Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Planned Reform Should Include Monitoring and Apply to Domestic Workers

(New York) September 28, 2010 -- The Kuwaiti government's announcement that it will abolish its employer-based sponsorship system for recruiting migrant workers by February 2011 is a significant step to address a major source of labor abuse, Human Rights Watch said today. It is unclear, though, whether the change will apply to migrant domestic workers, who make up a significant proportion of the country's migrant workers but who are not covered by any labor law protections, Human Rights Watch said.

"This announcement is an important declaration that the Kuwaiti government is taking seriously the need to protect migrant workers," said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "But the government needs to say publicly what it plans to do and it needs to include domestic workers in its plans."

Kuwait's current sponsorship system ties a migrant worker's immigration status to an individual employer, or sponsor, without whose consent the worker cannot transfer employment. "Absconding" from the workplace is a criminal offense, even if a worker has left because of abuse. This system gives employers unchecked leverage and control over workers, who remain completely dependent upon the sponsoring employer for their livelihood.

Human Rights Watch has documented abuses of migrant workers enabled by sponsorship restrictions in Gulf countries, including in Kuwait. Employees can suffer physical and sexual abuse, and employers often withhold salaries, require long working hours with no time off, refuse to allow a worker to go home after an employment contract expires, and block avenues to redress. Human Rights Watch will release a report on October 6, 2010, at a news conference in Kuwait City about its findings in Kuwait.
The Labor Ministry announced in 2009 that the government would abolish the sponsorship system, but the promised reforms at that time were minor. Migrant workers were allowed to change sponsors without their consent, but only after completion of the initial employment contract or after three consecutive years of employment. Furthermore, the change did not include the country's 660,000 migrant domestic workers and offered no protection to workers in abusive employment conditions during the first three years.

"Any new system should allow workers to change or terminate employment at will, and should decriminalize 'absconding,' or leaving employment without an employer's permission," Whitson said. "The government should make its plans public and cooperate with civil society and the countries the workers come from to adopt the highest standard of protection for workers' rights."

Human Rights Watch Press release

HREA - (go to site to sign-up for free human rights emails - these are often unusually helpful items for all interested in Rights world-wide)

Human Rights Education Associates (HREA) is an international non-governmental organisation that supports human rights learning; the training of activists and professionals; the development of educational materials and programming; and community-building through on-line technologies.

Those interested in safe-guards for the plight of domestic workers (whether migrants/immigrants or not) may want to look for more such items at Democracy Now!, Human Rights Watch, Human Rights First, Amnesty International. Somewhat related in terms of methods which have at times led to safe-guards from governments - see a short Video of the Week on Caesar Chavez - also to be found at bottom of the following post here

Find the latest on FBI raids on US groups concerned with issues of peace, migrants-immigrants issues and Palestine-Israeli peace also for 9-28 at nomorecrusades here


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

UPDATE: "FRIENDS Indeed" Who are Serving Flood Victims as Their Friends

What can we do? (about the suffering ones affected by the floods - all who are neighbors no matter whether near or far?)

JUST IN - see a NEW report "Visit to Dhabeji" from the "Friends Indeed" here

Here's a beautiful, loving effort which I want many,many of us to find out how to support in the coming days, weeks and months ahead. Some readers who are local or have local contacts/relatives can easily find a way to contact this most worthy and promising effort which is already doing effective work. Please do so by going to this site HERE Also see Goals Achieved and Sought as well as Videos and more photos at this site GO HERE InshAllah, in time, a few of us Pakistan/American friends and along with some great cooks who've said they'd help also hope to hold fundraising and understanding-raising picnics and little cultural events inspired by Pakistani friends here on this team. Then we want to work out a fool-proofed way to contribute to this effort and to encourage many more to do so. Plz find more photos/videos and touching word descriptions on Urooj's lovely site "Unity in Universe" (This is one of my favorite blogs and names for a blog anywhere with one of the dearest souls you will ever find.) Click HERE

Be sure also to see the exquisite and heart-felt beginning of Urooj novel in process
CLICK HERE The novel is called "Grief of Awareness" in English and "Gham-e-Agahi" in URDU and promises to get plenty of attention in the days ahead.

FUNDRAISER in NYC Tonight - Tuesday (For Pakistani Flood Affectees)

915 Broadway
New York, NY 10013

Nearest Transit: 23rd St.


(908) 591-5190 (973) 650-2172

Note: Valid email address is required in order to receive RSVP confirmation number via email.

SEPTEMBER 28 For the first time, an unprecedented event bringing the top South Asian Groups in NYC together for Pakistan Flood Relief Fundraiser

IndusTuesdays - Bibi Magazine - SALGA - NETIP NY
along with CitySaheli - YOUR DIL - Indo-American Arts Council

One Night, One Cause Pakistan Flood Relief Fundraiser

The United Nations estimates that more than 21 million people are injured or homeless as a result of the flooding, exceeding the combined total of individuals affected by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 Kashmir earthquake and the 2010 Haiti earthquake. At one point, approximately one-fifth of Pakistan's total land area was underwater due to the flooding. All proceeds from the party will be donated through Unicef USA.


* Special Performances by Bikram Singh, Jeffrey Iqbal, and Daraja Hakizimana
* DJ Karma, DJ Insomnia, DJ Ashish
* Live Auction

Tuesday, September 28, 2010 @ 6:00 PM

Ladies 23+ / Gents 25+ (ID Required)

Admission/RSVP: No Cover (RSVP Required)

Suggested Donation:

Note: Suggested Door Donation; $25. Tickets are in the form of donations, more if you can, less if you can't.

Dress Code:
Business Chic & Elegant
Collared Shirt Mandatory For Men

Event Highlight:

* Cool music played at a low volume to facilitate successful business and social networking til 9pm
* DJs spinning great music and creating a fun atmosphere after 9 pm while allowing for continued conversation and interaction
* Build business contacts and new friendships like you can do nowhere else

e: | p: (908) 591-5190, (973) 650-2172

Thousands rally in Karachi over scientist jailed in US


28 September 2010 Last updated at 13:00 ET

BBC News, Karachi

A massive show of support in Karachi for scientist Dr Aafia Siddiqui who was sentenced to 86 years in jail in the US last week Tens of thousands of people have marched in Pakistan's southern city of Karachi, demanding the release of imprisoned scientist Doctor Aafia Siddiqui.

Dr Siddiqui was sentenced to 86 years in prison by a New York court on 23 September.

She had been convicted of trying to kill US federal agents in Afghanistan.

US officials also say she is an al-Qaeda agent, but her family say this is a cover-up.

America is not a perfect country... they have to review a lot of their policies because they are pushing secular, moderate, liberal and progressive people on the other side of the line of divide”
End Quote Dr Farooq Sattar

MQM party
According to them, Dr Siddiqui has been a prisoner of the United States since her disappearance from Karachi in 2003.

There have been a number of protests in Pakistan over her case but this rally, organised by the MQM political party, was the largest so far.

The crowd roared as the imprisoned scientist's sister addressed them on a bright Tuesday afternoon in Karachi.

Dr Fowzia Siddiqui called on those gathered to continue their struggle for her sister's release.

She said she was positive that Aafia Siddiqui would soon be back in Pakistan if the public pressure continued.

The rally in Karachi was the latest in a continuing campaign to pressure the US and Pakistani governments.

But it is the first time that a mainstream political party has called for Dr Siddiqui's release.

The MQM is also a part of the ruling coalition.

Growing chorus

Protesters hope to put pressure on the US and the Pakistan government to secure Dr Siddiqui's release Its most senior leader in Pakistan, Dr Farooq Sattar, explains why the party has joined the chorus: "America is not a perfect country, American system and their policies are not perfect."

Dr Sattar said US authorities should review many of their policies.

"They are pushing secular, moderate, liberal and progressive people on the other side of the line of divide," he said, "and more and more people are becoming fanatic, becoming extremists and becoming terrorists."

Pakistan's government is now feeling the heat of this fast-growing campaign.

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani expressed his displeasure after Dr Aafia was sentenced.

He called her a daughter of the nation, and said his government would do its best to get her released.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dr Aafia: PETITION - Unity of Parliamentarians - US -Pakistan Consultations

HIGH TIME to Write your letter/join the Petition/Campaign for Aafia's repatriation: Pakistanis/Americans/Leaders/Lay-Folk and all others who care for human rights world-wide. See one example of such a letter here Write your own letter or simply sign this one to the Presidents of both America and Pakistan online - PLEASE GO Online NOW Click here

Parliamentarians protest against Dr Aafia’s sentence ISLAMABAD, (SANA): Members of the Parliament on Monday held a joint march on Constitution Avenue here to protest against conviction of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui by an American court. It was participated by members belonging to all parties; Dr. Fauzia Siddiqui, sister of Dr. Aafia and representatives of human rights organizations and members of the civil society. They raised slogans rejecting the sentence awarded to Dr. Aafia and demanding her early repatriation to Pakistan. Speaking on the occasion leader of the opposition
Ch. Nisar Ali Khan, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Chairman Parliamentary Kashmir Committee Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman expressed their resolve to continue struggle for the release of Dr. Aafia. They said that today’s protest demonstration was a message that the ENTIRE PAKISTANI NATION was UNANIMOUS in demanding an end to injustice being meted out to Dr. Aafia and (insisting) on her immediate release.

They also criticized the American judicial system and said a weak Muslim woman has been awarded (likely) the most maximum ever sentence in the US judicial history.

They pointed out that the United States is taking refuge behind the plea that it cannot interfere with its judicial system but on the other hand it has scant respect for judiciary of Pakistan as its absconders are enjoying life in the United States and other countries of the West.

See above story at Sana News dot net here

Just in:

America in touch with Pakistan regarding Dr. Aafia Siddiqui - asks Pakistan to sign two conventions See Daily Times dot com Just in 5:15 PM ET GO here

* Malik says conventions to be signed after consultations with team of int’l lawyers, approval from Dr Aafia’s family

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: Interior Minister Rehman Malik on Monday said that the US government has asked Pakistan to sign two conventions on transfer of prisoners, to make Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s repatriation possible.

Addressing a press conference with Dr Aafia’s sister Dr Fauzia Siddiqui, Malik said the US demand came in response to a letter he had written to the US attorney general. He said Pakistan will have to sign the Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons and OAF Convention for Dr Aafia’s return. However, he added that on Dr Fauzia’s insistence the authorities had decided not to sign the conventions yet. “These conventions will be signed only if we are sure that they benefit Dr Aafia,” he added.

According to sources, the US authorities had informed the interior minister following Dr Aafia’s conviction (or sentencing), that there would be a framework for discussion on the issue of prisoner exchange only after Pakistan signed the international treaties on exchange of prisoners. Malik earlier chaired a meeting that was attended by deputy attorney general, interior and foreign secretaries, joint secretary of the Law Ministry and Dr Fauzia to chart future course of action. He said that a decision to sign the conventions would be taken after approval from Dr Aafia’s family. He said a team of lawyers belonging to the International Justice Network would be invited to Pakistan for consultations on the issue. Dr Aafia’s brother, who lives in the US, will accompany the team. He said prominent lawyer Bilal Sufi had also been engaged for consultations. Malik told reporters that the US government would be asked to improve Dr Aafia’s living conditions. Washington will also be requested to provide telephonic access to her family in Pakistan.


"Every Pakistani leader – secular or religious – has called for the repatriation of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. Her antagonists may not have intended it but through their violations of her rights she has become the daughter of the nation – the daughter of the ummah. And that ummah will not rest until she is home."

"At the sentencing, Judge Berman praised Aafia’s attitude in calling for calm and ended by telling her that she had the right to file an appeal. She replied simply by saying, “I appeal to God and he hears me.”

Pakistan: my return to the scene of the crime and the plight of Aafia Siddiqui
Written by Moazzam Begg

Cage Prisoners

Qadr (fate) is a difficult concept to understand and an even harder one to explain but, travelling to Pakistan during the days of ‘Eid ul-fitr, on the ninth anniversary of 9/11 was indeed fated.

The decision was spontaneous, but I have to thank Yvonne Ridley for making it happen: I'd planned to go for 'umrah for the last ten days of Ramadan but was denied a visa by the Saudi authorities at the last minute, whom I must ultimately thank too.

Some would have said that my choice to visit Pakistan, especially at this time, would not have been the wisest of moves. My father was dead against the idea, my wife apprehensive and my friends, although supportive, were worried for me. Kidnappings, shootings, robberies and corruption occur regularly.

And if that wasn’t enough, over the past few weeks this country has been under sustained attack, both in an earthly and divine sense, on an unprecedented scale: earthquakes, floods, drone attacks, bombings and a state of civil war in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Even the one thing the nation usually feels proud about, cricket, has not escaped the onslaught.

I had vowed not to visit Pakistan again as long as Pervez Musharraf was still in power and even then, I'd wondered exactly under what circumstances I could return to the country that sold me over to the US war machine.

Yvonne had asked me if I'd be willing to return to Pakistan with her to help with the campaign for Aafia Siddiqui and to meet some of the people there fighting for justice regarding disappeared Pakistani prisoners. I had two days to decide; I prayed istikhaarah (prayer of seeking the good wherever it is) and made my decision. The flight out was on September 11.

Pakistan: The Return

The Pakistani capital was in the grip of another downpour by the time we finally reached our destination. In all honesty I wasn’t even sure if we’d find what we were looking for. I gazed out of the aeroplane onto Islamabad, the city of Islam, with a sense of excitement and dread. My heart was beating fast, my nerves and thoughts racing back and forth between that fateful night nine years ago and what has happened in my life since.

It was the night I was abducted from my house at gunpoint by the Pakistani and American intelligence services - with British intelligence services in full cahoots. That night is engraved in my memory with blood and tears when like thieves they came and stole from me what was not theirs to take: my freedom. That night shaped the person I am today.

It took us a little time to get there but I recognised the area: where we’d shop, the restaurants we’d eat in, the mosque we prayed in, the park we played in and the tailors shop where the shalwar kameez I was wearing even now was made.

We drove around and approached the road where the house still stands. This was it.

“How do you feel?” Yvonne asked me. How could I answer her question, how could I explain properly that the last memories I have of this place before my kidnap are of Zaynab, Marium, Omar and Nusyabah – my wife and children – shut behind this green metal gate. It is this place I’m referring to when I tell people that “I have never been to America, America has been to me.”

“I feel like the weather, “I replied to Yvonne, my eyes welling up and my heart in my throat. The heavens were opening up as we sat in silence, scouring the house for signs of life.

The rain abated and we came out, examining the gates closer. Yes, this was the house for sure. In my subconscious I was half-expecting my children to throw open the gate and pounce on me, asking for chocolates and ice cream. This is the place I’d thought about during my time in Bagram, believing that my family was here waiting. Once upon a time, this was my home.

The current occupier of the house came out and we asked him if we could just film the door and courtyard. This was the door I opened for the last time on the night of 31st January 2002, this was the courtyard in which I was forced down on the floor at gunpoint, my hands shackled behind my back, my ankles cuffed and where both a real and metaphorical hood was placed over my head to darken the next three years.

The new resident, an Afghan gentleman from Jalalabad, then invited us in for tea. None of us wanted to intrude upon him and his family, which included a young girl with cerebral palsy but, how could I refuse? I had to maintain my composure, couldn’t let people see how I was feeling. He didn’t know what had happened here, that in fact we were returning to the scene of a crime.

The house hadn’t changed – only the occupants. They’d moved in during 2005 so were not aware of any other history. Just as well. There were ghosts here that needed to be put to rest for me and, in sha Allah, I believe that has happened.

But there is more, much more.

From his UK base former president Musharraf is attempting a comeback into Pakistani politics. His justification for handing people over to the US in the wake of the 9/11 attacks was the threat that Pakistan would be bombed into the Stone Age if he refused to co-operate . The irony may be lost on him but, Pakistan has suffered trauma after trauma since we were handed over: drone attacks, terrorism and war with its own people over the last nine years. Devastating earthquakes, with tremors recurring to this day and vast swathes of Pakistan’s soil submerged under the flood waters, all creating refugee crises on a biblical scale, make some parts of the country look as if the Stone Age is yet to arrive.

Could it be that the men and women handed over to America were raising their hands in prayer against the entire nation? The Prophet (pbuh) said: "Fear the supplication of the oppressed, for between it and Allah there is no barrier."

The vast majority of the men sent to Guantanamo were sold over to the Americans for bounties of millions of dollars, as confirmed by Musharraf in his autobiography, In the Line of Fire. These people included citizens of Pakistan who were sold over without any legal process. There are fourteen remaining Pakistanis in Guantanamo and scores of others in Bagram.

Amina Masood Janjua

There are also hundreds of people ‘disappeared’ and still unaccounted for in Pakistan. Their case is fought by an incredible woman, Amina Masood Janjua who with her Defence of Human Rights Campaign (DHRC), has fought for the last five years to trace her own husband, Masood Janjua, and hundreds of others in the process. It was an honour to meet this woman who fights day and night, sometimes alone, to seek justice for the hundreds of disappeared and detained without trial around the country. I tried to give her some consolation during my meeting with her, that like me, her husband will surely be home soon. She’s appreciative of the sentiments but then tells me about the corrosive effects all this has had on her daughter, who often accompanies her .

DHRC have registered over 900 cases of missing persons and believe that is only the tip of the iceberg. Estimates suggest the figures are ten times that number.

Amina has just been demonstrating outside the Supreme court in Islamabad carrying mock coffins as a symbol of the living-dead lives they are leading with their loved ones still unaccounted for and, with men dressed in Guantanamo signature orange suits wearing shackles. Her struggle is an uphill one, requiring full-time commitment with insufficient support or funds.

Amina Janjua was to be our main guest at the Cageprisoners Annual Iftaar this year but, for reasons unexplained was refused a visa to the UK despite having come before at the behest of Amnesty International.

Dr. Ghairat Baheer

I first met Dr. Ghairat Baheer in 2009 at the start of Cageprisoners’ Two Sides, One Story tour. It was a strange, but truly historical occasion: 12 former Guantanamo and Bagram prisoners sat down to dinner at a Turkish restaurant with a former US soldier and guard from Guantanamo.

Dr. Baheer is the son-in-law of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and an Hizb-e-Islami leader. They have both been opposed to the Taliban in the past but equally have fought against the US-led occupation of Afghanistan. For this, Dr. Baheer, more a politician than fighter, was kidnapped by armed CIA and Pakistani intelligence agents from his Islamabad home, like me, and ended up spending six years in US custody in the Salt Pit, Bagram (where he encountered female prisoner 650) and the Panjshir prison where he met Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi who told him how he’d given the infamous false confession about Saddam and weapons of mass destruction after being water-boarded numerous times.

Dr. Baheer is a highly cultured, educated and hospitable physician whose manners are impeccable and company delightful. I stayed with him in the same house he’d been abducted from where he showed me ICRC (Red Cross) letters from his children in perfect English, Arabic and Pashto. They were clearly written by intelligent children who both loved and revered their father but, only when I met his sons did I realise just why they wrote so well.

I spoke with them for a whole evening and they told me about how their father had been so careful to ensure they had a good Islamic and secular education. They speak English, Arabic, Urdu, Pashto and Farsi fluently. They can quote from the Quran and Sunnah in all languages and understand the intricacies of aqeedah (creed) and fiqh (jurisprudence) as they do the poetry of Tennyson and Poe. They also understand the obligation of resisting occupation as much as the need to build nations. Between the boys and the girls, the latter of whom I was told are more intelligent, they’re studying Islam, engineering, political science, medicine and languages. The eldest told me how he’d became a man at the age of fifteen as the responsibilities of the father all fell on his shoulders after he was seized. Little surprise that they also help Amina Janjua in her campaign for justice.

At Dr. Baheer’s house I also met Farhad Mohammed, a former Guantanamo prisoner. The last time I saw him was in Bagram. He’d suffered terrible beatings at the hands of the Pakistanis who’d then handed him over to the Americans. The reason: Farhad was a shop-keeper who ran a store on the famous Chicken Street in Kabul where Arabs used to do their shopping. I remember my disbelief at seeing him in Bagram. Farhad returned home after four years in Guantanamo to his mud house in an Afghan refugee camp in Pakistan.

Drone Attacks

One of the other things I was hoping to achieve during this visit was to get more information about the drone attacks in the Waziristan region and to obtain more eye-witness testimony about their effects. I remember when evacuating Afghanistan in 2001 we would see numerous spy-planes flying over head and expect that airstrikes might follow at any given moment. Now of course, the Predator drones carry the ‘hellfire’ payload themselves and strike targets with utter disregard for life, liberty or law. I met several people who told me about the effects on the population of the strikes. In addition to the deaths, injuries and refugee crises ensuing directly from these bombings the attitudes towards people from that region from other parts of Pakistan seems to have worsened. Exasperated by the floods and retaliatory strikes against the Pakistani army the refugees become the easiest targets: hit by the Americans, killed by the Pakistani Army and despised by the rest of the population.

There is also a sense that foreigners, namely Arabs, must be linked by default to al-Qaida and subsequently forfeit the right to life. Despite this, the ones I met did not condone the spate of bombings against schools and mosques that have recently plagued the country.

And yet, drone attacks take place almost on a daily basis and go largely unreported. Whilst US officials often miraculously claim exact numbers of ‘militants killed’ the reality is that there is hardly any independently sourced information regarding casualties and even less first-hand testimony.

Aafia Siddiqui

Despite all of this my primary reason for going to Pakistan was to assist in whatever little way I could to in the case of Aafia Siddiqui.

Waiting to collect our luggage near the exit at Karachi airport we could hear the sounds of a crowd gathered outside, but I didn’t know for what. As we walked out I realised it was for us. Hundreds of people had come to welcome us. It was overwhelming. They put so many flower garlands around my neck I that I was in a permanent nod. We were showered with rose petals, people shaking our hands and shouting more slogans than I can remember, except for one: “We want Aafia!”

After what seemed an age walking through the crowds we made it to the vehicles waiting to take us to some rally points. We drove through the packed streets of Karachi with a large convoy in tow, blasting on huge speakers songs about Aafia and American injustice. All along the way someone bellowed out on the loudspeakers that we had arrived, that Aafia, the daughter of the nation, must not be forgotten and that the shameless rulers were responsible for her continued ordeal. There were signs visible all over Karachi that say: DAUGHTERS NOT FOR SALE.

We arrived at a destination where both Yvonne and I were asked to address the people through the sunroof of the car, Benazir-style. Now, I’m no stranger giving speeches and rarely get nervous doing so but this was different. And, my very first speech out of a car, I realised, was also going to be my very first in Urdu.

I didn’t realise but people knew my story, especially as Yvonne had told them previously how she’d first heard about women in US custody from me and what I’d heard in Bagram.

After hearing Dr. Fawzia’s heartfelt thanks to the crowd for their support it was someone else’s turn to deliver his very first speech. We all listened in pin-drop silence as Ahmed Siddiqui, Aafia’s son, sat on the bonnet of the car and spoke of his determination to get his mother back. It was hard to fight back the tears.

Going to Aafia’s house and meeting her family was the most moving experience I’ve had in many years. Aafia’s mother, Ismet Siddiqui, embraced me like a son with tears in her eyes. At dinner she explained to me so many things I hadn’t comprehended properly: the levels to which the family has fought to get justice for Aafia, the love a mother has for a daughter whose dishevelled pictures she cannot even recognise have now become the iconic image of qaum ki beti (daughter of the nation). Ismet showed me the rooms where Aafia would have her friends over and described how she was loved by all who knew her. With the care of a mother but the heart of a believer whose faith is being tested she told me how she cannot bow her head to injustice or bear to hear the terrible predicament of her daughter. The light and joy she said have left the Siddiqui houselhold, even though overwhelming happiness was felt with the return of Aafia’s children, Mariam and Ahmed. No one even talks of Suleman to me, perhaps from fearing the worst.

Fawzia showed me pictures of Mariam distributing aid to the flood victims and Ahmed talked to me about his plans for the future. He’s one of these boys who always smiles, extremely respectful and dutiful. Only Allah and his loved ones know just how much he has had to bear. The thought is crushing. Fawzia also showed me one of Aafia’s headscarves that was ripped while is US custody, along with a Quran with English translation – all sent from the prison. Several of the pages are bookmarked and I read the underlined verses, trying to understand what may have been going through her mind when she did so. One of the many is from the chapter of the Prophets:23

He will not be questioned as to that which He does but they will be questioned. And verse 28:

He knows what is before them, and what is behind them, and they offer no intercession except for those who are acceptable, and they stand in awe and reverence of His (glory).

Sentencing the 'daughter of the nation'

Although I returned to the Siddiqui household the following day for more press engagements I was hoping that we really might get to hear, somehow, that everyone has relented and that Aafia will be coming home, before the sentence. The government did announce officially that they had requested Aafia’s repatriation from the Americans but, we all knew that all real efforts for repatriation could only begin after sentencing.

I went on to give more press conferences in Lahore and Islamabad contrasting Aafia’s case with some of the released Guantanamo prisoners who include Bin Laden bodyguards and senior Taliban ministers. How is it that Aafia is still there? I cast great doubt too on the US version of events in her case, stating that in over nine years of US detentions around the world no strong, committed al-Qaida or Taliban man has yet once managed to acquire a firearm from a US soldier, how did Aafia manage such a fait accompli?

And now, Aafia has been sentenced in a US court to a term of 86 years for the attempted murder of a US soldier in Afghanistan. Thousands of US soldiers have been killed or wounded in Afghanistan and yet no one has been taken to the US to be charged with their killing. What is it about Aafia they fear so much?

During an interview with Binyam Mohamed last year I showed him a photograph of Aafia and asked him if she was the same woman he and the others had seen in Bagram. He confirmed that she was one and the same. Yvonne Ridley presented this evidence and much more regarding the inconsistencies of the alleged shooting in her film In Search of Prisoner 650. None of this eye-witness testimony was accepted by the US courts during the trial of Aafia Siddiqui.

At the sentencing, Judge Berman praised Aafia’s attitude in calling for calm and ended by telling her that she had the right to file an appeal. She replied simply by saying, “I appeal to God and he hears me.”

Today, the streets of Pakistan literally burn for the return of its daughter. Every Pakistani leader – secular or religious – has called for the repatriation of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. Her antagonists may not have intended it but through their violations of her rights she has become the daughter of the nation – the daughter of the ummah. And that ummah will not rest until she is home.

Please Sign the ONLINE LETTER for Dr. Aafia's Repatriation Now (editing is welcome) CLICK here

Government Says Using All Political - Legal Channels for Dr. Aafia's Release


ABDUL B.A. WAHEED ABDULLAH Ask Questions Re: Aafia Siddiqui — My heart bled when I read the news of American soldiers killing Afghan civilian for sport.We have not yet recovered from the shock of Abu Ghraib. Now comes the news of another savagery by the American forces in another occupied Muslim country. We can draw two occlusions: Either American forces are not under proper command or they know they can do anything and get away with it (meaning they do everything with official connivance).Now let us place the fabricated crimes of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s against the real crimes of American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Siddiqui gets 86 years in prison. What about those involved in Abu Ghraib depravities and those US troops killing Afghans for fun? They may get medals for bravery if downing of Iran Air flight is anything to go by.I have worked with Americans and admire them for their fairness and openness. What has gone wrong with a nation known for its openness, civilized culture, commitment to justice and freedom?President Barack Obama says, “America is not at war with Islam.” Such platitudes are not enough. He should do more to improve the image of America. The first step in this direction should be the release of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui.

Keep Going to Free Aafia dot Org (Official Aafia Siddiqui Site), Cage Prisoners dot com, ondelette and more on this site below. Be sure to SIGN PETITIONARY LETTER named below.

Now, let's turn our hearts and minds toward those so devastated by the floods...

An Open Letter to President Obama on Behalf of Dr. Aafia Siddiui

Write your own letter to the Presidents online GO to:

Please Sign the ONLINE PETITION (editing is welcome) CLICK here

(Sent with consideration for Dr. Aafia's children, your children, Pakistani children, American children and children around the world who need peace and justice.)

Dear President Obama,

A leader who knows the Rule of Law:

What an unbelievable, unjust and cruel sentence has now been added to the suspicious arrest, charge and kangaroo trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui.

What kind of legacy is being left by our US administration and all involved in this case - including that left by a Judge Richard Berman - who's conduct has been anything but honorable in this case?

Since you probably by now know the details - and/or will be receiving them multiple times - I will skip most elaborations.

Note that Dr. Siddiqui was detained in a facility used by the American government to hold persons suspected of being agents of Al Qaida.

Find out who may be guilty of planting the crazy evidence in her bag to begin with as I'm sure you could find out if anyone is able to do so. Why not go to the top and find that "someone" who has been known to do or direct similar acts of deceit. (Many of our American US military/FBI/CIA and contractors officials over this entire "war on terror" have records of the same many miles long.)

Although she has testified in open court about her detention in Bagram it has never been properly explained by the FBI. Dr. Aafia and her family - as well as all concerned Americans and Pakistanis - need a FULL explanation.

There are many discrepancies with the case as put forward by this our (and your) American government officials. They have never been able to properly explain how a woman, weakened by five years of imprisonment and mistreatment - and between 90-100 pounds - was able to wrestle a weapon away from a fully-trained soldier. No Americans were actually injured in the incident but they found it necessary to shoot her.

Dr. Siddique was shot during the incident and was not given the necessary medical treatment for some months. Where is the humane and truthful explanation for this?

Why did we hear about these events when the Asian Human Rights Commission issued its first Urgent Appeal on July 24, 2008 yet not before by our own governments? Why did the FBI wait until after the publication of this appeal on July 24, 2008 to announce that she had been arrested on July 17, 2008? Finally, why have there been no explanations as to her whereabouts after she was arrested in March 2003? Where is the actual, factual and complete justification for this silence?

Why were the two returned children only found after much international protest raised the issue? Where is the third? How can your government and military leaders have allowed the third missing child to be missing so long without any written explanation? What is your explanation now? We need answers.

Why has Aafia been denied contact with members of her family and her lawyers? Why was Aafia kept in a prison in Texas known to have a dark history of mistreatment of women including rape?

Such ongoing silence, mistreatment and the complete lack of any reasonable or scientific evidence for her indictment, the questionable behavior of the judge during the trial and more are without conscience.

Therefore I urge President Obama to grant her amnesty. We are longing to see and know such a tangible indication that such an entity as justice still exists in our land. Finally, we need such a response to Dr. Aafia's case to demonstrate that a Muslim can indeed be treated fairly in these United States.

I also urge President Zadari to to see that his American counterpart grants
Dr. Siddiqui the amnesty she deserves. Such foundational response to these injustices are urgently needed. Our citizens in both America and Pakistan are in great need of peace between our peoples. Such an act of amnesty and the push by you for the same would go a long way to help heal the growing breaches and hostilities.

The results of the so-called "civilian trial" has been anything but civil and has added more miles of anger from your citizens toward Americans.

There's only one saving grace and help in response to the sentencing, Mr. Presidents: See that Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is PARDONED. We all must needs consider our legacies each and every day. Someday, when your children and grandchildren ask you about this case -- and they most certainly will -- then at least when they bring up Dr. Aafia, maybe you will be able look them in the eyes with clearer consciences.

Pardoning Aafia may be one way to usher in some much needed integrity in this deceitful "war on terror" which has become so largely a "war on the innocent" in the name of oil, power, sovereign nation-occupation and assumption of superiority.

May freeing Dr. Aafia at last allow you to hold your heads just a little higher and your hearts/minds a little freer.

Yours sincerely,

Connie Lynn Nash

Mother, Writer, Human Rights Specialist

Write your own letter to the Presidents online GO to:

Blog/post/email readers, when you pass on this letter, please be sure to add the URL just above and/or just under my Open Letter so that you and others will be able to send your own. This can be done online easily and quickly and be mailed for you. Appropriate editing is encouraged. More information in other posts just below this one on oneheartforpeace dot blogspot dot com

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui: PETITION to sign online (Asian Human Rights Commission)

PAKISTAN/USA: Dr. Aafia Siddiqui should be pardoned from her sentence of 86 years

Please Sign the ONLINE PETITION (editing is welcome) CLICK here


A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

Please sign the online petition urging President Obama to grant amnesty.

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was arrested in March 2003 by Pakistani intelligence personnel and allegedly handed over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Subsequently she was detained in Bagram in Afghanistan, a facility used by the American government to hold persons suspected of being agents of Al Qaida.

Although she has testified in open court about her detention in Bagram it has never been properly explained by the FBI.

There are several discrepancies with the case put forward by the American government. They have never been able to properly explain how a woman, weakened by five years of imprisonment and mistreatment was able to wrestle a weapon away from a fully trained soldier. No Americans were actually injured in the incident but they found it necessary to shot her. This is reminiscent of a police encounter killing which is common in Pakistan and Bangladesh and India.

Dr. Siddique was shot during the incident and was not given the necessary medical treatment for some months.

The case against Dr. Aafia has brought to light the extent of human rights violations carried out by the allied forces in the name of the war on terror.

It is significant that there was no information available on Dr. Siddiqui until the Asian Human Rights Commission issued its first Urgent Appeal on July 24, 2008. (link) It was shortly after the publication of this appeal that the FBI announced that she had been arrested on July 17, 2008. However, as stated above, there have been no explanations as to her whereabouts after she was arrested in March 2003.

Dr. Siddiqui was arrested with her three children, the youngest of which was an infant. The two older children have been found, however, the fate of the third one remains unknown but he is feared to have died. The children were only found after an international protest raised the issue.

Her trial does not appear to have been fair and there were several discrepancies, she was regularly denied contact with members of her family and her lawyers who believe that her mental condition is seriously in doubt. This is no doubt due to her long years of imprisonment, and mistreatment.

In view of the trauma caused to Dr. Siddiqui by her arrest, incarceration at Bagram and the loss of her children, there can be nothing worse for a mother than not knowing the condition and whereabouts of her children, we feel that for whatever crime she is accused of committing, she has suffered enough. The sentence of 86 years is far in excess of any reasonable punishment.

Therefore the Asian Human Rights Commission urges President Obama to grant her amnesty in order that she can received treatment for her mental condition and trauma and live out her remaining years with her two surviving children.

The AHRC also urges President Zadari to use his good offices to encourage his American counterpart to grant Dr. Siddiqui the amnesty she deserves for the very great hardship she has endured.

# # #

About AHRC: The Asian Human Rights Commission is a regional non-governmental organisation monitoring and lobbying human rights issues in Asia. The Hong Kong-based group was founded in 1984.

Posted on 2010-09-24

Asian Human Rights Commission
For any suggestions, please email to


Reaction to Aafia Siddiqui's Sentencing - by Stephen Lendman

I'm leaving the links in as they are to simplify sending/filing. Parenthesis are mine to help emphasize/clarify certain points for those newer to this case. Connie - oneheartforpeace blogger

Reaction to Aafia Siddiqui's Sentencing - by Stephen Lendman

On September 23, the FBI headlined, "Aafia Siddiqui Sentenced in Manhattan Federal Court to 86 Years for Attempting to Murder US Nationals in Afghanistan and Six Additional Crimes." More on its press release below.

No matter that she's completely innocent, and has been a US political prisoner since her March 30, 2003 abduction, incarceration, torture, prosecution, and conviction on bogus charges. Her case is one of America's most egregious examples of horrific abuse and injustice, climaxed by her virtual life sentence for an alleged crime she never committed.

Yet she was convicted for these claimed felonies:

(1) one count of trying to kill US nationals outside the US;

(2) one count of trying to kill US officers and employees;

(3) one count of armed assault of US officers and employees;

(4) one count of using and carrying a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence; and

(5) three counts of assault of US officers and employees.

Earlier articles about her can be accessed through the following links:

...In the presence of two FBI agents, two Army interpreters, and three US Army officers, this frail 110 pound woman allegedly assaulted three of them, seized one of their rifles, opened fire at close range, hit no one, yet she alone was severely wounded.

It was her word against theirs. At trial, no credible evidence was presented, because there was none, not even her fingerprints on the alleged weapon. The charges were concocted, bogus and absurd, not even rising to the level of a bad film plot, yet jurors were intimidated to convict.

(Aafia Siddiqui was) home visiting her family in 2003 when local authorities abducted her at the behest of Washington, after which she was handed over and incarcerated at America's infamous Bagram Prison, Afghanistan.

Yet the FBI statement says: "SIDDIQUI was detailed (on July 17, 2008) by Afghan authorities," who found alleged incriminating items "in her possession" about a "mass casualty attack" planned against high-profile New York targets. "Other notes....referred to the construction of 'dirty bombs,' (and) ways to attack 'enemies,' including by destroying reconnaissance drones, using underwater bombs, and deploying gliders."

Yet these charges weren't in her indictment, exposing them as spurious. Instead, on July 18, 2008, she was accused of allegedly disarming and attacking seven armed Americans during interrogation.

Rampaging Imperial America

Post-9/11, America (in essence) declared war on Islam to justify rampaging globally, focused heavily on Eurasia's mineral wealth, principally Middle Eastern oil, comprising two-thirds of the world's proved reserves.

Abroad, illegal imperial wars and occupations followed. At home, Muslims have been victimized, vilified, and persecuted for their faith, ethnicity, prominence, and activism - opportunistically targeted for political advantage. They've been singled out, hunted down, rounded up, held in detention, kept in isolation, denied bail, brutally tortured, restricted in their right to counsel, tried on secret evidence, convicted on bogus charges, given long sentences, and incarcerated as political prisoners or extraordinarily renditioned to a similar or worse fate abroad.

Victims are innocent pawns in the war on terror, mocking the rule of law, judicial fairness, and democratic freedoms - the modus operandi of rogue states, calling wars of aggression liberating ones, suppressing civil liberties for our own good, and rampaging globally for alleged "democratic freedoms," ones America won't tolerate at home or abroad.

US v. Pakistani Media Reports

After her sentencing, US media reports highlighted bogus government charges, ignoring the truth and Aafia's horrific treatment. CBS, for example, affirmed allegations that she's an "Al Qaeda supporter" and "cold-blooded radical." CNN noted her "Anarchist's Arsenal." ABC News called her "Lady Qaeda."

Wall Street Journal writer Chad Bray referred to her alleged "mass casualty attack" plan on New York landmarks, and for Rupert Murdoch's New York Post, she's a "terror mom (and) reputed Al Qaeda associate," a Bruce Golding headline saying, "Judge throws book at Pakistani plotter....'terror mom' has been eighty-sixed."

Note the difference in Pakistan. The entire country is outraged - in Karachi (Aafia's home city), Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Faisalabad, Hyderabad, Lehore, Quetta, Peshawar, Multan, and elsewhere. headlined "Pakistanis furious over Aafia Siddiqui's sentence," saying:

In Karachi, "Pakistanis burned tires, (Obama effigies), and chanted anti-US slogans after a New York (hanging) judge handed down an 86-year sentence" on bogus charges. Her case "has long stirred passions in Pakistan....where anti-American sentiment is (deservedly) widespread."

"Many Pakistanis believe the US abducted Siddiqui and kept her in a secret prison for years as it pursued its war on terror." News of her "harsh sentence immediately sparked anger and disbelief." In Peshawar, angry protestors burned tires and shouted "Down with America!" Pakistan's president and prime minister were also named, and "Some hit a portrait of....Obama with their shoes."

Islamabad students were also outraged, shouting "Crush America, Siddiqui is our sister," and "We will bring her back."

More in Multan where dozens of lawyers and activists blocked traffic, shouting "Down with America," and burning effigies of Obama and former Pakistani despot Pervez Musharra.

In Peshawar, thousands of political, social, and religious activists protested on city streets, holding banners and placards condemning the sentence. They demanded Aafia's release and end to US Waziristan drone attacks.

A supportive Pakistan Times editorial called America "an authoritarian, arrogant superpower," and Aafia's sentence "unheard of....people will be waiting to see how (Obama reacts). Only time will tell if the US president will step in to mitigate (this outrage) by either pardoning Dr. Aafia or sending her back to Pakistan to serve at least part of her sentence in her home country."

"Dr. Aafia may very well become the poster-child for increased hatred against the US and more sympathy for the militants," a possibility both countries should consider.

Aafia's sister, Fauzia, called the sentence "a slap in the face of our rulers, who have pledged and made promises to bring" her back.

Addressing a supportive rally, she said they failed miserably to help Aafia. "The sentence bears testimony to the fact that this government is a puppet of the US. We are peaceful people, and our aim is to bring back Aafia."

Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit expressed "disappoint(ment with) the sentence and sad that our efforts....did not succeed. We are still in touch with the US administration to see what possible options are available. We are not giving up." At issue is whether they ever tried, given the ties between the countries "in the fight against Terrorist militancy...."

The International Tribune reported that Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik said government efforts "will surely bring (her back), but it needs time to do it."

Pakistan's US ambassador, Hussain Haqqani, said "the government took every possible step for (her) safe release," adding that efforts will continue.

Pakistan's Jamiat Uleme-e-Islam Party (JUI) chief, Fazalur Rehman, cancelled his US trip in protest, saying "the punishment of Doctor Aafia has added to the list of American crimes, and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif said he, too, "would make all efforts for Dr. Aafia's release," adding that "the entire nation was praying for her safe return."

Tekreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Party chairman, Imran Khan, condemned the verdict as "unethical and inhuman," warning it could inflame the entire Muslim world. He also announced launch of a countrywide protest, saying Pakistanis won't tolerate this outrage.

"Aafia is the daughter of the nation," he said, "and all-our efforts should be made for her early return." PTI plans protest rallies, seminars and meeting throughout the country, its campaign to continue until Affia's back home.

Farooq Sattar, Parliamentary leader of Pakistan's third largest political party, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), condemned Aafia's sentence, announced protests, and said MQM officials would meet with America's ambassador to demand her release. MQM head, Altaf Hussain, also wants her released and sent home, saying, if in power, MQM "would have immediately severed ties with the US and its allies...."

In America, Aafia's a "terrorist," in Pakistan a national hero, at least on the country's streets, if not the halls of power, despite the above rhetoric.

For their part, Aafia's family vowed to launch a "movement" for her release, Fauzia telling reporters that all of Pakistan would agitate for her. "I was alone when I started the campaign to release my sister, but from now on it will be the Aafia movement as the whole nation is with me."

Qazi Muhammad, Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president asked "Why is our individual and collective conscience as a nation silent on the maltreatment of Dr. Aafia, the daughter of the nation?" He said an SCBA delegation would meet with her family, and offered to defend her in the US pro bono.

Responses from Human Rights Groups

The International Justice Network (ICN - supporting human rights globally, including Aafia's family) issued a press release, saying:

"Dr. Aafia Siddiqui - who has never caused harm to anyone - has now been condemned to spend the rest of her life in a (US) maximum security prison....This sentence is not only unjust because of its harshness, (but) also because of its impact on her....children....who may never see their mother again. But the greatest that those who are responsible for the kidnapping, disappearance, and abuse of Dr. Siddiqui and her children without cause have yet to answer for their actions."

"The International Justice Network stands in solidarity with the international community in condemning this unfair and unjust result in Dr. Siddiqui's case."

Dr. Mehdi Hasan, chairperson of The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) issued the following statement:

America must "assess the impact of the unusually harsh punishment awarded to (Aafia), particularly in view of the absence of direct and credible evidence against her."

In fact, there's none.

It's also a red herring for the US embassy to say Pakistan must sign two international treaties relating to prisoner exchanges before Aafia can be returned - the Council of Europe Treaty and OAF Convention. In fact, reversing her sentence and repatriating her is as simple as doing it, an Obama stroke of the pen sending her home. It's time for Pakistan's government to put its muscle where it's rhetoric is and demand nothing less, suspending diplomatic relations until done.

A Final Comment

On September 11, 2001, America declared "war on terror" based on a lie, then used it as justification to rampage globally. Thereafter, democratic freedoms weakened or disappeared, and Muslims became the target of choice. A war on Islam followed.

Stereotypically called culturally inferior, dirty, lecherous, untrustworthy, religiously fanatical, and violent, they've been prejudicially called Islamofascists, "terrorists," or a homeland fifth column. Their fate became summary judgment - no due process, judicial fairness, or innocent unless proved guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt by an impartial jury of their peers.

Aafia is their poster child, an innocent woman brutalized and condemned to spend the rest of her life in maximum security confinement, meant for America's "worst of the worst" criminals. The facilities are extremely harsh. They crush the human spirit, body and mind, in Aafia's case even more than already after seven and a half brutalizing years.

More is now planned for the rest of her life unless world outrage saves her, no easy task given the Obama administration's contempt for the rule of law, human rights and justice, as roguish as Bush officials.

That alone should incite everyone's moral outrage. Aafia's case adds an exclamation point!

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at Also visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dr. Aafia & family statements clash with extremists on all sides

mind-boggling graphic on family site paints clearly the harshness of Aafia's sentencing

From Dr. Aafia's brother in an Audio "recap" of the "facts and fiction" of the trial who closed his talk with the following:

"...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 ... - especially for Muslims - that is the true legacy of our faith."

(Of course these principles should be true of us all)

To hear his entire talk and a transcription of the same GO here

To the various extremist groups and reporters (including US FOX news who have chosen to highlight reports somewhat parallel to FOX own of choosing revenge) be sure to note the various occasions where Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, her family and her many supporters have called for ongoing work on behalf of Aafia's freedom yet no mention of violent revenge. Dr. Aafia specifically asked also for forgiveness at end of her sentencing.

I want to leave this here for the weekend at the top for the record and for updated eye witness and other reports CLICK on the official family site here

BERMAN CONDEMNS Dr. AAFIA TO EIGHTY SIX YEARS (last edit, 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.

Here is one eye witness account by a highly-respected follower of this case found on the family official site and check back for more. GO here

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui "bag": WHO put the items there?

Regarding the twisted trial (end January - to February 3, 2010) in the court of Judge Richard Berman, lower Manhatten, New York and the recent cruel sentencing of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui under the same judge and in the same court:

How can so many intelligent reporters assume that Aafia put these "scary" items in that bag? The bag which according to rule of law and even the stated purposes in the trial itself should have had nothing to do with her indictment and sentencing and yet did because it was made as obvious as possible in court and via all manner of sloppy reporting...including recently on

Of course any reasoned observer of the Trial and Sentencing of Aafia Siddiqui would ask questions about this cartoonishly dramatic collection of items contained in the bag - such as how and who may have put these there? Yet the standard statement even by journalists who should know much better is that the contents of this bag prove Aafia was "either a luntatic or a terrorist" without even raising any other possibilities. Many reporters seem to only go so far as to list some of these items - often in part - and to murky the waters as far as what the actual sentencing was about. Yet why? And to whom do they owe doing so? And when they do this, then at least raise the other possible reasons for a drugged (by US), threatened, tortured and dazed Aafia - bereaved of two missing children at that time - to be holding that bag (in more ways than one).

Aafia claimed she didn't recognize these items and bag and I believe her. Certainly, given the growing list of proven travesties by the US warriors, it's MUCH easier to believe her claims than those representing the US in this case and in many others.

Few who cared about Dr. Aafia's possible lower sentencing or repatriation wanted to bring this bag of dangerous items up out of concern that few would ask the deeper questions and assume Aafia herself had to assemble that rather dramatic collection. (Even with the long history of so many murky "plantings" of the same).

Yet now, since so many have reported these contents (which were strangely allowed and referred to within the trial?) it's time to raise the question HOW and WHY this particular collection? With the known drugging that went on with Aafia, the fact her claims are backed up that she's no artist, that she was asked to copy things down by intimidating persons - possibly under threat that her children would be hurt or raped and that she was asked to translate certain specified items handed to her by those who had kidnapped her.

Obviously, there are plenty of aspects even of this one "layer" of Aafia's history to now begin to dig much deeper than before. Look for more synopsis of Dr. Aafia's Jan-Feb Trial of 2010.

Interesting reports are coming in that the Wiki-leaks may indicate a complete absence of any report of implications named later. The record does show an incredible litany of contradictions even by the US official recorded reports.

Folk: Time to question the many assumptions being made - not only in reference to Aafia yet to many hundreds if not thousands of others such cases of the detained in this so-called "war on terror" which in actuality is more and more a War of US Terrorism upon the innocent and unreasonably kidnapped, intimidated, coerced, tortured, indefinitely imprisoned and frequently unjustly charged.

Surely it's not hard to see that Dr. Aafia's history and reports of all the above are reasonable claims given that torture, rendition and so much more have been reported now for years by the International Committee of the Red Cross/Red Crescent among many other highly-respected humanitarian and rights organizations. Many unsavory practices by US officials, military and others are currently being reported as ongoing, continuing unabated in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pakistan and many more places under the auspices or beginnings at least of US-jurisdiction, training and organized settings. (As well as many other places where secret/black cells still exist, despite the current US administration's promises and statements to the contrary, there are now thought to be "floating prisons...)

So folk, with such a US background of related abuses as this, let's please look a little deeper and ask the missing yet all important questions.

Most worth also discussing is whether or not anyone with Dr. Aafia Siddiqui background of birth or religion has a hair of a chance for justice in America.

Look for plenty more such discussions and Op Eds on these urgent questions here and many other places in the days ahead.

Can a Muslim get a Fair Trial in USA? Andrew Khun Reports from Lahore, Pakistan

This short report gives a nutshell Pakistan reaction to the sentencing of Aafia Siddiqui Thursday, including comment by Dr. Aafia's sister and one by a leader of peoples' rights in Pakistan.

Most worth following up is the question raised - perhaps especially after the trial and now the sentencing by Dr. Aafia Siddiqui as to the possibilities of justice in America.

Look for plenty more discussions and Op Eds on this urgent question in the days ahead.

Fortunately or unfortunately, the true colors of many Americans are coming out more than ever as shown by the various Comments to the Op Ed/ Reports and more in American media of all sorts. Those who are corporate-controlled are especially suspect to much independent journalism.

At least we do have that all too short report from Andrew Khun and exposure of some brutal as well as some enlightened comments from his employer, as indicated in the following URLS and in the posts just below this one on this oneheartforpeace site as well as on No More Crusades site.

Related articles/URLS on here
and here

Friday, September 24, 2010

UPDATE: Repratriate Dr. Aafia Siddiqui By Former US Congresswoman

UPDATE (new item coming in on search engine Sunday am):

Haqqani's 'dubious role' in Aafia case exposed - ANI Islamabad - Sun, 26 Sep 2010: Islamabad, Sep 26 (ANI): Pakistani scientist and terror suspect Dr Aafia Siddiqui might have escaped the 86-year jail term by a US court, had Pakistan's Ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani acted in this regard, former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney has claimed.

Exposing dubious role of Haqqani in Aaf's case, Cynthia said that she was coming to Pakistan to share with its government a vital piece of information, which could have averted the sentence, but the Pakistani Embassy in Washington denied her visa, The Nation reported...."Aafia Siddiqui might have been prevented from receiving the 86-year sentence in the United States had Ambassador Hussain Haqqani granted me visa to Pakistan," she said. Find original blurb here

- San Francisco Bay View - -

Cynthia McKinney: Repatriate Dr. Aafia Siddiqui

Posted By Mary On September 25, 2010 @ 10:20 pm In Africa and the World |

The following are excerpts from a speech given by the Hon. Cynthia McKinney, former U.S. Congresswoman, at an event sponsored by the Pakistani American National Alliance (PANA). Since this speech was delivered, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, 38, a Pakistani cognitive neuroscientist trained in the U.S. at MIT and Brandeis, was sentenced by a U.S. court on Sept. 23 to 86 years in prison for allegedly having shot at but missed two U.S. soldiers, though she herself was shot twice in the abdomen. She denies the charges. She is believed to have been held secretly by the U.S. for five years before that, from 2003 to 2008, much of the time at the U.S. base in Bagram, Afghanistan, where, witnesses say, her cries of agony as she was tortured were so haunting that prisoners went on a hunger strike in protest. Now that she has been convicted, repatriation can occur only pursuant to a prisoner transfer treaty [2], and no such treaty is currently in force between the U.S. and Pakistan. Nevertheless, her family vows [3] to launch a movement of her millions of supporters around the world to win her freedom. As huge protests broke out in cities across Pakistan on Sept. 24, the government announced it would petition the U.S. for her repatriation on humanitarian grounds.

by Cynthia McKinney
On Sept. 24, the day after Aafia Siddiqui was sentenced by a U.S. court to 86 years in prison, protests swept across Pakistan. Here, in the capital Islamabad, hundreds of police officers were deployed to stop angry protesters from marching into the U.S. Embassy. Thank you to all of you for being here this evening for this very important meeting. …

Our mission is grounded in our deep commitment to human dignity. We are here because we respect the humanity of every person on this planet and we hope, through our good works, to inspire policies from governments that also reflect that respect for human dignity.

We are also aware that we can only reach our aspirations if we rely on truth and embody justice tempered with compassion. And so it is for this reason that we find ourselves assembled here this evening: to assert the truth and request of the Obama and Zardari administrations a commitment to justice with compassion.

In that regard, I am humbled to be with you now and to have been asked by the Pakistani American National Alliance to travel to Pakistan at this very trying time in the life of that country. (McKinney’s visa was denied [2] without explanation by Pakistani authorities. – ed.)

As Pakistan was reeling from the news that their beloved Dr. Aafia had been sentenced in the U.S. to 86 years in prison, the country is still trying to cope with flooding that has displaced millions since July.[5]

No American can know of the terrible devastation being visited upon Pakistan today as a result of cataclysmic flooding and not be moved. However, … five years ago to this day, our own country was mired in an embarrassing calamity, resulting from a levee system that failed to protect the precious city of New Orleans after two hurricanes had completely devastated Gulf of Mexico cities and towns throughout Mississippi, Alabama, Texas and Florida.

I visited those towns, I heard from the mayors and elected leaders and I did my best to help the people. But the world saw one of America’s best kept secrets: While the United States is a world leader, the people of the United States also need the rest of the world. In the midst of extreme misfortune, we saw differences put aside and the world respond to our need.

Sadly, today Pakistan faces a similar challenge of almost unimaginable proportions. I have seen the photos, eerily reminiscent of what we saw in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita; I have heard the pleas from my friends inside Pakistan. Every Pakistani I know, no matter where they might currently be in the world, is working to come to the aid of their countrymen. And the numbers are staggering: 20 million people face devastating loss and reportedly one fifth of Pakistan is under water. But I am pleased to read that, again, the world is responding.

This photo of U.S.-trained cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was taken when she was captured in Ghazni, Afghanistan, in July 2008. – Photo: AP
And it is within this vein that I would like to broach another item requiring our compassionate review: the matter of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. … (A)n M.I.T. undergraduate and Brandeis Ph.D. … who spent her time researching ways to improve child behavior, (she) was recently found guilty in New York City of coming from behind a curtain that hid her, after having been detained in Afghanistan for “suspicious behavior” outside an Afghan governor’s office, stealing a U.S. soldier’s M-4 rifle, shouting “Allah Akbar” among other things and firing the rifle at but missing and then assaulting a U.S. military team and others there to interview her about the charges. Dr. Siddiqui was outside the governor’s office with her teenaged son.

Aafia Siddiqui came to the U.S. as a student at the age of 18. Called a genius, she earned degrees at Brandeis and MIT.
How did Dr. Siddiqui, a U.S.-educated scientist, find herself in this predicament?

For starters, after irreconcilable differences, she and her husband divorced; her ex-husband then reportedly assisted the Pakistani government in nabbing her after Khalid Sheikh Mohammed named her as an al-Qaeda operative after he had been waterboarded 183 times. After that, Siddiqui and her three children went missing for five years, from 2003 to 2008, only to resurface, along with her son, at the U.S. Air Force Base in Bagram, Afghanistan, where she was being held after the (alleged) suspicious behavior outside of the governor’s residence.

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s sister Fauzia comforts Aafia’s son when he was returned to the family in Islamabad on Sept. 15, 2008. – Photo: Reuters
Her son was returned to Pakistan by Afghanistan in 2008. But that didn’t resolve the matter of her two other missing children: a son and a daughter. Mysteriously, in April of this year, an unidentified young girl appeared at a house in Karachi accompanied by an American that the child called, “Uncle John.” This child later proved to be Dr. Siddiqui’s missing daughter.

That leaves now only the matter of Dr. Siddiqui’s son, still missing, who was just a baby at the time of his and his mother’s disappearance. Now, there are reports that Dr. Siddiqui’s youngest child was killed at the time of her abduction. No one knows. At any rate, the two children are in Karachi in the loving care of their family members while their mother awaits sentencing, expected to occur on Sept. 23 in New York City.

Now, I recount most of this story to you who are here and I know that you already know far more details because you have been following this drama for years now. But sadly, the American people are fed a media diet of Paris Hilton cocaine busts and celebratory slaps on the back for an announced U.S. end to combat in Iraq while the real news of true unemployment figures, our failing education system, our failing justice system, our failed immigration policy, failed safe food policy combined with fewer and fewer real political options for U.S. voters, coupled with rising racial, ethnic and religious strife in this country, go underreported.

So, what are we to do?

I first became aware of the plight of Dr. Siddiqui through another of our beleaguered sisters, attorney Lynne Stewart, who sits now in prison for providing legal representation to someone accused and later found guilty of terrorism. It was Stewart’s support committee that first alerted me to the plight of Dr. Siddiqui. Then, more and more messages came into my email box from people I either knew or had heard of and then finally I took the time to read the complaint against Dr. Siddiqui and began to realize just how curious this case really was.

I understand that members of the British and Pakistani Parliaments have written to President Obama asking that Dr. Siddiqui be returned to Pakistan where her loving family and an intensely interested population follow every item about her fate and await her return.

Former U.S. Congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney speaks at the March Against Racism and Anti-Muslim Bigotry at Ground Zero on the 2010 anniversary of 9/11. – Photo: Greg Butterfield
Today, I have sent a message to the White House, State Department and to the Justice Department asking that Dr. Siddiqui be repatriated to Pakistan so that she can serve her term in prison at home, close to her children. This is something that can be done and I believe that, particularly now, during the high holy days of Ramadan and at a time when Dr. Siddiqui’s long lost returned daughter is sharing her first fast with her family, this is a particularly compassionate thing that our government can do.

As the U.S.-Pakistani relationship rocks from the latest mistreatment yesterday at Dulles Airport of a visiting Pakistani military delegation, and the country seems purposely embroiled in the discussion of a local land use and zoning issue in New York City, I believe that this compassionate act by the Obama Administration would go a long way toward improving U.S.-Pakistan relations. Additionally, a human rights-human dignity-based U.S. foreign policy would certainly improve the safety and security of Americans as we travel around the world.

Finally, there was a time when we were looked up to and loved around the world. We served as a beacon of what was possible and to the global community, we were considered something good about the world. Too much of our goodwill has been squandered and in many places the United States is no longer accepted.

Glen Beck’s rally (on 9/11) was intended to restore our country’s honor. I envision the day when our policies move us, honorably, back to acceptance and even affection. I hope that President Obama will utilize this moment and allow Dr. Siddiqui to go home.

For news from, by and about Cynthia McKinney, former Georgia congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate, check these websites: [10], [11], [12], [13], [14], [15], [16], [17] and [18].

Related Posts

* I call it murder [19]
* Cynthia McKinney on the oil volcano, Big Oil and Bike4Peace [20]
* We CAN put Blacks back to work [21]
* Pierre Labossiere on Haiti: ‘This is criminal’ [22]
* From Cynthia McKinney: An unwelcome Katrina redux [23]

Article printed from San Francisco Bay View:

URL to article where live links are provided to many of the numbered references listed here and more: here

URLs in this post:

[1] [Translate]: http://sfbayview.comjavascript:show_translate_popup(

[2] repatriation can occur only pursuant to a prisoner transfer treaty:

[3] her family vows:

[4] Image:

[5] Image:

[6] Image:

[7] Image:

[8] Image:

[9] Image:










[19] I call it murder:

[20] Cynthia McKinney on the oil volcano, Big Oil and Bike4Peace:

[21] We CAN put Blacks back to work:

[22] Pierre Labossiere on Haiti: ‘This is criminal’:

[23] From Cynthia McKinney: An unwelcome Katrina redux:

San Francisco Bay View
4917 Third St., San Francisco CA 94124, (415) 671-0789,

Also see Cynthia McKinney reporting from Gaza here and another URL on McKinney items here

Updates: Radio Analysis//Blog Dialogues//Possible Consequences of Aafia Siddiqui Sentencing

Dr. Aafia as a student Photo from family used freely
on internet - SEE items added on the weekend just below this quote...

"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."

Find this quote and a striking article by an historian and award-winning biographer here as well as on the blogsite "About Aafia" / The Republic of Rumi website and blog where you can also view excellent items by young Pakistanis

Stephen Lendman LIVE Saturday and Sunday from 12- 1 PM ET for a report on Dr. Aafia Siddiqui's Sentencing and Case for more information GO here

See Lendman's extensive reports on Dr. Aafia's case on above site and many other places

RECAP sentencing and early reaction GO here

I found this cogent quote from a blog Comment:

This system and those who go along with it without protest is diabolical and rabid.This is not America, it is Amerika, and they are not Ameicans, but Amerikans.A difference of day and night.“Those who believe in absurdities are capable of atrocities.”–Goethe Comment by hybridrogue1 | September 23, 2010 under posting at

Various Conversations

UPDATED - Here are some of the best blog Comments/Conversations - some added Saturday:

SEE many comments to Andy Worthington's actual site andyworthington dot co dot uk and scroll down to his most recent article on Aafia beginning with word "Barbaric..." The COMMENTS under that are MUCH clearer and informed than the comments on those to his same article at Huff Post.

See Thursday's press release after the sentencing by cageprisoners' editor here

NYTimes blogs & comments (which include items from knowledgeable on this case, such as Yvonne Ridley, and those friendly toward Pakistan and those who are not. And even this one by a former US military investigator who throws up his hands, in a figure of speech, due to what he virtually calls the stupidity of this sentencing:

From Yvonne Ridley
London, UK
September 24th, 2010
1:51 pm
If the official narrative is to be believed then a 90lb woman, who was in a frail state, managed to overpower and seize the gun of a US soldier becoming the first ever person in US custody ever to take a gun from a soldier since the 9/11 launched War on Terror.

The prosecution said she was firearms trained - how on earth did she manage to miss 12 soldiers in a tiny cell ... I've taken a film crew in that cell and you can't swing a cat.

Not only that where were the shell casings, the explosive discharge, the spent ammunition, the fingerprints ... we've all seen CSI. There was no scientific evidence to back up the case.

The only independent witness was an Afghan translator who is now the proud owner of a green card and living with his entire family in New York. God bless America!
This is going to backfire on the US very badly - the reputation of a once great country which was the envy of the world for its freedoms and liberties has been reduced to this nonsense.

We have credible eye witness accounts, on film, of former detainees who saw Dr Aafia Siddiqui beaten and abused in Bagram Prison, Afghanistan during her five year kidnap, rendition and torture from 2003-2008.

I blame the FBI agent who didn't know the difference between nuclear scientist and what Dr Aafia is ... a neuro scientist, doh!
Comment by Yvonne Ridley, film-maker and journalist.

Nikos Retsos
Chicago, IL
September 24th, 2010
11:18 am
The 86 years in prison sentence is quite preposterous, as is the "Al Qaeda Lady" appellation the U.S. authorities have coined for her. And, actually, that sentence is quite anti-American. After "Guantanamo, Abu Graib, and the news last week that American soldiers in Afghanistan were killing Afghan civilians "for sport," now our judicial system has swatted Siddiqui, a "fly" Pakistani hater of Americans, with a sledgehammer! Worse yet, we are making headlines with it as if "justice was done," and claiming the "high morale ground. But is it?

First, as a former army investigating officer, this question comes to mind: Why a loaded rifle was left next to a hostile person that was being investigated? Wasn't this "a set-up" to have the person grab the rifle and give interrogators a reason to charge her with "attempted murder?" Then, there is this question: She is married to a relative of a former Al Qaeda member, but does this make her "an Al Qaeda Lady?" If my daughter gets married with a gang member, does that make me "a gang-banger?" Does she hates Americans? Sure, who doesn't in Pakistan? Even
people who become instant millionaires cooperating in our war with us hate us, and they will stamp us in the back when they get a chance! They don't like us, but they like to make riches as our stooges. But they feel guilty as Pakistanis, and sinners as Muslims, and they will stamp us in the back to attain ablution with their faith!

A Few weeks ago, British prime minister David Cameron accused Pakistani officials for not being real friends, a.k.a. ally backstabbers! Sure they are. And if we do such stupids things as giving Siddique a sentence similar to that of the infamous Carlos "the Jackal" terrorist, for an "attempted murder charge" that looks suspicious, they will hate us more! I hope David Cameron call Obama and tell him to wise up. And I hope Obama can see the bigger picture on this case, that is, What is good for America, not what is good for headlines and for the prosecutor's resume!

Finally, the Inter Service Intelligence, also known as ISI, factor. It is the core of the Pakistani establishment. And we suspect that they hate us, and that actually work against us behind our backs in the war in Afghanistan. They sure do. And when we grab a distraught Pakistani woman, crown her with "the Al Qaeda Lady" label, and treat her like a 9/11 bomber, there is no doubt they will hate us more, because they are above all Pakistanis. And I have no doubt that, in their own way, they will avenge the injustice to Aafia Siddiqui. The Pakistani prime minister Mr. Gilani has already expressed his outrage in order to calm down the Pakistanis.

Let's not, therefore, celebrate the 86 years prison term for Siddique. We have just shot our selves in the foot, and I have no doubt the sentence will be reversed or thrown out. The sentence is highly detrimental to bigger American interests, and it may cost American lives in the long term. Smashing a fly with a sledgehammer may make us feel good now, but "justice," like every story, has always two sides! Nikos Retsos, retired professor

Find these two comments by Yvonne Ridley and the ex-military expert/professor here

I expect Al Jazeera will keep posting items related to this sentencing and case here

A bit of an unexpected title at least since so many titles on this case don't allow for any possibility of questioning: "U.S.-trained Pakistani scientist, gets 86 years in prison on questionable assault" here

Video: here

A little conclusion, let's follow up on the question: Does a Muslim or even anyone from a largely Muslim/Arabic/Pakistan/Palestinian/Yemen or North African community have a chance of a fair trial in the US? Hmmn...the beginning of an Op Ed...

Here's a conclusion I posted at ondelette's site before the sentencing (unedited yet heartfelt)

No matter how hopeless any support near of far may seem, we owe our children and legacy our own little “vote” for sanity and rights. This case more than most is in dire need of witnesses.

There were many expected and unexpected happenings before during outside and inside the courtroom during the trial. There has been some clarity and good reporting since, albeit all too little. Of course, we should never stop fighting for Aafia – whatever happens in that courtroom on Thursday – that someone who knows what will free her will come forth sooner rather than later.

We need to keep pressure up that there will be no further torture, intimidation and use of male staff inappropriately. Nor can our hearts allow us to stop fighting for her children as well.

Finally, we owe our own American, Pakistani-American and Pakistani children all the reassurance that we will never quit fighting for their protection for each day of their futures.

We must show them by our deeds as well as our words that we expect justice to prevail no matter how hopeless war criminals have made the same. We can’t let war crime or any other crime prevail – of all places in the courtroom and in the prisons.

We owe our two nations, America and Pakistan, the best possible legacy for rule of law and human rights we can achieve. We need each other to do so and we must NEVER give up.