Zacarias Moussaoui

  • Introductions
  • Today’s Topic: Zacarias Moussaoui
    • He’s the guy on trial for the 9/11 bombings.
    • First, a bit of background.
      • Moussaoui was (obviously) not one of the 9/11 suicide bombers; the case rests on the idea that he was a co-conspirator. He is accused of knowing that the attacks would take place and not attempting to prevent them. (He also lied to prosecutors after his arrest in August 2001?, and it is said that we could have perhaps prevented 9/11 if he hadn’t lied.) Some think he had a greater or lesser role in planning the attacks, as well.
      • Yes, the trial started in 2001, but has dragged on for several reasons. First, the trial has had two parts—one to determine if he ought to be tried for the death penalty, and one to see if he is guilty. Second, there has been a lot of issues with him not liking his lawyers (he fired his first ones because he felt they were against him, tried to represent himself for a while, and was forced to take lawyers again) and some issues with the legality of the witnesses that he wanted to call. (i.e. would there be national security concerns for him to call top Al-Queda prisoners to the stand to testify?)
      • He originally did not plead guilty, but recently pleaded guilty to “To commit acts of terrorism; To use weapons of mass destruction; To destroy aircraft; To commit aircraft piracy; To murder US employees; To destroy property”
      • “Moussaoui’s lawyers argued that he did not deserve to be executed because of his difficult upbringing and possible mental illness. They also said execution would only serve to fulfil his dream of martyrdom…In the first phase, they argued that American security agencies were so bureaucratic they could not have acted to stop the 9/11 attacks even if Moussaoui had co-operated with them.”
        • Moussaoui isn’t real thrilled about being called “insane,” for obvious reasons.
      • “Prosecutors have said that Moussaoui’s actions mirror those of the 19 hijackers behind the 11 September attacks. He went through flight instruction, received at least ,000 from a terror suspect and trained at an al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan. Moussaoui said in court he was being trained on a Boeing 747 simulator and intended to use such a plane to strike the White House. At an earlier hearing he said he had provided a guest house for al-Qaeda members.”
        • The prosecution has apparently also made a fair bit of use of pictures and other media of the tragedies of 9/11.
      • Most interesting of late, he as been accused of being mentally unfit. (See Moussaoui toys with defence team and Zacarias Moussaoui ‘mentally ill’ for more information.)
      • “Asked by defence lawyer Gerald Zerkin if he thought he was helping his case when he testified earlier that he had planned to pilot a plane into the White House, he replied: ‘I was putting my trust in God, so from an Islamic point of view, yes.’”
    • Discussion.
      • Do you think this idea of “mentally ill” really makes any sense? Of course, we really aren’t qualified to make that kind of decision, in some ways—but in other ways, we sure are. Thoughts?
    • Watch video clip from the BBC.
      • Interesting phrase “scapegoat.” Do you think he’s being used as a scapegoat by folks?


© 2005-2007 David and Rita Hjelle