Category Archives: Speak out against oppression

“A DRONE OVER THE SKIES OF MADINAH….”

Ask yourself: If the Prophet was with us today,
If he spoke the same words and lived the same way,
If he returned with the same message to relay,
How long would the forces of the world let him stay?

Back then, he taught humankind to: ‘Bow down to none,
No idol, no tyrant, no oppressive nation,
Keep your heart and mind free from their domination,
True power is with God, so don’t fear anyone!’

Quraysh let him be so long as he was benign,
And to his message, they thought that few would incline,
But when he preached openly, would not bend his spine,
The state turned against him, for he had crossed the line;

At first, they rushed to him seeking some compromise,
They’d give him the mic if he just ceased to chastise,
The ills around him they feared he would neutralize,
But he would not clothe his words in any disguise;

And he persisted in making more minds aware,
Of society’s false gods of which to beware,
Of the tyrants of Earth, so the state could not bear,
And his “freedom of speech” vanished into thin air;

Choking him as he prayed, they tried suffocation,
Then imposed three years of economic sanction,
Signed off authorizing his assassination,
He was hunted in his land, forced to migration;

To track down this “radical”, the vast land they’d comb,
Abu Jahl led the pack, his mouth frothing with foam,
Put him on a ‘Wanted’ list in his own home,
Like Jesus Christ before him at the hands of Rome;

And the Romes of today at whose hands we’re abused,
Who preach to us values from which they’re self-excused,
How similar the tools of repression they used,
The tyrants of past and present are ever fused;

Today, he’d see us consumed by the same fires,
With the gods in our hearts these worldly desires,
And the gods of the Earth nations and empires,
Headed by killers and professional liars;

He laid siege to Qaynuqa’ for one woman’s fear,
So what would he say to those who gang-raped ‘Abeer?
Muffled ‘Aafia’s screams as she shed tear after tear?
And occupy Muslim countries year after year?

He’d come back to remind us to: ‘Bow down to none,
No idol, no tyrant, no oppressive nation,
Keep your heart and mind free from their domination,
True power is with God, so don’t fear anyone!’

In a repeat of that reality uncouth,
Imagine he stood and struggled for the same truth,
And had the same impact on society’s youth,
Would they not once again fight this man nail & tooth?

Of course, they’d first test him to see what he’s about,
Would he stay true like before, or would he sell out?
Would fear of the state instill in his mind some doubt?
No doubt, he’d be a mountain shaking off their clout;

In an era where his inheritors deprave,
The trust of their knowledge so their skins they would save,
He’d be and inspiration for every field slave,
Craving an example of the fearless and brave;

Their think-tanks would scramble to counter his appeal,
Find scholars for dollars with whom to make a deal,
To persuade us: ‘The Prophet is just full of zeal,
Grieving injustices – quote – “perceived” and not real!’

They’d wiretap him as he said: ‘Bow down to none,
No idol, no tyrant, no oppressive nation,
Keep your heart and mind free from their domination,
True power is with God, so don’t fear anyone!’

Then they’d name him on a federal indictment,
American court would charge him with incitement,
Through Surat at-Tawbah – marked ‘Criminal Statement’
Khalid bin al-Walid as his co-defendant;

They’d say he conspired from the North to South Pole,
And seek a life sentence with no chance of parole,
In a bright orange suit on lockdown in the Hole,
Such do they treat those spirits they cannot control;

Like the rest of us who have committed no crime,
But to be a proud Muslim at this point in time,
As the war on his message has reached its full prime,
Giving those who live by it more mountains to climb;

When they saw that in this message he would persist,
They would designate him a global terrorist,
And just like Quraysh, they would pound an angry fist,
Before placing his name on their own target list;

Over the skies of Madinah, they’d send a drone,
Distribute ‘Wanted’ posters with his bearded face shown,
Talk to local tribes, make the reward money known,
For those who capture or kill him and retrieve each bone;

They’d study Badr and Uhud, learn his strategy,
And profile those who pledged to him under the Tree,
Try to identify his ‘Number Two’ and ‘Three,’
Is it Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, or ‘Ali?

To the Prophet’s Mosque, they’d send an entire brigade,
To round up the Ansar who had given him aid,
To kick down his family’s door in a night raid,
To make him the target of their final crusade;

Because his message would still be: ‘Bow down to none,
No idol, no tyrant, no oppressive nation,
Keep your heart and mind free from their domination,
True power is with God, so don’t fear anyone!’

Imagine if the Prophet was with us today,
If he spoke the same words and lived the same way,
If he returned with the same message to relay,
They’d reserve him a cell at Guantanamo Bay.…

 صلي الله عليه و سلم

Written by:
طارق مهنا
Tarek Mehanna

Monday, 9th of Dhu al-Hijjah 1431/15th of November 2010

Plymouth Correctional Facility, America
Isolation Unit – Cell #108

Drones-kill-innocent-people

FOOTNOTES:
1.) Abeer Qasim al-Janabi, a 14-yr old Iraqi girl who was gang-raped,
beaten, shot, and burned along with her parents and siblings by American soldiers in March of 2006, south of Baghdad. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahmudiyah_killings
2.) Referring to the hadith: “The scholars are the inheritors of the Prophets.”
3.) Referring to the Pledge of Ridwan given under a tree on the day of Hudaybiyah, as mentioned in Surat al-Fath, v.18.

Original Post: http://www.freetarek.com/a-drone-over-the-skies-of-madinah/


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‘Rabaa sign’ becomes the symbol of massacre in Egypt

The yellow coloured #R4bia #Rabaa pictures that have gone viral both on Facebook & Twitter
The yellow coloured #R4bia #Rabaa pictures that have gone viral both on Facebook & Twitter

The ‘Rabaa sign’ has become the symbol of protests against the military coup in Egypt and the center of the anti-coup protests, Rabaa al-Adawiya Square.

Made by raising four fingers with the thumb resting on the palm, the sign has come to represent civilian demonstrations protesting the ouster of Egypt’s first democratically elected president Mohamed Morsi and the ensuing violence that killed hundreds of people.
Rabaa means four or fourth in Arabic. Just a few hours before the massacre on August 14, anti-coup protesters in Egypt were struggling to voice their demands to the world by raising their four fingers.
Rabaa al-Adawiya Square is now as famous as Tahrir Square in Cairo due to the resistance it hosted by hundreds of thousands of protesters for more than two months. Last week, the square witnessed some of the worst atrocities against civilians in recent years.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan also flashed the Rabaa sign during a rally of his Justice and Development (AK) Party on Saturday in the northwestern province of Bursa.
Turkey has emerged as one of the fiercest critics of the July 3 ouster of Morsi by the powerful Egyptian military. Ankara has described Wednesday’s violent crackdown on two major anti-coup sit-ins in Cairo’s Rabaa and Giza’s Nahda squares as a “massacre”.
In Saturday’s rally in Bursa, the Turkish premier accused Egypt’s coup leaders of “state terrorism”.
Growing popularity
Rabaa al-Adawiya Square was named after a religious woman called Adawiya. Since Adawiya was the fourth child of the family, the Arabic adjective rabaa was affixed to her name.
The significance of the name is said to come from Adawiya’s struggle for freedom all her life. Now with the anti-coup protests, the meaning of this name has given birth to a new symbol.
Anti-coup protesters use the Rabaa sign both as a reference to the name of the square and to distinguish themselves from pro-coup protesters in Tahrir Square, which prefer the internationally popular “V sign” for victory or peace.
The Rabaa sign has gradually risen in popularity in Egypt during the protests and eventually come to be used as often as the V sign.
The anti-coup protesters say that the Rabaa sign, besides being the symbol of demonstrations, carries some other meanings as well.
It obviously refers to the square, and distinguishes it from Tahrir Square that housed the supporters of the military coup. But the sign also refers to the deposed president as the fourth president of Egypt after Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak.

As the ongoing bloodshed being caused by the Egyptian Army continues, do what you can to end this oppression. Make Dua, Help out the oppressed or atleast speak out and create awareness of this massacre.

Reference: http://www.worldbulletin.net/?aType=haber&ArticleID=115243

Who is Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and what happened to her and her loved ones??

BACKGROUND

Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was born on 2 March 1972 in Karachi, Pakistan. She is one of three siblings. Aafia’s father Mohammad Siddiqui was a UK-trained doctor and her mother, Ismet, is a homemaker. Aafia has three children: Ahmed (b. 1996), Maryam (b. 1998), and Suleman (b. 2002), the latter of whom remains missing to this day.

Aafia moved to Texas in 1990 to be near her brother, and after spending a year at the University of Houston, transferred to Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Siddiqui’s fellow students say she was a quiet, studious woman who was devout in her religious beliefs. A fellow student, Hamza, recalled in an interview with the BBC, “I remember Aafia as being sweet, mildly irritating but harmless”.

During her time at MIT, Aafia joined the campus Muslim Student Association (MSA) and was actively involved in efforts to portray the teachings of Islam to non-Muslims in order to better their understanding of her faith and invite them to Islam. Her emphasis in her life on bettering the conditions of Muslims even pervaded her academic achievements. During her sophomore year at MIT, she won a grant of $5,000 to study the effects of Islam on women living in Pakistan. In addition to her many academic achievements, Aafia earned the honourable status of committing the entire Qur’an to memory.

Following her graduation, Aafia married a medical student Mohammed Amjad Khan. She subsequently entered Brandeis University as a graduate student in cognitive neuroscience. Citing the difficulty of living as Muslims in the United States after 9/11 and following FBI harassment of her husband, Aafia and her husband returned to Pakistan. They stayed in Pakistan for a short time, and then returned to the United States. They remained there until 2002, and then moved back to Pakistan. Some problems developed in their marriage, and Aafia was eight months pregnant with their third child when she and Khan were separated. She and the children stayed at her mother’s house, while Khan lived elsewhere in Karachi. After giving birth to her son, Aafia stayed at her mother’s house for the rest of the year, returning to the US without her children around December 2002 to look for a job in the Baltimore area, where her sister had begun working at Sinai Hospital. On 1 March 2003, Pakistani authorities arrested Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Aafia and her children disappeared just 27 days later.

DISAPPEARANCE

Dr. Afia Siddiqui, a highly educated researcher who studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, for about 10 years and did her PhD in genetics, mysteriously disappeared from Karachi in March 2003 along with her three children. Since then, US and Pakistani officials have continuously denied any knowledge about her.

It was only after British prisoner Moazzam Begg mentioned her in his book The Enemy Combatant that Human Rights Organizations and activists, British journalist Yvonne Ridley and MP Lord Nazir in particular, raised voice for Dr. Aafia kept in solitary confinement and her three children. A specially disturbing part of this story is that fate of her three children, aged between one month and 7 years at the time of her kidnapping, is still unknown.

Aafia Siddiqui, In 2007, the media started giving Dr. Aafia’s case more serious attention and several reports were published about her tragic fate. Amnesty International included her on a June 2007 list as someone for whom there was “evidence of secret detention by the United States and whose fate and whereabouts remain unknown.”

Britain’s Lord Nazir Ahmed, (of the House of Lords), asked questions in the House about the condition of Prisoner 650. According to one news story, “He [Lord Nazir] said she is physically tortured and continuously raped by the officers at the prison.” Lord Nazir has also submitted that Prisoner 650 has no separate toilet facilities and has to attend to her bathing and movements in full view of the other prisoners.

And it was on July 6, 2008, when a British journalist, Yvonne Ridley, called for help for a Pakistani woman she believes has been held in isolation by the Americans in their Bagram detention centre in Afghanistan, for over four years. “I call her the ‘grey lady’ because she is almost a ghost, a spectre whose cries and screams continues to haunt those who heard her. This would never happen to a Western Woman,” Ms Ridley said at a press conference.

Ms Ridley, who came to Pakistan to appeal for help, said the case came to her attention when she read the book, The Enemy Combatant, by a former Guantanamo detainee, Moazzam Begg. After being seized in February 2002 in Islamabad, Mr. Begg was held in detention centres in Kandahar and Bagram for about a year before he was transferred to Guantanamo Bay. He recounted his experiences in the book after his release in 2005. Imran Khan, leader of Justice Party (PTI) has also been raising voice, held a joint press conference with Ms. Ridley on this issue, and criticised government of Pakistan for not doing anything and hiding facts about Prisoner 650.

After these reports in media, the US and Pakistani authorities were forced to admit just last week that Dr. Aafia was indeed in US captivity, the Prisoner 650 at Bagram Base.

CNN has released the official version of US Government today and according to Dr. Aafia’s attorney, Elaine Whitfield Sharp, “a lot of the allegations implausible” and argued that the charges “don’t pass the sniff test.” According to CNN:

A Pakistani scientist accused of shooting at U.S. officers while in Afghan custody last month was due to appear before a U.S. magistrate judge Tuesday morning in New York.

FBI Notice Aafia Siddiqui, whom the FBI had sought for several years for terrorism, faces federal charges of attempted murder and assault of a U.S. officer and U.S. employees, federal authorities said.

Responding to these allegation, Elaine Whitfield Sharp told DAWN News, Geo News and CNN:

“This is a very intelligent woman. What is she doing outside of the governor’s residence? The woman is a Ph.D. Is a woman like this really that stupid? There is an incongruity and I have trouble accepting the government’s claims,” the attorney said.

“If she was carrying fluids and was considered dangerous, then why was she left unattended in a room behind a curtain? And this dangerous, hardened criminal picks up a gun and misses?”

Dr. Aafia’s sister, Dr. Fauzia, held a press conference today along with Human Rights Activist Iqbal Haider and she urged authorities to presume her sister is innocent and is demanding that the government be required to prove any charges against her “beyond a reasonable doubt.” She appealed to the government of Pakistan, all religious, political parties and human rights organizations to play their active role in bringing her sister back home. At least, they should immediately hand over the children to the family as no law on earth allows that. This is one of the most serious violation of human rights. “I fear a political prosecution to protect the United States from embarrassment, rather than from ‘terrorism,’” Fouzia Siddiqui said. Iqbal Haider severely criticised US and Pakistani Governments and said that they promoting terrorism by doing inhuman acts like this.

According to Aafia’s mother, Aafia left their home in Gulshan-e-Iqbal in a Metro-cab on 28 March, 2003 to catch a flight to Rawalpindi, but never reached the airport. In February 2010 Aafia’s eldest son returned to the scene and described how, when he, his mother and siblings came out of their home, fifteen to twenty people, including a ‘white lady’ and members of the ISI, were waiting in three to four vehicles on the next street and subsequently kidnapped them. Aafia was placed into one black car and the crying children into another. She described to her lawyer that she was immediately hooded and drugged. When she awoke she was tied to a gurney in a place that could not have been Karachi because the air was very dry.

Following her trial, Aafia’s lawyer Elaine Sharpe, described how Aafia’s baby, Suleman, was believed to have been killed during the arrest. Dr Siddiqui was later shown a picture of her baby, lying in a pool of blood. It is not known if Suleman, who would now be 7 years old, is alive.

Pakistani papers mentioned reports the following day that a woman had been taken into custody of terrorism charges and confirmation came from a Pakistan Interior Ministry spokesman. The media reported that Aafia Siddiqui had been ‘picked up in Karachi by an intelligence agency’ and ‘shifted to an unknown place for questioning’. A year later, the press quoted a Pakistani government spokesman who said that she had been handed over to US authorities in 2003.

Aafia Siddiqui had been missing for more than a year when the FBI put her photographs on its website.

Aafia’s mother described in a BBC interview in 2003, how a ‘man wearing a motor-bike helmet’ which he did not remove, arrived at the family residence and warned her that if she ever wanted to see her daughter and grandchildren again, she should keep quiet. Both the Pakistan government as well as US officials in Washington denied any knowledge of Aafia’s custody. Aafia’s sister, Fowzia also says that she was told by the then Interior Minister Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat in 2004 that Aafia had been released and would return home soon

At almost precisely the same time that Aafia went missing, two other alleged Al Qaeda suspects disappeared from Karachi – Majid Khan and ‘Ali ‘Abd al-’Aziz ‘Ali. They would be amongst hundreds arrested by the Pakistani intelligence services and handed over to the FBI and CIA as part of the War on Terror. Like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Khan and Ali would not reappear again until September 2006, following their transfer from CIA custody, where they were reportedly tortured including the use of waterboarding, to Guantanamo.

We must all demand for Dr. Aafia’s release and provide her justice!

SECRET DETENTION

Aafia claims that she was kidnapped by the Pakistani intelligence services with her children and transferred into US custody. She further alleges that she was detained in a series of secret prisons for five years during which time she was repeatedly abused, tortured and raped. Aafia’s claim is substantiated by former Bagram detainees who affirmed the presence of a female detainee of Pakistani origin at Bagram, with the prisoner ID “650”. The International Committee for the Red Cross also confirmed that a woman had been detained at Bagram. Immediately after his release from Guantanamo in 2009, ex-Bagram detainee, Binyam Mohamed declared that the woman he saw in Bagram, with the prison no. 650, was indeed Aafia Siddiqui.

The US has previously denied the presence of female detainees in Bagram and that Aafia was ever held there, bar for medical treatment (after they shot her) in July 2008.

Little is known about what happened to Aafia and her children in the five years in which they were missing. However, in October 2009, when Aafia was visited by a Pakistani parliamentary delegation she spoke a little about the five years in which she had been disappeared, saying “I have been through living hell”. She described being given an injection and when she came to, she was in a cell. She said she was being brainwashed by men who spoke perfect English, who may have been Afghans. She did not think they were Pakistanis. She described being forced to make false confessions and sign statements. She alleged that she had been tortured although she provided no details. She was also told by her captors that if she did not co-operate, her children would suffer. During her trial, Aafia alluded to being tortured in secret prisons, to being raped, her children being tortured, and being threatened to be “sent back to the bad guys” – men she described as sounding like Americans but could not be “real Americans” but “pretend Americans” due to the treatment they had subjected her to. After her trial it emerged that the government of Pakistan had put a gag order on Aafia’s family in exchange for releasing her eldest son Ahmed.

Aafia’s lawyers, Elaine Sharpe and Elizabeth Fink, would later corroborate this by stating publicly that she had “been through years of detention, whose interrogators were American, who endured treatment fairly characterised as horrendous” and that she had been “tortured”.



RE-ARREST IN AFGHANISTAN

On 7 July 2008, a press conference led by British journalist Yvonne Ridley, in Pakistan resulted in mass international coverage of Aafia’s case as her disappearance was questioned by the media and political figures in Pakistan. Within weeks, the US administration reported that she was arrested by Afghani forces along with her 13 year old son, outside the governor of Ghazni’s compound, allegedly with manuals on explosives and ‘dangerous substances in sealed jars’ on her person. Her lawyers claim that the evidence was planted on her. Aafia would later testify during her trial that the bag in which the evidence was found was not her own and was given to her, being unaware of its contents. She also claimed that the handwritten notes were forcibly copied from a magazine under threat of torture of her children. She recalledthe presence of a boy at the Ghazni police station whom she believed could have been her son, but could not know with certainty since they had been separate for several years.

On 3 August 2008 an agent from the FBI visited the home of her brother in Houston, Texas and confirmed that she was being detained in Afghanistan. On Monday 4 August 2008, federal prosecutors in the US confirmed that Aafia Siddiqui had been extradited to the US from Afghanistan where they alleged she had been detained since mid-July 2008. They further allege that whilst in custody she fired at US officers (none being injured) and was herself shot twice in the process. Aafia confirmed during her trial that she was hiding behind a curtain in the prison, as the US claim, with the intent of escaping as she feared being returned to a secret prison, but categorically denied picking up the gun or attempting to shoot anyone. Aafia was charged in the US with assaulting and attempted murder of US personnel in Afghanistan.

RELEASE OF AHMED SIDDIQUI

In late August 2008, Michael G Garcia, the US attorney general of the southern region confirmed in a letter to Dr Fowzia Siddiqui that Aafia’s son, Ahmed had been in the custody of the FBI since 2003 and was he was currently in the custody of the Karzai government. Earlier the US ambassador to Pakistan, Anne W Patterson had earlier claimed that Washington has no information regarding the children.

According to an Afghan Interior Ministry official quoted in the Washington Post, Ahmed Siddiqui was briefly held by the Interior Ministry after his arrest in July 2008 and was thereafter transferred to an Afghan intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security (NDS), notorious for its brutal treatment of detainees, despite the fact he was too young to be treated as a criminal suspect under both Afghan and international law.  Under Afghanistan’s Juvenile Code, the minimum age of criminal responsibility is 13 and according to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child a minimum age of criminal responsibility below the age of 12 is “not internationally acceptable.”

Ahmed was finally released to the custody of Aafia’s family in Pakistan in September 2009.

He later gave a statement to police in Lahore, Pakistan, that he had been held in a juvenile prison in Afghanistan for years. On being reunited with his father for the first time, he ran away screaming in horror, claiming that his father was amongst those who used to beat him in Afghanistan.

THE TRIAL

The trial of Aafia Siddiqui began Tuesday 19 January 2010, in a Manhattan federal courtroom. Prior to the jury entering the courtroom, Aafia turned to onlookers saying; “This isn’t a fair court, (…) Why do I have to be here? (…) There are many different versions of how this happened,” referring to the alleged shooting.

Three government witnesses testified on the opening day of the trial; Army Capt. Robert Snyder, John Threadcraft, a former army officer and John Jefferson, an FBI agent. Both were stationed in Afghanistan at the time of the alleged assault and murder attempt.

During the trial, while Snyder testified that Aafia had been arrested with a handwritten note outlining plans to attack the Empire State Building, the Brooklyn Bridge and Wall Street, Aafia disrupted the proceedings with a loud outburst aimed at Snyder, after, which she proclaimed her innocence stating; “Since I’ll never get a chance to speak, if you were in a secret prison.. where children were tortured… This is no list of targets against New York. I was never planning to bomb it. You’re lying.”

In the morning before the closing remarks, the last government witness, FBI Special Agent, Angela Sercer testified. Sercer monitored Aafia for 12 hours a day over a two week period while she was at a hospital in Bagram. She tried to rebut Aafia Siddiqui’s testimony, by saying that Aafia told her she was in “hiding” for the last five years and further that she “married” someone to change her name.

However under cross examination, Sercer admitted that while at the hospital Aafia expressed fear of “being tortured”. Sercer also admitted that Aafia expressed concern about the “welfare of the boy” and asked about him “every day”. Moreover, that Aafia only agreed to talk to her upon promises that the boy would be safe. According to the testimony Aafia said that the Afghans had “beaten her”; that her “husband had beaten her and her children”; and that she was “afraid of coming into physical harm”.

When Sercer was further questioned about what Aafia said about her children during that two week period, she admitted that Aafia expressed concern about the “safety and welfare of her children”, but felt that the “kids had been killed or tortured in a secret prison”. “She said that they were dead, didn’t she” asked Defence attorney, Elaine Sharpe; reluctantly Sercer answered, “Yes.”

The trial took an unusual turn with an FBI official asserting that the finger prints taken from the rifle, which was purportedly used by Aafia to shoot at the U.S. interrogators, did not match hers. Another event complicated the case further, when the testimony of witness Masood Haider Gul appeared different from the one given by U.S. Captain Schnieder earlier. The defence denied all charges, stating that “the soldiers had given different versions of where she was when the M-4 was allegedly fired and how many shots were fired.”

The trial lasted for 2 weeks and the jury deliberated for 2 days before reaching a verdict. On February 3, 2010, she was convicted and found guilty on all counts. , despite the following discrepancies:

· The court proceedings were flawed, and limited to the incident in Ghazni, which itself lacked concrete evidence.

· It is still unexplained how a frail, 110 pound woman, confronted with three US army officers, two interpreters and two FBI agents managed to assault three of them, snatch a rifle from one of them, open fire at close range, hit no one, but she herself was wounded.

· There were no fingerprints on the gun.

· There was no gunshot residue from the gun.

· There were no bullet holes in the walls from that particular gun.

· There were no bullets cases or shells in the area from the specified gun.

· The testimony of the government’s six eyewitnesses contradicted each other.

· The statements Aafia made to FBI agent Angela Sercer were made whilst she was under 24 hour surveillance by FBI agents in the hospital at Bagram, with her arms and legs tied to a bed for weeks, several types of meidcation, sleep-deprived and at the mercy of the agent for food, water and in order to relieve herself. Sercer did not identify herself to Aafia as a FBI agent. The use of these statements in court were objected to by the defence on the basis of ‘Miranda laws’ which mandate that a detainee must be informed of their rights, have access to an attorney, or in the case of international law, consular staff and law enforcement officials must identify themselves. Despite this the judge denied the motion and allowed this to form part of the questioning.

· Aafia’s disappearance, torture and missing children were not at all addressed during the court case.

POST CONVICTION

Following her conviction, Aafia remained at the Metropolitan Detention Centre in New York where she has spent the best part of her detention in the US. Throughout that time, she has been subject to humiliating and degrading strip and cavity searches, prompting her to refuse legal visits on many occasions. Since the beginning of March Aafia has been refused all contact with her family and has not been permitted any letters, phone calls, visits or reading material under the pretext of “the security of the nation.”

In April 2010, a 12-year-old girl was left outside the resident of Fowzia Siddiqui in Karachi by unidentified men claiming she was the missing daughter of Aafia Siddiqui. Although initially it was thought that she was not Aafia’s daughter, following DNA tests conducted by the Pakistani government, the Interior Minister Rehman Malik confirmed that the tests proved that the child was indeed Dr. Aafia’s daughter, Maryam, and that her DNA matched that of Ahmed Siddiqui (Aafia’s eldest son) and their father, Amjad Khan. Dr Fowzia intended to carry out their own independent investigation to confirm the girl’s identity. In a press conference Senate Committee for Interior Chairman, Senator Talha Mehmood reported that Maryam Siddiqui was recovered from Bagram airbase in the custody of an American – in the Urdu-language press, an American soldier – called “John”. He also said that she had been kept for seven years in a ‘cold, dark room’ in Bagram airbase.

After several postponements, Aafia was finally sentenced to 86 years in prison, on 5 counts, on September 23rd 2010, making her eligible for release in 2094. She would be 122 years old at the time of her release, if she remains alive at that time.

And then there is the whereabouts and welfare of Aafia’s youngest son, Suleman which to this day remain a mystery.
This is undoubtedly injustice at its worst!

 

This is clearly injustice! Her 6 month old baby was murdered, she was assaulted, kidnapped and so were her children and she is the one being labelled as terrorist?!?!? This injustice needs to stop NOW! Stand up and demand the authorities to provide justice to Dr. Aafia and if they will not heed then we will have to make sure she is provided with justice!

For more details on how you can be a helping hand in this highly important matter and to demand the unjust authorities to release her please visit: http://www.freeaafia.org/

The real criminals in the Tarek Mehanna case By Glenn Greenwald

Image

Tarek Mehanna is seen in this image from video footage taken in Boston in 2009.  
(Credit: Reuters/WHDH-TV)

In one of the most egregious violations of the First Amendment’s guarantee of free speech seen in quite some time, Tarek Mehanna, an American Muslim, was convicted this week in a federal court in Boston and then sentenced yesterday to 17 years in prison. He was found guilty of supporting Al Qaeda (by virtue of translating Terrorists’ documents into English and expressing “sympathetic views” to the group) as well as conspiring to “murder” U.S. soldiers in Iraq (i.e., to wage war against an invading army perpetrating an aggressive attack on a Muslim nation). I’m still traveling and don’t have much time today to write about the case itself — Adam Serwer several months ago wrote an excellent summary of why the prosecution of Mehanna is such an odious threat to free speech, and I’ve written before about the growing criminalization of free speech under the Bush and Obama DOJs, whereby Muslims are prosecuted for their plainly protected political views — but I urge everyone to read something quite amazing: Mehanna’s incredibly eloquent, thoughtful statement at his sentencing hearing, before being given a 17-year prison term.

At some point in the future, I believe history will be quite clear about who the actual criminals are in this case: not Mehanna, but rather the architects of the policies he felt compelled to battle and the entities that have conspired to consign him to a cage for two decades:

________________________

TAREK’S SENTENCING STATEMENT
APRIL 12, 2012

Read to Judge O’Toole during his sentencing, April 12th 2012.

In the name of God the most gracious the most merciful Exactly four years ago this month I was finishing my work shift at a
local hospital. As I was walking to my car I was approached by two federal agents. They said that I had a choice to make: I could do things the easy way, or I could do them the hard way. The “easy ” way, as they explained, was that I would become an informant for the government, and if I did so I would never see the inside of a courtroom or a prison cell. As for the hard way, this is it. Here I
am, having spent the majority of the four years since then in a solitary cell the size of a small closet, in which I am locked down
for 23 hours each day. The FBI and these prosecutors worked very hard-and the government spent millions of tax dollars – to put me in that cell, keep me there, put me on trial, and finally to have me stand here before you today to be sentenced to even more time in a cell.

In the weeks leading up to this moment, many people have offered suggestions as to what I should say to you. Some said I should plead for mercy in hopes of a light sentence, while others suggested I would be hit hard either way. But what I want to do is just talk about myself for a few minutes.

When I refused to become an informant, the government responded by charging me with the “crime” of supporting the mujahideen fighting the occupation of Muslim countries around the world. Or as they like to call them, “terrorists.” I wasn’t born in a Muslim country, though. I was born and raised right here in America and this angers many people: how is it that I can be an American and believe the things I believe, take the positions I take? Everything a man is exposed to in his environment becomes an ingredient that shapes his outlook, and I’m no different.  So, in more ways than one, it’s because of America that I am who I am.

When I was six, I began putting together a massive collection of comic books. Batman implanted a concept in my mind, introduced me to a paradigm as to how the world is set up: that there are oppressors, there are the oppressed, and there are those who step up to defend the oppressed. This resonated with me so much that throughout the rest of my childhood, I gravitated towards any book that reflected that paradigm – Uncle Tom’s Cabin, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, and I even saw an ehical dimension to The Catcher in the Rye.

By the time I began high school and took a real history class, I was learning just how real that paradigm is in the world. I learned about the Native Americans and what befell them at the hands of European settlers. I learned about how the descendents of those European settlers were in turn oppressed under the tyranny of King George III.

I read about Paul Revere, Tom Paine, and how Americans began an armed insurgency against British forces – an insurgency we now celebrate as the American revolutionary war. As a kid I even went on school field trips just blocks away from where we sit now. I learned about Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner, John Brown, and the fight against slavery in this country. I learned about Emma Goldman, Eugene Debs, and the struggles of the labor unions, working class, and poor. I learned about Anne Frank, the Nazis, and how they persecuted minorities and imprisoned dissidents. I learned about Rosa Parks, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King,
and the civil rights struggle.

I learned about Ho Chi Minh, and how the Vietnamese fought for decades to liberate themselves from one invader after another. I learned about Nelson Mandela and the fight against apartheid in South Africa. Everything I learned in those years confirmed what I was beginning to learn when I was six: that throughout history, there has been a constant struggle between the oppressed and their oppressors. With each struggle I learned about, I found myself consistently siding with the oppressed, and consistently respecting those who stepped up to defend them -regardless of nationality, regardless of religion. And I never threw my class notes away. As I stand here speaking, they are in a neat pile in my bedroom closet at home.

From all the historical figures I learned about, one stood out above the rest. I was impressed be many things about Malcolm X, but above all, I was fascinated by the idea of transformation, his transformation. I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie “X” by Spike Lee, it’s over three and a half hours long, and the Malcolm at the beginning is different from the Malcolm at the end. He starts off as an illiterate criminal, but ends up a husband, a father, a protective and eloquent leader for his people, a disciplined Muslim performing the Hajj in Makkah, and finally, a martyr. Malcolm’s life taught me that Islam is not something inherited; it’s not a culture or ethnicity. It’s a way of life, a state of mind anyone can choose no matter where they come from or how they were raised.

This led me to look deeper into Islam, and I was hooked. I was just a teenager, but Islam answered the question that the greatest scientific minds were clueless about, the question that drives the rich & famous to depression and suicide from being unable to answer: what is the purpose of life? Why do we exist in this Universe? But it also answered the question of how we’re supposed to exist. And since there’s no hierarchy or priesthood, I could directly and immediately begin digging into the texts of the Qur’an and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, to begin the journey of understanding what this was all about, the implications of Islam for me as a human being, as an individual, for the people around me, for the world; and the more I learned, the more I valued Islam like a piece of gold. This was when I was a teen, but even today, despite the pressures of the last few years, I stand here before you, and everyone else in this courtroom, as a very proud Muslim.

With that, my attention turned to what was happening to other Muslims in different parts of the world. And everywhere I looked, I saw the powers that be trying to destroy what I loved. I learned what the Soviets had done to the Muslims of Afghanistan. I learned what the Serbs had done to the Muslims of Bosnia. I learned what the Russians were doing to the Muslims of Chechnya. I learned what Israel had done in Lebanon – and what it continues to do in Palestine – with the full backing of the United States. And I learned what America itself was doing to Muslims. I learned about the Gulf War, and the depleted uranium bombs that killed thousands and caused cancer rates to skyrocket across Iraq.

I learned about the American-led sanctions that prevented food, medicine, and medical equipment from entering Iraq, and how – according to the United Nations – over half a million children perished as a result. I remember a clip from a ’60 Minutes‘ interview of Madeline Albright where she expressed her view that these dead children were “worth it.” I watched on September 11th as a group of people felt driven to hijack airplanes and fly them into buildings from their outrage at the deaths of these children. I watched as America then attacked and invaded Iraq directly. I saw the effects of ’Shock & Awe’ in the opening day of the invasion – the children in hospital wards with shrapnel from American missiles sticking but of their foreheads (of course, none of this was shown on CNN).

I learned about the town of Haditha, where 24 Muslims – including a 76-year old man in a wheelchair, women, and even toddlers – were shot up and blown up in their bedclothes as the slept by US Marines. I learned about Abeer al-Janabi, a fourteen-year old Iraqi girl gang-raped by five American soldiers, who then shot her and her family in the head, then set fire to their corpses. I just want to point out, as you can see, Muslim women don’t even show their hair to unrelated men. So try to imagine this young girl from a conservative village with her dress torn off, being sexually assaulted by not one, not two, not three, not four, but five soldiers. Even today, as I sit in my jail cell, I read about the drone strikes which continue to kill Muslims daily in places like Pakistan, Somalia, and Yemen. Just last month, we all heard about the seventeen Afghan Muslims – mostly mothers and their kids – shot to death by an American soldier, who also set fire to their corpses.

These are just the stories that make it to the headlines, but one of the first concepts I learned in Islam is that of loyalty, of
brotherhood – that each Muslim woman is my sister, each man is my brother, and together, we are one large body who must protect each other. In other words, I couldn’t see these things beings done to my brothers & sisters – including by America – and remain neutral. My sympathy for the oppressed continued, but was now more personal, as was my respect for those defending them.

I mentioned Paul Revere – when he went on his midnight ride, it was for the purpose of warning the people that the British were marching to Lexington to arrest Sam Adams and John Hancock, then on to Concord to confiscate the weapons stored there by the Minuteman. By the time they got to Concord, they found the Minuteman waiting for them, weapons in hand. They fired at the British, fought them, and beat them. From that battle came the American Revolution. There’s an Arabic word to describe what those Minutemen did that day. That word is: JIHAD, and this is what my trial was about.

All those videos and translations and childish bickering over ‘Oh, he translated this paragraph’ and ‘Oh, he edited that sentence,’ and all those exhibits revolved around a single issue: Muslims who were defending themselves against American soldiers doing to them exactly what the British did to America. It was made crystal clear at trial that I never, ever plotted to “kill Americans” at shopping malls or whatever the story was. The government’s own witnesses contradicted this claim, and we put expert after expert up on that stand, who spent hours dissecting my every written word, who explained my beliefs. Further, when I was free, the government sent an undercover agent to prod me into one of their little “terror plots,” but I refused to participate. Mysteriously, however, the jury never heard this.

So, this trial was not about my position on Muslims killing American civilians. It was about my position on Americans killing Muslim civilians, which is that Muslims should defend their lands from foreign invaders – Soviets, Americans, or Martians. This is what I believe. It’s what I’ve always believed, and what I will always believe. This is not terrorism, and it’s not extremism. It’s what the arrows on that seal above your head represent: defense of the homeland. So, I disagree with my lawyers when they say that you don’t have to agree with my beliefs – no. Anyone with commonsense and humanity has no choice but to agree with me. If someone breaks into your home to rob you and harm your family, logic dictates that you do whatever it takes to expel that invader from your home.

But when that home is a Muslim land, and that invader is the US military, for some reason the standards suddenly change. Common sense is renamed ”terrorism” and the people defending themselves against those who come to kill them from across the ocean become “the terrorists” who are ”killing Americans.” The mentality that America was victimized with when British soldiers walked these streets 2 ½ centuries ago is the same mentality Muslims are victimized by as American soldiers walk their streets today. It’s the mentality of colonialism.

When Sgt. Bales shot those Afghans to death last month, all of the focus in the media was on him-his life, his stress, his PTSD, the mortgage on his home-as if he was the victim. Very little sympathy was expressed for the people he actually killed, as if they’re not real, they’re not humans. Unfortunately, this mentality trickles down to everyone in society, whether or not they realize it. Even with my lawyers, it took nearly two years of discussing, explaining, and clarifying before they were finally able to think outside the box and at least ostensibly accept the logic in what I was saying. Two years! If it took that long for people so intelligent, whose job it is to defend me, to de-program themselves, then to throw me in front of a randomly selected jury under the premise that they’re my “impartial peers,” I mean, come on. I wasn’t tried before a jury of my peers because with the mentality gripping America today, I have no peers. Counting on this fact, the government prosecuted me – not because they needed to, but simply because they could.

I learned one more thing in history class: America has historically supported the most unjust policies against its minorities – practices that were even protected by the law – only to look back later and ask: ’what were we thinking?’ Slavery, Jim Crow, the internment of the Japanese during World War II – each was widely accepted by American society, each was defended by the Supreme Court. But as time passed and America changed, both people and courts looked back and asked ’What were we thinking?’ Nelson Mandela was considered a terrorist by the South African government, and given a life sentence. But time passed, the world changed, they realized how oppressive their policies were, that it was not he who was the terrorist, and they released him from prison. He even became president. So, everything is subjective – even this whole business of “terrorism” and who is a “terrorist.” It all depends on the time and place and who the superpower happens to be at the moment.

In your eyes, I’m a terrorist, and it’s perfectly reasonable that I be standing here in an orange jumpsuit. But one day, America will change and people will recognize this day for what it is. They will look at how hundreds of thousands of Muslims were killed and maimed by the US military in foreign countries, yet somehow I’m the one going to prison for “conspiring to kill and maim” in those countries – because I support the Mujahidin defending those people. They will look back on how the government spent millions of dollars to imprison me as a ”terrorist,” yet if we were to somehow bring Abeer al-Janabi back to life in the moment she was being gang-raped by your soldiers, to put her on that witness stand and ask her who the “terrorists” are, she sure wouldn’t be pointing at me.

The government says that I was obsessed with violence, obsessed with ”killing Americans.” But, as a Muslim living in these times, I can think of a lie no more ironic.

-Tarek Mehanna
4/12/12