Has Aafia Siddiqui’s Daughter Surfaced?

Aafia Siddiqui has been at the center of one of the many mysteries flowing from the Bush and Obama administrations’ conduct of  intelligence operations. A Pakistani native and former MIT scientist, background on Siddiqui can be found several places, including a Seminal diary by ondelette here.

The stories of Siddiqui’s disappearance and  her recent trial in the US are too convoluted to easily summarize.  For purposes of the story now emerging — the possible appearance of Siddiqui’s daughter — the bare bones are that, after returning to Pakistan from the US, Aafia Siddiqui was named by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in his US-run torture interrogations.  Shortly thereafter, in March, 2003, Siddiqui disappeared. Her three children —  oldest son Ahmed, 4-year-old Maryam and her infant son, Suleman — disappeared with her.

After seven years, Siddiqui suddenly reappeared in Afghanistan, where the US alleged she was involved in the attempted shooting of an American soldier as she was being detained for interrogation. When Aafia was  apprehended in Afghanistan, a boy was with her. The US handed off the boy to Afghan intelligence while they shipped Siddiqui to the US for trial.

Pakistan became involved diplomatically over the child and demanded his return. He was handed over to Siddiqui’s family in Pakistan, but her other children have remained missing. There has been controversy in Pakistan over the status of the boy and whether he truly was Siddiqui’s son or not.

Last weekend a girl approximately 12 years old, who spoke only English and Persian and claimed her name was  “Fatima,” was dropped off in front of the home of Siddiqui’s sister.  Some stories indicate an American named “John” may have been with her. Dawn reported a senior policeman described that the girl was:

… wearing a collar “bearing the address of the house in case she wandered off”.

That was last week.

This week, April 11 marks the start of a visit by Pakistan’s Prime Minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, to the US.  He had been under pressure from the Pakistani press, Senate, courts and Siddiqui’s family (who have been highly critical of Gilani) to take up the case of Aafia Siddiqui in his meetings with the administration scheduled for this week. Today, as those meetings are about to begin, Pakistan’s Interior Minster, Rehman Malik  has confirmed that the young girl left in the street with a collar on her neck is Maryam.*

While this stands in contrast with earlier statements by Siddiqui’s sister that “the finger prints of teenage girl were not matched with the prints of her niece, Mar[y]am” the Interior Ministry’s statement is based upon DNA testing. Those results reveal that Siddiqui’s ex-husband, Amjad Khan, “cannot be excluded” as the father of the two children:

“The DNA profile obtained from blood samples of Maryam Khan alias Fatima, Ahmad Muhammad – her brother – share the STR Genetic Markers with the DNA profile obtained from blood sample of Dr Amjad Khan. Based on the DNA analysis, Dr Amjad cannot be excluded as the biological father of Maryam alias Fatima,” concludes the National Forensic Science Agency’s report, an exclusive copy of which is available with Daily Times. The laboratory is run by the Interior Ministry.

My online search for a US  source discussing the story originally came up with a reference in a WaPo story, buried at the end of the story on Pakistani forces battling Taliban. But the link for the cached reference (“Separately, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said a Pakistani girl left outside a house in Karachi on Sunday was the daughter of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani…”) no longer includes that reference.

In any event, this story about the possible return of Maryam had been getting cautious play throughout the middle east when the girl appeared, last week. Now, with the Interior confirmation that the girl is Maryam, the story is been receiving much more play. Some headlines (and a Pakistan Senator) assert that the girl had been held the last seven years at Bagram.

The Pakistan Ledger (caveat:  not necessarily an unbiased or hard core news site) ran as it’s headline, “US Bagram Air Force base girl prisoner, 12 released” an also ran the information on the DNA report

According to reports, the girls’ DNA matched that of Ahmed, Dr Aafia’s son. The report has been handed over to the investigation police.

Several reports, including the Ledger,  are mentioning that the release of the young girl might be linked  to intervention by Afghan President and Obama ex-bff, Hamid Karzai.

Mr. Karzai had told the family that if no questions were asked, he would return the child to the family.

From another report,

Terming the visit of Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, a key factor in making the efforts of the government and the Interior Minister productive, (Siddiqui’s sister) said that the rehabilitation of Maryam would be started soon

And from the Indian Express, earlier, when the girl had been discovered but not DNA tested:

Claiming that Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai had indicated recently that Aafia’s daughter would return home, Fauzia (Siddiqui’s sister) said, “If this girl is my sister’s daughter then now this issue will be settled in Islamabad.”

Meanwhile, Press TV reports that a Pakistani Senator and chairman of the Pakistani Senate’s Standing Committee on Interior, Senator Talha Mehmood, “slammed the US for keeping the child in a military jail in a cold, dark room for seven years.”

Almost everything you hear about the targeted story (Maryam’s discovery) and the larger story (Siddiqui’s disappearance and subsequent US conviction) should, imo, but taken with a grain of salt.  But what we do have are some strongly competing narratives at work.

Karzai and the US administration have severe rifts. Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani is on his way to the US (and had apparently earlier refused to put any discussions of Siddiqui on his scheduled talks with the US ).  Karzai is reported as making some claims about the return of the girl. A girl appears and, as the Prime Minister is arriving in the US, Pakistan’s Interior Minister and a Pakistani Senator are holding press conferences, one confirming that the girl is Siddiqui’s long missing daughter and the other alleging she was held in a dark cell at Bagram by the US military.

Meanwhile, the Secretaries, Gates and Clinton, are out in force today, calling Karzai a “reliable partner.”

The cast of characters and plot lines in the Siddiqui mystery are complex — courts in Pakistan, the CIA,  competing political factions, KSM, large street rallies and protests, a Pakistani Prime Minister and Interior Minister, Afghan leader Karzai, the US Department of Justice, Charles Swift who handled the Hamdan case (and represented Siddiqui in her trial), courts in the US, missing bullets, missing children, competing fingerprint and DNA information, and more.

The only thing missing from this international tale of intrigue? Dedicated reporting by the US press.

*A Reuter’s slide show of yesterday’s meeting between Malik, Siddiqui’s sister and the young girl can be found here.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

74 replies
  1. orionATL says:

    …”cannot be excluded as the father…”

    sounds like a game of deception is underway.

    the girl was wearing a collar? good lord, do you turn a long-missing child over to her family this way?

    this whole matter smells to high heaven.

  2. qweryous says:

    I found something like what you are looking for I think.

    “But the link for the cached reference (“Separately, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said a Pakistani girl left outside a house in Karachi on Sunday was the daughter of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani…”) no longer includes that reference.”

    Is this it? Link:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6364J320100410

    Which has the exact sentence in the quote.

    EDIT ADD:It also appears to be the original article.

    • Mary says:

      Yes – that’s the Reuter’s release, but as WaPo picked it up, they originally included the reference to Maryam, but at some point went back and took that out. It’s still in the Reuter’s release, awaiting any US press to pick it up. (Reuters is ia UK based news service)

  3. Mary says:

    There’s not been one part of Siddiqui’s story that sounds normal or even minimally likely. Lots of unlikely things happen all the time, but still, this story from start to curent stopping point, and everywhere in between, is flat out bizarre.

    If you look at that pictures in the slide show, the poor girl looks completely befuddled.

    The “cannot be excluded” is the way they do DNA examinations

    When a sufficient number of tests have been performed in which an individual cannot be excluded as the source of the DNA by any of the tests, a point is reached at which the tests have excluded virtually the world’s population and the unique identification of that individual as the source of the DNA has been achieved.

    It’s probably worth noting that during the Siddiqui trial, while her defense wasn’t really allowed to go into the alternate theories on her detentions, they did make some assertions (that probably sounded like complete non-sequitor to the jury) about possible US involvement in the disappearance of her children to which the DOJ did not object.

    A couple of days ago, some Muslim British MPs sent a letter to Obama, criticizing the trial here and requesting explanations and that she be turned over to Pakistan.
    http://www.draafia.org/2010/04/09/british-parliamentarians-for-the-release-of-dr-aafia-siddiqui/

    Maybe – maybe not – also worth mentioning that after the Maryam story began to emerge, WaPo printed out Obama admin leaks that Pakistan’s ISI was releasing high level Taliban, even as the Pak forces were supposedly cooperating on the detention and turnover of Baradar.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/10/AR2010041002111.html

    There seems to have been a lot of back and forth going on, with WaPo deep sixing any reference to Maryam and instead highlighting Pakistan’s ISI role in releasing Taliban, while at the same time, Clinton and Gates are out in front, appeasing Karzai. Curious and Curiouser.

      • Mary says:

        Thank you – lots.

        I’ve been trying for a bit to link to a piece titled “A Blatant Outrage” that had just gone up in the English online version of Pakistan’s The Nation, but I just can’t keep this tab or that one open and can’t get the piece to re-open, so I’m going to give up for tonight.

        Nite all.

          • Mary says:

            Thanks for putting that up, bmaz.

            It’s not a reporting piece, but I thought it was interesting for a couple of reasons. First, it claims as a matter of fact that while Karzai was in Pakistan he “admitted” that “the children” (plural) were in his country. Second, it claims as a matter of fact that she was ” Kept in a dark room in solitary confinement, she is unable to stand the broad daylight.”

            While I rounded up a lot of the different non-US sourcing on this, I’m going to also offer up that I don’t know that any of it can be taken as gospel. There are a lot of different interests at work.

            I do think from time to time about some references made by Baer and IIRC others that one of the interrogators of KSM is a “broken man” It certainly looks like the KSM interrogations, in addition to the tortures within their own walls, also led to the disappearance of two sets of children: KSM’s own, who were already kidnapped by the US and were then utilized in his torture program and Siddiqui’s, including an infant. I guess if you were a part of that, it would go to bed with you every night and wake up with you every morning.

            • Leen says:

              “I guess if you were a part of that, it would go to bed with you every night and wake up with you every morning.’

              Anyone who would do this to children let alone adults can not have a conscience.

            • Acharn says:

              Ah, I was looking through the comments to see if anyone would bring up the question of “What ever happened to KSM’s kids? And his wife?” It is terribly frustrating at times that the MSM will not consider certain stories. Aafia Siddiqi’s trial had NO coverage. From the stories filed by Pakistani reporters (who were not always allowed in the court room), it is difficult to understand how the jury could have found her guilty.

  4. qweryous says:

    Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani is on his way to the US (and had apparently earlier refused to put any discussions of Siddiqui on his scheduled talks with the US

  5. Jeff Kaye says:

    Good god! The girl is traumatized. The photo caption says she is holding flowers, but it is the othe girl that is holding them and Maryam clings to her; you can see from the position of her thin arm. In the other photo, too, she holds ont the arm of the other little girl. Only a scared child would do this. The story is certainly bizarre, and I don’t know what happened. But for a country that attacked and killed roughly 100,000 people, whose leadership implemented a torture program, that has supported death squads and practiced — practices — assassination; indeed that kept children at Guantanamo, it is not a stretch to believe Aafia Siddique’s daughter was kept for seven years at Bagram.

    Meanwhile, what of the fate of the other son, the third child? Why is this entire story, just pike the Camp No story, being boycotted by the press? Something is fishy alright, and you can smell the rot from the masthead of two once important newsapers, and a proud profession turned too timid, or too crooked, to report important stories.

    • Leen says:

      I am shaking, tears coming down as I send this out to MSM outlets asking demanding that they cover this. Am sick to my very core by what my country has done and continues to do and support.

      Thank you Mary for staying on this. Since our leaders, our MSM, do not seem concerned about war crimes. Do you see the International courts coming after us for this?

  6. tjbs says:

    Biggest lie told by the press”All the news that’s fit to print”.

    Should be” all the news that we think is fit to print”.

  7. Jim White says:

    Thanks so much for finding this, Mary. Jeff’s suggestion of a very traumatized, frightened girl sure fits with what I see in those photos. It pains me to the center of my soul that my country could do this to a child and lie about it to the world.

    Regarding the DNA analysis, I find it interesting that Maryam’s DNA was compared only to that of Ahmad and Amjad, and not to Aafia. That tells me that the US wants nothing to do with identifying Marayam, since there must be both DNA profiles and DNA samples from Aafia Siddiqi in US possession and it would have been obvious to the scientists carrying out the analysis to request a sample or data.

    I wonder if Karzai orchestrating the release of Marayam (if, indeed it was his doing) was a warning from Karazai for the US to “back off”. Sad as it is to use children in this way in political games, this would be a perfect move from Karzai to get the US to tone down its attacks on him, because the unspoken warning in releasing Maraym is that KSM’s children could also appear–and the US press would not be able to keep that story under wraps.

  8. Leen says:

    EW “Her three children – oldest son Ahmed, 4 year old Maryam and her infant son, Suleman – disappeared with her.”

    Ew “The only thing missing from this international tale of intrigue?”

    Seems to be another kid missing.
    ————————————————————————

    This is so damn creepy. Real thugs operating here. More war crimes

    “Mr. Karzai had told the family that if no questions were asked, he would return the child to the family.”

    What an asshole.

    • Leen says:

      Mary I apologize. I put EW initials by those comments not yours. Apologize.

      Am sending the Diane Rehm show links and this conversation. Will try to get them to do a program on this story. The MSM has not touched this story has far as I know

  9. wavpeac says:

    If we cannot get the right wing to be outraged about torturing children…I just do not understand, the ambivalence…when the pro life agenda…says that every fetus is a life…what the hell is a child???

    Jim White…you make a great point about Karzai…which is that the U.S is likely vulnerable to all kinds of shenanigans in an attempt to hide “our secret”. Isn’t this precisely one of the reasons why things like financial problems and affairs, can affect a security clearance…because it makes a person vulnerable to black mail? Torturing children, holding innocent children won’t play well any where on this earth.

    Obama has himself in a huge mess (and our whole country)…with his whole “don’t look back” attitude. I wonder if that reason alone…is why he is our president today.

    • parsnip says:

      wavpeac:

      “If we cannot get the right wing to be outraged about torturing children…I just do not understand, the ambivalence…when the pro life agenda…says that every fetus is a life…what the hell is a child???”

      You’re forgetting that, quoting Max Blumenthal, “behind the right’s politics of resentment is a culture of personal crisis.” In Republican Gemorrah he describes ” the role of child abuse and corporal punishment in forming authoritarian attitudes.” [From the Book Salon: http://firedoglake.com/2009/09/19/republican-gomorrah-inside-the-movement-that-shattered-the-party/%5D He describes how they break down their children’s spirit with corporal abuse and then welcome them into their enfolding arms: the message is to be obedient or be emotionally abandoned. I imagine this also effectively cause empathy to be locked away in a dark place.

      From ‘Republican Gomorrah–Six Questions for Max Blumenthal’ by Scott Horton at Harpers

      “Indeed, Dobson’s bestselling childrearing handbook, Dare To Discipline, is little more than a manual for creating sadomasochists. Dobson writes, “A little pain goes a long way for a young child. However the spanking should be of sufficient magnitude to cause the child to cry genuinely. After the emotional ventilation, the child will often want to crumple to the breast of his parent, and he should be welcomed with warm, loving arms.” In the course of three short sentences, Dobson describes a scenario in which a small child is simultaneously assaulted and embraced by a parent, the most significant authority figure in a child’s life and the person he loves the most. It is no surprise that personalities who endured such sadomasochistic abuse as children, from Tom DeLay to Newt Gingrich to the serial killer Ted Bundy, wound up prostrated at Dobson’s feet later in life.” http://www.harpers.org/archive/2009/09/hbc-90005678

    • Leen says:

      the right wing Repubs along with some Dems only care about fetuses. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children died due to the sanctions and our illegal invasion. That pro life horse shit just does not fly.

      Now will anyone in our MSM broadcast outlets give this human rights abuse any attention. We’re talking about a child in an American prison for seven years.

  10. Leen says:

    “Meanwhile, the Secretaries, Gates and Clinton, are out in force today, calling Karzai a “reliable partner.” Reliably corrupt

    Our leaders had to know where these kids were being held. What the fuck. We do not have a Dept of Justice that will hold any one accountable nor our congress. Will the international community try to hold Karzai and the U.S. accountable for these war crimes.

    Where is that other kid? Where was Reachel Maddow (she likes to pretend she is into human rights issues) and the rest of the MSM when Aafia Siddiqui’s trial was going on?

  11. Leen says:

    Would folks be willing to send out a bunch of emails right now (during the next hour) to the BBC world service about this story. Will they cover it?

    [email protected]

    Will be politely hammering the Diane Rehm show, Talk of the Nation and Chris Matthews. Have been successful at getting all three of those outlets to cover issues they were not on track for covering
    [email protected]
    [email protected]

  12. klynn says:

    I do think from time to time about some references made by Baer and IIRC others that one of the interrogators of KSM is a “broken man” It certainly looks like the KSM interrogations, in addition to the tortures within their own walls, also led to the disappearance of two sets of children: KSM’s own, who were already kidnapped by the US and were then utilized in his torture program and Siddiqui’s, including an infant. I guess if you were a part of that, it would go to bed with you every night and wake up with you every morning.

    I wonder…what would happen if such an individual turned himself in to the international court in a process of seeking redemption?

    • Leen says:

      What happens if Aafia Siddiqui goes to the International courts. Will Karzai or the US come back and get the traumatized girl?

      Mary did Aafia’s infant son die? Where is he?

  13. orionATL says:

    wavpeac @15

    “…Obama has himself in a huge mess (and our whole country)…with his whole “don’t look back” attitude. I wonder if that reason alone…is why he is our president today…”

    i suspect there is more truth to that than you or i would wish, speaking of domestic as well as international events.

    remember, obama was the favored candidate of many influential senators and the u.s. senate is cover-up city.

  14. Mary says:

    From the days of Siddiqui’s trial, this piece by Petra Bartosiewicz says a lot about the media. NYC was flooded with non-US reporters wanting to cover the trial and none of them were given access.

    Because of tight restrictions observed by the presiding Judge Richard Berman, not a single Pakistani reporter had been granted a press credential when opening statements began on Tuesday

    Otoh, the reporters who were cleared for the courtroom, cleared to report on the trial of a woman who has been at the center of such a mystery for so long, who was being represented by the lawyer who won the Hamdan case, whose children were still a mystery, who was being tried in a “no bullets found” case, etc. – mostly didn’t show

    Out of the approximately 30 such individuals from U.S. news outlets who were eligible to attend the trial, most were not present for opening statements.

    For that matter, I’ve never heard any reporter ask Bush, Rice, Cheney, Obama, Biden, Clinton etc. about KSMs and Siddiqui’s children. A free press, lots of press confs, at one point Cheney so plastered on the set it was as if a virus had taken control of the satellite waves – and yet never one question that I’ve heard over the years, despite how prominent the story has been in other outlets.

    • Nell says:

      The only thing missing from this international tale of intrigue? Dedicated reporting by the US press.Because of tight restrictions observed by the presiding Judge Richard Berman, not a single Pakistani reporter had been granted a press credential when opening statements began on Tuesday.Out of the approximately 30 such individuals from U.S. news outlets who were eligible to attend the trial, most were not present for opening statements.

      Land of the free.

      Thanks for this post, Mary, even though it makes me want to scream more than usual.

  15. ondelette says:

    I’ve been following this story since it surfaced in the Pakistani press. I don’t believe she is Maryam. She “surfaced” in that two unidentified males brought her to Fauzia’s place and left her there with a sign around her neck saying she was Maryam Siddiqui. The DNA and fingerprint tests didn’t confirm, now there is new talk that she somehow matches with Amjad Khan. But from the start, there were other reasons for disbelieving it. And as of two days into the story, Fauzia Siddiqui had announced that they would take the girl in, regardless. Her language skills and her basic memories don’t match up, either.

    • Mary says:

      You’ll note that I caution to take everything with a grain of salt.

      Siddiqui’s sister has been all over the place on this child. First she was saying that the fingeprints did not match and that she was a poor orphan girl who was produced to distract from Gilani’s inaction, then she is having her big meet and greet with Malik as he *confirms* the girl’s identity.

      The testing is done by Malik’s ministry and he has been very much tighter with Siddiqui’s sister than Gilani.

      On the other hand, right now the children, the purported father and the purported mother are all alive and reasonably available. It would be going pretty far into the rabbit hole for Malik to completely manufacture disinformation on DNA and put that out as the government’s official findings.

      The Daily Times supposedly has a copy of the DNA report and I have their story stating,
      “The DNA profile obtained from blood samples of Maryam Khan alias Fatima, Ahmad Muhammad – her brother – share the STR Genetic Markers with the DNA profile obtained from blood sample of Dr Amjad Khan. Based on the DNA analysis, Dr Amjad cannot be excluded as the biological father of Maryam alias Fatima,” concludes the National Forensic Science Agency’s report, an exclusive copy of which is available with Daily Times.”

      This indicates that both the girl and her brother were tested, but only against Amjad Khan. Not against Aafia Siddiqui.

      I agreee that the whole story is very odd and there has been a lot of speculation overseas about the identity of both children and Dr. Siddiqui’s sister creates wilding confusing and inconsistent stories, but I can’t dismiss a report being put out with the auspices of the Pakistani government and about a raft of living people. The embarassment and other fallout if Malik has just generated something would very significant and I don’t quite see what is in it for him to climb out on that limb when there is a lot of downside, should someone choose to start sawing while he’s out there.

      • ondelette says:

        Yes, I know you were careful to grain of salt the thing. Thanks. I’m not criticizing your piece, I’m criticizing papers like The Nation which constantly looks for ways to back Mohammad Amjad Khan and the U.S.G.

        The two older kids, Ahmed and Maryam, were both fingerprinted for the registry, and for passport and visa purposes (both were born in the U.S.). The fingerprints do not match, that was established early on. That the DNA cannot rule out relation to Amjad Khan but we hear nothing about testing against the Siddiqui family who are in Karachi. You mention that the girl and Ahmed have been tested against the father. But Ahmed was tested against Aafia by the U.S. government while they were holding him in Afghanistan.

        Amjad Khan has been the sole source, along with one uncle who’s stories waver, of information discounting Aafia’s story. He’s insisted that the children are being safe-housed by the Siddiqui family the whole time. Now what? Did someone produce her from their safe house? How come she doesn’t recognize Fauzia in that case?

        • bmaz says:

          The fingerprints do not match, that was established early on.

          And how do you establish the credibility and veracity of that either??

        • Mary says:

          The government is taking a position with respect to the identity of the girl, and they are basing that position on DNA.

          While I understand your point on the father, as you will note the Ministry issuing this identity confirmation is Malik’s Ministry and he has always been much more aligned with Siddiqui’s sister than with Ahmjad Khan.

          I have also seen references in some of the reporting (all of which I view with some amount of scepticism) that there may have been US DNA testing done on Siddiqui and the boy who was taken with her at the time (I won’t even go so far as to say definitely that he was the boy turned over to the family later) but I’ve never seen anything very concrete on that – if you have, it would be great if you could share it. I think it would be a nice piece of information to have – when the testing was done, who it was done on, etc.

          I’ve never really seen a good timeline – although perhaps you have one? – on that DNA testing. It seems from the testimony in the court proceedings that the US was not allowed access to Siddiqui until the time of the shooting and that immediately after the shooting they hustled her out. It doesn’t detail any interaction with the child (although there’s no reason that it would, esp with the court’s reluctance to get into that issue) so I’ve always wondered about the setting.

          Also, the primary feedback I have seen on the fingerprints (and apparently even as they were being taken there was discussion that they could well be inconclusive and there would be a need for a DNA follow up) was from Dr. Siddiqui’s sister. She has been all over both approaches on this story. On the one hand she said the fingerprints did not match (see the excerpt in the post) and that the girl was just a poor orphan girl produced to distract from Gilani, but a couple of days later she is claiming the girl IS Maryam and is having press confs and meetings with Malik.

          Again, if someone is playing a game on the DNA results (and I don’t say that isn’t possible – it’s why I was careful to note that Malid’s Ministry handled the testing) then it is a very precarious limb they are climbing out on, when all the persons are living and when different governments have definite interests in regards to the identities.

          You could be right. For now, I’m more inclined to think that the letter of the report information released – i.e., that the two children have had tests run that indicate Ahmjad Khan is the father – is accurate, especially to the extent it hangs the Pakistani gov on a point that could be easily disproven to its embarassment. I don’t see a reason for Malik – who Siddiqui’s sister gave an award to earlier, along with Yvonne Ridley – to do something so risky.

          I don’t think what Malik and the Pakistani Senator are doing really can be fairly described as backing up Khan and the USG (your complaint about The Nation’s piece – which describes Malik’s DNA confirmation)

          I do totally agree that it is bizarre they would not have also tested against the Siddiqui family and agree about the weird safehousing story from Khan (which I also provided in the comments) doesn’t hold water – but that story is undercut, not enhanced, by the girl who has been produced.

          And again, I don’t think you can have Fowzia Siddiqui participating in the sales pitch that the girl has been proven by DNA to be Siddiqui’s daughter and simultaneously claim that the sales pitch is all about supporting Khan and the USG.

          Agree that most of the story(s) are likely wrong in many to most places – but I’m just not seeing an incentive for Malik to produce DNA disinformation that could be easily disproven.

          • ondelette says:

            I have also seen references in some of the reporting (all of which I view with some amount of scepticism) that there may have been US DNA testing done on Siddiqui and the boy who was taken with her at the time (I won’t even go so far as to say definitely that he was the boy turned over to the family later) but I’ve never seen anything very concrete on that – if you have, it would be great if you could share it. I think it would be a nice piece of information to have – when the testing was done, who it was done on, etc.

            I’ll try to dig it out, give me some time, I’m doing my taxes ;-(. The U.S. would not release him, nor would the Afghan government, to Pakistan and to the Siddiqui family without positive ID. They suddenly got all respectful of law on extraditions and repatriations and wouldn’t release a child to a family they couldn’t ID. So they did DNA testing on Ahmed in Kabul, and waited for positive confirmation. That was even while protests were mounting from human rights groups about holding an 11 year old in prison in violation of the CRC and Geneva. Fauzia et al. knew this was going on, but the U.S. also deliberately told Aafia nothing about the fate of the boy until she’d already gone nuts a few times in Brooklyn and was headed for Carswell.

            The problem was that they didn’t recognize each other initially, and Ahmed had had his identity changed many times by his captors (at least that’s what he says).

            bmaz Don’t know. Just a feeling. Just the way the story broke and the way the girl was dumped. With Ahmed, they got a positive match. It would be easy to do it again, Mohammed could ask Aafia to provide a sample. She would do that, from all that we’ve seen.

  16. klynn says:

    For that matter, I’ve never heard any reporter ask Bush, Rice, Cheney, Obama, Biden, Clinton etc. about KSMs and Siddiqui’s children. A free press, lots of press confs, at one point Cheney so plastered on the set it was as if a virus had taken control of the satellite waves – and yet never one question that I’ve heard over the years, despite how prominent the story has been in other outlets.

    Perhaps this event could be the springboard for an FDL Action asking about the children.

  17. powwow says:

    Oh. my. word…

    What a find, Mary, in more ways than one.

    Jeff @ 10 is so right – I completely missed that when I looked at the photos, but the mystery girl is indeed clinging to the arm of the other young girl, in both photos.

    Isn’t she dressed in western attire, rather than in what an average Pakistani child would wear? And where in the world did she learn English…

    I hope ondelette will weigh in on this, after having closely tracked this unreal Aafia Siddiqui saga for so long. [Ah, on edit, I see that ondelette has indeed arrived and added some helpful further detail to the story.]

    Left alone on a public street, with a collar on… And that’s supposed to be the end of it, no doubt, in the eyes of the oh-so-clever unknown perpetrators…

  18. qweryous says:

    O.T.- New details on upcoming WikiLeaks video:

    Via raw story:

    The whisteblower website WikiLeaks — which exploded onto the national stage earlier this month after it released a video recording showing US servicemembers shooting two reporters and six others to death — says they plan to release another, even more harrowing clip.

    The clip will show previously classified footage from US warplanes that had been tapped to bomb Taliban positions in Farah province, Afghanistan last year.

    LINK to the post at the raw story:

  19. Mary says:

    Here’s my own OT, but related.

    We’re harming people that are innocent.

    It’s an fdl sponsored youtube clip of Charles Swift (whose firm represented Siddiqui) being interviewed by Keith Olberman about the impact of the Wilkerson declarations. He covers a lot of territory, including some of the continuing issues from the Detainee Treatment Act even after the Boumediene S Ct habeas ruling and the large number of lower court habeas rulings in favor of detainees. He also points out that at some point the Obama admin is going to have to face up to the fact that we’re harming innocent people.

    It would be nice if KO would have him back on for a talk about Siddiqui’s daughter and still missing son.

  20. orionATL says:

    it’s impossible for me to know, but reading ondolette’s piece and others cited here, left me with the strong sense saddiqui had been railroaded by the us doj in her american trial.

    i’m not saying she was not involved deeply in muslim opposition to the u.s. (which, by the way, is her
    perfect right).

    i’m saying the us govt would not charge her openly with actions of hers that concerned them, but rather charged her with a fraudulent “assaulting an officer” charge re the american soldier.

    thus the prosecution of saddiqui in the us is similar to a political prosecution, eg, alabama ausa leura canary’s prosecution of former dem gov don siegelman.

    one unique aspect of this case is that saddiqui was fingered by ksm, presumably while being tortured.

    thus, the us gov dare not state their real beef with saddiqui lest their us of torture be revealed in court.

    and so our brave doj soldiers on to manufacture a charge against saddiqui involving assaulting a soldier.

    my view is if you torture, you should lose all right to arrest, charge, or convict based on torture-obtained info.

    if this is not statutory as of now, i’d love to see it become so –

    you torture, you lose. no exceptions.

    i know all you lawyers here have figured out what i’ve talked about above a long time ago, but i just wanted to put on record thoughts of mine aroused today by the mistreatment visited on saddiqui and her family,

    including her extended family.

    no government should have the right to do so much psychological damage to a family just because they have a quarrel with a single family member.

  21. Mary says:

    Another OT of my own before I take off

    Did I miss this piece by Jeff Stein last week?

    Last week was a blur, but I don’t remember it. It’s about Spataro keeping tabs on the CIA agents against whom he got a conviction in the Abu Omar kidnapping case. Apparently, he’s ” tracking their movements via cell phone and credit card records” Still. Again.

    Armando Spataro, the chief prosecutor in Milan, said he regularly signs subpoenas, which do not require a judge’s approval, for information on the whereabouts of the 23 Americans

    The piece also mentions his use of sophiscated equipment that the Italians were given to track terrorists being used to track the American convicts.

  22. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Perhaps all that’s missing is Alfred Hitchcock. There’s a reason why some of the best reporting on this and the prior administration’s machinations is by comedians and film and theater critics. They’re the only ones who know you can make this stuff up, but that when it’s real, lives are at stake, not ratings.

  23. qweryous says:

    EDIT: ADD:In reply to Mary @47:

    comment at that link at 4:58 P.M. :

    “Interestingly enough Jeffrey Castelli was Plame’s liaison on the Niger documents way back in 2002.”

  24. ondelette says:

    Okay, here are some. ABC News, August 25, 2008:

    An 11-year-old boy detained along with a female al Qaeda suspect now in U.S. custody appears to be the woman’s son, according to U.S. Attorney Michael J. Garcia.

    Garcia, who is prosecuting the mother, made the assertion in a letter received Friday by Siddique’s lawyer, Elizabeth Fink. A redacted copy of the letter was provided to ABC News.

    Unlike Siddique, who is being held in a federal prison in Brooklyn, the boy is being held by the Afghan authorities, Garcia wrote in his letter. According to the letter, the results of a DNA test showed the boy’s DNA “was consistent with that of a potential offspring of Aafia Siddiqui.”

    More tests are being done, Garcia wrote, and they should be completed this week. U.S. authorities also compared a passport photo of Siddique’s son, Mohammed Ahmed, to the boy held in Afghanistan and believed they appeared to be the same person.

    The boy told U.S. agents who interviewed him that “he is an orphan and that his parents were killed in an earthquake in Pakistan around October 2005,” Garcia wrote. He said Siddique, the woman U.S. authorities now believe to be his mother, was named “Saliha,” and that he had been traveling with her “since shortly after his parents died,” wrote Garcia.

    Washington Post, August 26, 2008 (can’t get my saved link to work, it’s by Carol D. Leonnig and Candace Rondeaux and titled Afghan Officials Detain American Boy, U.S. Says):

    U.S. authorities said yesterday that Afghan officials have detained since mid-July an 11-year-old U.S. citizen, the son of a Pakistani woman accused of firing at Afghan and U.S. personnel there.

    In a letter to the family of Aafia Siddiqui, a suspected al-Qaeda operative who is in U.S. custody, federal prosecutors said photos and DNA tests strongly suggest that the youngster in Afghan custody is Siddiqui’s son, Ahmed. The boy was detained July 18 when Afghan police arrested Siddiqui in what they described as a shootout near a government compound in Ghazni.

    Here’s Human Rights Watch’s complaint of CRC violations by Joanne Mariner.

    Here’s The International News, August 28, 2008:

    The request was made about two days ago but so far there has been no response from Kabul. Diplomatic sources that are following this bizarre case told The News that according to the US authorities that are in touch with Islamabad, the Americans have taken a “nuclear DNA sample” from the youngster and matched it with Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s claiming that he is indeed her son.

    Recently, the lawyers for Dr Siddiqui received a letter from the US Justice Department saying that when the young boy was questioned he told them that he belonged to Azad Kashmir and had lost both his parents in the massive earthquake two years ago. He then, according to the US authorities, claims that he made his way into Afghanistan.

    “However, when the family of Dr Siddiqui saw the photograph of the young boy, they immediately recognized him and said that he was Aafia’s son”, maintain sources. It may be mentioned that Islamabad was alerted that something was amiss when the photograph of Aafia was removed from the most wanted site of the FBI immediately after her arrest.

    Here’s the coverage of his release (Washington Post September 16, 2008), it doesn’t mention the DNA, but as you can see, Aafia hasn’t been kept informed, and it’s by this time September 16th.

  25. greenharper says:

    Mary and everyone, thank you for all of this. Those poor children have haunted me for years. Don’t know how many emails I’ve sent Obama about them. Bush, too. I know, I know, but some staffer may at least have seen the missives and started to wonder about the kids.

  26. ondelette says:

    Of course there’s this (Online International News Network), my bold:

    ISLAMABAD: Chairman of the Senate’s Standing Committee on Interior Senator Talha Mehmood has urged the Prime Minister to take up the issue of Dr Aafia Siddiqui with the US President on the sidelines of Nuclear Security Summit.

    Addressing a press conference here on Saturday the Chairman said Dr Aafia’s trial in US was the violation of International law. Government is not taking seriously the repatriation of Dr Aafia, he added.

    Senator Talha said that the DNA report and fingerprints have confirmed that the 12 years old girl was Dr Aafia’s daughter Maryum. She was recovered from a US national John from Bagram Airbase Afghanistan, he added.

    • Mary says:

      Thanks for the US DNA links ondelette – it never made sense that is was done before she left Afghanistan and it seems very fuzzy as to who was in control of what sampling thereafter. The US was getting samples from her, here – through?? The USAs office? They were the ones releasing the info, but then who was coordinating the boy’s sampling? Afghanistan apparently, since the US says he was in Afghan custody. And who got the results of that testing – and was there any chain to show that the boy handed over was the same one the Afghans provided a sample on and does Pakistan have that sample, etc.

      All those and more are the questions that aren’t getting answered. But to follow up on your link at your 54 – that’s a pretty good example of what I mean by taking the stories with a grain of salt. The Online International News Network you link with the info that the fingerprints apparelty do match or otherwise assist in confirmation – per the Pakistani Senator I mentioend – is the same source that I also link in the main post as having run the prior story that, per Siddiqui’s sister, the fingerprints did not match.

      http://www.onlinenews.com.pk/details.php?id=160993

      Dr. Fauzia Siddiqui confirmed that the teenage was not daughter of her sister as the Federal Interior Minister had reported that the finger prints of teenage girl were not matched with the prints of her niece, Mariam.

      So the same source has the earlier story out that Siddiqui’s sister confirmed the fingerprints did not match and the girl was not Maryam, and yet later runs a story that implies the fingerprints were confirmatory of the girl’s identity and no reconciliation effort.

      And on this one, it is Fowzia Siddiqui, the sister, who has been both originally saying that the girl was not Maryam, while now, a few days later, moving to adopt her, taking her to the meeting with Malik and affirming that she is Maryam. Malik and the Senator are both pressing for what Siddiqui’s sister also wants – Gilani to press for the transfer of Siddiqui to Pakistani custody – so I think they are more properly aligned with Siddiqui and her sister than with Dr. Khan. The Senator is the Chair of the Pakistani standing committee on the interior, so works closely with Malik.

      The Senator’s story, though, talks about recovery from Bagram instead of the girl being dropped off. And the “recovered from” a US national named John in this story is a bit different from what the Patriot and Ledger had earlier, that “John” attended the media briefing with the girl.

      http://pakistanledger.com/2010/04/11/us-bagram-air-force-base-girl-prisoner-12-released/
      and
      http://www.pakistanpatriot.com/?p=189

      ISLAMABAD: Senate Committee for Interior Chairman Senator
      Talha Mehmood told media today that the daughter of Dr Afia Siddique was recovered from Bagram Airbase, Afghanistan.

      She was with an American there named ‘John’. He was briefing media beside Dr Afia’s daughter

      .

      I don’t know if you can read the native language papers – I can’t and I have to think there are some glitches that may be translation related.

      But as per above, I think the more sources you conglomerate, the more the stories diverge – not only between the people at the center of the stories, but even as to differences in the stories those people are telling. That’s why it is very frustrating to not have any US press doing follow up. But I don’t think the story of Maryam that Malik and the Senator are putting out is very helpful to Khan and USG. Whether it is a fairly correct story or not is a different matter.

      • ondelette says:

        The latest articles quote him as saying she was held at Bagram by an American named “John”. How she arrived at Fauzia’s isn’t in dispute. In addition to the speaking difficulties some sources are now saying she has an aversion to light.

        The sister’s acknowledgment is important because she just told the press that getting the daughter back is not enough, and that the case will be taken up in Islamabad. That means she’s not only agreeing, she’s ready to have Iqbal Jaffrey bring it up in court. At least part of that is that Senator Talha Mehmood said some more things during his press conference. It’s pretty hard to quantify just how many laws have been broken, and now they are also saying that Hamid Karzai had asked that people not talk too much about it as a condition. I don’t see how that’s possible. My current feeling is that Fauzia had been briefed, but waits for someone else to offer information before reacting, because there is some agreement in place. There was with Ahmed. Obviously, the agreement if it was a gag order is falling apart.

        I just wrote something similar at Jim’s Seminal post, but this calls a huge number of items of evidence and testimony into question in her mother’s trial, hearings, competency hearings, interrogation at Craig Field Hospital and quite possibly the conduct of a few Americans in U.S. court, including the judge. He deliberately sent Aafia to Carswell when the defense wanted Bellevue — the latter has a torture unit. And he disqualified any information about her detention prior to the shooting on grounds of the FBI secret testimony and on grounds of her ex-husband’s saying the children were in Karachi the whole time.

        • Mary says:

          and now they are also saying that Hamid Karzai had asked that people not talk too much about it as a condition

          ??
          They’ve been saying that for a bit – see “Mr. Karzai had told the family that if no questions were asked, he would return the child to the family” in post. There’s also the reference in the op piece, “A Blatant Outrage” that bmaz linked to the fact that Karzai admitted during his earlier trip to Pakistan that “the children” (plural) were in Afghanistan. Since most of the reports to date have been that the infant son died, I thought the use of “children” was worth noting.

          But while that has been the what they family and some of the press has said, the Senator has stated that there was no “deal” invovled in the turnover – no agreement to not ask questions. So there’s another conflict in the facts being reported.

        • Nell says:

          the judge … deliberately sent Aafia to Carswell when the defense wanted Bellevue — the latter has a torture unit.

          That is, Bellevue has a unit to treat people who have been tortured? Sadly, I’m unable to rule out either interpretation of the phrase ‘torture unit’, but assume from the fact that the defense wanted Bellevue that the intended meaning is a torture treatment unit.

    • Mary says:

      Oops – we cross posted. But yes, she has been saying that the girl is Maryam since right before the meeting she had with Malik.

      Is the sister’s take on it what has taken away your questions? Bc to be honest, I still question everyone’s story to a greater or lesser degree.

  27. ondelette says:

    Here’s that link. Fauzia is openly criticizing Foreign Minister Qureshi’s office. Implicitly, this renews the allegation that Ambassador Hussain Haqqani never properly pursued Aafia’s release or the children’s whereabouts with the Obama administration.

  28. orionATL says:

    pres obama appears at bagram afb at the very end of march.

    two weeks later, the daughter (one hopes) re-appears to her extended family for the first time in eight years.

    would it not be reasonable to at least suspect the president had a hand in improving the girl’s fate by returning her to her family.

    he is, after all, a father of relatively young children, the father of daughters.

    what is the evidence that all credit should go to karzai.

    and where is the pakistani govt in all of this. the family is pakistani, are they not?

    • ondelette says:

      Then he needs to say something. It’s really going to be his baby soon if he doesn’t. He needn’t take responsibility for the whole seven years. But he does have to explain what just happened, and what happened in February.

      BTW, Mary they tested the girl’s DNA against Ahmed Siddiqui (her brother) not against the father. The brother’s been tested against both parents, apparently, since he was for sure tested against his mother in Afghanistan, and the Pakistanis know which components match his father.

      • Jim White says:

        I don’t think Obama can say anything unless he’s prepared to release KSM’s children as well. And he probably sees that as just too dangerous. I’m also disgusted that he might be using Maryam (and Aafia) as bargaining chips to get the Pakistan government to help him against the Taliban. It would be only slightly less offensive if the bargaining also/instead is to get the release of Bowe Berghdahl.

        • ondelette says:

          That may be, but I don’t see how it is at all proper not to address this issue of the Siddiqui family. Maryam is an American citizen, born in Boston, MA. Lest people think that is somehow in name only, she spent 1/2 her short life before being taken in the United States. Due to her captors and captivity, she doesn’t even speak Urdu, she speaks English first, followed by Dari.

          On top of which, the manner in which she was recovered is highly suspect. As Kamran Shafri reports this morning in Dawn, she was dropped off at her aunt’s place by an American whom she refers to as “Uncle John”. Americans are up to their eyeballs in this case, it’s quite clear that the snatch really occurred in 2003, something the Americans have been disputing for going on two years now. It’s quite clear there was a huge miscarriage of justice in a U.S. court, and that many of the government’s witnesses were either themselves misinformed, or perjured themselves under oath.

          The senator was apparently “extremely angry” in his speech to the press. I watched it, with someone who could help with the Urdu (I can work my way through a short article in Hindi but there was no way to understand the speech without help). He was calling for shutting down the NATO supply lines and warned, to almost the point of a threat, that things could get very dangerous for the Americans if they didn’t come clean.

      • Mary says:

        EPU’d
        I know that there were a couple of one line references in some of the stories that she was tested against the brother, but that’s not how the description from the Daily Times, which claims to have a copy of the test, reads and since they claim to have that copy and since the language sounds like language from a report vs a one line reference, that’s what I included in the post:

        The DNA profile obtained from blood samples of Maryam Khan alias Fatima, Ahmad Muhammad – her brother – share the STR Genetic Markers with the DNA profile obtained from blood sample of Dr Amjad Khan. Based on the DNA analysis, Dr Amjad cannot be excluded as the biological father of Maryam alias Fatima,” concludes the National Forensic Science Agency’s report, an exclusive copy of which is available with Daily Times. The laboratory is run by the Interior Ministry.

        The report finding they quote indicates that the test that was run was to compare samples fom the girl and Ahmed against Dr. Khan. There’s no mention that the samples were run in any other fashion, for example, against each other or against the sample earlier obtained from Siddiqui.

        I don’t think we can conclusively say which tests have been run and against which samples with the differing news blurbs and no reports released and no good controls over how samples were taken and processed. But I think the more reliable reporting so far seems to be from the source that cliams to have a copy of the report as well.

        • ondelette says:

          The Nation reports,

          Earlier, Interior Minister, Rehman Malik disclosed that 12-year-old teenager that found outside of the house of Dr Fauzia in Karachi was Maryum, the daughter of Dr Aafia Siddiqui, as the DNA samples of Maryum matched with Mohammad Ahmed, the elder son of Aafia. Dr Fauzia also confirmed the reports after meeting with the Interior Minister at the Ministry of Interior. She while talking to media appreciated the efforts of the Government in repatriation of Aafia as well as of his children, especially, of Interior Minister, Rehman Malik.

          The quote you took from the Interior Ministry does indicate that the comparison was made to Ahmed’s blood and they share a marker that comes from the father, which is determined by looking at the father’s blood. Either all three were used, or the two were used and the STR marker is on record from the previous testing on Ahmed. Most likely it is the former. If the father actually participated this time (not probably necessary) he has been notably silent, given the obvious need to defend his previous claims. On the other hand, there is a restraining order against him so maybe that’s why.

  29. orionATL says:

    oh, and let me not forget the american secretary of state.

    if there is a stronger advocate for women’s rights* and fair treatment than sec clinton,

    please tell me her/his name.

    *amended:

    for women’s and children’s rights in the united states AND in the world

    • Nell says:

      Unless they happen to be politically inconvenient women, like members of the Honduran resistance to the U.S.-backed coup last year.

      The Secretary of State is a highly selective perceiver of human rights abuses against women. She’s a hawk and a corporate tool from way, way back.

  30. Mary says:

    EPU update in an op piece from Dawn – which indicates that “Uncle John” was the man (or one of) who dropped the girl in the street.

    As trivial as that reference is, “Uncle John” is I think what has made my flesh crawl the most in the story so far.

    Whilst [Siddiqui’s] son was arrested with her in Ghazni we were also told in a letter penned to the press by the US ambassador to Pakistan H.E. Anne Patterson that the American authorities had absolutely no idea about what had happened to her three children who had disappeared with her in March 2003. And now this young child turns up at her grandparents home in Karachi in the company of ‘Uncle John’.

    And the op piece asks the question that has to be on most normal people’s mind, “where is Dr Siddiqui’s third child please?”

    Still nothing that I can find on US press even noticing the story.

Comments are closed.