In 2012, one of my best friends from college, Angel Perez, was illegally detained by members of the Chicago Police Department (CPD), taken to their ‘black site’ in Homan Square, and sexually assaulted with a pistol, at which point he agreed to help carry out a sting operation on a drug dealer. For years, Angel has repeatedly turned down millions of dollars in settlement money in order to avoid a gag order, in order to tell his story to the world.
Angel’s story was first picked up in 2013 by Russia Today, the only problem being that while it’s admirable to be the one criticizing the U.S. government on social media, you don’t necessarily want to be the one doing so with articles from RT. Last week, however, a major, respected newspaper (in this case, The Guardian) finally covered Angel’s story.
The recent press Angel has received is more due to The Guardian’s ongoing coverage of Homan Square, and less because of the above footage that Angel recently obtained working as his own lawyer, despite possessing only a functionally worthless BA in Fiction Writing from Columbia College of Chicago. The footage is not particularly damning, is certainly not graphic, but at the very least provides some degree of circumstantial evidence, thus boosting Angel’s credibility.
The fact that the CPD even handed over this footage, however, says quite a bit about how comfortable perpetrators of crimes are in our society as long as they know that they haven’t left behind a proverbial ‘smoking gun.’ This footage of men walking into a room, staying there for a period of time, then coming out again is supposedly nearly identical to the evidence that the New England Patriots handed over to the NFL, which was cited in Tom Brady’s recent suspension for deflating footballs. Yet much like the CPD, defenders of Tom Brady are clamoring about the lack of direct evidence. Seymour Hersh’s recent article in the London Review of Books claiming that the Obama administration’s account of their killing of Osama bin Laden was false, meanwhile, doesn’t even benefit from vague, circumstantial evidence, and instead relies almost completely upon anonymous sources. Hersh was immediately criticized, as was inevitable, for his reliance on anonymous sources, including by other journalists, for whom anonymous sources should pose no ethical qualms. Taken to its logical conclusion, our society’s obsession with direct evidence leads to rampant sexual violence, untold war crimes, as well as incidents like Robert Durst not even bothering to clean up all the body parts he’d left behind during his (alleged) third murder. Durst rested easy, and even admitted to hacking apart his neighbor, knowing that he’d at least disposed of his victim’s bullet-riddled head.
In this, Durst has much in common with the CIA, the CPD, and Tom Brady. All engaged in not particularly secretive behavior. Their behavior, however, was just secretive enough to get away with what was done behind closed doors. To paraphrase The Guardian‘s Spencer Ackerman, the CPD’s Homan Square ‘black site’ is secretive, but not secret. In blatantly conspiring, but doing so behind closed doors so that anybody who tries to surmise the details of the conspiracy is quite literally a ‘conspiracy theorist,’ the CPD gets to have its cake and eat it too; it gets to have its lawyer- and constitution-proof ‘black site,’ while also getting to terrorize the citizens of Chicago with its open secret.
While a healthy dose of skepticism is an essential daily vitamin, as long as there are people and institutions who are regularly and repeatedly accused of committing heinous crimes (including deflating our sacred footballs), perhaps the Indian feminists were right in arguing that the burden of proof should be on the accused, even more so if the accused is an institution (such as the CIA, CPD, or New England Patriots) that could easily provide clear evidence of no wrongdoing, but instead chooses to carry out its business behind closed doors.
Fritz Tucker – Zeteo Contributor
The above picture is of Angel and I in college, back when I was an unkempt communist and Angel was an idealistic neo-conservative. Ironically, it was not staying up all night arguing with each other, but our encounters with the practitioners of our extremist viewpoints (in my case the Nepali Maoists, in his case the CPD) that brought us both to our senses. Whatever doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.