Eating the Apple

Eve did it. Adam did it. Now it's my turn to take a bite. Why not? Hey! It's delicious.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Moussaoui Confesses

Wow! On Sunday I expressed my misgivings over the Moussaoui trial. The very next day Moussaoui himself blew my blog out of the water.

Moussaoui took the stand and spilled his guts. He did what the prosecution failed to do, establish that he was a member of the 9/11 conspiracy. He confessed that he and Richard Reid were to hijack an airplane and crash it into the White House on September 11. For that crime he deserves the death penalty.

Ia am sure that Moussaoui planned this 'grand revelation' from the begiining. He didn't confess until he had the attention of the world focused upon him. He is asking for a 'glorious exit' from this world that will him a martyr, a hero, and an inspiration for future generations of radicalized Muslims. I wonder if he is thinking of the virgins that he will deflower in Paradise.

Moussaoui's confession leaves a number of questions unanswered:

1. Is Moussaoui telling the truth? He could be glorifying himself with a false confession. But assuming that he is telling the truth:

2. Moussaoui was thought to have been the 20th hijacker, the one that didn't make it on flight 93 that crashed in Pennsylvania. If Richard reid was part of the 9/11 conspiracy, why didn't Richard Reid get on flight 93?

3. If Moussaoui and Reid were to hijack another plane, then who was supposed to be on flight 93?.

4. Moussaoui and Reid would have needed three others to hijack a plane. Who would have been those three hijackers?

5. What was the target of flight 93? Early on we heard the absurd suggestion that flight 93 was to hit Air Force One. (Imagine, hijackers who could barely fly against two of the best pilots in the Air Force. No contest!) Generally it is thought that the target was the Capitol. However, there is another high value target near Washington -- CIA headquarters. Hitting the CIA would be payback for the many times that the CIA intervened abroad and incited anger. Muslims still resent the toppling of the Mossadegh government in Iran.

6. Was there going to be a sixth hijacking? Then both the Capitol and CIA headquarters could be hit. If so, who were going to be the hijackers?

It seems to me information from Moussaoui would be more important than his life. We need to know the full extent of the 9/11 conspiracy. We need to know all the people who were involved. So I propose to make Moussaoui suffer. Let's deny him his glorious martyrdom until he tells everything he knows about Al Qaeda and its terrorist activities. But let us be sure to verify his story before we send him to Paradise.

One thing that we Americans need to know is why and how do privledged Muslims from wealthy families become so radicalized that they commit suicide in order to strike at America's heart. Why are we so hated? We need to know how we can enlist moderate Muslims in the struggle to overcome radicalism. Moussaoui is perhaps one person who can help answer these questions.

Having said all this, I must still reiterate a point I made earlier. I simply do not understand the legal basis for the death penalty. Moussaoui has pled guilty to the crime of preparing to hijack an airplane -- a crime that calls for life imprisonment. But he has not been convicted of being part of the 9/11 conspiracy. So how can the government ask the court to punish Moussaoui for a crime that he has not been convicted of? It is crucially important that this trial be scruplously conducted according to the highest standards of jurisprudence.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Moussaoui Trial : Two Fundamental Flaws

I have to admit that I am confused by the Moussaoui case which is in progress as I write I have been following the news reports, i do not have transcripts of the proceedings. But it seems to me that there two fundamental problems with the case against Moussaoui.

Moussaoui has pled guilty to being a member of an Al Qaeda conspiracy to fly an airplane into the White House. To that end, he was taking flying lessons when he was arrested in August of 2001. However he has steadfastly denied prior knowledge of the September 11 plot.

The prosecution is demanding the death penalty on the theory that Moussaoui knew of the forthcoming attack. Yet, as far as I can determine, this is exactly what the prosecution has failed to prove. I do not think that the prosecution has even tried to prove this allegation. (Finding a telephone number in Moussaoui's notebook does not, in my mind, constitute proof. The accusation that Moussaoui knew of September 11, is just that, an accusation. It does not rise to the level of 'proof beyond reasonable doubt'. It doesn't come close. In my mind, the death penalty cannot be justified on the grounds that Moussaoui knew beforehand of September 11.

In addition, I sense a fundamental issue that has not been discussed in the media. The proceeding against Moussaoui is a sentencing hearing, not a trial of guilt or innocence. The purpose of a sentencing hearing is to determine punishment for the crime that a defendent has been found guilty of. But the prosecution in the Moussaoui case is asking that Moussaoui be punished for a crime that he has NOT been found guilty of. And that just violates the fundamental principles of justice.

Maybe Moussaoui did have prior knowledge of September 11. Maybe he was an accessory before the fact. Maybe he does deserve the death penalty under our laws. But we shall probably never know for sure. Most of the people who can tell us the truth died on September 11. And the few others who know are beyond the reach of our law enforcement.

The crime of September 11 does cry out for punishment. But this does not justify the shortcoming of our legal system. Justice for September 11 does not justify an injustice to Moussaoui.