August 7, 2008: Cageprisoners has received new information that Aafia Siddiqui was held for years in Bagram Airbase. According to her lawyer, Elaine Whitfield Sharp;
“We do know she was at Bagram for a long time. It was a long time. According to my client she was there for years and she was held in American custody; her treatment was horrendous.”
Siddiqui’s claim is contrary to the heavily contested position of the US administration that she was detained in July by Afghan forces while attempting to bomb the compound of the governor of Ghazni. The US has previously denied the presence of female detainees in Bagram and that Aafia was ever held there, bar for medical treatment in July 2008.
Sharp also commented about Siddiqui’s current condition and in particular the gunshot wound she has received. Not having been given proper medical treatment for the wound, there is a real concern that it will become infected as it is believed to be septic. She is extremely weak and had to be wheeled into her legal visit.
Legal visits have also become a problem for Sharp and her client. They were only allowed to meet with Siddiqui in a cell behind glass with bars and their only method of communication was through the slot in the door used for food. Sharp was forced to bend over for the several hours of their meeting in order to listen and speak through the food slot. This resulted in extreme difficult for lawyer and client as they attempted to speak to one another. Sharp further commented:
“In that open situation, we were forced to keep our voices low as we were aware that we were video and tape recorded. The whole situation made it impossible for me to meet properly with my client.” Of great concern to Cageprisoners is the detention of Ahmed, the twelve-year-old son of Siddiqui who is still being detained in Afghanistan, alone and away from his mother, despite his status as a US citizen. It is imperative that the US place him in the custody of his relatives.
By Yvonne Ridley
The FBI lost much of its credibility when its chief J. Edgar Hoover was revealed to be a transvestite who preferred to be called Mary.
Hoover, probably the most powerful men in America some say even more powerful then the presidents he served under, was the originator of dirty tricks campaign and kept a lot of dirt on other people in his files.
The only players who were immune to Hoover’s secret files were those who had secrets of their own about his personal life - namely, the Mafia. Mafia bosses obtained information about Hoover’s sex life and used it for decades to keep the FBI at bay. Without this, the Mafia as we know it might never have gained its hold in America.
In May of 1972, Hoover - approaching his fifty-five-year anniversary with the Justice Department - boasted that the FBI remained the organization that he built upon his own principles and standards - of course now we know exactly what standards Hoover aka Mary had.
The FBI never really recovered its power or prestige once Hoover was ousted as a cross dresser.
There was more scandal to follow when Acting Director L. Patrick Gray was forced to resign after being caught up in the Watergate drama which brought down President Richard Nixon aka Tricky Dicky.
The FBI is supposed to be an institute based around freedom and democracy; instead it has become a factory from which lies and deceit are manufactured.
The reason for this brief history lesson into the FBI will now become apparent.
You see it is quite obvious that from cross dressers, liars and fraudsters, the FBI has now moved into the realms of fantasy land with the news that Dr. Aafia Siddique has “conveniently” been found outside a governor’s office in Afghanistan with her 12 year old son … FIVE years after her disappearance in Karachi.
According to the FBI she was in possession of “numerous documents describing the creation of explosives, as well as excerpts from the Anarchist’s Arsenal, descriptions of various landmarks in the United States, including in New York City” - you know, all the regular stuff a female terrorist would carry in her handbag!
The fantasists who concocted this story may as well have put Dr. Siddique in Hoover’s old red dress while they were on with it.
What we do know is that she has been shot at and injured. She was extradited to New York last night (Monday) and is being held in a prison in Manhatten down the road from the nightclub where Hoover used to pose as Mary.
She faces charges of attempted murder and assault of a US officer.
Does the FBI really think we are all that stupid and gullible?
Dr. Aafia Siddiqui - who had been sought by the FBI for several years regarding terrorism according to their website - is accused of shooting at two FBI special agents, a US Army warrant officer, an Army captain and military interpreters who unknowingly entered a room where she was being held unsecured.
She fired two shots, but hit no one, officials said. The warrant officer returned fire with a pistol, shooting Siddiqui at least once. She struggled with the officers before she lost consciousness, said officials, adding that she received medical attention.
The day before the shootings, Afghan police had arrested Siddiqui outside the Ghazni governor’s compound after finding bomb-making instructions, excerpts from the “Anarchist’s Arsenal,” papers with descriptions of US landmarks and substances sealed 20 in bottles and glass jars.
This all happened two weeks after I had given a press conference in Islamabad calling on the US to handover Prisoner 650 - The Grey lady of Bagram.
Coincidence? May be - but if the FBI think that we are going to buy the bovine scatterings they have just released to the US media they really do live in La La Land.
Let’s look at the cold hard fact of the case.
Dr Siddiqui, 36, is an American-educated neuroscientist. Since 2003, Siddiqui’s whereabouts have been the source of much speculation. According to Amnesty International, Siddiqui and her three small children were reported apprehended in Karachi, Pakistan, in March 2003 after the FBI issued at alert requesting information about her location earlier that month.
Several reports indicated Siddiqui was in US custody after her arrest in Karachi. But in May 2004 then-Attorney General Ashcroft and FBI Director Robert Mueller identified Siddiqui among several sought-after al Qaeda members.
Human rights group and a lawyer for Ms. Siddiqui, Elaine Whitfield Sharp, say they believe that she has been secretly detained since 2003, for much of that time at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.
“We believe Aafia has been in custody ever since she disappeared,” Ms. Sharp said in a telephone interview yesterday, “and we’re not willing to believe that the discovery of Aafia in Afghanistan is coincidence.”
American military and intelligence officials said that Ms. Siddiqui was in Pakistan for most of the past five years until she resurfaced last month and was captured by the Afghans.
She and her 12-year-old son were arrested in Ghazni, Afghanistan, on July 17. The American officials accused Ms Siddiqui trying to bomb the residence of Ghazni’s provincial governor.
Someone who also does not buy this nonsense is Asim Qureshi, Senior Researcher for the British-based international human rights organization Cage prisoners has issued the following statement, “There are many questions that the FBI and the Pakistani government need to answer in light of this admission. Why have the FBI continued to pretend to be seeking her while all the while knowing of her detention in Afghanistan? Is Aafia indeed Prisoner 650 whose screams were heard by former Bagram prisoners?
“Aafia Siddiqui is a woman who has been plagued by a number of problems in her life, none of which have anything to do with involvement with al-Qaeda. During the years the US claim she was working as an operative for the organization she was in fact the victim of domestic violence at the hands of an abusive husband. Community members in Boston declare that she was incapable of any violence, let alone being involved with a terrorist group.
“Whilst we welcome this disclosure reform the FBI, it has only come after mounting international pressure, and five years of detention and abuse. Siddiqui’s case represents the problem of disappearances in Pakistan in the most tragic way. The acceptance by the FBI that Siddiqui has been in custody in Afghanistan raises important questions which must be answered by the Pakistani and US governments. Siddiqui must be returned to Pakistan in order to faces charges for any crime she may have committed or released along with her children.”
Cage prisoners have led 20th campaign for Aafia Siddiqui for the past three years. Since her disappearance in March 2003 in Karachi, along with her three young children, the FBI has continually denied reports of her detention and that she was in their custody.
I am proud to be a patron of Cage Prisoners. Less than two weeks before this fiasco emerged, I traveled to Pakistan with Cage prisoners Director, Saghir Hussain, to launch their report, Devoid of the Rule of the Law, at a press conference organized by Imran Khan.
The press conference sparked an international storm of outrage, when I asked my colleagues in the Pakistan media to put pressure on the US to identify Prisoner 650 and the release of Aafia Siddiqui.
I personally spoke with Lt. Col. Mark Wright at the US Pentagon who denied all knowledge of Prisoner 650 or Dr Aafia Siddique.
Now I do not believe for one minute Lt. Col. Wright was lying - in fact I did suggest to him that the people he was speaking to in Afghanistan (the FBI) might be lying to him. I did ask him to call me back when he had the facts.
Perhaps Lt. Col. Wright you might want to make that call now and tell me the truth about Dr. Siddique and Prisoner 650 … but whatever you do mate, do not get your facts from the FBI which stands for Fantasy Brigade International … and that’s just the polite version.
Yvonne Ridley is a patron of Cage Prisoners
A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission - August 07, 2008
The United States and its security organisations including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) issued a statement confirming that Dr. Afia Siddiqui is in their custody since her so-called arrest from Afghanistan on July 17, 2008. Dr. Afia was reported missing along with her three children since the past five years. From the day Dr. Afia went missing, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan was suspected of being responsible for her disappearance.
The admission of the US and its intelligence agency that Dr. Afia is in their custody and that Dr. Afia was arrested on July 17 outside the governor house in Ghizni province in Afghanistan at least serves the minimal purpose that the ISI and the US administration is behind the disappearance of Dr. Afia, a Pakistani citizen bound to be protected by Pakistani law.
However there is overwhelming evidence demonstrating that Dr. Afia and her children have been missing March 2003. The admission by the FBI about the arrest on July 17, 2008 appears to be a ploy to detract attention from this long-term disappearance and their responsibilities for it.
An Urgent Appeal issued by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) on July 24, 2008, called upon the authorities in the US, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other UN agencies to immediately intervene in the case. The Appeal and a follow-up statement issued by the AHRC demanded a probe into the disappearance of Dr. Afia and her children.
According to Dr. Afia's sister who gave a press conference in Karachi Dr. Afai's family has been threatened to remain silent and not to talk to media on this matter. It is widely presumed that the action of the Pakistan authorities has been done at the behest of the US authorities.
It is reported that when Dr. Afia disappeared in 2003 she had three children of which the youngest was an infant. However when Dr. Afia was produced in the court she had only one child in her possession. While the whereabouts of her other two children are not known, there are credible reports that of the two missing children one child had died in custody. The circumstances that led to the death of the child is not known and the authorities having custody of Dr. Afia and her children has thus far remained silent about it.
Dr. Afia's physical and mental state when she was produced in court on August 5 is suggestive of the treatment a detainee like Dr. Afia receives in custody. Dr. Afia was reportedly not in a position to speak or even able to verbally respond to the court. Such physical and mental state of a detainee is also an indicator of the condition in which a suspect is detained and interrogated by the authorities responsible for this case.
While Dr. Afia's involvement with anti-democratic forces is still being debated, what is apparent in Dr. Afia's case is the simple fact that there is no possibility within Pakistan to determine such an issue independently. The limited scope for such an enquiry and also the use of the existing justice mechanism in Pakistan is denied by foreign interference. An external interference to such extent is only possible in a state where the domestic legislative and legal frame work for justice dispensation has collapsed considerably.
In these circumstances the AHRC calls upon the international community including the UN to ensure the following:
1. Immediate enquiry must be held at the highest possible levels of the US military and the US Congress into Dr. Afia's case;
2. Dr. Afia must be provided immediate access to the lawyers of her choice;
3. Dr. Afia must be provided with immediate and adequate medical care;
4. That the whereabouts of her two missing children be revealed to the public;
5. Free access to be given to the media to interview Dr. Afia;
6. The human rights and civil society organizations in the US must form a special committee to investigate into Dr. Afia's case
7. Dr. Afia must also be released from custody on bail pending enquiry into her case
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.