My Response to: “Lady al Qaeda: The World’s Most Wanted Woman,” by Shane Harris
As someone who attended the trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and witnessed the so-called "evidence" first hand, let me point out a certain number of FACTS, which anyone can easily access by merely examining the court record which is now in the public domain.
1. The government's star witnesses contradicted themselves so much under oath that they should have been charged with perjury; but they weren’t because they were the government's witnesses.
2. The judge in the case, Richard Berman, was openly biased against Dr. Siddiqui from start to finish, and gave the prosecution virtually everything of consequence that it asked for.
3. Judge Berman ordered that the FIVE MISSING YEARS in this tragedy (2003 to 2008) were off limits during the trial. Those were the years when Aafia and her children were missing as a result of the rendition operation that was conducted against them in March 2003. The only way that any of the information about the kidnapping and five years of secret imprisonment came out was when Dr. Siddiqui took the stand and forced (under repeated objections from the prosecution) the court to hear it. She testified, among other things, of how when she was secretly imprisoned her captors would force her to copy documents in her own handwriting, under the threat that not to do so would endanger the lives of her children. These were the documents placed in the bag that she was given upon her brief release in Afghanistan (the classic setup).
4. I find it intriguing how the weapon that Aafia was supposed to have attempted to murder U.S. personnel with (described in court testimony as an M-4 Rifle) has moved from the FLOOR to a TABLE in the years since the trial. The truth of the matter is (as the Afghan Police Commander stated in a sworn affidavit that was entered into the record during the trial), "The prisoner never touched a weapon."
5. ALL OF THE HARD EVIDENCE WAS IN DR. SIDDIQUI'S FAVOR DURING THE TRIAL. The only bullet casings that were recovered from the floor of the crime scene after the fact were the bullet casing of the weapon used to shoot Dr. Siddiqui - fired from the weapon of an American soldier who panicked after abruptly, and unexpectedly, seeing the prisoner appear unrestrained from behind a curtain in the room. In this crowded room full of Afghan and American soldiers, FBI, and probably CIA, and the Afghan police commander she was the only one shot - because as the Afghan commander said, "The prisoner never fired a weapon" - only the American soldier did!
6. It is also important to note that while the jury allowed itself to be emotionally and psychologically bum-rushed into a finding of "guilt" despite the lack of evidence to support a guilty verdict, THE JURY NEVER FOUND THAT DR. SIDDIQUI FIRED A WEAPON! This was a determination that a biased jurist (Richard Berman) openly decided for himself - in a feeble attempt to justify a sentence of 86 YEARS for "attempted murder," when many murderers throughout America don't even receive a sentence like that!
7. Perhaps the most stark indication of the completely bogus nature of the government's case against Dr. Siddiqui, is the FACT that while she was accused of being a high-ranking female facilitator for al-Qaeda (an accusation ridiculous on its face) SHE WAS NEVER CHARGED WITH COMMITTING AN ACT OF TERRORISM; she wasn't even charged with "conspiracy to commit terrorism" - one of the easiest charges that an out of control government can bring against someone where hard evidence is absent. (We see it all the time with the preemptive prosecution cases involving young Muslim males in America, with the agency of government paid agent-provocateurs.)
And despite never being charged with even one terrorism-related count, we still find writers and "journalists" retailing the same old garbage. In this regard, I am reminded of the words of the French philosopher Voltaire: "Those who can make us believe absurdities, can also cause us to commit atrocities."
I could go on and on, but I'll stop here with a few final points. When Dr. Siddiqui was kidnapped with her children in March 2003, I believe it was based solely on devilish Dick Cheney's "One Percent Doctrine." Part of the same faulty reasoning (or deliberate con) that carried us into a full blown war with Iraq based on "weapons of mass destruction" that didn't exist. Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was targeted because she was a brilliant and actively committed Muslim woman, or she was "collateral damage" resulting from faulty intelligence.
If the latter, there has been a determined regime of cover-up ever since! She is like the innocent men and boys of Guantanamo, who were bought and sold like livestock - shamefully at the hands of some of their very own so-called Muslim brethren. As in the case of Gitmo, to admit mistakes were made, and that innocent lives were severely damaged or destroyed would undermine the whole raison d'ter for an unending, profit driven war!
At a time when the U.S. and Pakistan were still animatedly denying that Dr. Aafia Siddiqui (and her CHILDREN) had been targets of rendition at the hands of American and Pakistani agents (during the corrupt Musharraf government), the former foreign minister, Khurshid Kasuri, admitted they were, and expressed his profound regret for sharing some responsibility. That's an EXPLOSIVE ADMISSION that no sane person would make willy-nilly. His conscience was apparently weighing heavy on him. Let us pray that the conscience of those with the power to set this innocent woman free (after 11 years of living hell) will awaken and also compel them to do what is right.
Of the three children who were kidnapped along with a loving mother - their ages at the time of the 2003 rendition operation were 6, 4, and six months - the two oldest (American citizens by birth) were returned to the family home in 2008 and 2010 respectively. The youngest child, who was just six months old at the time, is still missing to this day and presumed dead! Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, now 85 and still active, has described Dr. Siddiqui's plight as "the worst case of individual injustice" that he has ever seen. In this writer's quarter century of human rights work in America it's the worst I've ever seen.
BUT DON'T TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT, OBJECTIVELY RESEARCH THE CASE YOURSELF!
Finally, the FACTS noted above are the reason why millions of people around the world (including “militants,” “jihadists,” and/or “terrorists” in Muslim populated countries) are calling for this prisoner’s release. As long as she remains imprisoned in America her unjust captivity will serve as a vivid reminder of America’s contradictions; it will also serve as a source of anger and antagonism toward an unjust and fundamentally un-American foreign policy ….the better of the “two Americas