Saturday, July 19, 2003

Of little lies and BIG lies:
The Justice Department last week refused to produce Ramzi bin al-Shibh, the “high level” Al-Qaida operative the Feds say they have in custody, for questioning by 911 suspect Zacarias Moussaoui in an extraordinary defiance of a judge's order that could see Zacarias walk.

You have to hand it to U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema, the Alexandria, Va.-based trial judge in the case. She has been dogged in her efforts to see that justice is done for the only U.S. defendant to arise from Sept. 11 attacks. Moussaoui has repeatedly claimed that Ramzi bin al-Shibh can clear him, a claim back up in a video tape by Ramzi himself, prior to his alleged arrest.

The exchange, which the government is desperately trying to stop, met with the usual mumbo jumbo “it would involve an admitted and unrepentant terrorist (the defendant) questioning one of his Al-Qaida confederates, would necessarily result in the unauthorized disclose of classified information.” Brinkema has ruled that Moussaoui, who is representing himself, should be allowed to question Ramzi bin al-Shibh via a satellite hookup from the “unknown location where he is being interrogated”.

So what’s the problem here? There is no threat to national interest and video conferencing has been used many times in high profile trials. The problem is that Ramzi bin al-Shibh is not in custody.