Tuesday, August 05, 2008

"Gray Lady of al Qaeda" to appear in court today.

Another hat tip to commenter AJ for this timely tip.

She sounds like a real peach. And she ain't no lady.

A US trained scientist wanted for questioning in connection with terrorism cases has been shipped to New York and charged with attempted murder after a shootout with her would-be questioners following her arrest in Afghanistan last month, the US Attorney in New York said Monday. According to the FBI and the US Attorney, the woman, Aafia Siddiqui, is scheduled to be arraigned before a federal magistrate in Manhattan Tuesday. The FBI had sought her for questioning in connection with assisting key al Qaeda operatives now detained at Guantanamo Bay.

The day after her arrest by Afghani authorities on July 17th, Siddiqui was shot twice in the torso, US officials said, when she grabbed a US soldier's M-4 carbine and attempted to shoot another officer as a team of US soldiers and FBI agents prepared to question her. A US interpreter threw off her aim when he pushed the gun. She then was shot twice with a .9 millimeter handgun, authorities said. According to the US Government, despite her wounds, she shouted that she "wanted to kill Americans," and struggled with her captors before they subdued her.

According to a joint press release issued together with the New York City Police Department, Siddiqui was arrested outside the Ghazni governor's compound by Ghazni Province Afghanistan National Police.

The ANP officers "questioned Siddiqui, regarded her as suspicious, and searched her handbag. In it, they found numerous documents describing the creation of explosives, as well as excerpts from the Anarchist's Arsenal."

About her takedown:
According to the FBI and US Attorney, on July 18, "a party of United States personnel, including two FBI special agents, a United States Army Warrant Officer, a United States Army Captain, and United States military interpreters, arrived at the Afghan facility where Siddiqui was being held. The personnel entered a second floor meeting room -- unaware that Siddiqui was being held there, unsecured, behind a curtain."

"The Warrant Officer took a seat and placed his United States Army M-4 rifle on the floor next to the curtain. Shortly after the meeting began, the Captain heard a woman yell from the curtain and, when he turned, saw Siddiqui holding the Warrant Officer's rifle and pointing it directly at the Captain."

Siddiqui said, "May the blood of [unintelligible] be directly on your [unintelligible, possibly head or hands]." The interpreter seated closest to Siddiqui lunged at her and pushed the rifle away as Siddiqui pulled the trigger. Siddiqui fired at least two shots but no one was hit. The Warrant Officer returned fire with a 9 mm service pistol and fired approximately two rounds at Siddiqui's torso, hitting her at least once."

About the Gray Lady bit:
An MIT trained neuroscientist who was born in Pakistan, Siddiqui went missing in 2003 and of course, the US was blamed for keeping her in custody in Bagram. Human Rights Activists then created the myth of the "Gray Lady of Bagram" to explain her absence. They made up all kind of outrageous stories about her supposed detention , including rape and torture.

Meanwhile, she was evidently free as a bird, going about her duties as an al-Qaeda fixer.

Al Jazeera is reporting that when arrested on July 17 she was found to have "chemical substances in gel and liquid form that were sealed in bottles and glass jars".

Her family is already lawyered up and they are proclaiming her innocence to the skies:

Elaine Whitfield Sharp, a lawyer for Siddiqui's family, called the charges "a tall story" and disputed the US government's earlier claims that Siddiqui had gone underground for several years before her capture.

The family suspects that after she vanished with her three children while in Pakistan in 2003, she was secretly held and possibly tortured before US authorities finally brought charges to justify her detention.

"I believe she's become a terrible embarrassment to them, but she's not a terrorist," Sharp said. "When the truth comes out, people will see she did nothing wrong."

About Elaine Whitfield Sharp - The "mother of shaken baby syndrome" she worked on Nanny Louise Woodward's case and specializes in Brain Injury, Slip and Fall cases and POLICE MISCONDUCT cases. A real ambulance chaser, looks like she's got a big one with this case.