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WikiLeaks Reveals Diplomatic Cables on Aafia Siddiqui


By Stephen Lendman - Posted on 03 December 2010

WikiLeaks Reveals Diplomatic Cables on Aafia Siddiqui - by Stephen Lendman

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

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2008/12/abduction-secret-detention-torture...

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/09/aafia-siddiqui-sentenced-grievous....

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/09/reaction-to-aafia-siddiquis-senten...

On September 23 in federal court, she was sentenced to 86 years in prison, though committed no crime. It's a gross miscarriage of justice, compounding what's she's already endured, following her March 30, 2003 abduction, imprisonment, torture, prosecution, and conviction on spurious charges.

Through sentencing she was in New York City solitary confinement and may still be there, pending transfer to Federal Medical Center (FMC) Carswell in Fort Worth, TX, a hellhole described as a facility "provid(ing) specialized medical and mental health services to female prisoners." If she's there long-term, it'll be a death sentence, its harshness precipitating it sooner, not later.

On November 4, Yvonne Ridley called it "CarsHELL," citing its past 10 year record, including:

-- over 100 young women dying under "questionable circumstances with families unable to obtain autopsy reports;"

-- instances of sex abuse, including sodomy and rape committed by "prison chaplain Vincent Bassie" until he was charged and convicted in 2008;

-- a prison doctor convicted of sex abuse; another one never charged for the same crime;

-- a prison guard convicted of raping a detainee; an earlier article explained rampant sexual abuse and mistreatment of female prisoners by guards and prison officials, accessed through the following link:

http://sjlendman.blogspot.com/2010/11/torture-in-us-prisons.html

-- gross medical negligence, what's commonplace throughout America's gulag for men, women and children;

-- "forced psychotropic medication on reluctant detainees;" and

-- an "infestation of ants went unchecked even when one patient in a coma was covered by biting creatures as was the corpse of another."

Ridley quoted The Fort Worth Weekly saying Carswell imprisonment "can be a death sentence for women prisoners." Incarceration there will continue her torture, abuse and violation of international and US law, as well as Bureau of Prisons regulations that aren't enforced so, in fact, are worthless.

US Diplomatic Cables Revealed

In several December 1 reports, the London Guardian discussed them, including its article headlined, "US embassy cables: Bagram officials deny detaining Aafia Siddiqui."

US deception and lies about her date from initial accusations, regarding a bogus plot to bomb New York landmarks, charges omitted from her indictment.

Though abducted while visiting family in Pakistan on March 30, 2003, the FBI, on April 4, denied she was captured and detained. On May 28, 2004, Pakistan's Interior Ministry confirmed she was turned over to US authorities in 2003 after no links with alleged terror groups were confirmed.

Later reports named her Bagram's "Prisoner 650." At the same time, US authorities denied holding any women there. It wasn't until July 31, 2008 that FBI officials told Siddiqui's brother that she was in US custody. Her family knew it years earlier.

The released cables contained no bombshell information. One dated July 31, 2008 said:

"Bagram officials have assured us that they have not been holding Siddiqui for the last four years, as has been alleged."

An October 29, 2008 cable denied knowledge of Siddiqui's children, even though her son was in US custody and two others at the time were missing. Pakistan's Acting Foreign Secretary, Khalid Babar, raised the issue with then ambassador Anne Patterson, who "made it clear that US authorities do not know the whereabouts of the children, who have never been in US custody, and noted that the Pakistani Embassy has been given full consular access to Siddiqui," a claim very much stretching the truth.

A November 13, 2008 cable said Pakistan's Prime Minister Yousuf "Gilani asked the US to release to GOP custody Dr. Aafia Siddiqui....argu(ing) that the needs of her family and reports of her being ill provided humanitarian grounds for such a transfer. He also argued that her case whipped up mass popular support, diverting his government's attention from the counterterrorism mission."

A February 12, 2010 cable said "a group of moderate Muslim religious leaders expressed very strong feelings about the Siddiqui case and the guilty verdict. The religious leaders were unified in their belief that Siddiqui did not receive a fair trial and called for mercy on the grounds that she was a women. They claimed that the verdict detracted from President Obama's efforts to reach out to the Muslim community and that he should step in and release Siddiqui as a show of good faith towards world Muslims."

The US Embassy said "Siddiqui had received a fair trial," when, in fact, it was rigged to convict.

A February 19, 2010 cable discussed a February 16 Gilani/Senator John Kerry meeting at which he:

"asked USG to consider repatriating Dr. Aafia Siddiqui on humanitarian grounds. He said that this was a very contentious issue in Pakistan, adding that by returning Dr. Siddiqui 'the US would be in the Pakistani people's good graces.' Both Gilani and Interior Minister Reham Malik assured Kerry that the GOP would honor the terms of Dr. Siddiqui's jail sentence, and suggested that she complete (it) under house arrest (in Pakistan). Kerry agreed to look into the prisoner transfer issue."

Likely not too hard as over nine months later, action didn't follow. Siddiqui is either in New York City isolation or at FMC "CarsHELL," perhaps there to die. If so, at least she'll have the peace she's been denied for over seven and a half years of brutal imprisonment, isolation and torture.

On December 1, Guardian writer Declan Walsh headlined, "WikiLeaks cables: Mystery deepens over Pakistan scientist Aafia Siddiqui," saying:

Her family insists she's innocent, "and that she spent the 'missing' five years between 2003 and 2008 in US detention at the Bagram base," US denials notwithstanding.

They've "been treated with skepticism by the Pakistani media, which has given credence to the family's account and dismissed US statements as part of a cover-up."

America's major media reacted otherwise, pronouncing guilt by accusation, biasing public opinion, branding her and other FBI targets "terrorists," as well all or most Muslims by implication.

In several articles, New York Times writers played along, including Benjamin Weiser in his September 23 account, headlined, "Pakistani Sentenced to 86 Years for Attack," saying:

She was convicted for "assault(ing) a team of American officers and agents who went to question her after her arrest that led to her conviction....on charges that included attempting to kill American officers and employees. She had been taken into custody in Ghazni, Afghanistan, after the local authorities became suspicious of her loitering outside the provincial governor's compound."

In fact, Weiser lied from top of paragraph to bottom.

Targeted for her faith, ethnicity, activism, passion for the oppressed, humble charity, and alleged connection to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed through marriage, she was home in Karachi visiting family. On March 30, 2003, en route to a flight to Rawalpindi, she was abducted by Pakistan's police or ISI at the behest of US officials, then turned over to them as requested.

Preposterous charges later accused her of the following:

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 point blank range, hit no one, yet she alone was severely wounded.

At trial, no credible evidence was presented. The accusations were concocted and spurious. None accused her of plotting to blow up New York or any other landmarks or facilities. Yet proceedings were carefully orchestrated. Witnesses were enlisted, pressured, coerced, and/or bribed to cooperate. Jurors were then intimidated to convict "based on fear, not fact," according to her attorney Elaine Whitfield Sharp.

Yet Weiser accepted the official account unskeptically, highlighting FBI director Robert Mueller calling her "an Al Qaeda operative and facilitator," carrying bomb-making instructions and a list of targets when arrested in 2008.

It was March 2003, five years earlier, unmentioned in Weiser's article, mostly presenting official distortions and lies, a New York Times speciality. This time he disparaged an innocent woman, condemned perhaps to perish in prison hell for being Muslim at the wrong time in America.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com 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.

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour/.

"God damn America", the U.S.! I think he was speaking [after] the fact though. It takes a damned country to act as the U.S. does and has been doing for a long time.

Pakistan should have never accepted to hand Aafia Siddiqui over to the U.S. or anyone else, but it's not like the U.S. would leave any real choice about this. Nevertheless, the Pakistani government should not have handed her over to the U.S.

A February 19, 2010 cable discussed a February 16 Gilani/Senator John Kerry meeting at which he:

"asked USG to consider repatriating Dr. Aafia Siddiqui on humanitarian grounds. He said that this was a very contentious issue in Pakistan, adding that by returning Dr. Siddiqui 'the US would be in the Pakistani people's good graces.' Both Gilani and Interior Minister Reham Malik assured Kerry that the GOP would honor the terms of Dr. Siddiqui's jail sentence, and suggested that she complete (it) under house arrest (in Pakistan). Kerry agreed to look into the prisoner transfer issue."

Likely not too hard as over nine months later, action didn't follow. Siddiqui is either in New York City isolation or at FMC "CarsHELL," perhaps there to die. If so, at least she'll have the peace she's been denied for over seven and a half years of brutal imprisonment, isolation and torture.

Kerry is part of the same dark "secret" organization as the Bushes, S&B, Skull & Bones, and like GW Bush, said that no details about S&B could be revealed. So this adds to other reasons for [not] trusting Kerry. He is not someone to trust, if what we want is honesty and truth, and President JF Kennedy condemned secret elite society crap in the U.S. and was inarguably right about this.

But I'm not sure to understand what's meant in the last of the above-excerpted paragraphs. She'll have "the peace she's been denied for over seven and a half years of brutal imprisonment, ...", through death, but that definitely is not the desirable course. She should be released and returned to her family. She and her family should also be compensated, but I don't know how this can [really] be done after what she's been put through. Money can't undo the past, experiences that someone has been subjected to as she has been, among others. Financial compensation and release need to be provided, and the financial compensation would surely help, materially, but there's no way that that can make up for what's been done to her. Release and return to family, no. 1; compensation, no. 2; and never repeat this sh*t ever f*cking again against anyone!

And "God damn the U.S.!".

"Wikileaks: Numerous Reasons to Dismiss US Claims that “Ghost Prisoner” Aafia Siddiqui Was Not Held in Bagram"

by Andy Worthington, Dec. 4, 2010

www.uruknet.info/?p=m72494

The article provides links.

In sifting through the avalanche of US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks, only the Guardian, in the Western media, has picked up on cables from Islamabad relating to the case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, the Pakistani neuroscientist who disappeared with her three young children in Karachi on March 30, 2003, and did not reappear until July 17, 2008, in Ghazni, Afghanistan, where she was reportedly arrested by Afghan forces for acting strangely, allegedly carrying a bag that contained a list of US targets for terrorist attacks as well as bomb-making instructions and assorted chemicals. When US soldiers turned up, Dr. Siddiqui then reportedly seized a gun and shot at them. Although she failed to hit her targets, at point-blank range, she was herself shot twice in the abdomen, and was then rendered to the United States, where she was put on trial for attempted murder, and was convicted and given an 86-year prison sentence in September this year.

Dr. Siddiqui’s supporters, and many commentators — myself included — who have examined her story have, for many years, had reason to doubt the official narrative about her capture in 2008, and her whereabouts for the previous five years.

While both the Pakistani and US authorities repeatedly denied that Dr. Siddiqui was in their custody between 2003 and 2008, and this is reiterated in one of the cables released by Wikileaks, in which US diplomats in Pakistan stated that "Bagram officials have assured us that they have not been holding Siddiqui for the last four years, as has been alleged," several former prisoners — and one still held — have stated that they saw her in Bagram. ...

(snip)

In March 2010, at a rally organized by the Justice for Aafia Coalition, former Guantánamo prisoner Omar Deghayes stated that, as well as Binyam Mohamed, Hassan bin Attash (a former child prisoner who is still held in Guantánamo) and Dr. Ghairat Baheer (a former "ghost prisoner" held in various secret prisons in Afghanistan) also described seeing Aafia Siddiqui in Bagram. Omar said, "They told me how she cried and sobbed, how she screamed and cried and banged her head, in despair and sorrow."

The Justice for Aafia Coalition has also been gathering other testimony about Dr. Siddiqui’s presence in Bagram from other sources, locating the following statement by Abu Yahya al-Libi, who escaped from Bagram in July 2005, which resonates with the recollections of Binyam Mohamed, Hassan bin Attash and Dr. Baheer:

(snip)

In addition, two of Aafia Siddiqui’s three children have stated that they were also held in custody during the period that their mother’s whereabouts are unexplained, adding another chilling dimension to the story. ...

(snip)

Mariam did not reappear until April this year, when unidentified men delivered her to her aunt’s house. Now 12 years old, she was identified as Aafia Siddiqui’s daughter (and Ahmed’s sister) through DNA tests. At a press conference, Senator Talha Mehmood, the Chairman of the Senate Committee for the Interior, reported that Mariam "was recovered from Bagram airbase in the custody of an American — in the Urdu language press, an American soldier — called 'John.’ He also said that she had been kept for seven years in a 'cold, dark room’ in Bagram airbase." Although this story has not been independently verified, and it may be that Mariam was held in some other facility, no other explanation has been provided to explain her whereabouts for the previous seven years.

These are just some of the reasons to doubt the assertion made by US diplomats in Pakistan, in one of the cables released by Wikileaks, and also to doubt the conviction with which Declan Walsh followed up on the cable, writing in the Guardian, "Contrary to claims by supporters of Aafia Siddiqui, the controversial Pakistani neuroscientist was never imprisoned at the Bagram military prison in Afghanistan, the embassy cables suggest."

Other reasons to doubt the assertion include previously reported shadiness on the part of diplomats, who initially told the journalist Yvonne Ridley (who has spent many years doggedly pursuing the truth about Dr. Siddiqui) that no women had been held in Bagram, although it was later revealed that they had lied. ...

Even more significant is the well-chronicled failure of senior Bush administration officials to keep State Department officials in the loop about almost anything of substance to do with the "War on Terror."

In 2009, when I interviewed Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former Chief of Staff, Wilkerson told me, in no uncertain terms, that the State Department had been excluded from correspondence relating to the conduct of the "War on Terror," although the team gathered around Dick Cheney — a "War Council" consisting of just six men — had been monitoring the State Department’s responses to the results of Cheney’s activities. ...

(snip)

If this sequence is correct — and it certainly makes a lot of sense — then it is appropriate to conclude that Dr. Siddiqui was held as a "ghost prisoner" in a secret prison, and it does not take too much reflection to realize that, as a result, her mysterious reappearance in Afghanistan in July 2008, the implausible story of her attempts to murder US soldiers (even though no fingerprints were found on the gun), her rendition to the United States rather than facing justice in Afghanistan, the sham of a trial that focused only on the murder attempt, and not on the terrorist materials allegedly found on her at the time of her capture, and the disproportionately large sentence are all part of a cover-up, designed to dispose of a used-up "ghost prisoner," who knew too much — and was, conceivably, too horribly abused — to be released.

(snip)

For Aafia Siddiqui, the Federal Medical Center in Carswell, Texas, where she is now held, may not be quite as notorious as Abu Salim prison in Tripoli — where around 1,200 prisoners were killed in a massacre in 1996 — or Bagram, because of its dark fame in the "War on Terror," but to those in the know, it is, as Yvonne Ridley explained, known as the "Hospital of Horrors," where more than 100 young women "have died in the last 10 years under 'questionable circumstances’ with families unable to obtain autopsy reports," and where there have been numerous cases of sex abuse.

Please write to Aafia at Carswell, not only to let her know that she has not been forgotten, but also because the most effective way to ensure that abusers think twice about their abuse is when they know that the outside world is watching — and is watching in large numbers. The address for the prison is here, and if you’re interested, I urge you to take advantage of the Justice for Aafia Coalition’s pre-printed cards, available here, which can easily be distributed to friends and family.

As published exclusively on the website of the Justice for Aafia Coalition.

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