Aafia’s kidnapping is not enough for them

December 30, 2009

By Waqas Ahmed:

Shamelessly we are listening to the screams of Aafia, and look at the boldness of her abductors that they came to kidnap another one.

Watch Mubashir Luqman in Point Black with Dr Mewish Baig

“If you think case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui is just a one case, Please Hold On, You would be surprised Its not just one case, When I say there is one more Lady Doctor, who is online with us, FBI soldiers raided her house, Still if you are not surprised, then I would tell you, that the lady is living in Naval Complex Karachi, where naval guards live, Still if you are not surprised, then I would tell you that her brother is a serving Naval officer. And when brother intervened and was able to get rid of these FBI soldiers, Local police refused to register FIR/complaint against this. Still you are not surprised, then I would tell you that FBI soldiers threatened lady doctor that they will kidnap her, alongwith her children within next three days.” Syas Mubasher Luqman in his program Point Black on Blackwater

FBI soldiers even reached to school of her children to kidnap them from there and when they did not found them there, they were searching at other places and homes. When they did not find her children anywehere they forced Mehwish to go with them at her brother’s house where she was living now. Her brother’s house is located in Naval Complex in Defense Karachi. At entry point of the Naval Complex Dr Mehwish informed FBI Soldiers that this is a restricted area and foreigners are not allowed here. But they insisted her to let them go with them inside. They went inside her house, threatened her, When her brother came from his office and asked them to leave them and informed them about the restriction as it a Military Compound. In response, they threatened everybody. Dr Mehwish has further informed that all these people she met in American consulates where they introduced themselves as Consulate staff, but later they turned out to be FBI officials.

In responding to question that why she went to US Consulate, Dr Mehwish says, she wanted to renounce (Cancellation) her US Citizenship, to live here in Pakistan alongwith her children.

Police is not willing to register FIR against these FBI’s dogs as they remain under cover of US Diplomats in the eyes of shameless Pakistani Government.

In the end, Mubasher says, Don’t worry Dr Mehwish there are brothers here in Pakistan who will stand up to protect you.

Woman moves LHC over harassment by FBI (Wednesday, 23 Dec, 2009) Dawn

RAWALPINDI: The Lahore High Court has sought written comments from federal secretaries of the ministries of foreign affairs and interior on a petition filed by a woman doctor alleging that the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had tried to kidnap her.

Justice Asad Munir ordered the secretaries on Tuesday to file their replies within three weeks in response to the petition of Dr Mehwish Saleem Baig. She had alleged that she was being harassed by FBI officials after being detained in the US consulate in Karachi for over two hours.

Also See:

Video Bagram Escapees Reveal Aafia’s Condition in Afghan Prison

The Story of the Brown Box-By Aafia’s Brother-

Protest for Release of Dr Aafia (Pictures)

Audio Little Girl Sings a Poem for Dr Afia Siddiqui

Terrorized by the War on Terror – Aafia Siddiqui’s Struggle Persists

Audio Heart Breaking Nasheed on Dr Afia Siddiqui

Video Yvonne Ridely Speaks at “Beyond Guantanamo”

Video Ex-gitmo detainee reveals identity of prisoner 650 as Dr. Siddiqui

The intriguing case of Dr Aafiya Siddiqui -by Yvonne Ridley

Video : Yvonne ridley -The plight of Dr Aafia Siddiqui

Video : Mozaam begg-The Plight of Dr. Aafia Sidiqui

Videos Updates : Dr Afia Sddiqui

Prisoner No. 650 and a war on innocents

Video Watch Story of Dr Afia in GEO FIR

Video Dr Afia Siddiqui Children Report By Rabiah Baig

Aafia’s sister Speaks on Return of Pakistanis from Saudi Arabia

Video Dr Aamir Liaquat with Afia’s family members


The Aafia Siddiqui I Saw – By Abu Sabaya

December 22, 2009

By: Abu Sabaya

In the Name of Allâh, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

“I want you to come to know of the concern and dedication that this woman had for Islam as described by those who knew her – a dedication that was manifested by way of actions that were very simple and easy, yet seldom carried out by those who are able.”

“She is a high security risk.”

– Christopher LaVigne, assistant US attorney, on August 11th when trying to convince a judge to prevent Aafia from seeing a doctor for her gunshot wound

Recently, the entire world has been speaking about one such person – a short, thin college student, wife, and mother of three small children. Her name is Aafia Siddiqui.

I want you to be drawn to the story of this woman and also understand why I was drawn to it. I want you to come to know of the concern and dedication that this woman had for Islam as described by those who knew her – a dedication that was manifested by way of actions that were very simple and easy, yet seldom carried out by those who are able.

Those who knew Aafia recall that she was a very small, quiet, polite, and shy woman who was barely noticeable in a gathering. However, they add that when necessary, she would say what needed to be said. She was once giving a speech at a fundraiser for Bosnian orphans at a local mosque in which she began lambasting the men in the audience for not stepping up to do what she was doing. She would plead: “Where are the men? Why do I have to be the one standing up here and doing this work?” And she was right, as she was a mother, a wife, and a student in a community full of brothers with nothing to show when it came to Islamic work.

When she was a student at MIT, she began organizing drives to deliver copies of the Qur’an and other Islamic literature to the Muslims in the local prisons. She would have them delivered in boxes to a local mosque, and she would then show up at the mosque and carry the heavy boxes by herself all the way down the three flights of very steep stairs. Subhan Allah, look at the Qadar of Allah: this woman who would spend so much time and effort to help Muslim prisoners is now herself a prisoner (I ask Allah to free her)!

Her dedication to Islam was also very evident on campus. A 2004 article from Boston Magazine mentions that “…she wrote three guides for members who wanted to teach others about Islam. On the group’s website, Siddiqui explained how to run a daw’ah table, an informational booth used at school events to educate people about, and persuade them to convert to, Islam.” The article continues to mention that in the guides, she wrote: “Imagine our humble, but sincere daw’ah effort turning into a major daw’ah movement in this country! Just imagine it! And us, reaping the reward of everyone who accepts Islam through this movement, through years to come. Think and plan big. May Allah give this strength and sincerity to us so that our humble effort continue, and expands until America becomes a Muslim land.”

Allahu Akbar…look at this himmah (concern)…look at these lofty aspirations and goals! As men, we should be ashamed to have to learn such lessons from a sister.

She would drive out of her way every week to teach the local Muslim children on Sundays. I was told by a sister that she would also drive out of her way every week to visit a small group of reverts to teach them the basics of Islam. One of the sisters who attended her circles described Aafia as “not going out of her way to be noticed by anybody, or to be anyone’s friend. She just came out here to teach us about Allah, and English wasn’t even her first language!”

Another sister who would attend her circles describes: “She shared with us that we should never make excuses for who we are. She said: “Americans have no respect for people who are weak. Americans will respect us if we stand up and we are strong.””

Allahu Akbar…O Allah, free this woman!

But Aafia’s biggest passion was helping the oppressed Muslims around the globe. When war in Bosnia broke out, she did not sit back and watch with one knee over the other. Rather, she immediately sought out whatever means were within her grasp to make a difference. She didn’t sit in a dreamy bubble thinking all day about how she wished that she could go over to Bosnia and help with relief efforts. She got up and did what she could: she would speak to people to raise awareness, she would ask for donations, she would send e-mails, she would give slideshow presentations – the point I’m trying to make here is that Aafia showed that there is always something we can do to help our brothers and sisters, the least of which is a spoken word to raise awareness to those who are unaware. Sitting back and doing nothing is never an option. She once gave a speech at a local mosque to raise funds for Bosnian orphans, and when the audience was just sitting there watching her, she asked: “How many people in this room own more than one pair of boots?” When half the room raised their hands, she said: “So, donate them to these Bosnians who are about to face a brutal winter!” She was so effective in her plea that even the imam took off his boots and donated them!

There is much more to say about how passionate this sister was for Islam. However, the above gives you an idea of what she was like, and should hopefully serve as an inspiration for brothers before sisters to become active in serving Islam through whatever means are available. Remember that she was doing all of this while being a mother and a PhD student, and most of us do much less despite having much more free time.

So, having this image of Aafia in my mind, I was taken aback at what I saw when she was brought into court for what should have been her bail hearing. The door on the front left side of the courtroom was slowly opened to reveal a frail, limp, exhausted woman who could barely hold her own head up straight in a pale blue wheelchair. She was dressed in a Guantanamo-style orange prison uniform, and her frail head was wrapped in a white hijab that was pulled down to cover her bone-thin arms (the prison uniform is shortsleeved). Her lawyers quickly sat around her, and the hearing began.

The head prosecutor, assistant US attorney Christopher LaVigne, walked in with a group of three or four FBI agents, one of whom was a female who looked Pakistani (لعنة الله عليهم). The defense began by announcing that the bail hearing was to be postponed because of Aafia’s medical condition. Essentially, Aafia’s lawyers reasoned that there was no point of her being out on bail if she was near death. So, they demanded that she be allowed a doctor’s visit before anything else. LaVigne got up and objected, saying that Aafia was a risk to the security of the United States. The judge didn’t seem to buy that, and the prosecutor continued arguing that “this is a woman who attempted to blast her way out of captivity.” As soon as this was said, I looked over and noticed Aafia shaking her head in desperation and sadness, as if she felt that the whole world was against her. By the way, Aafia was so small and weak that I could barely see her from behind the wheelchair. All I could see was her head slumped over to the left and wrapped in the hijab, and her right arm sticking out.

I got a better understanding of why she was so sad and desperate when her lawyer began listing details of her condition:

* She now has brain damage from her time in US custody
* One of her kidneys was removed while in US custody
* She is unable to digest her food since part of her intestines was removed during surgery while in US custody
* She has layers and layers of sewed up skin from the surgery for the gunshot wound
* She has a large surgical scar from her chest area all the way down to her torso

With all of this, she had not been visited by a single doctor the entire time of her incarceration in the US despite being in constant incredible abdominal pain following her sloppy surgery in Afghanistan – pain for which she was being given nothing more than Ibuprofen! Ibuprofen is purchased over the counter to treat headaches!

With all of this, the prosecutor had the audacity and shamelessness to try to prevent her from being seen by a doctor due to her being a “security risk.” When he was pressed by the judge as to why Aafia was sitting all this time in a NYC prison without basic medical care, the government attorney stuttered, said that it was “a complicated situation,” and capped it with the expected cheap shot that “it was her decision as she refused to by seen by a male doctor.” As soon as the prosecutor said that last bit, I saw Aafia’s thin arm shoot up and shake back and forth to the judge (as if to say ‘No! He’s lying!’). I felt so sorry for her, as she was obviously quite frustrated at the lies being spilled out before her very eyes. Her lawyer then put her hand on her arm and began stroking it to comfort her and calm her down.

When the hearing was over, one scholarly statement stuck in my mind, and it is where Ibn al-Qayyim said that a person rises in his closeness to Allah until: “…there remains only one obstacle from which the enemy calls him from, and this is an obstacle that he must face. If anyone were to be saved from this obstacle, it would have been the Messengers and Prophets of Allah, and the noblest of His Creation. This is the obstacle of Satan unleashing his troops upon the believer with various types of harm: by way of the hand, the tongue, and the heart. This occurs in accordance with the degree of goodness that exists within the believer. So, the higher he is in degree, the more the enemy unleashes his troops and helps them against him, and overwhelms him with his followers and allies in various ways. There is no way around this obstacle, because the firmer he is in calling to Allah and fulfilling His commands, the more the enemy becomes intent upon deceiving him with foolish people. So, he has essentially put on his body armor in this obstacle, and has taken it upon himself to confront the enemy for Allah’s Sake and in His Name, and his worship in doing so is the worship of the best of worshippers.”

And this was absolutely clear that day when looking at the scene in the court. Despite Aafia’s apparent physical weakness and frailty, there was a certain ‘izzah (honor) and strength that I felt emanating from her the entire time. Everything from the way she forcefully shook her hand at the judge when the prosecutor would lie, to how she was keen to wear her hijab on top of her prison garments despite horrible circumstances that would make hijab the last thing on most people’s minds, to the number of FBI agents, US Marshals, reporters, officials, etc. who were all stuffed in this small room to observe this frail, weak, short, quiet, female “security risk” – everything pointed to the conclusion that the only thing all of these people were afraid of was the strength of this sister’s iman.

This is the situation of our dear sister, a Muslim woman in captivity…

What can I say…?

I will not close by mentioning the obligation of helping to free Muslim prisoners. I will not mention how al-Mu’tasim razed an entire city to the ground to rescue a single Muslim woman. I will not go back to the days of Salah ad-Din or ‘Umar bin ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, who rescued Muslim prisoners in the tens of thousands. I cannot be greedy enough to mention these things at this point because what is even sadder than what is happening to Aafia Siddiqui is how few the Muslims were who even bothered to show up to her hearing in a city of around half a million Muslims (not counting the surrounding areas), and that not a single Muslim organization in the United States has taken up the sister’s cause or even spoken a word in her defense, and as Ibn al-Qayyim said: “If ghayrah (protective jealousy) leaves a person’s heart, his faith will follow it.”

Unfortunately, in a time where most of us are following Din al-A’rab, it seems that the best person to teach us a lesson in how to help Aafia Siddiqui would have been Aafia herself.

و الله المستعان

The original article was published at Courtesy of al-istiqamah.com


Dr Aafia Siddiqui: the abuse continues – Alex Harrison

December 1, 2009

Author: Alex Harrison

Article was published in Australian News paper Greenleft Online on 28th Nov 2009.

In 2003, Siddiqui and her children disappeared after being taken from their home in Pakistan as part of the US-led “war on terror”. The whereabouts of her children remain unknown.

In August 2008, US officials claimed she had been in their custody only since July 2008, even though she had disappeared five years earlier.

Siddiqui’s lawyer, Elaine Whitfield Sharp, said Siddiqui was held in the US-run Bagram prison camp in Afghanistan for “a long time”, where she encountered terrible torture and abuse, according to advocacy organisation Cageprisoners. US officials have strenuously denied that Siddiqui was ever held in Bagram.

However, former Bagram detainees Moazzam Begg and Binyam Mohammed have said they saw her while detained there.

Siddiqui, who was extradited to the US from Afghanistan, faces serious terrorism-related charges.

US officials claim she was arrested with explosive manuals and “dangerous substances sealed in jars”, and intended to bomb the compound of the governor of the Afghan province of Ghazni. However, Cageprisoners has described the inconsistencies in the US’s allegations as “strange at best”.

Siddiqui’s lawyer has raised concerns about her many health problems, including slight brain damage, a lost kidney and injured intestines.

Despite this, she must endure humiliating strip and cavity searches before appearing in court or receiving visitors other than her lawyers.

Surely, this woman has endured enough through her years of illegal detention and torture, as well as the unexplained whereabouts of her children.

[Cageprisoners’s report exploring the detention and treatment of Siddiqui, “Aafia Siddiqui: A case of lies and inconsistencies”, can be downloaded from .]


Message on Eid Al-Adha from Aafia’s Family

November 29, 2009

Thursday, 26 November 2009 08:31

Source: www.freeaafia.org

On this occasion of Eid Al-Adha, marking the competition of the rites and rituals of the Hajj pilgrimage, we would like to wish all people and especially our supporters a blessed and happy time. This is an enlightening holiday, Hajj teaches us of the meanings of simplicity, endurance, sacrifice, and humility – among the great tests that God puts us all through.  As we reflect on the trials of the prophet Abraham, his son Ismail and Ismail’s mother, Hagar, so too we should be mindful of the tribulations of people throughout the world today who are also suffering with a sense of abandonment, despair and uncertainty.

It was a supreme test of faith for Abraham when his own God asked him to abandon a mother and child in the middle of a barren desert with nothing but faith that they will be looked after. And so they were.  And again, God asked for a sacrifice of a son from Abraham. Certainly a good reason to doubt a loving God, but Abraham did not waver.  And so, God, at the last moment made it clear He had no need of human sacrifice. As recognition of that faith, Abraham and his offspring became the forbearers of the largest monotheistic tradition in the world.  But such lofty honor came only after tests of great magnitude.

So, on this occasion, as we celebrate the Blessings that God showered on humanity through Abraham, we also look at our own situation and extract lessons from Abraham’s trials and hope that we are in some small way worthy of being relieved from the hardships and sorrow we face.  We think of our sister Aafia, who was snatched away by strangers almost seven years ago, abandoned even by her family … left for dead.  Yet she turned out to be alive. And even though she is now trapped in a system that assures us that she will spend the rest of her life in a living coffin, the truth is that her destiny is in God’s hands.  It has always been.  We, her own family, could do nothing for her as she lost her children, endured dark captivity and took bullets that should have killed her. But against all odds, she survived and now has a whole nation seeking her freedom. God took a “nobody” and transformed her into the symbolic daughter of a nation of 180 million people.

Yet, with all this, we remain weak and full of anxiety because we are not in Abraham’s league.  We are far from it. While Abraham had the faith of absolute conviction, often we are barely able to summon our faith as a last resort. But we have found a little thread of conviction that allows us to hope that, with God’s mercy, Aafia may soon be freed. We even dare to be greedy and pray that her two missing children will also be recovered and reunited as a family.

We also think of the tens of thousands, if not more of other disappeared people around the world who are nameless and faceless but whose trials are no less severe and whose silent suffering is no less painful.  As a public symbol for their hidden suffering, Aafia is now bear the burden of representation that she did not seek and we feel unworthy of carrying.

So, at this time of celebration of God’s mercy, we ask our friends and supporters to take the time to hold on to your loved ones and make sure they know how much they mean to you. Eid is a joyous occasion and Aafia would want joy for you as we, her family, do. And so on this Holy day, please remember Aafia and her children in your prayers and ask for God to relieve the pain of all who are suffering in captivity and abandonment. And for those of us living in freedom, may we gain the strength to go beyond professing faith to actually exercising it.

 


How America Makes its Enemies Disappear

November 23, 2009

By Petra Bartosiewicz, Harpers

November 1, 2009

When I first read the U.S. government’s complaint against Aafia Siddiqui, who is awaiting trial in a Brooklyn detention center on charges of attempting to murder a group of U.S. Army officers and FBI agents in Afghanistan, the case it described was so impossibly convoluted—and yet so absurdly incriminating—that I simply assumed she was innocent. According to the complaint, on the evening of July 17, 2008, several local policemen discovered Siddiqui and a young boy loitering about a public square in Ghazni. She was carrying instructions for creating “weapons involving biological material,” descriptions of U.S. “military assets,” and numerous unnamed “chemical substances in gel and liquid form that were sealed in bottles and glass jars.” Siddiqui, an MIT-trained neuroscientist who lived in the United States for eleven years, had vanished from her hometown in Pakistan in 2003, along with all three of her children, two of whom were U.S. citizens. The complaint does not address where she was those five years or why she suddenly decided to emerge into a public square outside Pakistan and far from the United States , nor does it address why she would do so in the company of her American son. Various reports had her married to a high-level Al Qaeda operative, running diamonds out of Liberia for Osama bin Laden, and abetting the entry of terrorists into the United States . But those reports were countered by rumors that Siddiqui actually had spent the previous five years in the maw of the U.S. intelligence system—that she was a ghost prisoner, kidnapped by Pakistani spies, held in secret detention at a U.S. military prison, interrogated until she could provide no further intelligence, then spat back into the world in the manner most likely to render her story implausible. These dueling narratives of terrorist intrigue and imperial overreach were only further confounded when Siddiqui finally appeared before a judge in a Manhattan courtroom on August 5. Now, two weeks after her capture, she was bandaged and doubled over in a wheelchair, barely able to speak, because—somehow—she had been shot in the stomach by one of the very soldiers she stands accused of attempting to murder.

It is clear that the CIA and the FBI believed Aafia Siddiqui to be a potential source of intelligence and, as such, a prized commodity in the global war on terror. Every other aspect of the Siddiqui case, though, is shrouded in rumor and denial, with the result that we do not know, and may never know, whether her detention has made the United States any safer. Even the particulars of the arrest itself, which took place before a crowd of witnesses near Ghazni’s main mosque, are in dispute. According to the complaint, Siddiqui was detained not because she was wanted by the FBI but simply because she was loitering in a “suspicious” manner; she did not speak the local language and she was not escorted by an adult male. What drove her to risk such conspicuous behavior has not been revealed. When I later hired a local reporter in Afghanistan to re-interview several witnesses, the arresting officer, Abdul Ghani, said Siddiqui had been carrying “a box with some sort of chemicals,” but a shopkeeper named Farhad said the police had found only “a lot of papers.” Hekmat Ullah, who happened to be passing by at the time of her arrest, said Siddiqui “was attacking everyone who got close to her”—a detail that is not mentioned in the complaint. A man named Mirwais, who had come to the mosque that day to pray, said he saw police handcuff Siddiqui, but Massoud Nabizada, the owner of a local pharmacy, said the police had no handcuffs, “so they used her scarf to tie her hands.” What everyone appears to agree on is this: an unknown person called the police to warn that a possible suicide bomber was loitering outside a mosque; the police arrested Siddiqui and her son; and, Afghan sovereignty notwithstanding, they then dispatched the suspicious materials, whatever they were, to the nearest U.S. military base.

The events of the following day are also subject to dispute. According to the complaint, a U.S. Army captain and a warrant officer, two FBI agents, and two military interpreters came to question Siddiqui at Ghazni’s police headquarters. The team was shown to a meeting room that was partitioned by a yellow curtain. “None of the United States personnel were aware,” the complaint states, “that Siddiqui was being held, unsecured, behind the curtain.” No explanation is offered as to why no one thought to look behind it. The group sat down to talk and, in another odd lapse of vigilance, “the Warrant Officer placed his United States Army M-4 rifle on the floor to his right next to the curtain, near his right foot.” Siddiqui, like a villain in a stage play, reached from behind the curtain and pulled the three-foot rifle to her side. She unlatched the safety. She pulled the curtain “slightly back” and pointed the gun directly at the head of the captain. One of the interpreters saw her. He lunged for the gun. Siddiqui shouted, “Get the fuck out of here!” and fired twice. She hit no one. As the interpreter wrestled her to the ground, the warrant officer drew his sidearm and fired “approximately two rounds” into Siddiqui’s abdomen. She collapsed, still struggling, then fell unconscious.

The authorities in Afghanistan describe a different series of events. The governor of Ghazni Province , Usman Usmani, told my local reporter that the U.S. team had “demanded to take over custody” of Siddiqui. The governor refused. He could not release Siddiqui, he explained, until officials from the counterterrorism department in Kabul arrived to investigate. He proposed a compromise: the U.S. team could interview Siddiqui, but she would remain at the station. In a Reuters interview, however, a “senior Ghazni police officer” suggested that the compromise did not hold. The U.S. team arrived at the police station, he said, and demanded custody of Siddiqui, the Afghan officers refused, and the U.S. team proceeded to disarm them. Then, for reasons unexplained, Siddiqui herself somehow entered the scene. The U.S. team, “thinking that she had explosives and would attack them as a suicide bomber, shot her and took her.”

Siddiqui’s own version of the shooting is less complicated. As she explained it to a delegation of Pakistani senators who came to Texas to visit her in prison a few months after her arrest, she never touched anyone’s gun, nor did she shout at anyone or make any threats. She simply stood up to see who was on the other side of the curtain and startled the soldiers. One of them shouted, “She is loose,” and then someone shot her. When she regained consciousness she heard someone else say, “We could lose our jobs.”

Siddiqui’s trial is scheduled for this November. The charges against her stem solely from the shooting incident itself, not from any alleged act of terrorism. The prosecutors provide no explanation for how a scientist, mother, and wife came to be charged as a dangerous felon. Nor do they account for her missing years, or her two other children, who still are missing. What is known is that the United States wanted her in 2003, and it wanted her again in 2008, and now no one can explain why.

Petra Bartosiewicz is a writer living in Brooklyn . Her last story for Harper’s Magazine, “I.O.U. One Terrorist,” appeared in the August 2005 issue

 


Yvonne Ridley’s Diary on her Justice for Aafia U.S. Tour (Final Day)

November 7, 2009

Final day

I have never met Dr Aafia Siddiqui but I feel as though I know more about her now having embarked on a six-state tour of the USA to promote awareness about the injustices of her case.

Last night marked the final event and for me it was probably the most significant because of the people who turned out in their hundreds.

I learned so much more about the personal side of Aafia last night than I have since I began investigating her kidnap and disappearance from her home city of Karachi way back in March 2003.

You see many of those who turned up for the final leg of my tour with the Muslim Legal Fund of America simply wanted to show their support and solidarity for the mother-of-three because they know Aafia so well.

She moved into their community in Texas in 1990 to be near her brother, and after spending a year at the University of Houston, transferred to MIT in Boston.

But throughout her time in the USA she was a frequent visitor to her brother’s family home where she was hugely respected and admired by the neighbours.

One took to the stage of the Taj Hall near Savoy Drive, Houston last night to share his memories of Aafia Siddiqui and the rest of her family he had gleaned over 25 years.

He said it was as likely that she was a member of al-Qaida as his own mother who, he added with a smile, was a good Roman Catholic lady.

He examined in forensic detail all the media speculation, planted stories and rumours killing each one off with his own personal facts and observations giving us an insight into the woman many of you only know as the Grey Lady of Bagram, Prisoner 650.

We also learned about Aafia’s favourite uncle in Islamabad – a man with a gift for spinning the most mundane stories into extravagant, amusing vignettes. According to the uncle, Aafia visited him during a period when she had disappeared and he told gullible journalists how she had appeared to him wearing a full face veil. At one stage she let her veil slip to reveal a new look as a result of extensive cosmetic surgery performed to change her facial appearance.

Enjoying the attention from the media, he embellished his story in details as each journalist arrived at his home.

Of course this does not explain how Aafia looks today. Did she really go to the bother of cosmetic surgery only to have the surgeons undo and reverse all of their work?

No one doubts the uncle did have a female visitor to his home posing as Aafia but it is quite clear to all now that she was working for the intelligence agencies to try and muddy the water over Aafia’s whereabouts when she was in the hands of the US.

In fact a lot of people have gone to a great deal of trouble to cover up her disappearance and I believe this is for many different reasons … not least of all two of her three children are US citizens who have rights under US law and it appears those rights have indeed been violated by – US lawmakers of all people.

The time has come for transparency and the clock is now ticking against all of those involved in the kidnapping, rendition and shooting of Aafia.

An entire community in Houston knows the case against her is a tissue of lies. The majority of Pakistani people have also seen through the deceit and now the Muslim world is beginning to peer closely into the case with growing shock and disbelief.

Only the US Ambassador in Islamabad Anne W. Patterson – a relic of the Bush Administration – is in complete denial about Aafia’s case … time to give it up Anne you are beginning to look increasingly ridiculous by claiming she was never held in Bagram. We have the evidence. You’ve already had to retract statements about women in Bagram and your credibility really is on the line.

When the US Embassy in Islamabad sent a series of letters to the local Pakistan newspapers to try and refute my story about Prisoner 650, the Grey Lady of Bagram I knew there was a sense of panic. The steps taken by the US Ambassador and her staff was without precedent.

But the folk I feel more pity for are the lawyers on the prosecution team who have to peddle the lies and misinformation given to them by the FBI. They’ve already asked for two trial adjournments – well you can’t fire a gun when you’ve no ammunition, can you?

Or, as my great Uncle Vern from Minnesota once observed: “You can’t soar with eagles when you work with turkeys.”

And this trial is not a secret military tribunal in Guantanamo hidden away from the world’s media. Aafia’s case will receive global attention when it opens next January and while the New York judge appears to be doing his best to be fair and even handed, the prosecution is flailing around with a pig in a poke. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much lipstick the FBI uses on this pig it will still be a pig when the trial opens.

And it doesn’t matter how many threats or intimidation are used in an attempt to stop me or others like me from revealing the truth, we will continue to demand justice and continue to fight for justice for as long as it takes.

The US authorities can end this charade now by showing compassion and returning Aafia to her family immediately.

Surely the time has come for damage limitation – retrieving just a little dignity has to be better than continuing with deceit and acts of desperation.

Also see:

Yvonne Ridley’s Diary on her Justice for Aafia U.S. Tour

Day 1 Brooklyn Ny Day 2 Coney Island Day 3 Leaving Ny

Day 4 Albama Day 5 Georgia Day 6 Milwaukee Day 7 Dallas

Final Day

 

Yvonne Ridely Speaks at “Beyond Guantanamo”

Ex-gitmo detainee reveals identity of prisoner 650 as Dr. Siddiqui

The intriguing case of Dr Aafiya Siddiqui

Video : Yvonne ridley -The plight of Dr Aafia Siddiqui

 


Yvonne Ridley’s Diary on her Justice for Aafia U.S. Tour (Dallas)

November 7, 2009

Yvonne RidleyDay 7 – Dallas

IT’S FRIDAY, so it must be Dallas! No need to adjust your television sets, I’m not talking about the hit TV soap based on the oil-rich Ewing family.

I am, in fact, referring to my port of entry in to the State of Texas … the so-called buckle of the Bible Belt and home to nearly 25 million people.

Our small group of civil rights activists – Muslim Legal Fund of America President Khalil Meek, Cageprisoners Saghir Hussein and myself – arrived to a packed reception organised by supporters of the MLFA.

Many there represented the elite of the Dallas Muslim community and probably one of the best informed groups when it comes to the plight of Dr Aafia Siddiqui.

A large number of those present still have close ties to Pakistan and while Dr Aafia was not far from their thoughts, the focus of the night soon moved to the state of the troubled tribal areas, Swat and Waziristan.

“Who is the Pakistan Taliban?” was one of the most frequently asked questions. I had asked the same question earlier this month when I met Imran Khan, leader of Tehreek e-Insaf and so I responded with the answer he gave me during this interview for Press TV (http://www.presstv.ir/programs/detail.aspx?sectionid=3510531&id=108750#108750)

I told them how a drone attack in Waziristan in September 2004 had caused the deaths of scores of innocent people. The indiscriminate bombing provoked anger which was reflected in the 3000-strong turnout the following day for the funeral. Imran told me how another drone interrupted the mourning killing scores more.

And that was the moment the Pakistan Taliban was born. Those present at the Dallas event listened in silence while a few nodded knowingly and others shook their heads in despair and disbelief.

Pakistan is a country I love dearly and so I share their concerns for its future while sharing their anger at its constant demonisation in the media.

Of course the demonisation is deliberate and calculated because you can’t bomb nice people, can you? Just as in the same way you can’t convict or prosecute innocent people.

And so we can draw parallels here with Dr Aafia’s case because anytime soon there is going to be a concerted effort by US intelligence services to try and demonise the Karachi-born mother-of-three whose only crime is her Faith.

They will do this by trying to plant nonsense stories about her in the media, but I hope that journalists – especially from America – will not be hoodwinked as easily as they were during the grim period which led up to the Abu Ghraib scandal.

With the exception of the Baltimore Sun, most US newspapers tried to ignore the scandal when it finally broke and then had to play the embarrassing game of catch up with the rest of the world’s media when the then US President, George W Bush, was forced to make a public statement.

Talking of Dubya, I’m sure it has not been lost on any of you that I currently writing this blog from his backyard – well I know Texas is a vast state and Crawford, where his ranch is situated is several hours drive from my location in Dallas so perhaps that was a bit of an exaggeration.

But I thought I’d share some news with you which may raise a smile if not a snigger.

As we drove from the Dallas-Fort Worth airport I noticed one of the highways was called President George Bush and wondered out loud what his son’s legacy would be. The answer came back very quickly – a library, yes a library in the name of the president with the lowest IQ ever to sit in the White House!

The George W. Bush Presidential Library will be the nation’s 13th presidential library, and will eventually be located on the campus of the Southern Methodist University here in Dallas.

Some quick research revealed that Dubya’s reading house will hold millions of pages of official records documenting his two-term administration (2001-2009) as the 43rd US President. In addition to these textual records, I have discovered the library will also boast millions of electronic records as well as an extensive audiovisual collection containing photographs and videotapes.

I wonder if these will include the infamous torture archives the new US President Barack Obama doesn’t want us to see … pictures of prisoner abuse, interrogation, torture including those carried out against Aafia in Bagram, Afghanistan?

Now there’s a thought – may be we will get some transparency from those dark years of the Bush War on Terror after all.

* Tomorrow Yvonne will be writing her blog from Houston as she nears the end of her six State tour of the US.

Also see:

Yvonne Ridley’s Diary on her Justice for Aafia U.S. Tour

Day 1 Brooklyn Ny Day 2 Coney Island Day 3 Leaving Ny

Day 4 Albama Day 5 Georgia Day 6 Milwaukee Final Day

 

Yvonne Ridely Speaks at “Beyond Guantanamo”

Ex-gitmo detainee reveals identity of prisoner 650 as Dr. Siddiqui

The intriguing case of Dr Aafiya Siddiqui

Video : Yvonne ridley -The plight of Dr Aafia Siddiqui