. They went off on their own in the 20's and are different from the New York mafia, because they accept non-Italians into elevated positions within the organization. However, non-the-less, they are a ruthless bunch and some believe they were behind the election and assassination of JFK. It is only speculation, but they have a history, and have been part of Chicago politics for sometime. However, I see your mafia connection with Chicago politics, and it is eerily similar to how that organization is run.

posted on Oct, 4 2009 @ 02:22 PM
wow man you write very good.....anyway i feel the same way as you do.

posted on Oct, 4 2009 @ 02:39 PM
reply to post by Jakes51

It's a good thing this dude was discharged when He was. With the rise of police brutality across the nation, he would surely be a monument of example by now if he was still in charge over there. The legal system is in place to get people off the street, such as the guy who murdered two of his men. It is NOT there to torture those people for vengance.

Thank you for bringing this to the light here on ATS Jakes51. Star and a flag for you my friend

posted on Oct, 4 2009 @ 03:16 PM
Star and flag for you!!I am originally from Chicago and while it's certainly no real surprise that this exists in 'law enforcement',it's still appalling and unbelievable that it could go on for so long and that certain people in authority to stop it/investigate it,did NOTHING.Thank God for people like Fitzgerald who are not afraid of dragging what happens in the 'dark' out into the light for all to see.Maybe now there will be some justice--as the wheels may grind slowly,but they do so exceedingly fine.This was not only a very interesting read,but you were very cogent and articulate in presenting it,as well.

posted on Oct, 4 2009 @ 03:42 PM
I'm pretty sure Godfather style bosses still exist in mid to large sized metropolitan areas.

posted on Oct, 4 2009 @ 03:51 PM
a great read OP, well written and presented.

it begs the question, is chicago unusual because of the extent, brutality, pervasiveness and systematic nature of the abuse or it unusual because there is some knowledge of the incidents in the public sphere.

posted on Oct, 4 2009 @ 04:13 PM

Originally posted by pieman
a great read OP, well written and presented.

it begs the question, is chicago unusual because of the extent, brutality, pervasiveness and systematic nature of the abuse or it unusual because there is some knowledge of the incidents in the public sphere.

I would have to say both. Chicago is a very unusual city and a brutal town. It is riddled with gang activity and organized crime. However, the dark secrets have remained in the dark, but with Patrick Fitzgerald leading the way to thwart corruption; more secrets are being brought to the light of day, than ever before. I think the reason he is so effective, is because Fitzgerald is an outsider, and not juiced in like others from the past and has the resources of the Federal government at his disposal. In other words, he is not a crony or on the payroll, if you will.

What strikes me, is the fact, that Daley kept the case under wraps with insurmountable evidence before him. Why did he do that, and could it be that officer Burge had dirt on the mayor at the time? Was a secret agreement made, to keep whatever scandal Burge may have known about, quite? When the accusations were made, Daley was ratcheting up support for Mayor in the near future. For instance, many of Mayor Daley's confidants and soldiers have gone to prison, but have yet, to link the Mayor to any crimes. The men that went to prison were very close to the mayor, and it would be naive to think that the mayor wasn't in on the scheme. It's as though they are practicing Omerta or something. Very strange??

[edit on 4-10-2009 by Jakes51]

posted on Oct, 4 2009 @ 05:29 PM
reply to post by Jakes51


Very well written article..

I'm not familiar with this case at all, thanks for bringing it to my attention..

Hopefully this Burge character will get what's coming to him....

Like I always say, Karma has a way of visiting you when you least expect it, be it good or bad!


posted on Oct, 4 2009 @ 05:32 PM
reply to post by Jakes51

What a well thought out thread
This is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING my friend. This is a tale of corruption, fraud, torture, lies and basically everything all wrapped into on Giant Burrito. I knew nothing of these events and this is honestly one of the best threads I have seen out in a long while.

Hope you add a LOT more info and keep up these amazing threads.

posted on Oct, 4 2009 @ 07:04 PM
What this country needs is about 50 "Star Chamber" 's (it's a movie).
Corruption is everywhere these days and Justice is just a word found in the dictonary.
The problem with police these days is the Union and the Masons.
The Union protects a police officers job. The Good the Bad and the Ugly. Everyday we read stories of cops who really should be sercurity guards with a night stick and not a gun. The Union only helps these goons stay on our streets until they cross the line too far. Costing tax payers in the end.
The Masons on the other hand, binds the police brothers as well as public officials together. Truth, Honesty or Justice plays no part in this binding.
These two organizations had their purpose and place in time.
But that time has long passed.

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