Aafia Siddiqui: Victimized by American Depravity

By Stephen Lendman

April 1 2010

On February 3, 2010, after a sham trial, the Department of Justice announced Siddiqui’s conviction for “attempting to murder US nationals in Afghanistan and six additional charges.” When sentenced on May 6, she faces up to 20 years for each attempted murder charge, possible life in prison on the firearms charge, and eight years on each assault charge.

In March 2003, after visiting her family in Karachi, Pakistan, government Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agents, in collaboration with Washington, abducted Siddiqui and her three children en route to the airport for a flight to Rawalpindi, handed them over to US authorities who took them secretly to Bagram prison, Afghanistan for more than five years of brutal torture and unspeakable abuse, including vicious beatings and repeated raping.

Bogusly charged and convicted, Siddiqui was guilty only of being Muslim in America at the wrong time. A Pakistani national, she was deeply religious, very small, thoughtful, studious, quiet, polite, shy, soft-spoken, barely noticeable in a gathering, not extremist or fundamentalist, and, of course, no terrorist.

She attended MIT and Brandeis University where she earned a doctorate in neurocognitive science. She did volunteer charity work, taught Muslim children on Sundays, distributed Korans to area prison inmates, dedicated herself to helping oppressed Muslims worldwide, yet lived a quiet, unassuming nonviolent life.

Nonetheless, she was accused of being a “high security risk” for alleged Al-Qaeda connections linked to planned terrorist attacks against New York landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and Empire State Building, accusations so preposterous they never appeared in her indictment.

The DOJ’s more likely interest was her supposed connection, through marriage, to a nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), the bogusly charged 9/11 mastermind who confessed after years of horrific torture. US authorities tried to use them both – to coerce KSM to link Siddiqui to Al-Qaeda, and she to admit his responsibility for 9/11 — something she knew nothing about or anything about her alleged relative.

Her trial was a travesty of justice based on the preposterous charge that in the presence of two FBI agents, two Army interpreters, and three US Army officers, she (110 pounds and frail) assaulted three of them, seized one of their rifles, opened fire at close range, hit no one, yet she was severely wounded.

No credible evidence was presented. Some was kept secret. The proceedings were carefully orchestrated. Witnesses were either enlisted, pressured, coerced, and/or bought off to cooperate, then jurors were intimidated to convict, her attorney, Elaine Whitfield Sharp, saying their verdict was “based on fear, not fact.”

Awaiting her May 6 sentencing, Siddiqui is incarcerated in harsh maximum security solitary confinement at New York’s Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC), denied all contact with friends and family, no mail or reading materials, or access to her previously allowed once a month 15 minute phone call to relatives.

Justice for Aafia Coalition (JFAC)

In February 2010, Muslim women in America, Britain, Canada, and Australia united in outrage over Siddiqui’s treatment and bogus conviction, demanding her release and exoneration.

March 28 was the seventh anniversary of her abduction, commemorated by a global day of protest, JFAC saying it was “to have events, demonstrations, letter-writing campaigns, khutbahs (sermons or public preaching), etc. in towns and cities all over the world in solidarity with Aafia” – for justice, against sadism and barbarity against an innocent woman, guilty of being a target of opportunity, not crimes she didn’t commit.

JFAC published a transcript of the March 26 Kamram Shahid-conducted Pakistan Front Line TV interview with Siddiqui family members, including her mother, Ismat, sister, Fowzia, and young son, Ahmed, who asked “why have they imprisoned her and why did they imprison me?” In response to whether he’d like to give his mother a message, he said:

“I love you and I am waiting for you (to) come back soon, if Allah permits.”

Ismat confirmed some of Aafia’s torture in shocking detail, saying:

She endured a lot, some of the worst of it including “six men… strip(ping) her naked. All her clothes would be removed. She told this to the Pakistani senators too, that they would strip her naked, then tie her hands behind her back, and then they would take her, dragging her by the hair. You cannot imagine the cruelty they have done to her. They would take her like this to the corridor and film her there.”

“After that, they observed that she would read the Qu’ran, from memory and from the book. They again would send six, seven men, who would strip her naked and misbehave etc. They took the Qu’ran and threw it at her feet and told her that only if you walk on the Qu’ran will we return (it) to you. She would cry and shout that she would not do it. Then they would beat her with their rifle butts so much that she would be bloodied. All her face and body would be injured. Then they used to pull out her hair one by one, just like this…. They threatened (to) take her to the court like this, naked.”

After “beat(ing) her so much that she bled… they made her lie on a bed. Then they tied her hands and feet – hands and feet both tied so that she (could) not even… scratch her wounds. Then they applied torture to the soles of her feet and head. They put her in some machines to make her lose her mental stability. They gave her such injections on the pretext of medical treatment.” When she pleaded not to do it, “they would make her unconscious and then give them to her. Such is (their) cruelty.”

“This epic cruelty – and look at (the) Islamic world…. They are all silent and making their palaces in Hell…. She was not even a criminal in their law. And she has done no crime. They did not accuse her of terrorism. She is not a terrorist.”

Her sister Fowzia said “It is all on tape. I am not making this up. They are sadists or whatever. All the strip searching was video-taped. (She called Aafia) a poster child for this torture and rendition,” one of many others brutalized in American prisons. Court testimony revealed that her children were also tortured, Ahmed later released on condition he say nothing, two still missing and presumed murdered. “I think even Genghis Khan did not do this,” said Fowzia.

In an August 2008 address to Pakistan’s Senate, Fowzia explained that “Aafia (can’t) get justice in the US…. They are sure to make her out to be a major terror figure to mask the five years of torture, rape and child molestation as reported by human rights groups.”

Her case is much more important than “my sister or one woman. Her torture is a crime beyond anything she was ever accused of (which was basically nothing) and this is a slap on the honor of our nation and the whole of humanity. The perpetrators of those crimes are the ones who need to be brought to account. That is the real crime of terror here.”

Fowzia appealed for Aafia’s extradition to Pakistan, despite little hope of expecting a government complicit in crime to cooperate beyond rhetoric. At first, it denied knowledge, then, after meeting with family, interior minister Faisal Saleh Hayat and other officials promised to work for her release, still denying complicity for what happened.

Because her ordeal sparked nationwide protests, Pakistan’s government is in damage control, apparently wants to shift blame to Washington, investigating officer Shahid Qureshi, in a report to the judicial magistrate, saying “FBI intelligence agents without any warrants or notice” committed the abduction — knowing full well about ISI’s complicity.

During confinement, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said Siddiqui had a kidney and her teeth removed. Her nose was broken and not properly set. Her gun shot wound was improperly treated. Reuters reported that she lost part of her intestines and still bleeds internally from poor treatment. Those around her notice she’s deathly pale because of extreme trauma and pain.

After years of horrific torture and abuse, a federal Bureau of Prisons psychological evaluation diagnosed her condition to be “depressive type psychosis” besides the destructive physical toll on her body.

World Outrage and Support

The Muslim Justice Initiative (MJI) said Siddiqui’s “recent guilty verdict… shocked and outraged masses across the globe” in announcing an April 2 online webinar discussion on her behalf, featuring her brother Mohammed, sister Fawzia, noted UK journalist and Siddiqui advocate, Yvonne Ridley, and Tina Foster, Executive Director of the International Justice Network (IJN). Information on the event can be found at muslimsforjustice.org.

On February 3, Siddiqui’s conviction date, IJN said the following:

It “represents the family of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui in the United States,” its attorneys “monitoring her trial, which began on January 19 and ended with a guilty verdict today in US Federal Court in the Southern District of New York.”

Today marks the close of another sad chapter in the life of our sister, Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. Today she was unjustly found guilty. Though she was not charged with any terrorism-related offense, Judge Berman permitted the prosecution’s witnesses to characterize our sister as a terrorist – which, based on copious (exculpatory) evidence, she clearly is not. Today’s verdict is one of the many legal errors that allowed the prosecution to build a case against our sister based on hate, rather than fact. We believe that as a result, she was denied a fair trial, and today’s verdict must be overturned on appeal.

Himself victimized by US torture, including at Bagram, author of “Enemy Combatant: A British Muslim’s Journey to Guantanamo and Back,” Moassam Begg (like others), called Aafia “the Grey Lady of Bagram because she (was) almost a ghost, a spectre whose cries and screams continue to haunt those who heard her.” So much so that for six days in 2005, male prisoners staged a hunger strike in protest.

After sentencing, her next journey may be to isolated life confinement in federal Supermax hell — according to the US Department of Justice National Institute of Corrections, intended for the most dangerous criminals, guilty of “repetitive assaultive or violent institutional behavior,” the worst of the worst who threaten society or national security.

Hardly the place for a woman called shy, soft-spoken, deeply religious, polite, studious, thoughtful, and considerate of others, especially persecuted Muslims being brutalized in America’s global gulag, courtesy of an administration that pays lip service to ending torture but practices it as sadistically as George Bush and the worst of history’s tyrants.

Source

Related

Dr Aafia Siddiqui found guilty

Kidnapped tortured for years and now in an American prison.

Even her children were in prison and tortured.

This is a travesty.  This is the American way.

Bush is Scott free in spite of the fact he is responsible for the torture of hundreds or maybe even thousands and the deaths  of over a million  or two million  people.

There sure is something wrong with this picture.

Why haven’t the people who Tortured and Raped Aafia Siddiqui not been charged and thrown in jail?????????

Why is that. Why are they free?????

If they are allowed to go free we definitely live in a sick, demented, sadistic  world. It says a lot about American justice doesn’t it?

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Attempted Citizen’s Arrest of Alleged War Criminal George W. Bush in a Canadian Court

By Anthony J. Hall
March 11 2010

Judge Manfred Delong shut down the trial of Splitting The Sky versus George W. Bush on the second day of proceedings. The court denied STS his frequently emphasized request to have two witnesses give evidence in his defense. Those witnesses were myself and Cynthia McKinney.  The trial came to an end just as Ms. McKinney arrived in Calgary from London. The US-based oil conglomerates active throughout Alberta form the core business constituency of the Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who represents a Calgary riding in Parliament.

The court accepted two documents as evidence for the defense. On is Gail Davidson’s widely disseminated legal opinion for Lawyer’s Against the War. STS and I studied this document closely in the days leading up to my friend being arrested for his arrest attempt. LAW’s legal opinion highlighted some of the evidence, statutes and treaties to brand Bush as a “credibly  accused war criminal” that should not be allowed  into Canada. Prior to Bush’s touching down in Calgary to address an audience of oil executives, Davidson’s documemtation was distributed widely to officials of the Harper government and Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The other exhibit for the defense was my own paper that I originally presented at an invited academic venue at the University of Winnipeg. It has been published under a variety of titles on the Internet, including at Global  Research.ca, 911 Blogger.com, 9/11 Truth.org and Voltairenet in both French and English. My initial  title for it is “Bush League Justice: Should George W. Bush Be Arrested in  Calgary Alberta and Tried for International Crimes.”

Delong will deliver his ruling on June 7. The case for the prosecution both revealed and obscured much about the new police strategies being employed throughout North America to monitor, manage, divide and spin doctor demonstrators seeking to call attention to their political dissent. In my opinion the Crown’s chief agent of prosecution, Tracy Davis, acted more as an  advocate and defender of the police rather than as a representative of the Canadian people through Her Majesty as she is required to do according the constitutional tradition of the British Commonwealth.

Source



Splitting The Sky versus War Criminal George W. Bush
Cynthia McKinney Meets Splitting the Sky
By Prof Anthony J. Hall
March 14 2010

Hello friends, associates and supporters. Hello, as well, to those who are new to the case of Splitting The Sky versus George W. Bush.

I have no hesitation in asserting that the brilliant content of these videos will be transformative for multitudes of global viewers. These videos contain poetry in You Tube. They offer sophisticated political analysis of the kind that should strike fear in the heart of the criminal class who are currently running the global apparatus of so-called national security. These presentations are studies of effective communication. They embody joy, love and skilled articulation combining classical motifs of ballet-like performance with the free form creativity of hip hop. They highlight two individuals at the top of their form who are leading an accelerating global revolt against the lawless war machine’s broadening onslaught. More than any other force, the organized crime of the war machine threatens all humanity– indeed, all life forms– with imminent oblivion. Please take the time to study this set of amazing videos and disseminate them far and wide.

The event took place on March 9 only hours after the premature termination of Splitting The Sky’s Calgary trial. As the trial was being hurriedly shut down by the state, the legendary Cynthia McKinney arrived in Calgary from London to show solidarity with the veteran Mohawk activist. In an event hosted by my own academic unit, Globalization Studies, and by the University of Calgary’s Peace Consortium, STS and Ms. McKinney met for the first time. As they shared stories and joined forces, they came to personify the best spirit of defiance rooted in many generations of resistance towards the forces of colonization, enslavement and resource theft. Together STS and the martyred but still-strong former US Congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney, reflect on what humanity must do now that the heritages of slavery in America and the militarized dispossession of Indigenous peoples have been globalized in the name of the fraudulent Global War on Terror.

As I see it, the case of Splitting The Sky versus George W. Bush will become in the future, even more than it has been in the past, a test case to prove the utter bankruptcy of the censoring mainstream media. This professional malfeasance in the CIA-infested mainstream media stands in contrast with the propensity of activist researchers, publishers, journalists, academics, broadcasters and media artists to use the Internet as a vehicle to advance the revolution that we do intend to televise on You Tube.

Of course, the STS story highlights the media cover up of the lies and crimes of 9/11. But that is only the beginning. STS’s story starts with the big cover up of the reality that the New World Order of America began in 1492 with a massive genocide that continues to this day. Add to this monumental cover up the continuing obfuscation of the underlying dynamics that compelled the Attica prisoners, including STS, to revolt against their jailers in 1971.

Similarly, the interests of power have good reason to want to suppress understanding of STS’s central role in the Gustafsen Lake Indian War in British Columbia in 1995. There, the Canadian Armed Forces, including Joint Task Force Two (which is centrally involved in special operations in Afghanistan) played a major role in the conflict. The accompanying state-sponsored disinformation and smear campaign was brought to light in a court ruling on an extradition proceeding in Portland Oregon in 2000 entitled USA versus Pitawanakwat. The Canadian and B.C. governments’ systematic campaign of media disinformation on the Battle of Gustafsen Lake offers a revealing prelude shedding light on the Cheney-Bush regime’s strategy of psychological warfare employed to give a false-impression of legitimacy to the lawless resource grab advanced in the name of Global War on Terror.

The ongoing genocide that began in 1492 continues to advance the theft of natural resources from Indigenous peoples around the world. The founding of America on this primal original crime extends these days to the creation of new forms of appropriation, domination, murder and enslavement. It finds expression in the sweat shops, forced labour camps, torture chambers and assassination squads of the privatized terror economy. The Big Obama Psy Op is elevating and expanding the 9/11 wars of terror that the new president took over from the Cheney-Bush cabal of war profiteers. Please do yourself a favour and explore these videos while making sure that others are given the same opportunity.

Basta! Enough is Enough

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5:

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Part 12:

Part 13:

Part 14:

Citizen’s Arrest of George W. Bush Justified, Court Hears
By Kevin Martin

March 9 2019

Political activist John Boncore aka Splitting The Sky was entitled to try to arrest former U.S. president George W. Bush for war crimes, his lawyer told a Calgary court Monday.

Defence counsel Charles Davison said his client’s attempts at breaching a police barrier to gain access to Bush were justified.

Boncore is charged with obstructing a peace officer for repeatedly trying to get past security and into the Telus Convention Centre last March 17.

“Mr. Boncore had reasonable grounds to attempt to do what he said to the police he wanted to do,” Davison told provincial court Judge Manfred Delong.

“And that was to carry out a citizen’s arrest of George Bush,” the lawyer said.

Davison said he will present evidence, including a documentary entitled Taxi to the Dark Side, which details the torture and murder of an innocent Afghan cabbie, to support Boncore’s claim.

Davison said a group called Lawyers Against the War, had urged the RCMP to arrest Bush for crimes against humanity if he stepped on Canadian soil.

That group asserted Bush was “inadmissible to Canada” as a suspected war criminal and said the former U.S. president should not be allowed into our country.

If he was deemed a suspected war criminal Bush would be disentitled to enter Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and would be breaking the law if he came here, Davison said.

As a result, Boncore was entitled to make a citizen’s arrest since a crime was being committed.

But Crown prosecutor Tracy Davis said citizen’s arrests can only be carried out by a person witnessing a crime taking place.

“The accused was never entitled to effect an arrest of Mr. Bush,” Davis said.

In evidence, Sgt. Andy Comber said Boncore’s attempts to breach a police barricade outside the Telus Convention Centre was causing a large group of protesters to get angry at police.

“If he had breached that line I have no doubt other people would have follow him and eight policemen are not going to be able to hold 400 people back,” Comber told Davis.

“The crowd was quite agitated at that point,” he said.

Boncore’s trial, expected to last four days, continues on Tuesday.

Source

Related

VIDEO: Bush is a War Criminal

– by Spliting the Sky – 2010-03-09

VIDEO: Citizen’s Arrest for President Bush?

– by Michel Chossudovsky – 2010-03-09

Citizen’s Arrest of Alleged War Criminal George W. Bush in Canada

SPS versus “W” in Court Hearings in Calgary
– by Carol Brouillet – 2010-03-08

VIDEO: George W. Bush War Criminal Under Canadian Law

The Trial of Mohawk Activist, Splitting the Sky
– by Prof. Anthony J. Hall – 2010-03-08
Anyone who has watched the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq are witnesses.
There is ample evidence in the media to inform all of us as to the torture and killing of over a million and a half people in Iraq alone. More them that including Afghanistan. We all know Bush is a war criminal.
One would have to be dead not to notice the crimes against humanity and the war crimes. I bet all the people who were tortured would be willing to testify against Bush. I suppose all the widows in Iraq would be willing to testify against Bush. There are 2.5 million widows.
I guess we now have to wait until June 7 2010.
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Published in: on March 22, 2010 at 6:29 am  Comments Off on Attempted Citizen’s Arrest of Alleged War Criminal George W. Bush in a Canadian Court  
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Trial Witness ‘I saw Israeli bulldozer kill Rachel Corrie’

‘I saw Israeli bulldozer kill Rachel Corrie’

Briton tells court of the moment he saw American activist fall as she tried to defend Palestinian homes

By Donald Macintyre in Haifa

March 11 2010

The final moments of Rachel Corrie, the American peace activist crushed to death beneath a pile of earth and rubble in the path of an advancing Israeli army bulldozer, were described to an Israeli court by an eyewitness yesterday.

The parents of the 23-year-old, who was killed by the bulldozer in March 2003, were present to hear the harrowing account on the first day of hearings in a civil lawsuit they have brought against the state of Israel. The country has never acknowledged culpability over Ms Corrie’s death.

Richard Purssell, a British activist with the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement (ISM), said he watched in horror as Ms Corrie was dragged four metres by the bulldozer moving forward at a “fast walking pace”.

He told how her fluorescent orange jacket became invisible beneath a pile of earth churned up by the blade of the 56-tonne D9 Caterpillar machine. Mr Purssell explained that he and two other ISM volunteers had been summoned from the Rafah neighbourhood of Tel Sultan earlier in the day to help five activists prevent bulldozers from carrying out what they feared would be the demolition of Palestinian homes. The five, including Ms Corrie, were in the suburb of Hai Salaam, close to the border with Egypt.

Mr Purssell said the incident took place about 20 metres from the house of Dr Samir Nasrallah, a pharmacist well known to ISM activists, who often place themselves between Israeli forces and Palestinians to try to stop the Israeli military from carrying out operations. Ms Corrie climbed on to the earth mound being created in front of the bulldozer, with her feet just below the top of the pile.

“She is looking into the cab of the bulldozer,” Mr Purssell recounted. “The bulldozer continues to move forward. Rachel turns to begin coming back down the slope … As she nears the bottom of the pile, something happened to cause her to fall forward. The bull- dozer continues to move forward and Rachel disappeared from view. The bulldozer moves forward approximately another four metres before it stops.” Mr Purssell, who works as a landscape gardener in the UK, said that before the bulldozer came to a stop, other activists started running towards her – as he himself did a few seconds later.

“I heard a lot of people shouting and gesturing to the bulldozer to stop,” he told the court, adding that the bulldozer then “reversed back in the tracks it had made, in a straight line; Rachel is lying on the earth”.

He said three ISM activists – Alice Coy, Greg Shnabel and Will Hewitt – rushed to adminster first aid. “They began to support her neck,” he added. “They were holding her. She was still breathing. I did not get involved because I am not first aid trained.” He insisted “everything that could be done was done” by the volunteers. Ms Corrie died of her injuries soon afterwards.

Asked in cross-examination by the state’s attorney why Ms Corrie acted as she did by standing in front of the bulldozer, Mr Purssell said he did not know but could only speculate that “she didn’t want the bulldozer to go any nearer Dr Samir’s home”.

Ms Corrie’s parents, Craig and Cindy, from Olympia in Washington state, have brought their civil action in part to challenge the military’s account of their daughter’s death. Israel claims its troops were not to blame and the bulldozer driver did not see her or run her over deliberately, even though witnesses insist she was clearly visible.

Within weeks of her death, the Israel Defence Forces accused Ms Corrie and the ISM of behaviour that was “illegal irresponsible and dangerous”. In 2004, Lawrence Wilkerson, an aide to the then US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, wrote to the Corries saying Israel had failed to carry out the “thorough, credible, and transparent” investigation promised at the time by Israel’s Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon.

The Corries’ attorney, Hussein Abu Hussein, claimed before the hearing began that the troops “acted in violation of both Israeli and international law prohibiting the targeting of civilians, and the disproportionate use of force against non-violent protest with blatant disregard to human lives”.

Mr Corrie said the family had been seeking justice for seven years. “I think when the truth comes out about Rachel, the truth will not wound Israel, the truth is the start of making us heal.”

His wife said they were still waiting for an open investigation. “I just want to say to Rachel that our family is here today trying to just do right by her, and I hope she will be very proud of the effort we are making,” she added.

Source

Israel will never do a real investigation.

Rachel Corrie’s parents Get Nasty Letter from professor at Haifa University

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Published in: on March 13, 2010 at 1:54 am  Comments Off on Trial Witness ‘I saw Israeli bulldozer kill Rachel Corrie’  
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Rachel Corrie’s parents Get Nasty Letter from professor at Haifa University

This from the Jewish press.

Welcome to Haifa, Mr. and Mrs. Corrie
By Steven Plaut
March 3 2010

In the name of the embattled citizens of Haifa, I would like to offer the Corries an appropriate welcome to our city, in the form of the following letter:

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Corrie,

You are coming to our lovely town to sue Israel, claiming that your daughter was “killed by an Israeli bulldozer.” But you neglect to mention the circumstances under which she was so killed (nor the fact that she died from her injuries while under Palestinian medical care).

You have stated, “She had been working in Rafah with a nonviolent resistance organization, the International Solidarity Movement, trying to stop the demolition of Palestinian homes and wells.”

Homes and wells, huh?

Well, she was not. Rachel was trying to prevent the demolition of tunnels used to smuggle weapons for Palestinian terrorists seeking to murder Jewish civilians. ISM openly endorses Palestinian “armed struggle” against Jewish children and civilians and openly collaborates with terrorists. It has hidden wanted terrorists and their weapons in its offices. It is an accomplice in murder. Lying is not the best way to drum up sympathy for your daughter.

You say your daughter died trying to protect an “innocent house.” Again, this is not the truth. That “innocent house” was camouflage for a not-so-innocent terrorist smuggling tunnel, and the residents of that innocent house knew all about the tunnel.

Your daughter was in a war zone as a belligerent, on behalf of a movement of Arab fascists seeking to destroy Israel and murder as many Jews as possible. Your daughter died while interfering with an anti-terror operation carried out by soldiers in a land in which she had no business being at all.

You demand that we feel your pain at the loss of your daughter, yet your daughter conscripted herself as an accomplice for those seeking to murder my children. You feel no pain for the scores of martyrs in my own city of Haifa murdered by those same terrorists.

Your daughter put herself in harm’s way by challenging a large bulldozer and positioning herself where the operator could not see her. You know quite well that the bulldozer operator was not seeking to harm her.

You have written, “We had not understood the devastating nature of the Palestinians’ situation.” Of course, you have never expressed any interest in the devastating nature of the Jews’ situation. The Jews have been battling Arab fascism and genocidal terrorism for a hundred years, before, during, and after the Nazi Holocaust of six million Jews. Your daughter was helping those who perpetrate Nazi-like atrocities against randomly selected Jews.

You smugly praise the propaganda play about your daughter, which ignored all the other Rachels – the Jewish victims of terror in Israel who were murdered by genocidal terrorists.

Your daughter, and apparently you as well, never had any understanding of the Middle East conflict. The Middle East conflict is not about the right to self-determination of Palestinian Arabs, but rather about the right to self-determination of Israeli Jews.

For a century the Arabs have attempted to block any expression of Jewish self-determination, using violence, armed aggression, and terrorism. The Arabs today control 22 countries and territory nearly twice the size of the United States. They refuse to share even a fraction of one percent of the Middle East with Jews, even in a territory smaller than New Jersey.

The Arab countries invented the Palestinian people and their “plight” as a propaganda ploy in imitation of the German campaign on behalf of Sudeten self-determination in the 1930s. Just as the struggle for “Sudeten liberation” was nothing more than a fig leaf for the German aggression aimed at annihilating Czechoslovakia, so the struggle for “Palestinian liberation” is nothing more than cover for a jihad to destroy Israel and its population.

Your write, “Clearly, our daughter has become a positive symbol for people.”

I am afraid you are mistaken. Your daughter has become a symbol for dangerous foolhardiness. She essentially committed suicide as an empty gesture to assist murderers and terrorists.

You want the world to mourn for your daughter, who died while working with monsters out to murder our children. On the pages of anti-Semitic propaganda web magazines you denounce Israel, but you do not have a single word of sympathy for the families of the thousands of innocent Israeli victims of the terrorists with whom your daughter chose to ally herself.

On behalf of the citizens of Haifa, all of whom your daughter’s Hamas friends are trying to murder, I remain,

Steven Plaut

There is more to the article but the above excerpt says it all. For the rest if you care to read it,  just click on the Source

Rachel was not a terrorist or helping terrorists. Nor was she a clueless American.   She was helping innocent people and her writing was not filled with hate, but with care and hope.

Rachel Corrie belonged to ISM They are not a terrorist group as some in Israel would have you believe, but a peaceful organization using peaceful methods.

To join the ISM in Palestine, you must adhere to the following principles:

  1. Belief in freedom for the Palestinian people based on all relevant United Nations Resolutions and international law.
  2. Using only nonviolent, direct-action methods, strategies and principles to work towards our goal.

Rachel never hurt anyone.

Rachel’s E-mails

This weekend 23-year-old American peace activist Rachel Corrie was crushed to death by a bulldozer as she tried to prevent the Israeli army destroying homes in the Gaza Strip. In a remarkable series of emails to her family, she explained why she was risking her life

March 18 2003

February 7 2003
Hi friends and family, and others,I have been in Palestine for two weeks and one hour now, and I still have very few words to describe what I see. It is most difficult for me to think about what’s going on here when I sit down to write back to the United States. Something about the virtual portal into luxury. I don’t know if many of the children here have ever existed without tank-shell holes in their walls and the towers of an occupying army surveying them constantly from the near horizons. I think, although I’m not entirely sure, that even the smallest of these children understand that life is not like this everywhere. An eight-year-old was shot and killed by an Israeli tank two days before I got here, and many of the children murmur his name to me – Ali – or point at the posters of him on the walls. The children also love to get me to practice my limited Arabic by asking me, “Kaif Sharon?” “Kaif Bush?” and they laugh when I say, “Bush Majnoon”, “Sharon Majnoon” back in my limited arabic. (How is Sharon? How is Bush? Bush is crazy. Sharon is crazy.) Of course this isn’t quite what I believe, and some of the adults who have the English correct me: “Bush mish Majnoon” … Bush is a businessman. Today I tried to learn to say, “Bush is a tool”, but I don’t think it translated quite right. But anyway, there are eight-year-olds here much more aware of the workings of the global power structure than I was just a few years ago.

Nevertheless, no amount of reading, attendance at conferences, documentary viewing and word of mouth could have prepared me for the reality of the situation here. You just can’t imagine it unless you see it – and even then you are always well aware that your experience of it is not at all the reality: what with the difficulties the Israeli army would face if they shot an unarmed US citizen, and with the fact that I have money to buy water when the army destroys wells, and the fact, of course, that I have the option of leaving. Nobody in my family has been shot, driving in their car, by a rocket launcher from a tower at the end of a major street in my hometown. I have a home. I am allowed to go see the ocean. When I leave for school or work I can be relatively certain that there will not be a heavily armed soldier waiting halfway between Mud Bay and downtown Olympia at a checkpoint with the power to decide whether I can go about my business, and whether I can get home again when I’m done. As an afterthought to all this rambling, I am in Rafah: a city of about 140,000 people, approximately 60% of whom are refugees – many of whom are twice or three times refugees. Today, as I walked on top of the rubble where homes once stood, Egyptian soldiers called to me from the other side of the border, “Go! Go!” because a tank was coming. And then waving and “What’s your name?”. Something disturbing about this friendly curiosity. It reminded me of how much, to some degree, we are all kids curious about other kids. Egyptian kids shouting at strange women wandering into the path of tanks. Palestinian kids shot from the tanks when they peak out from behind walls to see what’s going on. International kids standing in front of tanks with banners. Israeli kids in the tanks anonymously – occasionally shouting and also occasionally waving – many forced to be here, many just agressive – shooting into the houses as we wander away.

I’ve been having trouble accessing news about the outside world here, but I hear an escalation of war on Iraq is inevitable. There is a great deal of concern here about the “reoccupation of Gaza”. Gaza is reoccupied every day to various extents but I think the fear is that the tanks will enter all the streets and remain here instead of entering some of the streets and then withdrawing after some hours or days to observe and shoot from the edges of the communities. If people aren’t already thinking about the consequences of this war for the people of the entire region then I hope you will start.

My love to everyone. My love to my mom. My love to smooch. My love to fg and barnhair and sesamees and Lincoln School. My love to Olympia.

Rachel

February 20 2003

Mama,

Now the Israeli army has actually dug up the road to Gaza, and both of the major checkpoints are closed. This means that Palestinians who want to go and register for their next quarter at university can’t. People can’t get to their jobs and those who are trapped on the other side can’t get home; and internationals, who have a meeting tomorrow in the West Bank, won’t make it. We could probably make it through if we made serious use of our international white person privilege, but that would also mean some risk of arrest and deportation, even though none of us has done anything illegal.

The Gaza Strip is divided in thirds now. There is some talk about the “reoccupation of Gaza”, but I seriously doubt this will happen, because I think it would be a geopolitically stupid move for Israel right now. I think the more likely thing is an increase in smaller below-the-international-outcry-radar incursions and possibly the oft-hinted “population transfer”.

I am staying put in Rafah for now, no plans to head north. I still feel like I’m relatively safe and think that my most likely risk in case of a larger-scale incursion is arrest. A move to reoccupy Gaza would generate a much larger outcry than Sharon’s assassination-during-peace-negotiations/land grab strategy, which is working very well now to create settlements all over, slowly but surely eliminating any meaningful possibility for Palestinian self-determination. Know that I have a lot of very nice Palestinians looking after me. I have a small flu bug, and got some very nice lemony drinks to cure me. Also, the woman who keeps the key for the well where we still sleep keeps asking me about you. She doesn’t speak a bit of English, but she asks about my mom pretty frequently – wants to make sure I’m calling you.

Love to you and Dad and Sarah and Chris and everybody.

Rachel

February 27 2003

(To her mother)

Love you. Really miss you. I have bad nightmares about tanks and bulldozers outside our house and you and me inside. Sometimes the adrenaline acts as an anesthetic for weeks and then in the evening or at night it just hits me again – a little bit of the reality of the situation. I am really scared for the people here. Yesterday, I watched a father lead his two tiny children, holding his hands, out into the sight of tanks and a sniper tower and bulldozers and Jeeps because he thought his house was going to be exploded. Jenny and I stayed in the house with several women and two small babies. It was our mistake in translation that caused him to think it was his house that was being exploded. In fact, the Israeli army was in the process of detonating an explosive in the ground nearby – one that appears to have been planted by Palestinian resistance.

This is in the area where Sunday about 150 men were rounded up and contained outside the settlement with gunfire over their heads and around them, while tanks and bulldozers destroyed 25 greenhouses – the livelihoods for 300 people. The explosive was right in front of the greenhouses – right in the point of entry for tanks that might come back again. I was terrified to think that this man felt it was less of a risk to walk out in view of the tanks with his kids than to stay in his house. I was really scared that they were all going to be shot and I tried to stand between them and the tank. This happens every day, but just this father walking out with his two little kids just looking very sad, just happened to get my attention more at this particular moment, probably because I felt it was our translation problems that made him leave.

I thought a lot about what you said on the phone about Palestinian violence not helping the situation. Sixty thousand workers from Rafah worked in Israel two years ago. Now only 600 can go to Israel for jobs. Of these 600, many have moved, because the three checkpoints between here and Ashkelon (the closest city in Israel) make what used to be a 40-minute drive, now a 12-hour or impassible journey. In addition, what Rafah identified in 1999 as sources of economic growth are all completely destroyed – the Gaza international airport (runways demolished, totally closed); the border for trade with Egypt (now with a giant Israeli sniper tower in the middle of the crossing); access to the ocean (completely cut off in the last two years by a checkpoint and the Gush Katif settlement). The count of homes destroyed in Rafah since the beginning of this intifada is up around 600, by and large people with no connection to the resistance but who happen to live along the border. I think it is maybe official now that Rafah is the poorest place in the world. There used to be a middle class here – recently. We also get reports that in the past, Gazan flower shipments to Europe were delayed for two weeks at the Erez crossing for security inspections. You can imagine the value of two-week-old cut flowers in the European market, so that market dried up. And then the bulldozers come and take out people’s vegetable farms and gardens. What is left for people? Tell me if you can think of anything. I can’t.

If any of us had our lives and welfare completely strangled, lived with children in a shrinking place where we knew, because of previous experience, that soldiers and tanks and bulldozers could come for us at any moment and destroy all the greenhouses that we had been cultivating for however long, and did this while some of us were beaten and held captive with 149 other people for several hours – do you think we might try to use somewhat violent means to protect whatever fragments remained? I think about this especially when I see orchards and greenhouses and fruit trees destroyed – just years of care and cultivation. I think about you and how long it takes to make things grow and what a labour of love it is. I really think, in a similar situation, most people would defend themselves as best they could. I think Uncle Craig would. I think probably Grandma would. I think I would.

You asked me about non-violent resistance.

When that explosive detonated yesterday it broke all the windows in the family’s house. I was in the process of being served tea and playing with the two small babies. I’m having a hard time right now. Just feel sick to my stomach a lot from being doted on all the time, very sweetly, by people who are facing doom. I know that from the United States, it all sounds like hyperbole. Honestly, a lot of the time the sheer kindness of the people here, coupled with the overwhelming evidence of the wilful destruction of their lives, makes it seem unreal to me. I really can’t believe that something like this can happen in the world without a bigger outcry about it. It really hurts me, again, like it has hurt me in the past, to witness how awful we can allow the world to be. I felt after talking to you that maybe you didn’t completely believe me. I think it’s actually good if you don’t, because I do believe pretty much above all else in the importance of independent critical thinking. And I also realise that with you I’m much less careful than usual about trying to source every assertion that I make. A lot of the reason for that is I know that you actually do go and do your own research. But it makes me worry about the job I’m doing. All of the situation that I tried to enumerate above – and a lot of other things – constitutes a somewhat gradual – often hidden, but nevertheless massive – removal and destruction of the ability of a particular group of people to survive. This is what I am seeing here. The assassinations, rocket attacks and shooting of children are atrocities – but in focusing on them I’m terrified of missing their context. The vast majority of people here – even if they had the economic means to escape, even if they actually wanted to give up resisting on their land and just leave (which appears to be maybe the less nefarious of Sharon’s possible goals), can’t leave. Because they can’t even get into Israel to apply for visas, and because their destination countries won’t let them in (both our country and Arab countries). So I think when all means of survival is cut off in a pen (Gaza) which people can’t get out of, I think that qualifies as genocide. Even if they could get out, I think it would still qualify as genocide. Maybe you could look up the definition of genocide according to international law. I don’t remember it right now. I’m going to get better at illustrating this, hopefully. I don’t like to use those charged words. I think you know this about me. I really value words. I really try to illustrate and let people draw their own conclusions.

Anyway, I’m rambling. Just want to write to my Mom and tell her that I’m witnessing this chronic, insidious genocide and I’m really scared, and questioning my fundamental belief in the goodness of human nature. This has to stop. I think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote our lives to making this stop. I don’t think it’s an extremist thing to do anymore. I still really want to dance around to Pat Benatar and have boyfriends and make comics for my coworkers. But I also want this to stop. Disbelief and horror is what I feel. Disappointment. I am disappointed that this is the base reality of our world and that we, in fact, participate in it. This is not at all what I asked for when I came into this world. This is not at all what the people here asked for when they came into this world. This is not the world you and Dad wanted me to come into when you decided to have me. This is not what I meant when I looked at Capital Lake and said: “This is the wide world and I’m coming to it.” I did not mean that I was coming into a world where I could live a comfortable life and possibly, with no effort at all, exist in complete unawareness of my participation in genocide. More big explosions somewhere in the distance outside.

When I come back from Palestine, I probably will have nightmares and constantly feel guilty for not being here, but I can channel that into more work. Coming here is one of the better things I’ve ever done. So when I sound crazy, or if the Israeli military should break with their racist tendency not to injure white people, please pin the reason squarely on the fact that I am in the midst of a genocide which I am also indirectly supporting, and for which my government is largely responsible.

I love you and Dad. Sorry for the diatribe. OK, some strange men next to me just gave me some peas, so I need to eat and thank them.

Rachel

February 28 2003

(To her mother)

Thanks, Mom, for your response to my email. It really helps me to get word from you, and from other people who care about me.

After I wrote to you I went incommunicado from the affinity group for about 10 hours which I spent with a family on the front line in Hi Salam – who fixed me dinner – and have cable TV. The two front rooms of their house are unusable because gunshots have been fired through the walls, so the whole family – three kids and two parents – sleep in the parent’s bedroom. I sleep on the floor next to the youngest daughter, Iman, and we all shared blankets. I helped the son with his English homework a little, and we all watched Pet Semetery, which is a horrifying movie. I think they all thought it was pretty funny how much trouble I had watching it. Friday is the holiday, and when I woke up they were watching Gummy Bears dubbed into Arabic. So I ate breakfast with them and sat there for a while and just enjoyed being in this big puddle of blankets with this family watching what for me seemed like Saturday morning cartoons. Then I walked some way to B’razil, which is where Nidal and Mansur and Grandmother and Rafat and all the rest of the big family that has really wholeheartedly adopted me live. (The other day, by the way, Grandmother gave me a pantomimed lecture in Arabic that involved a lot of blowing and pointing to her black shawl. I got Nidal to tell her that my mother would appreciate knowing that someone here was giving me a lecture about smoking turning my lungs black.) I met their sister-in-law, who is visiting from Nusserat camp, and played with her small baby.

Nidal’s English gets better every day. He’s the one who calls me, “My sister”. He started teaching Grandmother how to say, “Hello. How are you?” In English. You can always hear the tanks and bulldozers passing by, but all of these people are genuinely cheerful with each other, and with me. When I am with Palestinian friends I tend to be somewhat less horrified than when I am trying to act in a role of human rights observer, documenter, or direct-action resister. They are a good example of how to be in it for the long haul. I know that the situation gets to them – and may ultimately get them – on all kinds of levels, but I am nevertheless amazed at their strength in being able to defend such a large degree of their humanity – laughter, generosity, family-time – against the incredible horror occurring in their lives and against the constant presence of death. I felt much better after this morning. I spent a lot of time writing about the disappointment of discovering, somewhat first-hand, the degree of evil of which we are still capable. I should at least mention that I am also discovering a degree of strength and of basic ability for humans to remain human in the direst of circumstances – which I also haven’t seen before. I think the word is dignity. I wish you could meet these people. Maybe, hopefully, someday you will.

Source

Rachel’s  (additional emails)

March 18 2003

February 8 2003
I got a number of very thoughtful responses to the email I sent out last night, most of which I don’t have time to respond to right now. Thanks everyone for the encouragement, questions, criticism. Daniel’s response was particularly inspiring to me and deserves to be shared. The resistance of Israeli Jewish people to the occupation and the enormous risk taken by those refusing to serve in the Israeli military offers an example, especially for those of us living in the United States, of how to behave when you discover that atrocities are being commited in your name. Thank you.
Received by Rachel on February 7 2003
I am a reserve first sergeant in the IDF. The military orisons are filling up with conscientious objectors. Many of them are reservists with families. These are men who have proven their courage under fire in the past. Some have been in jail for more than six months with no end in sight.

The amount of AWOLS and refusals to serve are unprecedented in our history as a nation as well as are refusals to carry out orders that involve firing on targets where civilians may be harmed. In a time now in Israel where jobs are scarce and people are losing their homes and businesses to Sharon’s vendetta, many career soldiers – among them pilots and intelligence personnel – have chosen jail and unemployment over what they cold only describe as murder.

I am supposed to report to the Military Justice department – it is my job to hunt down runaway soldiers and bring them in. I have not reported in for 18 months. Instead, I’ve been using my talents and credentials to document on film and see with my own eyes what the ISMers and other internationals have claimed my boys have been up to.

I love my country. I believe that Israel is under the leadership of some very bad people right now. I believe that settlers and local police are in collusion with each other and that the border police are acting disgracefully. They are an embarrassment to 40% of the Israeli public and they would be an embarrassment to 90% of the population if they knew what we know.

Please document as much as you can and do not embellish anything with creative writing. The media here serves as a very convincing spin control agent through all of this. Pass this on letter to your friends. There are many soldiers among the ranks of those serving in the occupied territories that are sickened by what they see.

There is a code of honor in the IDF – it is called “tohar haneshek” (pronounced TOWhar haNEHshek). It’s what we say to a comrade who is about to do something awful, like kill an unarmed prisoner or carry out an order that violates decency. It means literally “the purity of arms”.

Another phrase that speaks to a soldier in his own language is “degle shachor” (DEHgel ShaHor) – it means “black flag”. If you say, “Atah MeTachat Degle Shahor” it means “you are carrying out immoral orders”. It’s a big deal and a shock to hear it from the lips of “silly misguided foreigners”

At all times possible try to engage the soldiers in conversation. Do not make the mistake of objectifying them as they have objectified you. Respect is catching, as is disrespect, whether either be deserved or not.

You are doing a good thing. I thank you for it.

Peace,

Danny

Continuation of her email to her mother, February 28 2003
I think I could see a Palestinian state or a democratic Israeli-Palestinian state within my lifetime. I think freedom for Palestine could be an incredible source of hope to people struggling all over the world. I think it could also be an incredible inspiration to Arab people in the Middle East, who are struggling under undemocratic regimes which the US supports.

I look forward to increasing numbers of middle-class privileged people like you and me becoming aware of the structures that support our privilege and beginning to support the work of those who aren’t privileged to dismantle those structures.

I look forward to more moments like February 15 when civil society wakes up en masse and issues massive and resonant evidence of it’s conscience, it’s unwillingness to be repressed, and it’s compassion for the suffering of others. I look forward to more teachers emerging like Matt Grant and Barbara Weaver and Dale Knuth who teach critical thinking to kids in the United States. I look forward to the international resistance that’s occurring now fertilizing analysis on all kinds of issues, with dialogue between diverse groups of people. I look forward to all of us who are new at this developing better skills for working in democratic structures and healing our own racism and classism and sexism and heterosexism and ageism and ableism and becoming more effective

One other thing – I think this a lot about public protest – like the one a few weeks ago here that was attended by only about 150 people. Whenever I organize or participate in public protest I get really worried that it will just suck, be really small, embarrassing, and the media will laugh at me. Oftentimes, it is really small and most of the time the media laughs at us. The weekend after our 150-person protest we were invited to a maybe 2,000 person protest. Even though we had a small protest and of course it didn’t get coverage all over the world, in some places the word “Rafah” was mentioned outside of the Arab press. Colin got a sign in English and Arabic into the protest in Seattle that said “Olympia says no to war on Rafah and Iraq”. His pictures went up on the Rafah-today website that a guy named Mohammed here runs. People here and elsewhere saw those pictures.

I think about Glen going out every Friday for ten years with tagboard signs that addressed the number of children dead from sanctions in Iraq. Sometimes just one or two people there and everyone thought they were crazy and they got spit upon. Now there are a lot more people on Friday evenings.

The juncture between 4th and State is just lined with them, and they get a lot of honks and waves, and thumbs ups. They created an infrastructure there for other people to do something. Getting spit on, they made it easier for someone else to decide that they could write a letter to the editor, or stand at the back of a rally – or do something that seems slightly less ridiculous than standing at the side of the road addressing the deaths of children in Iraq and getting spit upon.

Just hearing about what you are doing makes me feel less alone, less useless, less invisible. Those honks and waves help. The pictures help. Colin helps. The international media and our government are not going to tell us that we are effective, important, justified in our work, courageous, intelligent, valuable. We have to do that for each other, and one way we can do that is by continuing our work, visibly.

I also think it’s important for people in the United States in relative privilege to realize that people without privilege will be doing this work no matter what, because they are working for their lives. We can work with them, and they know that we work with them, or we can leave them to do this work themselves and curse us for our complicity in killing them. I really don’t get the sense that anyone here curses us.

I also get the sense that people here, in particular, are actually more concerned in the immediate about our comfort and health than they are about us risking our lives on their behalf. At least that’s the case for me. People try to give me a lot of tea and food in the midst of gunfire and explosive-detonation.

I love you,

Rachel

Rachel’s last email

Hi papa,

Thank you for your email. I feel like sometimes I spend all my time propogandizing mom, and assuming she’ll pass stuff on to you, so you get neglected. Don’t worry about me too much, right now I am most concerned that we are not being effective. I still don’t feel particularly at risk. Rafah has seemed calmer lately, maybe because the military is preoccupied with incursions in the north – still shooting and house demolitions – one death this week that I know of, but not any larger incursions. Still can’t say how this will change if and when war with Iraq comes.

Thanks also for stepping up your anti-war work. I know it is not easy to do, and probably much more difficult where you are than where I am. I am really interested in talking to the journalist in Charlotte – let me know what I can do to speed the process along. I am trying to figure out what I’m going to do when I leave here, and when I’m going to leave. Right now I think I could stay until June, financially. I really don’t want to move back to Olympia, but do need to go back there to clean my stuff out of the garage and talk about my experiences here. On the other hand, now that I’ve crossed the ocean I’m feeling a strong desire to try to stay across the ocean for some time. Considering trying to get English teaching jobs – would like to really buckle down and learn Arabic.

Also got an invitation to visit Sweden on my way back – which I think I could do very cheaply. I would like to leave Rafah with a viable plan to return, too. One of the core members of our group has to leave tomorrow – and watching her say goodbye to people is making me realize how difficult it will be. People here can’t leave, so that complicates things. They also are pretty matter-of-fact about the fact that they don’t know if they will be alive when we come back here.

I really don’t want to live with a lot of guilt about this place – being able to come and go so easily – and not going back. I think it is valuable to make commitments to places – so I would like to be able to plan on coming back here within a year or so. Of all of these possibilities I think it’s most likely that I will at least go to Sweden for a few weeks on my way back – I can change tickets and get a plane to from Paris to Sweden and back for a total of around 150 bucks or so. I know I should really try to link up with the family in France – but I really think that I’m not going to do that. I think I would just be angry the whole time and not much fun to be around. It also seems like a transition into too much opulence right now – I would feel a lot of class guilt the whole time as well.

Let me know if you have any ideas about what I should do with the rest of my life. I love you very much. If you want you can write to me as if I was on vacation at a camp on the big island of Hawaii learning to weave. One thing I do to make things easier here is to utterly retreat into fantasies that I am in a Hollywood movie or a sitcom starring Michael J Fox. So feel free to make something up and I’ll be happy to play along. Much love Poppy.

Rachel

Source

Rachel Corrie Memorium Site

Bless Her Dear Heart.

She dreamed of a better life for Palestinians.

She dreamed of Peace.

Her dreams and goals will be remembered by millions around the world.

Hold her memory close to your heart.

Dare to dream as she did.
Strive for Peace.

Over the years since Rachel’s death, things have not improved for those in Gaza, only gotten worse.

Many  young Israeli’s still  go to  jail because they refuse to join Israels army.

They are demonized for their objections, to the methods Israel uses.

They refuse to bomb, shoot  people or destroy homes and places of employment or the hundreds of types of destruction imposed on those in Gaza or the West Bank.

Steven Plaut failed to mention that in his article.

Seems his goal was to demonize Rachel and her parents.

Related

Rachel Corrie Gets Her Day in Court

Israel declares the shooting of American activist, Tristan Anderson to be an “act of war”

Israeli Defense Ministry goes on trial for Corrie death

March 9, 2010

On Wednesday, the Israeli Defense Ministry will go on trial as a court hears a case filed by the parents of an American woman run down by an Israeli military bulldozer in Gaza, in March 2003.
A civil suit seeks to hold Israeli forces responsible for the death of Rachel Corrie, a 23-year-old activist who was crushed to death as she protested a Palestinian home from demolition in the Gaza Strip.
“We claim that her assassination was intentional,” or, at the very least, that the army is guilty of “huge negligence,” Hussein Abu Hussein, the attorney who filed the petition on behalf of Corrie’s parents, commented.
Abu Hussein cites the state’s acknowledgment of the fact that Corrie and other members of the International Solidarity Movement—a Palestinian-led peace organization that advocates non-violent means of resistance to the Israeli occupation—were demonstrating in the area for several hours before Corrie was struck by the bulldozer. He also points out that Corrie was wearing a fluorescent orange vest to increase her visibility.
At the time of her death, the Israeli military response was that the driver of the machine did not see Corrie.
“If you see people, you should stop and think of all the needed steps not to harm [them]. Instead of stopping the D9, which weighs 64 tons, they continued. And due to that, [Corrie] was killed,” Abu Hussein said.
Four of Corrie’s fellow activists who witnessed her death were initially denied entry into Israel where they were asked to testify at the trial, but US pressure reportedly changed the Israeli position. A US citizen and three UK nationals will now be able to speak at the trial, which is expected to last two weeks.
Israel will not issue an entry permit to Dr Ahmed Abu Nakira, the Gazan physician who saw Corrie after she was injured and declared her dead. The state rejected the request for his entry on the grounds that there is no coordination between Israel and Gaza, due to the Israeli blockade that began after Hamas rose to power in 2007.
“It’s an obstacle to justice,” Abu Hussein said. “On the one side, [Israel] won’t give permission [for Dr Abu Nakira] to come; on the other they won’t allow him to testify by videoconference, which is used daily by courts everywhere in the modern world.”
Speaking shortly after Corrie’s death, an Israeli military representative called the incident a “regrettable accident.” An internal investigation conducted by the Israeli army later absolved the soldier operating the bulldozer of any wrongdoing.
The report, released in April 2003, claimed that Corrie was not killed by the “engineering vehicle” but “was struck by a hard object, most probably a slab of concrete which was moved or slid down while the mound of earth which she was standing behind was moved.” The army accused Corrie and the other activists present of behaving in an “illegal, irresponsible, and dangerous” manner.
Abu Hussein says that the army’s investigation lacked transparency. The civil suit, which was filed in 2005, is the only way to hold the state accountable for Corrie’s death, he says.
While it is exceedingly rare for the Defense Ministry to take direct responsibility in such cases, the state has made financial reparations to a handful of families like the Corries. Just two months after Rachel’s death, British journalist and filmmaker James Miller, 34, was shot to death by an Israeli soldier. After an army investigation found no wrongdoing, the UK warned it would extradite the soldiers involved. Last year, Israel settled out of court with Miller’s family for approximately 1.5 million pounds (2.25 million US dollars).
“The family is not seeking money. They’re seeking acknowledgment of responsibility by the state,” Abu Hussein says. If the Corries do receive compensation from Israel, they intend to donate the sum to “the matter Rachel was struggling for—for peace.”
The Corries’ suit “underscores that Israel doesn’t prosecute” soldiers accused of wrongdoing and that the state behaves it is “exempt from accountability,” Abu Hussein said.
“In the cases brought by Palestinians against the IDF [Israeli forces], more than 90 percent are denied,” he says, pointing to a culture of immunity that has been criticized human rights groups.
From 2000 to 2009, the Israeli NGO Yesh Din monitored almost 2000 Israeli military investigations into incidents in which a Palestinian or international claimed the army was guilty of a criminal offense, including unlawful shooting that led to injury or death. Indictments were filed in only six percent of these cases. Many of the soldiers who were prosecuted cut deals with the court that reduced the severity of both the charges and punishments.
“When we look at the number of cases, and we look at the fact that only six percent yield indictments, it is safe to assume that a soldier in the field today will know that he can get away with pretty much anything,” Yesh Din’s research director Lior Yavne remarked.
A representative for the Corries emphasized that the family hopes the upcoming trial will bring attention to ongoing human rights abuses perpetrated by the Israeli army in the occupied Palestinian territories. “The issue is Palestine and human rights defenders,” the liaison says. “They want to highlight Gaza in light of [the UN-commissioned] Goldstone [report] and Operation Cast Lead.” Source

The reality

Demolitions continue. Reconstruction material is not getting in. The blockade is still imposed and the illegal wall is still there.

UN official calls for ‘radical’ policy shift in occupied Palestinian territory

March 4 2010 –

The top United Nations humanitarian official today called for “radical” changes in Israeli policies towards the occupied Palestinian territory to allow people to carry out normal and dignified lives.

“For this to happen, marginal improvements here and there are not enough,” Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes underscored in Jerusalem while on a visit to the region.

In Gaza, border crossings must be re-opened, while in the West Bank, illegal demolitions and evictions should stop, he said. In the so-called Area C, which covers 60 per cent of the West Bank and remains largely off limits to Palestinians, he called for the allowing of natural development.

In Shu’fat refugee camp in East Jerusalem, Mr. Holmes saw first-hand the impact of the barrier – which Israel says it is building to keep out suicide bombers and other attackers – on the Palestinian community. It has curtailed access to health, education and other basic services, while also limiting livelihood opportunities.

He also witnessed the effects of continued demolitions and forced evictions in the Arab neighbourhoods of Al Bustan and Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem, where many families have been forced from their homes and many more are at risk of displacement.

“I was moved by what I saw and heard today during the discussions I had with Palestinian families forced out of their homes,” Mr. Holmes, who also serves as UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, said.

“The recent decision of the Jerusalem municipality to delay the planned demolitions in Al Bustan is a positive step, but what is really needed is the cancellation of demolition orders and evictions in Palestinian areas,” he added.

In Area C, the Under-Secretary-General visited a school in the Al Jahalin Bedouin community, which has been in the area for generations. It has come under pressure recently due to a nearby settlement and restrictions on building permits and access to the area.

The school, built with the help of the UN and its partners, has been marked for demolition, which he says cannot be justified. “The case of this school shows how difficult it has become for herding communities to continue living in Area C and for humanitarian agencies to assist them,” he noted.

In the West Bank city of Ramallah, Mr. Holmes met with Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, expressing his support for the Palestinian Authority and the UN’s determination to continue helping vulnerable people in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Earlier this week, the UN official saw for himself the conditions in Gaza, just over one year after the end of the three-week Israeli military offensive, known as operation “Cast Lead,” which had the stated aim of ending rocket attacks by militants operating in the area.

The fighting left more than 1,400 people dead, injured 5,000 others and reduced homes, schools, hospitals and marketplaces to rubble.

“I have a lot of admiration for the resilience and ingenuity of Gaza residents in trying to cope with the present circumstances,” he said. “The work of relief agencies to assist those who have to endure hardship is also remarkable.”

But he stressed that it is “disturbing” that one year after the fighting ended, “no meaningful reconstruction has yet started.”

Mr. Holmes is scheduled to leave Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory tomorrow.

From UN

Not so long ago

UN Calls for Israel to Open Crossing for Goods

Add to that the Birth Defects.
New birth defects seen in Gaza due to Israeli weapons

An increase in birth defects among newborns in the Gaza Strip — first documented in the Palestine Telegraph — has become apparent, despite claims to the contrary by some doctors at Al-Shifa Hospital. Pregnant women say they are living in constant fear.

Noha Abu Laban, 37, a resident of Jabalia camp in the northern Gaza Strip, is in her final month of pregnancy and says: “In the war, I inhaled the smoke of white phosphorus, which was fired on the roof of our house. I have been feeling sick since my pregnancy, and have had heavy bleeding.” Noha is currently being treated in the High-Risk Pregnancy Care Unit at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

Alaa Al-Tunp, a 25-year-old resident in the Al-Tofah neighborhood, says: “When I heard the stories of deformed fetuses, I became so worried, especially since I miscarried once before, during the war, when I was in my third month of pregnancy. I had inhaled the smoke of the white phosphorus. There are many pregnant women here in the High=Risk Pregnancy Care Unit who had the same experience.” Alaa says she is very worried that she will miscarry once again, or that her baby will be deformed.

More than 20 pregnant women interviewed at the High-Risk Pregnancy Care Unit at Al-Shifa reported suffering intermittent bleeding.

Ahlam, a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit, indicated that there have been many infants with birth defects, and some die after just a week. Most of the newborns in this condition are not named, since it is believed they will not survive. One of the babies, for example, suffers from deformities in which his head is twice the size of his body, his skin is wrinkled and covered with thick hair, and his respiratory system struggles to function.

Dr. Jehad Hisain, who works at the neonatal intensive care unit at Al-Shifa Hospital, confirmed that these deformities are increasing, adding that the parents often do not visit them in the unit for months, since death is their babies’ anticipated fate.

Experts regard the most recent birth defect in Gaza as a result of the last one sided war launched by Israel. The Israeli war “massacre” claimed the lives of thousands while DU weapons and white phosphorous targeted only areas populated by civilians in Gaza.

Mads Gilbert , a Norwegian doctor who worked in Gaza in time of war, revealed that Israel used new close-range explosive (DIME) shells that cause severe injuries and battlefield amputations on the civilians being struck by these weapons.

Previous report of the Palestine Telegraph documented birth defect cases that give strong proofs, that Israel has used such weapons.

Source

Released March 7, 2010 It’s all about taking the land from Palestinians. Definitely worth reading. It also has a lot of history as well.

E-book on Jewish National Fund’s role in colonization of Palestine

The list could go on forever.

Of course Israels criminal acts are not confined to just Gaza, West Bank and Israel they also go on through out the world.  Recently the murder in Dubai.

This of course is not new, assassinations/murders are very common.

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Israel “blackmails Gaza’s patients to turn them into collaborators”

Hiba Al-Shamaree Iraqi Female Blogger Trial set for March 3 2010

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US/Israeli Charity uses little Palestinian Childs photo to raise money for Israel’s Hungry

Published in: on March 5, 2010 at 11:10 pm  Comments Off on Rachel Corrie’s parents Get Nasty Letter from professor at Haifa University  
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Hiba Al-Shamaree Iraqi Female Blogger Trial set for March 3 2010

February 27, 2010
URGENT: UPDATE 4. Hiba Al-Shamaree Iraqi Female Blogger

Finally received some news regarding the arrest and imprisonment of Hiba Al-Shamaree, Iraqi female blogger whose real name is Dr.Hanan Al-Mashadani, by Iraqi security forces.

And someone who insists on remaining anonymous kindly translated the latest appeal sent by her sister Huda Al-Shamaree. So THANK YOU Anonymous.
_________________________________________________________________

Greetings,

The Iraqi Government, which had previously denied the existence of Dr. Hanan Al-Mashhadani (aka Hiba Al-Shammari), has finally allowed a telephone conversation between Dr. Al-Mashhadani and her lawyer, Mr. Karim Ahmed Al-Asadi. During the conversation which took only five minutes, the legal status and nature of charges against Dr. Al-Mashhadani were discussed. According to what we got from the lawyer, the charges revolve around the rubbery Terrorism Act that has been known to take the shape and form of its implementing parties.

1. Supporting terrorism through written articles described as “confidential”, and requesting Dr. Hanan to reveal her journalistic sources.
2. Encouraging terrorist attacks on police and army by terrorist elements.
3. Prejudicing symbolic national and religious figures.
4. Impersonating the character of an existing Iraqi writer (although they have not told us who that writer might be).
5. Dr. Hanan told us that she was subjected to harsh treatment and verbal assault, and that she was under solitary confinement and had been given poor food.
6. Trial is going to be held on 3/3/2010.

Awaiting your responses to save your honor and the daughters of Iraq We appeal to every honorable person to raise his/her voice in condemnation.

Source

Petition: Demand the release of Iraqi Female Writer/Blogger Hiba Al-Shamaree

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Published in: on March 3, 2010 at 4:02 am  Comments Off on Hiba Al-Shamaree Iraqi Female Blogger Trial set for March 3 2010  
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Rachel Corrie Gets Her Day in Court

Peace activist Rachel Corrie died while protesting in front of a bulldozer trying to destroy a Palestinian home in Rafah in March 2003. Photograph: Denny Sternstein/AP

Friday 26 February 2010

By Robert Naiman

On March 10, in the Israeli city of Haifa, American peace activist Rachel Corrie will get her day in court. Corrie’s parents, Cindy and Craig Corrie, are bringing suit against the Israeli defence ministry for Corrie’s killing by an Israeli military bulldozer in Gaza in March 2003.

Four key American and British witnesses who were present at the scene – members of the International Solidarity Movement – will be allowed into Israel to testify, despite having been barred previously by the Israeli authorities from entering the country. This reversal by the Israeli authorities is apparently due to US government pressure, The Guardian reported. (Three cheers for any US officials who contributed to this pressure. What else could you make the Israeli government do?)

A Palestinian doctor from Gaza, who treated Corrie after she was injured, has not been given permission by the Israeli authorities to leave Gaza to attend. (This would seem to be important testimony concerning the nature of Corrie’s injuries – did US officials exert pressure for his appearance?)

This case isn’t just about accountability for Corrie’s death. It’s a test case for the power of the rule of law in Israel, when the rule of law comes into conflict with the policies of military occupation.

When the rule of law in Israel comes into conflict with the policies of occupation, the rule of law often loses. But it does not always lose, particularly when the rule of law gets a boost from vigorous protest and political agitation. This month, Reuters reported Israel began rerouting part of its “West Bank barrier” near the village of Bilin – the site of many Palestinian, Israeli and international protests – in response to a petition filed in 2007 by Palestinians whose land was confiscated for the project. This was only a partial victory, because it only affected a minority of the confiscated land. But it shows that the rule of law in Israel is not totally impotent against the occupation, particularly when the rule of law is aided by protest and agitation.

It’s also a test case for the power of nonviolent resistance to the Israeli occupation. It’s commonplace among some poorly informed commenters – Edith Garwood of Amnesty International cited Bono, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and President Obama as recent examples – that Palestinians should “find their Martin Luther King.” But this commentary is foolish and retrograde, as Rahm Emanuel might say. A necessary condition for the ascendance of a King- or Gandhi-type movement in Palestine is that if Palestinian nonviolence activists are killed by the Israeli occupation, the government of Israel pays a significant price for that killing. If the Israeli government can kill an American peace activist and pay little price, what chance do the Palestinian Kings and Gandhis have?

It’s instructive to do a press search on the recent developments in the Corrie case. Searching on Yahoo News, I found Israeli and Palestinian press, Jewish and Arab press, British and Australian press. But outside of The Seattle Weekly – Corrie is from Olympia, and Brian Baird is her representative – I found no general US press. Isn’t it remarkable that we Americans have to read the British press to find out about developments in the case of our compatriot? Isn’t this state of affairs something that Bono, Nicholas Kristof and President Obama ought to reflect on, especially given the fact that they have significant ability to do something about it?

The persistence of Corrie’s case as a thorn in the side of the Israeli occupation authorities recalls the 1960s Costa-Gavras docudrama “Z,” about the political fallout from the assassination by the US-supported Greek government of the Greek parliamentarian and peace movement leader Gregoris Lambrakis. There is a powerful scene in the movie in which one of Lambrakis’ associates visits Lambrakis’ widow to deliver the news that four high-ranking military police officers have been indicted in the killing. On the way to meet her, Lambrakis’ associate passes a group of Greek students painting the letter “Z” on the sidewalk, meaning “he (Lambrakis) lives.” Marveling at the students’ determined activism in the face of mounting repression, Lambrakis’ associate said, “It’s almost as if he were alive.”

They murdered her, and yet she dogs them. It’s almost as if she were alive.

Source

Video History: Gaza Occupation Also 2 Videos with Rachel Corrie Bless her dear Heart- May we all remember her with Love

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Published in: on February 27, 2010 at 6:17 am  Comments Off on Rachel Corrie Gets Her Day in Court  
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Still no verdict in Dr Aafia Siddiqui trial

February 3 2010

On Tuesday, jurors in New York deliberated for a full day without reaching a verdict in the trial of Pakistani citizen Aafia Siddiqui, who is charged with attempted murder of FBI agents and US military personnel.

The deliberations are scheduled to resume on Wednesday.

Siddiqui is accused of grabbing a US warrant officer’s M-4 rifle in a police station in Ghazni, Afghanistan in July 2008 and firing two shots at FBI agents and military personnel when being interrogated for her alleged possession of documents detailing a ‘terrorist’ plan.

The prosecution says she burst from behind a curtain and attempted the ‘murder’ and was shot in the abdomen.

Last week, Siddiqui said she was concerned about being transferred to a “secret” prison by the US forces and was trying to slip out of the room when she was shot. “I’m telling you what I know. I walked toward the curtain. I was shot and I was shot again. I fainted,” she said.

Siddiqui’s lawyer Linda Moreno said during closing arguments Monday that the “science” supported her testimony that she didn’t touch the weapon or fire it.

“Where are the bullet holes? …Did the Afghanis take the bullet holes? …There is no physical evidence that an M-4 rifle was touched by Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, let alone fired,”The Wall Street Journal quoted Moreno as saying.

Siddiqui vanished in Karachi, Pakistan with her three children on March 30, 2003. The next day it was reported in local newspapers that she had been taken into custody on terrorism charges.

US officials allege that she was seized on July 17, 2008 by Afghan security forces in Ghazni province and claim that documents, including formulas for explosives and chemical weapons, were found in her handbag.

She has been brought to the United States to face charges of attempted murder and assault. Siddiqui faces 20 years in prison on the attempted murder charges and life in prison on the firearms charge.

However, human rights organizations have cast doubt on the accuracy of the US account of the event.

Many political activists believe she was Prisoner 650 of the US detention facility in Bagram, Afghanistan, where they say she was tortured for five years until one day US authorities announced that they had found her in Afghanistan.

Source

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Published in: on February 3, 2010 at 6:10 am  Comments Off on Still no verdict in Dr Aafia Siddiqui trial  
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Case against Aafia Siddiqui begins to unravel

Case against Aafia Siddiqui begins to unravel
January 24 2010

The case against Pakistani citizen Aafia Siddiqui, who is charged with attempted murder of FBI agents and US military personnel, is beginning to unravel as witnesses have offered conflicting accounts in testimony delivered at her trial.

The long-awaited trial of Siddiqui began in a federal courtroom in New York on Tuesday.

On January 21, which was the second day of the trial, Assistant US Attorney Jenna Dabbs showed jurors numerous photographs of the room of the Afghan police station where the shooting allegedly took place, and a photo of the cell where Siddiqui was held when she was first brought to the station on July 17, 2008, the independent online news network Mathaba reported.

But Carlo Rosati, an FBI firearms expert who testified in the federal court on Friday, expressed doubts whether the M-4 rifle, which was allegedly grabbed by Aafia Siddiqui to attack US interrogators in Ghazni, Afghanistan, was ever fired at the crime scene, the Associated Press of Pakistan said.

In addition, on the third of the trial, an FBI agent testified that the FBI did not find Aafia Siddiqui’s fingerprints on the rifle.

No Pakistanis reporters were granted press credentials when opening statements began on Tuesday.

The MIT-educated neuroscientist is currently on trial, facing charges of trying to kill US soldiers and FBI agents in Afghanistan in 2008 and connections with Al-Qaeda operatives.

She insisted on the first day of the trial that she knew nothing about a plan to carry out terrorist attacks on targets in New York, The New York Daily News reported.

“Give me a little credit, this is not a list of targets of New York,” she said. “I was never planning to bomb it. You’re lying.”

Siddiqui told jurors at her trial on Tuesday that she was held in a secret prison in Afghanistan, her children were tortured, and the case against her is a sham.

She was ejected from the federal court on the first day of here trial after her shouting outburst.

Siddiqui vanished in Karachi, Pakistan with her three children on March 30, 2003. The next day it was reported in local newspapers that she had been taken into custody on terrorism charges.

US officials allege Aafia Siddiqui was seized on July 17, 2008 by Afghan security forces in Ghazni province and claim that documents, including formulas for explosives and chemical weapons, were found in her handbag.

They say that while she was being interrogated, she grabbed a US warrant officer’s M-4 rifle and fired two shots at FBI agents and military personnel but missed and that the warrant officer then fired back, hitting her in the torso.

She was then brought to the United States to face charges of attempted murder and assault. Siddiqui faces 20 years in prison if convicted.

However, human rights organizations have cast doubt on the accuracy of the US account of the event.

Many political activists believe she was Prisoner 650 of the US detention facility in Bagram, Afghanistan, where they say she was tortured for five years until one day US authorities announced that they had found her in Afghanistan.

Source
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Published in: on January 25, 2010 at 8:07 am  Comments Off on Case against Aafia Siddiqui begins to unravel  
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US Trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui has started

New York trial prompts outrage in Pakistan

Aafia Siddiqui, shown in custody in Afghanistan in 2008, faces life in prison on charges of attempted murder. AP

The U.S. says Aafia Siddiqui is a terrorist. Her countrymen say she is a victim of American injustice

By Saeed Shah

January 20 2010

In the United States, she’s been dubbed “the most dangerous woman in the world.” In Pakistan, she is seen as a victim of American injustice in the fight against al-Qaeda. And at the opening of her trial in New York, the judge found her too disruptive and had her removed from the courtroom.

“I was never planning a bombing! You’re lying!” Aafia Siddiqui shouted as she was taken out of court less than two hours into the proceedings yesterday.

The outburst came as U.S. Army Captain Robert Snyder testified that documents found in Dr. Siddiqui’s possession included targets for a mass casualty attack, including the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street and the Brooklyn Bridge.

There was shouting in Pakistan, too, at demonstrations in cities across the country in support of Dr. Siddiqui, who is a national cause célèbre as a symbol of Muslims mistreated during U.S. antiterrorism efforts, just like the prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, or Bagram, the Afghan prison where her supporters say she was secretly held for years.

Dr. Siddiqui’s frail appearance and tormented outbursts in pretrial hearings have added to allegations that she has had to endure years of torture since going missing from her hometown of Karachi in 2003. But according to her detractors, including her former husband Amjad Khan, she was a jihadist who spent those years on the run. Some have even suggested that she became a double agent, working at some point against al-Qaeda.

U.S. officials have accused Dr. Siddiqui, a 37-year-old neuroscientist educated at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, of working for al-Qaeda, in particular as a facilitator for the 9/11 hijackers. The only charges she faces in the New York court, however, are related to the extraordinary circumstances of her supposed capture in Afghanistan in 2008.

“They couldn’t find a more innocent person,” says Fauzia Siddiqui, Aafia’s sister in Karachi. “I don’t believe that there’s any justice possible in the post-9/11 U.S. system.”

Fauzia Siddiqui cares for 13-year-old Ahmed, one of her sister’s three children, who were all with her when she disappeared. The whereabouts of the other two, Suleman, who would now be 7, and Maryam, 10, remain a mystery.

Dr. Siddiqui’s family says she was abducted by Pakistani intelligence and then handed over to American agents.

Shortly after the stories of Dr. Siddiqui’s alleged detention at Bagram hit the international headlines in 2008, she turned up in American custody. U.S. authorities said she was arrested after acting suspiciously in Ghazni, Afghanistan, a town 80 kilometres south of Kabul, and found with documentation on U.S. landmarks and jars containing chemicals.

According to the U.S. account, when in custody at a police station in Ghazni, the petite Dr .Siddiqui jumped out from behind a curtain, grabbed an M-4 rifle that was lying at the foot of a U.S. soldier, and shot at him twice, missing. A second soldier fired back, hitting her in the stomach. She was then flown to the United States.

In New York, she faces life in prison on charges of attempted murder, armed assault on U.S. officers and employees and discharging a firearm during a crime of violence – all stemming from the Ghazni incident.

Defence lawyer Charles Swift – whom Dr. Siddiqui has disowned – told jurors there was no conclusive evidence she ever picked up the rifle. “There are many different versions of how this happened,” he said.

In Pakistani cities such as Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi, there were small but emotional demonstrations.

“They [the Americans] are just trying to lock up people to show they have some bad guys, to try to prove they are winning the war,” 18-year-old student Mohammad bin Ismail said in Islamabad. “They are using people like trophies.”

The fact that Dr. Siddiqui is a woman seems to have generated much anger in conservative Pakistan, where her support is noticeably from the religious right. “It’s a case of rendition,” said Amina Janjua, a local campaigner for missing people. “We feel that as a Pakistani nation, our respect, honour and dignity is at stake.”

Source

Aafia Sid NEW YORK:

Pakistani neuroscientist and an alleged al-Qaida sympathiser Aafia Siddiqui accused of shooting at US military officers in Afghanistan, today promised to behave in court and refrain from any outbursts.

Siddiqui has been accused of shooting at US military officers and FBI agents, was taken out of the court, following an outburst on the first day of trial.

Siddiqui exploded into an disjointed protest shortly after the first witness, Captain Jack Snyder began testifying about a paper on which the defendant allegedly had written words like “radiation material”, “dirty bomber”, and names of New York City landmarks including Brooklyn Bridge and Empire State Building.

“I was never planning to bomb,” “When you’ve been in a secret prison,” “When your children have been tortured” are some of the things, she said, before being taken out from the courtroom.

Siddiqui told Judge Richard Berman she would be quiet on even though she might disagree with testimony. The prosecutors requested that Siddiqui not be allowed back in for the rest of the trial that is expected to last about ten days.

The defendant, herself, has refused to participate in the court proceedings, several times, and does not recognise here defence team retained by the Pakistani government including, Charles Swift, who is well know for being the lawyer for Osama bin Laden’s driver, Salim Hamadan.

Siddiqui was picked up by Afghan forces after she was found wandering around the governor’s house in the city of Ghazni with a small boy, the alleged handwritten paper and a thumb drive with more notes in various languages including Urdu.

After opening statements from both sides, the prosecutor presented three witnesses who proceeded to describe how the defendant had picked up a M4 rifle that had been left unsecured by one a military official during her interrogation in the police headquarters in Ghazni.

Snyder recalled that the gun was pointed straight at his head and being able to see in the barrel of the gun. “I used the arms of my chair to spring out of my seat and get out of the line of the fire,” he said.

The defence team intends to show that the suspicious material that the defendant allegedly had on her person is not credible as it changed hands several times between Afghan and American officials, and also that the petite 90 pound, Siddiqui, could not have lifted a M4 much less fired it.

The defendant, 37, who studied at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has also been described as an Al Qaeda sympathiser but this case is only about whether she shot the army personnel and she is not facing any terrorism-related charges.

Siddiqui left the United States for Pakistan in 2002. The following year she disappeared from Pakistan and suddenly resurfaced in 2008 in front of the governor’s house. It is believed she was held by the US authorities during this time.

Source

Jury selected for Dr Aafia’s trial

By Masood Haider
January 16, 2010

NEW YORK: A 16-member jury was chosen on Thursday for Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s trial next week, as the Pakistani neuroscientist repeatedly interrupted questioning of potential jurors about the Sept 11 terrorist attacks.

Of the 16 jurors, 12 will be part of the jury team and four will be alternate team in case someone falls sick.

“I have nothing to do with 9/11,” Ms Siddiqui declared when a potential juror who cited her personal experience on Sept 11 was dismissed. Dr Aafia suggested Israel was behind the attacks.

Ms Siddiqui’s trial for allegedly shooting at her US interrogators in Afghanistan last July begins in the US District Court in Manhattan on January 19. She’s not facing terrorism charges.

When Judge Richard Berman quizzed the jury panel whether their 9/11 experiences would influence their deliberations, Ms Siddiqui stood up from the defence table.

“The next question will be on anti-Semitism, Israel was behind 9/11. That’s not anti-Semitic,” she said before being escorted out.

Judge Berman later said that anyone who disrupts proceedings will be removed, but that Ms Siddiqui has a right to be present for her trial and would be allowed to return.

On Wednesday, Ms Siddiqui demanded that Jews should be excluded from the jury at her trial.

Ms Siddiqui has repeatedly said she is boycotting her own trial and has attempted to make her case directly to prospective jurors and the judge.

In the end on Thursday, a jury of seven women and five men was chosen, with four alternate jurors, two men and two women.

Ms Siddiqui is accused of attempted murder of US Army officer by grabbing rifle during an interrogation in Afghanistan in July 2008.

Source

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Published in: on January 21, 2010 at 12:40 am  Comments Off on US Trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui has started  
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Call for murder charges to be brought over Trafigura’s toxic dumping

Petition filed in Dutch court claims Trafigura knew waste that maimed thousands in Ivory Coast was hazardous

By Cahal Milmo

September 18 2009

Trafigura, the oil-trading company at the centre of the scandal caused by the dumping of tons of toxic waste in one of the world’s poorest countries, could be prosecuted for murder after a dossier of evidence was submitted to a court in the Netherlands yesterday, alleging that the sludge caused deaths and serious injuries. A complaint filed by Greenpeace Netherlands calls for a Dutch prosecution arising from Trafigura’s actions in July 2006 – when a chartered tanker carrying the contaminated waste arrived in Amsterdam – to be widened to include events in Ivory Coast a month later which caused thousands of people to fall ill after tons of the foul-smelling slurry was dumped in the port of Abidjan. The campaigning group wants Dutch courts to order public prosecutors to bring charges of murder, manslaughter, negligence and conspiracy against the London-based commodities giant, which has vigorously denied any knowledge of the fly-tipping of the waste by an Ivorian sub-contractor in August 2006.

Emails between Trafigura employees submitted to the court in The Hague are claimed by Greenpeace to show that the company knew the waste – described in one internal memo as “the shit” – was potentially hazardous and could not be exported outside the European Union. Trafigura insists that its managers sought at all times to dispose lawfully of the “slops” on board its chartered tanker, the Probo Koala.

Trafigura, which last year had a turnover of $73bn (£44bn, equivalent to twice the GDP of Ivory Coast), has agreed to a multimillion-pound payout to settle Britain’s largest group lawsuit, brought by 30,000 Abidjan residents who fell ill after breathing in fumes from the sludge.

The settlement of the High Court case, expected to be finalised within weeks, concerns claims by victims who suffered short-term illnesses. But it does not apply to allegations, which will now not be tested in the British courts, that the dumped waste caused more serious problems, including deaths, miscarriages and birth defects.

Trafigura has fought a three-year battle, engaging PR consultants and libel lawyers to dispute critical reporting of the incident, and insists that the waste could not have caused the serious injuries alleged. A United Nations report this week stated that there seemed to be “prima facie evidence” that up to a dozen deaths in Abidjan were linked to the sludge.

The oil trader, the third-largest of its kind in the world, is already being prosecuted in the Netherlands over claims that it breached Dutch and European laws by misdeclaring the nature of the sludge on the Probo Koala when it arrived in Amsterdam, and by subsequently taking the waste outside EU borders. A Greenpeace spokesman said: “The emails show that Trafigura employees knew the waste would be difficult to deal with and were desperate to find someone who would take it off their hands.

“There are now no legal proceedings which will test the claims that as well as making thousands of people in Ivory Coast sick, the waste was also responsible for deaths and other serious injuries of innocent people. We are asking the Dutch courts to change that.”

The contaminated sludge – its composition is disputed by Trafigura and opponents – was the by-product of deals struck by the company’s traders in 2005 and 2006 to buy a cheap and dirty oil known as “coker naptha” from a Mexican refinery and extract clean fuel from it by adding a mixture of caustic soda and a catalyst. Emails show Trafigura expected to make a profit of $7m (£4m) from each cargo, despite the fact that “caustic washes are banned in most countries due to the hazardous nature of the waste”. This do-it-yourself process was performed in or about April 2006 on board the Probo Koala while it was anchored off Gibraltar. The resulting waste arrived in Abidjan on 19 August 2006 and was unloaded from the tanker into trucks hired by Compagnie Tommy, the sub-contractor employed by Trafigura’s shipping agent.

It was then dumped at 18 sites, including drains and lagoons, around the sprawling city, leading to a flood of victims complaining of symptoms including sickness, diarrhoea and breathing difficulties. Autopsy reports included in the Greenpeace dossier suggest that the bodies of 12 people who died in Abidjan showed high levels of hydrogen sulphide, a poisonous gas which campaigners claim was present in the waste. Trafigura insists the gas could not have been emitted by the sludge.

In a statement, the company accused Greenpeace of a “wholly selective interpretation” of a small number of emails containing “trader-speak” which could not be taken literally. It added: “More importantly, on a proper analysis of all the material and of what in fact happened, it is clear that the responsible individuals at Trafigura sought at all times to ensure that the slops were disposed of lawfully.

“Greenpeace Netherlands’ unfounded accusations are utterly rejected by Trafigura. It is deeply regrettable that Greenpeace has chosen to make a number of serious and unfounded remarks, without any regard to the available scientific evidence or to statements made by Trafigura based on detailed analysis by independent experts.”

Source

The toxic price paid by the poor in processing our waste

The Trafigura episode is part of a far wider scandal
The saga of Trafigura and the poisoning of Abidjan is, first and foremost, the tale of a single company’s grotesque – and possibly criminal – irresponsibility. But this episode is also a lurid illustration of the wider scandal of Western companies and nations dumping their harmful waste on vulnerable communities around the world.

It was probably sheer accident that Trafigura’s activities in 2006 came to public attention. The local Ivory Coast trucking firm which Trafigura paid to get rid of the toxic contents of its tanks dumped all the waste around a single city, thus precipitating a mass poisoning. If they had been less lazy and spread the material over a larger area it is entirely possible the crime would never have been detected, or at least not traced back to Trafigura.

There is likely to be a great deal more of this sort of illegal dumping going on in benighted parts of the world where environmental controls are weak and there are poor and unscrupulous locals willing to despoil their surroundings for a relatively cheap fee.

It is not just toxic chemicals which poison communities. Earlier this year an investigation in which this newspaper took part uncovered that British waste subcontractors are sending “e-waste” (defunct televisions, computers and assorted electronic gadgets) collected from UK council dumps, to Africa.

British law says such potentially hazardous items must be dismantled, or recycled, by specialist firms. But there is evidence that subcontractors are ignoring that law and simply dispatching the refuse to countries such as Nigeria and Ghana. Here the items are stripped of their raw metals by poor Africans working on poisoned waste dumps.

And it is not just Africa which is suffering from the manner in which our societies dispose of our waste. Streams and trees in southern China have been found clogged with plastic bags and other non-degradable rubbish that originated in Britain.

This pollution is the by-product of an entirely legal trade. European Union regulations prevent member states from dumping garbage overseas. But what they are allowed to do is send waste for recycling abroad. This is what happens with much British refuse. The problem is that the sorting often ends up taking place in places such as southern China where health risks and pollution are a low priority for local authorities.

The effects of such activities might not be as dramatic as Trafigura’s mass dumping of hazardous chemicals. But they can be just as damaging to the health of the people who live in the areas where this waste ends up. And the turning of a blind eye by Western interests (some of them public servants) who are looking to save some money is no less shameful.

Trafigura must be held fully to account for what it has done, not least to send a powerful message to other firms around the world who are using similarly unscrupulous waste disposal methods. But we delude ourselves if we imagine this was an isolated case of bad behaviour in Western waste disposal.

The globalisation of trade has brought many benefits to rich and poor alike around the world. But the manner in which we have imposed the toxic cost of disposing of our refuse on those with the weakest defences shows its dark side. We cannot continue to wash our hands – and our consciences – of the consequences.

Source

For Trafigura Emails go to below link.

How UK oil company Trafigura tried to cover up African pollution disaster

Published in: on September 18, 2009 at 8:43 am  Comments Off on Call for murder charges to be brought over Trafigura’s toxic dumping  
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Trial of shoe throwing Iraqi journalist postponed

This undated portrait made available Monday, Dec. 15, 2008 by his family shows Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zeidi. al-Zeidi who threw his shoes at U.S. President Bush.

This undated portrait made available Monday, Dec. 15, 2008 by his family shows Iraqi journalist Muntadar al-Zeidi. al-Zeidi who threw his shoes at U.S. President Bush.

A shoe is raised during a protest against the Bush's visit in the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday. Dec. 15, 2008. (AP / Karim Kadim)

A shoe is raised during a protest against the Bush’s visit in the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday. Dec. 15, 2008. (AP / Karim Kadim)

In an image taken from video, a man throws a shoe at U.S. President George W. Bush during a news conference with Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad, on Sunday, Dec. 14, 2008. (APTN)

In an image taken from video, a man throws a shoe at U.S. President George W. Bush during a news conference with Iraq Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Baghdad, on Sunday, Dec. 14, 2008. (APTN)

Trial of shoe throwing Iraqi journalist postponed
December 30 2008

BAGHDAD
A court Tuesday postponed the trial of a journalist who hurled his shoes at President George W. Bush in anger over the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, an act of protest that made him an international celebrity.

The court’s decision to review the charges against Muntadhar al-Zeidi comes as Iraq prepares after nearly six years to end America’s costly grip over the country and give U.S. troops three years to pack up and leave.

Thursday will also see the official handover of the most potent symbol of U.S. occupation, when Iraq takes formal control of the Green Zone — a heavily fortified enclave surrounded by cement walls that extends over 4 square miles of downtown Baghdad and encompasses the U.S. Embassy and the seat of the Iraqi government.

But in the most telling sign of the changes that are sweeping over Iraq, Tuesday’s second anniversary of Saddam Hussein’s hanging went by almost unnoticed — a near-forgotten footnote in a war that has claimed the lives of more than 4,200 Americans and tens of thousands of Iraqis.

The anniversary was not even marked in Saddam’s hometown of Tikrit, where the insurgency quickly took hold after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.

The trial of al-Zeidi was to begin Wednesday on charges of assaulting a foreign leader, which his defense team said carried a maximum sentence of 15 years. But a spokesman for Iraq’s Higher Judicial Council, Abdul-Sattar Bayrkdar, told The Associated Press it was postponed pending an appellate court ruling on whether the charges should be reduced to simply insulting Bush.

The Iraqi journalist threw his shoes at Bush during a Dec. 14 joint news conference with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Thousands demonstrated for al-Zeidi’s release and hailed his gesture.

Two of al-Zeidi’s lawyers said they hoped the reduced charges, which carry a maximum sentence of three years, would allow al-Zeidi to be released on bail. No date was set for the appellate court ruling.

“There is a difference between assault and insult; al-Zeidi wanted to express his objection to the occupation. So the case is within the context of an insult and not an intention to kill,” his lawyer Diaa al-Saadi told the AP.

First lady Laura Bush said Sunday that she thinks people should view the incident as an “assault.”

The case transformed al-Zeidi from a little-known TV journalist into an international celebrity for defying Bush, but it also embarrassed al-Maliki who was standing next to the president when the shoes were thrown.

Last week, al-Maliki sought to undermine the journalist’s popularity by saying he had confessed that the mastermind of the attack was a militant known for slitting his victims’ throats.

Al-Maliki said that in a letter of apology to him, al-Zeidi wrote that a known militant had induced him to throw the shoes. The alleged instigator has never been identified and neither al-Maliki nor any of his officials have provided a further explanation. The letter was not made public.

The journalist’s family denied the claim and alleged that al-Zeidi was tortured into writing the letter.

His act and the ensuing uproar over his custody and alleged abuse in detention come at a time when Iraq is preparing to end the occupation he was protesting. Starting Thursday, the 146,000 U.S. forces in Iraq will be operating under a new security agreement that gives Iraqi authorities a role in approving and overseeing American military operations.

The new pact also requires that U.S. troops withdraw from Baghdad and other cities by the end of June and leave the country entirely by Jan. 1, 2012.

The changes are made more easy by the sharp decline in violence around Iraq. The drop is mostly attributed to an inflow of thousands of U.S. troops into Iraq two years ago, a decision by mostly Sunni tribesmen to switch allegiances away from al Qaeda in Iraq and a campaign to dampen militant Shiite extremists.

Although the years following the invasion were marked by daily acts of violence that killed untold thousands of Iraqis, the U.S. military said recently that attacks have dropped from 180 a day in 2007 to about 10 a day in 2008. They have said the murder rate had declined to below prewar levels, about one per 100,000 people.

Also Tuesday, the U.S. military said control of about 20,000 mostly Sunni volunteers — many of them former insurgents — in four provinces, including the troubled Diyala region where troops continue to fight al Qaeda and other insurgents, would be handed over to the Iraqi government on Thursday.

About 100,000 joined forces with the U.S. two years ago and were perhaps the most significant factor in turning the tide against al Qaeda in Iraq.

The U.S. military managed and paid the volunteers, but began handing over control of the groups to the Iraqi government in October. The Iraqi government has promised to absorb 20 percent of the volunteers into its security forces and pay the rest until it can find them civilian jobs.

The groups have been a key factor in helping reduce violence in the past two years, but the movement has been slower to take hold in Diyala, an ethnically and religiously diverse province where the insurgency remains entrenched despite recent setbacks. There are fears the movement could also turn against the government if they are not satisfied.

“That’s where we have had some tension, more tension than other places, between the Sons of Iraq and U.S. forces,” Gen. Ray Odierno told AP recently. “We’re monitoring and watching very closely.”

Odierno said ultimately the success of the transition will depend on the Iraq government finding “honorable employment” for the Sunni volunteers.

Source

Number Of Iraqis Slaughtered Since The U.S. Invaded Iraq “1,297,997”

Number of U.S. Military Personnel Sacrificed (Officially acknowledged) In America’s War On Iraq “4,219”

http://icasualties.org/oif/

Shoe Bush? JANUARY 19th

Family says journalist who threw shoes at Bush beaten into apologizing

Shoe-tossing journalist was abused, Iraqi judge says

Protesters shake shoes at US Embassy in London

White House Protesters Throw Shoes at Bush Effigy

Dec 17: Peace Activists Take Shoes to White House in Solidarity with Shoe-Throwing Iraqi Journalist

3 petitions please sign Join the Calls to release Iraqi Journalist Muntadhar Al-Zaydi

Last Guantanamo trial of Bush era is delayed

December 10 2008

By Jane Sutton

GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba

A U.S. military judge on Wednesday indefinitely delayed the January trial of a young Afghan captive, leaving the future course of justice at the Guantanamo prison camp in the hands of President-elect Barack Obama.

Defendant Mohammed Jawad had been set to go to trial at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba on January 5 on charges of throwing a grenade that injured two U.S. soldiers and their Afghan interpreter at a bazaar in Kabul in December 2002.

His was the last trial scheduled to start before Obama takes office on January 20. Obama has said he will close the Guantanamo detention center and move the prisoners’ terrorism trials into the regular U.S. civilian or military courts.

Human rights groups have urged him to issue an executive order immediately upon taking office, halting the tribunals that have been widely condemned by rights activists, foreign leaders and military defense lawyers.

In the seven years since President George W. Bush first authorized the tribunals, military juries have convicted only two prisoners on terrorism charges and a third pleaded guilty in an agreement that limited his sentence to nine months.

A military judge, Army Col. Stephen Henley, indefinitely postponed Jawad’s trial on Wednesday to give prosecutors time to appeal his earlier decision to throw out much of the evidence.

Henley had ruled that Jawad’s confession to Afghan government authorities was obtained through death threats that constituted torture and that his subsequent confession to U.S. interrogators was fruit of that torture.

The judge ruled that neither could be admitted as evidence against Jawad, who was drugged and only 16 or 17 years old at the time of his arrest in Afghanistan. Jawad was turned over to U.S. forces and sent shortly afterward to Guantanamo.

A hearing is still scheduled at Guantanamo on Friday for a young Canadian captive, Omar Khadr, who is accused of throwing a grenade that killed a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan in July 2002. His trial is scheduled to start on January 26, a date now in doubt because of the change in the U.S. administration.

CONFUSION IN HIGH PROFILE CASE

No further hearings have been set for the most high-profile case among the 17 pending at Guantanamo, that of five al Qaeda suspects charged with orchestrating the September 11 attacks.

The five, including self-described mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, came to the Guantanamo courtroom on Monday ready to hand the Bush administration a major victory in its final days by confessing to the mass murders that prompted its war on terrorism.

What stopped them was confusion over whether the murky tribunal rules allowed the defendants to plead guilty to charges that could lead to their execution and whether their treatment at U.S. hands had left them sane enough to do it.

All five said they were tortured, though details have not been made public. A decision is still pending on whether two of them, Ramzi Binalshibh and Mustafa Ahmed al Hasawi, are mentally competent to act as their own attorneys and carry out their plans to confess.

“Each one of these individuals has some problems because of what we did to them,” said Army Maj. Jon Jackson, the military lawyer appointed to defend Hawsawi.

The defense lawyers said the confusion over whether the tribunal rules allow guilty pleas in death penalty cases illustrates why the trials should be moved into the regular courts where the rules have been long tested.

They said they were confident Obama would pull the plug on the Guantanamo tribunals, which are formally known as military commissions.

“What you saw was the death throes of the commissions,” said Michael Berrigan, deputy chief defense counsel for Guantanamo. “Everybody knows why — it’s not justice.”

(Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Source

Pleading Guilty after Torture-Did you really do it?

Omar Khadr witness withdrawn to `cover up’ abuse: defence

U.S. acknowledges it held 12 juveniles at Guantanamo Bay prison

Scandal of six held in Guantanamo even after Bush plot claim is dropped

Sindh High Court issues notice to respondents in Aafia Siddiqui case

CIA Torture Tactics Endorsed in Secret Memos

Dr Aafia Siddiqu unfit for US trial -Torture/Mental Illness

Mon Nov 17, 2008

By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK

A Pakistani woman suspected of links to al Qaeda and charged with trying to kill American interrogators in Afghanistan is mentally unfit to stand trial, according to her psychiatric evaluation.

Aafia Siddiqui, 36, is “not currently competent to proceed as a result of her mental disease, which renders her unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against her,” U.S. District Judge Richard Berman said on Monday while reporting the results of the evaluation.

Berman ordered a hearing on Wednesday to discuss how to proceed with Siddiqui’s case, including the possible use of medication to treat her.

Prosecutors say Siddiqui, a U.S.-trained neuroscientist, while detained for questioning in Afghanistan, grabbed a U.S. warrant officer’s rifle and fired it at the interrogation team, which included two FBI agents. The warrant officer then shot her with his pistol.

She was brought to the United States to face charges of attempted murder and assault.

Her arraignment was delayed after Siddiqui, a practicing Muslim, refused to submit to a strip search or cooperate with prison doctors.

Defense lawyers and prosecutors both argued the frail-looking Siddiqui should undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Human rights groups had declared Siddiqui missing for five years before the incident in July, when she was arrested outside the governor’s office in Afghanistan’s Ghazni province.

U.S. officials say Afghan police found documents in her handbag on making explosives, excerpts from the book “Anarchist’s Arsenal” and descriptions of New York City landmarks.

In 2004, the FBI called Siddiqui an “al Qaeda operative and facilitator who posed a clear and present danger to America.”

Her lawyers have said she may be a victim of torture and believe she was kidnapped with her children in March 2003 in Karachi, Pakistan, and secretly held in custody for the past five years by either Pakistani or U.S. authorities.

A five-member delegation of Pakistani parliamentarians last month met Siddiqui for three hours at a prison medical facility in Fort Worth, Texas, where her psychiatric evaluation took place. They said she should be released and repatriated to Pakistan.

(Editing by Daniel Trotta and Eric Beech)

Source


Dr. Aafia Siddiqui speaks out

October 12, 2008
FROM BLOG: Teeth Maestro – A blog run by a Pakistani dentist, it concers about all political influnces concerning Pakistan

The following blog post is from an independent writer and is not connected with Reuters News. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not endorsed by Reuters.com.

By Khurram Ali Shafique also managing About Aafia Blog

Free Aafia Now

At last a word has come out from Dr. Aafia Siddiqui herself about her travails. On Tuesday, October 6, four Pakistani senators met her in Texas but unfortunately their account has not been properly covered in many news reports. One exception is Daily Times, whose correspondent Khalid Hasan has given a remarkably detailed account of what Aafia told the senators in a meeting which lasted 2 hours and 45 minutes.

ACCORDING TO HER:

  1. She was on her way to the Karachi airport in 2003 with her children when she was taken. She remembers being given an injection and when she came to she was in a cell.
  2. She was being brainwashed by men who spoke perfect English. They could be Afghan or others. She did not think they were Pakistanis.
  3. She was being forced to admit things she had allegedly done. She was made to sign statements, some of which included information on phone calls she was said to have made.
  4. She has been tortured (but she provided no details).
  5. She was told by her captors that if she did not co-operate, her children would suffer (two of them are still missing).
  6. She said she did not know where her children were and it was not clear if they had been with her during her captivity.
  7. The assault case against her has no basis in fact.
  8. She expressed her lack of confidence in the court hearing her case and the US legal system.
  9. She said she didn’t trust the two lawyers who are representing her.

Aafia’s version is not basically different from what the human rights organizations including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Asian Human Rights Commission have been suspecting for long (and it is not just Aafia’s “family” or her “lawyers” who have been raising these allegations, although some news report attempt to give that impression). The importance of this meeting cannot be exagerrated because now, finally, Aafia has narrated her side of the story in her own words, however incoherent she might have been due to the stress she has gone through. The world has been wanting to hear her side of the story.

The most alarming part is the distrust she has shown about the two lawyers representing her case. In my opinion the issue needs immediate attention and questions need to be raised about how the case is being handled. Eyebrows were raised when her lawyers didn’t seek bail for her on August 11.

Also, the controversy about her mental instability. On two occasions when Pakistani representatives met her (August 9 and October 6), they reported that she was articulate and okay. Yet her own lawyers Elizabeth Fink and Elaine Whitfield Sharp as well as the US Attorney Michael Garcia have unanimously established a perception that she needs psychiatric evaluation, and their position has eventually led to her transfer to Texas.

Perhaps it will be remembered that Judicial Activism Panel (Pakistan) demanded as early as August 12 that the Pakistani government should allow a panel of Pakistani lawyers to visit the US to fight her case in the American court.

The issue here is more than just one case. By exploring this case with some responsibility, a lot of related issues about international law and justice can be brought to the front. I think it’s important and let’s focus our attention on what can be done in this regard, and soon. Already, more than two months have elapsed since the issue was brought to the US court on August 6.

Related posts:

  1. ISLAMABAD: Protest against abduction of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui (Thursday @ 5:30pm)
  2. Dr. Aafia Siddiqui – send Postcards / Letters / Pictures & Books
  3. Don’t Blame the Victim – Detailed analysis of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s case
  4. Lahore: Joint Protest against arrest of Dr. Aafia
  5. Dr. Aafia Indicted on Murder Charges but No Terrorism Charge

Source

Please Go to Petition page below and please do sign.
For the US to Provide Humane Prison Conditions for Dr. Aafia Siddiqui

Also more information

What did the Bush Administration do with Aafia Siddiqui and her three children?

What did they do with her children?

Published in: on November 19, 2008 at 8:50 pm  Comments Off on Dr Aafia Siddiqu unfit for US trial -Torture/Mental Illness  
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Kentucky-based Ku Klux Klan group ordered to pay $2.5M in damages

November 14 2008

BRANDENBURG, Ky

A Kentucky-based Ku Klux Klan group was ordered on Friday to pay $2.5 million in damages in a judgment that civil rights attorneys hope will bankrupt the chapter.

The Southern Poverty Law Center sued the nation’s second-largest Klan outfit on behalf of a Latino teen severely beaten in 2006 by two Klan members. The Klansmen were convicted and served two years in prison.

A jury on Friday ordered Imperial Klans of America grand wizard Ron Edwards and two former lieutenants to pay 19-year-old Jordan Gruver $1.5 million for lost wages and medical expenses and Edwards to pay $1 million in punitive damages.

Click to learn more…

“I’m overwhelmed. I’m victorious,” Gruver said. “And, I’m also sad. I’m sad because those guys are still going to be the same way that they were. That will never change.”

Morris Dees, the lead attorney for the center, said after the verdict he plans to seize Edwards’ property in Dawson Springs that serves as Klan headquarters along with any other assets that can be found. It wasn’t clear what the property is worth.

Earlier, in his closing statement, Dees told jurors that a substantial financial award would stop the Kentucky-based group in its tracks.

“It’s all about the money. It’s all about the money,” said Morris Dees. “If you stop the money, you’ll cut the organization off.”

The heavily tattooed Edwards plans to appeal the verdict. Despite the judgment, Edwards said the KKK will remain active.

“We’re not going away,” Edwards said.

Dees had argued during the civil trial that Edwards’ group incited violence against minorities with racist speeches and “hate metal,” leading to the attack on Gruver. Edwards, who represented himself during the trial, denied the charge and said his group’s not generally violent.

The case was similar to nearly a dozen others brought by the center against hate groups. A similar lawsuit bankrupted the white supremacist group Aryan Nations in Idaho in 1999.

The trial centered on a beating Gruver suffered at the hands of former Klan lieutenants Jarred Hensley and Andrew Watkins. Gruver suffered a broken jaw, bruised ribs and permanent nerve damage to his left arm.

The jury ordered Edwards to pay 20 percent of the compensatory damages, while splitting the remaining 80 percent evenly between Hensley and Watkins. The jury laid the $1 million in punitive damages solely on Edwards. Hensley, who had also represented himself, left the courthouse without commenting.

Watkins reached a confidential settlement with Gruver before the trial that will account for his share of Friday’s judgment.

Jurors deliberated for nearly six-and-a-half hours after a three-day trial at the Meade County Courthouse. As Meade Circuit Judge Bruce Butler read the verdicts, several skinheads in the courtroom shook their heads and looked down.

The judgment against Edwards and Hensley is active for 15 years, giving Gruver and the center time to pursue assets, Dees said.

“No matter what he gets, we’ll get a piece of it,” Dees said.

Gruver, who testified earlier Friday about having nightmares and the extent of his injuries, celebrated the verdict by hugging his mother, Cindy. He then joined his family and left the courthouse under heavy security into a cold rain.

Source


Klan Trial Goes To Jury

A little Ku Klux Klan History

Klan Trial Goes To Jury

By Stephanie Segretto

November 14 2008

BRANDENBURG, Ky.
The teenager attacked by members of the Ku Klux Klan testified in court Friday.

Jordan Gruver, 19, and the Southern Poverty Law Center are suing Ron Edwards, the leader of the Imperial Klans of America, and former member Jarred Hensley for an incident back in 2006 at the Meade County Fair.

Gruver testified that he suffered a broken jaw and permanent nerve damage to his left arm, and that he doesn’t leave his house and rarely sleeps more than two hours at a time or he has nightmares.

“They said, ‘Something, something, you little spic,’ and I tried to correct them. I am not a spic, I am a Native American,” Gruver said. “They kept on calling me spic, calling me border-hopper, you know, illegal immigrant… It came down to where Andrew Watkins was sitting there spitting at me and kicking dirt at me.”Gruver said he was surrounded and knew something bad was about to happen.He said a Klan member threw whiskey in his face, and that’s when he turned to walk away, but ran into another Klan member who he said hit him in the face, knocking him to the ground.”I went to cover up my face in the fetal position, like this,” he said. “I can’t tell you how many people was there. I can tell you that there was a lot of feet. All I could see was a bunch of feet. As they was kicking me, I prayed to myself. I said, ‘God, just please let me go. Please let me make it home.'”Edwards and Hensley are representing themselves. During closing arguments Friday, both said that what happened to Gruver has out of their control.”I cannot be responsible for what four people do on their own,” Edwards said. “That is basically violating my rights to belief. That’s what this is about. This isn’t about what I have done, even though the plaintiff’s counsel wants you to think that. I have not done anything. I have been legal in everything I have done.”The case is now in the jury’s hands.

Watch The Story

Source

Jury deliberations begin in Klan beating trial

November 14 2008

BRANDENBURG, Ky.

A substantial financial award would stop a Kentucky-based Ku Klux Klan organization in its tracks, a civil rights attorney told a jury on Friday in a civil trial against the group and two white supremacists.

“It’s all about the money. It’s all about the money,” said Morris Dees, lead attorney for the Southern Poverty Law Center, a group that tracks the Klan and other hate groups. “If you stop the money, you’ll cut the organization off.”

Dees and the center represent 19-year-old Jordan Gruver, an American citizen of Panamanian Indian descent, who sued the Imperial Klans of America, its Imperial Grand Wizard, Ron Edwards, and one of his former lieutenants, Jarred Hensley. A jury began to consider the case Friday after nearly three days of testimony. The lawsuit seeks more than $6 million.

Gruver testified on Friday that he suffered a broken jaw, bruised ribs and permanent nerve damage to his left arm after being beaten by four white supremacists at the Meade County Fair in July 2006. Two white supremacists who were initially part of the suit reached confidential settlements before trial.

Edwards and Hensley, both heavily tattooed with Confederate flags and Nazi and racist images, served as their own attorneys and declined to call any witnesses. In less than 10 minutes combined of closing arguments, the two men said they did not take part in beating Gruver.

Edwards asked the jury not to hold his beliefs against him.

“You may not agree with my beliefs, but that is your right,” Edwards said. “If these men had assaulted a white man, would this case be heard in this courtroom today?”

Hensley pleaded guilty in 2006 to attacking Gruver and served more than two years in prison. During closing arguments, Hensley told jurors he took the plea to avoid harsher charges and having a jury send him to prison because of his beliefs.

“Just because I wrote that I was guilty of it, doesn’t mean I did it,” Hensley said.

The three-day trial at the Meade County Courthouse focused on Gruver’s beating, the criminal history of members of the Klan and Edwards’ handling of his followers.

Throughout the trial, white supremacists wearing jackets covered in Nazi symbols watched inside the courtroom, while others lingered outside the courthouse amid the dozen sheriff’s deputies and state troopers providing security.

Gruver testified on Friday that he has nightmares about the attack and is afraid to leave the house. Gruver said he did not incite the attack and wanted nothing to do with Hensley and the other Klansmen at the fair.

“I knew you were not the nicest people in the world,” Gruver told Hensley during questioning.

“You put prejudice on my being a nice person because of my racial beliefs?” Hensley then asked.

“If you were the nicest people, you wouldn’t be calling me names,” Gruver said. “You’d be acting your age and not your shoe size.”

Source

I can only hope the jury does the right thing.

Putting White Supremacists out of business, is in everyones best interest.

Clashes erupt in Montenegro over Kosovo

Oct 14 2008
Clashes erupt in Montenegro over Kosovo

Blasts were heard and ambulances streaming out of the centre of Montenegro’s capital as pro-Serb demonstrators clashed with police during a rally against Montenegro’s recognition of Kosovo’s independence.

Some 10,000 pro-Serbian protesters took to the streets of Podgorica for a rally against the government’s decision last week to recognise the independence of Kosovo, as the opposition harshly criticised the ruling coalition for “stabbing Serbia in the back.”

The protesters chanted “Treason! Treason!” and “Kosovo is Serbia!”, as opposition leaders gave Premier Milo Djukanovic a 48 hour deadline to annul the recognition of Kosovo, or face a referendum on the issue.

Both demonstrators and police officers were among the injured and witnesses saw a number of ambulances taking the wounded to a nearby hospital.

It is not clear what exactly triggered the clashes, but the violence broke out as protesters marched by the government building, reportedly throwing firecrackers and molotov cocktails towards the police cordon which was securing the area.

Demonstrators also demolished the fence around the government building, and police responded by firing the tear gas into the crowd.

In addition, police helicopters hovered over the centre of Podgorica.

Police have made at least a dozen arrests.

Following the violence, protesters dispersed across the capital but sporadic clashes were still being reported.

Miodrag Vukovic, a high-ranking official from the ruling Democratic Party of Socialists, blamed the incidents on the opposition, saying their political rivals have chosen a wrong tactic to express their dissatisfaction.

“This looks like the 1997 attempt to overthrow the government… But Montenegro has matured since then,” Vukovic said.

About a third of Montenegro’s population declare themselves as Serbs, while ethnic Albanians make up around seven per cent of the population of this small coastal republic.

Montenegro was also in a loose federation with Serbia up until a referendum on independence in 2006.
Podgorica recognized Kosovo`s independence on October 9, leading Belgrade to expel Montenegro’s ambassador.

Montenegro’s decision came just a day after the United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of Belgrade’s request for the International Court of Justice to render an opinion on the legality of Kosovo’s unilaterally declared independence in mid-February.

Source

Montenegro opposition to rally over Kosovo

The pro-Serbian opposition in Montenegro will hold a rally in the afternoon of October 13, to urge the government to withdraw its decision to recognize Kosovo’s independence, or call a referendum on the issue.

Podgorica’s decision to recognise Kosovo as an independent state has seriously disrupted relations between the ruling coalition and the opposition, which has also called for early parliamentary elections.

“We want to articulate the popular will on this issue”, the president of the opposition Socialist Peoples Party Srdjan Milic said. He said most Montenegrins do not support the government’s move to recognise Kosovo’s independence.

Despite harsh language between the government and opposition over the weekend, local analysts expect the overall situation to remain calm, and both sides have called on their supporters to remain calm.

About a third of Montenegro’s population declare themselves as Serbs, while ethnic Albanians make up around seven per cent of the population of this small coastal republic.

Montenegro’s police chief, Veselin Veljovic, said that police were prepared to prevent any disturbances during the rally. “The organisers have been warned to respect their obligations and responsibilities regarding public order,” he said.

Podgorica recognised Kosovo’s independence on October 9, leading Belgrade to expel Montenegro’s ambassador.

Montenegro’s decision came just a day after the United Nations General Assembly voted in favor of Belgrade’s request for the International Court of Justice to render an opinion on the legality of Kosovo’s unilaterally declared independence in mid-February.


Serb Paramilitaries on Trial for Kosovo War Crimes
October 6 2008
Belgrade
The trial of the so-called ‘Scorpion’ paramilitary group, who are accused of crimes during the 1998-1999 Kosovo conflict, resumed Monday at Belgrade’s War Crimes Chamber.

Zeljko Djukic, Dragan Medic, Dragan Borojevic and Miodrag Solaja are accused of attacking 19 civilians, all women and children, in Podujevo on March 28, 1999. Fourteen people were killed during the attack although five children survived.

Six other members of the Scorpion Paramilitary have already been tried and sentenced for the same attack the four are standing trial for now.

Scorpion Unit Commander Slobodan Medic was sentenced to 20 years in prison, member Sasa Cvijetin was sentenced to 20 years behind bars, Pera Petrasevic received 13 years, Branislav Medic’s jail term was reduced from 20 to 15 years, Aleksandar Vukov was cleared of all charges and Aleksandar Medic, who was originally sentenced to five years, was granted a retrial by the court.
Source

Olli Rehn

Olli Rehn
October 16 2008
Brussels _ The EU has urged Serbian officials to be constructive over Kosovo, especially in regards to the deployment of the bloc’s EULEX law and order mission.

“It is important that we all, including the Serbian government, work towards making EULEX’s deployment a success, and in this regard we expect a constructive approach”, said the bloc’s Enlargement Commissioner, Olli Rehn.

“After the vote at the United Nations General Assembly, the result of which was no drama or no surprise, it is now important that we all work in order to ensure overall regional stability and the enhancement of rule of law in Kosovo and elsewhere in the region,” he added.

This was the commissioner’s response to the latest message from Serbian President Boris Tadic that they would cooperate with the mission but only under certain conditions.

In the interview for Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti, Tadic emphasised that Belgrade would condition the European mission’s presence in Kosovo on a green light from the UN Security Council, ask the current United Nations Mission to retain its neutral stance towards the status of Serbia’s former province and, last but not least, call for plans to implement the blueprint for Kosovo’s independence devised by former UN envoy and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Martti Ahtisaari, to be dropped.

Rehn also reminded Serbia’s politicians that good neighbourly relations are of outmost importance under a EU pre-membership deal called the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, which Belgrade signed with Brussels at the end of April.

“We underline the importance of overall regional stability, and for that it is important that Serbia has a constructive approach to the Kosovo issue and the deployment of the EULEX mission which aims to ensure stability in Kosovo and the region, and citizens rights and rule of law for all the citizens of Kosovo,” Rehn said in Brussels.

Rehn earlier met Serbian deputy prime minister Mladjan Dinkic on Thursday to whom he congratulated the decision of the government to unilaterally start the implementation of trade-related parts of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement.

According to Rehn, this will be very useful in building a convincing track record when Serbia gets EU candidate status.

October 16 2008

Belgrade _ Serbia’s President Boris Tadic says a compromise with Brussels is possible over the deployment of the European Union’s new law-and-order mission to Kosovo.

Tadic said Belgrade wants to find a compromise to the deployment of the 2,200-strong European Union mission to Kosovo, known as EULEX but with blessing of the United Nations Security Council.

The world’s top security body remains divided on the issue since veto-wielding member Russia, strongly backs Serbia’s territorial integrity and has previously echoed Belgrade’s concerns that EULEX seeks to formalise Kosovo’s independence.

“We are working on that in all international forums, with the UN Security Council and the EU, with officials from Russia and the United States, with everyone who is vitally important in the future of Kosovo and Serbia,” Tadic told Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti.

However Tadic emphasised that Belgrade would condition the European mission’s presence in Kosovo on a green light from the UN Security Council, ask the current United Nations Mission to retain its neutral stance towards the status of Serbia’s former province and, last but not least, call for plans to implement the blueprint for Kosovo’s independence devised by former UN envoy and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Martti Ahtisarri, to be dropped.

“Anyone who finds fault with these principles has a problem with logic. There are political parties that are trying to fool Serbian citizens and ‘guarantee’ that EULEX will implement independence in Kosovo. We are going to fight to make sure that does not happen,” Tadic said.

The move towards a compromise between Belgrade and Brussels was also signalled by the EU’s special representative in Kosovo, Pieter Feith, who said that “recent consultations” between Serbia, the EU and New York opened the possibility for a widely acceptable solution for EULEX.

“There is a possibility that consultations between Belgrade, the EU and New York result with some kind of solution and the UN’s authorisation for EULEX. But I believe there is no real need for that,” Feith said, adding that the EU looks forward to cooperation with Belgrade on the matter soon.

The positive signals followed warnings from international think-tanks such as the International Crisis Group that divisions between Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian majority and some 100,000 remaining Serbs have widened following Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia on February 17.

The United Nations Mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, which has administered Kosovo since the end of the 1998-1999 conflict between Serb forces and ethnic Albanians, has been wrapping up its mission under a procedure it calls ‘reconfiguration.’

EULEX is due to become the main international body in Kosovo, although its powers will be largely supervisory – particularly relating to the fields of policing and the judiciary.

But EULEX’s ability to fully deploy some eight months after Brussels okayed its biggest ever security and defence policy operation has given western powers cause for concern.

Critically it lacks a mandate from the UN Security Council since Russia has vowed to block any changes to Kosovo’s status which do not have approval from Serbia.

Belgrade and Moscow have also used this shortcoming to argue Kosovo’s independence is in fact illegal under international law.

Adding to EULEX’s woes is the question of whether it could ever deploy across the whole territory of Kosovo.

Kosovo Serbs, particularly those living north of the River Ibar, where they make up a majority, have so far defied Kosovo’s independence thanks to political and financial assistance from Belgrade.

They are also likely to put up stiff resistance against the EULEX mission.

“UNMIK remains our only legitimate partner in Kosovo,” Serbia’s Minister for Kosovo Goran Bogdanovic said, rejecting the EU’s announcements that its mission will be fully operational by December on the whole territory of Kosovo.

The UN mission has tried to take up Serbia’s concerns by opening up direct negotiations on local governance in Serb-dominated areas of Kosovo.

Such talks are to focus on areas such as police, courts and customs but little progress has been made so far.

Not only have the areas of dispute proved too complex for both sides to address but Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian leaders have also vented their frustration at being left out of the talks, expressed in their arguments that Kosovo’s sovereignty ‘cannot be compromised.’
Rehn also reminded Serbia’s politicians that good neighbourly relations are of outmost importance under a EU pre-membership deal called the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, which Belgrade signed with Brussels at the end of April.

“We underline the importance of overall regional stability, and for that it is important that Serbia has a constructive approach to the Kosovo issue and the deployment of the EULEX mission which aims to ensure stability in Kosovo and the region, and citizens rights and rule of law for all the citizens of Kosovo,” Rehn said in Brussels.

Rehn earlier met Serbian deputy prime minister Mladjan Dinkic on Thursday to whom he congratulated the decision of the government to unilaterally start the implementation of trade-related parts of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement.


October 16 2008 Belgrade _ Serbia’s government has unanimously backed a move to begin implementing reforms outlined in a key pre-membership deal with the EU despite the bloc having frozen the agreement.

Serbia hopes that by unilaterally taking up the key reforms prescribed in the Stabilisation and Association Agreement, Belgrade will be able to become a European Union candidate once the deal is unfrozen.

“The main goal is to shorten the time between implementation of the agreement and Serbian candidature for EU membership,” Premier Mirko Cvetkovic said after the open session of the Serbian government.

The parts of the key agreement with the EU will be implemented immediately but the rest of package, including new, lower custom taxes on the import of cars, will come into force from January, Serbian officials said earlier.

European officials have urged Serbia to begin implementing the deal unilaterally, despite the fact that there has been no EU consensus on backing Belgrade’s drive for membership.

Only one country, the Netherlands, has opposed ratification of the interim trade agreement with Belgrade.

The main reason behind such a stance according to the Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen, was Belgrade’s failure to arrest and extradite to The Hague the former military chief of Bosnian Serbs, Ratko Mladic, wanted for genocide and war crimes committed during the 1992-1995 conflict.

Serbia’s pro-European government has made EU integration its key priority. EU officials earlier signalled that Serbia could achieve candidate status next year.

When the Serbian parliament ratified the Stabilisation and Association Agreement last month, the hardline opposition Radical Party, which has traditionally opposed EU membership, abstained from voting, a move which may signal the emergence of a greater national consensus on Serbia’s European objectives.