|The Other Faces of Aero Contractors:
Making Torture Personal to Public Officials in Johnston County North Carolina.
October 3, 2011
Caison, a Johnston County resident who has been active with Stop
Torture Now for years, read the letter to the Commissioners from
El-Kassim's wife Anna.
||The original letter, written in Italian . . .
|The notebook prepared for the Commmissioners.
After our presentation, the Commission Chairman Allen Mims, expressed condolences for the suffering of Abou El-Kassim Britel and his. But he was unsure what he or the other Commissioners could do about this matter, which involved agencies and events thousands of miles away from Johnston County.
We left them to ponder this question, while pointing out that Aero Contractors, based at the county airport which was under their jurisdiction, connected them to these events over the long distances involved.
And we will be visiting the Commission at future meetings to continue this conversation further.
|Commissioner Wade Stewart, who has a special interest in abused youth, listens closely.
Left to right: NCSTN's Allyson Caison and Christina Cowger; and Chuck Fager of Quaker House, who introduced the presentation.
|The Conclusion of the letter, in English . . .
After his release this spring, we returned to our home in Bergamo, Italy, re-entering life here in absolute silence, other than a few newspaper articles. No one has felt obliged to ask us whether we need help. We are exhausted by more than nine years of repeated injustices and deprivations.
For your country that believed in striking out at Muslims as terrorists, forsaking the very principles on which it is based, we don't exist. We have no right to anything, yet at the heart of our story there is an illegal act of the United States. People should not be secretly deported; families should not be left in anguish.
Please know that extraordinary rendition causes severe trauma. I am told that my husband will heal; I hope desperately for this to be true, for him and for me, but the experience of other survivors demonstrates that the damage remains. The evil that we experienced has scarred us deeply. We are tired, and incredulous that human beings can suffer so much while others
remain totally indifferent.
Every day I see Kassim suffer. Despite the treatment, he continues to be holding himself back. Every little appointment makes him tired. He often remains in silence for hours, and has difficulty communicating with anyone. He is forced to repress the rage that he feels and that he is frightened of. Often he paces up and down the long hallway in our house and I know that he feels that he is still in prison. He thinks of his ruined reputation and his lost employment, and asks himself what he will do in the days to come, what will we live on? My husband tries to follow a daily schedule, something I greatly admire, because he insists on doing so no matter how sad and difficult some days may be. I don't know how to help him any further, for daily life feels burdensome to me and I believe I am suffering a depression similar to his. We feel alone. Our sustenance is faith.
Even today, despite the obvious innocence of my husband, who is an Italian citizen with a clean record, neither the USA, nor Italy, nor Morocco has considered righting this wrong. We know that nothing can return these stolen years, projects that we could not achieve, life lost. We are changed, disillusioned, and severely tried by so much harm... and the listener is not like the one who suffers.
I am sending you a photo of my husband taken recently. Kassim is trying desperately to find an equilibrium that he will not be able to maintain ifjustice is not realized, and I am with him.
You have the choice to do something positive. I hope you will want to participate. Better still, permit me to suggest that it is your duty to participate. Aero Contractors, which transported my husband to secret detention and torture on behalf of the CIA, has its headquarters in North Carolina. And Abou Elkassim Britel was not an isolated case: victims like him are innumerable, and many of them are still disappearing.
Thank you for your attention.
Khadija Anna L. Pighizzini
Bergamo - Italia