On September 23 in federal court, US District Court Judge Richard Berman sentenced political prisoner Aafia Siddiqui to 86 years in prison. Outrage most accurately expresses this gross miscarriage of justice, compounding what she’s already endured following her March 30, 2003 abduction, imprisonment, torture, prosecution, and conviction on bogus charges.
Earlier articles explained her case in detail, accessed through the following links:
In modern times, she’s one of American depravity’s most aggrieved victims, now given a virtual life sentence for a crime she didn’t and couldn’t have committed, explained in the above articles.
In recent months, she’s been in New York’s Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in maximum security solitary confinement, during her trial, conviction and September 23 sentencing. Importantly, her life was effectively destroyed by years of horrific tortures, repeated rapings, and other abuses in Bagram Prison at America’s Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan.
Addressing the court, said said “I’m not paranoid. I’m not mentally ill. I don’t agree with” anyone saying so, though it’s hard imagining why not after years of horrific brutalization. A Pakistani/American scientist, years of torture and abuse destroyed her persona, yet somehow she survived and endured more stress from prosecution, a travesty of a trial, conviction and sentencing.
Reporting on the court’s decision, the BBC repeated government lies, including her possessing bomb making instructions to blow up New York landmarks – “evidence that she was a potentially dangerous terrorist.” Yet her indictment was on totally different charges – preposterous ones accusing her of the following:
In the presence of two FBI agents, two Army interpreters, and three US Army officers, this frail 110 pound woman allegedly assaulted three of them, seized one of their rifles, opened fire at close range, hit no one, yet she alone was severely wounded.
At trial, no credible evidence was presented. The charges were concocted and bogus. None accused her of plotting to blow up New York or any other landmarks or facilities.
Yet proceedings were carefully orchestrated. Witnesses were enlisted, pressured, coerced, and/or bribed to cooperate. Jurors were then intimidated to convict, her attorney Elaine Whitfield Sharp, saying their verdict was “based on fear, not fact.” No evidence was presented except claims government prosecutors invented to convict.
The International Tribune also highlighted today’s proceedings, headlining “Dr. Aafia sentenced to 86 years imprisonment,” saying:
It was on seven counts “for allegedly firing at US troops in Afghanistan.” After the announcement, protests erupted across Pakistan. In Karachi, civil society and political party workers rallied “in front of the Karachi Press Club….ask(ing) the federal government” to intervene on her behalf.
Jamaat-e-Islami, PASBAN, Defense of Human Rights, and other civil society members marched toward the US Embassy, expressing outrage and demanding she be released “as a goodwill gesture.”
“Advisor to Sindh Chief Minister Ms. Sharmila Farooqui asked the United States to release (her) on humanitarian (grounds) as a goodwill gesture to Pakistan….Now is the time for the US to show goodness and pardon a Pakistani woman who is innocent.”
Farooqui said Aafia was wrongly abducted, then handed over to US authorities. She’s “an innocent woman,” outrageously treated, convicted and sentenced.
Explaining further she said:
“In Islam and Pakistan, handing over a woman to foreign countries is a sin, but it is a pity that an innocent woman was mercilessly given in(to the) hands of the (previous) US” government.
She also urged international human rights organizations to actively pursue her release.
A Final Comment
At issue is 9/11 truth, the subsequent bogus “war on terror” based on a lie, America’s war on Islam that followed against Iraq, Afghanistan, and Muslim Americans, victimized for political advantage. Aafia is perhaps its most aggrieved living victim, her persona destroyed and life ended by a virtual life sentence unless clemency or world pressure saves her.
Her case should incite everyone’s moral outrage. It also reveals America’s true face, its rogue agenda, targeting Muslims for their faith and ethnicity, making us all equally vulnerable.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
The press made a big deal of it. The president even starred in an Oval Office TV show about the “end to U.S. combat” in Iraq, which was announced on August 31. Mr. Obama said he’d fulfilled a promise to end the war.
Obama’s bit of theater cost less than George Bush’s May 1, 2003 shameless declaration of “mission accomplished,” his circus-act-in-military-flight-suit-to-the-flight-deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln. Yet the president’s speech was just as dishonest.
Just listen to Army Brig. Gen. Jeffery Buchanan, who told National Public Radio for Sept. 19, “Our rules of engagement have not changed.” Indeed, since the “end of combat,” U.S. soldiers have been in at least two fierce shoot outs involving the use of U.S. warplanes. A Sept. 15 battle included “at least” four U.S. helicopter gunships. Another, in Diyala province, saw U.S. planes dropping two 500-pound bombs.
Gen. Buchanan told NPR he “… understands why most people would call this combat.” Most people, general?
Two days after the President’s “combat’s over” routine, Col. Malcolm Frost, the commander of the “advisory” brigade in Diyala, wrote in a note to soldiers’ families, “We will move around Iraq fully protected in armored Strykers and other armored vehicles, wearing full body armor, and fully loaded with ammunition to deal with the enemy …” the New York Times reported.
Col. Frost currently has the same combat soldiers as a combat brigade — but supplied with 51 “advisers.” Since his unit arrived in Iraq in July, in an “advisory” capacity, two of his soldiers have been killed and 13 wounded. Tell the families of the dead that the war is over.
Another soldier was killed Sept. 16 while detonating seized explosives. If these aren’t combat fatalities, I’m the Queen of Moravia.
Today—among the 50,000 U.S. soldiers still occupying Iraq—there are 4,500 “Special Forces” commandos. These Green Berets, Navy Seals, Army Rangers, and “unconventional” or secret assassination (known for PR purposes as “targeted killing”) squads still storm Iraqi houses and villages at night trying to kill “insurgents” and “suspected members of other armed groups,” according to Baghdad reporters for the Times.
As the GoArmy website says, “missions are … sometimes classified.” You might say that the war in Iraq is now entirely classified, since fighting has been declared over by the Commander-in-Chief himself.
Bombings, firefights, nighttime raids and covert operations might be viewed by most people as combat. But with the feel-good peacewash of presidential speech writers, our military occupation of Iraq can be transformed for the deluded into foreign aid.
Mark Twain described our situation well: “Statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those concise, soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.”
John LaForge is on the staff of Nukewatch, a nuclear watchdog group in Wisconsin, and edits its quarterly newsletter.
Has Moscow switched to the camp of its foes?
Russian army chief of staff Gen. N. Makarov broke the news on September 22 that Russia will not sell the S-300 air defense systems to Iran. Regardless of official explanations, it does not take an expert to realize that as a purely defensive system designed to shield a country from aircraft and cruise missile attacks the S-300 complexes cannot pose a threat to any country unless it attacks the one owning them.
As for the standoff between Iran and Israel, Tehran is constantly confronted with threats of massive air strikes, and taking steps to prevent the aggression is a must for any country seeking to sustain peace, especially for a permanent UN Security Council member sharing the responsibility for global security. Aggression is least likely in the situation of military parity or if the potential victim is able to inflict unacceptable damage on the aggressor. Iran’s possession of the S-300 complexes could expose Israel’s air forces to the risk of unacceptable damage in case the letter choses to attack the former. Denying Iran the right to efficient means of self-defense is tantamount to encouraging aggression against it. Isn’t Russia thus helping to unleash a disastrous war in the proximity of its own borders, a war against a country which, by the way, hosts a large colony of Russian specialists? On top of that, the refusal to supply the S-300 complexes to Iran clearly hurts Russia’s political and economic interests.
What could be the motivation behind Russia’s recent decision? Obviously, it stems from several regards. Ostensibly unaware of the existence of Israel’ nuclear arsenal, Moscow has for years been playing the game of taming Iran’s alleged nuclear ambitions and voted for sanctions against the country in the UN Security Council. Actually, Tehran proposed a number of times to turn the Middle East into a nuclear-free zone. The plan was welcomed by the majority of the Arab world but seems to be a taboo for Russia’s foreign ministry. Now, why is that?
Igor Yurgens, chief of the Institute of Contemporary Development, a well-connected Russian thinktank, said at the Nixon Center Russia-US roundatable on July 28, 2010 that not everybody in Russia regards the collapse of the USSR as a geopolitical catastrophe (as Russia’s former president and current prime minister V. Putin described the historical development). Yurgens went on to assert that the goal of those who don’t is to integrate Russia into the Euro-Atlantic security architecture and to eventually bring the country into NATO. He praised Russian defense minister A. Serdyukov’s military reform and stated that in the nearest future Russia would – oddly enough – be importing at least 30% of the weapons and equipment for its army from Israel and NATO countries. Another roundtable speaker from Russia – Gen. V. Dvorkin who, incidentally, paid a visit to Israel a short time ago – urged US senators to OK launching an attack against Iran as soon as possible and even presented a computer model of the conflict to US partners.
Defense ministers of Russia and Israel A. Serdyukov and Ehud Barak signed a first-ever agreement on the military cooperation between the two countries on September 6, 2010. The sides went so far as to include intelligence data swaps in the package, leaving it open to interpretation whether from now on Russia is going to spy on Arab countries, Turkey, and Iran and pass sensitive information to Israel. Whereas in the past the Russian administration sought consensus with Tel Aviv to sell weapons to Middle Eastern countries, currently the impression is that it needs Israel’s explicit sanction for such deals. A similarly absurd arrangement was in effect in the days of the Gore-Chernomyrdin commission when Moscow did not even dare to supply ordinary mechanical equipment to Iran unless Washington greenlighted the deal.
It is an open secret that Israel assisted in organizing and launching the August, 2008 unprovoked Georgian aggression against South Ossetia and the deadly raid against the Russian peacekeepers deployed in the republic. Israeli advisers are in part responsible for the bloodshed, but one gets an impression that these days for Moscow no sacrifices are too great a price for an entry ticket to the Judeo-Atlantic civilization.
Decisions like the one announced by Gen. N. Makarov undermine Russia’s prestige and erode its security, making the world less safe for every one of us. At the moment the Islamic world has reasons to believe that Moscow has switched to the camp of its foes. Given the facts that Russia is locked in a protracted conflict in the Muslim part of the Caucasus and that over a million Muslims reside in Moscow, antagonizing Muslims worldwide is the last thing the country needs.
On the whole, Serdyukov’s military reform – the structural overhaul, the introduction of the brigade system, the acquisitions of Israeli and NATO weapons, joint Russia-West exercises in the US and in Europe, and the tide of military college closures – lead watchers to conclude that the broader plan behind it is to build what still remains of Russia’s army and navy into the US and NATO expedition corps.
Shall we really be taking the riskiest roles in the military escapades of the Anglo-Saxons and of the Israeli Zionist leadership in the name of the shadowy financial oligarchy’s global dominance? Let others judge what authors of the plan deserve.
Gen. Leonid Ivashov is the President of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems.
Why is the U.S. still supporting a repressive regime in Honduras? While Secretary of State Clinton continues to insist that democracy is marching forward in Honduras, President Porfirio Lobo’s ongoing coup government has been escalating its violent attacks against peaceful demonstrators, opposition radio stations, and critics. Repression under Lobo has now achieved levels equal to those after Roberto Micheletti took power in the June 28, 2009 coup. Lobo’s reward: dinner at the White House this week.
The details are chilling, and bald. On Wednesday, September 15–Independence Day, for Hondurans–police and the military brutally broke up an opposition demonstration in San Pedro Sula, the country’s second largest city. First troops broke into the entrance to Radio Uno, the only opposition radio station in the city, lobbed tear gas into its windows, trashed its offices, and very deliberately destroyed a popular statue of deposed former President Manuel Zelaya. Ten minutes into a concert in the Central Park, police suddenly stormed the stage and destroyed the instruments of all three musical groups ready to perform. At the same time, amidst clouds of tear gas and other chemicals, troops turned viciously on the peacefully gathered demonstrators, grabbing people randomly and beating them with batons. Officers beat up teenagers in a high school drum corps; they smashed all the windows and lights of a union-owned pickup truck parked nearby; an elderly man selling lottery tickets died of the tear gas.
Ever since Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo came into office as President of Honduras in January, after a fraudulent election from which opposition candidates withdrew, he’s been testing what he and the nation’s elites can get away with, gradually unleashing more and more violence against the opposition. On August 13 police violently attacked peaceful demonstrators in Choloma with tear gas, brutal beatings with batons, and further beatings while in detention. When teachers marched in the capital, Tegucigalpa, on August 26 and 27, they were met with tear gas, batons, and even live ammunition.
Paramilitary-style assassinations and death threats against trade unionists, campesino activists, and feminists active in the opposition continue unabated, with complete impunity. Last Friday night, September 17, gunmen shot and killed Juana Bustillo, a leader in the social security workers’ union. Nine journalists critical of the government have been killed since Lobo took office. On September 19 in Tegucigalpa, unknown assailants shot at Luis Galdamez, a prominent opposition radio and TV commentator, as he entered his home with his young son. The police wouldn’t even show up for an hour and a half.
Although many in the U.S. press still cast the Honduran opposition as merely supporters of deposed President Manuel Zelaya, they are united by a far deeper vision that hopes to address the country’s overwhelming poverty and break the lockdown of the oligarchs on its political system and economy. The resistance has so far collected 1,346,876 signatures (out of a country of 7.8 million) calling for a constitutional convention through which to refound Honduran society.
The opposition is also trying hard to stop a wave of economic aggression against its already impoverished working people. It is demanding that Lobo finally declare a new minimum wage, as he has been legally mandated to do for months now. It is also trying to stop a draconian reformation of the country’s basic labor law, that will not only destroy full-time, permanent employment–which in turn, is legally necessary for workers to form unions–but allows employers to pay 30% of what they they owe employees not in actual money but in company scrip–with its value set by the company.
President Lobo persists in cloaking his repressive military-led rule by calling it a “government of national reconciliation.” All the repression, in his fictional world, is just common crime. Yes, common crime, much of it gang-led, is hideously rampant in Honduras. But it flourishes in the ripe climate of mass poverty the Honduran oligarchs foster; and it doesn’t account for the selective assassinations of opposition activists and journalists, over and over. And Lobo, of course, not the gangs, is the one ordering the police to attack demonstrations and countenancing paramilitary assassinations.
The Obama administration supports this chilling regime one hundred percent. Military aid has been fully restored. The International Monetary Fund on September 10 announced an additional $196 million loan to Honduras. Preposterously, just as Lobo launched the tear gas on Independence Day in Honduras, Hillary Clinton praised once again its “resumption of democratic and constitutional government.”
Rather than extol Lobo, send him more and more guns and funds, and invite him to a gracious dinner with other presidents visiting the United Nations, Obama should cut all ties with the regime and stop pressuring the Organization of American States to re-admit Honduras. The White House should heed a letter currently circulating in Congress, sponsored by Representative Sam Farr, and cut all military aid. And please, no dinners legitimating repressive, fraudulent thugs.
Dana Frank is a professor of history at the University of California at Santa Cruz specializing in Honduras. Her books include “Bananeras: Women Transforming the Banana Unions of Latin America.“
A meeting between Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and Israeli deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon ended abruptly yesterday. The dispute followed the Israeli deputy foreign minister’s demand that the meeting’s summary should refer to the notion of ‘two states for two peoples,’ rather than just ‘two states.’
“I wanted that at the very least it will note two states for two peoples. I demanded to know what they meant. One Palestinian state and one bi-national state, or another Palestinian state?” the deputy minister told Ynet. “I made it clear that we were out of the picture if the summary didn’t say two states for two peoples.”
The Palestinian PM could not accept such a demand for very many reasons: Israel is located on historic Palestine. It came to life through robbery and ethnic cleansing. It is maintained by theft. At least a fifth of Israel’s population are Palestinians. And if this is not enough, not a single living Palestinian negotiator is ever going to let the refugee issue go, and for a good reason. The right of return is still the crux of the Palestinian cause.
Interestingly enough, within the context of the two states solution, a Palestinian state would be geographically defined: it would be a state of its citizens, and it would also be a civilised amalgam of different ethnicities and religions. Israel, on the other hand, would be a racially orientated setting: it would be the Jewish State, where Jews come first. I wonder why anyone in the international community would support such a solution or such a state. However, I wasn’t surprised to read in Ynet that Tony Blair, who participated in the earlier part of the meeting yesterday, “supported the Israeli stance”. I guess that after dragging us all into a religious war with no end, Blair has developed an affinity with Judeo-centric arguments and the Zionist way of thinking. After all, let’s not forget, it was Zionist Lord Levy and the Labour Friends of Israel who funded his party at the time it launched the war in Iraq.
It also shouldn’t take us by surprise that the current rounds of talks are leading nowhere. In fact, given that Zionism does not include peaceful political precepts, the Israel-Palestine conflict cannot be resolved by the current peace talks or any kind of resolution dominated by the Zionist world view . The Jewish state presents itself as a revival of the Biblical Israelite nation, and this means in practice, a disastrous conflict with no end. This conflict is probably the greatest threat for world peace, but it is certainly tragic also for Israelis who are being born into a doomed reality set by a phantasmic Biblical tale.
In the meeting, Ayalon said that “Israel will continue to support the Palestinian economy, even without its consent”, but he also noted that “Israel’s security needs must also be taken into consideration”. Instead of being motivated by a sincere desire for peace and a spirit of reconciliation, Israeli policy makers are committed to the philosophy of ‘carrot and stick’ : they offer a combination of ‘rewards’ and ‘punishment’ to induce ‘good subservient behaviour’ amongst the Palestinians. The Palestinians are constantly offered very little while at the same time, the IDF is ready to unleash its deadly might. Israelis are basically buying time, yet, by doing so, they clearly sacrifice their future. It is no secret that for Palestinians to win, all they need is time.
The ‘two states solution’ is a futile idea and it is about time the International community stopped wasting any effort in trying to achieve such a resolution. The facts on the ground are clear, as Daniel McGowan clearly suggested a few months ago:
“Within the current borders controlled by Israel (including pre-1967 Israel, the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights) there is in fact a single state. It has one electrical grid, one water system, one currency, one major highway system, one postal service, and one external border. Goods and people entering this de facto state come through harbors, airports, and a restricted number of crossings. Bills of lading and passports are checked and stamped by officials of this single state.”
This one state is momentarily called Israel, and it is dominated ideologically by Jewish racism and fuelled practically by Talmudic supremacy. However, this will change. Against all odds, the Israeli nuclear power, Jewish lobbies around the world, F-35 stealth planes and Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister’s enthusiasm, Israel will become a state of its citizens and by the time this happens, it will be called Palestine.