Moussaoui Not Involved in 9/11? Duh

From the bulletins that kept appearing on my computer yesterday, you would have thought that it was big news that Osama bin Laden had apparently disclosed that Zacarias Moussaoui was not involved in the 9/11 terror plot. You would have thought it was something we hadn't heard before, or didn't know before, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth.

We have known for years that Moussaoui was not involved in the planning or preparation for the terror attacks on America. The government long ago dropped the "20th hijacker" tag on Moussaoui because no evidence supported it and it became obvious during Moussaoui's trial that he never contacted any of the real hijackers while they were in America, never had any of them contact him, never knew anything about the flight route, or the targets, or any other relevant component of the conspiracy.

So when bin Laden allegedly says that Moussaoui "had no connection at all with Sept. 11" and that "I never assigned brother Zacarias to be with them on that mission," he isn't truly telling us anything we don't already know. During Moussaoui's trial, remember, one of the real masterminds behind the attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, testified in written summary that Moussaoui was such a royal pain in the butt that he, Mohammed, had to get rid of a cellphone because Moussaoui kept calling him on it. That's the sort of terror conspirator Moussaoui was.

Wile we are at it, we've also known for at least that past four years that Moussoaui is a pathological liar, willing and able to say whatever he feels he needs to say at any particular time to achieve whatever ends he wants. From the day in 2002, when he tried to plead guilty only to withdraw the request, until the day earlier this spring when he testified in court for the first time in Alexandria, Virginia, Moussaoui had denied any involvement in the hijack plot. I was involved in another plot, he kept telling anyone who would listen. And then in court, when he saw the prosecution's case against him crumbling, he came to the stand and changed his story entirely. All of a sudden, he was the lynchpin to the plot.

The jury may have bought that story, for reasons of its own, but bin Laden didn't. And neither should you.

By  |  May 24, 2006; 8:30 AM ET
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Bull's Eye, Andrew.

The Moussoaui trial, in which "reasonable doubt" was quashed by the manifestly deluded braggodocio of a pathetic defendant and the genuine but misdirected grief and anger of 9/11 survivor families, will stand as a textbook example of how easily the politics of fear can overrun the balanced administration of justice.

It is interesting, given our pietistic national ardor to convert the world to what we proclaim as our own ideals, that we have never really fought a war principally to protect freedom of expression or transparency of government in our own country. Despite rhetoric, the compelling impetus has always been economic, and the enemy has with one exception been "them," not Pogo's "us." (As in, "We have met the enemy, and they are us.")

The Moussoaui trial was a missed opportunity to demonstrate our commitment as a nation to the rule of law, and to the primacy of truth in our efforts to govern ourselves.

Unsurprising but no less disappointing.

Posted by: Phil S. | May 25, 2006 07:56 AM

"The Moussoaui trial...will stand as a textbook example of how easily the politics of fear can overrun the balanced administration of justice.

...but isn't that balance supposed to include fear, include risk, at least? :)

Seriously this is something we see in courtrooms every day. An innocent person cannot prove his or her innocence sufficiently to overcome the fears of a jury, or even a judge, and as such pleads guilty simply to avoid a massive sentence from those same fear-laden arbiters of guilt and innocence. We know for a fact that the prisons hold a lot of innocent people, in fact that is one argument against the death penalty.

People in this country simply are not prepared to accept the idea of letting a guilty man go free so that the innocent are not wrongly convicted. Not to mention that he can always be judged guilty of *something*. Bad breath. A bad attitude. Incredulity. He just looks mean and dangerous, shifty, crafty. "Guilty". So many ways to justify it, in the minds of the illogical. All completely wrong, yet that is how they live their lives, and that is how they see the world around them.

And judges are just as bad, but for different reasons.

They are all humans and the simple act of letting a human decide guilt or innocence condemns many an innocent person to a life behind bars.

Hey, but it's the best system we have. And we try hard to make it work well.

...I would guess there are few things worse than being an innocent man and trying to prove ones' innocence to someone who just refuses to accept the possibility. Yet, has the power to decide whether you are "guilty" or innocent.

Posted by: cc | May 30, 2006 05:36 PM

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