US, Coalition Directly Killed Over 11,000 Civilians in Iraq in Five Years

by Jason Ditz
February 15, 2011

King’s College London has released a study related to the Iraq Body Count (IBC) collection of data on civilian deaths, cross referencing it with information from hospitals, NGOs, and official figures to provide an overall picture of the source of “violent civilian deaths” over the first five years of the US-led occupation.

The IBC count puts the toll for that period at 92,614, with the vast majority related to gangs and sectarian violence. But the study also found 12 percent of the violent deaths of innocent civilians were caused by “coalition forces,” which virtually exclusively means US and British forces in the context of Iraq.

This means that the US and its allies, excluding the Iraqi government forces themselves, directly killed over 11,000 innocent civilians over that period. This means the occupation forces, on an average day, killed six innocent civilians.

That’s an unfathomable amount, indeed neither the Taliban nor the occupation forces in Afghanistan could lay claim to such a grim number of innocent victims. The 11,000 US-led killings were bolstered by another 10,000 or so slain directly by the Iraqi government forces.

Of course, when one discusses the IBC it must be pointed out that the toll provided by them is extremely conservative, covering only direct violent killings, and that other other studies have put the “excess deaths” in the period in the high hundred thousands or more. That includes those who died by virtue of the disastrousness of life post occupation Iraq.

The 11,000+ civilians directly killed would have been an unthinkable claim to make a couple of years ago, even if the study’s data surely backed it up. Since the release of WikiLeaks’ Iraq War documents, however, the evidence of wholesale civilian slaughter seems all the more plausable, as killing innocent people seemed to be an all-too-common occurance.

Posted: 15 Feb 2011 05:49 PM PST
antiwar.com

People’s SAARC Seminar Report: Prosperous and Secular South Asia

Press Release, Dhaka, 18 January 2011

People’s SAARC Seminar
Leadership urged to shun traditional politics to curb out a new South Asia

Human right activists and civil society leaders from all eight SAARC countries at a seminar in the city today held soul searching discussions on how to expedite regional integration breaking apart the shackle of elite run traditional politics.

The civil society leaders also laid emphasis on evolving a new growth strategy and alternative models for development over the neo-liberal models having the globalization and economic exploitation of the poor nations by industrialized nations and of the poor by the rich within a nation, especially in South Asian region.

They spoke critically of the ongoing globalization process saying trade liberalization is only destroying local capacity and job market. It has taken the form of commercial hegemony instead of fostering prosperity to the poor.

They also spoke of creating a secular South Asia through building democratic institutions in respective nations. The two-day seminar taking place at BRAC Center will end tomorrow with adoption of a declaration. This is part of a process titled “Envisioning New South Asia from the People’s Perspectives” organized by a regional civil society network called “People’s SAARC’.

About 30 civil society leaders from seven SAARC countries are taking part in it, in addition to large number of civil society leaders from host Bangladesh. They include a senator from Pakistan, a retired navy chief from India and such other high profile personalities from the member states.

The inaugural session of this seminar was moderated by noted Indian human rights activist Kamala Bhasin. Among the panelists in this session were Prof Anisuzzaman, trade union leader representing Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research, Karamat Ali, and former Human Rights Commissioner of Nepal, Kapil Shrestha. All of them emphasized that the sub-continent can only deliver the full potentials of prosperity within the framework of a People’s Union of South Asian.

There is no alternative to it and sooner or later it will come true. Karamat Ali said, the region had in fact lost an opportunity of making the union in 1970-71 and had it been done, the genocide in Bangladesh and Sri Lanka would not have taken place. He begged apology of his country’s role in Bangladesh in 1971 reiterating the demand that he favoured the trial of Pakistani war criminals and their associates that Bangladesh is now holding for its own perpetrators of war criminals. He said he would continue the demand for trial of his country’s war criminals until they are brought to justice.

Prof Anisuzzaman said people have lost confidence in the SAARC process of integration because it is basically based on promoting the interest of the elite and corporate business. He laid emphasis on promoting people’s regionalism to facilitate people to people contact and bring the benefit of economic prosperity to common people.

Kamala Bhasin said there should be alternative approach to expedite regional integration apart from official platforms. She said people should be encouraged to ignore narrow national identity, border and such other obstacles which are used now as divider to the much sought unity of the region.

Kapil Shrestha laid emphasis on greater involvement of common people in rights movement and protests actions to get the people’s voice heard.

Sender
Rezaul Karim Chowdhury
Mobile: +88 01711529792

From SPN Newsletter
.

Tariq Ali on Salman Taseer Shaheed by

Salman Taseer Remembered
By
Tariq Ali

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v33/n02/tariq-ali/

Mumtaz Hussain Qadri smiled as he surrendered to his colleagues after shooting Salman Taseer, the governor of the Punjab, dead. Many in Pakistan seemed to support his actions; others wondered how he’d managed to get a job as a state bodyguard in the carefully screened Elite Force. Geo TV, the country’s most popular channel, reported, and the report has since been confirmed, that ‘Qadri had been kicked out of Special Branch after being declared a security risk,’ that he ‘had requested that he not be fired on but arrested alive if he managed to kill Taseer’ and that ‘many in Elite Force knew of his plans to kill Salman Taseer.’

Qadri is on his way to becoming a national hero. On his first appearance in court, he was showered with flowers by admiring Islamabad lawyers who have offered to defend him free of charge. On his way back to prison, the police allowed him to address his supporters and wave to the TV cameras. The funeral of his victim was sparsely attended: a couple of thousand mourners at most. A frightened President Zardari and numerous other politicians didn’t show up. A group of mullahs had declared that anyone attending the funeral would be regarded as guilty of blasphemy. No mullah (that includes those on the state payroll) was prepared to lead the funeral prayers. The federal minister for the interior, Rehman Malik, a creature of Zardari’s, has declared that anyone trying to tamper with or amend the blasphemy laws will be dealt with severely. In the New York Times version he said he would shoot any blasphemer himself.

Taseer’s spirited defence of Asiya Bibi, a 45-year-old Punjabi Christian peasant, falsely charged with blasphemy after an argument with two women who accused her of polluting their water by drinking out of the same receptacle, provoked an angry response from religious groups. Many in his own party felt that Taseer’s initiative was mistimed, but in Pakistan the time is never right for such campaigns. Bibi had already spent 18 months in jail. Her plight had been highlighted by the media, women had taken to the streets to defend her and Taseer and another senior politician from the Pakistan Peoples Party, Sherry Rehman, had demanded amendments to the blasphemy laws. Thirty-eight other women have been imprisoned under the same law in recent years and soon after a friendly meeting between Yousaf Gillani, the prime minister, and the leader of the supposedly moderate Jamaat-e-Islami, a member of the latter offered a reward of ten thousand dollars to whoever manages to kill Bibi.

Taseer’s decision to take up Bibi’s case was not made on a whim. He had cleared the campaign with Zardari, much to the annoyance of the law minister, Babar Awan, a televangelist and former militant of the Jamaat-e-Islami. He told journalists he didn’t want the socio-cultural agenda to be hijacked by ‘lunatic mullahs’, raged against governments that had refused to take on fanaticism, and brushed aside threats to his life with disdain. He visited the prison where Bibi was detained – the first time in the history of the Punjab that a governor has gone inside a district jail – and at a press conference declared his solidarity with her. ‘She is a woman who has been incarcerated for a year and a half on a charge trumped up against her five days after an incident where people who gave evidence against her were not even present,’ he told an interviewer. He wanted, he said, ‘to take a mercy petition to the president, and he agreed, saying he would pardon Asiya Bibi if there had indeed been a miscarriage of justice’.

Two weeks after this visit Taseer was dead. I never much cared for his business practices or his political affiliations and had not spoken to him for 20 years, but he was one of my closest friends at school and university and the two of us and the late Shahid Rehman – a gifted and witty lawyer who drank himself to death many moons ago – were inseparable. Some joyful memories came back when I saw his face on TV.

It’s 1960. The country is under a pro-US military dictatorship. All opposition is banned. My parents are away. The three of us – we are 17 years old – are at my place and we decide that something has to be done. We buy some red paint and at about 2 a.m. drive to the Cantonment bridge and carefully paint ‘Yankee Go Home’ on the beautiful whitewashed wall. The next morning we scrub the car clean of all traces of paint. For the next few weeks the city is agog. The story doesn’t appear in the press but everyone is talking about it. In Karachi and Dhaka, where they regard Lahore as politically dead, our city’s stock rises. At college our fellow students discuss nothing else. The police are busy searching for the culprits. We smile and enjoy the fun. Finally they track us down, but as Taseer notes with an edge of bitterness, Shahid’s father is a Supreme Court judge and one of my aunts is married to a general who’s also the minister of the interior, so naturally we all get off with a warning. At the time I almost felt that physical torture might be preferable to being greeted regularly by the general with ‘Hello, Mr Yankee Go Home.’

Two years previously (before the dictatorship) the three of us had organised a demonstration at the US Consulate after reading that an African-American called Jimmy Wilson had been sentenced to death for stealing a dollar. On that occasion Salman, seeing that not many people had turned up, found some street urchins to swell our ranks. We had to stop and explain to them why their chant of ‘Death to Jimmy Wilson’ was wrong. Money changed hands before they were brought into line. Years later, on a London to Lahore flight, I met Taseer by chance and we discussed both these events. He reminded me that the stern US consul had told us he would have us expelled, but his ultra-Lutheranism offended the Catholic Brothers who ran our school and again we escaped punishment. On that flight, more than 20 years ago, I asked him why he had decided to go into politics. Wasn’t being a businessman bad enough? ‘You’ll never understand,’ he said. ‘If I’m a politician as well I can save money because I don’t have to pay myself bribes.’ He was cynical in the extreme, but he could laugh at himself. He died tragically, but for a good cause. His party and colleagues, instead of indulging in manufactured grief, would be better off taking the opportunity to amend the blasphemy laws while there is still some anger at what has taken place. But of course they are doing the exact opposite.

Even before this killing, Pakistan had been on the verge of yet another military takeover. It would make things so much easier if only they could give it another name: military democracy perhaps? General Kayani, whose term as chief of staff was extended last year with strong Pentagon approval, is said to be receiving petitions every day asking him to intervene and ‘save the country’. The petitioners are obviously aware that removing Zardari and replacing him with a nominee of the Sharif brothers’ Muslim League, the PPP’s long-term rivals, is unlikely to improve matters. Petitioning, combined with a complete breakdown of law and order in one or several spheres (suicide terrorism in Peshawar, violent ethnic clashes in Karachi, state violence in Quetta and now Taseer’s assassination), is usually followed by the news that a reluctant general has no longer been able to resist ‘popular’ pressure and with the reluctant agreement of the US Embassy a uniformed president has taken power. We’ve been here before, on four separate occasions. The military has never succeeded in taking the country forward. All that happens is that, instead of politicians, the officers take the cut. The government obviously thinks the threat is serious: some of Zardari’s cronies now speak openly at dinner parties of ‘evidence’ that proves military involvement in his wife Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. If the evidence exists, let’s have a look. Another straw in the wind: the political parties close to the ISI, Pakistan’s main intelligence agency, have withdrawn from the central government, accusing it of callousness and financial malfeasance. True, but hardly novel.

Another necessary prerequisite for a coup is popular disgust with a corrupt, inept and failing civilian government. This has now reached fever pitch. As well as the natural catastrophes that have afflicted the country there are local wars, disappearances, torture, crime, huge price rises in essential goods, unemployment, a breakdown of basic services – all the major cities go without electricity for hours at a stretch and oil lamps are much in demand in smaller towns, which are often without gas and electricity for up to 12 hours. Thanks to the loan conditions recently imposed by the IMF – part of a gear change in the ‘war on terror’ – there have been riots against the rise in fuel prices in several cities. Add to this Zardari’s uncontrollable greed and the irrepressible desire of his minions to mimic their master. Pakistan today is a kleptocracy. There is much talk in Islamabad of the despised prime minister’s neglected wife going on a shopping spree in London last month and finding solace in diamonds, picking up, on her way back home, a VAT rebate in the region of £100,000.

Can it get worse? Yes. And on every front. Take the Af-Pak war. Few now would dispute that its escalation has further destabilised Pakistan, increasing the flow of recruits to suicide bomber command. The CIA’s New Year message to Pakistan consisted of three drone attacks in North Waziristan, killing 19 people. There were 116 drone strikes in 2010, double the number ordered in the first year of the Obama presidency. Serious Pakistani newspapers, Dawn and the News, claim that 98 per cent of those killed in the strikes over the last five years – the number of deaths is estimated to be between two and three thousand – were civilians, a percentage endorsed by David Kilcullen, a former senior adviser to General Petraeus. The Brookings Institution gives a grim ratio of one militant killed for every ten civilians. The drones are operated by the CIA, which isn’t subject to military rules of engagement, with the result that drones are often used for revenge attacks, notably after the sensational Khost bombing of a CIA post in December 2009.

What stops the military from taking power immediately is that it would then be responsible for stopping the drone attacks and containing the insurgency that has resulted from the extension of the war into Pakistan. This is simply beyond it, which is why the generals would rather just blame the civilian government for everything. But if the situation worsens and growing public anger and economic desperation lead to wider street protests and an urban insurgency the military will be forced to intervene. It will also be forced to act if the Obama administration does as it threatens and sends troops across the Pakistan border on protect-and-destroy missions. Were this to happen a military takeover of the country might be the only way for the army to counter dissent within its ranks by redirecting the flow of black money and bribes (currently a monopoly of politicians) into military coffers. Pakistani officers who complain to Western intelligence operatives and journalists that a new violation of sovereignty might split the army do so largely as a way to exert pressure. There has been no serious breach in the military high command since the dismal failure of the 1951 Rawalpindi Conspiracy, the first and last radical nationalist attempt (backed by Communist intellectuals) to seize power within the army and take the country in an anti-imperialist direction. Since then, malcontents in the armed forces have always been rapidly identified and removed. Military perks and privileges – bonuses, land allocations, a presence in finance and industry – play an increasingly important part in keeping the army under control.

Meanwhile, on a visit to Kabul earlier this month, the US homeland security secretary, Janet Napolitano, announced that 52 ‘security agents’ were being dispatched to the Af-Pak border to give on the spot training to Afghan police and security units. The insurgents will be delighted, especially since some of them serve in these units, just as they do in Pakistan.

Pointed to by Ijaz Syed

Pakistan’s ‘illegitimate daughters’

By Gulmina Bilal Ahmad

Why is there not an uproar for the woes of the daughters of Pakistan who were stoned in Swat and, presently, in Orakzai Agency? Daughters like Mukhtaran Mai, of course, are not comparable with American daughters of Pakistani origin like Aafia because, perhaps, the former are illegitimate

A cartoon is truly worth a thousand columns, protests and articles. This week, a cartoon proclaiming Faisal Shahzad to be the ‘son of Pakistan’ said it all. As expected, every visible and invisible beard in the country is falling over backwards to appear more enraged than the other over the imagined slight. Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the proclaimed daughter of Islam, the ummah and Pakistan, has already succeeded in igniting passion and indignation in the country. At the time of writing these words, the Afghan Taliban have already kidnapped a British development worker from Afghanistan as a “means of revenge for Aafia”. Calls for walks and protests have been given by parliamentarians who have already staged the first walk against the sentence. There have even been calls by some circles to sever ties with the US and NATO over the pronouncement of a sentence to this ‘daughter’. Interestingly, the MQM has declared that if they were in government, they
would have severed all diplomatic relations with the US. The question that begs to be answered is: if they are not in the government, then who is? But I digress.

The newspapers are full of reports about the statements coming from Aafia’s family. Such is the self-assessed interest of the media in this issue that one of the papers ran a front page story on who Aafia’s family is talking to and who is being denied this honour. Apparently, the decision at the highest level has also been taken to send a parliamentary delegation to the US, including Dr Aafia’s sister, to lodge a protest. This is in addition to flying in her team of lawyers and her US-based brother — at the government’s expense — to Pakistan to ‘consult’ with the government over the next course of action. The government’s expense, of course, means that while there is no money for higher education, there is a lot of money to bail out non-Pakistani Muslim daughters running amuck.

Steps to bring this daughter of Islam and Pakistan back home, wherever home might be, might be necessary according to some. Perhaps, Aafia’s case should be pursued but one fails to understand why there is discrimination amongst the siblings. While the parliamentarians walk behind the opposition leader for Aafia, why do we not hear calls of “we will not rest easily” until the missing persons that have been ‘missing’ for years within Pakistan are located? Why is there not an uproar for the woes of the daughters of Pakistan who were stoned in Swat and, presently, in Orakzai Agency? Or, perhaps, the two daughters of the ummah who were buried alive in Balochistan after dogs were set after them. Daughters like Mukhtaran Mai, of course, are not comparable with American daughters of Pakistani origin like Aafia because, perhaps, the former are illegitimate.

At the time of writing these words, there are 7,000 women and children residing in 75 jails in the country. Out of these, 1,500 are in dismal conditions. According to the National Commission for the Status of Women (NCSW), 88 percent of the female prisoners are in jail only because of the ambiguities in the Zina Ordinance. However, parliamentarians do not stage walks for them, no commissions are sent anywhere in the country, no one meets their families and their ordeal is not a slap on anyone’s face simply because they are illegitimate. Legitimacy, it seems, only comes from Aafia.

A word of caution on the subject of daughters, legitimate or otherwise. Those who declare that Aafia is the daughter of Islam, Pakistan and the Muslim ummah, should remember, then, who their sons-in-law are. Aafia’s husband Mr Ammar al Baluchi is the nephew of Mr Khalid Sheikh Mohammed of 9/11 fame. We all have unsavoury uncles who get mixed up in the wrong company but investigation has revealed some roads leading to the nephew too. A detainee at the Guantanamo Bay, the son-in-law of the Muslim ummah was allegedly involved in financing the 9/11 attacks. If the trial of Aafia is “a slap on the whole Islamic world”, according to Altaf Hussain, then the trial of her husband should qualify as a slap on one side of the face at the very least.

Speaking of trials, the very characters present within the ‘Aafia mafia’, as columnist Fasi Zaka puts it, are also the ones who are sworn supporters of judicial supremacy. Food for thought for them as they endure the long wait till October 13: do they believe in the supremacy of the judiciary only in Pakistan? Dr Aafia was tried. Evidence was presented against her and the judiciary has spoken. How has this judicial decision become a fight between Islam and the West?

When will we learn? This is not a fight between Islam and the West just as militant groups do not represent anything more than the Wahabiist funded, inspired, encouraged, and promoted brand of bigotry. Just this year, a total of 9,009 civilians died in terrorist attacks, along with a total of 3,215 security personnel and 19,019 terrorists. This brings us to a total of 31,243 Pakistanis who died just this year because of the twisted worldviews that they want to impose on all of us. This is opposed to a total of 189 deaths in total in 2003, 863 in 2004, 648 in 2005, 1,471 in 2006, 3,590 in 2007, 6,715 in 2008 and 11,704 in 2009. In other words, a total of 56,431 have died in the last seven years. Yet, we declare that this war is not ours. If it was not previously, perhaps it is high time that it should be now. For the person sitting in San Francisco or Paris, militant groups and their apologists pose a terrorist threat. For us in Pakistan, it is terrorist
reality.

The writer is an Islamabad-based consultant. She can be reached at : coordinator@individualland.com

– Posted to CMKP Digest Number 2261 by “Andreanos” shafique100@yahoo.com
.
.

FBI Launching Mass Raids of Antiwar Activists’ Homes

Posted: 24 Sep 2010 10:34 AM PDT by News From Antiwar.com‏

The FBI is confirming that this morning they began a number of “raids” against the homes of antiwar activists, claiming that they are “seeking evidence relating to activities concerning the material support of terrorism.”

So far there do not appear to have been any arrests related to the raids nor, according to FBI spokesman Steve Warfield, are there any expected. He also insisted that there was “no imminent threat” related to the antiwar organization targeted. Some of the activists say they were ordered to appear before a grand jury, however.

The warrant against antiwar activist Mick Kelly’s home cited efforts to look into his ability to “pay for his own travel” to Palestine and Colombia and appeared to have been little more than a fishing expedition looking for possible links to “foreign terrorist organizations including but not limited to FARC, PFLP, and Hezbollah.” Kelly insists that the raids were about harassing antiwar organizers.

Officials said they were related to a Joint Terrorism Task Force investigation. The JTTF in Minneapolis has a long history of heavy-handed investigations against protest groups, including an attempt in 2008 to infiltrate a vegan potluck.

Most of the raids were conducted in Minneapolis and were related to antiwar leaders in that city. Other raids were also reported in Chicago, Michigan, and North Carolina. Many of the homes targeted in Minneapolis were related to the Marxist-Leninist group “Freedom Road Socialist Organization” (FRSO) but this was not the only group targeted.

According to Reuters, Chicago antiwar activist (and longtime gay rights activist) Andy Thayer was also targeted, which he attributed to “solidarity work, for speaking out on the issues of the day.”

CNN also listed the Palestine Solidarity Group, the Twin Cities Antiwar Committee, and Students for a Democratic Society as groups whose members were targeted. The Twin Cities Antiwar Committee’s office was also raided according to the group’s attorneys.

Aafia Siddiqui: WILL US Attorney General Call for a Mis-trial?

Letter to US Attorney general from Yvonne Ridley

DID JUDGE BERMAN MAKE A MISTAKE – WILL US ATTORNEY GENERAL CALL FOR A MIS-TRIAL?

Dear Mr Holder,

I am a journalist and film-maker who has been investigating the rather intriguing case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui since her disappearance with her three children in 2003.

Can you please tell me why a Pakistani citizen, who allegedly carried out a crime in Afghanistan, was charged, tried and sentenced in a US court?

Not only did the alleged crime happen in another country, but Ms Siddiqui was renditioned without formal extradition papers and without correct consular access according to official US records.

No other citizen, from anywhere else in the world, has ever been put on trial in a US criminal court for the attempted murder of US soldiers although quite clearly, from the horrific statistics coming out of Iraq and Afghanistan the death toll and injuries of US soldiers is now running in excess of tens of thousands.

Can we assume from this that the US is now in full occupation, and therefore in control of sovereignty of Afghanistan or did Judge Richard Berman simply make a mistake by accepting such a case in to his court?

I have copied in Lord Nazir Ahmed from the British House of Lords in to this email since he has taken a particularly close interest in the whole case.

I look forward to a response soonest.

Kind regards
Yvonne Ridley
First Witness Productions Ltd.
London
ENGLAND

Aafia Siddiqui should be pardoned: Sign the Petition

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AHRC-STM-199-2010
September 24, 2010

A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission

PAKISTAN/USA: Dr. Aafia Siddiqui should be pardoned from her sentence of 86 years

Please sign the online petition urging President Obama to grant amnesty.

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was arrested in March 2003 by Pakistani intelligence personnel and allegedly handed over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Subsequently she was detained in Bagram in Afghanistan, a facility used by the American government to hold persons suspected of being agents of Al Qaida.

Although she has testified in open court about her detention in Bagram it has never been properly explained by the FBI.

There are several discrepancies with the case put forward by the American government. They have never been able to properly explain how a woman, weakened by five years of imprisonment and mistreatment was able to wrestle a weapon away from a fully trained soldier. No Americans were actually injured in the incident but they found it necessary to shot her. This is reminiscent of a police encounter killing which is common in Pakistan and Bangladesh and India.

Dr. Siddique was shot during the incident and was not given the necessary medical treatment for some months.

The case against Dr. Aafia has brought to light the extent of human rights violations carried out by the allied forces in the name of the war on terror.

It is significant that there was no information available on Dr. Siddiqui until the Asian Human Rights Commission issued its first Urgent Appeal on July 24, 2008. (link) It was shortly after the publication of this appeal that the FBI announced that she had been arrested on July 17, 2008. However, as stated above, there have been no explanations as to her whereabouts after she was arrested in March 2003.

Dr. Siddiqui was arrested with her three children, the youngest of which was an infant. The two older children have been found, however, the fate of the third one remains unknown but he is feared to have died. The children were only found after an international protest raised the issue.

Her trial does not appear to have been fair and there were several discrepancies, she was regularly denied contact with members of her family and her lawyers who believe that her mental condition is seriously in doubt. This is no doubt due to her long years of imprisonment, and mistreatment.

In view of the trauma caused to Dr. Siddiqui by her arrest, incarceration at Bagram and the loss of her children, there can be nothing worse for a mother than not knowing the condition and whereabouts of her children, we feel that for whatever crime she is accused of committing, she has suffered enough. The sentence of 86 years is far in excess of any reasonable punishment.

Therefore the Asian Human Rights Commission urges President Obama to grant her amnesty in order that she can received treatment for her mental condition and trauma and live out her remaining years with her two surviving children.

The AHRC also urges President Zadari to use his good offices to encourage his American counterpart to grant Dr. Siddiqui the amnesty she deserves for the very great hardship she has endured.

Sign the online petition urging President Obama to grant amnesty.

About AHRC: 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.

86 Years for Aafia Siddiqui

JFAC STATEMENT ON SENTENCING OF AAFIA SIDDIQUI
23 September 2010

On the afternoon of 23rd September 2010 Pakistani neuroscientist and mother of three Aafia Siddiqui was sentenced to 86 years on five charges by Judge Berman in a Manhattan courtroom.

The Justice for Aafia Coalition released the following statement:

“We are deeply saddened by the harsh sentence passed on Dr Aafia Siddiqui by Judge Richard Berman today. At such a difficult time, our thoughts and prayers are with Aafia’s family, who have been separated from her since March 2003.

It has now been over seven and a half years since Dr Siddiqui was abducted with her three young children by Pakistani and American agencies. She has since been separated from her children and family, detained in a series of secret prisons and physically and psychologically abused by her captors. Following a blatantly prejudiced and unfair trial in which little conclusive evidence of her guilt was presented, she was found guilty.

We hoped that Judge Berman would have opened his eyes to the manifest injustice that has been committed against Dr Siddiqui and repatriated her to her country. But it seems that Judge Berman was adamant in his position despite the enormous level of public support for Aafia. Last week, Iran, in a goodwill gesture, released Sarah Shourd, an American woman accused of espionage, a crime against the state punishable by death. We are disappointed that the United States has been unable to exercise a similar degree of mercy and leniency in the case of another innocent woman who stands accused of crimes against its government.

While we are disappointed by Judge Berman’s decision, we condemn in the strongest terms the stance of the Pakistani government towards this beloved daughter of the nation. While we must never look to the wolf for protection, we expect the shepherd to care for his flock. The Pakistani government has from the outset been complicit in Aafia’s disappearance and detention, and has displayed nothing but contempt for its people and dignity through its cowardly stance in requesting her repatriation. They are a stain upon the honourable reputation of the country.

JFAC will continue the struggle for justice for Dr Aafia to try and secure her freedom and unite her with her family and loved ones. We remind Aafia’s supporters that this struggle may seem tiresome but as Imam Ahmad advised his student, we will only find rest when our feet set foot in paradise.”

Notes for editor:
1. The Justice for Aafia Coalition is an umbrella body for a number of organizations, groups, and activists created in February 2010 to campaign for the release and return of Aafia Siddiqui and for the opening of a full investigation into the circumstances of her detention.

2. Aafia Siddiqui’s lawyers maintain that she was abducted by the Pakistani and US agents along with her three children in 2003 and rendered to Afghanistan where she was detained by American forces for over five years. Siddiqui claims she was abused and tortured throughout her detention. She was convicted in February 2010 of allegedly firing on US soldiers while in custody in what appears to have been a grave miscarriage of justice. Her son Ahmed was released in September 2008 from Afghan custody, and her daughter Maryam was eventually recovered in April 2010. For full details of the case, please visit www.justiceforaafia.org

3. For media enquiries contact info@justiceforaafia.org

US Court Sides With CIA On Rendition and Torture Case

Posted: 08 Sep 2010 06:42 PM PDT

In a case that one of the judges declared a “painful conflict between human rights and national security,” the winner was once again clear. And as has so often been the case recently, the winner was not human rights.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a lawsuit against Boeing subsidiary Jeppesen Dataplan dismissed today because allowing a hearing into the company’s apparent complicity in the extralegal detention, rendition and torture of detainees as part of a secret CIA program was trumped by the “need to protect state secrets.”

The result was a narrow 6-5 vote and even those judges voting in favor of the “national secruity” side of things insisted they did so reluctantly. The Bush Administration, and later the Obama Administration, insisted that the trial carried an “unjustifable risk” that Jeppesen’s defense would involve the leak of state secrets.

The dissenting judges insisted the ruling was too broad and was “dangerous as a means of hiding governmental misbehavior under the huise of national security.” Jeppesen’s involvement in the “extraordinary renditions” was initially uncovered in 2006, when a former employee insisted the managing director of the company bragged about how the company does “the torture flights” and that “it certainly pays well.”

Information taken from News from Antiwar.com

Repatriate Dr. Aafia Siddiqui to her home in Pakistan!

We urge all individuals concerned with human rights to sign this international petition to U.S. and Pakistani government officials, urging the immediate repatriation to Pakistan of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui.

SIGN THE PETITION AT
http://www.iacenter.org/SiddiquiPetition

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is being held in federal prison in New York City awaiting sentencing, now scheduled for September 23. This is a campaign for justice, solidarity and compassion for a woman and a political prisoner who has been severely injured and abused.

A coordinated campaign of petitions will be delivered in NYC, London, and to officials in Pakistan on August 14 – Pakistan Independence Day. The kidnapping and illegal extradition to the U.S. of this Pakistani citizen is an insult to the dignity of all Pakistanis and an affront to Pakistan’s sovereignty.

In New York City petitions will be presented at 12 noon on Saturday, August 14 at the Pakistan Mission to the United Nations at 8 East 65th St, between 5th Ave and Madison Ave, NY, NY 10065 to the office of Ambassador Abdullah Hussain Haroon.

Messages will call for this simple act of compassion during the month of Ramadan.

Aafia Siddiqui holds a place in the hearts of people of conscience internationally irrespective of their faith, nationality or location. There is already immense international outrage about her case. Aafia Siddiqui has repeatedly maintained in court appearances that she was tortured while in U.S. custody.

This U.S.-educated doctor of neuroscience has come to symbolize the many hundreds of Pakistanis who have been secretly disappeared, detained and tortured, as well as the national outrage at the continuing deadly U.S. drone attacks.

The plight of the disappeared and missing in Pakistan is a cause of great national pain. Let us begin with this act of compassion to address this grievous problem.

Dr. Siddiqui’s five years in secret detention in Pakistan and Afghanistan, her grievous injuries, her two years in solitary confinement in the U.S. and her trial in New York City were continuing top news in Pakistan. Civil rights, religious and women’s organizations marched and petitioned, demanding the return of this “daughter of the nation” to Pakistan.

Dr. Siddiqui’s family and supporters have launched an international campaign for her repatriation to Pakistan. Aafia Siddiqui’s elderly mother is seriously ill and has pleaded for her daughter’s return.

Dr. Fauzia Siddiqui, Aafia Siddiqui’s older sister, in stressing the urgency of a campaign for Aafia Siddiqui’s repatriation, explained that under U.S. law a foreigner tried by a U.S. court could be repatriated to the country of his or her nationality on the request of their own government before the pronouncement of a sentence. She said there were 19 such precedents in which prisoners after indictment were repatriated to their countries on the request of their respective governments.

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is neither a U.S. citizen nor a permanent resident. She had only one passport, issued by the Pakistan government.

Dr. Siddiqui was not charged with committing any crime on U.S. soil; therefore she should not have been extradited to the U.S. for trial but either tried in Afghanistan or extradited to Pakistan. Dr. Siddiqui is not charged with terrorism nor is she charged with injuring or harming anyone anywhere. She is a victim of terrible life-threatening injuries.

The Pakistan government through diplomatic channels should insist on Aafia Siddiqui’s repatriation. The U.S. government, based on overwhelming Pakistani sentiment for Aafia Siddiqui’s return, should grant this humanitarian request.

Dr. Siddiqui was convicted despite all physical and forensic evidence that she could not have committed the acts with which she was charged.

The U.S. government should release all the secret documents regarding Aafia Siddiqui’s disappearance that were suppressed at her trial in NYC and the documents on the many other disappeared and missing people in Pakistan. As we have seen in the recent release of documents by Wikileaks, we cannot count on governments to give a true accounting of events that may prove embarrassing to various government officials.

BACKGROUND TO CASE
In March 2003, at the age of 30, Dr. Siddiqui disappeared along with her three children from a street in Karachi, Pakistan. On March 31, 2003, the Pakistan media reported that Dr. Siddiqui had been arrested and turned over to U.S. officials.

Dr. Siddiqui mysteriously reappeared on the streets of Ghazni, Afghanistan, following five years of secret detention. There she was immediately re-arrested, shot and almost killed. After emergency treatment, she was brought to the United States and held in solitary confinement for almost two years before being placed on trial in a federal court in New York City.

The government charges were preposterous. Dr. Siddiqui had supposedly been arrested in July 2008, five years after her disappearance. The U.S. claims that when U.S. military personnel came to interrogate her after the arrest, Siddiqui grabbed a U.S. soldier’s M4 gun, fired off two rounds and was herself shot while being subdued.

Questions of how the bullets, supposedly fired by Siddiqui, failed to hit a single one of the 20 to 30 people in a small, crowded room, or hit any wall or floor, or leave any residue or fingerprints, were never answered. Witness testimonies often contradicted their earlier sworn testimonies and the testimony of others. The prosecution urged the jury to ignore science and irrefutable facts and believe the contradictory testimony of U.S. Special Forces soldiers and FBI agents.

Despite her severe wounds and her pleas for mercy the court imposed daily abusive and painful strip searches. The court through unprecedented security measures sought to close the trial and intimidate all support. Most important is that throughout her trial Aafia Siddiqui refused her lawyers and made it clear that she was not represented by lawyers of her choice.

Dr. Siddiqui’s missing son Ahmed was reunited with his aunt in late 2008 while daughter Maryum was dropped near her aunt’s home in Karachi in April 2010 after she had been missing for seven years. Dr. Siddiqui’s youngest child, Suleman, who would now be about seven years old, remains missing and is feared dead.

There have been massive demonstrations in Pakistan’s major cities demanding the return of this 38-year-old mother, now dubbed the “daughter of Pakistan.”

For more information on Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s trial and treatment and the campaign to repatriate her, go to:
www.FreeAafia.org or www.JusticeForAafia.org.

SIGN THE PETITION TO U.S. AND PAKISTANI GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS.

You can send this message or you can edit and revise it.

COPIES WILL ALSO BE SENT TO MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA IN THE U.S. AND PAKISTAN.

To: President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joseph Biden, Attorney General Eric Holder, Sen. John Kerry (Chairman, US Senate Foreign Relations Committee), Congressional leaders, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistani Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Pakistani Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi

cc: Ban Ki-Moon (Secretary-General, United Nations), UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, UN High Commissioner on Refugees, and members of the Pakistani and U.S. media

Dear President Barack Obama, President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani :

As the sentencing of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui draws closer at the Federal District Court in Manhattan, I urge you to repatriate Dr. Aafia Siddiqui to her native Pakistan as a matter of urgency. Given all the facts and circumstances of this case, repatriation of Dr. Siddiqui to Pakistan would not only serve the interests of justice, but is also warranted on humanitarian grounds.

This simple act of compassion during the month of Ramadan would be of special significance.

There are numerous credible reports that Dr. Siddiqui was abducted from Pakistan with her three young children in March 2003. Dr. Siddiqui claims that her captors detained her in a series of secret prisons for five years during which time she was abused in a variety of ways and tortured. Her youngest son, Suleman, remains missing to this day.

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is a citizen of Pakistan. She was not charged with committing any crime on U.S. soil, nor is she a U.S. citizen. She should not have been extradited to the U.S.

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is not charged with terrorism nor has she been charged with injuring or harming anyone anywhere. She is a victim of terrible life threatening injuries.

The plight of the disappeared and missing in Pakistan is a cause of great national pain. Let us begin with this act of compassion to address this grievous problem.

In light of the circumstances of this case, in which it appears that at a minimum, Dr. Siddiqui suffered severe physical and emotional trauma, we call upon you to exercise all lawful authority to allow Dr. Siddiqui to be repatriated to Pakistan on humanitarian grounds.

Sincerely,
(your signature will be appended here)

SIGN THE PETITION AT
http://www.iacenter.org/SiddiquiPetition

International Action Center
55 W 17th St #5C
New York, NY 10010
212-522-6626
www.iacenter.org
iacenter@iacenter.org
.
.