FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Cat and Moussaoui

by ELAINE CASSEL

Prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia have asked Judge Leonie Brinkema to dismiss all charges against Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th September 11 hijacker. The unusual move comes with their impatience with her for not making a decision as to how she should sanction them for disobeying her orders.

She told the prosecutors that they must produce three government witnesses for Moussaoui and his attorneys to question. She believed that these witnesses might have information that would exonerate Moussaoui in some measure, or at least provide fertile material for his defense.

Moussaoui’s lawyers also asked for a dismissal. This puts Judge Brinkema in the position of virtually having to dismiss the case. What will happen when she does? The government will appeal the dismissal to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, which may very well overturn Judge Brinkema’s orders to produce witnesses. Recall that earlier this year the Court said that the government was premature in appealing her order. The court said, defy her, then get back to us.

This is the same Court of Appeals that handed the government a huge win in the case of Yasir Hamdi, the American who has been detained for over a year without being charged with a crime under the rubric of being an “enemy combatant,” U.S. District Judge Robert Doumar refused to buy the government’s argument that President Bush can name any citizen an enemy combatant and lock him or her up incommunicado forever. Forever! Doumar was outraged, as we all should be. The 4th Circuit panel was unmoved. Who were they to question the almighty George W., they mused? Their ruling was more political polemic than reasoned law.

That the Moussaoui case should end this way is no good for any one. Surely, immediately upon dismissal the government will spirit Moussaoui away from his jail cell in Alexandria to a military brig somewhere–or perhaps to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Once there, he will be forever out of the jurisdiction of any federal court, according to a precedential opinion handed down earlier this year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

If the 4th Circuit agrees with the government and says Moussaoui does not get to question witnesses, the decision may be moot. The government is not likely to ever bring Moussaoui back to federal court. The next we hear about Moussaoui may be news of his summary trial and execution. And the truth about what Moussaoui did or did not do will never see the light of day.

Ashcroft may have gambled and lost in Alexandria. He drew the wrong judge. Almost any other judge on the bench there would have given the government whatever it wanted. But if Judge Brinkema does dismiss the case, it will be a pyrric victory for the justice system, the Bill of Rights, and those who support the rule of law. As long as the courts stand by and let the government seize, detain, try, and execute people under ad hoc rules, none of us is safe, none of us is free.

ELAINE CASSEL practices law in Virginia and the District of Columbia, teachers law and psychology, and follows the Bush regime’s dismantling of the Constitution at Civil Liberties Watch. She can be reached at: ecassel1@cox.net

 

More articles by:
July 28, 2016
Paul Street
Politician Speak at the DNC
Jeffrey St. Clair
Night of the Hollow Men: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Renee Parsons
Blame It on the Russians
Herbert Dyer, Jr.
Is it the Cops or the Cameras? Putting Police Brutality in Historical Context
Russell Mokhiber
Dems Dropping the N Word: When in Trouble, Blame Ralph
Howard Lisnoff
The Elephant in the Living Room
Pepe Escobar
The Real Secret of the South China Sea
Ramzy Baroud
Farewell to Yarmouk: A Palestinian Refugee’s Journey from Izmir to Greece
John Laforge
Wild Turkey with H-Bombs: Failed Coup Raise Calls for Denuclearization
Dave Lindorff
Moving Beyond the Sanders Campaign
Jill Richardson
There’s No Such Thing as a “Free Market”
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan Moves Against the Gulen Movement in Turkey
Winslow Myers
Beyond Drift
Edward Martin - Mateo Pimentel
Who Are The Real Pariahs This Election?
Jan Oberg
The Clintons Celebrated, But Likely a Disaster for the Rest of the World
Johnny Gaunt
Brexit: the British Working Class has Just Yawned Awake
Mark Weisbrot
Attacking Trump for the Few Sensible Things He Says is Both Bad Politics and Bad Strategy
Thomas Knapp
Election 2016: Think Three’s a Crowd? Try 2,000
Corrine Fletcher
White Silence is Violence: How to be a White Accomplice
July 27, 2016
Richard Moser
The Party’s Over
M. G. Piety
Smoke and Mirrors in Philadelphia
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Humiliation Games: Notes on the Democratic Convention
Arun Gupta
Bernie Sanders’ Political Revolution Splinters Apart
John Eskow
The Loneliness of the American Leftist
Guillermo R. Gil
A Metaphoric Short Circuit: On Michelle Obama’s Speech at the DNC
Norman Pollack
Sanders, Our Tony Blair: A Defamation of Socialism
Claire Rater, Carol Spiegel and Jim Goodman
Consumers Can Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics on Factory Farms
Guy D. Nave
Make America Great Again?
Sam Husseini
Why Sarah Silverman is a Comedienne
Dave Lindorff
No Crooked Sociopaths in the White House
Dan Bacher
The Hired Gun: Jerry Brown Snags Bruce Babbitt as New Point Man For Delta Tunnels
Peter Lee
Trumputin! And the DNC Leak(s)
David Macaray
Interns Are Exploited and Discriminated Against
Ann Garrison
Rwanda, the Clinton Dynasty, and the Case of Dr. Léopold Munyakazi
Brett Warnke
Storm Clouds Over Philly
Chris Zinda
Snakes of Deseret
July 26, 2016
Andrew Levine
Pillory Hillary Now
Kshama Sawant
A Call to Action: Walk Out from the Democratic National Convention!
Russell Mokhiber
The Rabble Rise Together Against Bernie, Barney, Elizabeth and Hillary
Jeffrey St. Clair
Don’t Cry For Me, DNC: Notes From the Democratic Convention
Angie Beeman
Why Doesn’t Middle America Trust Hillary? She Thinks She’s Better Than Us and We Know It
Paul Street
An Update on the Hate…
Fran Shor
Beyond Trump vs Clinton
Ellen Brown
Japan’s “Helicopter Money” Play: Road to Hyperinflation or Cure for Debt Deflation?
Richard W. Behan
The Banana Republic of America: Democracy Be Damned
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail