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Wikileaks Renews Dr. Aafia Siddiqui Mystery


Crosspost from

86-year prison term for Dr. Siddiqui: Victory in Courtroom is Loss on Worldwide Public Stage

By: Houston Criminal Lawyer John Floyd and Paralegal Billy Sinclair

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This website ( has maintained an ongoing interest in the bizarre case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui (here and here). We have stated we do not know if the Pakistani native is a brilliant neuroscientist or an al-Qaeda terrorist as our government has repeatedly charged she is. What we do know is that our government has cloaked the Siddiqui case in such mystery and secrecy that we believe she was most likely kidnapped, along with her three children, by Pakistan’s infamous intelligence agency in Karachi in 2003 and turned over to our government who placed her in secret detention in Bagram military prison in Afghanistan where she was subjected to torture and other forms of debilitating abuse.

Just months after U.S. District Court Judge Richard M. Berman, sitting in the Southern District of New York, imposed an 86-year prison term on Dr. Siddiqui following her conviction for shooting American military personnel after her detention in Ghanzi, Afghanistan in July 2008, the highly publicized and controversial WikiLeaks disclosures of U.S. State Department classified cables has reawakened what the British newspaper, The Guardian, calls “one of the most vexed mysteries of the Bush-era ‘war on terror’.”

One cable from the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, dated July 31, 2008 (two weeks after Siddiqui’s capture in Afghanistan), stated: “Bagram officials have assured us that they have not been holding Siddiqui for the last four years, as has been alleged.” Earlier cables from the embassy in February addressed the widespread public protest and outrage in Pakistan following Siddiqui’s conviction in February 2010.  At that time U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson charged the protests were the result of “one-sided” media coverage in Pakistan about the case.

The mystery surrounding Dr. Siddiqui’s strange disappearance from Karachi in 2003 assumed an international life form in 2008 when, according to the Peace thru Justice Foundation, four men escaped from the Bagram prison and began to share stories about a Pakistani woman known as “Prisoner 650” who had been repeatedly subjected to torture and physical abuse at the hands of U.S. government and military personnel. After a British citizen named Binyan Mohamed was released from U.S. secret detention, he positively identified a photograph of Dr. Siddiqui as “Prisoner 650.” The Prisoner 650/Dr. Siddiqui story was picked up by British journalist Yvonne Ridley who coined her as the “Gray Lady of Bagram.” The “Gray Lady” term was employed because Ridley said “Prisoner 650” appeared to be a “ghost” by all those who saw her and heard her screams echoing following torture sessions at the infamous Bagram prison.

During Dr. Siddiqui’s trial last February, the government went to great lengths to keep the five years she disappeared from the face of the earth “off limits” to the jury that convicted her. Why? Because the government, we believe, is hiding secrets about what it did to Dr. Siddiqui during those five years. Tragically, whether or not Dr. Siddiqui was ever actually in Bagram prison and tortured there is no longer the real issue. The issue now is that the world believes she was, especially the people of Pakistan. Perception is often more powerful than reality.

Should we be concerned about what the people of Pakistan think about the United States? Yes, as long as we are sending billions of dollars in military and economic aid to the country to secure their assistance in our so-called “war on terror,” we must have good relations with its people. The WikiLeaks cables themselves reflect that far beyond the Dr. Siddiqui case our relationship with the Pakistani government, particularly its intelligence and military branches, is strained to say the least. The Dr. Siddiqui affair is, and will remain, a sticky-wicket in trying to work through these tense political and military relationships.

The American public will never know all the immoral, unethical and illegal things our government did during the Bush-era “war on terror.” The outrageous tragedy about this so-called war-on-terror declared by former President George W. Bush in the wake of the horrible 9/11 Twin Tower attacks is that it has cost us more, both in human lives and economic loss, than any terror attack the war was designed to prevent would have cost us. In Iraq alone, we have incurred 4,429 deaths and 32,937 wounded or seriously injured while another 320,000 of our returning troops suffer from some form of psychological trauma and an average of 18 are committing suicide each day in this country. In Afghanistan, we have incurred 1,415 deaths and 2,309 wounded or seriously injured, and the numbers are increasing daily. The total costs of these two wars—most of which was waged “on credit” during the Bush years—to American taxpayers is nearly $1.2 trillion.

The earliest possible withdrawal date from Afghanistan has now been set for 2014 with some military experts saying it may be another ten years before we see a complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from that incorrigible country. All U.S. forces are scheduled to be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of 2011. In the meantime, we will continue to experience more human casualties and irreparable damage to our national economy and democratic reputation as we wage the so-called “war on terror.” The costs of funding these wars, both on the battlefield and in the human damage they inflict on our military personnel, will increase exponentially and remain a fiscal drain on our economy. And just to put this issue into a clearer perspective, the House Veterans Affairs Committee was recently informed by prominent economists that the lifetime medical care and benefits for troops returning from these two wars who were disabled by their service will costs taxpayers another $1.3 trillion.

And what is the end result of these staggering costs to human lives and our economic well-being: the United States has become an international boogeyman attracting more “terrorists” who are willing to harm and attack the United States than there were in 2001. The terrorists have won the war—if not on the battlefield, then in the hearts and minds of many young people worldwide who now see America as “foreign occupiers” and “oppressors” trying to rule the world with the facade of democracy but the reality of empire. We have become to approximately one-third of the world’s population the spit of the earth.

In Pakistan alone, with our predator drone strikes, we have created more “militants” (or “terrorists” depending upon the locale) than we have eliminated. These drone attacks began in Pakistan began in 2004. The New America Foundation reports that there have been 199 drone attacks in northwest Pakistan with 103 of them coming in 2010 alone. Hundreds of innocent Pakistani civilians have been killed in these attacks. Pakistani authorities report that in 2009 alone 708 innocent civilians were killed in 44 drone attacks with only five of these strikes hitting al Qaeda or Taliban “terrorists,” meaning that 140 innocent Pakistanis had to die in order for us to kill one terrorist. Is there any wonder why we are so hated in the tribal regions that protect Osama bin Laden and his terrorist cohorts?

And hanging over all these innocent lives lost, and the loss of “good will” among Pakistanis for Americans they have produced, is the symbolic case of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui. This one woman, who many believe has been driven into the darkest depths of mental illness at the hands of American torturers, now looms as a dark cloud over every American and Pakistani relation. We will never truly have any semblance of trust with the Pakistani people again so long as we keep the “Gray Lady of Bagram,” who has become a national icon in her country, incarcerated in an American prison labeled a “threat” to our national security. As a gesture of good will, our government should find a way to send Dr. Siddiqui home to be with her people, her family and her surviving children. If our government can swap 10 “sleeper” Russian agents for four Americans held in Russian prisons as it did this past summer, then it can certainly return Dr. Siddiqui to her native Pakistan.

The bottom line is this: Dr. Siddiqui has not killed a single American. We have killed thousands of innocent Pakistanis trying to kill al-Qaeda terrorists and Taliban insurgents who pose no legitimate threat to Americans as they sit in the rugged mountains of northwest Pakistan. The political damage caused to the Pakistani government and the loss of international goodwill to our country is simply not worth keeping Dr. Siddiqui in an American prison for the rest of her natural life.

Related Posts from John T Floyd:

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  1. The Critically Cognitive

    January 21, 2011 at 1:54 PM

    I’m glad that MM stays atop this issue, but I genuinely feel that I can do NOTHING for her.
    Hearing about it distresses me.

    • HadithCheck

      January 21, 2011 at 3:33 PM

      but I genuinely feel that I can do NOTHING for her.

      The Prophet peace be upon him said: “The most helpless of people is the one who cannot make du’a.”

      • The Critically Cognitive

        January 22, 2011 at 9:34 AM

        True. Sorry, I should have specified.

      • Student

        January 22, 2011 at 11:20 PM


        where is this mentioned?

        • HadithCheck

          January 23, 2011 at 12:52 AM


          where is this mentioned?

          Wa Alaikum Assalam Warahmatullah brother,

          I assume you are asking for a reference for the hadith? Here is the full text of the hadith and its reference:

          The Prophet peace be upon him said: “The most helpless of people is the one who cannot make du’a, and the most miserly of people is the one who is stingy with the salaams (i.e. does not greet others).” [Sahih Targheeb & Tarheeb; 2714]

          • ahlam

            January 23, 2011 at 3:51 PM

            Isn’t the most stingy person the one who doesn’t send salaam on the Prophet(saws) in a hadith?

          • HadithCheck

            January 23, 2011 at 4:57 PM

            Isn’t the most stingy person the one who doesn’t send salaam on the Prophet(saws) in a hadith?

            That person would be stingy too!

            The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The miser is the one in whose presence I am mentioned and he does not send blessings upon me.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi (3546) and classed as saheeh by al-Albani)

            So the one who doesn’t send salaam upon the Prophet peace be upon him when his name is mentioned is stingy, but the one who doesn’t give the salaam to the people is the most stingy of people.

    • shahgul

      January 21, 2011 at 6:47 PM

      Can you make dua? Don’t expect everything will happen right in this dunya. The fruit of hereafter will be sweeter, Inshallah.

  2. shiney

    January 21, 2011 at 10:34 PM

    i’m glad to see tht ppl care…there still is humanity left on earth. May Allah (SWT) really guide us and keep us on the Straight Path and keep us safe from all kinds of harm and calamities, Ameen.

  3. F

    January 22, 2011 at 10:04 AM

    Her story reminds of what happened to Zainab al Ghazali in Egypt and Heba Dabbagh in Syria. Except with Aafia Siddiqui, we are hearing it live instead of reading about it 20 years later.

    May Allah(swt) grant her Jannah and her captors the worst of Hell Fire. Ameen.

  4. Muslim Stranger

    February 15, 2011 at 8:37 AM

    Case Of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui:
    A New Turn As Lawyers Release Explosive, Secretly Recorded Audio Tape:

    Aafia Siddiqui – Just The Facts:
    Also included is a new video clip of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui and transcript of that audio tape.

    The report, Aafia Siddiqui: Just the Facts, reveals shocking new evidence that contradicts official statements from governments of both Pakistan and the United States that Dr. Siddiqui was not detained in their custody prior to her arrest in 2008. IJN has obtained a secret audio recording of a senior Pakistani police official who admits he was personally involved in the arrest of Dr. Siddiqui and her children five years ago This account is corroborated by substantial documentary evidence and witness testimony, which all points to the same conclusion—that Dr. Siddiqui and her three children were initially arrested in March 2003 with the knowledge and cooperation of local authorities in Karachi, Pakistan, and subsequently interrogated by Pakistani military intelligence (ISI) as well as U.S. intelligence agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

  5. Rehan

    February 19, 2011 at 2:58 AM

    Assalam O Aliakum..
    I wish i can do something for her. but I felt sorry i can’t do anything for her :(
    Hope the Peoples of USA wake up and see what they are doing with the innocent peoples..
    May Allah lead us on a straight path and guide us.

  6. Shireen

    February 20, 2011 at 12:09 AM

    WOW.. what is happening to this world?! … May Allah subhanhu wa tala ease her burden, protect her, save her and her family from the evils of this world and grant her Jannatul Firdos..Ameen :( :( … subhan’Allah

    PS. HadithCheck, very efficient! I’m quite impressed MashaAllah!

  7. Mohammed Khan

    February 27, 2011 at 10:33 PM

  8. Lasantha Pethiyagoda

    April 21, 2011 at 7:29 AM

    Dr Aafia Siddiqui must be honoured for her academic accomplishments and immense potential for public good (she was a PhD in cognitive neuroscience and specialised in how children learn, and conducted free classes for dyslexic children). She helped raise money for war refugees and contributed to society in a myriad admirable ways, living in the United States. While “re-appearing” in Ghazni, she is also alleged to have taken a soldier’s firearm and turned it towards him. In response she had received several bullets in her abdomen and charged for attempted murder of about six US soldiers and an FBI agent. No charges of terrorism or links to Al-Qaeda were made. To a reasonable person, it would seem that the US justice system has valued the potential lives and testimony of “real” American heroes to that of a brilliant intellectual and philanthropist, who happened to be Muslim, loved Islam and worked for its sustenance. This seems to be the key in verdicts of juries and sentencing by judges, not a fraction as worth as she was to the world community. All nations must break free of the shackles of imperialism that the US and its “friends and allies” have imposed and work together to celebrate real heroes like Nelson Mandela (the US and Israel were the only nations supporting apartheid South Africa) and Mahatma Gandhi who were both “terrorists” against the ugly ogres of the day.

    Lasantha Pethiyagoda

  9. John Dalessi

    July 27, 2012 at 9:58 PM

    Correction – “…her conviction for shooting American military personnel…” Should be “shooting *at*” – Big difference. No one was shot that day except her.

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