Moussaoui Pleads Guilty - State Assisted Suicide?
Bump and Update: The Associated Press reports that Moussaoui denied being part of the 9/11 attacks in court Friday:
But in his court appearance, Moussaoui hinted at a possible death penalty defense. He tried to distance himself from the specific events on Sept. 11, saying that nothing in the statement he signed declared he was "specifically guilty of 9-11."
Nonetheless, after today's hearing, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, sounding more and more like John Ashcroft, reaffirmed the Government's intent to seek the death penalty against Moussaoui and trumpeted to the world:
"The fact that Moussaoui participated in this terrorist conspiracy is no longer in doubt," he said, hailing Moussaoui's "chilling admission of guilt."
The chilling admission was that he intended to commit a horrific crime but was prevented from doing so by his arrest on immigration violations. Gonzales' statement notwithstanding, the tally is:
--Bush Administration's total Number of Defendants Charged with Participating in 9/11: 1
--Bush Administration's total Number of Defendants Convicted of Participating in 9/11: 0
Update: Here is the statement of facts for the charges to which Moussaoui pleaded guilty today. There is neither an allegation nor an admission that Moussaoui knew about plans for the Sept. 11 attacks.
Judge Leonie M. Brinkema accepted Zacarias Moussaoui's guilty pleas today to every charge in the Indictment, four of which could end in a death sentence.
His lawyers filed a motion earlier today arguing he is not competent . The Judge disagreed.
Moussaoui stated today that Osama bin Laden had personally selected him to fly a plane into the White House. Is he telling the truth? Or is he on a death mission and exaggerating his participation in al Qaeda and his role in it to ensure he gets it? Have the oppressive conditions of his incarceration won out?
Allowing Moussaoui to plead was wrong. Moussaoui has insisted from day one that although he was a member of al Qaeda, he had no participation in or advance knowledge of the 9/11 attacks. That was the stumbling block to his attempt to plead guilty in 2002.
Moussaoui is not stupid. The Judge today said he knew the legal system better than some lawyers who appear before her. I think Moussaoui realized he was doomed to die last month when the Supreme Court upheld the Government's refusal to provide him access to the top al Qaeda prisoners who could establish he was not involved with 9/11. Can you blame him for wanting to at least plan his own death, now that it is all but certain to occur?
Moussaaoui was in a Missouri jail on immigration violations on September 11, 2001. He'd been there for a month. The most the evidence disclosed to the public before today was: He checked out crop dusters, bought some knives and tried to buy flight simulation videos. Ramzi Binalshibh wired him money. And, he flunked out of flight school.
Even today Moussaoui did not admit he had a role in the 9/11 attacks. He said he had been personally approved by Osama to fly a plane into the White House.
The Government made much of the telling us that suicide bombers, like those in the 9/11 attacks, probably were kept in the dark by bin Laden and his deputies until the last minute, possibly the day of or before the attacks. Is is credible that a flunkie like Moussaoui would have been told details of a plan so far in advance?
This case has been like a game of What's My Line? Meet Zacarias Moussoui. Is he:
The 20th Hijacker
The Fifth Pilot
A financial drop for Ramzi Binalshibh,
A Manipulative Defendant or
or a Mentally Unbalanced Defendant?
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