Torture

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What is the story on Dr Aafia Siddiqui, the MIT grad who may have been imprisoned at Bagram, that notorious American detention facility in Afghanistan, for the past five years?

Siddiqui is a 36-year old Pakistani woman who when young was sent to America by her father, along with her two siblings, for education. But in 2003 while she was living in Karachi, Pakistan, with her parents and three children she suddenly disappeared. She was arrested on July 17 of this year on false charges, according to her lawyer, Elaine Whitfield Sharp, who says she has proof that Siddiqui was being held at Bagram Air Base for the past five years.

Sharp also says Siddiqui appears traumatized, is very passive, and is “like a person who has been excessively institutionalized.” I got this information from this NPR article. Eric Alterman has further details and links here. Particularly interesting is the investigation by Tim Bella at ProPublica, Mystery Surrounds Case of Terror Suspect. Here is a 3-minute video, The Case Against Aafia Siddiqui, from Aug 6, 2008, on AlJazeera:
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I doubt there is anything like this in the American media.

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I noticed today on The Washington Note a post by Scott Paul entitled American Torture on Tour, so I took a look at that. There will be a tour of two of Scott’s colleagues with Michael Otterman to three cities to discuss Michael Otterman’s new book, American Torture. I opened the latter link and found a post, “Jose Padilla: More Sinned Against Than Sinning”. It’s incredible the torture that this person, an American citizen, went through! Here’s an excerpt:

Padilla, a former Chicago gang member, who had moved to Florida and converted to Islam in 1994, was arrested on May 8, 2002, at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, after several years abroad in Egypt, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He was held for a month as a material witness and interrogated by the FBI, and was then designated as an “enemy combatant” and transferred to a military brig in Charleston, South Carolina, where, for 43 months, as described by Warren Richey of the Christian Science Monitor, he was “held not only in solitary confinement but as the sole detainee in a high-security wing of the prison. Fifteen other cells sat empty around him.” Stuart Grassian, a Boston psychiatrist and “an expert on the debilitating effects of solitary confinement,” who conducted a detailed examination of Padilla for his lawyers, said that it was “clear that the intent of this isolation was to break Padilla for the purpose of the interrogations that were to follow.”

What were his crimes? Here’s another excerpt:

Even overlooking the fact that this was, at best, just one notch up from a “thought crime” – and that there may be something wrong with a system in which, as Brian Frazier told the jury, “you can find that the defendants are guilty even if they never killed or harmed anyone – under the law it is the illegal agreement that is the crime” – the brandishing of the application form was enough to convince the jurors of Padilla’s guilt. After a three-month trial, they took only eleven hours to reach a verdict. Noting that this meant that the jurors spent less than one hour of deliberations for each week of trial testimony, whereas “the rule of thumb, [as] any trial attorney will tell you, is that one week of trial testimony usually tracks one day of deliberations,” CBS legal analyst Andrew Cohen wrote that both lawyers and reporters were “shocked by the speed of the verdict.” According to the New York Times’ account, one juror said that she “had ‘all but made up her mind’ about the defendants’ guilt before deliberations began.”

There are a lot more eye-opening facts in this article which I’d call a must read. And to think, this horrendous injustice has been essentially ignored by the mainstream media in America. When will the American people wake up to what their government is doing in their name and with their tax money!?

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