Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! CounterPunch is entirely supported by our readers. Your donations pay for our small staff, tiny office, writers, designers, techies, bandwidth and servers. We don’t owe anything to advertisers, foundations, one-percenters or political parties. You are our only safety net. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
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:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

Weekend Edition
September 30, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Henry Giroux
Thinking Dangerously in the Age of Normalized Ignorance
Stanley L. Cohen
Israel and Academic Freedom: a Closed Book
Paul Craig Roberts – Michael Hudson
Can Russia Learn From Brazil’s Fate? 
Andrew Levine
A Putrid Election: the Horserace as Farce
Mike Whitney
The Biggest Heist in Human History
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Sick Blue Line
Rob Urie
The Twilight of the Leisure Class
Vijay Prashad
In a Hall of Mirrors: Fear and Dislike at the Polls
Alexander Cockburn
The Man Who Built Clinton World
John Wight
Who Will Save Us From America?
Pepe Escobar
Afghanistan; It’s the Heroin, Stupid
W. T. Whitney
When Women’s Lives Don’t Matter
Julian Vigo
“Ooops, I Did It Again”: How the BBC Funnels Stories for Financial Gain
Howard Lisnoff
What was Missing From The Nation’s Interview with Bernie Sanders
Jeremy Brecher
Dakota Access Pipeline and the Future of American Labor
Binoy Kampmark
Pictures Left Incomplete: MH17 and the Joint Investigation Team
Andrew Kahn
Nader Gave Us Bush? Hillary Could Give Us Trump
Steve Horn
Obama Weakens Endangered Species Act
Dave Lindorff
US Propaganda Campaign to Demonize Russia in Full Gear over One-Sided Dutch/Aussie Report on Flight 17 Downing
John W. Whitehead
Uncomfortable Truths You Won’t Hear From the Presidential Candidates
Ramzy Baroud
Shimon Peres: Israel’s Nuclear Man
Brandon Jordan
The Battle for Mercosur
Murray Dobbin
A Globalization Wake-Up Call
Jesse Ventura
Corrupted Science: the DEA and Marijuana
Richard W. Behan
Installing a President by Force: Hillary Clinton and Our Moribund Democracy
Andrew Stewart
The Democratic Plot to Privatize Social Security
Daniel Borgstrom
On the Streets of Oakland, Expressing Solidarity with Charlotte
Marjorie Cohn
President Obama: ‘Patron’ of the Israeli Occupation
Norman Pollack
The “Self-Hating” Jew: A Critique
David Rosen
The Living Body & the Ecological Crisis
Joseph Natoli
Thoughtcrimes and Stupidspeak: Our Assault Against Words
Ron Jacobs
A Cycle of Death Underscored by Greed and a Lust for Power
Uri Avnery
Abu Mazen’s Balance Sheet
Kim Nicolini
Long Drive Home
Louisa Willcox
Tribes Make History with Signing of Grizzly Bear Treaty
Art Martin
The Matrix Around the Next Bend: Facebook, Augmented Reality and the Podification of the Populace
Andre Vltchek
Failures of the Western Left
Ishmael Reed
Millennialism or Extinctionism?
Frances Madeson
Why It’s Time to Create a Cabinet-Level Dept. of Native Affairs
Laura Finley
Presidential Debate Recommendations
José Negroni
Mass Firings on Broadway Lead Singers to Push Back
Leticia Cortez
Entering the Historical Dissonance Surrounding Desafinados
Robert J. Burrowes
Gandhi: ‘My Life is My Message’
Charles R. Larson
Queen Lear? Deborah Levy’s “Hot Milk”
David Yearsley
Bring on the Nibelungen: If Wagner Scored the Debates
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]