Split the Moon

Rabia Chaudry

Month: September 2015

Fightin’ Words

"We know your tales, idiot" sayeth the Bard

“We know your tales, idiot” sayeth the Bard to the State

So the State of Maryland filed its response to Adnan’s motion to reopen, which, by way of reminder, he was directed to do by the higher court, the Court of Special Appeals of Maryland.  I’d say when the higher court literally says “yeah go file that motion” instead of dismissing the issue at question outright, the ball is already in our court.

Post-state’s response, it’s still in our court. I won’t get into details why, after all Colin already wrote quite well about it and we’ll be discussing it in tomorrow’s Episode 12 of Undisclosed, but suffice it to say the brief is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

Thanks to the Swan of Avon for that.

No substance, just posturing.  I assume they needed the extension because they realized they’re kind of screwed because there is literally no case precedent supporting them and the best option they have is just delaying, delaying, delaying justice.

But justice delayed is justice denied. Which is what the State has been doing in this case for the past 16 years.  It will catch up, in fact it is catching up to them.  But they’re making it clear they aren’t going down without a fight. They’ve circled the wagons, and as much as I was hoping they’d be human enough to feel like crap, as they should, for putting away an innocent kid for life, they did what we can all expect “The Man” to do.

I did expect it, especially considering the weirdness we’ve been hit with on getting the investigation done. For example, we initially were aiming to hire a MD private investigator who is former law enforcement, because it just kind of makes sense.  So we reached out to a couple different folks, and both took a couple of days and got back to us and said, sorry no we can’t take this case.   I guess a case in which one of their own probably did some shady stuff was too close to comfort, have to protect the brotherhood.  Realizing the closeness of this bunch, which is also apparent in how vigorously the State is defending Urick, we decided better safe than sorry and got a PI from outside the state.

Then the lab that we sent that brandy bottle I found a few months back in Leakin Park said sorry we can’t do the testing because we work with MD State’s attorney and it would be a conflict of interest.  Which may be their policy, but a weird policy indeed. After all, we aren’t asking for an opinion. Just a straight up test and result.  Neutral scientific results can now, apparently, pose conflicts of interest.  Anyway, band of brothers all the way.

Having said all this, I expect the State to fight the entire way.  They’ll keep spending tax payers money on the inevitable, Adnan’s exoneration.  Here’s a reminder to them: we have much more to fight for than they do.  For them, it’s time and money and reputation. For us, it’s Adnan’s life.  We won’t get tired of this fight because we can’t.

 

LOVE FINDS A WAY

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I had the pleasure to speak to Adnan’s ex-wife today for a while.  We had spoken years ago when they first got married, but haven’t connected in a long time.

As someone who thinks prying in personal matters is uncouth, I never asked either of them too much about their relationship. I’ll be writing about it all eventually, and have our conversation recorded so may release bits of it here and there.  Today I learned so much I didn’t know about Adnan.  I always thought he was a great person, after my conversation with her I’m feeling rather humbled.  He’s got a heart of gold in ways I never imagined.

And, according to his wife, who I’ll call “K”, she still loves him and would marry him again when he gets home.  I can’t wait to tell their story and share everything she has to say about him one day.

 

THE DYNASTY CONTINUES

Bob did a masterful job, as an investigator himself, in talking about Debbie’s interview (which was conducted weeks after Adnan was arrested) in his most recent episode of Serial Dynasty.  He pointed out the leading questions, the tactics, and the oddity of some of their questioning.  Especially with the hotel questions.

In case you didn’t hear the episode (but you really should) Bob notes that the police ask Debbie a couple of times whether she knew if Adnan and Hae visited any local hotel or motel to hook up. This is after she’s told them that they hooked up at parks and parking lots. But they don’t follow up with questions about parks and parking lots. They want to know about hotels and motels.

Why?

Bob thinks it may be because they got a tip about a hotel, they have some information that is throwing a wrench in their narrative. I have another theory.

And that’s this: the cops have been around enough to know that Hae wasn’t put in a car trunk after being killed and then buried a few hours later.  They know lividity*, they understand it.  And they realized that she had to have been fully face down after being killed when lividity fixed, which can’t be in a car.  But it can be in a hotel or motel.  That, coupled with a receipt showing she had visited a local hotel after school back in November of 1998, probably made them wonder if the “something” she had to do was stop at a hotel/motel.

The question then is this: stop to meet who?

*Bob addresses some of the Reddit drama on lividity and the crime scene pictures in this episode as well, but I’m not going to spend time refuting an anonymous random internet stranger’s interpretation of a picture when we have every expert, from the medical examiner who was at the crime scene, to those who’ve looked at it recently, say the same thing: lividity was fully anterior, but she was found on her side. In a couple of weeks Bob will be interviewing Jim Clemente, who I had the pleasure of speaking to at length. They’ll be discussing the crime scene pictures as well, and that will be yet another expert who will confirm what we know. That Hae was killed and left face down flat somewhere for around 10 hours before being left in Leakin Park.  Yay for experts. 

I also don’t need to address it because Bob ripped the sickos on Reddit many new holes. The week is starting off great. 

 

 

And It’s Only Wednesday

Doesn't look like it

Doesn’t look like it

A lot has been going on, which is how I will weasel my way out of not blogging any sooner. It’s already COB on the day the State’s response brief to our Motion to Reopen was due and I’ve been strumming my fingers, trying to calm my heart palpitations, all day.  So far, nothing filed. Did they just miss the deadline, after asking for an extension?

But, according to a little bird, today was also the deadline for an MPIA request a friendly force filed with the Baltimore County PD.  Are these things connected?  Anything is possible.

Regardless, you’ve had more than enough time.  Hand it over already, Maryland.

 

ATONEMENT

These are high holy days for both Muslims and Jews.  A fascinating (but understandable if you know the theology) connection between the days we are celebrating is this: both Yom Kippur and Yom Arafat are days of fasting, atonement and forgiveness by God.

Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. Observant Jews undergo a full day and night fast, and many intense hours in prayer and asking for repentance.  The tradition is that God writes the fates of the upcoming year into the “Book of Life” and on Yom Kippur that book, those fates, are sealed. So up until this time, people have a chance to atone for the wrongs they’ve done others and hope their fates get a positive boost in the Book.

Yom Arafat is remarkably similar. It completes the Hajj pilgrimage, which is wrapping up right now in Mecca, and is a day when the millions of pilgrims stand on the plain and mount of Arafat for hours in prayer, asking for forgiveness for their sins.  It is also the tradition to fast on this day for those who are not making the pilgrimage, those of us at home who seek God’s forgiveness and pardon from afar.

A quick aside for those wondering what the heck the Hajj is all about. You may be surprised to know it is will sound incredibly familiar to those who remember their Sunday school lessons.  As the story goes in the Abrahamic traditions, the patriarch and prophet Abraham (AS)* was unable to have children with his wife Sarah (AS).  Sarah allowed him to take another wife Hagar (AS).  Here is where the Judeo-Christian and Islamic stories diverge: in the Islamic tradition, once Hagar had a son Ishmael, Abraham was ordered by God to take her and the child far away and leave them in the remote desert, an order Hagar accepted. In the Judeo-Christian tradition Sarah got jealous and threw them out.  Muslims don’t believe that. We got no haterade for Sarah.  

Two million people, all at once

Two million people, all at once

So Abraham took Hagar and Ishmael out to “Becca”, now known as Mecca, and left them there.  Alone.  He didn’t want to, but he obeyed God’s commands.  The baby started crying, thirsty and hungry. Hagar, frantic but not willing to lay down and just die, began running to  seek a source of water. She ran seven times between the two small hills, Safa and Marwa, before returning to the baby, exhausted.  God, having heard her maternal pleas and grief, sent the angel Gabriel to the baby.  The baby kicked his heel on the earth, in which spot the angel moved the dirt to reveal a spring, called Zamzam, which flows to this day.

Abraham kept returning to visit his wife and son, and when Ishmael got a little older they built a place to worship God, apparently on the same spot Adam first built a house of worship, which is that little iconic square building (the ka’aaba) draped in black fabric that the world sees as a symbol for Mecca.  Its basically empty inside. The tradition about it says that the Throne of God is above this spot, seven heavens above it, but above it nonetheless. And as people go round and round the ka’aaba here on earth, seven heavens above legions of angels also go around and around God’s throne in worship and awe. 

Astronaut Scott is not exactly at seventh heaven level, but still pretty cool

Astronaut Scott is not exactly at seventh heaven level, but still pretty cool

Now, when pilgrims go for Hajj there are a number of rituals they perform, including running between the hills of Safa and Marwa to commemorate Hagar’s search for sustenance, standing in prayer and atonement on the day of Arafat, and at the end paying for the sacrifice of a goat, cow, lamb to commemorate the story of Abraham’s sacrifice of his son at God’s command. Of course, if you recall, God switched out the son at the last second for an ram, but the point is Abraham was willing to do it for God.  So every Muslim family that can afford to will have an animal slaughtered, keep 1/3 of the meat, give 1/3 to friends and family, and distribute 1/3 to the impoverished.  The day after Arafat is a celebration, Eid, which for us is tomorrow. Basically we dress up, eat a lot, exchange gifts, and in my family, hit up a movie at night. I’m all about the new Johnny Depp movie tomorrow night.  

Ok, back to the other stuff.

We all have things to atone for, none of us are saints. And if you think you have nothing to feel badly for, you may be an arrogant turd. Or Donald Trump. Yes, you may be Donald Trump.

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If you’re wondering what David is talking about above, it’s been a busy week in hating Muslims here in the US.

In case you missed it, presidential candidates are getting a jump start on their Islamophobia platforms this election cycle. In the past week Trump already humored a supporter at a rally who asked when the US could get rid of all the Muslims already (dammit we’ve been here 500 years or so, enough is enough), and Ben Carson declared Islam not compatible with the US Constitution, hence a Muslim president just wouldn’t work for him.  He got a bit of a fundraising boost with that one.

Then there was the arrest of this poor 14 year old kid in Texas for bringing a clock to school, a clock he kept telling his teachers was a clock.  But Muslims with clocks can mean anything, right Bill Maher?

Ahmed is having a bad day

Ahmed is having a bad day

The upside of all of it is that none of this crap went quietly into the night.  There was major disgust, pushback, and ridicule of the bigoted players. Ahmed got invited to the White House and to pretty much any engineering school he wants to go to. Which means we can still win this thing, and I don’t yet have to move with my kids to Indonesia or something.

So that is what David is atoning for in his tweet. My atonement is for telling people to eff off more than I would have liked to on Twitter, and also for letting the last year go by too fast and not having the time I wish I did for my girls.

This may be a good time for a bunch of others to atone. Jay, Urick, Ritz, Mac, Mandy, and the other players who put an innocent 17 year old kid away for life.

Jay, atone for every day that Adnan has lost because of your false testimony.  Thou shall not bear false witness, remember that?  As long as Adnan is in prison, it will be your false testimony keeping him there.

Urick, you racist rat bastard, atone for railroading a young black man through threat of the death penalty into giving false testimony. Atone for using Adnan’s religion to demonize him. Atone for messing with witnesses to undermine Adnan’s defense, atone for preventing Asia from testifying, atone for blocking the truth in a court of justice. If you have a soul that is.

Also the Pope is in town, another good reason to cleanse yourself of your sins.  God, I love this Pope.

 

TRUTH AND JUSTICE

Can I get a witness to the awesomeness, diligence, and fortitude that is Bob Ruff on his Serial Dynasty podcast?  He’s a master interviewer, getting all sorts of people to talk. Most recently he’s done a few remarkable things:

  • Confirm that Don’s alibi/timesheets for the day Hae disappeared were falsified.  This is kind of major, when you consider the possibility of who could have had the opportunity to be in contact with her that day.  At this point numerous general managers and HR of LensCrafters have confirmed Don’s 1/13/99 timesheet to be fake. Thanks BPD for nothing. For not even bothering to confirm this shit sixteen years ago. Oh right, bad evidence.
  • Talked to Mr. E, ie neighbor boy, who basically said none of that trunk pop stuff happened around him, and gave a totally different version of how Adnan allegedly killed Hae according (of course) to Jay: that he went to see her after work at the mall, got in an argument, and killed her in the heat of the moment.  Murder version number….9? I’ve lost count
  • Had a heart to heart with Laura, who was friends with Jay, Jenn, and Adnan, and to whom NONE of Jay’s story made sense because she knew him and Adnan simply were not in a such a relationship, because Adnan would never hurt a fly, and because Jay could easily be railroaded by police. Also, interesting that despite hanging out with these folks constantly, neither Jay or Jenn ever said a peep to her about their involvement in the case or trial. Though Jay did tell others. My guess? He told people who didn’t know Adnan.  People like Laura, who did know Adnan, would have called him out and probably contacted Adnan to figure out what the heck was happening.

Bob has some other really important interviews and information coming up, and thanks to a cease and desist letter from Serial once he topped the iTunes charts (though he was already considering it), he’s re-branding his show. It will now be the Truth and Justice podcast, and he’ll continue (after Adnan’s case) to look at other wrongful convictions, maybe even the ones we at Undisclosed look at. Not sure.

Either way, let’s help him get set up. If you can spare a $20, please do donate to his new podcast: https://www.gofundme.com/truthandjustice

ON A PERSONAL TIP

I have two daughters. My younger one started second grade this year, my eldest started college.  She moved to live with her father, my ex, because his home is closer to her school.  This all happened too fast, and I’ve been just a little out of sorts about it.  By that I mean deeply depressed that my baby is gone, regardless of the fact that I still see her every week.

Note to parents: they grow up so fast you won’t know what hit you.  Its ok to cry. I did quite a bit in the last month.  I still had lots of things I was planning on doing with her and bam, before I knew it her childhood was gone. At this point, sitting her in my lap reading through the entire Nancy Drew series will probably not work.

Do it all while you can, moms and dads out there.  Time is the thing we can never get back.

On a positive note, lest you forget, I have a career that has nothing to do with Adnan’s case.  This year I wrapped up a two year project with the New America Foundation. Next year I am excited and honored to be joining the US Institute for Peace as a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow to research and document the role of interfaith actors in resilience to sectarian violence in two hotbeds:  Pakistan and Myanmar.

My work on countering violent extremism goes on.  I can’t wait until Adnan is home so I can continue it fully.

Also in November of this year the Campaign for Fair Sentencing of Youth will be honoring a number of remarkable people for their work. If you’re in the DC area, believe in sentencing reform for youth offenders, come out and join us.  I am also being honored but seriously, one of these things does not belong:

I am the thing that doesn't belong, an thus honored even moreso

I am the thing that doesn’t belong, an thus honored even moreso

EID MUBARAK

That’s how we greet each other on the Eid holiday, wishing blessings on this day. We give gifts on this occasion, so my gift to readers today are these documents below, a glimpse into the kind of person Adnan is.  When you go through them, think about what he could have been. What Jay and Urick and others took from him. And say a prayer that he gets the chance to have a life again.

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