Skip to comments.Pakistani woman scientist with al-Qaida link captured
Posted on 08/05/2008 5:08:45 PM PDT by CarrotAndStick
WASHINGTON: One of the most perplexing mysteries in the war on terror returned centerstage on Monday with the announcement by US authorities of the arrest in Kabul of a Pakistani-American woman scientist whose sudden disappearance in 2003 caused many to think she was in American or Pakistani custody and underscored the disturbingly clandestine nature of the war.
Aafia Siddiqui, an MIT alumna with a doctorate in neurosciences, and a mother of three children, vanished while on a visit to Karachi nearly five years ago. She was believed to have been taken into custody by Pakistani and/or US intelligence agencies because of her alleged connections to suspected terrorists and some questionable financial transactions.
So strong was the belief that she was one of the victims of the covert and spooky US-Pakistani collaboration that her family and friends petitioned courts for her release. There was concern and outrage in the Boston area, where she had long standing academic connections going back to her sophomore years at MIT in 1992.
Her work ranged from a paper on "Islamization in Pakistan and its Effects on Women," to articles on the early systems in the Internet to, later, research in Neurosciences at Brandeis University.
More recently, there were reports that she was being held in solitary confinement at the Bagram Theater Internment Facility in Afghanistan, where fellow captives were said to have nicknamed her Prisoner No.650 and the "Gray Lady of Bagram." One report said she had lost her sanity and cried all the time. There was no information about her children, two of whom were toddlers when she disappeared and the youngest was only six months old.
But on Monday, the FBI announced that Siddique, now 36, was captured in Afghanistan as recently as July 17. The Bureau's version: On July 17, 2008, officers of the Ghazni Province Afghanistan National Police ("ANP") observed Siddiqui outside the Ghazni governor's compound. 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. Siddiqui's papers included descriptions of various landmarks in the United States, including in New York City. Siddiqui was also in possession of substances that were sealed in bottles and glass jars, the FBI said.
According to the Bureau, on July 18, 2008, 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.
Despite being shot, Siddiqui struggled with the officers when they tried to subdue her; she struck and kicked them while shouting in English that she wanted to kill Americans. After being subdued, Siddiqui temporarily lost consciousness. The agents and officers then rendered medical aid to Siddiqui.
The FBI said Siddiqui had been brought to New York on Monday evening and will be presented on Tuesday before a Judge in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on charges related to her attempted murder and assault of United States officers and employees in Afghanistan. No word about terrorism-related charges -- or about her three little children who disappeared along with her.
But the FBI version has been strongly contested by Siddiqui's family in Pakistan, which insists she has been in custody all along. "After five years of detention, Aafia was suddenly 'discovered' in Afghanistan? I am not that much of a believer in coincidence," her sister, Fauzia Siddiqui told the media in Karachi.
Independent rights group The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan in a statement also termed the US claims as lies. "To say that she had been taken into custody only on July 17, 2008 is a blatant lie," it said. "The insinuation, that she had been hiding herself since 2003, is a travesty of truth."
Meanwhile, the new civilian government in Pakistan has demanded consular access to Aafia Siddiqui, amid suggestions that the previous military dictatorship actively collaborated with the US in keeping her in custody.
Then you must know where she was. Provide some evidence to back up your claims.
Cute, isn’t she.
Now, had that Warrant been a Marine Gunner... the aim would have been better and she'd be dead. Case closed.
> Cute, isn’t she.
She is going to look GREAT in Gitmo Orange!
That is if the US Supreme Court doesn't go into special session and award her Southern California because of "US Crimes Against Humanity" against her.
> That is if the US Supreme Court doesn’t go into special session and award her Southern California because of “US Crimes Against Humanity” against her.
(sigh) I forgot about that. It’s a helluva way to fight a war, ay.
Gas the Beeyaatch...
>>concern and outrage in the Boston area
Guess I missed it.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.