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The Failed US Disposal Order: Dr Aafia Siddiqui (Part 1 of 3)

January 19, 2010

By Dr Sumayya

WHO IS DR AAFIA SIDDIQUI?

Today, in the times of democracy, human rights – specifically women’s rights – and freedom of speech, the pleas of Aafia Siddiqui go unheard as she stands trial in New York, in one of the most controversial, muddled, and confusing cases of the century.

So what events have landed Dr Aafia into American captivity?

Dr Aafia Siddiqui was born in Karachi, 37 years ago into a middle-class family.  She achieved highly academically securing a place at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology, only to go on further to Brandeis University, graduating with a PhD in cognitive neuroscience.  Her father was a UK trained medical doctor, and her mother is a housewife.  She is one of three siblings, who also shared outstanding academic achievements – her brother being an Architect married to a Paediatrician, and her sister – a Harvard-educated Neurologist.

She married a Karachi doctor, Muhammad Amjad Khan in 1995 and started a new life in Boston.  After a couple of years of their marriage, Aafia had one son, Ahmed Siddiqui and a daughter, Mariam Siddiqui.

Aafia was someone who held Islam close to her heart, donating to charities regularly, holding fundraiser events and giving speeches at the local mosque raising awareness for the plights of Muslims in the likes of Afghanistan and Bosnia.  She would order Qur’aans and books, for them to be distributed in prisons and schools, and despite the big boxes of books, wouldn’t ask for help as she carried them down flights of stairs.  A 2004 article of the Boston Magazine quotes her “…she wrote three guides for members who wanted to teach others about Islam. On the group’s website, Siddiqui explained how to run a daw’ah table, an informational booth used at school events to educate people about, and persuade them to convert to, Islam.” The article then mentions, how in the guides, she had written:

“Imagine our humble, but sincere daw’ah effort turning into a major daw’ah movement in this country! Just imagine it! And us, reaping the reward of everyone who accepts Islam through this movement, through years to come. Think and plan big. May Allah give this strength and sincerity to us so that our humble effort continue, and expands until America becomes a Muslim land.”

She was a soft spoken, kind-hearted Pakistani leading a normal life…until 9/11 – which not only changed the life of Dr Aafia Siddiqui but changed the lives of many like her…

UNDER THE FBI/CIA MAGNIFYING GLASS

In May 2002, she and her husband were visited by the FBI.

According to Western media, her husband was questioned about some internet purchases they had made; namely, $10,000 worth of night-vision goggles, body armour and military style books.  Her husband said that they were bought for hunting and camping expeditions.  Dr Aafia happened to be questioned as she was in the house at the time; otherwise the visit was mainly to question her husband.  The couple were not visited by the FBI again.  Due to the increasing number of arrests made by US officials, with long periods of detention without charge, it became increasingly difficult for Muslims to remain in the US.  As a result, the couple moved back to Pakistan that summer.  Reports suggest that during this time, Aafia’s marriage was going through a rough patch, resulting in a divorce, just weeks before the birth of their third child, Sulayman.

At the end of December 2002, as Aafia had been trying to secure a job in Karachi without much success, she decided to return to the US, leaving her three children with her mother.

On the 30th of March 2003, after visiting her mother in Karachi, she left her home on a scheduled visit to her uncle in Islamabad.  Her mother reports her getting into a taxi with her children to board her flight – She never boarded that flight and never reached Islamabad.  Dr Aafia Siddiqui and her three children vanished…only to re-appear FIVE YEARS later in Afghanistan.

On July the 17th 2008, Dr Aafia Siddiqui re-emerged in Ghazni, on Afghan soil with her 11 year old son Ahmed.  Covered from head-to-toe in a burka and allegedly holding various manuals and information about attacks on numerous US targets, not forgetting certain chemicals and liquids, she was arrested by Afghan intelligence – and immediately visited by the CIA.

Upon being questioned by the CIA, she is alleged to have got a hold of an M4 rifle which was conveniently placed close to her by FBI agents,  cock off the safe and fire multiple rounds at the US and Afghan officials – I cannot withhold myself from saying this but this is beginning to sound like some typical Hollywood cliched movie.  And of course, we have the ‘heroes’, who managed to control this ‘Al-Qaeda GI Jane’, by firing two pistol shots injuring Dr Aafia in her abdomen.  And just to put you out of your misery of intense suspense, yes, yes, this scene was generated under the government of the very intelligent George W Bush, so, wait for it! -NONE of the US or Afghan officials were injured! (M4 fully automatic rapid fire rifle versus a measly pistol….)

The injured Aafia was taken to Bagram Craig Field Hospital for surgery after which she wasn’t allowed to recover in a High Dependency Unit with one-to-one care, food, and TLC but was being ‘rehabilitated’ with two weeks of interrogation tied to a four point restraint bed, with plenty of lights and multiple cameras.

Brooklyn was Aafia’s next stop where she became international news for attempted assault of US officials.  After many psychiatric assessments leading to a delay in Aafia’s trial, it will finally begin today – Tuesday 19th January 2010.  Let me clarify that this trial will not be to determine Aafia as guilty for being an Al-Qaeda member or a terrorist but her case will only deal with her alleged assault of US officials whilst in Afghan captivity, but more on this later, insha’Allah.

WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED…

Her Disappearance

So, where was Aafia during the five year gap from her disappearance in 2003 to her re-emergence in 2008? How did she get from Karachi in Pakistan to Ghazni in Afghanistan?  What a contrast to how she left her mother’s home – the intention to visit her uncle – and ending up in Ghazni with terrorism related information with her son? How come the whereabouts of her other two children remain unknown? Where are they? It doesn’t really make sense – but what it does show is that whatever happened during those crucial five years, changed the course of Dr Aafia and her children’s life – for the worst.

Her mother Ismet Siddiqui claims, she had planned to visit her uncle in Islamabad and as she was driven away in a taxi, Ismet waved goodbye, and never saw Aafia or her three children again.  Mrs Ismet claims that a man on a motorcycle visited her a few days after her disappearance and threatened her to keep quiet about Aafia’s disappearance.

What dawned over the five year time-line is disgusting, outrageous and a huge embarrassment for the US, Afghan and Pakistani authorities.

Dr Aafia claims that she and her children were abducted that day, and her children were taken away, Ahmed 7, Mariam 5, and Sulayman being 6 months old.  The last thing that she remembered was being injected with something into her arm, only to re-awake in a prison cell.  She believes she was in an air-base in Afghanistan as she could hear aircrafts nearby.

Sold for a dollar and a dime

During this ordeal, Pervaiz Musharraf was the President of Pakistan, and his faithfulness to America in the ‘War on Terror’, involved handing over Pakistanis to the CIA/FBI for a mere $5000 per head.  The blood of a Muslim had become so cheap, and easily obtainable.  Dr Aafia Siddiqui was also ‘sold’ by this pitiful regime, hence landing in the clutches of American claws.  Other reports suggest that it was Pervaiz Musharraf’s son, Bilaal Musharraf who had received the huge amount of ‘bounty’ on Dr Aafia’s head.    I remember when 9/11 happened and Muslim brothers were being arrested everywhere, I said to my brother, that I fear the day that Muslim sisters would be taken away in the same manner – but little did I know – these activities were long in the pipe-line.  How long must have the money lasted in their bank accounts?  What goods must they have bought with it?  I suppose a guilty feeling may not have crossed the heart, after all, destroying the lives of hundreds of families doesn’t warrant sympathy.  Everyone will receive justice in the court of Allah insha’Allah, and we will all be answerable for our actions.  Hiding one’s heinous crimes in this world may gain one an increase in wealth and temporary joy, but we are in effect gambling our eternity in the Hereafter.  As the Prophet Sallallahu Alayhi Wa sallam, says in a thought-provoking Hadith, “… and be afraid of the curse of an oppressed person because there is no screen between his invocation and Allah.” (Sahih Bukhari: Volume 2, Book 24, Number 573.)

Her Torture

Over the five years, she was interrogated by the same US officials, and subject to numerous types of torture – being held in solitary confinement for the majority of the time.  Her children were used as a psychological anguish for Aafia – pictures of her older son lying in a pool of blood was shown; a picture of her daughter, Mariam, standing behind frosted glass hence vaguely seen was often paraded across her eyes.  Tape recordings of her children screaming were often played to her at a loud volume.  She was forced to write pages and pages about bombs, and chemical warfare.    Aafia herself was repeatedly raped and repeatedly subjected to water boarding

As Aafia was presented in court last week, her lawyer revealed further details of her ordeal: Aafia has brain-damage from her time in US custody, she had a kidney removed whilst in US custody, she is unable to digest her food as during her surgery, parts of her intestines were removed, she has a large surgical scar extending from her chest area to her abdomen, which apparently has been poorly sewn with the concern of her suffering with internal bleeding, and has multiple sites of skin sewed up for her gunshot wound.   She had been deprived of basic medical care, and the likes of UK patients get Morphine to control their pain for major abdominal surgery – Aafia got nothing more than Ibuprofen.  Further reports state that her teeth were removed, her nose was broken and improperly reset.  Pakistani intelligence claim that her baby, Sulayman fell ill whilst in custody, and subsequently died. She has been, in effect, in one of the darkest pit holes of US hospitality.

Her treatment is deplorable.  Such behaviour doesn’t suit the much boasted civilised society of the US, but the true face of the US administration depicts the devastating decline in their moral standards.  To leave Aafia near dead has achieved nothing, but shame and disrespect in the name of the ‘War on Terror’.

____________________________________________________________________________________________

[Water-boarding: A torture technique, in which the prisoner is strapped to a horizontal board at the head, chest and legs, and water is poured directly over the nasal passages and mouth, effectively leading the person into a drowning like state with suffocation, and if continued, death.  Variations of this technique exist, from pouring water directly over cloth push into the mouth, or after a plastic bag has been put over the head with a hole made for the mouth; regardless of the technique, those subjected to this can really only take it for a few seconds, but of course it is continued for much longer.  Its health consequences are detrimental, physically and psychologically: causes extreme pain, brain damage due to oxygen deprivation, lung damage, and increased heart rate with the risk of a heart attack.  Reports have suggested that subjects usually suffer psychologically even years after this torture, where some start gasping for air even if it rains, and others fear having a shower.]

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One comment

  1. Hatred has appeared from their tongues what their hearts hide is far worse !!



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