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Friday, February 22, 2008

Andy Martin says "Free Tony Rezko,” Barack Obama’s close friend

Executive Editor

“Factually Correct, Not
Politically Correct” update:




(CHICAGO)(February 22, 2008) One of the first things the United States did after the invasion of Iraq was to reopen Saddam Hussein’s jails. U.S.-trained jail guards went on to torture helpless detainees. Abu Ghraib became a worldwide symbol of shame for America. And, for good measure, the U.S. proposed building a massive new prison system in Iraq, a new Saddam-style gulag to imprison tens of thousands of Iraqis, most of them innocent. We condemned Saddam for the very practices that we then imposed on Iraq ourselves.

If Iraq is too painful for you to accept, American jailers also tortured and murdered helpless prisoners in Afghanistan as well. Our barbarity seemingly knows no limits. So why stop at Abu Ghraib, Baghram or Guantanamo? Why indeed.

The current case of Tony Rezko in federal court in Chicago is illustrative of a fact that is not often obvious. Americans love to torture; we even torture our own.

Mr. Rezko is not charged with a violent crime. I have no problem imprisoning violent defendants and those charged with crimes of violence. That is what jails should be used for. Rezko is charged with what used to be called “white-collar” crime. He is charged with being a part of Illinois’ dirty and corrupt politics.

He went house-hunting with presidential candidate Barack Obama, as today’s Chicago Sun-Tues confirms, see,CST-NWS-rside22.article.

So is Rezko a violent beast who should be caged and paraded around the courthouse and streets of Chicago in chains? I think not. If you want to see why we commit crimes at Abu Ghraib and Baghram, look at what Rezko’s jailer had to say. He told the judge they were not “punishing” Rezko. He was being psychologically tortured “for his own safety.” Somewhere in hell, Joseph Stalin in smiling.

Federal jail guards have locked Rezko in his tiny cell 23 hours a day, forced him to “share underwear” in some form, and sought to destabilize his mind through this abusive treatment.

This is the way the federal government wins cases in Chicago. Imagine if you will that you are charged with a serious, complex crime. Every day you are awakened at 4:30 A.M., strip searched, chained and dragged through the streets in caged vans, then searched again and held in a cold cell for hours, all before your trial starts each day. At the end of the day you repeat this process, return to solitary confinement and eat cold slop. You are cut off from visits by many family and friends. How well could you focus? How well could you concentrate? How well could you defend yourself?

How well could you defend yourself against the power of federal prosecutors, agents and a judge who hates Arabs and Muslims? How well, indeed?

In other words, the federal government, after accusing Rezko of scheming, is now scheming to deny him a fair trial and to convict him based on psychological torture techniques that have been condemned by the U. S. Government elsewhere in the world but which are routinely practiced here in the United States.

Even if there was a single hair of evidence that Mr. Rezko would flee, and there is none, he should be in "general population” with other prisoners. Mr. Rezko is not endangered by other inmates and he is obviously no danger to anyone else.

Isolation is also being used to disrupt Rezko's defense and to place attorney-client conversations under federal surveillance, where privacy is impossible and the right to counsel is rendered a joke. How often have we seen criminal prosecutions based on wiretapping and surveillance videos of lawyers and prisoners? All too often. Corrupt justice department officials are merely carrying out the orders of prosecutors and the judge to engage in psychological torture of the defendant.

I am ashamed to call this travesty of humanity and corruption of federal government power “justice.” I hope you agree. I don’t know if Mr. Rezko is the guiltiest man in the world, although I have increasing doubts as to his guilt. But I know the man is entitled to a fair opportunity to defend himself in court, and not to be psychologically tortured by federal prosecutors.

Free Tony Rezko.

[Note: I have never met Tony Rezko and have never had any contact with him. I am merely an outside observer who is outraged by the corruption of American justice. I am going to be asking to interview Rezko, however.]
Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and media critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2008. Martin covers regional, national and world events with over forty years of experience. He is a former candidate for U. S. Senator. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois College of Law. Columns also posted at; Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639. Web sites:


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