Aafia Siddiqui: Victim of US Injustice
By Stephen Lendman
She's one of thousands of US political prisoners. She's well known. She committed no crimes. She's been brutalized in captivity. Mercy isn't in America's vocabulary. Rogue states operate that way.
Washington's by far the worst. It reportedly agreed to Pakistan's extradition terms. Both sides will swap prisoners.
Previous articles discussed her 2003 abduction, detention, torture, false charges, prosecution, and conviction. More on that below.
On July 20, the Pakistan Observer headlined "US agrees on Aafia's Siddiqui's extradition," saying:
"In a major breakthrough, the US has offered Pakistan to sign prisoner swap agreement for the extradition of Dr Aafia Siddiqi, after which the Pakistani scientist will be allowed to serve the remaining part of her imprisonment in homeland."
Pakistan foreign office spokesman Uman Hameed said terms include other prisoner swaps.
Washington offered Pakistan two deals. They include the European Convention on the Transfer of Sentenced Persons and Inter-American Convention on Serving Criminal Sentences Abroad.
On July 20, Justice for Aafia Coalition (JAC) headlined "The Family of Aafia Siddiqui and the Aafia Movement welcomes development on Aafia issue," saying:
"(I)t appears some steps are finally being taken towards" repatriating her. She's called "the daughter of our Nation."
Previous steps forward ended up two back. "We are hopeful" what's announced is genuine.
America can't be trusted. It's duplicitous. It's uncertain what's next. Promises made are broken. Aafia's been in limbo for years.
It remains to be seen what follows. Will she or won't she be extradited? Nothing's guaranteed. Not in deals with America. Promises made are broken. It's standard rogue state practice.
Both prisoner exchange conventions are similar. The Inter-American one is simpler. If both sides agree, Aafia can be returned in weeks.
The European one takes longer. It's more tedious. It could take months. Neither convention involves freedom. Terms require Aafia to complete her sentence at home.
According to Pakistan's 2002 transfer of offenders ordinance, its Interior Ministry must initiate efforts to do so. It must direct its foreign office to proceed.
According to JAC:
"What the Interior Minister's 'Free Aafia task force committee' has recommended is a list of 10 points, according to media reports."
"The committee has refused to share those with Aafia’s family or lawyer, which makes one wonder if this hype is a bit premature or a smokescreen to dampen the growing support for Aafia and cool the sentiments of people during Ramadan."
"Dr. Aafia’s sister, Dr. Fowzia, will go to Islamabad in the hope that the points are shared and a positive way forward can be achieved."
She "appreciates the committee's rapid action and the Interior Minister’s resolve in this matter."
"She thanks the (foreign) Media for its vigilance in this matter and hopes the media will clarify common myths and misunderstandings and continue to monitor practical follow through on the positive verbal statements."
Aafia's family won't believe announced efforts unless/or until they're achieved.
"Years of rhetoric and broken promises at the highest levels have confirmed that words in the absence of results are either outright lies to sooth sentiments or demonstrate incompetence of the worst kind."
"We, like all people of Pakistan, hope that this government will demonstrate results on all the challenges facing Pakistan. Aafia's repatriation is an easy early result that will validate their sincerity about all issues."
Post-9/11, Washington declared war on Islam. It rages out-of-control. It goes on at home and abroad. Many others are victims like Aafia. They're guilty of being Muslims in America at the wrong time.
Her ordeal's been one of the worst. Previous articles discussed it in detail. Charges against her were falsified. It's standard rogue state practice.
No evidence against her exists. It was fabricated to claim otherwise. She's been denied due process and judicial fairness. She was declared guilty by accusation.
Media scoundrels called her "Al Qaeda woman." Reports falsely claimed she had detailed radiological, chemical and biological information.
She planned a mass casualty attack, they said. Perhaps using a dirty bomb.
Potential targets, they claimed, included the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building, Wall Street, and the animal disease center on Plum Island.
FBI sources called her "very dangerous." She had a "treasure trove" of documents when captured, they claimed.
They lied. So did media scoundrels. They convicted her in the court of public opinion. They did so disgracefully. It wasn't the first time. It won't be the last.
Aafia's indictment excluded all the above charges. Doing so proved their fabrication.
On September 2, 2008, the Justice Department headlined "Aafia Siddiqui Indicted for Attempting to Kill United States Nationals in Afghanistan and Six Additional Charges."
No Brooklyn Bridge. No Statue of Liberty. No Empire State Building. No Wall Street. No Al Qaeda links. No dirty bomb. These lies exposed others that followed.
Charges falsely alleged "a team of United States servicemen and law enforcement officers, and others assisting them, attempted to interview Aafia Siddiqui in Ghazni, Afghanistan, where she had been detained by local police the day before."
"Unbeknownst to the United States interview team, unsecured, behind a curtain, Siddiqui obtained one of the United States Army officer's M-4 rifles and attempted to fire it, and did fire it, at another United States Army officer and other members of the United States interview teamâ¤|."
Charges were ludicrous on their face. You can't make this stuff up. It reads like a bad film plot.
Authorities said she assaulted an army interpreter, an army officer, and FBI agent. They claimed she did so while they tried to subdue her.
She endured years of brutalizing torture and abuse. She was frail and weak. She weighed 110 pounds at most. Perhaps less after what she'd been through.
Yet according to charges, she inexplicably managed to assault three US operatives, get one of their rifles, open fire at close range, hit no one, and end up severely wounded.
Elaine Whitfield Sharp represented Aafia.
"Picture this woman who is very tiny and frail, and ask yourself how she engaged in armed conflict with six (armed/well-trained) military men," she said.
"How did this happen? And how did she get shot? I think you can answer that, can't you?"
During proceedings, defense attorney Linda Moreno said no forensic evidence proved the rifle Siddiqui allegedly used was fired.
No bullets, shell casings, or bullet debris were recovered. No bullet holes were detected. None existed. Prosecutorial charges were fabricated.
It didn't matter. In September 2010, Aafia was wrongly sentenced. She got 86 years in prison. Doing so constituted gross injustice. It compounded years of horrific treatment.
It continued during post-conviction incarceration. She's imprisoned at Federal Medical Center (FMC) Carswell. It's in Fort Worth, TX. It's where Lynne Stewart's wrongfully held.
Obama wants her dead. She's suffering Stage Four cancer. It metasticized. She's dying. She needs proper treatment. In late June, she was denied compassionate release.
She's getting deplorable medical care. Prison authorities lied. They claim otherwise. Longterm Carswell imprisonment assures pain, suffering and death. Lynne's vulnerable. So is Aafia.
In late May, guards brutally assaulted her. They did so in her cell. She was left bleeding and unconscious. Attorney Tina Foster intervened on her behalf.
Two days elapsed before sub-standard medical care was provided. It was too little too late. Prison authorities don't care. They claimed an "internal investigation into the incident" was conducted.
Findings remain secret. Whitewash is standard policy. Gulag rules apply. Justice is a four-letter word. Returning Aafia to Pakistan is urgent.
Otherwise she'll die in America. Perhaps guards will kill her next time. Denied medical care for sure will. She's a war on terrorism victim.
She's guilty of being Muslim in America at the wrong time. Years of torture and abuse affected her greatly. It shortened her life.
She's an MIT graduate. She's a Brandeis University PhD. She's an honorable woman. She raised money for charities. She did volunteer work. She's deeply religious.
She did nothing out of the ordinary. She committed no crimes. She was a normal woman living a normal life. She's been treated unconscionably.
She endured it for 10 years. She's victimized by US brutality. Rogue states operate that way. Innocence is no defense. Aafia never had a chance. What's next remains to be seen.
Pakistan's no paradise. It's a US imperial partner. It doesn't give a damn about Aafia. It claims otherwise. Pretense doesn't wash.
If extradited, horrific treatment may continue. It won't surprise. In March 2003, she disappeared en route to Rawalpindi. She was traveling to visit family. Pakistani authorities abducted her. They did so for Washington.
They denied involvement. They claimed no knowledge of her whereabouts. They lied. They gave her to US authorities. They did so knowing what she'd face.
She became Bagram's ghost prisoner. She was Prisoner 650. Other inmates called her the Gray Lady of Bagram.
She was brutally tortured and abused. For years, they heard her screams. She was forced to admit things she didn't do. Her children's lives were threatened.
Her justice struggle continues. Thousands of others endure US gulag harshness. Their pain and suffering is ours.
We're all victims of gross US injustice. It's a crime too great to ignore. It's a cancer. It's malignant. It targets humanity. It's destroying it. It's doing so maliciously. It'll succeed if not stopped.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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