FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Chicago Cops are the Terrorists

by DAVE LINDORFF

It seems pretty clear by now that the three young “domestic terrorists” arrested by Chicago police in a warrantless house invasion reminiscent of what US military forces are doing on a daily basis in Afghanistan, are the victims of planted evidence — part of the police-state-style crackdown on anti-NATO protesters in Chicago last week.

The Chicago Police clearly realized that it would be hard to convince a jury that the homemade beer-making equipment in the house was some dreaded bio-terror weapon, so for good measure they apparently dropped off some glass jars with gas in them and tried to make out that the kids were preparing molotov cocktails. That’s the word from National Lawyers Guild attorneys representing the men. They say their clients and others like them coming into Chicago from out of town to join in protests against the NATO summit were “befriended” by police informants and undercover Chicago Police, who then offered to obtain gasoline or explosive materials like toy rocket motors, and who proposed actions like firebombing police stations.

This kind of entrapment and official deceit by police should alarm every American. It’s bad enough when police plant evidence and lie about evidence in order to win convictions, since it means innocent people will be sent to prison or worse. But with the new post 9-11 terrorism laws, like the state terrorism statutes in Illinois being applied in these cases, it becomes far more difficult for a victim of such police and

prosecutorial misconduct to challenge the case against her or him. In terror cases, the government can claim “national security” to hide the evidence and even the identity of the witnesses from the defendants and the courts, the jury and the public, and can avoid ever being questioned about it publicly. In a worst case, the federal government doesn’t even need to bring the case to trial. If the victim is accused of being a terrorist, under the latest National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) and various executive orders, that person can be locked away indefinitely without trial — exactly the kind of abuse that led American colonists to rise up against their British colonial overlords 237 years ago.

Residents like me from Philadelphia know all about this stuff. Planting evidence on people you want to lock away has a venerable history in this once revolutionary town.

In 1995, six Philly cops were convicted of presenting false testimony and of framing over a hundred people with planted evidence that sent the victims to jail with long
prison terms. In the end, two of those cops ended up serving jail terms themselves as the result of a federal corruption probe.  A bigger federal investigation of the Philadelphia Police Department’s Center City division in the 1980s led to the conviction of several dozen cops, including a captain, four lieutenants, and the deputy chief of police, on charges of extortion and evidence tampering, including the planting of false evidence.  Dozens of convicted prisoners were released from jail when it became clear their convictions had been based upon faked evidence by these uniformed miscreants.

The practice of planting evidence and of police lying to win convictions has continued in Philadelphia, which has paid out over $27 million in damages to people victimized by police corruption and false evidence planting since the mid-’90s. In 2009 the Philadelphia Daily News broke a story that a narcotics division cop on the force had planted drugs (a tactic known as “flaking” among dirty cops) in order to lock up
dozens of people and to rack up a seemingly stellar record of drug-busting.

And across the river in Camden, NJ, over 75 people jailed for drug offenses are having their cases reviewed and overturned now because of evidence that police in that city were planting evidence on the people they arrested.

So common was the knowledge that police in Philadelphia keep stolen unlicensed handguns and bags of drugs in their cars for the purpose of framing citizens, that after I published my book Killing Time on the case of Pennsylvania death-row prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal, the Afro-American journalist convicted in 1982 of killing a white Philadelphia police officer in a trial fraught with police and prosecutor perjury and faked evidence, that I was loath to drive through the city. And when I did, was extremely careful to follow traffic rules to the letter. With white police officers publicly pressing, through their union and lobbying arm, the Fraternal Order of Police, for Abu-Jamal’s execution, it seemed all to easy for them to stop me, run a make, ID me as the author of a book exposing the wrongness of his conviction, and to then plant a gun or a stash of illicit drugs in my vehicle, and lock me away. At least back then, though, you’d just be facing ordinary criminal charges, and hopefully a good attorney would be able to prove the charges were bogus. Terrorism charges make it much harder to do that.

The faking of terrorism crimes is abetted by a lazy corporate media, where reporters and editors just run their stories based upon the wild claims made by police and prosecutors, without bothering to consider how ludicrous those claims me be. Often, they don’t even bother to go to the victims’ defense attorneys for rebuttal.

Plus, the general scare-mongering by government and media, and the media  propaganda glorifying of “tough” cops and prosecutors who cut corners, makes it likely that most juries will continue to believe the false statements and evidence presented by the prosecution at trials.

It’s ironic that the same public that is so ready to believe all manner of wild conspiracies about the president’s being a secret Kenyan Muslim or about the government deliberately trying to turn control of the US military over to the United Nations, or about a government plan to kill off old people with “death panels,” will prove completely gullible and ready to suspend any disbelief when a police officer or a prosecutor makes some outlandish claim about three kids with beer fermenting equipment in their basement.

Dave Lindorff is a founder of This Can’t Be Happening and a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, published by AK Press. Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He lives in Philadelphia. 

 

Dave Lindorff is a founding member of ThisCantBeHappening!, an online newspaper collective, and is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).

More articles by:
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
David Price
The 2016 Tour of California: Notes on a Big Pharma Bike Race
Dmitry Mickiewicz
Barbarous Deforestation in Western Ukraine
Rev. William Alberts
The United Methodist Church Up to Its Old Trick: Kicking the Can of Real Inclusion Down the Road
Patrick Bond
Imperialism’s Junior Partners
Mark Hand
The Trouble with Fracking Fiction
Priti Gulati Cox
Broken Green: Two Years of Modi
Marc Levy
Sitrep: Hometown Unwelcomes Vietnam Vets
Lorenzo Raymond
Why Nonviolent Civil Resistance Doesn’t Work (Unless You Have Lots of Bombs)
Ed Kemmick
New Book Full of Amazing Montana Women
Michael Dickinson
Bye Bye Legal High in Backwards Britain
Missy Comley Beattie
Wanted: Daddy or Mommy in Chief
Ed Meek
The Republic of Fear
Charles R. Larson
Russian Women, Then and Now
David Yearsley
Elgar’s Hegemony: the Pomp of Empire
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail