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The Flight 93 Tapes:
The New York Times has a report on the audio tapes of what happened on Flight 93 on September 11 ,2001, played at the Moussaoui trial for the first time in public. It's hard to do justice to the event or the tapes with just an excerpt, but here is the most chilling of the very chilling parts:
  The recording ends with a three-minute crescendo of noise as a passenger apparently just outside the door shouts: "In the cockpit! If we don't, we'll die!"
  On the other side of the door, two hijackers are heard deliberating before deciding to end the flight to avoid being overcome.  "Is that it? I mean, shall we pull it down?" one asks in Arabic and the reply is, "Yes, put it in it and pull it down." They then both scream repeatedly "Allah is the greatest" in Arabic as the planes goes down at 10:03 a.m. into a field in Shanksville, Pa., at more than 500 miles an hour. Aboard were 33 passengers, 5 flight attendants, 2 pilots and the 4 hijackers.
The story adds, a few sentences later: "Mr. Moussaoui, who was in jail in Minnesota at the time of the attacks, smiled broadly at times during the playing of the recording."
Glenn W Bowen (mail):

The recording ends with a three-minute crescendo of noise as a passenger apparently just outside the door shouts: "In the cockpit! If we don't, we'll die!"


this would indicate to me that the passegers did indeed overcome the terorists in the cabin and were headed for the cockpit.

This is honor left in this world.
4.13.2006 4:50pm
Glenn W Bowen (mail):
There is honor left in this world.
4.13.2006 4:51pm
Defending the Indefensible:
I'd like them to release the tapes. Yesterday Kelly Arena was on CNN performing a dramatic re-enactment, incorporating physical details that couldn't even have been present in an audio tape.
4.13.2006 5:16pm
JE Meyer (mail):
What would have been interesting is if the FBI explained the missing three minutes from the tape.
4.13.2006 5:31pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
They should kill him twice.
4.13.2006 5:33pm
Splunge (mail):
Mr. Moussaoui, who was in jail in Minnesota at the time of the attacks, smiled broadly at times during the playing of the recording.

Well, maybe some enterprising reporter will smuggle out a video of Mr. Moussaoui when he is eventually strapped to a gurney with needles in his arms, and then I can smile broadly at times during his struggle for one last breath.
4.13.2006 5:38pm
Fishbane (mail):
They should kill him twice.

It seems to me that that's exactly what he wants. Why give it to him?
4.13.2006 5:42pm
Preferred Customer:

It seems to me that that's exactly what he wants. Why give it to him?


This does seem like one of those times where locking him up forever, and forever denying him the chance to be a martyr, until he dies of old age in a cell in Kansas, seems to be the far crueler (and more deserved) punishment.
4.13.2006 5:45pm
Mike BUSL07 (mail) (www):
Would it really degrade us as a society, if just this one time, we ripped out someone's fingernails a la KGB? Then made him eat the pig for the rest of his days in Leavenworth, (or wherever he is).
4.13.2006 5:52pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
To kill Moussaoui for a crime that he had absolutely nothing to do with, that we know we had nothing to do with, is nothing but a mockery of concept of Western jurisprudence. We should be ashamed of ourselves. This is nothing but vicious blind revenge against a convenient (albeit unsympathetic) stooge.

For a legal blog, I would be interested to hear under what legal theory the execution of Moussauoi is in any way justified.
4.13.2006 5:52pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
I think you could try him under the laws of war as a spy,since he wasn't wearing an AlQuaida uniform while he was here in the U.S. preparing for his mission. Same principle as the german sabateurs were tried and executed in WW2.
4.13.2006 5:56pm
Dick King:
I think he's acting the way he is because he wants his virgins.

-dk
4.13.2006 5:57pm
Bruce:
Freder, you spoilsport, always with the "law" and the "justice."
4.13.2006 6:02pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
I think you could try him under the laws of war as a spy,since he wasn't wearing an AlQuaida uniform while he was here in the U.S. preparing for his mission. Same principle as the german sabateurs were tried and executed in WW2.

We chose not to. And even if we did, of what acts of sabotage would you accuse him. His testimony to the contrary, we know--apparently from interrogations of Al Qaeda leaders we have in custody--that Moussauoi was not involved in the 9/11 plot. In fact, we know that he was considered a pain in the ass and unstable by Al Qaeda. The book on him all along was that he was simply a slightly loony operative who Al Qaeda never intended to have do anything. They sent him to the flight school to keep him out of the way and have him think he was training for an important mission which would never come.

Four years of solitary confinement and constant interrogation has simply turned him from mentally unbalanced to full-fledged batshit crazy.
4.13.2006 6:02pm
Splunge (mail):
I would be interested to hear under what legal theory the execution of Moussauoi is in any way justified.

I think the general idea is that if you know a terrible crime is about to be committed, and you are in a position to prevent it by informing the authorities, then you share responsibility for the consequences.

Let's try this one on for size: I'm a white boy sitting in a frat house at a certain unnamed eastern university. One day I notice my brothers carry in a bound and gagged woman, tear off her clothes while she struggles and emits muffled screams, and tie her to a chair. I overhear two or three of them say to each other: You know, afterwards...she might tell. So we better take care of her. Ask Bubba to fetch his dad's gun, will you?

Anyway, after finishing my beer, I go out for my evening constitutional. While strolling along I meet Officer Krupke, patrolling, and naturally say hello. "Good evening," he says, lifting his hat respectfully. "How are things back at the house? You fellows behaving yourself?" I say nothing.

When the girl's body is found, the story comes out, the DA charges me with a crime, and commentariat near and far suggest I'm "just as guilty" and call for me to suffer similar punishment, do you still feel like it would be "a mockery of concept of Western jurisprudence" or nothing but "vicious blind revenge against a convenient...stooge"?
4.13.2006 6:08pm
Redman:
Does anyone know how much taxpayer money has been wasted on this?
4.13.2006 6:31pm
Vovan:
To Splunge

Unless Bad Samaritan Laws have been specifically passed by the local legislature, you don't have the duty to do anything, and thus will not be held liable --see the case of David Cash


To Freder Frederson

Moussauoi is guilty under the conspiracy statutes that only require unilateral agreement to commit the offense
4.13.2006 7:02pm
A.S.:
His testimony to the contrary, we know--apparently from interrogations of Al Qaeda leaders we have in custody--that Moussauoi was not involved in the 9/11 plot.

Well, that's just completely false. The crime he committed was conspiracy. He pleaded guilty to that crime AND a jury found that he committed all the elements necessary to sustain the death penalty. That means he WAS INVOLVED in the plot.
4.13.2006 7:08pm
Ofc. Krupke (mail) (www):
Splunge-

Thank you for the kind portrayal. :)
4.13.2006 7:11pm
Kazinski:
Freder,
Moussauoi was part of the 9/11 conspiricy, not a critical part, but a part none the less. He knew there were other trainees learning to fly so they could hijack domestic flights for attacks in the US. He was, or he thought he was, training for follow-on attacks that were scheduled for a few weeks later. The fact his attack wasn't scheduled for 9/11, and he didn't know the date nor the details of the actual attack does not mean he wasn't part of the conspiricy, it merely means that he wasn't a ringleader.

According to reports many of the actual 9/11 terrorists didn't know until the day of the attack the actual details of the operation. Does that mean that they weren't conspiritors either?
4.13.2006 7:13pm
Kazinski:
Splunge:
I think your fraternity scenario would not be a crime in many states. Generally an "affirmative act" has to be committed. Being present at the scene of a crime without acting or offering encouragement does not make you a participant, and failure to report is not a crime in many jurisdictions.

I was once a juror on a murder/conspiricy case in Ca., the judges jury instructions were pretty clear about the requirement for affirmative act. But enrolling in flight school qualifies Moussauoi.
4.13.2006 7:22pm
abb3w:
Myself, I prefer the jokingly proposed execution via firing squad, using bullets dipped in bacon fat — no 72 virgins for you, m'boy. You could even answer the cruel and unusual punishment arguement by countering it was necessary to preclude his profiting from his crimes.

Not gonna happen, but it makes for an amusing daydream.
4.13.2006 7:40pm
Anderson (mail) (www):
The Onion, as usual, hit this one on the head (in its "What Do YOU Think?" feature):

"Yes! Finally we have someone to blame for the deaths of thousands of people! Thank God he wasn't on one of those planes."
4.13.2006 7:40pm
steveh2:
A.S., that Mossauoi was found guilty of being involved in the plot does not mean that he actually was involved in the plot. He testified that he and the Shoe Bomber were supposed to highjack another plane, but that seems like he was just lying to play up his own role, so he could be put to death.

I read that the defense team will be flying Reid in from his prison cell to testify. That should be entertaining.
4.13.2006 7:58pm
Splunge (mail):
Thanks for the several responses. I suggest Zac M's case is somewhat different from watching Kitty Genovese die, as he was already in custody and already being interrogated by the police about closely-related matters. That's why I had Officer Krupke specifically ask me while I was out walking if there was anything going on at the frat house that he should know about. I could modify it more appropriately by having Officer Krupke tell me a young woman had been reported missing, giving me a description that matched the woman I saw, and having him ask me specifically whether I'd seen the woman.

So it's not just me neglecting to telephone the police about what's going on in the chapter room. I have to refuse to answer a police inquiry that is at least generally targeted at the crime in question.

It's a bit hard for me to believe that I can without consequence refuse to answer police questions when (1) they are reasonable questions, meaning the police already have a general but reasonable belief that a crime may have been or be about to be committed, and that I know about it, (2) I have no 5th Amendment protection, since I am myself not committing the crime, and (3) my refusal to answer can be later shown to have directly foreclosed the possibility of the crime being prevented.
4.13.2006 8:09pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Moussauoi was originally convicted of conspiracy for some vague plot to fly planes into buildings, not the actual 9/11 plot (because not even this government has big enough balls to actually try and convict Moussauoi of being the "20th hijacker" because they know they he was not, even if they don't mind having that moniker hung on him). What he is currently on trial for his life for is because when he was picked up before 9/11 on immigration charges and being a general goofball in his flight school, he didn't tell the FBI what he knew about Al Qaeda's operations and plans to fly planes into buildings. Because he didn't tell all he knew to the FBI, the FBI wasn't able to stop 9/11, and Moussaoui is therefore responsible for some of the deaths on 9/11 just as though he was flying one of those planes.

This just boggles the mind. First of all, in a common law system, there is no affirmative duty to prevent a crime. When did we become French? Secondly, under that theory, isn't the President culpable for not doing anything about the August 6 PDB? And finally, whatever happened to the Fifth Amendment?
4.13.2006 8:18pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
It's a bit hard for me to believe that I can without consequence refuse to answer police questions

Don't you ever watch TV. I would think everyone knows their Miranda rights by heart (in fact that is one of the arguments that cops no longer should have to tell them to criminals because everybody knows what they are from watching tv).

Let's everyone say it together: YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT
4.13.2006 8:22pm
Frank Drackmann (mail):
I would charge him with mopery with intent to creep, on a raided premesis. Or impersonating a human being. Then let the Mossad do whatever it is they do to terrorists.
4.13.2006 8:30pm
A.S.:
Moussauoi was originally convicted of conspiracy for some vague plot to fly planes into buildings, not the actual 9/11 plot

The "vague plot to fly planes into buildings" IS the "actual 9/11 plot"! Or are contending that the "vague plot to fly planes into buildings" for which he plead guilty had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11? The fact that he (and we) don't know what his exact role was to be in the conspiracy doesn't mean that he was not a part of the conspiracy.
4.13.2006 8:36pm
ATM (mail):
Oh, great the August 6 PDB canard.

That briefing didn't tell us anything significant that we didn't know about al Qaeda.
4.13.2006 8:37pm
A.S.:
Let's everyone say it together: YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT

But he didn't remain silent. He lied. The lie was an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy.
4.13.2006 8:38pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
Or are contending that the "vague plot to fly planes into buildings" for which he plead guilty had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11?

It ain't my contention--it's the government's. They have never accused him of being part of the team that carried out the 9/11 attacks, of knowing about those attacks or the identities of participants in the attacks, that Al Qaeda intended that he be a part of those attacks. Everything we know about him tells us that Al Qaeda considered him untrustworthy, slightly batty, and a pain in the ass, and had isolated him and cut him out of the loop. One of his handlers had even changed his phone number so Mousaoui would stop bugging him.
4.13.2006 8:51pm
A.S.:
They have never accused him of being part of the team that carried out the 9/11 attacks, of knowing about those attacks or the identities of participants in the attacks, that Al Qaeda intended that he be a part of those attacks.

He doesn't have to be "part of the team that carried out the 9/11 attacks", know about "those attacks or the identities of participants in the attacks" or even have been intended to "be a part of those attacks" for him to be a conspirator with respect to those attacks. It's really basic conspriacy law - he doesn't have to know what all the other parts of the conspiracy are doing nor take part in that actual attacks to be a part of the conspiracy.

From Black's: "A conspiracy may be a continuing one; actors may drop out, and others drop in; the details of operation may change from time to time; the members need not know each other or the part played by others; a member need not know all the details of the plan or the operations; he must, however, know the purpose of the conspiracy and agree to become a party to a plan to effectuate that purpose. Craig v. U. S., C.C.A.Cal., 81 F.2d 816, 822."
4.13.2006 9:09pm
Freder Frederson (mail):
he must, however, know the purpose of the conspiracy and agree to become a party to a plan to effectuate that purpose.

Which, other than we want you to learn to fly a plane for some suicide hijacking plot at some time in the future is about all Mousauoi knew about the "conspiracy". He had absolutely no direct connection, or even tangential connection, with the 9/11 plot. He did not know any of the details of the plot or any of the other conspirators. All he was told to do was to learn how to fly a plane and wait for instructions.

The government knows this. Their argument is--If Moussauoi told us he was training to fly planes on a suicide missions we would have been able to stop 9/11 through good police work and therefore he is responsible for the deaths on 9/11. This, of course, is a joke, since they were incapable of good police work, anyway.
4.13.2006 9:33pm
Kazinski:
Freder, you are tying yourself in knots trying to avoid three facts:

There was a larger conspiricy that evisioned addtional attacks after 9/11.

Moussauoi may have been a flake, but that did not disqualify him from a suicide mission, in fact it probably was an asset.

A conspiritor does not need to know all the facts of the conspiricy or even most of them. The conspiritor only has to materially participate in even a minor element of the conspiricy in order to sign up for culpability in the whole ball of wax.


And please, trying to peddle the 8/6 PDB makes you look desperate. Go ahead, quote one out of context sentence fragment that possibly could have been used on 8/6 to foil the 9/11 attacks.
4.14.2006 1:03am
You Can Guess Who This Is (mail):
For a legal blog, I would be interested to hear under what legal theory the execution of Moussauoi is in any way justified.

The Doctrine of "Tough Noogies."
4.14.2006 1:42am
18 USC 1030 (mail):
You may not need to know ALL of the facts, or ALL of the other members to the conspiracy. But, you need to know SOME of the facts and SOME of the other conspirators. It seems to me that in cases where you need not know all the details, you need to take some affirmative step towards the completion of the crime. For example if I tell you: Lets do something with a gun, go buy a gun and come back to me. If, just after you purchase the gun you are aprehended for a conspiracy to kill the president based on your "buddy's" intent you have not done anything to make you guilty of that offense.

In this case, ZM obtained the weapon-- in this case the flight training was equal to the gun. He knew he was going to do SOMETHING illegal. But that was all he knew. This is not sufficient for an affirmative step. It seems that with no affirmative step and a complete lack of info, you ought not be killed. Imprisoned? Probablly. Killed? I don't think so.
4.14.2006 1:45am
Alaska Jack (mail):
18 USC 1030:

"For example if I tell you: Lets do something with a gun, go buy a gun and come back to me."


Wouldn't it be more accurate to say "Let's GO KILL A LOT OF PEOPLE with a gun"? Having established that, isn't the subsequent purchase of a gun an affirmative step?

- Alaska Jack (who knows next to nothing about law, and doesn't pretend to)
4.14.2006 4:51am
Charles Chapman (mail) (www):
Freder Frederson said:
In this case, ZM obtained the weapon-- in this case the flight training was equal to the gun. He knew he was going to do SOMETHING illegal. But that was all he knew.
"SOMETHING" illegal? He learned how to fly the plane in order to.... You are contending he didn't know that his job was to fly an airplane into a building, killing innocent people?
4.14.2006 5:46am
Public_Defender (mail):
What reason public policy reason is there to keep the tapes secret? Based on the descriptions, the tapes make the hijackers look even more cowardly and the passengers even more human and brave.

It seems like we're doing ourselves a disservice by keeping the tapes secret.
4.14.2006 6:57am
Freder Frederson (mail):
Freder, you are tying yourself in knots trying to avoid three facts:

No the theory the government is propounding is ridiculous. It is like saying that because a low level mafia operative is aware of the methods and modes of operation of the mafia and refuses to tell his interrogators about them (or even is deceptive about what he knows about Mafia operations), he is therefore responsible for every subsequent similar crime committed by the Mafia. We don't even hold Mafia bosses responsible for all the crimes committed by their organizations. We have to prove that they were somehow involved in the crimes they are accused of.
4.14.2006 10:12am