International Action Center, Press Release, Sept. 5, 2009
Sara Flounders, the Co-Director of the International Action Center released the following statement to the media on Friday, September 5, 2009, following the September 3 court appearance of Dr Aafia Siddiqui in U.S. District Court in New York City.
Now that the documents recording the systematic torture of thousands of prisoners in secret U.S. prisons has been released to the world media in U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s report, the secret documents on the imprisonment and torture of Dr Aafia Siddiqui must also be released to the courts and to the world.
Days before Dr Aafia Siddiqui, a small woman weighing less than 90 pounds, was again forcibly brought into United States District Court on wild and contradictory charges of trying to murder FBI agents in Afghanistan, the latest documentary evidence of what the FBI and CIA is really doing in Afghanistan and in secret prisons around the world was confirmed in major news stories for all to read.
Tens of thousands of pages of newly de-classified government documents released by U.S. Attorney Holder confirm in the most graphic details that CIA interrogators threatened to kill the children of detainees, threatened sexual assaults on another’s mother, threatened bound prisoners with guns and an electric drill. Used water boarding against one prisoner 183 times, used chocking into unconsciousness, brutal strip searches and mock executions, confinement in a tiny box, continued slamming of the head.
The release of these documents and U.S. Attorney General Holder’s appointment of a special federal prosecutor to investigate interrogation practices of the CIA was announced on August 28, 2009. Monday's documents represent the largest release of information about the Bush Administration's once-secret system of capturing terrorism suspects and interrogating them in undisclosed locations around the world.
An ACLU law suit compelled the release of the CIA’s own 2004 Inspector General’s internal report on stomach turning interrogations. These released documents of "enhanced interrogation" tactics were heavily ‘redacted’ or censored with whole pages blocked out for “security reasons”.
This 2004 Inspector General’s report shows that the CIA kept detailed observational records on thousands of prisoners and the impact of their torture techniques on the human psyche. They made systematic measurements of the prisoners’ reaction to torture. From the censured documents it is clear that medical doctors and psychologists betrayed their profession by monitoring calibrated, incremental increases of torture to bring about excruciating pain, terror, humiliation and shame. The documents make it clear that all tortures were designed to create a systematic emotional and psychological breakdown in the prisoners being interrogated.
At a court appearance on September 3, 2009 the date for the start of Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s trial was set for Monday, November 2. The court room was full of Pakistani and other Muslim supporters. Supporters of the Pakistan USA Freedom Forum and other organizations have mobilized on days when Dr Siddiqui is brought into court. But this is a case that must be taken up in full solidarity by the entire progressive movement in the U.S., including the women’s movement, the movement for immigrant rights and the broad movement against U.S. racism and war.
The demand for Aafia Siddiqui’s freedom and return to her family in Pakistan must be combined with the demand to release all the secret documents on Dr Siddiqui’s long imprisonment. The 130,000 pages of documents released by U.S. Attorney General Holder last week confirms that the most detailed records were kept with, Nazi-like meticulousness, on the wrenching torture and abuse of countless prisoners held in U.S. secret prisons.
The case of Dr Aafia Siddiqui exposes the whole sordid torturous role of U.S. occupation of Afghanistan and widening war in Pakistan. Support for freedom and return to her family in Pakistan is a basic demand for human rights and justice for a woman who has been horrendously abused.
A rally to support Dr Siddiqui is planned for the opening day of her trial, Monday, November 2 in front of U.S. District Court, 500 Pearl Street.
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