NEW YORK – Noelle Velentzas, a 28 year-old woman born in Florida to Greek parents and Asia Siddiqui (31), a U.S. citizen who was born in Saudi Arabia, pled not guilty in a Brooklyn Federal court on May 7 to charges of conspiracy to use a Weapon of Mass Destruction (WMD), the Associated Press (AP) reported.
The two suspects, who until recently were roommates in Queens, were brought into federal court originally on April 2, but did not enter a plea at the time.
The complaint brought by the prosecution alleges among other things that based on investigations including conversations with an Undercover Officer (UC), “Velentzas espouses violent jihadist beliefs and has repeatedly expressed an interest in terrorist attacks committed within the United States,” and that “Velentzas expressed violent jihadist ideology and an interest in terrorism. For example, Velentzas praised the attacks of September 11, 2001 and stated that being a martyr through a suicide attack guarantees entrance into heaven.” According to Velentzas,” the complaint continues, “a suicide bomber does not take her life; she gives her life in the name of Allah.”
Osama bin Laden is Velentzas’ hero, the complaint states, and that while the UC was in her apartment, “Velentzas showed the UC her phone, which included as a background picture an image of Bin Laden holding an AK-47 gun, and played for the UC an audiotape of Bin Laden speaking. Additionally, Velentzas told the UC that terrorism is based on Islamic writings found in the Qur’an, and that Bin Laden’s ideas, as manifested in his public letters, are similar to her own.”
Siddiqui told the UC that Velentzas is “obsessed with pressure cookers” and has been ever since the Boston Marathon Bombing two years ago. “Velentzas stated to the UC that she had recently received a pressure cooker as a present, and joked about cooking something in the pressure cooker, then laughed and added, ‘food’ – a reference to explosive materials.” She also told the UC that “if we get arrested, the police will point their guns at us from the back and maybe from the front. If we can get even one of their weapons, we can shoot them. They will probably kill us but we will be martyrs automatically and receive Allah’s blessings.”
The findings, by the FBI’s New York Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) revaled that Siddiqui shares similar jihadist views. She wrote a poem in 2009, the complaint alleges, titled “‘Take Me to the Lands Where the Eyes Are Cooled.’ The poem calls for its readers to engage in violent jihad and to destroy enemies of Islam. For example,
Siddiqui wrote that she ‘drops bombs’ as she swings on a hammock and ‘hits cloud nine
with the smell of turpentine, nations wiped clean of filthy shrines.’”
In recorded conversations by the FBI, Velentzas discusses an avid interest in learning the “science” of bombmaking. Ironically, while being recorded by the government, Velentzas cautions Siddiqui to be careful to speak in a low voice, because the government might be listening, and also warned her to be careful when looking at YouTube videos about how to make a bomb, because the authorities might be tracking their Internet activity.
Also quite ironically, Velentzas showed the UC photos of the terrorists involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and said the attempt was largely unsuccessful because the men involved unwittingly shared information with undercover government officials.
Velentzas also told the UC that “she had seen a speech by Presedent Obama about bombing ISIS and that she was disgusted by the United States and hated living in the United States,” according to the complaint. “Velentzas stated that attacks on ISIS were tantamount to attacks on her own state.”
Velentzas told the UC that the targets of the terrorist attacks should not be civilians. As the complaint alleges, Veletnzas said that “so much time and effort is spent on studying, it is better to go for the enemy directly rather than people who are getting drunk or running in a marathon. Velentzas stated that it would be better to attack ‘the head, the neck, the shoulders’ of the ‘snake’ (i.e., enemy), referring to those who would
harm Muslims, but not ‘the tail.’ Based on subsequent conversations, particularly regarding the December funeral of slain NYC police officer Rafael Ramos, the UC concluded that Velentzas thought that an officer’s funeral would be the ideal place to detonate a bomb and thus kill several hundred law enforcement officials at a time. “Killing a police officer is easier than buying food,” she said.
Prosecutors asked for two more weeks before the women’s next court appearance, the AP reported, telling a judge that the case was complex and involved a very large amount of evidence. Valentzas and Siddiqui are next scheduled to next appear before a judge on May 20.