FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Prosecutors as Therapists, Phantoms as Terrorists

by ELAINE CASSEL

Federal prosecutors in Alexandria, Virginia have been acting as surrogate therapists to scores of families of the September 11 terrorist attacks. As soon as Zacarias Moussaoui was indicted in Alexandria, prosecutors ramped up a staff of assistant U.S. attorneys–more than 60 in all–all across the country to help them stage the drama of the families’ losses.

The families were chosen carefully. Who would make the best poster children for their prosecution? They have spent thousands of hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars developing their testimony and planning for a rousing therapeutic catharsis at the trial of the case.

But the trial may never be. For Judge Leonie Brinkema has seen the evidence the government has against Moussaoui and it does not connect him to the September 11 attacks. Thus, she said, the government cannot seek the death penalty against him. It seems that this failure to have the rudiments of a capital case, more than the government’s refusal to abide by her order to produce exculpatory witnesses for Moussaoui and his lawyers to question, is the reason for her waving prosecutors off the death penalty.

The government is appealing this order (as they appeal every other court mandate that they cannot “in good conscience” follow). And while they await the decision of the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals about granting their appeal, they are proceeding at a furious pace to continue to prepare the witnesses for their gruesome testimony.

A friend I discussed this with this week suggested that the prosecutors were continuing to prepare for what may never be in order to bolster their plea for the trial to continue. “Sunk costs,” he called it. You see, he said, they will argue, we have done so much to get ready for the trial, the families have been through so much to get ready, they simply must tell their story. Sound familiar? Like, forget how we got into Iraq, we need $87 billion now to continue the job. We can’t quit now.

Further, someone must pay for September 11. Whether Moussaoui had anything to do with it or not, he is the one the government has chosen as the scapegoat. You can’t blame the administration, can you? With Osama and Saddam on the loose, someone has to take the fall. With not one of the thousands of immigrants rounded up for questioning after September 11 panning out as plotters, they needed a whipping boy.

Whether “rightly or wrongly,” Alexandria U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty is reported as saying, people have put a lot of hope in the case against Moussaoui as the one who must pay for September 11.

I thought that was what the war in Afghanistan was about. Then the war in Iraq. Now with the Moussaoui case unraveling, who will the government look to next to shoulder the blame for the deaths of 3000 Americans? An independent panel would like to know who is responsible, but the White House has been stonewalling. The panel this week threatened subpoenas. White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan says the administration “wants” to cooperate, but “we are dealing with sensitive documents here.” Like the “sensitive” documents that said there were WMD’s in Iraq?

In the meantime, the “masters of fiction,” as Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen calls Bush and Cheney, continue to spin their tales and, doubtless, look for someone or something to blame for September 11–just as they look for some entity to blame for the mess they have made in Iraq.

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:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
December 02, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: The CIA’s Plots to Kill Castro
Paul Street
The Iron Heel at Home: Force Matters
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Timberg’s Tale: Washington Post Reporter Spreads Blacklist of Independent Journalist Sites
Andrew Levine
Must We Now Rethink the Hillary Question? Absolutely, Not
Joshua Frank
CounterPunch as Russian Propagandists: the Washington Post’s Shallow Smear
David Rosen
The Return of HUAC?
Rob Urie
Race and Class in Trump’s America
Patrick Cockburn
Why Everything You’ve Read About Syria and Iraq Could be Wrong
Caroline Hurley
Anatomy of a Nationalist
Ayesha Khan
A Muslim Woman’s Reflections on Trump’s Misogyny
Michael Hudson – Steve Keen
Rebel Economists on the Historical Path to a Global Recovery
Russell Mokhiber
Sanders Single Payer and Death by Democrat
Roger Harris
The Triumph of Trump and the Specter of Fascism
Steve Horn
Donald Trump’s Swamp: Meet Ten Potential Energy and Climate Cabinet Picks and the Pickers
Louis Proyect
Deepening Contradictions: Identity Politics and Steelworkers
Ralph Nader
Trump and His Betraying Makeover
Stephen Kimber
The Media’s Abysmal Coverage of Castro’s Death
Dan Bacher
WSPA: The West’s Most Powerful Corporate Lobbying Group
Nile Bowie
Will Trump backpedal on the Trans-Pacific Partnership?
Ron Ridenour
Fidel’s Death Brings Forth Great and Sad Memories
Missy Comley Beattie
By Invitation Only
Fred Gardner
Sword of Damocles: Pot Partisans Fear Trump’s DOJ
Renee Parsons
Obama and Propornot
Dean Baker
Cash and Carrier: Trump and Pence Put on a Show
Jack Rasmus
Taming Trump: From Faux Left to Faux Right Populism
Ron Jacobs
Selling Racism—A Lesson From Pretoria
Julian Vigo
The Hijos of Buenos Aires:  When Identity is Political
Matthew Vernon Whalan
Obama’s Legacy
Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano
By Way of Prologue: On How We Arrived at the Watchtower and What We Saw from There
Aidan O'Brien
Fidel and Spain: A Tale of Right and Wrong
Carol Dansereau
Stop Groveling! How to Thwart Trump and Save the World
Kim Nicolini
Moonlight, The Movie
Evan Jones
Behind GE’s Takeover of Alstom Energy
James A Haught
White Evangelicals are Fading, Powerful, Baffling
Barbara Moroncini
Protests and Their Others
Christopher Brauchli
Parallel Lives: Trump and Temer
Joseph Natoli
The Winds at Their Backs
Cesar Chelala
Poverty is Not Only an Ignored Word
David Swanson
75 Years of Pearl Harbor Lies
Alex Jensen
The Great Deceleration
Nyla Ali Khan
When Faith is the Legacy of One’s Upbringing
Gilbert Mercier
Trump Win: Paradigm Shift or Status Quo?
Stephen Martin
From ‘Too Big to Fail’ to ‘Too Big to Lie’: the End Game of Corporatist Globalization.
Charles R. Larson
Review: Emma Jane Kirby’s “The Optician of Lampedusa”
David Yearsley
Haydn Seek With Hsu
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail