In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Grande Strategy

The Truth About US Justice


By Yvonne Ridley

Many of us are still in a state of shock over the guilty verdict
returned on Dr Aafia Siddiqui.

 The response from the people of Pakistan was predictable and
overwhelming and I salute their spontaneous actions.

 From Peshawar to Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and beyond they marched
in their thousands demanding the return of Aafia.

 Even some of the US media expressed discomfort over the verdict
returned by the jurors … there was a general feeling that something
was not right.

 Everyone had something to say, everyone that is except the usually
verbose US Ambassador Anne Patterson who has spent the last two years
briefing against Dr Aafia and her supporters.

 This is the same woman who claimed I was a fantasist when I gave a
press conference with Tehreek e Insaf leader Imran Khan back in July
2008 revealing the plight of a female prisoner in Bagram called the
Grey Lady.

 She said I was talking nonsense and stated categorically that the
prisoner I referred to as "650" did not exist.

 By the end of the month she changed her story and said there had been
a female prisoner but that she was most definitely not Dr Aafia

 By that time Aafia had been gunned down at virtually point blank
range in an Afghan prison cell jammed full of more than a dozen US
soldiers, FBI agents and Afghan police.

 Her Excellency briefed the media that the prisoner had wrested an M4
gun from one soldier and fired off two rounds and had to be subdued.
The fact these bullets failed to hit a single person in the cell and
simply disappeared did not resonate with the diplomat.

 In a letter dripping in untruths on August 16 2008 she decried the
"erroneous and irresponsible media reports regarding the arrest of Ms
Aafia Siddiqui". She went on to say: "Unfortunately,
there are some
who have an interest in simply distorting the facts in an effort to
manipulate and inflame public opinion. The truth is never served by

 When Jamaat Islami invited me on a national tour of Pakistan to
address people about the continued abuse of Dr Aafia and the truth
about her incarceration in Bagram, the US Ambassador continued to
issue rebuttals.

 She assured us all that Dr Aafia was being treated humanely had been
given consular access as set out in international law … hmm. Well I
have a challenge for Ms Patterson today. I challenge her to repeat
every single word she said back then and swear it is the truth, the
whole truth and nothing but the truth.

 As Dr Aafia Siddiqui's trial got underway, the US Ambassador and some
of her stooges from the intelligence world laid on a lavish party at
the US Embassy in Islamabad for some hand-picked journalists where
I've no doubt in between the dancing, drinks and music they were
carefully briefed about the so-called facts of the case.

 Interesting that some of the potentially incriminating pictures taken
at the private party managed to find the Ambassador was probably
hoping to minimize the impact the trial would have on the streets of
Pakistan proving that, for the years she has been holed up and
barricaded behind concrete bunkers and barbed wire, she has learned
nothing about this great country of Pakistan or its people.

 One astute Pakistani columnist wrote about her: "The respected lady
seems to have forgotten the words of her own country's 16th president
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865): "You
can fool some of the people all of
the time, and all of the people some
of the time, but you cannot fool
all of the people all of the time".

 And the people of Pakistan proved they are nobody's fool and
responded to the guilty verdict in New York in an appropriate way.

 When injustice is the law it is the duty of everyone to rise up and
challenge that injustice in any way possible.

 The response – so far – has been restrained and measured but it is
just the start. A sentence has yet to be delivered by Judge Richard
Berman in May.

 Of course there has been a great deal of finger pointing and blame
towards the jury in New York who found Dr Aafia guilty of attempted

 Observers asked how they could ignore the science and the irrefutable
facts … there was absolutely no evidence linking Dr Aafia to the gun,
no bullets, no residue from firing it.

  But I really don't think we can blame the jurors for the verdict -
you see the jury simply could not handle the truth.    Had they taken
the logical route and gone for the science and the hard, cold,
clinical facts it would have meant two things.  It would have meant
around eight US soldiers took the oath and lied in court to save their
own skins and careers or it would have meant that Dr Aafia Siddiqui
was telling the truth.

 And, as I said before, the jury couldn't handle the truth. Because
that would have meant that the defendant really had been kidnapped,
abused, tortured and held in dark, secret prisons by the US before
being shot and put on a rendition flight to New York. It would have
meant that her three children – two of them US citizens – would also
have been kidnapped, abused and tortured by the US.

 They say ignorance is bliss and this jury so desperately wanted not
to believe that the US could have had a hand in the kidnapping of a
five-month -old baby boy, a five-year-old girl and her seven-year-old

 They couldn't handle the truth … it is as simple as that.

 Well I, and many others across the world like me, can't handle any
more lies. America's reputation is lying in the lowest gutters in
Pakistan at the moment and it can't sink any lower.

 The trust has gone, there is only a burning hatred and resentment
towards a superpower which sends unmanned drones into villages to
slaughter innocents.

 It is fair to say that America's goodwill and credibility is all but
washed up with most honest, decent citizens of Pakistan.

 And I think even Her Excellency Anne Patterson recognizes that fact
which is why she is now keeping her mouth shut.

 If she has any integrity and any self respect left she should stand
before the Pakistan people and ask for their forgiveness for the drone
murders, the extra judicial killings, the black operations, the
kidnapping, torture and rendition of its citizens, the water-boarding,
the bribery, the corruption and, not least of all, the injustice
handed out to Dr Aafia Siddiqui and her family.

 She should then pick up the phone to the US President and tell him to
release Aafia and return Pakistan's most loved, respected and famous
daughter and reunite her with the two children who are still missing.

 Then she should re-read her letter of August 16, 2008 and write
another … one of resignation.

 * Yvonne Ridley is a patron of Cageprisoners which first brought the
plight of Dr Aafia Siddiqui to the world's attention shortly after her
kidnap in March 2003. The award-winning, investigative journalist also
co-produced the documentary In Search of Prisoner 650 with film-maker
Hassan al Banna Ghani which concluded that the Grey Lady of Bagram was
Dr Aafia Siddiqui

Vision Without Glasses


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