January 28, 2010 Assortment


PAKISTAN

Who’s Afraid of Aafia Siddiqui?

An article from 2004 before Aafia Siddiqui mysteriously reappeared in US custody.

No evidence of gunfire from M-4 allegedly used by Dr. Aafia

NEW YORK, Jan 28 (APP): A noted U.S. metallurgical forensic expert testified at Aafia Siddiqui’s trial on Wednesday that there was no evidence that a high-velocity M-4 gun was fired during a 2008 confrontation at an Afghan police station in Ghazni as claimed by the prosecutors.

Tobin, who appeared as a defence witness, said that the two holes on the wall of the room that prosecutors say were created when the defendant fired at US interrogators were not from a M-4 rifle bullet, which would have caused extensive damage and left many fragments on the crime.

At least the bullet’s steel penetrator should have been found in the wall, he said, further denting the prosecution’s case. Last week FBI ballistics expert Carlo Rosati, who appeared as a government witness, also made a similar statement, saying he cannot say with certainty that any shots were fired from the M-4 rifle.

The only bullets fired at the scene were from the M-9 pistol that a US Army officer used to hit Ms. Siddiqui. Tobin, who made a scientific analysis of the prosecutors’ evidence, said that the bullet holes in the wall showed no “falling damage” characteristic of M-4 bullet.

The jury was also shown a more than two-hour video of an interview with with a senior Afghan police office Qadeer Khan in Kabul last December, jointly conducted by defence lawyer Charles Swift and the prosecutor.

In the more than two-hour long video, Qadeer said he heard three shots from behind a curtain dividing room, but under intense questioning he said he never saw Ms. Siddiqui picking up the rifle.

Meanwhile, a section of the American press continues to give biased coverage to the trial portraying her as an al-Qaeda supporter and called her “Terror Mom” even though she is charged with terrorism.

WORLD

1/3rd of Women in US Military Raped

This is the state of affairs for women in US military. A culture of rape and violence. This is how they treat their own women. Nobody should have any illusions about the depravity of US military and its contractors when they commit vile war crimes against the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Those who don’t treat their own countrywomen with respect, what can be expected of their behavior towards an occupied foreign people?

Army specialist Chantelle Henneberry spoke of some of her experiences in Iraq, “Everybody’s supposed to have a battle buddy in the army, and females are supposed to have one to go to the latrines with, or to the showers – that’s so you don’t get raped by one of the men on your own side. But because I was the only female there, I didn’t have a battle buddy. My battle buddy was my gun and my knife.”

Another study concluded that 90% of all women serving are sexually harassed. Another one estimates that 90% of all the rapes do not get reported, despite supposedly easier ways to report the crime with confidentiality since 2005. Either way, this appears to be an epidemic that needs to be dealt with.

An online discussion from a former soldier whose identity is being protected had this to say, “At least a rape ends. It’s the day-to-day degradation that eats at you. None of my friends who were raped on active duty reported it. Or if we tried, we were told to shut up for ‘morale.’ Working with your rapist on a daily basis isn’t a lot of fun, believe me.”

How the military is dealing with this appears to demonstrate a pattern of sweeping it under the rug. In 2008, 62% of those that were convicted of sexual assault or rape received very lenient punishments such as demotion, suspension, or a written reprimand.

This problem is not confined to the US military either. This abuse is rampant among private defense contractors overseas as well, as recently highlighted by the recent press about Jamie Leigh Jones.

The culture of sexual violence against women that is allowed to exist in both the US military and private contractors needs to come to an end. When almost a third of all women serving are raped, and over two thirds sexually assaulted, this problem is rampant and systemic.

Howard Zinn Dies at 87

See openculture link above for more details about Howard Zinn. In video below, he talks of the misconeption that War is part of Human Nature.

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