On September 23 in federal court, she was sentenced to 86 years in prison, though committed no crime. It’s a gross miscarriage of justice, compounding what’s she’s already endured, following her March 30, 2003 abduction, imprisonment, torture, prosecution, and conviction on spurious charges.
Through sentencing she was in New York City solitary confinement and may still be there, pending transfer to Federal Medical Center (FMC) Carswell in Fort Worth, TX, a hellhole described as a facility “provid(ing) specialized medical and mental health services to female prisoners.” If she’s there long-term, it’ll be a death sentence, its harshness precipitating it sooner, not later.
On November 4, Yvonne Ridley called it “CarsHELL,” citing its past 10 year record, including:
– over 100 young women dying under “questionable circumstances with families unable to obtain autopsy reports;”
– instances of sex abuse, including sodomy and rape committed by “prison chaplain Vincent Bassie” until he was charged and convicted in 2008;
– a prison doctor convicted of sex abuse; another one never charged for the same crime;
– a prison guard convicted of raping a detainee; an earlier article explained rampant sexual abuse and mistreatment of female prisoners by guards and prison officials;
– gross medical negligence, what’s commonplace throughout America’s gulag for men, women and children;
– “forced psychotropic medication on reluctant detainees;” and,
– an “infestation of ants went unchecked even when one patient in a coma was covered by biting creatures as was the corpse of another.”
Ridley quoted The Fort Worth Weekly saying Carswell imprisonment “can be a death sentence for women prisoners.” Incarceration there will continue her torture, abuse and violation of international and US law, as well as Bureau of Prisons’ regulations that aren’t enforced so, in fact, are worthless.
US Diplomatic Cables Revealed
In several December 1 reports, the London Guardian discussed them, including its article headlined, “US embassy cables: Bagram officials deny detaining Aafia Siddiqui.”
US deception and lies about her date from initial accusations, regarding a bogus plot to bomb New York landmarks, charges omitted from her indictment.
Though abducted while visiting family in Pakistan on March 30, 2003, the FBI, on April 4, denied she was captured and detained. On May 28, 2004, Pakistan’s Interior Ministry confirmed she was turned over to US authorities in 2003 after no links with alleged terror groups were confirmed.
Later reports named her Bagram’s “Prisoner 650.” At the same time, US authorities denied holding any women there. It wasn’t until July 31, 2008 that FBI officials told Siddiqui’s brother that she was in US custody. Her family knew it years earlier.
The released cables contained no bombshell information. One dated July 31, 2008 said:
Bagram officials have assured us that they have not been holding Siddiqui for the last four years, as has been alleged.
An October 29, 2008 cable denied knowledge of Siddiqui’s children, even though her son was in US custody and two others at the time were missing. Pakistan’s Acting Foreign Secretary, Khalid Babar, raised the issue with then ambassador, Anne Patterson, who “made it clear that US authorities do not know the whereabouts of the children, who have never been in US custody, and noted that the Pakistani Embassy has been given full consular access to Siddiqui,” a claim very much stretching the truth.
A November 13, 2008 cable said Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yousuf “Gilani asked the US to release to GOP custody Dr. Aafia Siddiqui …argu(ing) that the needs of her family and reports of her being ill provided humanitarian grounds for such a transfer. He also argued that her case whipped up mass popular support, diverting his government’s attention from the counterterrorism mission.”
A February 12, 2010 cable said “a group of moderate Muslim religious leaders expressed very strong feelings about the Siddiqui case and the guilty verdict. The religious leaders were unified in their belief that Siddiqui did not receive a fair trial and called for mercy on the grounds that she was a women. They claimed that the verdict detracted from President Obama’s efforts to reach out to the Muslim community and that he should step in and release Siddiqui as a show of good faith towards world Muslims.”
The US Embassy said “Siddiqui had received a fair trial,” when, in fact, it was rigged to convict.
A February 19, 2010 cable discussed a February 16 Gilani/Senator John Kerry meeting at which he:
“asked USG to consider repatriating Dr. Aafia Siddiqui on humanitarian grounds. He said that this was a very contentious issue in Pakistan, adding that by returning Dr. Siddiqui ‘the US would be in the Pakistani people’s good graces.’ Both Gilani and Interior Minister Reham Malik assured Kerry that the GOP would honor the terms of Dr. Siddiqui’s jail sentence, and suggested that she complete (it) under house arrest (in Pakistan). Kerry agreed to look into the prisoner transfer issue.”
Likely not too hard as over nine months later, action didn’t follow. Siddiqui is either in New York City isolation or at FMC “CarsHELL,” perhaps there to die. If so, at least she’ll have the peace she’s been denied for over seven and a half years of brutal imprisonment, isolation and torture.
On December 1, Guardian writer Declan Walsh headlined, “WikiLeaks cables: Mystery deepens over Pakistan scientist Aafia Siddiqui,” saying:
Her family insists she’s innocent, “and that she spent the ‘missing’ five years between 2003 and 2008 in US detention at the Bagram base,” US denials notwithstanding.
They’ve “been treated with skepticism by the Pakistani media, which has given credence to the family’s account and dismissed US statements as part of a cover-up.”
America’s major media reacted otherwise, pronouncing guilt by accusation, biasing public opinion, branding her and other FBI targets “terrorists,” as well all or most Muslims by implication.
In several articles, New York Times writers played along, including Benjamin Weiser in his September 23 account, headlined, “Pakistani Sentenced to 86 Years for Attack,” saying:
She was convicted for “assault(ing) a team of American officers and agents who went to question her after her arrest that led to her conviction….on charges that included attempting to kill American officers and employees. She had been taken into custody in Ghazni, Afghanistan, after the local authorities became suspicious of her loitering outside the provincial governor’s compound.”
In fact, Weiser lied from top of paragraph to bottom.
Targeted for her faith, ethnicity, activism, passion for the oppressed, humble charity, and alleged connection to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed through marriage, she was home in Karachi visiting family. On March 30, 2003, en route to a flight to Rawalpindi, she was abducted by Pakistan’s police or ISI at the behest of US officials, then turned over to them as requested.
Preposterous charges later accused 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 point blank range, hit no one, yet she alone was severely wounded.
At trial, no credible evidence was presented. The accusations were concocted and spurious. 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 “based on fear, not fact,” according to her attorney Elaine Whitfield Sharp.
Yet Weiser accepted the official account unskeptically, highlighting FBI director Robert Mueller calling her “an Al Qaeda operative and facilitator,” carrying bomb-making instructions and a list of targets when arrested in 2008.
It was March 2003, five years earlier, unmentioned in Weiser’s article, mostly presenting official distortions and lies, a New York Times speciality. This time he disparaged an innocent woman, condemned perhaps to perish in prison hell for being Muslim at the wrong time in America.1