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"We will be paid back for this." --John Conroy commenting on British torture of IRA members.
Article by WorldNews.com correspondent Dallas Darling.
When Pakistan's prime minister hailed Aafia Siddiqui as the "daughter of the nation," I recalled how some Amerindians treated their prisoners of war. Aafia Siddiqui is a neuro-scientist and mother of three who was arrested in Afghanistan and was accused of being connected to al Qaeda. The U.S. also charged her with attempting to kill U.S. soldiers. After years of imprisonment, which included rape, electric shock and torture, a New York court has just sentenced Aafia Siddiqui to 86 years in jail. Tens of thousands of people in Pakistan have already protested her conviction and lengthy jail sentence. Others have burned posters of President Barack Obama and the American flag.
The reason I mention Amerindians, is that while the U.S. was collectively torturing and committing mass genocide against them, some tribes were adopting prisoners of war, even giving them equal status with warriors born into the tribe. In fact, the more courageous one behaved before and after battle, the better chance they had of being adopted.(1) (Also, keep in mind how the U.S. adopted Nazi war criminals to help develop the Atomic and Hydrogen Bombs. Known as Operation Paper Clip, they were fed, housed and paid for their services and expertise.)
But Aafia Siddiqui is no war criminal. Arrested by uninvited and occupied troops and then tortured by a foreign government and its willing accomplices, this event reflects why many in Pakistan despise the U.S. and view Washington in a negative way. At the same time, her case has been very murky at best, with contradictory witnesses and testimonies, and a trial that occurred out of Aafia Siddiqui's and Pakistan's jurisdiction. Aafia Siddiqui was not only tried near Ground Zero, but a Taliban leader issued a statement of support. Surely, to try Aafia Siddiqui near where the 9-11 attacks occurred, and which then-President George Bush transformed into revenge and a Global War On Terror, and to associate her with the Taliban, is a grave injustice.
For the sake of America's international alliances, specifically Pakistan, and in the name of the sacred ideals found in the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, Aafia Siddiqui should immediately be returned to Pakistan and to her family. The U.S. should also investigate its own "ghost detainees" that are still imprisoned, along with utterly eliminate extraordinary renditions where citizens from other nations are seized and then imprisoned at secret sites around the world. On moral grounds alone, U.S. citizens who believe in justice and equal rights should join with protesters in Pakistan, demanding an investigation by the United Nations Commission On Human Rights into the White House's illegal acts of torture and indefinite imprisonments.
Like some Amerindian tribes and confederations which have now disappeared, Americans should adopt Aafia Siddiqui and help set her free. This would send a clear message to the world that the United States of America is still a nation where people believe in the ideal: "All men and women are created equal." It would also show the world that she is not only Pakistan's daughter, but America's daughter too. In committing this, perhaps America's cycle of fear, grief, revenge, and past and present genocidal actions, can once and for all be reversed.
Dallas Darling - firstname.lastname@example.org
(Dallas Darling is the author of Politics 501: An A-Z Reading on Conscientious Political Thought and Action, Some Nations Above God: 52 Weekly Reflections On Modern-Day Imperialism, Militarism, And Consumerism in the Context of John's Apocalyptic Vision, and The Other Side Of Christianity: Reflections on Faith, Politics, Spirituality, History, and Peace. He is a correspondent for www.worldnews.com. You can read more of Dallas' writings at www.beverlydarling.com and wn.com//dallasdarling.)
(1) Kessel, William B. and Robert Wooster. Encyclopedia Of Native American Wars And Warfare. New York, New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2005., p. 321.