Commentary by Mumia Abu-Jamal: Silent, Hidden Terrorism


The envoys, public relations specialists, and apologists for the Bush administration tell all that their’s is a global, borderless war against terrorism, and “all who harbor terrorists.” This glib threat has justified the American entry and intervention into nations as diverse as Somalia, the Philippines and the Indonesian islands, in a search for terrorists or their “harborers.”

Perhaps the U.S. should try to intervene in the sovereign republic of Chicago, in the province of Illinois?

For there, one will find the sad saga of the infamous Death Row 10, ten souls who now languish on that state’s death row, who were each and all tortured by agents of the state, and forced to provide confessions to crimes they didn’t commit. Many were beaten and tortured by the infamous Jon Burge and his cronies, Chicago cops who relied, not on the law, but on their boots.

Consider the case of Aaron Patterson, a man arrested back in 1986 for homicide. Upon arrival and interrogation at Area 2 Headquarters, he was bound, beaten, and suffocated by cops. The man endured a harrowing 25-hour interrogation, with cops repeatedly pulling a plastic hood over his head, threatening to smother him. When this tactic didn’t work, (then) Lt. Jon Burge entered and pulled out his pistol, threatening to kill him.

The lieutenant told Patterson it didn’t matter if he told on them, “It’s your word against our word. And who are they gonna believe, you or us?”

Scared for his life, threatened by armed cops, he began to tell cops what they wanted to hear, but before he left the room, he scratched a message on a stationhouse bench: “Aaron 4/30 I lie about murders. Police threaten me with violence. Slapped and suffocated me with plastic. No lawyer or dad. No phone.”

Despite his terror, he never signed the confession that the cops wrote for him. Yet this unsigned, police-written confession was the state’s premier evidence used to convict the then 23-year-old young man, and send him to death row!

For nearly 15 years, the Pattersons have been fighting to introduce evidence of this vile, government torture and falsified confession. They are fighting still!

What of the police lieutenant, Jon Burge? He was allowed to retire in 1993 with full pension, and now fishes in Florida. Some of the Burge cronies have been promoted. None have been punished!

This is just one of at least 10 innocent men’s stories, who have come to be called the Death Row 10. They languish in a hell on earth called death row. Their terrorists wore badges and are still at large.

More information, contact the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, (773) 955-4841; P.O. Box 25730, Chicago, IL 60625;



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