20 July 2007

Release POCC Minister of Defense Aaron Patterson Today!

Earlier today, Uncle Sam held a sentencing hearing for Political Prisoner Aaron Patterson in Chicago.

Stephanie Joy Tisdale summarizes the trumped-up case against Patterson in The Liberator:
Aaron Patterson’s journey with the political structure of Chicago began in April 1986, when an elderly couple was stabbed to death and he was arrested as a possible suspect... Patterson was tortured during his “interrogation”—including severe beatings and suffocation... [He] etched into a bench while in police custody: “Aaron 4/30 I lie about murders. Police threaten me with violence. Slapped and suffocated me with plastic. No lawyer or dad. No phone. Signed false statement to murders.” (Ironically, the message would remain in the bench close to 20 years later and would help to further prove that Patterson was, in fact, tortured)....

“Chicago is the torture capital,” says Chairman Fred Hampton, Jr. “Chicago’s Area 2 Violent Crimes Unit is called the ‘House of Screams’ due to the torture of prisoners including everything from electric shock on sexual organs to being hand-cuffed to radiators and doused with water.” The chief coordinator of Area 2 was Lt. Jon Burge “who’s name came to stand for police brutality” (Chicago Tribune). Burge was a military policeman during the Vietnam War and later joined the Chicago Police force. He was fired in February 1993 after being implicated for the torture of Andrew Wilson in 1982. Subsequently, more than 100 victims came forward with allegations of torture by Burge or his subordinates: Aaron Patterson was one of them. Throughout the 1970’s and 80’s Jon Burge, fresh out of Vietnam, extorted “confessions” from detainees using tactics like suffocation with typewriter covers, the use of cattle prods, electric shocks, beatings and "Russian Roulette..." In 1990, after years of complaints and public pressure, a formal investigation of Burge and his detectives finally took place and he was let go. To date, Jon Burge resides in Florida where he receives a pension and benefits.
A pension & benefits for a sadistic torturer? Now that's Vanilla Justice! Tisdale continues:
As the case against Burge defined itself, Cook County State's Atty. Richard Devine attempted to bribe Patterson and others—offering to reduce their sentences if they admitted guilt and dropped their claims against Burge. Patterson refused, stating in a Chicago Tribune interview: “Much as I'd like to get out of here, I'm going to stay until we get this thing right. I'm pretty much certain they know now I didn't do it, but they're trying to wiggle their way out of it... But I'm not so frantic that I just want to get out. If you're innocent, you've got to make your stand..."

Aaron Patterson would remain on death row until January 2003, when Illinois Gov. George Ryan pardoned him and three other death row inmates on the grounds that their confessions were a result of police torture... Upon release, Patterson became a central figure in the campaign to expose Burge and the impropriety of the Chicago political structure....

Patterson continued to advocate on behalf of tortured prisoners and victims of the Chicago political structure, many of whom remained on death row. He would go on to file a civil suit (which is still pending) and to run for office, while also working as the Minister of Defense for the POCC. “Aaron ran for State Representative in the 2nd District and on his platform he used the African Anti-Terrorism Bill,” says Chairman Fred. And that is when things took a turn for the worse..."

“Operation Revolving Door” was launched that same day by Joe Gorman, Jr... which would result in the arrest of Aaron Patterson in August 2004. The charge: attempt to purchase weapons and narcotics from an undercover informant... Since then, Aaron Patterson has been incarcerated based on the testimony of police informant Mario Fox, who was himself incarcerated for cocaine possession and subsequently released from jail in order to work as an informant.

Aaron Patterson’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 20th, 2007. It is important to remember that Aaron Patterson was pardoned in 2003 and released from jail only to be rearrested (on hearsay) less than two years later... As with Mumia Abu-Jamal and so many unjustly incarcerated individuals, Aaron Patterson needs and requires our support, our energy and our commitment to freedom for all.

Send love to Aaron Patterson:
Aaron Patterson
ID # 21664424
Metropolitan Correctional Center
71 West Van Buren
Chicago, IL 60605

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