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Capitol Hill Applauds Israel’s War Crimes: Money Buys the Darndest Things

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“Cowardice asks the question – is it safe? Expediency asks the question – is it politic? Vanity asks the question – is it popular? But conscience asks the question – is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but one must take it because it is right.” ~Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In case you missed it, Rep. Dennis Kucinich (so often the running joke between politicians and talking heads) once again stood firmly on the side of right this past week, as he spoke twice on Capitol Hill, arguing for the rule of law from our lawmakers on Capitol Hill. It seems that, in the midst of so much condemnation of Israel’s war crimes by the international community, the Senate and the House felt inspired to draft an official Resolution to pledge their  “unwavering commitment” of support for Israel’s war on Gaza.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich’s statements were directed — not only toward the contradictory message this resolution sent toward our supposed goal of peace — but to the actual U.S. laws that govern how Israel is allowed to use the billions of American dollars worth of  F-16s, tanks, Apache helicopters, phosphorus shells, depleted uranium, cluster bombs, and so on that Israel is using in violation of the Geneva Convention to commit said war crimes against the mothers, fathers and chilren of Gaza.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Friday, January 9, 2009

Silly Dennis. Will he never learn? We’re not a nation of laws. The tinkering of the past 4 administrations has left us a nation of endorsements,  with the greatest deference given to those with the deepest pockets to fill our politicians’ campaign coffers.

In real-speak, this means that our politicians (now having much in common with trained seals) clap on command — indifferent to right or wrong — their job reduced to authoring (or subcontracting this work to lobbyists) and authorizing bills, resolutions and laws that will best serve their most generous benefactors — oil & energy moguls, media magnates, pharmaceutical & insurance industry titans, financial & banking tycoons, Zionist-AIPAC barons (the latter being of special importance to this week’s resolution, as the Israel Lobby provides upwards of 60% of the campaign contributions to our Democratic lawmakers).   

A little man like Dennis Kucinich doesn’t stand a chance among big men.

Even armed with the law of the land, or with big documents, such as the U.S. Constitition or the Bill or Rights, Dennis Kucinich nearly always comes up short — his voice carrying about as much stature as a blue-bottle fly, buzzing about a putrid feed trough. He is nonetheless to be commended for his ethics, his patriotism and, most certainly, his bravery.

According to Ronnie Lipschutz, professor of politics at UC Santa Cruz, withholding support for pro-Israel, AIPAC measures is not common, and often carries grave political consequences for members of Congress. “They are thinking what are the costs of voting against it, not what are the benefits,” said Lipschutz.

Perhaps this is what inspires statements, such as the one that Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, proclaimed before the vote: “Our resolution reflects the will of the state of Israel and the will of the American people.”

The will of the American people? Au contraire, Mr. Reid. Your resolution reflects the will of your biggest campaign supporters: the giants. In this case, AIPAC.

Because, make no mistake — your resolution passed, despite the will of the American people. Your resolution passed despite the protests of the American people in every major American city. Your resolution passed, despite thousands upon thousands of phone calls, faxes, letters and emails sent by the American people to their Senators in Washington. And, as if it mattered, your resolution passed, despite the United Nations resolution calling for an immediate truce (a resolution passed, no thanks to the U.S., on the same day you passed your resolution of praise for Israel); and your resolution passed despite that Israel has fired on and killed several United Nations workers in Gaza. Your resolution passed despite Israel’s refusal to allow Red Cross workers to reach the wounded women and children of Gaza. Your resolution passed despite that Israel has been repeatedly accused of war crimes and violations of international humanitarian law and the Geneva Convention. These accusations have come from the United Nations (from the onset of this war, up to today) and from humanitarian workers and the Red Cross in a statement released 2 days ago:

The Red Cross “believes that in this instance the Israeli military failed to meet its obligation under international humanitarian law to care for and evacuate the wounded. It considers the delay in allowing rescue services access unacceptable.”

Harry Reid, your resolution does not reflect the will of the American people!

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A wounded Palestinian boy is helped as he arrives at a hospital on January 4 in  Gaza City.

 

Your resolution — and the relative complicity of so many Americans — reflects the success of Israeli-U.S. propaganda campaign.  (Because, you see, the American people don’t know the truth this war. But you do. What’s your excuse?) It also reflects the success of the fearmongering campaigns that you and your esteemed colleagues, most notably George W. Bush & Dick Cheney, have ‘unwaveringly’ perpetuated over the past 8 years — a heaping dollop of which you, yourself, served-up in your rhetorical WWJD-esque question, posed in the final minutes before the passage of this illicit resolution:

“I ask any of my colleagues to imagine that happening here in the United States. Rockets and mortars coming from Toronto in Canada, into Buffalo New York. How would we as a country react?”

And then, as if responding on cue, the trained seals echoed something to the effect of “Hear! Hear!” and “The Israelis are responding exactly the same way we would!” before voting unanimously to approve the resolution.

Of course, there was no mention of war crimes during all this praise, nor in the language of the Senate resolution. Instead, the resolution went onto the House the next day and passed with flying colors, as 390 approved the resolution, 22 voted present, and a pathetically small, but courageous total of 5 voted against it:

Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)
Ron Paul (R-TX)
Maxine Waters (D-CA)
Gwen Moore (D-WI)
Nick Rahall (D-WV)

To this, I have a few rhetorical questions of my own to ask: 

What would the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. do? What would Mahatma Gandhi do?  What would Abraham Lincoln do? Or, to put it more succinctly, what would George W. Bush do?

Americans well-learned the answer to that last question. But what many Americans have yet to learn, is that (the will of the American people be damned) the answer to the question is the same today — and has been for years now — no matter who we turn to in Washington: Bush, Bush, Cheney, Reid, Pelosi, Clinton, Clinton, and so on….

 

And this is especially true in matters of U.S.-Israeli policy because — when you get right down to it —  the same giants who have so generously lined the pockets of Bush-Cheney & Co. over the past 8 years are the same giants who line your pockets, Harry Reid, and who also line the pockets  (or scare the bejeebers out of) all but 5 of our representatives on Capitol Hill — not to mention the past 4 presidents of the United States and, apparently, our current President-Elect.

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Fiddling While Gaza Burns: Three Perspectives

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In response to the start of Israel’s ground campaign into Gaza this past  Saturday (January 3rd) Hamas spokesman, Ismail Radwan, warned Israel that they would pay a “high price” for the invasion, saying:

“Your incursion into Gaza will not be a walk in the park, and Gaza will become your cemetery.”

Reading this, I recalled the fierceness of fiddler crabs. Growing up in the U.S. South, one of my world classrooms was the coastal marshlands. The ground in these tidal mudflats virtually teems with fiddler crab populations as far as the eye can see. These crabs are fairly tiny — their shells about the size of a toe nail. Step into one of these mudflats, and you will see jillions of toenail-sized crabs scurrying sideways to the safety of their holes. Jillions, that is, except for a few fiddlers who are either the fiercest or most foolish souls on earth, as they stand their ground, menacingly waving the ‘big’ claw to warn away the intruder: a pair of human feet, each of a size that could effortlessly crush a dozen fiddler crabs in one step.

 

Still, the claw waves. Roughly translated, the fiddler crab says, “Your incursion into my mudflat will not be a walk in the park, and this mudflat will be your cemetery.” A sadistic, heartless person might choose to step on the fiddler crab, simply because he could. A sadistic, heartless person of questionable sanity could respond by uprooting the entire fiddler crab colony and crushing it into oblivion. Which brings me to the topic of Israel’s recent incursion into Gaza.

The citizens of Palestinians are as fierce as any population when attacked, but are as powerless against Israel’s war machine as the fiddler crab is to a human bootheel. Lacking a military or any modern-day weaponry & war equipment (much less the depleted uranium and the illegal cluster bombs and phosphorus shells Israel is using against the Palestinians) the citizens of Gaza are using the only things available to defend themselves: rocks and stones. 

A Palestinian youth throws stones during clashes with Egyptian police along the border fence at the border crossing in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Monday, Feb. 4, 2008. Gunfire erupted at the Gaza-Egypt border on Monday, following stone-throwing clashes between Egyptian border guards and Palestinians, witnesses said. The tensions began when the Egyptian guards sealed the border Monday, not even allowing Egyptians and Gazans who had found themselves on the wrong side of the border to return home. From AP Photo by MAJED HAMDAN.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to appreciate the sheer brutality of this imbalance: one of the worlds most powerful war machines embarks on a campaign to slaughter innocent civilians armed with only rocks and stones. (note: see more photos of the stone-throwers, below, at the end of this post)

But what about Hamas — the stated target of Israel’s bombing? Compared to the stone-throwers, Hamas wields a slightly bigger claw with its arsenal of homemade rockets, capable of traveling 2 to 10 miles — each a hit or miss proposition, as they have little to offer in the way of accuracy. Israel predicts, however, that Hamas will one day have missiles capable of traveling greater distances and with greater accuracy, which is part of Israel’s justification for this war.   

Having said this, I’m not going to sit here and argue on behalf of Hamas, nor weigh the relative crudeness of their weaponry vs. Israel’s, drawing overly simplistic conclusions about whether this war is ‘justifiable.’ I’ll leave this to someone who is empowered and authorized to make such assessments —  Professor Richard Falk, the United Nations special rapporteur for human rights in the Occupied Territories, who said of this war:

Certainly the rocket attacks against civilian targets in Israel are unlawful. But that illegality does not give rise to any Israeli right, neither as the Occupying Power nor as a sovereign state, to violate international humanitarian law and commit war crimes or crimes against humanity in its response.

In his statement, Falk cited the following three violations of the Geneva Convention:  

• Collective punishment: The entire 1.5 million people who live in the crowded Gaza Strip are being punished for the actions of a few militants.

• Targeting civilians: The airstrikes were aimed at civilian areas in one of the most crowded stretches of land in the world, certainly the most densely populated area of the Middle East.

• Disproportionate military response: The airstrikes have not only destroyed every police and security office of Gaza’s elected government, but have killed and injured hundreds of civilians; at least one strike reportedly hit groups of students attempting to find transportation home from the university.

It is no secret that Israel’s military is — by comparison to any defense system in the world — a state-of-the-art war machine, funded by billions of U.S. dollars. Should Israel choose, they could track the coordinates of the hair on a gnats ass and hit it from hundreds of miles away, and with astounding accuracy.  Which makes all the more sadistic, heartless and insane, Israel’s decision yesterday to bomb Gaza’s schools, crushing them into oblivion, even as they were filled to capacity with innocent civilians. 

This was no accident. 

A Palestinian medic carries the body of a girl killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza January 6, 2009. Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip killed more than 30 Palestinian civilians on Tuesday, medical officials said, and international efforts to secure a ceasefire focused on an Israeli demand to prevent Hamas from rearming. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

A Palestinian medic carries the body of a girl killed in an Israeli air strike on the UN school in Gaza on January 6, 2009.

 

Palestinian relatives from the Deeb family mourn on January 7, 2009 near the bodies of 10 people from their family who were killed yesterday in an Israeli strike on a UN school in Gaza, during their funeral in the Jabalia refugee camp, northern Gaza strip. Israeli forces blazed into towns across Gaza yesterday striking Hamas targets and also hitting three UN-run schools in attacks that killed at least 48 people and sparked urgent new ceasefire calls. Since Israel started it military offensive in Gaza 660 Palestinians have been killed, including about 200 children, with more than 2,950 wounded, Gaza medics say. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

Palestinian relatives from the Deeb family mourn on January 7, 2009 near the bodies of a total of 10 people from their family who were killed yesterday in an Israeli strike on a UN school in Gaza.

 

A Palestinian man Mouen Deb mourns next to the bodies of two of four children and his wife  who were killed with 42 people yesterday in an Israeli attack on a UN-run school building, on January 7, 2009, during their funeral in Jabalia refugee camp, northern Gaza, An Israeli attack killed at least 42 people who had sought shelter in the UN-run building after they fled their homes at the Jabalia refugee camp. The United Nations has denied Israeli army allegations that militants were inside the school compuond. From Getty Images.

A Palestinian man, Mouen Deeb, mourns next to the bodies of two of four children and his wife who were killed with 42 people yesterday in an Israeli attack on a UN-run school building, on January 7, 2009, during their funeral in Jabalia refugee camp, northern Gaza, An Israeli attack killed at least 42 people who had sought shelter in the UN-run building after they fled their homes at the Jabalia refugee camp. The United Nations has denied Israeli army allegations that militants were inside the school compound.

Palestinians hold the body of a girl who was found in the rubble of her destroyed house following an Israeli air strike on a three-storey house belonging to a Hamas member in the eastern Gaza City neighborhood of Zeitun on January 6, 2009. About 30 people were inside the house when it was destroyed by the air raid, neighbors said. Israeli tanks firing cannons and machine guns and supported by helicopter gunships also moved into the city of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip before dawn, witnesses said. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

A Palestinian man reacts as he carries a girl who according to Palestinian medical sources was killed in an Israeli strike, into Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. Israeli forces pounded Gaza Strip houses, mosques and smuggling tunnels on Monday from the air, land and sea, killing at least seven children as they pressed a bruising offensive against Palestinian militants. From AP Photo by KHALIL HAMRA.

A wounded Palestinian girl is carried to Shifa hospital after an Israeli air strike in Gaza January 6, 2009. Israel's offensive in the Gaza Strip killed more than 30 Palestinian civilians on Tuesday, medical officials said, and international efforts to secure a ceasefire focused on an Israeli demand to prevent Hamas from rearming. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

Palestinian medics carry the body of a girl who according to Palestinian medical sources was killed in Israeli forces' operations in Gaza, at Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009. An Israeli bombardment hit outside a U.N. school where hundreds of Palestinians had sought refuge on Tuesday, and Palestinian medics said at least 34 people died as international outrage grew over civilian deaths. From AP Photo by ASHRAF AMRA.

A Palestinian man carries a wounded boy into Gaza City�s al-Shifa hospital on January 6, 2009. The international Red Cross today warned that increasing numbers of civilians in the Gaza Strip are being killed during Israel's military offensive, locking the territory in a "full blown" humanitarian crisis. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

BELOW: Palestinian medics examine the body of a boy (the same child from the photo, above) who was killed by the Israeli forces’ bombing of the U.N. school on Jan. 6, 2009 where hundreds of Palestinians had sought refuge on Tuesday.

 

Palestinian medics examine the body of a boy who according to Palestinian medical sources was killed in Israeli forces' operations in Gaza, at Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2009. An Israeli bombardment hit outside a U.N. school where hundreds of Palestinians had sought refuge on Tuesday, and Palestinian medics said at least 34 people died as international outrage grew over civilian deaths. From AP Photo by ASHRAF AMRA.

 

A Palestinian boy walks on the rubble of a building used by Hamas security forces, destroyed by Israeli forces' operations in Gaza City, Tuesday, Jan. 6. 2009. An Israeli bombardment struck outside a U.N. school where hundreds of Palestinians had sought refuge on Tuesday, the U.N. and Palestinian medics said, killing at least 30 people, many of them children whose parents wailed in grief at a hospital filled with dead and wounded. From AP Photo by KHALIL HAMRA.

A Palestinian boy walks on the rubble of the Israeli-bombed U.N. school where hundreds of Palestinians — most of them women and children — had fled to safety. 

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After all, Israel knew the GPS coordinates to these schools (the United Nations had already provided them with this, just to be safe). And Israel knew these schools were being used as United Nations shelters, because the UN told them, plus the school roofs were well-marked (again, just to be safe) with bright blue United Nations flags. Isreal also knew, with cunning accuracy, that those schools were filled with with babies, children, mothers, fathers. Israel knew, too, that these families had already fled their bombed homes, fled the bombed streets, the bombed mosques, the bombed universities, the bombed hospitals. These families were trapped out in the open — like arcade targets — with absolutely no means to protect their children from the bombs. In desperation, they fled by the hundreds to protection of the schools, believing that the UN flags promised some assurance of protection, even as they prayed to God that the their children would be safe in these schools. Israel knew this.

Israel knew this and, yet, they dropped bombs onto the schools — raining death and suffering onto hundreds of mothers, fathers, children and babies. 

Israel’s defense? Their PR spokespeople refer to the bombs as hitting “near” the school yesterday, as if the school were somehow incidental to their bombing targets. And, in an even greater lie, Israel insists that Hamas was shooting mortars from the school and using the children as “human shields.” The United Nations has flatly denied these Israeli army allegations that militants were inside the school compound.

But of more importance to this lie about “human shields”  (and here’s where Israel’s propaganda takes an insidious turn, as it’s designed to make the  parents of these children appear less than human to the rest of the world) is the fact that the ‘civilians’ inside this school were parents, desperately trying to protect their children, not offer them up as fodder to a terrorist cause.

But even if those atrocious lie were true, as even the rawest of rookie hostage negotiators could tell you, you don’t risk murdering hundreds of children to smoke out a few hostage-takers. Even as this truth is self-evident to any rational person, the international community has nonetheless established a system of international laws, called the Geneva Convention, to govern countries in times of war. In bombing the school yesterday, Israel committed a most atrocious act of savagery.

Not that the world is inclined to bat an eye, anymore, over such things as war crimes. It’s now been 11 days since United Nations special rapporteur, Richard Falk, made his statement on Israel’s war crimes.  Since then, Israel has responded by calling Falk and other like-minded UN officials “Israel bashers,” and has forbid international journalists from covering the war inside Gaza. One can only presume that Israel does not want the world to know the truth about this war — a truth that has been there for the plucking for months and years, but only to those willing to suspend disbelief long enough to disregard the propaganda and learn the facts about the relationship between Israeli-Palestinian.  There’s no need to go back to the 1st century BCE, when this whole mess started, or even to 1948, when Israel was formed. You need go no further than two years, or six months, or even two months of truth to understand how the Palestinian’s responses to Israel’s surreptitious bombing campaigns and their ongoing blockade of food and medical supplies to Gaza (both of which were in violation of the terms of the ceasefire) gave Israel the justification they sought to wage this war. Falk touched on the blockade in his statement:   

“Earlier Israeli actions, specifically the complete sealing off of entry and exit to and from the Gaza Strip, have led to severe shortages of medicine and fuel (as well as food), resulting in the inability of ambulances to respond to the injured, the inability of hospitals to adequately provide medicine or necessary equipment for the injured, and the inability of Gaza’s besieged doctors and other medical workers to sufficiently treat the victims.

Israel has also ignored recent Hamas diplomatic initiatives to re-establish the truce or ceasefire since its expiration on December 26.”

That last sentence is as important as the rest, because it hints at the underlying truth of this whole damned war, and of every war between Israel and Palestine since 1948. The truth is this: Israel does not want peace. Israel does not want truces. Israel does not want ceasefires. Israels wants the Palestinian’s land, and Israel will do whatever it takes to get it — up to and including uprooting and crushing the entire population into oblivion.

Which brings me full-circle back to my original observation on the fiddler crabs in the mudflats of South Carolina, which I liken to the helpless stone-throwers of Palestine, as well as the the reckless bands of Hamas radicals bandying ludicruous threats (Your incursion into Gaza will not be a walk in the park, and Gaza will become your cemetery) as they are crushed under Israel’s boot-heel. This is one perspective on the war: that of a 1″ fiddler crab, menacingly waving its tiny claw at a 6-foot giant. 

Here is another perspective: 

Several days before Christmas (back when this war was still just a twinkling in Israel’s eye) I read a story about a former Palestinian stone-thrower from the West Bank.  The first few paragraphs to his story are inspiration enough:

If no one had handed Ramzi Aburedwan a violin when he was a stone-throwing teenager in a refugee camp, he might’ve ended up languishing in an Israeli prison cell. He might’ve become little more than an obscure fatality lost amid the thousands of young Palestinians killed in the seemingly intractable conflict.

However, music teachers from Ramallah to Boston saw something else in Aburedwan’s arm: a natural, if unrefined, ability to play classical music.

With some doing, these mentors convinced the skinny Muslim teenager to put down his stones and pick up a violin.

That’s how a 9-year-old Palestinian refugee with an ear for music grew up to found a classical music school that’s become a cornerstone for a West Bank cultural revival.

stone-thrower

The article’s last paragraph is a quote from the violinist, himself, Ramzi Aburedwan (pictured in the two photos, above and — in a snapshot from the stone-throwing days of his childhood, below). Speaking from the perspective of a once curly-haired 9-year-old refugee, he told about the day his outrage was born and he became a stone-thrower. He had just witnessed one of his schoolmates, shot in the head by Israeli snipers as she was walking home from the bakery. Today, Aburedwan speaks of the potential to transform Palestinian children of war, through music:

“Palestinians put culture aside for a long time because they thought this problem would be solved soon. People who came in 1948 said it was going to be solved in one or two months, one or two years. Now it’s 60 years and the people say, ‘No more time for waiting. Waiting is just losing time.’ “

ramzi It seems that what burns in the hearts of most Palestinians — stone throwers, claw wavers and fiddlers alike — is the same stuff that burns in the heart of most every living being under the cosmos: life, itself. Perhaps, one day, Israel will find itself in concert with this life. Until then, Israel will apparently do what Israel apparently does best — continue to commit the brutal, senseless crushing of life. 

On a brighter note, there is a light at end of this particular tunnel, and you can bank on this: Israel will *miraculously* agree to a ceasefire no later than January 19, 2009, which is precisely one day before Barack Obama’s inauguration.

In the wake of this ceasefire, Israel’s immediate legacy will be a continuation of the legacy they’ve spent the past 40 years building: a legacy of untold human suffering, with many of their victims and their witnesses retaliating with more violence, which will only serve as more fodder to the Israeli propaganda machine.  

Israel’s long-term legacy is more promising, as their aggression will serve as a standard  by which mankind can forever measure its brutest levels of inhumanity — much like Mussolini, Hitler, and (as we can hope Tevye would attest) Nicholas II of Russia. Hopefully — and hopefully very soon — Israel’s lies and propaganda about their deeds will be fully revealed and will inspire the powers-that-be to once again proclaim before all the world, “Never again!” 

Because, fact is, this war is but a ripple in Israel’s 60-year Zionist campaign to crush the Palestinians and take their lands. This is holocaust. In the words of Israel’s esteemed 20th Zionist-movement leader, Ze’ev Jabotinsky:

“Culturally [the Palestinians] are 500 years behind us;  spiritually they do not have our endurance or our strength of will . . . They look upon Palestine with the same instinctive love and true fervor that any Aztec looked upon his Mexico or any Sioux looked upon his prairie. [Thus] we conclude that we cannot promise anything to the Arabs of the Land of Israel or the Arab countries. Their voluntary agreement is out of the question.”

Which brings me to the third perspective on this war: Israel does not want peace. The Palestinians do. The Palestinians want peace, even as their people have been persecuted, ethnically cleansed, starved and killed by the Israelis. The Palestinians want peace, even as the Israelis have discredited their plight with propaganda, and slandered their humanity slandered with lies. The Palestinians want peace, even as their own voices are being crushed, one by one, to silence.  

Fiddle, anyone? 

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by Mantis Katz for the canarypapers

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See also:

YouTube Video in which Palestinian violinist, Ramzi Aburedwan, can be seen/heard playing. Of interest to this video is a news item from the December 17, 2007  Palestine Monitor, which reads:   The international orchestra, which refused to perform in the Gaza Strip yesterday after its sole Palestinian member, violinist Ramzi Aburedwan, was barred from entering the Strip by the Israeli authorities, performed a concert in solidarity with the people of Gaza from Ramallah [the West Bank] today. The orchestra had been due to perform at the Latin Church in Gaza City yesterday as part of a Baroque Music Festival which is taking place throughout Palestine and Israel.

The stone-throwers of 2008-2009:

A Palestinian hurls a stone as others take cover during clashes with Israeli troops at a demonstration against Israel's military operation in Gaza, in the West Bank village of Yatta, near Hebron, Monday, Jan. 5, 2009. The expansion of Israel's offensive against Gaza's Hamas rulers into ground battles and artillery salvos is taking a heavier toll on the civilians of the crowded sliver of land, including three toddlers killed Monday by the blast of a crashing shell. From AP Photo by NASSER SHIYOUKHI. 

Palestinians carry the body of Ahmed Moussa during his funeral in the West Bank village of Nilin near Ramallah July 30, 2008. Israeli soldiers shot dead the Palestinian boy during clashes with stone-throwing protesters on Tuesday in the occupied West Bank, hospital officials and witnesses said. An Israeli military spokeswoman said the military had begun an investigation with the cooperation of Palestinian authorities to determine how the boy was killed. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS.

Palestinians carry the body of Ahmed Moussa during his funeral in the West Bank village of Nilin near Ramallah July 30, 2008. Israeli soldiers shot dead the Palestinian boy during clashes with stone-throwing protesters on Tuesday in the occupied West Bank, hospital officials and witnesses said. An Israeli military spokeswoman said the military had begun an investigation with the cooperation of Palestinian authorities to determine how the boy was killed.

An Israeli border police officer takes up position during clashes with stone-throwing Palestinian youths in Shuafat refugee camp on the edge of Jerusalem March 3, 2008. From Reuters Pictures by REUTERS. 
An Israeli border police officer takes up position during clashes with stone-throwing Palestinian youths in Shuafat refugee camp on the edge of Jerusalem (Gaza territory) on March 3, 2008. [editor’s note: What part of “Stay the hell out of Gaza and quit tormenting and shooting at its people — then no one with throw stones at you!” do the Israeli’s not understand?]

Injured Palestinian and foreign activists lie sprawled on the ground after Israeli troops responded to stone-throwing with tear gas and rubber bullets during a violent protest against Israel's security fence February 22, 2008 where it cuts off Palestinian farmers from their land at the West Bank village of Bil'in. Hundreds of villagers backed up by foreign and left-wing Israeli supporters marked three years of demonstrations against Israel's controversial barrier. From Getty Images.

Injured Palestinian and foreign activists stone-throwers lie sprawled on the ground after Israeli troops responded with tear gas and rubber bullets during a protest against Israel’s security fence February 22, 2008, which cuts off Palestinian farmers from their land at the West Bank village of Bil’in. Hundreds of villagers backed up by foreign and left-wing Israeli supporters marked three years of demonstrations against Israel’s controversial barrier.

Palestinian men throw stones at Israeli military armoured vehicles during a military operation aimed at arresting a member of the radical Islamic Jihad group in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, 28 January 2008. Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian teenager during clashes in the biblical town, Palestinian medics said. Qussai al-Afandi, 17, was mortally wounded and another Palestinian was injured after Israeli soldiers opened fire on stone-throwing youths in Bethlehem today, witnesses said. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

Palestinian men throw stones at Israeli military armoured vehicles in the West Bank town of Bethlehem, 28 January 2008. Israeli troops shot and killed a Palestinian teenager during clashes in the biblical town, Palestinian medics said. Qussai al-Afandi, 17, was mortally wounded and another Palestinian was injured after Israeli soldiers opened fire on stone-throwing youths in Bethlehem.

An Israeli soldier fires teargas towards stone-throwing youths during an incursion into the Ein Beit Elma refugee camp on the outskirts of the northern West Bank city of Nablus on February 23, 2008. Israeli troops arrested a senior militant from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) in a predawn raid on the camp, according to a Palestinian security official said. His 20-year-old sister was wounded by shrapnel when troops blew apart the door to the family's house, the official and medical sources said. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

An Israeli soldier jumps from an armored vehicle to fire teargas towards stone-throwing youths during an incursion into the Ein Beit Elma refugee camp on the outskirts of the northern West Bank city of Nablus on February 23, 2008. [Again, what part of “Stay the hell out of Gaza and quit tormenting and shooting at its people — and then no one with throw stones at you!” do the Israeli’s not understand?]

A Palestinian youth runs for cover after throwing a stone on an Israeli army vehicle during a military operation in the village of Jabaa, near Jenin, in the occupied West Bank on May 10, 2008. Eight Palestinians were wounded in confrontations during the incursion, according to a Palestinian medical source. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

A Palestinian youth runs for cover after throwing a stone on an Israeli army vehicle during a military operation in the village of Jabaa, near Jenin, in the occupied West Bank on May 10, 2008. Eight Palestinians were wounded in confrontations during the incursion, according to a Palestinian medical source.

The grandfather (R) and friends of Palestinian teenager Qussai al-Afandi from the Dehaisheh refugee camp, mourn during his funeral, 29 January 2008 in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. Israeli soldiers shot and killed the Palestinian teenager during clashes in the biblical town as troops stormed a house to arrest a member of the radical Islamic Jihad group after Israeli soldiers opened fire on stone-throwing youths in the town, witnesses said. From Getty Images by AFP/Getty Images.

The grandfather (R) and friends of Palestinian teenager Qussai al-Afandi from the Dehaisheh refugee camp, mourn during his funeral, 29 January 2008 in the West Bank town of Bethlehem. Israeli soldiers shot and killed the Palestinian teenager after opening fire on stone-throwing youth, who were protesting Israel’s military incursion into the town.

Aafia Siddiqui and Her 3 Children: Victims to an America that has lost its soul

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Aafia, You Are Not Alone

Aafia, You Are Not Alone

The post, below, is from September 2008. To see our most recent post on Aafia Siddiqui, published 1/19/2010, see:  The New American Justice: Aafia Siddiqui’s Trial by Water

UPDATED: If ever the official version of a story did not pass the smell test, it is the case of Aafia Siddiqui. The canarypapers recently published two posts on this case (on August 25th and  on August 29th) in an effort to urge protest against her mistreatment, to urge due process and proper medical care, and to spread what little is known of the facts regarding her case. Here, we offer updates on this case, as made available in the media and various web sites. We are also re-posting information to add your voice to those who are (1) urging a Congressional investigation into the facts of this case, (2) demanding proper legal rights, medical care and humane treatement for Aafia, and (3) demanding an investigation into the whereabout of Aafia’s two children, who are still missing, and demanding the return of her third child — 11-year-old Ahmed, who is a U.S. citizen — to her family, as he has been in the custody of Afghanistan intelligence officials for over one month now.

UPDATES: New links added 9/4/08 at bottom of post; new information in green text hroughout post.

UPDATE: New links added 9/8/08 at bottom of post in purple text.

UPDATE: New links added 9/19/08 at the bottom of the post in blue text.

Aafia Siddiqui’s son, Mohammad Ahmed, was finally released this week into the custody of his aunt, Dr. Fauzia Siddiqui. She described him to be traumatized, afraid and mentally disturbed, but in good health. He has so far given no details on his experiences while in custody. This is according to a Dawn Media Group story. The accounts in U.S. papers (e.g. NY Times, Washington Post) are deplorably inaccurate — for instance, suggesting the boy was Aafia Siddiqui’s ADOPTED son, despite well-publicized DNA tests to the contrary. This story continues to be heart-wrenching for the utter dearth of factual truth, and for the media perpetuation, without even a modicum of journalistic curiosity, of the myths in this case. The very real human tragedy of this story has yet to be told.

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Here’s how each of us can help Aafia Siddiqui and her children:

(1) Demand a Congressional investigation into this case by calling your Capitol Hill representatives via the Capitol Hill switchboard at 800-828-0498. Ask for your state representative, by name. You will be transferred to either voice mail or an aide. Leave a message that you, as a concerned American, want (1) an independent Congressional investigation into the case of Aafia Siddiqui (pronounced AUF-ia    Sa-DEEK-ia) and her three children, and that (2) you request that her current medical and legal needs be met according to U.S. and International laws regarding prisoners.

(2) Sign and send the letters of protest at the Asian Human Rights Commission site. These letters are forwarded to President Bush, to NATO headquarters, and to various authorities in Pakistan and Afghanistan. It is important that these officials know the world’s eyes are focused on this case.

(3) Attend her court hearing in Manhattan on September 3rd, 2008. Protests are scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. Her hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:00 a.m. at the United States District Court (U.S.D.C.) for the Southern District of New York (S.D.N.Y), located at 500 Pearl Street, Manhattan. It will be held in the Magistrates Court, 5th floor. Siddiqui refused to appear at this hearing, as she refused to undergo the pain and degradation of the requisite full-body strip-search. Her lawyers and court-appointed psychologist have requested she be transferred to a “less restrictive setting where she would not be subjected to strip searches and where she could receive more extensive (medical) care.” Judge Berman set a deadline of Friday, Sept. 12 for the defense to brief this issue, Wednesday Sept. 17 for the prosecution, with the next court appearance on Monday, Sept. 22. We will give more information on this as it becomes available.

(4) Send mail, publications or money to Aafia Siddiqui. There are specific regulations regarding these, which can be found, along with contact information and addresses, at the muslimmatters.org website. There is also contact information for her attorney at this site. NOTE: According to a September 1, 2008 report, Aafia is due to soon be transferred to a “better facility” where she will supposedly receive proper medical care. We will update this information as it becomes available.

See the bottom of this post for media updates on the Aafia Siddiqui case

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QUESTION AND ANSWER: Is the writer of this post “anti-American” or pro-terrorism? No. I am pro-human rights, and I am in favor of both due process and the protections provided by the Geneva Convention and (formerly) the U.S. Constitution, as I will explain:

In reading, it has come to my attention that, by making “anti-American” statements in my writings on the Aafia Siddiqui case, I may be promoting the agenda that I am (1) anti-American, and/or (2) in favor of a terrorist suspect attempting to murder U.S officials, Nothing could be further from the truth. First, I write as a U.S.-born, caucasion citizen, a enlightened and spiritual human being with no religious affiliation whatsoever, In fact, my own spirituality precludes identification with any organized religion, as I abhor the long history of violence generated from the divisiveness that seems inherent between religions. I have never met, nor spoken with, or corresponded in any way with a Muslim or any representative of any one from the Muslim community.  In the same breath, I add that I am not afraid of Muslims, the same as I am not inherently afraid of any person, based on their race, creed, religion, ethnicity or nationality. I am not a champion of Muslim causes, per se, except in cases, such as the Aafia Siddiqui case, where human rights are being grossly violated under the Geneva Convention, the U.S. Constitution and the basic common tenets that we should all hold in common, as human beings.

I write as an American citizen who is profoundly saddened, alarmed and, ultimately afraid of the loss of these basic human rights through the Bush Administration’s flagrant disregard of these rights. I would, and I do, extend the same concern and outrage to any trampled citizen of the earth, no matter their race, creed, ethnic origin, or location on the map.  The Aafia Siddiqui case is but one such example. HIstory has shown that — throughout the world, and even withn the U.S. — over-reaching power, when driven by fear and a disregard for establised law, is a dangerous combination. Nazi Germany is one of the most notorious examples, but plenty of precedent exists on U.S. soil: slavery, ethnic cleansing of Native Americans, the Tuskegee experiment, the Jim Crow era, Japanese internment camps, the McCarthy hearings, and the current xenophobia (hatred/fear) toward Muslims that seeks to paint them all with the “Islamic terrorist” paint brush, thereby justifying a certain persecution of them, and a certain bending of their constitutional rights. There are many in the U.S. who feel that we have come dangerously close over the past 8 years to re-living a similar history to Nazi Germany through the over-reaching abuse of power, under the banner of “the war on terror.” Conversely, that the viewpoint of many Americans is fear-driven (much of this by the administration’s design) and are ignorant of the facts (also by design) has only allowed this abuse of power to flourish. It is a fact, not a conspiracy theory, that this administration has employed duplicity, lies, misinformation and propaganda to promote their lawlessness and to, indeed, prod the American people to condone and cheer on this lawlessness, in the name of doing “whatever it takes” to keep us safe.

We, at the canarypapers, find special exception in the case of Aafia Siddiqui. Here, we have a “terrorist suspect” who is accused of acts which she vehemently denies and, instead, claims that she has been imprisoned and tortured for the past 5 years, more than likely at the hands of U.S. officials in Afghanistan. Her physical, mental and emotional condition easily support this claim, as do the investigations of human rights organizations throughout the world. In this, we must — absolutely must — consider the alternative to the “official” version of her story: What if Aafia Siddiqui is telling the truth? WHAT IF Aafia Siddiqui is telling the truth? As stands — and by virtue of the built-in lack of due process for terrorist suspects — the chance of this truth seeing the light of day is slim. As fellow human beings, we must — absolutely must — demand due process and an independent and/or Congressional investigation into this case.

If we — as American citizens — have become so estranged from our humanity, our better selves, that we would condone persecuting another human being out of a fear and anger so great, that we give ourselves authority to presume the facts, rather than allow their proper discovery, then we have become like those very terrorists we claim to abhor. If we believe that it is fair for an innocent human being to be punished for the actions of others, then we are no different from those very terrorists we claim to abhor. If, in writing on Aafia Siddiqui, I have — in any way — seemed to embrace anti-Americanism, or a terrorist agenda, or have promoted a xenophobia of the Muslim community, it has not been my intention. In fighting for a just America — an America that adheres to both constitutional and international laws and treaties regarding human rights — I believe that I am fighting for the America envisioned by our founders, over 200 years ago, which is a very patriotic and American thing to do. My stance on the Aafia Siddiqui case is mine, alone, and has been influenced by no individual or group, beyond the Aafia Siddiqui, herself, as known to me by the research I have conducted on her case.

We, at the canarypapers, continue to allege, along with her family, her attorneys, human rights groups and many concerned individuals around the world that Aafia Siddiqui is a victim of the Bush Administration’s over-reaching “war on terror” that has secretly and illegally imprisoned and tortured hundreds, if not thousands of citizens around the world. We also allege, against the official versions given on this case, that Aafia Siddiqui was indeed arrested in April 2003, as then-reported (and later denied) by Pakistani and U.S. authorities/the FBI. We further allege that she spent the following 5+ years imprisoned and tortured, with most or all of those years spent in the United States’ notorious Bagram prison in Afghanistan, which serves a similar function to Guantanamo Bay, only without the facade of adhering to international laws regarding torture.

Pakistani Protesters Demonstrate on August 29th to Show Solidarity with Aafia Siddiqui

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If this case is “for real” how come most of us have never heard of it before?

The events and questions surrounding Aafia Siddiqui’s case have received little press in the U.S. media  — a deplorable oversight, given — if nothing else — her deplorable treatment in U.S. custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn, NY. Her case is well known, however, in other parts of the world, especially her native country of Pakistan, where citizens have been gathering by the thousands for months now — demanding the release of Aafia and her 3 children from their secret detention. Her case is also well-known to human rights groups around the world, all of whom have reported for several years now, “credible evidence” that she was been held in secret detention facilities by U.S. and ally authorities, most likely in Afghanistan. Her case is also well-known by her own family, who has spent the past 5 years fighting for the truth on her disappearance, even as Aafia’s mother was threatened by Afghani authorities, at the time of Aafia’s disappearance in 2003, and warned to not make a case of her disappearance (the implication being that harm could come to Aafia and her children if the silence was not held).

Aafia’s case was also known to other prisoners at Bagram — by those “lucky” ones who didn’t die at the hands of their captors, or who were later deemed innocent and released after days, months or years of torture. One such “lucky” captor, held at both Bagram and Guantanamo, lived to write a book, in which he detailed the story of Prisoner 650. His story captured the attention of British journalist, Yvonne Ridley — a former “terrorist suspect” herself, who was imprisoned for a short time at Bagram. Earlier this summer, Ms. Ridley investigated Prisoner 650, who came to be known as “the grey lady of Bagram,” for the haunting screams of a woman being tortured in a prison that  — according to the FBI and the CIA — did not detain females. In the wake of Yvonne Ridley’s investigation, the public outcry over Aafia Siddiqui’s imprisonment grew overwheleming. Soon thereafter, she mysteriously re-appeared on a street in Afghanistan and was promply arrested — allegedly carring in her purse an arsenal of chemical and biological weapons and maps to NYC landmarks.  The offical versions between the Afghani and U.S. authorities widely contradict each other, particularly regarding the events that led to Aafia being shot several times in the abdomen.

Over 4,000 Demonstrate in Pakistan in a Show of Solidarity with Aafia Siddiqui

Over 4,000 Demonstrate in Pakistan in a Show of Solidarity with Aafia Siddiqui

The power of protest and why it’s our duty, as American citizens, to do this

If not for the protests of the many concerned individuals and groups, Aafia Siddqui might still be in Bagram. One would think that she might at least receive humane treatment, once on U.S. soil. Not so. She has been denied medical treatment, on the grounds that she is a “security risk” and despite that, according to her attorneys, her condition has being both frail and deterioating, with her wound oozing blood. She has been denied proper medical despite the urging of the Pakistani consulate, her attorneys and her family. It is our duty as fellow human beings and American citizens to continue the outcry. Demand that Aafia be allowed due legal process; demand that she be afforded proper medical care; demand that an independent investigation be conducted to determine the facts about her case; demand that her 12 year-old child, Ahmed, who is a U.S. citizen, be released from Afghan custody; demand an investigation into the whereabout of her other two children — her daughter, Miriam, and her son, Suleman — aged 5 years and 6 months, respectively, at the time of their disappearance in 2003.

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UPDATE: Aafia Siddiqui’s court hearing was yet another sad turn in this case, as she refused to attend the hearing — the same as she has refused meetings with her attorneys — solely to avoid the pain and degradation of the invasive, full-body strip searches she is required to undergo before these meetings.
According to one article, Siddiqui’s lawyers and the court-appointed psychologist have requested she be transferred to a “less restrictive setting where she would not be subjected to strip searches and where she could receive more extensive care.” Judge Berman set a deadline of Friday, Sept. 12 for the defense to brief this issue, Wednesday Sept. 17 for the prosecution, with the next court appearance on Monday, Sept. 22. Aafia’s attorney, Elizabeth Fink, continues to claim, as stated in her letter released this past Wednesday, that Aafia Siddiqui was held by the United States following her 2003 disappearance. Fink wrote that The Washington Post told her of “reliable sources in both the American and Pakistani government who have verified” that Siddiqui was held, first by Pakistani intelligence in 2003, and subsequently by the CIA. The Post declined to comment.

According to prison staff, Aafia spends most of her time in the cell crying, a description eerily similar to the accounts written about Prisoner 650, “the grey lady of Bagram,” who was described in exactly the same terms. Aafia is also reported to be terrified for her three children, and terrified that her 11-year-old son, in the custody of Afghani intelligence officials, is being denied food. Despite repeated requests by her attorneys, and repeated orders by judges in the case, Aafia continues to be denied medical care for her injuries, and continues to be denied psychological care, including a mental health evaluation by a therapist trained in evaluating torture victims. Aafia Siddiqui has fallen through the cracks of international law, and has fallen through the safety net of a U.S. Constitution unraveled by this administration. These facts speak for themselves as much as the speak for the truth that her case is proving to be a worst-case scenario — a case that proves, regardless of its outcome, the consequences of removing the checks and balances from the tenets of human justice. No human being should be allowed to endure the suffering of this particular hell. (see the updated links in green, below)

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A Disclaimer, of sorts, regarding the facts of the Aafia Siddiqui case

We’re no amateurs at researching the goings-on by the Bush Administration. If we’ve learned anything over the past 8 years, it’s that this administration excels in disseminating disinformation. This disinformation is then served up to the American public as if it were news, when, in fact, it’s little more than a PR campaign to promote their various agendas: propaganda, by definition. Under these circumstances, fact-finding becomes an onerous task. One cannot take, on face-value, the offical accounts as given by our government, but must wade through a convuluted trail of (past and present-day) government and congressional documents, reports and investigations, along with independent investigations, individual accounts, and media reports & investigations — most of these drawn from select media outlets elsewhere in the world, where information and perspectives tend to be more factual. Doing this type of research over time, one develops a sixth-sense: something is just not right here; this does not pass the smell test.

As any one who’s ever concoted a big lie could tell you, it’s difficult to maintain a watertight case. Over time, the loose ends begin to fray. Things start to leak. The bigger the lie, the more complicated and, ultimately impossible it becomes to keep the lies straight. As my mother used to say, “Oh what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.”

While this administration excels at disinformation, deception and outright lies (while discrediting their detractors, via the ‘conspiracy theorist’ or ‘terrorist appeaser’ labels) they are fairly sorry at covering their asses. To this end, when they can’t discredit the facts/fact-finders, they will alternately resort to more lies, resort to defamation of character, resort to withholding answers behind a cloak of “security reasons,” and so on. As a last resort, as we’ve recently seen with Karl Rove, they will simply thumb their noses at the Congress and the American public. Because of these things — not to mention that both our President and Vice-President have been accused of myriad war crimes and have been brought up on charges of impeachment for these crimes, all of which were born from sytematic campaigns of lies and duplicity about supposed terrorist activities around the world —  we tend to err on the side not believing the offical statements issued by this administration, particularly regarding their ‘intelligence’ on terrorism and terrorist suspects.  The way we see it, if the Bush-Cheney Administration can cook the intelligence to deceive this country into going to war with Iraq, it would surely be a snap to do the same for an individual human being — which is exactly what many allege this administration has done to hundreds, if not thousands of human beings throughout the world since September 11, 2001.

With the above caveats in mind, we can state with utter certainty that, in our research of the Aafia Siddiaui case, we find that the “official” accounts do not pass the smell test. In recent weeks, we’ve seen various “new” information crop up, bolstering the terrorist charges waged by this administration’s against Aafia Siddiqui: money trails, alleged contacts, her travels, etc. After researching these allegations, we’ve chosen to not provide links to them, as we find no credible evidence to support these allegations, beyond the say-so of anonymous “U.S. officials.”

The fact is (and, if you’ll read/listen carefully to the news, you’ll see that this is true) nearly all of the accusations waged by the U.S. against other countries and individuals in this unholy war on terror have been sourced from un-named “U.S. officials,” nearly always speaking only on the condition of anonymity, usually for ‘security reasons.’ Our belief — and we believe history will one day bear this out — is that each and every official statement quoted by un-named or anonymous “U.S. officials,” (aka White House sources, military analysts, Pentagon spokesmen, etc. ,etc.) was originally sourced from none other than the Grand Poo-Bah, himself: Dick Cheney, the man behind the curtain in Emerald City.

Our own facts about the Aafia Siddiqui case — arrived at through careful research and deliberation — may be imperfect (Is her son 11 or 12 years of age? Is her mother living or not? Where were Affia and her three children before their disappearance in 2003 — en route to her uncles’ house, or in hiding from the FBI’s terrorist alert against her?) Alternately, our facts may be dead-on accurate. One thing for certain: the Bush Adminsistraton did a particularly poor job of covering their asses in this case. Of all the reports and incidents we’ve researched over the past 7 years, the official version of Aafia Siddiqui’s case has been the most convoluted,  the most contradictory, the most gap-filled, the most deception-filled, the most suspicious and, ultimately, the most tragic case we’ve seen.

Worst-case scenario, if she is indeed guilty of any of the charges waged against her, she deserves a thorough, independent investigation into these charges and to the imprisonment and torture she alleges she suffered over the past five years. She deserves the basic human rights afforded by international treaties: the right to due legal process, the right to proper medical care, the right to know what happened to her children who, at the ages of 7 years, 5 years and 6 months were surely not deserving of whatever treatment has since befallen them.

Feel free to question our facts on Aafia Siddiqui. As always, we’re proud of the research we do, and are glad to share it with others.

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LINKS TO MORE RECENT NEWS REPORTS ON THIS CASE:

PakTribune: September 1, 2008 – Dr Aafia to be shifted to better facility soon: US authorities have indicated to the Pakistan government that Dr Aafia Siddiqui, who is suffering from bullet wounds, will be shifted to another facility by next week, which is less intrusive and offers better medical care.

RadianceViewsWeekly: September 1, 2008 – Musharraf’s Nemesis: What luck for rulers that men do not think, said Adolf Hitler. The Fuhrer should know, having proved himself a successful, if rather demented, leader of men. Successive rulers of Islamic Republic of Pakistan seem to have been driven by this cynical piece of wisdom….. Perhaps, Musharraf could have gone on and hung on in there for some more time, if only he had not so enthusiastically enlisted Pakistan in Bush’s war. Maybe our man had no option but jump on the neocon bandwagon when Colin Powell made that rather persuasive call on a cold day in September, the day the greatest military power on earth was shaken to its roots. Maybe it has spared Pakistan the fate of Afghanistan and brought it billions in US aid.   But what the country has gained by joining this directionless, disastrous war is nothing compared to what it has lost. Thousands of innocents have paid with their lives for the Bush-Mush war. And God only knows how many individuals like Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the MIT-educated scientist, have simply disappeared into the nameless gulags around the world. And the whole country, coupled with Afghanistan, has been transformed into a vast battlefield; the main front of the war that, we are reassured, is being fought for the promotion of Democracy and Human Freedom, whatever that means.

NewsPostOnline: September 1, 2008 – Boy found with “terrorist suspect” Dr. Aafia is her son, but denies: Ahmed, the 11-year-old boy said to have been apprehended along with ‘terror suspect’ Pakistani-American doctor Aafia Siddiqui was identified as her son, although he denies that he is in any way related to her.

(Editor’s note: A reminder: this 11 year-old boy is legally a U.S. citizen. He was arrested with his mother in mid-July. International law forbids treating children as criminals, yet he has been interrogated serveral times by the FBI and has been held in the custody of Afghan’s intelligence service for the past month. Knowing that the U.S. does not necessarily bar torturing the children of terrorist suspects, in order to gain information (see video below), it is haunting to contemplate the circumstances that would lead to an 11 year-old boy to deny being related to hs own mother, while yet being unable to give details on his ‘real’ family.)

ThaindianNews: August 31, 2008 – Afghan Government to Free Pakistan Terror Suspect Dr. Aafia’s Son Soon: After repeated requests from Islamabad, the Afghanistan Government has reportedly promised to Pakistan to return soon one of the three sons of Pakistani scientist and terror suspect Dr Aafia Siddiqui, who was arrested in Afghanistan earlier this month and presently being tried in the US for terror charges. The New York-based human rights body the Human Rights Watch had also urged the Afghan government earlier this week to free the child, who is said to be a US citizen by birth.

AFP: August 30, 2008- Afghanistan will free son of Pakistani scientist ‘soon’:  The young son of Pakistani scientist Aafia Siddiqui will be returned to his family “soon” by Afghanistan after he was arrested with her more than a month ago, Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta said Saturday.

Two letters from Aafia Siddiqui’s uncle, written in 2004: These two letters are said to be written by Dr. Aafia’s maternal uncle, published in Dawn daily English newspaper, Karachi, Pakistan in 2004. These letters offer a detailed timeline of this case, according to her uncle.

UPDATE: New links added 9/4/08

Daily Times: Aafia Siddiqui refuses to appear in court, in protest -Dr Aafia Siddiqui refused to appear in a New York court on Thursday in protest against the humiliating treatment to which she is being subjected and because of her traumatised physical, mental and emotional condition.

Voice of America: Mystery Shrouds Case of Pakistani Scientist Linked to Terrorists – A Pakistani woman who is charged with trying to murder U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan refused to appear for her arraignment in New York City Thursday. Defense lawyers say Aafia Siddiqui is unable or unwilling to submit to a required strip-search due to wounds she suffered when she was arrested nearly two months ago and that she urgently needs medical and psychological care. VOA’s Walter Wisniewski has more.

Washington Post: Pakistani Tortured, Her Attorney Says Lawyer Calls for Mental Evaluation — Lawyer Elizabeth Fink told a federal judge in New York that Aafia Siddiqui, who disappeared in Pakistan with her three children in March 2003, needs a full psychological evaluation to determine whether she has post-traumatic stress disorder and is competent to help in her own defense. Fink also urged that Siddiqui, 36, be examined by experts on the effects of torture.

Press Trust of India: Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui, suspected of having links with al-Qaeda, would plead innocent to the charges of attempted murder of US personnel during interrogation in Afghanistan in July, her lawyer said.

TheNewsAfghan Government Contacts Aafia’s Sister (Sept. 1, 2008) The government of Afghanistan contacted the family of Dr Aafia Siddiqui late on Sunday night and assured Aafia’s sister that they were ready to hand over her 11-year old son Ahmed Siddiqui to the family.

The Muslim News: Alleged al-Qa’ida suspect denied medical treatment (August 29, 2008)  Wheelchair-bound and only able to communicate with her lawyer through a hole at the bottom of her cell door, Dr Aafia Siddiqui is a ghost of the vibrant woman she was six years ago, and looks a far cry from the stark picture painted by US authorities as the vicious al-Qa’ida suspect charged with assault with a deadly weapon and attempted murder on FBI officers while in custody.

NDTV Pak-born U.S. scientist’s hearing deferred (September 5, 2008) The indictment hearing of Pakistan-born US scientist Aafia Siddiqui, with suspected links to Al-Qaida, was postponed as she refused to be strip searched. The 36-year-old neuroscientist has been charged with trying to kill the American interrogators after her arrest in Afghanistan. She was expected to plead innocence to the charges. But Aafia could not be brought to court as she refused to be strip searched, which is mandatory while moving prisoners from lock up to court.

Office of the High Commisioner for Human Rights (UNHSHR): THE GENEVA CONVENTION Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War

LINKS ADDED 9/8/08:

GEO TV: Pakistan seeks repatriation of 5 Pakistani held in Guantanamo

Daily Times: Six Pakistani women have fuelled international headlines in the past week. Five of them are the hapless victims of the grotesque live burial that took place in rural Balochistan earlier this month, punished for going against tribal tradition and flouting the will of the men for whom they were mere chattel. The sixth is Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the MIT-trained Pakistani neuroscientist who was recently indicted in a court in New York “for attempting to murder and assault US nationals” while incarcerated at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan.

LINKS ADDED 9/19/08:

Daily Times – Pakistan (9/14/2008): Asian Human Rights Commission slams detention of Dr. Aafia’s son (Editor’s note: This story was written 1 day before the release of Aafia Siddiqui’s son, as detailed in accounts, below)

Washington Post: Family Frees Son of Pakistani-Al Qaeda Suspect (Editor’s note: Reading this article, the lack of journalistic curiosity in this case is both puzzling and deplorable.That this paper perpetuates the myth that Aafia’s son, Mohammad Ahmed, was adopted — despite well-publicized DNA tests to the contrary — and that his name is Ali Hassan, despite well-publicized records to the contrary, reads more like complicity with the criminal activities of U.S. officials than an account written by the independent media in a supposed democracy.)

New York Times: Afghans Repatriate Son, 12, of Pakistani Indicted in U.S. (Editor’s note: Again, a deplorable lack of journalistic curiosity to report on a case that is so riddled with inconsistencies, that it reads like jibberish. Note also that they persist in calling him Ali Hassan, despite that his name is Mohammad Ahmed).

LA Times: Afghanistan frees son of alleged ally of al Qaeda (Editor’s note: Again, a profound lack of journalistic integrity to this story)

International Tribune: Son of al Qaida suspect returned to Pakistan (Editor’s note: ditto the above, although there are a few additonal details included, concerning the name change)

BBC: Detainee’s son handed to Pakistan (Editor’s note: Finally a story that appers to be mostly factual and actually calls the boy by his correct name.)

Associated Press: Afghanistan frees son of al Qaida suspect (Editor’s note: again, another account riddled with inconsistencies, not the least of which is calling Mohammad Ahmed by the name Ali Hassan, one of several name changes given to him by Afghani authorities. What a farce)

Counterpunch: The Horrendous Case of Aafia Siddiqui: Where Are Her Children?

Asian Pacific Post: Family Fear Siddiqui’s Death

DAWN: Aafia’s Son Freed by Kabul, Flown to Islamabad

DAWN: Aafia Siddiqui suffering from psychosis

Arab News: Afghanistan frees son of Pak scientist held by US

Daily Times – Pakistan (editorial) Periscope: The Wrong Side of Right

Daily Times – Pakistan: Pak Senators Refused Access to Guantanamo Detainees, Granted Permission to See Aafia Siddiqui

The International News: Chid of Conflict

Ohmy News: Aafia Siddiqui’s Son Released to his Aunt — Pakistani rights activist lauds deposed top judge for taking up issue

Online International News Network: Fauzia Siddiqui refuses to allow media to talk to Aafia’s son:

ISLAMABAD: Dr. Fauzia Siddiqui sister of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui has refused to allow media to talk to Ahmad Siddiqui son of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui saying that he was yet in a state of shock.
While talking to Private TV Channel she expressed Ahmad’s profound happiness on return of Ahmad Siddiqui and said that Aafia’s son name was changed many times. “Though, Ahmad had matured but he was mentally disturbed, therefore, Ahmad cannot be allowed to talk to media, “ She maintained. In response to a question she said that Ahmad Siddiqui would be shifted from Islamabad within two or three days and government was also assisting them in this connection. She also thanked the government for making efforts for return of Ahmad Siddiqui, and expressed her gratitude to media, civil societies and people for projecting the issue, hoping that Dr. Aafia Siddiqui would soon return to Pakistan along with her two other children. Similarly, in letter addressed to President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani, Interior Minister and other officials she has thanked them for helping Siddiqui family at all fronts.
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Could the Bush Administration Order the Torture of Children and Burying Alive of Prisoners?

A simple yes or no would have sufficed. In this House Judiciary Hearing, White House attorneys John Yoo and David Addington are asked this very question, to determine the administration’s torture policies regarding children and burying prisoners alive.  Yoo and Addington are the two leading architects of the Bush administration’s policies on torture. Their testimony revealed few answers (none, actually), as even the simplest questions yielded evasive sleights-of-hand maneuvers, such as the sort of ‘legal speak’ lawyers are known to employ when evading answering a question. Here, with a 5-minute time limit on the testimony, we see the Judiciary committee members grow increasingly frustrated and, at turns, outraged (accusing Yoo, at one point, of playing “Beat the Clock”) as each attempt to get a straight answer is stonewalled by Yoo and Addington.  Longer versions of this testimony are available on YouTube.

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by Mantis Katz, for the canarypapers

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