Call him The Little Hijacker Who Couldn't. Zacarias Moussaoui is
the Barney Fife of al Qaeda — inept and bumbling. If he wasn't so
rabid and bloodthirsty, he'd be good for comic relief. Oh, hell, he's still
good for comic relief.
A Moroccan born in France in 1968, Moussaoui is kind of a
terrorist roadie, a loser who somehow managed to attach himself to people
with talent, rewarded for his dog-like loyalty by being assigned a series
of menial tasks. It's just one of life's little ironies that Moussaoui has
landed in the middle of the show-trial of the century.
Little is known of Moussaoui's early history. He grew up in
the U.K. and went to college there. According to his indictment, he holds
a master's degree, a fact which is a bit baffling when you look at his behavior.
indictment of Moussaoui highlights his general worthlessness. The 31-page
indictment deals primarily with al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and the September
11 attack, and has very little to say about the only defendant in the case,
Moussaoui himself. This is a rather sharp contrast from the hundreds of
pages of charges against other terrorism defendants, in indictments usually
replete with detailed accusations (whether or not they can actually be proven).
Moussaoui's indictment contains such explosive allegations
as: "In or about March 2001, ZACARIAS MOUSSAOUI joined a gym in Norman,
Oklahoma." What a bastard!
A late bloomer, Moussaoui took the traditional terrorist route
in 1998 with a trip to Afghanistan, where for more than a decade, bin Laden's
suicide factories mass-produced homicidal lunatics by the gross. In 2000,
Moussaoui traveled to Malaysia, where he is accused of having met with al
Qaeda operatives, who provided him with money and travel documents.
Moussaoui came to the U.S. in 2001, and enrolled in a flight
school in Norman, Oklahoma. He was a poor student and dropped out before
his by-no-means-certain graduation. His visa expired in May, a fact to which
he was seemingly oblivious. He finally found another flight school in Minnesota,
and traveled there in August.
received tens of thousands of dollars from al Qaeda commanders to fund whatever
the hell they thought it was he was doing. He paid cash for his Minnesota
flying lessons, and told his instructors he had no interest in learning
how to take off or land, only steer. His erratic behavior led school officials
to contact the FBI, which arrested in mid-August.
But the FBI's headquarters brushed the case off as insignificant
and threw legal hurdles in front of the field agents who were barred even
from looking at Moussaoui's laptop computer — which contained unimportant
trivia like the names and phone numbers of al Qaeda commanders and September
While Moussaoui cooled his heels in a prison cell, his pals
pulled off the single biggest terrorist attack of all time, hijacking four
jets and crashing three of them into the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon.
While most investigators agree the leads probably wouldn't have been enough
to stop September 11 from happening, they might very well have prevented
at least one of the hijackings.
The real fun in the Moussaoui case didn't start until after
the government decided to make an example of him, filing the only U.S. charges
to date directly connected to the 9/11 attacks and seeking the death penalty
for Moussaoui, who didn't actually succeed in doing anything.
Moussaoui decided to represent himself. And "fool for
a client" doesn't even begin to cover what happened next. The "20th
hijacker" has distinguished himself as a legal scholar by innovating
several new and exciting legal arguments. Highlights of his jurisprudence
* Moussaoui on the illegality of investigating criminals:
"The US government must withdraw all charges against because it knows
that I was under FBI surveillance and what was my activity in the US and
* Moussaoui on the deficiencies of the public defender system: "Motion
to remove Federal Public Defender from any activity in this case because
of their conspiracy to kill me and their ineffective assistance. As well
as any government court appointed lawyer.
* Moussaoui on freedom of the press and the importance of grammar: "If
they have such a strong case why I am stop in court to say my story about
FBI cover up Why No Journalist is allow to visit me to hear my story Why
did they gag me and stop Bro Freeman to visit me."
* Moussaoui on well-tempered evidence: "Motion to STOP THE FBI TO
TEMPER WITH EVIDENCE AND TO HAVE HUSSEIN AL ATTAS AND ALI MUKHRAM CALLED
AS WITNESS. Immediate Hearing. ALLAH U AKBAR. THE FBI NOW IS HIDDING CONCRETE
EVIDENCE OF THEIR COVER UP OPERATION BEFORE SEPT 11 AGAINST ME AND THE
19 HIJACKER: THE BUG ELECTRIC FAN PLANTED BY THE FBI."
* Moussaoui on jury trials: "The fundamental U.S. right to an impartial
jury ‘guaranteed by the Sixth Amendment also necessarily includes
a jury composed of the defenders peers.' Brown v. Kelly, 1992. I am sure
that the government will be delighted to bring 12 Talebans from Cuba."
* Moussaoui on the ability of U.S. courts to handle the awful truth: "Nobody
want to hear my fbi cover up. Reality. too much at stake. Long have passed
the time of deep throat. now it is deep bribe with the fight against terrorism
at the end of the financial year. Any journalist who want good reality
should come to the alexandria jail (of course pending financial arrangement
... to finance my defense life)."
Unfortunately for future legal scholars, a late March ruling
ordered that Moussaoui's future scholarship will be kept under seal, depriving
us all of his blinding insights. Alas!
It's unclear what the future holds for Zacarias Moussaoui.
For a raving lunatic, he seems to be doing a pretty good job of humiliating
John Ashcroft's Justice Department.
His request to subpoena such high-ranking al Qaeda leaders
such as Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Abu Zubayda was actually deemed credible
enough to cause the entire trial to grind to a halt, when the government
refused to pull the bamboo shoots out of the witnesses fingernails so they
Even if this technical hurdle is somehow overcome, there's
the pesky fact that Moussaoui was too incompetent to actually commit a capital
crime, despite his best efforts.
If nothing else, Moussaoui will leave a legalistic legacy
for posterity. Someday in the far-flung future, some criminal defendent
will wiggle out from a death penalty charge by citing the precdent set in
"US v. Moussaoui" and demanding a judge honor his "Motion
to see what the Scam is about."
Just one more thing to blame Osama bin Laden for...
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