Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Blessed Are the Peacemakers By Wendell Berry

Having been often enthralled with Berry's poetry about love between man and women and his living practice of caring for the earth - way before sustainability became popular, I notice when his name shows up.

So, I just finished a densely rich little booklet by this name written in 2005. This is perhaps the best short book I've read thus far on the impact of Christ's teachings about Love, Compassion and Forgiveness - thus about peace. My temptation is to start to write this in full (in parts) because each page and many sentences/phrases even are spoken with such power and clarity.

However, with time/space/priority limitations, I want at least to highlight here a few of the statements in the hopes that many of us will purchase this little book, find it or ask that it be placed in our libraries, start little discussion groups with it and make it's interpretation of Christ's teachings an essential part of what we do and who we are as spiritual people (regardless of our claimed religion or backgrounds).

I found this 67 page book by accident in our local library when looking for books on Hagar, the Genesis/Koran and other versions. I found a number of connections between Berry's understanding of Jesus' teachings and the deeper look into the meaning of Hagar for our time...


From Wendell Berry:

Any observer would have to say that Christianity is fashionable at present in the United States. This might be a good thing, except that the observer, observing more closely, would have to conclude that, to the extent that Christianity is fashionable, it is loosely fashionable. It seems to have remarkably little to do with the things that Jesus Christ actually taught.

...people first declare themselves to be followers of Christ, and then they assume that whatever they say or do merits the adjective "Christian." (For don't we know that everybody named Rose smells like a rose?)

This process appears to have been dominant among Christian heads of state ever since Christianity became politically respectable. From this accommodation has proceeded a monstrous history of Christian violence. War after war has been prosecuted by bloodthirsty Christians, and to the profit of greedy Christians, as if Christ had never been born and the Gospels never written. I may have missed something, but I know of no Christian nation and no Christian leader from whose conduct the teachings of Christ could be inferred.

One cannot be aware both of the history of Christian war and of the contents of the Gospels without feeling that something is amiss. One may feel that, in the name of honesty, Christians ought either to quit fighting or quit calling themselves Christians. One way to see how far belligerent Christians have strayed from the words of Christ is to make a list, like the one presented in the following pages, of the Gospel passages in which Christ addresses explicitly the issues of human strife, forgiveness, compassion, and peacemaking.

Christians have been reading for the last four hundred years (Christ's commandments) while disobeying or ignoring (them) and praying for His help in their wars.

They have justified their obedience on the grounds of the impracticality of obedience, though we have little proof of the practicality of disobedience, and precious few examples of obedience. ..The Christian followers of Caesar have thus committed themselves to an absurdity that they can neither resolve nor escape: the proposition that war can be made to serve peace; that you can make friends for love by hating and killing the enemies of love. This has never succeeded, and its failure is never acknowledged, which is a further absurdity.

...Christ told us how to survive when He answered the question, Who is my neighbor? In the tenth chapter of Luke He tells the story of a Samaritan who cared for a Jew who had been badly wounded by thieves. As we know from the preceding chapter, in which the Disciples suggest in effect the firebombing of a Samaritan village, the Samaritans and the Jews were enemies. To modernize the story, then, and so to understand Christ's answer, we may substitute any other pair of enemies: fundamentalist Christian and fundamentalist Muslim, Palestinian and Israeli, captor and prisoner. The answer: Your neighbor is any sufferer who needs your help...

Please get a hold of this book.


Often, I've seen and read of those who practice Christ's teachings - with or without recourse to His name nor to any other named spirituality.

One such example may be shown in this short video

Video of the Week on One World Many Peaces here See September 24, 2010 Cesar Chavez's Nonviolent Immigrant Worker Movement in the U. S.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Jews For Peace: Interception of Jewish Boat to Gaza

By Robert Mackey at NYTimes GO here

No Method to the Madness By Yousuf Nazar GO here September 28, 2010

The writer is author of The Gathering Storm, Pakistan: Political Economy of a Security State

Dr Aafia Siddiqui may or may not have lost her sanity due to torture but is there an end to the madness of American military misadventures that have destroyed hundreds of thousands of homes of innocent civilians?

Think about this.

Over a trillion dollars and nine years after 9/11, the Taliban instead of being eliminated are set to take over Kabul again, and Pakistan which hardly had a Taliban presence in 2001 has been rocked by bomb blasts and has had its worst year of violence since 2001. And the Americans still cannot see what the problem is?

But then if their policies had a bit of wisdom, we never would have had Vietnam, Cambodia would not have been ruined, the Shah of Iran would never have been allowed to suppress dissent, Afghanistan would not have been abandoned after 1989, and a just settlement of the Palestine conflict would have been achieved. It is easy to forget lessons of history in the confusion and noise of the day-to-day reporting and in the age of 30 second sound-bites of electronic media.

America’s intelligence budget alone has gone up by more than 250 per cent since 2001 to $75 billion and its defenders in Afghanistan and Pakistan do not see the irony of a mad campaign that has not achieved anything and destroyed much, including US credibility and standing in the world.

Dr Zbigniew Brzezinski, one of the foremost foreign policy experts in the US, warned the American government about the potentially disastrous consequences of its foreign policy on February 1, 2007. “If the United States continues to be bogged down in a protracted bloody involvement in Iraq, the final destination on this downhill track is likely to be a head-on conflict with Iran and with much of the world of Islam at large.”

One consequence of the bloody military and covert operations is that the control of many aspects slips out of the hands of the politicians and away from congressional oversight. Guantanamo Bay is one such example. Dozens were kept under detention without any trial and then released without much explanation. Abdullah Mehsud was one captured in December 2001 and released in May 2004.

The latest casualty of the US military and intelligence establishment’s — to quote Dr Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser — “mythical narrative”, is Dr Aafia Siddiqui. She may or may not have been involved with al Qaeda. I do not know. No court ever charged her with any terrorist act. So all that noise is irrelevant in so far it relates to her sentencing by a US court for 86 years on charges of committing a crime in Afghanistan as a Pakistani citizen. If the US defence and intelligence establishment wanted to delay the case and avoid provocation, which it knew it would cause in Pakistan, it could have easily delayed the trial as it did in the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed for reasons that remain obscure.

I won’t speculate on the motives for carrying on this trial at this time lest some naive or biased readers accuse me of a conspiracy theory but the repercussions are obvious. It is a clear provocation even if that was not the intent. It is mystifying that while on one hand, the US gives $405 million in aid for the floods; but it increases the frequency of drone strikes which for sure are going to destroy any good will it would have hoped to generate. Are they so stupid?

I quoted Dr Brzezinski at length to make the points that some of us make but are dismissed as anti-Americanism. I worked for an American bank for 20 years. I have nothing against Americans. But their establishment’s Middle East and Central Asian policies are wrong, short-sighted, counter-productive and ultimately self-defeating. There is no method to their madness but only one way to prevent more harm than they have already caused, belated though it might be. The world would be a better place if President Obama can focus on the ailing US economy, which is not only in long term decline but is not recovering well, and put an end to all costly overt and covert misadventures overseas.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2010.

FBI Raids - Conference Call Tonight / SF Labor Council Denounces FBI Repression 1st National Conference Call of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression

INTRO to the following concerns:

here FBI Raids Homes of Antiwar and Pro-Palestinian Activists in Chicago and Minneapolis


Send us your info at

Circulate statements of solidarity to your friends, neighbors and communities and ask them to sign on and do the same. Participate in the Committee to Stop FBI Repression. The first meeting will take place via conference call on Tuesday, September 28 at 8pm CST. Please register here

Greg Butterfield September 28, 2010 at 6:15pm
SF Labor Council Denounces FBI Repression
1st National Conference Call of the Committee to Stop FBI Repression

A national conference call will be held on Tuesday, September 28th, at 8:00 PM central time. (9 East, 8 Central, 7 Mountain, 6 Pacific) See bottom for details.

Across the country organizations and individuals are standing together to protest the United States government’s attempt to silence and criminalize anti-war and international solidarity activists. We see the raids and subpoenas as an attack on anti-war and other progressive movements. It is an attack on our freedom to speak, our freedom to assemble with like-minded people, and our freedom to tell the government that their actions and policies are wrong. It is an attempt to clear the way for more wars and occupations of other countries by the U.S. military.

We are coming together in response to the FBI raids on seven homes and an anti-war office on Friday, September 24, 2010. The FBI also handed subpoenas to testify before a federal grand jury to eleven activists in Illinois, Minnesota, and Michigan. These activists are involved in many groups, including the Twin Cities Anti-War Committee, the Palestine Solidarity Group, the Colombia Action Network, Students for a Democratic Society, and the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. These activists and many others came together to organize the 2008 anti-war marches during the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

We Demand:

Stop the repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists.
Immediately return all confiscated materials: computers, cell phones, papers, documents, etc. End the grand jury proceedings against anti-war activists.
To Take Action:

Call the U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder at 202-353l-1555 or write an email to: Protest at your local Federal Building or FBI office this week. There are 20+ protests organized so far. Send us your info at

Circulate statements of solidarity to your friends, neighbors and communities and ask them to sign on and do the same. Participate in the Committee to Stop FBI Repression. The first meeting will take place via conference call on Tuesday, September 28 at 8pm CST. Please register here


San Francisco Labor Council Resolution – Adopted unanimously Sept. 27, 2010

Condemn FBI Raids on Trade Union, Anti-War and Solidarity Activists

Whereas, early morning Sept. 24 in coordinated raids, FBI agents entered eight homes and offices of trade union and anti-war activists in Minneapolis and Chicago, confiscating crates full of computers, books, documents, notebooks, cell phones, passports, children’s drawings, photos of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, videos and personal belongings. The FBI also raided offices of the Twin Cities Anti-war Committee, seizing computers; handed out subpoenas to testify before a federal Grand Jury to 11 activists in Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan; and paid harassment visits to others in Wisconsin, California and North Carolina; and

Whereas, one target of the raid was the home of Joe Iosbaker, chief steward and executive board member of SEIU Local 73 in Chicago, where he has led struggles at the University of Illinois for employee rights and pay equity. Brother Iosbaker told the Democracy Now radio/TV program that FBI agents “systematically [went] through every room, our basement, our attic, our children’s rooms, and pored through not just all of our papers, but our music collection, our children’s artwork, my son’s poetry journal from high school – everything.” He and his wife, a Palestine solidarity activist, were both issued subpoenas. The earliest subpoena dates are October 5 and 7; and

Whereas, the majority of those targeted by the FBI raids had participated in anti-war protests at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul MN, which resulted in hundreds of beatings and arrests [with almost all charges subsequently dropped]. Many of those targeted in the 9/24 raids were involved in humanitarian solidarity work with labor and popular movements in Colombia – “the most dangerous place in the world to be a trade unionist” – whose US-funded government has been condemned by the AFL-CIO and internationally for the systematic assassination of hundreds of trade unionists; and

Whereas, the nationally coordinated dawn raids and fishing expedition marks a new and dangerous chapter in the protracted assault on the First Amendment rights of every union fighter, solidarity activist or anti-war campaigner, which began with 9/11 and the USA Patriot Act. The raids came only 4 days after a scathing report by the Department of Justice Inspector General that soundly criticized the FBI for targeting domestic groups such as Greenpeace and the Thomas Merton Center from 2002-06. In 2008, according to a 300-page report obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, the FBI trailed a group of students in Iowa City to parks, libraries, bars and restaurants, and went through their trash. This time the FBI is using the pretext of investigating “terrorism” in an attempt to intimidate activists.

Therefore be it resolved, that the San Francisco Labor Council denounce the Sept. 24th FBI raids on the homes and offices of trade union, solidarity and anti-war activists in Minneapolis, Chicago and elsewhere; the confiscation of computers and personal belongings; and the issuance of Grand Jury subpoenas. This has all the earmarks of a fishing expedition. The FBI raids are reminiscent of the Palmer Raids, McCarthy hearings, J. Edgar Hoover, and COINTELPRO, and mark a new and dangerous chapter in the protracted assault on the First Amendment rights of every union fighter, international solidarity activist or anti-war campaigner, which began with 9/11 and the USA Patriot Act;

And be it further resolved, that this Council make the following demands:
Stop the repression against trade union, anti-war and international solidarity activists. Immediately return all confiscated materials: computers, cell phones, papers, documents, personal belongings, etc.

End the Grand Jury proceedings and FBI raids against trade union, anti-war and international solidarity activists; And be it further resolved, that this Council participate in the ongoing movement to defend our civil rights and civil liberties from FBI infringement; forward this resolution to Bay Area labor councils, California Labor Federation, Change to Win and AFL-CIO; and call on these organizations at all levels to similarly condemn the witch hunt;

And be it finally resolved, that this Council urge the AFL-CIO to ensure that denunciation of the FBI raids is featured from the speakers’ platform at the October 2, 2010 One Nation march in Washington, DC, possibly by inviting one of those targeted by the raids, for example the SEIU chief steward whose home was raided, to speak at the rally.

Send us your info at

Circulate statements of solidarity to your friends, neighbors and communities and ask them to sign on and do the same. Participate in the Committee to Stop FBI Repression. The first meeting will take place via conference call on Tuesday, September 28 at 8pm CST. Please register here

Friday, September 24, 2010

Aafia Sentenced: What Next? (By Pakistani Scholar)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Judge Richard Burman has sentenced Dr. Aafia Siddiqui to 86 years in prison. According to the report in Dawn, Dr. Siddiqui said to the audience after hearing the sentence, “Don’t get angry. Forgive Judge Berman.” Judge Berman repartee, apparently in scorn and sarcasm, was, “I wish more defendants would feel the way that you do.”

Nobody can say what implications this sentence carries for the world, US or Pakistan. A few things may be stated without fear of being contradicted though.

Before the common people in Pakistan and US even became aware of the existence of Aafia, she had already become well-known to human rights activists across the world as victim of abduction, rape and torture, whose minor children had also got abducted along with her. Pakistani, Afghan and US authorities were the accused in this case.

This was the world opinion in general. Since August 2008, the American media has been considerably successful in giving a different color to the story, alleging that Aafia had ties with al-Qaeda (a charge that was never brought up in the court at any point).

The power of mass media is itself its limitation: the news of tomorrow is bound to wipe out the news of today. Therefore with the passage of time, the world opinion viewing Aafia as a victim is likely to prevail over the perception created by the American media.

For US, the consequences could be disastrous in the long-term because nobody can say how its legal system is likely to be judged once the world opinion about Aafia prevails over the American media version.

For Pakistan, two implications have already been carved in stone. The heyday of liberal and progressive human rights activists like Aasma Jahangir is over and it is unlikely that they will ever regain the prestige they used to enjoy in the past. Their credibility as well as integrity has received a serious blow since it is perceived by many that these activists didn’t do as much as they should have done in this case, and that this was not procrastination but selfish interest on their part.

The same goes for the government of Pakistan. This government seems to be overlooking that the last round of troubles began for President Pervez Musharraf over the issue of “missing persons” and the demand for his impeachment gained support in the wake of the discovery of Aafia in July 2008. The present regime may have made a mistake by failing to behave any differently than Musharraf in this matter.

Last, but not the least, there is an implication for Muslims in general. In Verses 84-85 of Surah Baqarah (Chapter 2), God criticizes certain people because they banish some among themselves from homes and assist the enemies against them in transgression. The question likely to haunt Muslims, especially in Pakistan, is whether their own behavior in the case of Aafia in particular and the missing persons in general is any different from those whom God has cursed.

Posted by Khurram Ali Shafique at 6:32 AM on his "About Aafia" blog

Find more of biographer/scholar Khurram Ali Shafique's work along with a unique and trend-setting "blog community" at The Republic of Rumi website and blog


From the Official Family Site CLICK here

Friday, 24 September 2010 00:52

SEPTEMBER 23, 2010: New York

After reading a long and cold statement, Judge Richard M. Berman callously said to Dr. Aafia : "I wish you the best" as he pronounced a sentence of Eighty Six (86) Years in prison.

She would be eligible for release in the year 2094 at age 122 if she lives that long.

Dr. Aafia, who was calm throughout the proceedings, asked that no revenge or violence be done in her name and she specifically forgave Judge Berman while disagreeing with the trial and the charges and allegations against her. She also once again stated that she did not want the current legal team. However, she did preserve her right to appeal by saying that she would appeal but through lawyers of HER choosing if the US system would allow her to find a lawyer and not impose one on her or have the Pakistani government impose lawyers.

At the end of the hearing, when asked by the judge if she wanted to voice any objections she simply stated that there were so many that "we would be here all day" and suggested that it would be a short list if he asked her about what she agreed with. With this she managed to bring smiles to all in the court including the security officers and US Marshalls on an otherwise very tense day.

AAFIA --- an Omen (exceptional Op Ed by Pakistan Student)

Photo and following article
posted here
Aafia - an Omen

I wonder if the values of a Nation State are being practiced in the world today.
Security, Freedom, Order and justice and Welfare none of them was proved to be practiced when the verdict was announced for Aafia Siddiqui by the US court.
I mourn over this brittle value system.

I feel this case is like an Omen for the Law system of US. If it is being handled in the right way, the nation would be saved but if not then collapse of a value system can be the most dangerous to the life of that nation.

I thought if any American can be convicted like this in the Pakistani Court. Would the US government let it happened? Definitely not!

What our government had been doing since 2003? Were there really sincere efforts to get Aafia released? Were we honest to give her a support as a Pakistani? My questions continue and I cannot find the answers.

I pray for the victory of humanity as this victory is necessary to be achieved soon.

Thursday, September 23, 2010 Posted by Komal at 12:30 PM

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Update: Earlier Mohammad Siddiqui speaks of his sister Aafia's trial

First report on the sentencing: from acereporter "Leaving federal court where Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was sentenced to 86 yrs in prison. She begged supporters NOT to commit violence in her name."

Dr. Aafia's brother says below in this transcript:

"And we have to challenge EACH conviction. If the stakes are raised, there has to be a response:

'It has to be legal

'It has to be intelligent

'It has to be honorable

'And it has to be done with a dignity that I think - especially for Muslims - that that is the true legacy of our faith."

And certainly that should be the case for all of us...but we can't be silent nor should we give up on Dr. Aafia's situation.

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui: "Fact vs. Fiction" Transcribed from an Audio Recorded several months after the January trial 2010 - Find URL to Audio end of this post

Assalamu alaikum

I want to thank everyone who's listening in and who is watching on the net for taking the time and the interest to try to understand the information about this case.

The title "Fact vs Fiction" is appropriate as this case has gone on for us for over seven years now and it is amazing how much fiction there is out there. There's so much about Aafia out there and sadly so much of it is wrong to the point of total fabrication on occasion. And worse, most of it is negative.

Now it's impossible to clarify years of misinformation in just a few's probably instructive to focus from the point of the trial which just concluded in New York in February.

Even in that trial, it was limited to a very specific event without putting any context to the background. So I'll put a little bit of that out here for people:

Aafia and her three children disappeared or were disappeared from Karachi in March of 2003...For five years they were totally missing. Now these children were very young. The youngest was only 6 months old at the time. It is amazing how many people will write about this case and profess to have knowledge of this case - but are simply unaware of even these basic facts.

There have been, over the course of the years many documented witnessed accounts of torture and abuse that has been perpetrated the "war on terror"...

"We know from Aafia's own testimony own case that her own children were used for coercion. Again this is something that many are not aware of...

Even one of the court officers supposedly preparing a biography on Aafia was unaware of this background. It is important because this is why fiction can take hold -- because without basic facts or basic understanding on background - in the absence of that - many things can be interjected mid-stream -- and that's what we saw happening in the court in New York.

I sat through the whole trial: the pre-trial; jury selection; and the hearings as well. And being a witness to that trial, all I can say is I wish many of you who are interested in the case could have been there or as future cases come - make an effort to understand the whole process -- because only then can you see how charges are framed and how a trial is conducted.

What I witnessed was that a virtually non-existent and highly inconsistent prosecution case was able to win and it won over an extremely powerful defense case that demonstrated through factual and scientific evidence that Aafia was actually innocent of the charges leveled against her.

And yet the verdict was one of "guilty".

So how can this be?...Yes, I am her brother...But the answer really is in the process that I witnessed and the key was that there was a corruption of a very simple principle upon which our justice system here is based.

Actually this is a principle upon which any system justice must be based - and that is for justice to have a chance of being done - the process has to be without FEAR or FAVOR. Very simple but powerful words. But if we let either one of these enter into the process - the result by definition becomes unjust - and that was evident in Aafia's trial from the beginning as both fear and favor were interjected - from the beginning.

That's why it's important to be there when the judge frames what will be allowed into evidence and what will not. That creates what you would say is the framewith which the jury will view the case.

In this case her entire background the context of why she was picked up in Afghanistan, where she was for five years - all the issues about RENDITION, (coercive) use of children - ALL of that was kept outside the frame. It was not allowed into court - the jury would never hear of it...and when Aafia tried to interject that through outbursts, it only made her seem unreasonable.

And on top of that, there was in this trial...(the fact) that she was charged not with any act of terrorism or anything like that. In fact it was repeatedly mentioned that she was not charged or connected with any organization or charged with any act of terrorism. Yet innuendos of this were consistently interjected for the jury to keep in the back of their mind.

And so there is FEAR that gets injected in these cases.

There was an atmosphere of fear:

Fear of Aafia, this 90-pound "super-woman" whom three US soldiers could not contain even after shooting her.

There was in the courtroom the fear of Muslims in general - fear about security for the nation - and there was constant invocation of fear by reminding people about 911...and these are the things that the judge reiterated on a daily basis...and many other things...

I mention these things because anyone who was there - and this was a public trial - would know that these things occurred...when you inject fear you create an atmosphere where you make it difficult for people to make a fair and reasonable decision.

You know one interesting things that happened was that every day the judge would go to great lengths to say that Aafia was not charged with terrorism to the point that she herself objected. She said, if you don't want someone to look somewhere put a big sign that says 'Don't look here'...

The next thing was the element of FAVOR - that is of providing favor towards the prosecution. And this was done in many ways - and we've witnessed this in many trials. But in this specific trial, the major thing was allowing a lot of "hearsay evidence" (a term I learned in this trial) uniformed soldiers to talk about their suffering - and their tours of duty in Afghanistan that had no relation to the charges or the events related to the trial.

And yet the defense was not allowed to even bring legitimate issues of context such as Aafia's torture or the use of her children and things like that into court...
So what you had was a situation where one side got to bring in things not relevant yet the other side was judged in a different frame.

Now I mention some of these things about this trial because it is important for people to understand that when things are framed this way - what can happen is that when there's absolutely no evidence - no physical evidence - you can actually win a case...when things are framed this way what can happen when there's absolutely no evidence - absolutely no evidence - physical or scientific evidence - you can actually win a case because of witness accounts which may be totally contradictory and in this case they were. There were several eye witness accounts
and all of them were contradictory... there was the element of fear and the prosecution said so (in effect) that this is a dangerous person...and therefore we must convict...and the jury did...

So I guess one of the questions we come to -- and this is a BIG question that
if it's so hard to get justice and if the process is tainted - what can we do, what should we do? and in our case what will we do? If we can't win when all the evidence is on our side...then are people wasting their time, money and are events like this even worth participating in?

Or do we simply throw up our hands -- retreat in a corner, make secret dua's and wait for angels to come and help? You know, I don't know the answers -- but I do have some thoughts:

I don't think that depression and hopelessness are the answers. They don't serve any purpose, they are pointless, and they don't even provide any closure. They are realities that I think most families - who go through these situations - struggle with - - but, in a case like this, you have to bring determination that if you know the case is right and you know what is true and someone is innocent - then you have to challenge the conviction. And we have to challenge EACH conviction. If the stakes are raised, there has to be a response:

It has to be legal

It has to be intelligent

It has to be honorable

And it has to be done with a dignity that I think - especially for Muslims - that that is the true legacy of our faith.

I say this because I do believe that the basic foundations of the people are good
and the principles of justice are based on the ideals of fairness - but they have been - especially since the "war on terror" they have been severely, severely regressed. And we Muslim citizens and others have a duty to get these principles back into practice and liberate the system from the policies of fear and prejudice

And I quote Aafia again during the trial - she said - "We should not build cases on hate - but we should build them on facts."

...I do believe that sooner or later we will start to get reversals...(especially)
when there is little to know (of evidence for a case) - when that starts to happen, not just Muslims but all Americans and all people will be better for it.

So where do we go from here? The case of Aafia is awaiting sentencing...
Based on the charges that she was convicted of, there is a 30- year mandatory minimum sentence which would probably be enhanced to life. What can be done in the meantime to mitigate that is unclear (talking with the lawyers)...

No one was hurt in this incidence (scene of Aafia's charge) so this is something that people need to have a clear understanding of -- the intent in this case is probably to send multi-level messages.

After that (sentencing) she will begin to serve time and we have no idea where that will be...

But there are implications of/from this case for many of the other cases that are to follow. And people need to pay attention and follow these cases - in complete - in totality - because unless you do it in totality - you are not going to understand where the case actually was decided.

Aafia's case was decided in the early framing of the case. It was all over by the time it actually even got to trial and most (of these) cases tend to be that way...
Once you follow it - you know where the cases are set - and if there's proper reporting and documentation of that - hopefully people will then not have the confusion we run into over here...where you read things in newspapers which are only partial facts and that give rise to people creating fictions out of them. It is still amazing how many newspapers still carry the title that she was convicted of being 'an Al-Qaeda operative' when it's nowhere in fact...

What remains for people to do - in the case of Aafia - there is a strong series of appeals and there are a lot of other issues in this case that need to be pursued.

This is not just the case of a woman who was accused of something there are huge secondary issues related to this case about relationships between countries and other issues.

So public involvement - public awareness of ANY case that involves human rights abuses is critical - because if the public isn't involved it's very difficult for governments and prosecutions to care. But if there IS public awareness and people are watching and people are reporting and people are keeping an eye on folks, then - I believe - there will be a move toward fairness and a leveling of the field - so that we can restore the system of justice back to a point where it is free of fear and favor and we won't have people like Aafia and ...(others) suffering unnecessarily...

And families can be brought back together.

Click to listen: Mohammad Siddiqui (Dr. Aafia’s Older Brother)

Fact vs. Fiction Webinar Audio Files: original audio and others as well speaking to this case here

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Must-Read Earlier Analysis of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui Case

KEY and prophetic excerpts from the analysis below:

"Tables are turning: at the going rate it might not be very long before US finds itself lagging behind developing countries in matters of awareness about human rights among the masses. For its own good, US ought to revise its take on this case."

"The United Nations was a giant step towards peace, but what about “united humanity”? We need to alter certain perceptions now and we need to set new precedents."

Case study

On March 30, 2003, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui disappeared from Karachi along with her three minor children. Media reported that she had been taken by the US authorities with compliance of Pakistani authorities since the FBI had wanted to seek some information from her. In the face of general outcry, the US and Pakistani authorities quickly backtracked but then a year later Pakistani Foreign Office admitted publicly that Aafia had been handed over to the US.1

She became a concern for human rights organizations including Amnesty International who kept the case alive for five years. On July 6, 2008, political party Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf presented a British journalist in Islamabad who said there was reason to believe that Aafia was the “Prisoner 650″ at Bagram (Afghanistan) and had undergone brutal rape and torture for five years. Outcry reaches a high water mark and urgent appeals were sent by Asian Human Rights Commission on July 22, to President George Bush and other persons of authority.

On August 4, the US authorities officially admitted of having Aafia in their custody but the US Department of Justice brought forth a charge sheet against her, claiming that she was arrested on July 17 (and not before) while loitering around near the residence of Ghazni’s Governor. They alleged that papers found in her handbag included instructions on making bombs and notes about installations in US.

They explained her wounds by saying that a day after her arrest she took an M4 rife which belonged to US military personnel and fired two rounds at close range, which missed, and she had to be shot in the torso.

On August 16, the US envoy to Pakistan made a public statement saying that the US had no “definitive knowledge” of the whereabouts of Aafia’s children but only a few days later the Afghan authorities revealed that an 11-year-old boy had also been “arrested” with Aafia and this boy was then repatriated to be received by Aafia’s family as her eldest son.

The story narrated about this alleged episode is not plausible, and contradictions self-evident. Yet Aafia has been suffering pain and humiliation in US prison for more than two months now. There are fears that she is now being brainwashed in order to render her incapable of giving evidence against any atrocities that might have been committed against her.

Three anomalies in the trial

Basically: (a) victim has become the accused; (b) allegations are not being addressed in proper order; and (c) allegations against US authorities by human rights groups and concerned citizens are going un-addressed.

Victim has become the accused

Those who say that they hope to get justice from US legal system in this case are overlooking the fact that the trial is not being held to provide justice to Aafia. It is being held against her.2

Allegations not addressed in proper order

The case involves three allegations, not one. These need to be addressed in the order in which they appeared:

1. The FBI’s declaration that it needed Dr. Aafia Siddiqui for interrogation (2003)
2. Allegations raised by human rights organizations and Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf that Aafia Siddiqui was being illegally detained, raped and tortured by US authorities (with possible compliance of Pakistani authorities) for five years, and that her three minor children were in illegal detention. July 6, 2008 is the high water mark for this allegation.
3. Allegation raised by US authorities against Dr. Aafia Siddiqui that she tried to assassinate US army personnel on July 18, 2008. This allegation was brought forth on August 4, 2008.*

The first of these has not been legally pursued by authorities even after they admitted having custody of Aafia. Hence it may be considered as dropped.

The second allegation, which is against US authorities, has never been answered seriously except for a flat rebuttal in inappropriate and condescending tone (consider the US envoy’s open letter of August 16).

Now the third allegation is being addressed in a court of law without addressing the second. This leads to great confusion. The victim has been given into the custody of the party accused of committing offenses against her, and mandate is given to them to further curtail her liberties as a “high security risk”.

Let’s understand: it’s not as if US Government said that it would rather like to keep Aafia in a rehabilitation center in America for treatment of torments suffered by her during five-year-long illegal detention. The victim is now in custody of the party accused of committing the following atrocities against her:

1. Abduction and illegal detention of the victim
2. Abduction and illegal detention of the victim’s minor children
3. Attempt of coercing the victim to sign false evidence
4. Threatening the victim with murder of her children
5. Sexual abuse, rape and torture
6. Attempted brainwashing
7. Possibly, murder of two of the victim’s minor children **

The first step should have been to ensure that the party accused of committing these offenses didn’t have any further access to her with malevolent intent. The opposite has happened.

Aafia’s transfer from military to civil authorities doesn’t ensure that her abusers have lost influence: responding to journalists’ question about why they didn’t seek bail for Aafia, her lawyer answered, “There’s more in this case than meets the eye.”

What’s going wrong now

Following incidents which can be seen as injustice or malpractice have occurred after August 6, when Aafia was first presented in New York:

1. Victim was remanded on implausible charges4
2. Bail was not even sought by her lawyers5
3. US envoy gave a questionable statement about victim’s children6
4. It’s possible that the victim’s eldest son was brainwashed before being handed over by Afghan authorities7
5. Motion to establish the victim as mentally unfit to stand trial, if accepted, will disqualify her from giving evidence later against her abusers
6. At Carswell, the victim can be at risk of being brainwashed or rendered incapable of providing evidence

Two children of the victim are still missing. If they are still alive then it is possible that they are being used as hostages to pressurize her. Allegations of her illegal detention, rape, etc, and the abduction of her children, is going unaddressed.

Can she get justice from US legal system?

That question will arise only after a case is brought up to seek justice for her. The current trial has been registered against the victim and not against her abusers.

Unfounded speculation is bad but some speculation is required for arriving anywhere in legal matters. Here we are forced to choose between two options: either the story about Aafia’s alleged arrest and shooting as told by the DOJ is true, or it is false.

The story is not likely to be true. Consider this passage from rejoinder to US envoy’s letter by Kamran Shafi, journalist and former trainer in small arms:

By the way Excellency, if you care to notice, Aafia Siddiqui is about your build and dimensions. May I suggest you get one of your Marines at the embassy to bring you a US army-issue M4 rifle. Now ask him to clear the chamber, affix the magazine, put the rifle on ‘safe’, and place it on the ground which would be the exact position in which Aafia Siddiqui found hers and with which she is alleged to have fired upon the US officer. You may very well fail to even cock it in 10 seconds, let alone find the safety catch, lift the rifle to your shoulder and fire it.8

It seems as if the US authorities knew that this story won’t stand a test in the court and their real strategy was to buy time for declaring Aafia mentally unfit or perhaps even to induce mental disorder while in custody.

Such speculation sounds harsh but once the DOJ story is rejected there is no way we can pass over it as an “honest mistake”. If the story is false then obviously we aredealing with an unusually ugly and disturbing cover-up of enormous dimensions.

We must not forget the three other victims in this case: Aafia’s minor children. The first is Ahmad Siddiqui, 11-year-old, and the anomalies in his case raise suspicions of a three-step approach to cover up brainwashing in captivity.9 First, deny having any “definitive knowledge” of the captive’s whereabouts. Second, admit that he was in detention even at the time of those denials. Third, send him home in mentally unstable state where he cannot recall details about captivity. There is a stark analogy between his fate and the contradictory reports now coming out about her mother: is she at step 2 now, undergoing brainwashing?

By the authorities’ own admission Ahmad’s detention at least from July 17 to August 22 was irregular: it was covered up despite urgent appeals from around the world.

The second victim is Aafia’s daughter Mariam, 10 years old (5 at the time of her disappearance), and the third is the youngest son Salman, 5 years old (six months at the time of his disappearance). Authorities deny having “definitive knowledge” of his whereabouts too.

It may be remembered that capture of minor children and infants for pressurizing their parents was described by Pakistan’s former president Pervez Muharraf as fair tactic while participating in American War Against Terror.10

What needs to be done

We need to be absolutely clear that the real issue here is the second set of allegations in which Aafia is victim, not accused.

By remaining silent on that issue now, the whole world is allowing a victim to become accused. Since this has already become one of the most famous trials of the new century, a bad precedent in this matter is likely to affect the future of human rights for very long time and almost everywhere in the world. Time is of essence here, because it seems as if evidence is being destroyed very fast.

The following steps may need to be taken without losing any further time:

1. Human rights groups in US should file petition in a US court to the effect that Aafia’s trial is unfair and should be dismissed. It needs to be dismissed immediately, and in any case latest by November 7, i.e. forty days before the date which has been set for hearing whether or not Aafia is mentally fit to stand trial: there is reason to suspect that some foul play is going on which is likely to accomplish its ends by that date and evidence related to actual culprits will have been destroyed, possibly including memory of the victim herself.

2. Separately, a complaint should be lodged against culprits who victimized Aafia earlier, and a plea should be made for the recovery of her two missing children.

3. All peaceful and healthy means should be used for educating people in as many countries as possible about the AAFIA issue – especially the message that a victim should not be victimized and the meaning of justice should not be distorted.11

4. Concerned citizens of the world need to explore whether there is a proper channel for taking up this issue beyond slogans, protests and demonstrations. If no such channel exists then it needs to be created.

5. If any rights group decides to make a separate committee for pursuing this case, then that committee should also look into the wider implications and related issues, and hence “AAFIA” might be a good acronym for “Affirmative Action for the Freedom and Independence of All” (Aafia literally means comprehensive safety). Fresh grounds need to be broken for safeguarding human rights in these new times.

United Nations was a giant step towards peace, but what about “united humanity”? We need to alter certain perceptions now and we need to set new precedents.

Consequences for everyone

Terrorism is a serious threat which should not be trivialized the way it has been through the victimization of Aafia Siddiqui and her minor children. Genuine efforts being made against terrorism will also earn a bad name, if not fall flat on their face, if moral superiority is lost – and it will be lost if injustice in the case of Aafia Siddiqui completes its course.

The case is so complex, and its details so gruesome, that many still may not have realized what the possible outcome of her mistreatment might turn out to be. The analysis offered here may not be how everyone is seeing things now but it is likely to be how these things will be seen in times to come, as the truth gradually seeps into people’s conscience.

Then a great setback for human rights may be suffered because in our times such rights rest on the premise that people are entities who should be respected, their humanity cannot be usurped by any government and a person cannot be objectified before the mystique of state. Losing this one case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui can mean losing the very premise of human rights, and losing it in bright limelight.12

It is not just about Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, but rather ironically, it is also about what her first name means literally in her native language: comprehensive safety. She is a highly educated woman who made it to the upper strata of middle class in two societies – Pakistan and US. What happened to her can happen to anyone, and it may happen more easily in future if bad precedent is set now.

For America, it is a moment of truth. The international community has been hearing so much about the “deposed” Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Chaudhry, who used to take suo moto action on such cases, forcing his government and its much-dread intelligence agencies to become answerable to the court. For that he risked his job, personal freedom and the future of his children. Global observers are likely to notice that no judge in US seems to be as willing to take suo moto action in this case as Justice Chaudhry of Pakistan would have been even if such thing had been found in his jurisdiction. Tables are turning: at the going rate it might not be very long before US finds itself lagging behind developing countries in matters of awareness about human rights among the masses. For its own good, US ought to revise its take on this case.


1 Her children were not mentioned by FO, but President Musharraf later dropped hint in his autobiography that “arresting” minors and even infant children of accused was part of tactics being used in the US War Against Terror.

2 In the case of rape, the term “victim” is applied to the aggrieved party even before her case is proven true in a court.

3 I am presuming that the first allegation has already been dropped by the party which raised it, so we need not address it anymore. In all fairness, we should be open to give it due importance, with proper attention to the whole context, in case the first party (i.e. the FBI) chooses to bring it back in the future.

4 Charge sheet against Aafia was implausible and inaccuracies could have been exposed through a simple simulation/demonstration. Yet the American judge gave remand of her person instead of sending her to a hospital as she deserved in view of her condition (she was still bleeding from bullet wounds)

5 Why should seeking bail be so difficult in a case where the accusation doesn’t pass the test of common sense, let alone legal proceeding? More importantly, why was bail not even sought?

6 On August 16, the US envoy to Pakistan stated publicly that the US authorities have no definitive knowledge of the whereabouts of Aafia’s children. About ten days later the Afghan authorities stated that they had also “arrested” a boy along with Aafia. One could smell a rat here: a person of such prominence as US envoy is unlikely to risk a misleading statement unless the stakes are really high.

7 Aafia’s son, finally repatriated by Afghan authorities, cannot recall much and is having nightmares. Did the authorities deny knowledge of his whereabouts initially because at that time they were brainwashing him and were still unsure that it would work?

8 Published in Dawn (Karachi) on October 14. Earlier on September 10, Joane Mariner, an attorney with Human Rights Watch in New York wrote in Counterpunch, “If you trust the US story, you have to imagine that… more than the al Qaeda mom, as the New York Post dubs her, she would have to be al Qaeda’s Angelina Jolie.”

9 The word “definitive knowledge” in US envoy’s statement leaves an uncomfortable impression of preparing for a future moment when it may turn out to be otherwise and then it could be said that the knowledge which the US authorities had in this matter was not “definitive” but of some other sort (The statement said, “The United States has no definitive knowledge as to the whereabouts of Ms Siddiqui’s children”). Was Ahmad being subjected to brainwashing so that his detention could not be revealed till making sure that the process had been successful?

10 In the Line of Fire: A Memoir by Pervez Musharraf published in 2006 by Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, p.224.***

11 In Pakistan and Islamic countries this case study can be specially useful: given the peculiar nature of this case, the masses are likely to accept the message and apply it to other injustices against the weak.

12 In Pakistan, even now the HRCP might be facing a crisis about its credibility with the masses, who generally feel that the HRCP has done less than what was expected of it in this regards.

This analysis is the work of Khurram Ali Shafique: a prolific writer/journalist; an award-winning biographer; and an historian who's pen covers a wide circle of time and geography.

For one earlier posting GO here


* Allegation raised by US authorities against Dr. Aafia Siddiqui that she tried to assassinate US army personnel on July 18, 2008. This allegation was brought forth on August 4, 2008. And of course much later, the trial took place in lower Manhattan, New York, in Judge Berman's court exactly as laid out by this analysis and without the allegations of abuse against the victim addressed at all (exactly as outlined in this piece).

** Two of the three children have been returned. The youngest child is still missing: the youngest son, Salman, was six months at the time of his disappearance. Authorities have denied possessing any “definitive knowledge” of his whereabouts.

*** Some versions of this book have had such key portions deleted

For many other relevant items, visit oneheartforpeace and nomorecrusades

Discussion of International War Crimes and Cyberspace

Soldiers monitor computer screens inside the U.S. Central Command's mobile headquarters.

National Security: Extending The Law Of War To Cyberspace

Blurb from Electronic "cyberwar" capabilities are the most important military development in decades. But it's unclear how the rules of war might apply in this new area of conflict. At issue: protecting citizens, and defining a cyberattack.

My note: this interview with two former Bush staff is quite an unsatisfactory quick raising of questions involved - even with so little time. Since what's being addressed is harm to civilians, shouldn't this crucial discussion be further addressed with lawyers and other specialists less indebted for reputations/jobs to any recent administration or university? Why isn't this also an international discussion - or is it already? This means other nations in NATO umbrella of course yet even more importantly those countries and regions where civilians are likely to suffer most when international war crimes laws/agreements are not being served. (And ultimately, of course, this means our US civilians as well. The kind of humanitarian laws by which our nation abides - or does't - will likely decide whether or not the US has any kind of alibi or solace in an international court of laws or by another nation toward our own citizens/military.

What we sow is what we reap...

Listen to 7+ minute audio here for starters and how about something from other than Michael Hayden and Jack Goldsmith? CLICK here or GO here to Morning Edition and down to Stories/National Security

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Aafia Siddiqui: Revisiting Case/Trial with Stephen Lendman

Photo by Majid Hussain

Independent of Lendman's work below. Yet this image by Mr. Hussain (who, by the way is doing excellent work as well on the terribly under-reported Pakistan flood/deluge) quite representative of many such rallies in Pakistan, UK and other places ongoing including recently in Karachi, Pakistan weekend of September 18, 2010 right before scheduled sentencing hearing for Dr. Aafia.

In fact, the anger toward US and Zadari is growing...

Shown here in photo are hundreds of Muslim women from across the UK who came to gather outside the Pakistani High Commission in London and protested against what they describe as horrific kidnap, abuse and sham trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui at the hands of both the U.S. government as well as Pakistan's Zadari leadership. London, UK. 21/02/2010 Dr Nazreen Nawaz a spokesperson for the protest described disgust and dismay against President Zardari leadership over her Dr. Aafia's case. She spoke for hundreds of other innocent Muslims as well who've been detained by Pakistani and American security forces.

The rally in Karachi last weekend (September 18-19, 2010) was reported as much larger and angrier as many Pakistani women from the entire religious and professional (lawyers included) spectrum have received little if any substantial hope for Aafia's repatriatiion to Pakistan and/or any chance of a just outcome.

Aafia Siddiqui was born in Karachi, Pakistan, on March 2, 1972. She grew up in Pakistan. Aafia moved to The United States of America around 1990s and entered University of Brandies and later attended MIT where she accomplished a PhD in COGNITVE Neuroscience and finished a highly-touted dissertation on Imitation in learning. (There have been misrepresentations of her field whether deliberately or due to imitating other media superficially - which have implied herAccording to her mother, Aafia left their house in Karachi alongside with her children in a taxi on 30th March 2003, to catch a flight for Rawalpindi, but never reached to the airport. Respected sources claim that Aafia had been "picked-up" by intelligence agencies on her way to the airport. Aafia Siddiqui had been missing for more than a year. Then FBI put her photographs on its website. The press has been told that she was an Al- Qaeda facilitator and was also so influenced during her January 2010 trial. She is still in US custody and it has been known that she suffered a lot in American military base in Afghanistan and has continued to experience what many rights experts call unnecessary abuse by all rights standards.


Following Op Ed is reposted from Monday, February 08, 2010

Aafia Siddiqui: Victimized by American Injustice - by Stephen Lendman

On February 3, a Department of Justice press release headlined "Aafia Siddiqui Found Guilty in Manhattan Federal Court of Attempting to Murder US Nationals in Afghanistan and Six Additional Charges."

At her scheduled May 6 sentencing, she "faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison on each of the attempted murder and armed assault charges; life in prison on the firearms charge; and eight years in prison on each of the remaining assault charges. SIDDIQUI faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 30 years in prison on the firearms charge."

On February 3, New York Times writer CJ Hughes headlined: "Pakistani Scientist Found Guilty of Shootings," convicting her on all seven counts, including attempted murder - "capping a trial that drew notice for its terrorist implications as well as its theatrics," but omitting convincing evidence of Siddiqui's innocence. Instead, Hughes said she was arrested with "instructions (in her purse) on making explosives and a list of New York landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building." Her defense team acknowledged their existence, but Siddiqui denied packing them or knowing of their origin. She later suggested she copied them from a magazine, planned no terrorist acts, nor did her indictment claim them.

Hughes also said she "raised suspicions when she and her three children vanished in Pakistan in 2003." She didn't vanish. Her mother said she "left the family home in Gulshan-e-lqbal in a taxi on March 30, 2003 to catch a flight for Rawalpindi, but never reached the airport." Pakistani intelligence agents abducted her, turned her over to US authorities, after which her long ordeal of secret imprisonment, interrogations, and years of brutalizing torture began, even though she wasn't charged.

Her son Mohammed was later released on condition he say nothing. Her other two children, Maryam and Suleman, disappeared and may have been killed.

In May 2004, Pakistan's Interior Minister confirmed she was turned over to US authorities in 2003 after no link between her and Al Qaeda was established. In 2006, Amnesty International called her one of many of the "disappeared" in America's "war on terror." In 2007, a Ghost Prisoner Human Rights Watch report suggested she was held in secret CIA detention.

In February 2008, the Asian Human Rights Commission said she was brought to Karachi and severely tortured to secure her compliance as a government witness against Khalid Shiekh Mohammed, the alleged 9/11 mastermind, related to Siddiqui through marriage to his nephew. He reportedly "gave her up" after capture on March 1, 2003, after which she and her children disappeared.

The charges were bogus and outrageous. Yet, on September 2, 2008, the Justice Department (DOJ) indicted her "on charges related to her attempted murder and assault of United States nationals and officers and employees." According to Michael Garcia, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York (in his same day press release):

On July 18, 2008, "a team of United States servicemen and law enforcement officers, and others assisting them, attempted to interview Aafia Siddiqui in Ghazni, Aghanistan, where she had been detained by local police the day before....unbeknownst to the United States interview team, unsecured, behind a curtain -- Siddiqui obtained one of the United States Army's M-4 rifles and attempted to fire it, and did fire it, at another United States Army officer and other members of the United States interview team....Siddiqui then assaualted one of the United States Army interpreters, as he attempted to obtain the M-4 rifle from her. Siddiqui subsequently assaulted one of the FBI agents and one of the United States Army officers, as they attempted to subdue her."

Left unexplained was how this frail, weak, 110-pound woman, confronted by three US Army officers, two FBI agents, and two Army interpreters, inexplicably managed to assault three of them, get one of their rifles, open fire at close range, hit no one, and only she was severely wounded.

According to her attorney, Elaine Whitfield Sharp:

"how did this happen? And how did she get shot? I think you can answer that, can't you (and question the outrageous charges against her)?"

During proceedings, another defense lawyer, Linda Moreno, said no forensic evidence proved the rifle Siddiqui allegedly used had been fired since no bullets, shell casings, or bullet debris were recovered and no bullet holes detected.

Garcia didn't explain, nor about her abduction, torture and repeated raping at Bagram prison, Afghanistan where, as Prisoner 650, she was called the "Gray Lady of Bagram" because her screams were heard for years. Nor did he discuss her physical and emotional destruction. She was a pawn in America's "war on terror," used, abused, now convicted, and facing life in prison when sentenced, a victim of gross injustice.

Some Background

A Pakistani national, Siddiqui is deeply religious, attended MIT and Brandeis University where she earned a doctorate in neurocognitive science, married a Boston physician, raised money for charities, did volunteer work, distributed Korans to inmates in area prisons, and did nothing out of the ordinary. Yet the UK Times Online called her "Al-Qaeda woman." For ABC News, she was "Mata Hari," and the Justice Department targeted her as a terrorist, a woman guilty only of being Muslim in America at the wrong time.

When seized, the FBI said she was a potential "treasure trove" of information on terrorist suspects, sympathizers, or sleepers in America and overseas. CIA officer John Kiriakou called her "the most significant capture in five years," and an unnamed counterterrorism official said she's "a very dangerous person, no doubt about it." FBI Director Robert Mueller said she's "an Al Qaeda operative and facilitator." He and the others lied.

Those who knew her recalled she was very small, quiet, polite, and shy, barely noticeable in a gathering. However, she'd say what was needed when necessary. Her fellow students described her as soft-spoken, studious, religious, but not extremist or fundamentalist. She taught Muslim children on Sundays, and was dedicated to helping oppressed Muslims worldwide. She spoke publicly, sent emails, gave slideshow presentations, and raised donations as part of her faith, activism, and sincerity. Yet she was targeted as "a high security risk" despite no evidence then or now to prove it.

Siddiqui is innocent of all charges, yet the DOJ claimed she was involved in biochemical warfare. In fact, she devised a computer program, enlisted adult volunteers to watch various objects move randomly across the screen, then reproduce what they recalled. The idea was to learn how well they retained information after viewing it on a computer. It had nothing to do with terrorism, biochemical warfare, or blowing up New York targets, charges never appearing in her indictment.

Siddiqui's Trial and Conviction

Against her lawyers' advice, she spoke publicly for the first time, despite the risk and her frail condition. She explained her academic work, her post-doctorate teaching, her interests that included studying the capabilities of dyslexic and other impaired children, then recounted her ordeal.

After being abducted, she agonized over the fate of her children. In US custody, the relevant incident leading to her indictment went as follows:

-- at one point, she was tied down;

-- then untied;

-- left behind a curtain;

-- peaked through it; and

-- an American soldier shot her in the stomach;

-- another in her side;

-- then violently threw her to the floor unconscious.

She vaguely remembered being on a stretcher, placed in a helicopter, and getting a blood transfusion. She emphatically denied seizing and firing a weapon.

Under cross-examination, she said she was given the bag with incriminating documents, didn't know its contents or whether handwriting on them was hers. She explained her repeated torture at Bagram, the effects of the strong medications given her, and at one point said, "If you were in a secret prison, or your children were tortured," after which she was forcibly removed from court and the proceedings continued without her.

According to media reports, these revelations were "outbursts." On January 25, New York Times writer CJ Hughes reported numerous "disruptions....plagu(ing) the trial. Monday (January 25) was hardly an exception. The defendant was ejected from (court) - not once, but twice (for) loudly proclaiming her innocence." On January 19, she "had several outbursts in previous court appearances, raising questions about her competency to stand trial."

On February 4, AP writer Tom Hays said "True to form, Aafia Siddiqui did not go quietly," called her comments "combative," then claimed the prosecution presented "compelling testimony."

On February 5, the Islamophobic headlined "How a 'Nice American Girl' Became a Jihadist," saying "veiled Muslim women can be very aggressive, murderously so."

On February 3, the New York Daily News headlined, "Lady Al Qaeda Aafia Siddiqui convicted of attempted murder." Writer Alison Gendar accepted DOJ's charges as fact and added some of her own, saying:

"She grabbed a rifle at an 'Afghan police station' (she was at Bagram) and started shooting at the Americans sent to grill her. She was shot by the soldier whose weapon she swiped. (In 2008, she was) caught in 'Afghanistan' with '2 pounds of poisonous chemicals.' (During the trial), she disrupted the proceedings several times with 'strange outbursts.' "

An August 22, 2008 Fox News report said "emails obtained by show messages sent by Siddiqui (during her time at MIT) soliciting money for Al-Kifah Refugee Center - a known Al Queda charitable front tied to Usama bin Laden and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing."

After a three week trial and two days of deliberation, a federal jury of eight women and four men convicted her on all charges, including attempted murder, armed assault, discharging a firearm during a violent crime, and assaulting US officers and employees. As a result, she potentially faces life in prison at her May 6 sentencing. It's not confirmed, but her lawyers may appeal given the bogus charges, long detention, and brutalizing torture, leaving her a shell of her former self, so physically and emotionally shattered she was in no condition to stand trial.

After the verdict, headlined "US verdict sparks Pakistan protests," saying thousands in several cities rallied in her defense. Her relatives spoke publicly condemning the decision, her sister Fauzia saying "we're proud to be related to her. America's justice system, the establishment, the war on terror, the fraud of the war on terror, all of those things have shown their own ugly faces."

Her mother, Ismat said "I did not expect anything better from an American court. We were ready for the shock and will continue our struggle to get her released." Pakistan's foreign ministry spokesman, Abdul Basit, said the government would try "to get her back to Pakistan and we would do everything possible and we'll apply all possible tools in this regard."

Al Jazeera's Islamabad correspondent, Kamal Hyder, explained the public disappointment "for failing to find a diplomatic way out and getting (her) back home, because they feel she was innocent." She was missing for five years like "many hundreds of (others who've) disappeared from Pakistan - still not accounted for - and now that Dr. Aafia's case has come up, that's likely to be a rallying point for the anti-American sentiment."

The UK-based Cageprisoners spokesman, Asim Qureshi, said "The case of Aafia Siddiqui carries great significance in terms of the ability of the Obama administration to administer justice. Already we have seen a blanket refusal to look at the facts of her detention prior to 2008. This verdict will only confirm what many already believe, that it is impossible for Muslim terrorism suspects to receive a fair trial in the US."

Defense lawyer Elaine Whitfield Sharp called the verdict unjust, in her opinion "based on fear....not fact," and the result is the continued ordeal of an innocent woman facing a potential life sentence.

Carefully orchestrated, the trial proceeded like numerous others, targeting innocent victims because of their faith, ethnicity, prominence, benevolent charity, activism, or other reasons for political advantage, ending with convictions and punitive incarcerations against innocent defendants, guilty of being Muslims in America at the wrong time when we're all just as vulnerable.

In a manipulated climate of fear, the same process repeats, using bogus charges, secret evidence, enlisted witnesses to cooperate, the defense prohibited from introducing exculpatory evidence, and proceedings carefully scripted to intimidate juries to convict.

Justice is again denied, Siddiqui another victim, a human tragedy, portrayed by the dominant media as a jihadist, and getting public sentiment to agree because disturbing truths are carefully suppressed.

Stephen Lendman is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. He lives in Chicago and can be reached at

Also visit his blog site at and listen to the Lendman News Hour on Monday - Friday at 10AM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national issues. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Link to archived Radio Shows - CLICK here

posted by Steve Lendman @ 2:52 AM

Above Op Ed Posted on SteveLendmanBlog (among many other places):
Aafia Siddiqui: Victimized by American Injustice Feb 8, 2010 CLICK here

Abduction, Torture and Repeated Raping Of Aafia Siddiqui By Stephen Lendman 12-15-8 Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is one of its most tragic, aggrieved, and ravaged

Plz watch for MORE write-ups on Aafia Siddiqui's soon coming Sentencing Event (barring the much requested repatriation to Pakistan) or even so...

Must Read Op Ed on Aafia Siddiqui

Take a look here for latest Op Ed just in Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Revisiting Aafia's Trial: Ondelette's report on 2nd week

I keep returning to this one which is quite a colorful, succinct report of trial just before verdict and especially highlights what Dr. Aafia spoke on her own behalf.

Another Week in the Aafia Siddiqui Trial
By: ondelette Saturday January 30, 2010 5:00 pm

It’s been a long week in the "terrorism" trial in Manhattan. A week which ended with first Mayor Bloomberg then President Obama backing away from trying any more terrorists there. Which is what the commentators wanted all along, Michelle Malkin and her supporters, that is. Aafia Siddiqui, about whom very few people cared for years, has suddenly become the cause célèbre for those who want suspects waterboarded, new courts formed, military tribunals held, and prisoners kept indefinitely for the duration of a conflict they will never end. Never mind that nobody knows for sure how indefinitely she’s been held already. Or that her accusers are looking more and more like the guilty parties. She may just be convicted on fear or is it hate?

As always, Petra Bartosiewicz is doing an excellent job of blogging the trial. Her daily blogs are at CagePrisoners.

I wrote already about Monday, when the nameless but very sympathy evoking injured Chief Warrant Officer testified. And the medic testified and was questioned about a statement given to the FBI five days after the incident in which she reported being told that the Captain would get "fried" if anyone found out it was his gun, but the Chief Warrant Officer wouldn’t. Ms. Siddiqui also, in one of her increasingly perceptive "outbursts" claimed she was shot by somebody else. Hustle her out again.

The defense began their case, thus, with the prosecution having failed to substantiate that the M-4 was ever fired, and with conflicting testimony about how she supposedly fired it, and with testimony about two alleged holes in the wall from the M-4 bullets, but no casings or bullet pieces, and the prosecution’s own forensics expert saying there was no proof an M-4 was ever fired in the room.

So they brought on a forensics expert who has examined hundreds of such gunfire scenes and testified on behalf of the government about them. He testified that in his judgment the holes were not from M-4 bullets and that he doubted they were from gunfire at all. Remember that, because it isn’t clear the jury did.

The defense’s other witness testified by video, meaning a video tape of testimony from Ghazni. He was the Afghan counterterrorism chief, and he was at the scene, and he was there before the Americans arrived, and he clearly testified that Ms. Siddiqui did not pick up a gun or shoot at anyone, rather the Americans went behind the curtain where she was, three shots were fired, and Ms. Siddiqui went down with gunshot wounds, and was suddenly being whisked away by the Americans, Hamid Karzai on his way notwithstanding.

The defense sent letters to the judge to prevent their client from testifying on grounds that her mental state was degenerated, and that she would likely talk about negotiating with the Taliban which would work against her with the jury. The prosecution insisted on giving her her constitutional rights to take the stand. Probably the first time since she was arrested in Ghazni, but not the only time this week, that the government cared about rights of the accused. They held a hearing with the jury sequestered, and the judge asked Aafia Siddiqui if she could remain on the subject and understood the proceedings. Probably the first time since Judge Berman got on the trial that he cared enough to ask her if she understood the proceedings, since he pointedly didn’t during her competency hearings which were all about — whether she understood the proceedings.

But wait, there is another issue, and this one was so glaring during the competency hearings as to make one hang one’s head in shame at the state of American rule of law. It regards the FBI transcripts, two page write-ups by the day of her interrogation while in the Craig Field Hospital in Bagram, starting with the day she got there, apparently. The timeline for her transportation came out in the prosecution’s testimony, she was operated on in the field at 1am on July 19th, and then transported to Bagram and placed in a room with 24/7 lights and three cameras, on a four-point restraint bed. The interrogation logs begin with that morning which was — when she arrived?

So the judge and the defense team asked Aafia Siddiqui about those interrogations. She (the defense must have been thanking their stars) reported, and later also testified with the jury present, that she was dizzy the whole time, that she was on morphine and percocet the whole time, that she was denied sleep the whole time, that she was worried about her daughter and other children the whole time, that the male interrogator threatened her that she told them everything or she would be handed over to "the really bad guys" and watched when they opened her clothing to change her dressings, that she was dependent on her interrogators for food, water, to use the toilet, that she had no idea they were agents because everybody had their badges turned backwards that entered her room, and that she was not Mirandized until she got to New York and saw no consulate representatives (the "equivalent right" to Miranda when not in the United States), and that she thought she was headed back to the secret prison the prosecution so dearly wants expunged from her "outbursts". They so dearly want to admit the FBI notes that "prove" she was never held incommunicado, that she was in Karachi the whole time. They who have their own problems with FBI transcripts which seem to indicate that the soldiers and FBI agents in the room in Ghazni are covering up a cold-blooded shooting or a panic shooting of a prisoner who, in terms of the military who shot her, was a civilian and a prisoner and hors de combat regardless.

So, upon hearing that the defendant was drugged, deprived of sleep, in a stress position, and threatened and believed her children threatened, ruled that her comments in such a situation were "voluntary and knowing", and the FBI transcripts could be used to impugn her testimony. After all, the Supreme Court declined to review an opinion about prisoner abuse not on American soil, the jury is so petrified that jurors who are pointed to or spoken to are in fear for their lives, and the family’s advocate, International Justice Network’s Tina Foster, has said that regardless of how weak the prosecution’s case, which currently looks like a flea circus, it all comes down to whether an American jury can acquit a woman with a scarf covering her face.

Aafia Siddiqui’s testimony was by all accounts lucid and to the point. She preliminarily testified about her childhood and education, and when she got to the matter of the trial, mentioned that she had moral objections to the trial but testified anyway. [For those new to the case, her moral objections include that $2 million in Pakistani money is being spent on her even though she believes she will be convicted anyway, which she believes should go to the poor, and that she believes it is her accusers who should be on trial -- for shooting her.] She testified that she peaked through the curtain with the thought of trying to escape because she was sure they would take her back to "the secret prison", and then she was shot, she says, by two people, and hit twice. She heard them say, "We’re taking this bitch with us," passed out and went in and out on the way to Bagram, but heard someone say that a couple of people would lose their jobs if she died.

The prosecution tried to impugn her testimony by asking about the contents of her bag, she said it wasn’t her bag, and the notes were things she was ordered to copy from a magazine in the "secret prison". And when they asked about her shooting ability, and simultaneously put up a slide of a picture of a gun from her "notes" for effect, I guess, she asked that the slide be taken down, that she never drew it, and told the prosecuting attorney Jenna Dabbs, "You can’t build a case on hate, you should build it on fact." Needless to say, the line was carried in much of the press as an incoherent outburst. To my mind, it was the most lucid comment since this whole sorry detention of people as information units, torture, incommunicado enforced disappearance solitary confinement sleep deprivation, drugging, threatening, enhanced interrogation, child torture, desecration of the Constitution and international treaties began.

Lamely, the prosecution put another witness on the stand, this one a gun range instructor from Braintree, Mass, whom the FBI found apparently two weeks ago by asking if he recognized a picture of her, and he did. He testified that she took a 12 hour NRA sanctioned course on pistol shooting and fired "400 to 1200 rounds" during the course (she says she never took that course, but took one in physical conditioning). He has no records of her taking it, supposedly in 1990, no certificates issued, no record of it at the NRA, nothing, he just recognizes one student, out of all of them, after 20 years and seems to have just remembered it. Not sure why that’s supposed to prove that nothing Aafia Siddiqui says can be trusted, maybe it’s the "white guy who’s a member of the NRA" v. "brown woman in a chadoor" thingy. I’m so confused. Apparently, when the prosecution presents its case, the prosecution calls witnesses to the stand, and when the defense presents its case, the prosecution calls witnesses to the stand. Or something.

But Michelle Malkin’s rantings that this trial proved you couldn’t try terrorists in New York City got amplified all over the internet and in newspapers and television stations around the country last week, until Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama pulled the plug and will move the trials. Is it just me, or should a brown girl like her worry just a leeetle bit more about convicting brown girls for nothing at all but being different?

Of course, all of this has played in the foreign press, and to the Pakistanis, this is confirmation both of her innocence and of her incarceration and torture. You see, if the events in the room in Ghazni are not as the Americans say, and few in Pakistan believed they were anyway, and if Pakistani journalists are denied access to the trial and have to watch it in another room on video, and if Pakistanis have been put on a list in the last month of people who require special searching by the TSA at American airports, and if now the prosecution looks like it is covering up a cowardly shooting by a room full of American soldiers of an unarmed 100lb woman who disappeared during a time when their president bragged about making money selling Pakistanis to the Americans, what’s not to believe? If there is a guilty verdict in the courtroom in Manhattan after what’s transpired there, the world, at least for the few billion in Asia, will see that Americans no longer believe in human rights and the rule of law. It’s as simple as that.

So it was no surprise on Friday, when Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudry of the Lahore High Court ordered the barrister handling the Aafia Siddiqui case there on behalf of her family (which is related to a Senate inquiry to press charges against the former president and head of the national police for kidnapping and rendition into torture — to wit, to the Americans), to send any and all evidence he has on her disappearance, to her defense attorneys in the United States, and that after 7 years, police investigators returned to the scene of the abduction with Ahmed Siddiqui, the New York defendant’s eldest son.

In the eyes of the U.S. Department of Justice, Aafia Siddiqui, the dangerous terrorist "Lady al Qaeda", is on trial for attempted murder. In the eyes of the world, the United States of America is on trial for abduction, black sites, torture, and attempted murder to cover it up.

You can’t build a case on hate, you should build it on fact.

Maybe that’s why she thought she could change things by talking to President Obama.

SEE "Another Week in the Aafia Siddiqui Trial" By: ondelette Saturday January 30, 2010 5:00 pm who also writes for FireDogLake and Comments on

Saturday, September 18, 2010

US Media Ignore Pakistan's Worst Disaster...

Originally published on as "Through Hell and High Water" - then pulled - the media’s failure to cover “the great Pakistani deluge” is “itself a security threat” -according to reporter/scholar, Juan Cole. This Cole quote was in response to the AmericaTime magazine's removal of the Pakistan story from the cover of its U.S. edition - September 12, 2010

In modern history, the unprecedented disaster has received nearly no press appropriate to the level of this calamity even while UN calls for the largest relief amount for natural disaster ever.

Excerpts from featured article:
Pakistan is the sixth largest country in the world (in population), and also a major non-NATO ally of ours. (Yet) No rock concerts were organized to help Pakistani children sleeping on highways or in open fields infested with vermin. No sports events offered receipts to aid victims at risk from cholera and other diseases...As educator, commentator, and modern-day historian Juan Cole put it: “out of sight, out of mind.”

Article by journalist Zachary Shahan who has a strong interest in climate change

TIME magazine once gave us the photos that were painful to accept of the Vietnam War, so did our TVs, and Walter Cronkite. Due to these images, we rose up as a country to question the status quo. These days, the Great Pakistan Deluge happens, and what does TIME magazine do? Pull the story.

An “unprecedented” disaster in Pakistan’s modern history occurs, TIME — a once trusted and important source of national and global information – publishes it as its cover story everywhere else, but pulls it from the American version of the magazine, even though President Obama has repeatedly said that Pakistan is central to our own safety.

Is this a pattern in mainstream US media? Yes. Are the shades of suppression coming from a media dependent on selling the next drug with 20 side effects or a false sense of security, instead of supplying education on huge current events? Who knows? But they are coming from somewhere.

Pakistan is the sixth largest country in the world (in population), and also a major non-NATO ally of ours. We should be interested if these people are dealing with a deluge. 20% of it was flooded and how much attention and care did we give? As reported by Nathanial Gronewold of Climatewire on Scientific American:

The flooding witnessed in the Indus Valley is unprecedented in the country’s modern history and was caused by a combination of increasingly warm ocean water and a mysterious blockage of the jet stream, which drew warm, water-laden air north to Pakistan, over which it burst in sheets of raging liquid. If the floods that followed prove a harbinger of things to come, then they are a milestone in our experience of global warming, a big story in its own right.

As educator, commentator, and modern-day historian Juan Cole put it: “out of sight, out of mind.” He points out that the failure to report on this is also a threat to our own national security. It seems to be a trend in corporate media to control the news on global warming-related current events. Just act like it is in a different dimension where children and climate don’t matter.

Does it follow that we are lacking in empathy due to our complacency, a pre-condition for denial? More from Juan Cole’s discussion: “No rock concerts were organized to help Pakistani children sleeping on highways or in open fields infested with vermin. No sports events offered receipts to aid victims at risk from cholera and other diseases.” Beyond the consciousness of Americans are the happenings that lead to our future where complacency and accountability are issues that may only, but eventually, wake us when it is too late.

The UN secretary called it the worst disaster he had ever seen -– more terrible than the tsunami and the Haitian earthquakes. With about a 4% extra amount of water in the atmosphere (due, most definitely, to global warming), it is difficult to miss that that provides plenty of moisture for storms such as this. The prospects of these kinds of things happening again are only increasing.

The failure to report on this latest natural disaster in Pakistan may also have its roots in confusion and disinterest due to Islamic ideologies. However, we saw this mirrored in our own country with Katrina a similar neglect to critical images, news, and connections to global warming, as well as in the extremely limited coverage of Tennessee‘s Katrina.

The unreported news, the avoided news, and the mainstream news we get — what does all of this say about who we are as a culture? What we accept as news is comfortably attuned to denial, avoidance, and disinterest in critical current events. Deeper contemplation about current events, perhaps how we can help and evolve as a humanitarian, as a society, and as a planet, requires relevant news.

This year, subtle avoidance of the impacts of global warming prevails, but the extra moisture in the air, the disasters it creates, and other critical problems related to climate change are quite apparent to the few of us who are not determined to block our ears to these issues.

A question about the legitimacy of information in major news today and what news used to be arises. Dealing with the multidimensional human experience, we lost balance, or at least integration, in our national journalism and the standard that we once took for granted is hard to find.

Good form in media used to be about accuracy and visibility of the current issues of the day. The burnt children, tortured mothers, and insane war heroes of the Vietnam era where not hidden comfortably from our view. As we contend with natural factors derivative of man’s over-consumption and neglect, there is a sense of societal complacency leading us steadily in denial. Can we take another path before it’s too late?


Find original article "US Media Ignore Pakistan's Worst Disaster in Modern History" here

Adding insult to injury, the September 27th edition just out is all about "The Tea Party" in every edition. Go Figure? here And see other related items here and here Zachary Shahan, a professional writer and journalist

Also find the Intro to the topic at Tom Dispatch here The Invisible Deluge in Pakistan (Juan Cole in Tomdispatch)

Pakistan Flood Update

New Update on September 18 2010 UN Seeking help for "largest disaster appeal ever"

Updated by BBC/UN September 14-15 2010

SINDH AREA ALONE(As of 14 Sept. 2010)

At a glance:

* An estimated 7 million people are affected.
* 7,277 villages are affected.
* 1,098,720 houses are damaged.
* 199 deaths and 1,072 injuries are reported.

Breakdown of population affected by floods:

Khairpur: 345,900
Thatta: 878,000
Jamshoro: 250,000
Dadu: 980,000
Ghotki: 132,000
Sukkur: 247,913
Nawabshah: 78,000
Qambar Shahdad kot: 980,500
Kashmore: 615000
Naushahro Feroze: 148,000
Jaccobabad: 892,500
Shikarpur: 778,000
Larkana: 490,000
Matiari: 45,600
Tando Muhammad Khan: 36,578

Map and statistics are from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

Hyderabad: 90,500

Punjab (As of 15 Sept. 2010)

Breakdown of population affected by floods:

Bhakkar: 27,866
D. G. Khan: 513,390
Khushab: 359,167
Layyah: 405,258
Mianwali: 705,580
Multan: 154,092
Muzaffargarh: 1,044,759
Rahim Yar Khan: 232,648
Rajanpur: 1,506,361
Jhang: 337,914

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (As of 15 Sept. 2010)

At a glance:

* An estimated 3.8 million persons affected.
* Over 200,000 homes destroyed or damaged; an estimated 786 schools used as shelters.

Breakdown of population affected by floods:

Bannu: 62,255
Buner: 6,416
Charsadda: 574,550
Chitral: 79,044
D. I. Khan: 450,981
Hangu: 52,390
Haripur: 64,738
Karak: 58,211
Kohat: 44,247
Kohistan: 530,666
Lakki Marwat: 32,105
Lower Dir: 206,498
Malakand: 51,527
Mansehra: 26, 138
Mardan: 22,848
Nowshera: 71,221
Peshawar: 270,935
Shangla: 95,599
Swabi: 17,587
Swat: 725,319
Tank: 170,160
Upper Dir: 240,570


* United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

Iowa Student leads others in raising funds to help flood affectees
See story and source of photo

MORE related GO here with RECENT Flood DIARY here and OCHA report here

PLZ be sure to come back to this site for WAYS to HELP internationally via the above effort as well as others who are aiding most directly the Pakistanis especially affected by the flooding (and remember, of course these floods affect everyone in Pakistan and are much worse than Haiti, Tsunami and more recent disasters put together. Some estimate that from 1/3 to 1/2 of all Pakistanis are in some ways homeless...) The Edhi Foundation is certainly the group that comes up most often as far as working via highly known and respected outreach as well as through people who know Pakistan well.

Be sure to read the excellent Comment below...and placed as post just under this same 'flood updating' on