Pakistani journalist in US jail on terrorism charges Monday, July 28, 2008
Monday, July 28, 2008
Pak journalist in US jail on terrorism charges By Khalid Hasan
WASHINGTON: Nayyar Zaidi, the well-known US-based Pakistani-American journalist, who has been a citizen of the United States for more than 30 years has been in US custody for the last four months on what are said to be terrorism-related charges.
According to one report, Zaidi is being held on the charge of “obstruction of justice”, a very serious offence. He is also said to be awaiting a trial.
The Homeland Security Department or the FBI have made no announcement about his arrest or incarceration. His family, when asked for his whereabouts, has continued to claim that “he is in Pakistan ”. The Pakistan embassy, like Zaidi’s journalist colleagues, who have repeatedly phoned the family, has also been given the same answer. When asked why he is in Pakistan and what has taken him there or how long he is to be away, the callers have been told, “We cannot say” or “We do not know.” The news of Zaidi’s arrest – he is believed to be in an Ohio prison – was broken by the New Jersey-based website Des Prades at the weekend.
However, there is a history to this story. On Feb. 20, 2003, Zaidi was visited by three FBI agents at his residence in Prince County , Virginia , while he was away from home. The three agents tried to interrogate Zaidi’s 15-year old son Zain Zaidi, who immediately phoned his father but by the time he got home, the agents were gone, leaving a phone number that they said he should reach them at. When Zaidi called that number, he was asked to come over to the FBI’s Washington field office and asked several questions about his personal, social and religious activities. The agent questioning him, also asked him to bring his phone notebook with him because of an FBI claim that Zaidi’s home phone had been used for making calls to 10 numbers in Pakistan, China, India, the Netherlands and Thailand. Those numbers, an agent by the name of Chris MdKinney, added, were under investigation for links to the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Two of the numbers – one in Pakistan and the other in China – that they claimed had been called from Zaidi’s phone respectively were (9221) 2633066 and 86-51081254. The Pakistan number, Zaidi told the FBI, bore similarity to a fax number that he often called in Karachi to file his news and other reports.
Zaidi has filed for the Jang Group of Newspapers for more than 25 years. The Pakistan phone number was officially investigated by Pakistani authorities, which found it to be the disconnected number of a textile company that had gone bankrupt. When Zaidi asked to be given other numbers that had allegedly been called from his phone, the request was refused. Zaidi offered to cooperate with the FBI but refused to hand over his phone notebook or any records unless the agents came up with legal grounds to make such a demand. He was left alone until August 8, 2003 when two different FBI agents came to his home while he was away. When he called them on August 11, leaving three messages, his calls were not returned. The embassy also took up the issue of this FBI intrusion with the State Department, which promised to look into the matter. Nothing more was heard of it till Zaidi’s mysterious disappearnce in late March this year.
Daily Times - All Rights Reserved
Published on Saturday, July 26, 2008 by Associated Press
New Zealand Students Offer New Bounty For Arrest of Condoleezza Rice For War Crimes
by Ray Lilley
WELLINGTON, New Zealand - A group of New Zealand students offered a higher reward Saturday for the citizen’s arrest of U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for war crimes after another group withdrew their own bounty, accusing police of threatening them.
Students at Victoria University in the capital, Wellington , doubled the original reward offer to US$7,400, according to Joel Cosgrove, the student president.
Cosgrove said Rice should be arrested because she is responsible for the deaths of at least 600,000 Iraqis killed since the 2003 invasion by U.S.-led coalition troops.
“Condoleezza Rice needs to be tried before the international war crimes tribunal,” Cosgrove told New Zealand ’s National Radio.
The new bounty came a day after the Auckland University Students’ Association made a formal complaint to local police seeking Rice’s arrest for “overseeing the illegal invasion and continued occupation” of Iraq in violation of the Geneva Conventions.
The Auckland students offered a reward of 5,000 New Zealand dollars (US$3,700), but late Friday withdrew the bounty. Student President David Do said authorities had threatened criminal charges for anyone trying to make a citizen’s arrest.
“It is unfortunate the police have threatened students for essentially a form of peaceful protest and civil disobedience,” Do said.
Superintendent Brett England, the district police commander in Auckland , New Zealand ’s biggest city, warned anyone attempting to penetrate the security around Rice would be punished.
“The consequences of such a security threat could be very serious indeed,” England said.
Rice, asked about the demonstration at a news conference Friday, said “student protests are particularly a long-honored tradition in democratic society.”
“I can only say that the United States has done everything that it can to end this war on terror, to live up to our international and national laws and obligations,” Rice said.
About 70 people protested Saturday outside Government House, where Rice was meeting with Prime Minister Helen Clark.
© 2008 Associated Press
Donations can be sent to the Baltimore Nonviolence Center , 325 E. 25th St. , Baltimore , MD 21218 . Ph: 410-366-1637; Email: mobuszewski [at] verizon.net
"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs