Did Zacarias Moussaoui have anything to do with the attack on the World
Trade Center, and should he face the death penalty in connection with the deaths
of nearly 3,000 Americans?
These questions go the very reason Moussaoui is on trial in a Virginia courtroom,
yet they are largely irrelevant to the trial itself. The real defendant is not
Moussaoui, but the “war on terrorism” and the official fictions
that support it. The trail serves to show that the official version of the events
of Sept. 11, 2001, is accurate; to show that the government is waging and winning
the “war on terrorism”; and to show the American public that justice
is being done in their name.
This show trial, thus, has everything to do with appearance and precious
little to do with facts or justice. Small wonder it appears downright Stalinist.
In one significant sense, the trial of Moussaoui bears a resemblance to the
1938 show trial of Nikolai Bukharin. In short, Bukharin was an old-guard Bolshevik
who vigorously opposed Stalin’s cruelly inefficient collectivization of
agriculture, and favoured the continuation of limited capitalism.
Bukharin, whose stature in the Communist Party rivaled that of Stalin’s,
whose paranoia led to a mass purge of the party ranks beginning in 1936. Party
apparatchiks were arrested on trumped up charges of being terrorists and “right
deviationists,” and forced to denounce themselves and others in infamous
Bukharin was repeatedly denounced at these trials and went on a hunger strike.
In February 1938, he was brought before a meeting of the Central Committee.
As historian Roy Medvedev recounted in his masterful book Let History Judge:
“Stalin let his aides, especially Molotov, take the lead in the denunciation
of Bukharin. When Bukharin declared, ‘I…will not tell lies against
myself,’ Molotov replied: ‘If you don’t confess, that will
prove you to be a fascist hireling. Their press is saying our trials are provocations.
We’ll arrest you and you’ll confess!’ ‘What a trap!’
exclaimed Bukharin returning home.”
At the first session of the trail of Bukharin and two others, the presiding
judge read the indictment. All three admitted their guilt. In fact, throughout
his “trial” Bukharin appeared relaxed and calm as he admitted his
What could have broken Bukharin’s will? Did Stalin promise to spare Bukharin’s
family if he confessed? This is a likely scenario.
The point to this historical digression is two-fold: Bukharin’s “trial”
was a fraud to serve Stalin’s persecutions, and that the accused was persuaded
to deny his earlier protestations of innocence. In these respects, Moussaoui’s
“trial” is similar:
In his written guilty plea, Moussaoui denied having anything to do with the
events of Sept. 11, yet on the stand he claimed that Osama bin Laden selected
him to hijack a plane and fly it into the White House. Both of these statements
cannot be true, so why did Moussaoui change his story? Was he given some inducement?
If he is guilty, why did Carla J. Martin, lawyer for the Transportation Security
Administration, feel the need to tamper with the jury by feeding them trial
transcripts and coaching them on deflecting defence questions? The obsessive
need to convict and execute Moussaoui suggests that his trial serves an ulterior
As anyone who has studied the events of Sept. 11 knows, the following
empirical facts are unambiguous and provable:
the aircraft that hit the Twin Towers did not cause them to collapse;
no passenger jet hit the Pentagon; and
no passenger jet crashed into a field near Shanksville, Penn.
To argue otherwise would require suspension of the laws of physics. Much has
been written about the first two points, so let’s focus on the third because
it bears directly on recent events.
Conveniently, the cockpit voice recorder has turned up, just in time
for jurors to hear the emotional and panicked words of the passengers before
they died. As Paul Koring wrote in the Globe and Mail on April 13:
“Jurors listened yesterday to the terrifying last minutes aboard hijacked
United Airlines Flight 93 as desperate passengers fought al-Qaeda terrorists
but seemed to fail in their quest to get into the cockpit before the Islamic
extremist piloting the big Boeing 757 rolled it and crashed into a field in
Here, Koring directly links the Moussaoui trial with UA Flight 93.
Nothing about this juxtaposition seems to perturb Koring or his editor Stephen
Northfield, both of whom told me that the idea of a mid-air explosion was preposterous
and that a military shoot down could not be covered up. Yet neither of them
could offer a plausible defence for the “official theory.”
Whereas Northfield was simply contemptuous and dismissive, Koring at least
made a valiant effort. He said the presence of debris far from the “crash
site” could be due to the plane breaking up along the flight path.
Possibly, but Indian Lake, where wreckage and human remains were found 2.5
miles away, is not on the flight path. Moreover, witnesses at Indian Lake told
the local press that the falling wreckage was burning. Contrary to both Koring’s
and Northfield’s assertions the press did report eyewitness testimony
and forensic evidence that pointed towards an explosion.
Beyond the reflexive, incurious reporting of “the official version”
the fact that the CVR recording is being made public during the Moussaoui trial
is conspicuous in the extreme. It raises the question of what the FBI was doing
with it for 4.5 years. We know the FBI recovered the flight data recorder, “the
black box,” at 4:50 p.m. on Sept. 13, yet this data still has not been
I don’t know what happened on board UA Flight 93, but I do know that
it has nothing to do with Moussaoui. Given his eccentric behaviour it's hard
to believe anything he says. Until he was forced to wear a stun belt, which
the Globe hasn’t mentioned, he was given to wild outbursts. He frequently
shouts insults at the court after the judge and jury have left. He attacked
his own lawyers for being racist and not looking after his interests.
Moussaoui should not face the death penalty, since the state has no direct
evidence linking him to the Sept. 11 attack; Moussaoui’s own statements
are self-contradictory; and he doesn’t give the impression of being smart
enough to hijack an aircraft.
But then, the “trial” isn’t about him.