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03/15/2006 Entry: "Stealing great stuff wholesale from Eric Alterman: "Moussaoui is the tip of the dirty iceberg""

The gang that couldn't do anything straight
Moussaoui is the tip of the dirty iceberg
Altercation

ē March 15, 2006 | 2:39 PM ET | Permalink (Since when?)

This is too easy. Did they think that nobody was paying attention? They've lost Bin Laden, screwed up Afghanistan, completely wrecked Iraq, destroyed our fiscal future, left us completely vulnerable on homeland security, ignored the threats to New Orleans, messed up its recovery, thrown science out the window, attacked our civil liberties, undermined freedom of the press, you know the drill. Why is anyone surprised that they are both incompetent and dishonest when it comes to seeking justice for the terrorist murder of thousands of Americans? Take a look a this L.A. Times report on the screw-ups that preceded the Moussaoui Case. Here are some highlights:

The government has seen juries reject high-profile terrorism charges, judges throw out convictions because of mistakes by the prosecution and the FBI suffer the embarrassment of wrongly accusing an Oregon lawyer of participating in the 2004 Madrid train bombings.
...
On several occasions, top administration officials have promised more than they delivered. For example, then-Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft announced in 2002 that Jose Padilla, a Bronx-born Muslim, had been arrested on suspicion of "exploring a plan to build and explode a radiological dispersion device, or 'dirty bomb,' in the United States."

Padilla was held nearly four years in a military brig without being charged. This year, as his lawyers appealed his case to the Supreme Court, the administration indicted him in Miami on charges of conspiring to aid terrorists abroad. There was no mention of a "dirty bomb."

In May 2004, the FBI arrested Brandon Mayfield, an Oregon lawyer and Muslim convert, saying that his fingerprint was on a bag containing detonators and explosives linked to the Madrid train bombings that had killed 191 people two months before. The former Army officer was held as a material witness even though officials in Spain considered the fingerprint evidence inconclusive.

Mayfield was freed after almost three weeks in custody and received an apology from the FBI, which blamed the misidentification on a substandard digital image from Spanish authorities.

In other instances, prosecutors took cases to court that proved to be weak:

* A computer science student in Idaho was accused of aiding terrorists when he designed a website that included information on terrorists in Chechnya and Israel. A jury in Boise acquitted Sami Omar Al-Hussayen of the charges in June 2004.

* A Florida college professor was indicted on charges of supporting terrorists by promoting the cause of Palestinian groups. A jury in Tampa acquitted Sami Al-Arian in December.

* Two Detroit men arrested a week after the Sept. 11 attacks were believed to be plotting a terrorist incident, in part based on sketches found in their apartment. A judge overturned the convictions of Karim Koubriti and Abdel-Ilah Elmardoudi after he learned that the prosecutor's key witness had admitted lying to the FBI, a fact the prosecutor had kept hidden.

Here's the beauty part:

In a recent report on its terrorism prosecutions, the Justice Department called Moussaoui's decision last year to plead guilty to conspiracy charges one of its leading successes.

----

Sorry, Eric, but this was too good not to quote all of it.

Posted by Ginger Mayerson

 

 

 

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