Monday, February 15, 2010

Ambinder on Siddiqui

Marc Ambinder from the Atlantic covers the Aafia Siddiqui case:
What makes Siddiqui's conviction relevant for the current debate is that she was captured, on a recognized battlefield -- Afghanistan -- and tried to kill FBI agents and American soldiers who had come to question her. Siddiqui, 40, could easily have been designated as an enemy combatant. But the Bush administration determined instead that she be tried in federal court. She was read her Miranda rights, and given access to a lawyer

.. snip ..

So far as I can tell, Republicans on Capitol Hill did not utter a peep of protest.
Maybe that's because Siddiqui was not found guilty on any of those terrorism allegations, rather, for attempted murder of her captors:
She was not charged with terrorism, and Judge Richard Berman barred any mention of the chemicals or Siddiqui's supposed ties to Al Qaeda.
Her sentencing will occur in May. She has various rooters, a fan club, and even her own day - some of her supporters showed up at Brennan's NYU speech the other day. And the Taliban has already demanded her in exchange with captured soldier Bowe Bergdahl. Does Ambinder not consider any of this important?

As to why she wasn't rung up on the terror stuff the likely reason is the same as with former enemy combatants Ali al-Marri (also sent by KSM who recently plead out for 8 years) and Jose Padilla (not charged on the dirty bomb)--doing so would require their court-appointed lawyers access in discovery to KSM and his cohorts, including Siddiqui's presumed husband Ammar al-Baluchi (KSM's nephew and the cousin of Ramzi Yousef), himself part of the group to be tried in Manhattan. And contrary to belief we did get intelligence from Padilla before trial.

Meanwhile Siddiqui claimed 'torture', made an ass of herself in court, blamed everything on Israel, and her lawyers have hinted an appeal on "mental grounds". Considering that she arrived in New York in 2008 and was nowhere near as important as KSM, her case was probably not a very good preview of the chaos a high profile version might produce.

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