Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Where's Obama on "Durbin's pal and prisoner abuse?"

Back on June 17, 2005 I published Durbin's pal and prisinor abuse.

I'm reposting it today because presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama has quite rightly been outspoken in his denunciation of prisoner abuse by members of the American military.

But as far as I know, he's done very little about prisoner abuse in the Cook County Jail not far from his home.

The jail is notorious as one of the worst in America. It's been run for decades by members of the same Daley machine that Obama's a part of.

At the end of the post, I provide an update.


(Welcome visitors from Betsy's Page, Captain's Quarters, Michelle Malkin, Ombusmax and The Mudville Gazette. Please consider writing a letter to your editor expressing your thoughts and feelings about Senator Durbin's abominations. Thanks, John)

Illinois Democrat Senator Richard Durbin compared American servicemen and women serving at Guantanamo to Hitler's Nazis, Stalin's gulag thugs, and Pol Pot's murderers.

But I could find no criticism by Durbin of his pal, political ally and Cook Country's Democrat Sheriff, Michael F. Sheahan, who's run the notorious Cook County Jail since 1990. I used Google and Yahoo search engines. The Senator's office didn't return a phone call inquiry about Sheahan and prisoner abuse at the jail.

During the 15 years Sheahan’s run Cook County Jail, there have been numerous reports by rights groups, attorneys, and a grand jury documenting systematic prisoner abuse there, including rapes and beatings by guards.

Legal action by Chicago University's Law School's public-service law firm, The MacArthur Justice Center, led to a grand jury finding that a failure by Sheahan’s office to investigate prisoner beatings constituted “obstruction of justice.” The MacArthur site details other actions its brought against Sheahan and other responsible officials.

In a Chicago Tribune op-ed, MacArthur attorney Jean Maclean Snyder gave readers this graphic example of prisoner abuse at Cook County Jail:

(a) squad of 40 guards took over a maximum-security division of the jail in 1999 for the sole purpose of beating and terrorizing the prisoners. A jail investigator determined that the guards' misconduct was covered up by Cook County medical personnel, who filed false reports and refused or delayed treatment to the prisoners, and by the Cook County inspector general, who refused to cooperate with the investigation.

Snyder want on to describe a meeting with a prisoner who'd been beaten:

the whites of his eyes were nearly obscured by the red from blood vessels that had ruptured during the beating, and deep lacerations were held together by staples that had been applied to his scalp.

Chicago newspapers have reported and spoken out against the abuses in Cook County Jail.

Now they and the rest of the national media who've given voice to Senator Durbin's attack on the military need to ask him about his pal, Sheriff Sheahan, and Cook County Jail.


Sheehan is no longer sheriff, but the jail is still run by members of the Daley machine.

The media has been shy, to say the least, about asking Sen. Obama about abuses in the jail so close to his home and run by his political supporters.

A group of attorneys in Chicago representing prisoners who they say have been tortured in the Cook County jail are fighting the Daley machine for disclosure and accountability. You can read more about it here, where you'll find 20 questions the attorneys have been pressing Daley and some of his aides to answer.

I'll report again on this story in a few days.


Anonymous said...

As I've noted before, I lived and worked in Chicago for six years (1968-74) and was the official Army Intelligence liaison officer to all law enforcement agencies in the Chicago area. Though I had no direct knowledge of activities in the Cook County Jail, it was common knowledge that prisoners were quite routinely maltreated by the guard force. This was during the regime of Daley the Elder, role model for the current Czar of Chicagoland. Since Daley I's passing, the political tone of the Daley machine has lurched hard left and is now in sync with the Illinois congressional delegation, particularly Durban and Mr. Obama. It should come as no surprise that neither Durban nor Mr. Obama recognize the beam in their own eyes as they sharply criticize the splinter in others'. 'Tis ever thus with the leftwing; they retain the right to villify everyone they wish, while studiously ignoring the faults in their own backyard. I think the term is "hypocrisy?"
Tarheel Hawkeye

Anonymous said...

Durbin? Durban? Proofreading?

bill anderson said...

This is explosive, especially if we are dealing with Obama's political allies. Also, it is good to bring these things to the fore no matter if they hurt or help a political candidate.

JWM said...

To TH,

I continue to appreciate your commenting.

Rushed now, but more soon.

To Anon @ 10:15,

Thanks for noting my error.

I've just corrected it.

I'm always sorry for my mistakes and glad for people who point them out.

To Bill,

You're right about the importance of this.

I plan to contact Chicago bloggers who'll, I hope, work the story.

Thanks to all three of you.