Torture

When Gitmo Needed a Brutal Interrogator, They Turned to the Best: Chicago PD

New story sees roots of Guantanamo abuse in law enforcement agency's troubled past.

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Probably not very many descriptions of the dreamy boys in algebra class.
Little, Brown and Company

Is it a shocking exclusive or a dog-bites-man story? It may depend on how knowledgeable a reader is about the history of police brutality in the United States, particularly Chicago. At The Guardian, reporter Spencer Ackerman has filed the first of a two-part look at a gentleman by the name of Richard Zuley. Ackerman names Zuley as a major player in the development of extremely brutal interrogation methods used on prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. But these methods apparently got plenty of practice prior to the war on terror during his years spent as a police detective in Chicago.

Ackerman starts his piece focusing on Zuley's role in Mohamedou Ould Slahi's vicious treatment at Guantanamo Bay. Slahi was suspected to be a recruiter for Al Qaeda. The brutality of the methods used to extract confessions from Slahi has destroyed any case against him:

The techniques—prolonged shackling, family threats, demands to implicate others—eventually broke Slahi. He began confessing falsely to whatever he thought his interrogators wanted him to sign. "I don't care, as long as you are pleased. So if you want to buy, I am selling," he said.

[Lt. Col. Stuart] Couch, who was trying to charge Slahi with terrorism-related offenses, initially viewed Slahi's sudden talkativeness as a blessing. But as he investigated further, he found that he couldn't bring any prosecution at all—that the interrogation led by Zuley had tainted too much. If Slahi truly was dangerous, confessions beaten and threatened out of him were inadmissible in court, and a judge might throw the whole case out. If Slahi wasn't, Richard Zuley, on behalf of the United States, had tortured an innocent man.

Slahi remains in Guantanamo Bay, uncharged with any crime. He wrote a book about his experiences, Guantánamo Diary, released in January.

Zuley's techniques apparently came from his days at the Chicago Police Department, a law-enforcement agency with a lengthy, terrifying history of using any means necessary to get confessions from suspects. Zuley's past work in Chicago is now under review:

[A] wrongful-conviction examination into Zuley follows an extraordinary 2013 decision by state's attorney Anita Alvarez to free an innocent man Zuley's faulty police work sent to prison for 23 years.

Lathierial Boyd, convicted in 1990 of murder, accuses Zuley in a federal civil-rights lawsuit of planting evidence and withholding crucial details.

Boyd told the Guardian that Zuley had a racial animus as well. "No nigger is supposed to live like this," he remembered Zuley telling him after the detective searched his expensive loft.

Other Chicago cases detailed by the Guardian, centering on three people interrogated by Zuley who are still in state prison, turned up evidence in police precinct houses of severe and internationally condemned tactics in Guantánamo Bay interrogation rooms.

Read the first part of Ackerman's investigation here. The second part promises to focus further on Chicago's history of abuse in police interrogations, but if you need a preview (or a refresher), simply check out the Wikipedia page for former Chicago Police Department Commander Jon Graham Burge.

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  1. So is it better or worse that it ends up we treated foreign prisoners equally as well as our own citizens?

    1. I’d say that it’s equally illegal/immoral for the agents carrying out the State’s will to torture either citizens or foreigners.

    2. I don’t know if its better or worse but it explains the cluelessness: bureaucratic consistency.

  2. Words fail me. Reality is so much more ironic than any hipster could ever be.

  3. It’s shocking that they had to go as far as Chicago.

    1. I’m sure they didn’t HAVE to, but they wanted TOP MEN.

    2. You can get run-of-the-mill brutality from any police agency. But this is a post-9/11 world. You spare no expense.

  4. Just remember, guys like Zuley are the only people who can be trusted to carry guns in Chicago.

    1. Um, that is no longer the case.

      1. There are plenty who still pine for the good old days.

  5. I keep picturing Dennis Franz, beating the shit out of some prisoner.

    I can’t get it outta my head! AUGH!!!

  6. Of course they went to Chicago. It’s Dear Leader’s old stomping ground. He knows exactly what kind of quality torturers the city produces.

    1. It’s Dear Leader’s old stomping ground. He knows exactly what kind of quality torturers the city produces.

      Obama was giving personnel advise to Rumsfeld in 2003?!?

      1. let’s not ruin the hateful narrative.

        Thanks obama.

        1. Hey, if Scott Walker can fire a bunch of teachers the year before he was elected Governor, then Obama can recommend torturers before he was elected President.

  7. an extraordinary 2013 decision by state’s attorney Anita Alvarez to free an innocent man

    I look forward to the day when releasing an innocent man isn’t an extraordinary decision.

    1. As do I.

    2. I look forward to when we go back to the theory that “Better that 10 guilty go free than 1 innocent man go to prison”. We are quickly approaching innocent until proven guilty.

      1. sorry….guilty until proven innocent. Pain meds are kicking my ass

      2. Jesus christ, do you realize how expensive it would be to implement that?

  8. Is is wrong that I’m a) not shocked and/or surprised and b) think it’s actually worse than is being told here? People think it was the “bad ol’ days” when the cops beat and tortured confessions out of people. And how many studies does it take to prove that beating a confession out of someone just doesn’t fucking work. If someone is torturing me I will say whatever they want to hear to get them to stop.

    1. It works great if you’re just looking to boost your conviction stats! And letting the actual criminal continue to roam the street is a bonus? That just means more work for you when another crime is committed!

      1. Convicting the innocent while the guilty are free also makes it a lot easier to hit your quota. The quota is just a raw number to meet, not a success rate to achieve.

  9. if you need a preview (or a refresher), simply check out the Wikipedia page for former Chicago Police Department Commander Jon Graham Burge.

    I’ll give you the short version: Burge is how you end up with no death penalty.

    1. I’ll give you the short version: Burge is how you end up with no death penalty.

      Not heinous enough. Burge is, by any measure, worse than Bush.

  10. That’s the Chicago way.

  11. Not that it should detract from the “go to the Chicago PD when in need of Torquemada” message, but I thought I had read that this Slahi guy has had his book thoroughly ripped apart by numerous people. Could be wrong about that though.

    1. There are no good guys here.

      1. *I’m* a good guy?

        1. I’m bad, and that’s good. I will never be good, and that’s not bad. There’s no one I’d rather be, than me.

      2. My understanding is that Slahi’s account is for compelling (if not somewhat fictional) narrative.

        Lt. Col Stuart Couch was aware of Zuley’s interrogation and it’s widely known/established that Zuley was there doing the job.

        1. I don’t think many here actually give a shit about Slahi’s account – the point is the Chicago pig was so zealous he actually worsened the success rate.

          Of course, that is if the intent is to actually stop, reduce, or prevent terrorism. Terrorism is a cash cow for bureaucrats, they have no intent of stopping it.

  12. “The techniques ? prolonged shackling, family threats, demands to implicate others ? eventually broke Slahi.”

    Wow. That’s gotta be the worst treatment in the history of forever. Did they really shackle a prisoner? Did the interrogator actually DEMAND that he implicate others involved in terrorist activity? Shocking!

    1. He also raised his voice. And looked at the terrorist, you know, “That way”? You know that way. That way you look when you’re thinking mean things. You bastard. (Starts crying)

    2. Did the interrogator actually DEMAND that he implicate others involved in terrorist activity?

      Yeah! Who cares if Zuly mucked up the time and resources we could have spent on actionable intelligence by forcing us to waste time investigating a list of random people?

      1. Now that’s just crazy talk, HM.

        Additionally, Zully eventually got to go home safely at the end of his shift.

        Winning (the War on Terror)!

      2. Fuck time and resources! He saved those.

        All you ‘due process’ and ‘punishment fitting the crime’ nonsense, pheh.

        Shackles and family threats are how civilized people do business.

    3. Piss off, statist asshole.

  13. I’m pretty certain I could’ve obtained the same intel with a bottle of Jack, and a carton of Marlboro reds. Corrupting zealots is far more productive… Plus it looks a little better when the report comes out years later… Hell the threat of having to party with me may lead to a rush of theorists surrendering.

    1. I’m pretty certain I could’ve obtained the same intel with a bottle of Jack, and a carton of Marlboro reds.

      No detainees necessary! 🙂

  14. And here I was thinking that these brutal interrogation techniques will be used against domestic “threats” AFTER they’re used on our foreign enemies. How naive….

  15. These guys make no sense at all dude. WOw.

    http://www.AnonWeb.cf

  16. How did we get here? And is this shit even effective? I was reading an article on how Japanese POWs were treated, it was a lot better than this, and got results.

  17. The corruption of the Chicago PD goes back to at least the 20’s, if not to the creation of the department – it’s the Chicago Way!

  18. Six months ago I lost my job and after that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon a great website which literally saved me. I started working for them online and in a short time after I’ve started averaging 15k a month… The best thing was that cause I am not that computer savvy all I needed was some basic typing skills and internet access to start…
    This is where to start???.

    ?????????? http://www.netpay20.com

  19. Guantanamo is here in the United States! A ministry of love was discovered in homan square chicago and the protest to shut it down is happening today!

    Only we can stop Big Brother!

    https://m.facebook.com/events/772047659539836

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