Moussaoui Gets Life

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Federal jury rejects the death penalty, sentences terrorist hopeful to life in prison.

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  1. BOOOOO! You suck jury!

  2. Hear hear! That’s about right.

    A – He didn’t actually manage to DO anything. The guy seems to have been a nutbag who knew some terrorists, but never rose above terrorist wannabe.

    B – He so clearly wanted that validation. Sentencing him to death would have given him a gravitas he does not deserve.

  3. I thought this was a triumph of the jury system, myself — they ignored the extraneous (and blatantly prejudicial) emotional testimony and actually looked at the facts.

  4. SR: I agree. Restores (sort of) my faith in the jury system.

  5. Well even if he’d gotten the death penalty, it probably would have taken twenty years to get it administered. This way, he doesn’t get to die a martyr, or enter Paradise, or play with his seventy-odd virgins.

    Hey, Moussaoui! The fuckable virgins are all gonna be gone by the time YOU get there! Hope your pecker rots and drops off while you’re waiting.

  6. I am mostly upset that government waste money get nothing. That money could have been spent putting a penis in my anus.

  7. Did someone kick over a rock?

  8. I am mostly upset that government waste money get nothing. That money could have been spent putting a penis in my anus.

    Comment by: Man who likes penis in his anus at May 3, 2006 05:15 PM

    Don’t worry, Dude,…the government will probably get around to fucking you sooner or later; it does everyone else.

  9. I could see where this might help your faith in the jury system until I read that the judge had admonished the jurors from doing outside research after it was revealed one of the jurors had looked up the word “aggravating” in the dictionary.

    This is not a good result. He can claim he wants to be a martyr all he wants, but the bottom-line is that he gets to live and preach his hatred to whomever will listen in prison. If he smart he will write a few books (he needs to make sure one of them is a children’s book) exclaiming his innocence and how he was framed by the CIA and how Mossad and the CIA were really responsible for 9-11. Give it a few years and people will be carrying free Mousoui signs at anti-globalization marches and he will be teaching a course in middle-eastern history at Yale from prison.

  10. A penis in every anus.
    And two cars in every garage.

  11. John: What does any of that have to do with the question of whether the jury applied the law properly?

  12. Let’s not forget that this denies the feds the claim that they nailed a terrorist mastermind instead of a second rate loser who wanted undeserved glory. Enjoy your well-deserved cell until your dying day. I hope Baily is right and we can keep this little puke alive and miserable inside his own head for a long time.

    – Matyrdom is the art of obtaining fame without merit – author forgotten (anyone know?)

  13. Ron,

    I don’t know that the jury didn’t. My point is that give it time and Mousoui will become a hero in some quarters. Killing him would have not made him a hero. There are lots of dead martyrs in the world. Why consider Mousoui a hero over the the other dead terrorists who actually acomplished something? Had he gotten the death penalty he would have been forgotten. Now that he will be alive, he won’t be. You give it a few years and he will become an icon, much more so than if he would have been executed.

  14. John: So, do you think the government erred in putting Moussaoui on trial?

    By the way, have you read “All the Laws but One” by Rehnquist? I read it, eerily, about a year before the attacks. Very interesting analysis of previous Supreme Court decisions regarding civil liberties during wartime.

  15. Hmm…

    … 72 virgins in paradise, or several decades of prison rape- which sounds like the greater punishment?

    Yeah, I think the jury had it right.

  16. Rosa Luxembourg. (murdered). Karl Liebknecht.

    Sacco and Vanzetti.

    sher. death penalty = forgotten. i totally disagree with your assessment.

    of course such a narrowly-applied sense of culture and martyrdom suggests exactly why many hawks were surprised that the occupation in iraq was tougher than anticipated (at least by them)

  17. No Ron I haven’t read that. It sounds interesting though. I think were right to put him on trial and the system worked. I just wish he had gotten the death penalty. As annoying as that result is, it is better than just shooting him, although there would be a lot more satisfying.

  18. “72 virgins in paradise, or several decades of prison rape”

    I doubt that he’ll have to worry much about getting raped; more likely murdered. Actually, if he goes to a federal prison, he will probably be in some sort of administrative segregation – separated from the other prisoners. He might be sent to that max security joint in Marion, Illinois (Indiana?). That place is pretty severe from what I understand.

  19. “We could start by stating publicly what everybody admits in private: American jurors are a bunch of louts, nincompoops, and media whores who need to stop trusting their guts and start listening to people smarter than themselves.”
    – Tim Cavanaugh

    Careful what u wish 4.

  20. “He might be sent to that max security joint in Marion, Illinois”

    Or to the Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado (Richard Reid is incarcerated there).

  21. What if the circus was all a ruse? I’m for whatever verdict he didn’t want. The nutcase act and the martyrdom card may have saved a cold blooded killer’s guilty ass. I have no doubt his handlers would have used him to kill me, regardless his competence.

  22. So what John is trying to say is that it’s OK to murder someone just as long as we don’t like them.

  23. So what John is trying to say is that it’s OK to murder someone just as long as we don’t like them.

    Comment by: Akira MacKenzie at May 3, 2006 06:24 PM

    Maybe I’m particularly dense (NOT!), but I didn’t get that from what John said.

  24. Virgins are way overrated.

  25. According to my newest issue of Reason, Moussouoi was definately involved in some sort of plot to hijack airplanes. He also had foriegn contacts in Afganistan that were likely behind his pilot training. On September 12th 2001 I’d have beheaded him slowly. On Sept 12th 2002, I’d have shot him. In Sept 2003 I’d have settled for lethal injection. Now, after exposing the justice system as a total wreck in 2006, I’d like to re-skin him in one of our prize winning hogs.

  26. The death penalty is murder. John supports the death penalty. Ergo: John is cool with murder.

  27. A penis in every anus.
    And two cars in every garage.

    A noble sentiment, but if public education is any indication, you will not be able to choose the penis that is placed in your anus, the penis will not know what it’s doing in your anus, and you will have to pay way more for that penis than one that could have been purchased on the free market.

  28. Todd – thank you for stating so eloquently what needed to be said.

    I’ve never understood why it would be so great to have 70 virgins, either, but then again, I don’t go around holding hands with other men.

    (Sorry to any sensitive arabs out there who may, on occasion, hold other men’s hands, or to any gay men out there who hold other men’s hands. For the record, I have nothing against gay men or most arabs, I just wonder about a culture that doesn’t let women be seen out in public.)

    As to the topic of the post – yup, whatever that guy wanted was the exact thing we shouldn’t provide. Life in prison works for me.

  29. The death penalty is murder. John supports the death penalty. Ergo: John is cool with murder.

    Comment by: Akira MacKenzie at May 3, 2006 06:39 PM

    The courts disagree with you, bub. And I disagree with you, as well. The death penalty is self defense.

    THREAD JACK!!!! THREAD JACK!!!! THREAD JACK!!!!

  30. The death penalty is self defense.

    Comment by: jw at May 3, 2006 07:03 PM

    It’s also justice. Sometimes not enough justice.

  31. Rosa Luxembourg. (murdered). Karl Liebknecht.

    The only good communist is a dead communist.

  32. Just to clarify: I can certainly understand why anyone who lost a loved to murder would feel that taking the perpetrator’s life is justified. But passion should never replace reason, especially when it comes to something as powerful as the law. It needs to be slow and methodical and passionless so that we as a society can perhaps act a little better than the criminal who committed the heinous act.

    Yes, I’d let Hitler live, as long as he did it in a dark cell where he couldn’t hurt anyone again. Ditto John Wayne Gacy a Ted Bundy and Tookie. I don’t care who or how many they’ve murdered, raped or tortured, I don’t see how killing someone who is not an immediate threat to your life is ever justified.

    If that doesn’t sway you, then think on this: The War On Terror jingoists love to tell us how barbaric Islamic culture is. Hands chopped off for petty theft, “honor killings,” and executing those who don’t confirm to the faith. How does killing Moussaoui for his part in 9/11 make us better than they supposedly are? What does it prove, and to who? The terrorists? They’re willing to die for their cause. Do you think the “deterrence” argument will work on them?

    Moussaoui is slime. I don’t disagree with that sentiment. Let the bastard rot. He deserves no less. My desire not to kill him is not borne out of sympathy, but out of a desire not to sink to his level.

    Face it, the people who want Moussaoui dead aren’t so much concerned over justice. They want their post-9-11 pound-of-flesh. But ask yourself: if a lynch mob were to grab Moussaoui and hang him at Ground Zero for his part in 9-11, they’d be brought up on murder charges; why is it all right for the government to do the same thing that we are not. Why is it OK for the state to murder?

  33. Well, whatever you think about the death penalty, killing Moussaoui wouldn’t be anything like sinking to his level, unless we were killing him purely for his religious beliefs, and not for his participation in a plan to kill thousands of people.

  34. “Hear hear! That’s about right.

    A – He didn’t actually manage to DO anything. The guy seems to have been a nutbag who knew some terrorists, but never rose above terrorist wannabe.
    [snip]
    Comment by: lunchstealer at May 3, 2006 05:08 PM”

    That’s exactly what I think. The sentence seems appropriate or even possibly a little high.

  35. The death penalty is self defense.

    Really? How?

    When a prisoner is in jail, who do they threaten? No one. Killing in “self-defense” is only justifiable only at the moment of an attack, not a second before and certainly not after the fact. It’s one thing for a cop, an agent of the government, to shot a suspect when a gun is drawn on him, it’s quite another to put that suspect to death years after for the same action.

    It’s also justice. Sometimes not enough justice.

    Tell that to someone put on death row who was innocent of the crime they’re being executed for. If the death penalty fails once–JUST ONCE–and an innocent is killed, then it can never be called “justice.”

    Have anyone ever put an innocent man to death…ever?

    As for death not being “enough punishment,” I have to ask. How much would be enough? Public disemboweling? Severed heads stuck on pikes? The gibbet? Impaling? What depths would we have to sink to in order to satiate the desire for revenge… or are you running for public office in a Red State?

  36. if a lynch mob were to grab Moussaoui and hang him at Ground Zero for his part in 9-11, they’d be brought up on murder charges; why is it all right for the government to do the same thing that we are not.

    Akira, your argument here seems to be that since it is wrong for individuals to kill someone, it should be wrong for the state. Let me counter that with another similar scenario, but substitute “lock up” for “kill”

    If a group of vigilantes were to lock moussaui in a cell for the rest of his life, they would be charged with kidnapping. Why can the government hold someone against his will when we are not?

    If the true objection is that killing=murder and murder=wrong, then why isn’t it also true that imprissonment=kidnapping and kidnapping=wrong?

    We can’t just go by the “Its wrong for individuals to do it but not the state” and still approve state coercion in some circumstances.

    It is undeniably wrong to force a man to live in an eight-by-ten foot room with a locked door for the rest of his life, too. If you or I did it, we’d be wrong. However, under our current form of government, we have allowed the state criminal justice system to do what individuals are proscribed from doing.

  37. “America, you lost,? al-Qaida conspirator says after verdict is read

    That is the headline on MSNBC right now. You want to tell me this guy deserves to live or that this is not a disheartening day? The sad fact is, that he is right. Just give it a couple of years and he will be a hero.

  38. lunchstealer:

    There is one flaw in your argument: Yes, a mob imprisoning an innocent man may be just as wrong as killing them, but there is one disadvantage that the death penalty has over life imprisonment:

    Death is permanent. You can release the wrongly convicted prisoner. You can’t bring an innocent dead man back to life.

  39. John:

    I don’t give a flying fuck what Mossaoui says. Let him rant

    I don’t give a flying fuck with the terrorist think of Mossoaui.

    No matter what he says or what you “think,” we won. We won because an “evil doer” (to borrow a phrase from a certain presidental moron) was punished, and we did it without doing “evil” of our own.

    We would have only “lost” if he got away, or our system was as cruel to him as his allies were to us on 9-11.

  40. Edit: I don’t give a flying fuck what the terrorists think of Moussaoui.

  41. B – He so clearly wanted that validation. Sentencing him to death would have given him a gravitas he does not deserve.

    And there is nothing so insufferable as a smug dead guy. 😉

    Actually, I agree. We don’t want to make a martyr out of this guy.

    I would rather see him serve out his sentence in a cell-sized, bullet-proof Plexiglass box in downtown Manhattan.

  42. B – He so clearly wanted that validation. Sentencing him to death would have given him a gravitas he does not deserve.

    And there is nothing so insufferable as a smug dead guy. 😉

    Actually, I agree. We don’t want to make a martyr out of this guy.

    I would rather see him serve out his sentence in a cell-sized, bullet-proof Plexiglass box in downtown Manhattan.

  43. And I sear I only hit “Post” once.

  44. As for death not being “enough punishment,” I have to ask. How much would be enough? Public disemboweling? Severed heads stuck on pikes? The gibbet? Impaling? What depths would we have to sink to in order to satiate the desire for revenge… or are you running for public office in a Red State?

    Comment by: Akira MacKenzie at May 3, 2006 07:59 PM

    Aw c’mon, Akira! Everyone on Hit and Run knows that you’d reserve that sort of punishment for “Christards” only. 🙂

  45. He should write a book: How Zacarias Moussaoui got caught, went wild in court, and got sentenced to life

  46. “And there is nothing so insufferable as a smug dead guy. ;)”

    Dead guys are always smug…hell, you can see it on their faces. You know – that little grin they always have. 🙂

  47. lunchstealer:

    There is one flaw in your argument: Yes, a mob imprisoning an innocent man may be just as wrong as killing them, but there is one disadvantage that the death penalty has over life imprisonment:

    Death is permanent. You can release the wrongly convicted prisoner. You can’t bring an innocent dead man back to life.

    Comment by: Akira MacKenzie at May 3, 2006 08:16 PM

    Akira –

    Not to speak for lunchstealer, but his argument doesn’t have a flaw. The question of whether justice can ever be perfect is quite separate from whether we allow the state to use actions against individuals that we don’t allow individuals to use against others.

  48. He should write a book: How Zacarias Moussaoui got caught, went wild in court, and got sentenced to life

    Comment by: thoreau at May 3, 2006 08:44 PM

    hahahahahahahaha, the only thing that makes me happier than Mousssaoui getting his commuppance is that Indian bitch at Harvard getting hers. Nice

  49. Does hard labor at a hog farm consititute cruel or unusual?

    A noble sentiment, but if public education is any indication, you will not be able to choose the penis that is placed in your anus…
    It could be worse, you could wind up with a garage in your anus and two penises in every car.

  50. I’d like to re-skin him in one of our prize winning hogs.

    Comment by: James Ard at May 3, 2006 06:36 PM

    You know, when I first read that I thought you had meant to say prize winning blogs (as in H&R) and had simply mistyped it. But now that I think about it, I wonder if you meant literally re-skin him…as in sewing him inside a green hide and leaving it in the sun. You wouldn’t happen to be an Apache or a Sioux, would you?

  51. I would rather see him serve out his sentence in a cell-sized, bullet-proof Plexiglass box in downtown Manhattan.

    Which would still give him the unwarranted attention and notoriety he desperately craves.

    What hurts a psychopathic narcissist more: being executed and assured some pathetic sort of martyrdom, however fleeting and small; or having to live out his worthless life in the inevitable obscurity that awaits him after a few years until he becomes just another faceless perp? (Who thinks about Charles Manson on a daily basis other than Manson himself?)

    Yes, my gut feeling is to have him thrown under a bus and slowly and painfully run over repeatedly, but that won’t undo the damage that he and his murderous cohorts wrought.

  52. I really have no problem with the Death Penalty other than the fear that someone innocent might be put to death.

    What would be wrong with having a different standard of guilt necessary for the death penalty than for conviction of murder. Instead of having to be proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt, the prosecutors would need to prove the defendant guilty of murder beyond any doubt in order to get the death penalty. It might restrict the death penalty to murders committed in public, those where the perpatrator is caught at the scene of the crime, and cases with an abundance of DNA evidence, but it would preserve an institution which a lot of people like and which I really find no moral objection to while making sure that it is only applied to the truly guilty.

  53. Solution:

    Give a family member of a random 9/11 victim a loaded pistol and put them in a room with Moussaoui strapped to a chair. If they don’t kill him, pick another, and so on and so on. If the death penalty is really about revenge, then at least give a truly wronged party the privelege of taking it.

    If no one has the stones to execute Moussaoui one-on-one, by all means let him live.

    I think all capital cases should be done like this. Once the sentence has been handed down via due process through a jury trial, the next of kin of the victim should be the executioner. If they can’t face doing the deed, life in prison.

  54. Sentencing him to death would have given him a gravitas he does not deserve.

    Hey, I’m OK with that. As Dennis Miller said, even if wacking him means the terrorists win, it’s nice to know at least one less guy will be showing up for the victory party…

  55. A penis in every anus.
    And two cars in every garage.

    That’s logistically impossible.

  56. What would be wrong with having a different standard of guilt necessary for the death penalty than for conviction of murder.

    Because that would force us to address some uncomfortable contradictions as far as what “reasonable doubt” really means. What is reasonable doubt numerically? 99.9% confidence of guilt? 99.0%? 98%? If we have little precise grasp of reasonable doubt, does it make sense to set a 2d threshold?

    In this case, the primary evidence of Moussaoui’s guilt was his confession. Not sure how you see that playing your concept.

  57. Further to previous:

    Even with DNA, there is always a possibility of intentional evidence tampering by the prosecution. I mean evidence tampering is not some abstract, theoretical possibility — it happens occasionally. Doesn’t this inject some doubt about guilt even in those cases?

    As far as tapes as irrefutable evidence, I have my doubts about the tape you in the Moussaoui sentencing trial itself. Not doubts that Flight 93 perished in a horrible plane crash, mind you, but still doubts that the tape wasn’t played with in one way or another. Whether the tape had any creative editing wasn’t really releavant in the Moussaoui case, but these kinds of doubts about tape authenticity arise in cases where the tape does matter to prove guilt, too.

    Then there is eyewitness testimony:

    http://torontosun.com/News/TorontoAndGTA/2006/04/20/1542041-sun.html

  58. Akira, you point out that [d]eath is permanent. You can release the wrongly convicted prisoner. You can’t bring an innocent dead man back to life.

    True, you can release a prisoner. But you cannot undo the punishment already given him. He does not get the time back — families broken up by false convictions are not healed by eventual pardons. I for one would be much less unhappy as a single man dying unjustly than as a father losing his family unjustly — not just losing daily contact with them, but losing all the intangible connections that make a family a family. Would you suffer more dying alone or watching your children alienated from you, thinking you comitted a crime you didn’t?

    Objection to the death penalty above other penalties is quite often a knee-jerk, emotional reaction that has as little connection as support for the death penalty to the “reason” it tries to claim as an ally.

    Or think about it from another angle: torture. A sentence of daily torture could eventually be lifted. And really, since incarceration is meant largely to be punishment, torture is only an increase in the amount, not type, of “justice” we already administer. Apparently you think punishment is not “permanent” just because it can be halted, and that’s what separates the death penalty from simple incarceration. Clearly permanence is not what makes torture unacceptable — I suggest you try to develop an explanation for the unacceptability of the death penalty that does not rely on a false notion of permanence.

  59. I don’t see the contradiction. Can’t one believe that the problem with the death penalty relates to bad outcomes in cases of mistaken conviction, the problem with torture relates to cruelty even in cases of valid conviction, and that incarceration is an acceptable alternative to these other 2 more problematic punishments?

  60. I’m so glad the jury didn’t string him up. If they had then over in the UK I would have had three weeks of non-stop bedwetters complaining about how babaric the death sentance is and how the states is no better than Saudi Arabia.

  61. Let’s move on. There’s plenty of jihadis left to kill.

  62. Let’s move on. There’s plenty of jihadis left to kill

    Yeah! Lock and load!

  63. I thought there were libertarians reading this site.

  64. I thought there were libertarians reading this site.

    You thought wrong….

    Apologies. Don’t really mean it. I’m just being a knob.

  65. Or to the Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado (Richard Reid is incarcerated there).
    Originally Supermax prisons were advertised as places to put the out-of-control violent-outburst psycho-style prisoners, but almost immediately they were used for high-profile political prisoners. (FWIW, the FBI profile of ‘bombers’ is one of physical passivity, and the other famous bombers in Supermax have no history of face-to-face violence).

  66. Akira,

    I’m not arguing whether we should have a death penalty or not. I’m simply arguing that the reason you stated above about lynch mobs being wrong applies to any form of punishment. We have decided that the state can do things that individuals cannot do.

    Now, it is worthwhile to debate whether we want the state to have the capability to deprive someone of life, as well as liberty. I have no moral objection to the death penalty for those who truly did commit murder. However, as you and many others point out, it is irreversible, and may not serve as a deterrent. Given the fallibility of our criminal justice system, I have NO problem with saying “You know, in a perfect criminal justice system, I’d be comfortable with the death penalty, but we really just can’t get the level of certainty required to make it work in this system.

    So I’m not in the kill-’em-all-and-let-$deity-sort-it-out camp by any stretch of the imagination. I just had a concern about the lynch-mob argument specifically.

  67. Herrick et al said:
    What would be wrong with having a different standard of guilt necessary for the death penalty than for conviction of murder.

    Well there are varying standards of evidence for various crimes as it is. I certainly have no problem with the idea of creating a ‘super court’ for capitol cases where there are stricter rules of evidence, and more rigorous evidentiary (is that a word?) requirements, and also a much higher public-defense budget. This idea of claiming that an illiterate highschool dropout who’s lawyer is asleep for half the trial and has six other cases going can be said to be sufficiently represented is retarded. We don’t have to go for “no doubt”, but we can still mandate that the prosecution prove more elements beyond reasonable doubt.

  68. Can’t one believe that the problem with the death penalty relates to bad outcomes in cases of mistaken conviction

    My point is that there’s a bad outcome in the case of any mistaken conviction, regardless of the punishment and regardless of whether a punishment is lifted later. Moreover, the death penalty’s not necessarily the worst thing that could happen to you.

    the problem with torture relates to cruelty even in cases of valid conviction

    I agree. That’s the point. The reason we don’t use torture is because it is cruel, not because it’s not “permanent.” The fact that the punishment can be halted doesn’t make it any more desirable — we’d never want to do it in the first place.

    My intent is to call into question the perceived difference in permanence between the death penalty and other punishments. With that difference gone, other reasons must be given for us to avoid the death penalty (as we found reason to avoid torture even though it was not its permanence we disliked).

  69. I heard there’s a book coming out about the trial: “How Zacarias Moussaoui Got Kissed, Got Wild and Got Life.”

  70. ‘America, you lost,’ al-Qaida conspirator says after verdict is read.

    Oh no he didn’t!

    Damn those prosecutors must have been angry after that. Probably went home and kicked their dogs or something.

    I hear he’s heading to the Colorado Supermax. The isolation there will drive him even further insane.

  71. I hear his momma wants him transfered to a prison in France, so that her baby boy won’t have to “live out his life in an American rathole.” When asked about it Attourney General Gonzales did’t wish to speculate on the possibility that he might be allowed to serve his sentence in France.

    I can think of something that could be done to keep him from having to spend his life in “an American rathole” of a prison. I’ll just bet that I can.

  72. “live out his life in an American rathole.”

    Considering the fact that conditions in French prisons are worse that in US prisons it’s unlikely he’d be better off.

    But his mother would be able to visit him.

    It’s probably a non-starter anyway since France doesn’t have a life without parole sentence.

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