Wednesday 3 May 2006

Death eludes the State

Whoops! Missed death

The circus around the Al-Qaeda wannabe moves to the lion handling the whip with the man jumping through hoops of fire.

Everyone who is anyone in authority would hold a press conference to commend first, and praise each other to the point of immodesty. We would suffer the back-slapping and the roll call of names of no particular significance jostling for recognition to the point of extreme boredom. Phew!

Zacarias Moussaoui, they claim had an inside on 9/11 as he was arrested on immigration charges weeks before the event; the case was built around the view that he had knowledge of an event that the authorities might have been able to prevent.

The authorities were awash with other bits of knowledge they could have acted on but they were found wanted – Moussaoui, it would appear afterwards might have had less than a bit part or scant knowledge of the events.

Death becomes the state

What is most interesting and might be the turning point in the American polity is the whole weight of the federal government and prosecution was for the imposition of the death penalty.

There was a separate hearing to determine if the death penalty should feature in sentencing, which was almost derailed but some underhand activities by a member of the prosecution.

The defence team appealed to a greater sense of humanity; the fact that another tragedy of the death of a would-be terrorist would not bring the closure that would assuage the pain of victims but celebrate the death of a martyr to a despicable cause.

It shows that a jury can exercise a greater resolve of conscience than the machine of state which just needs to be seen doing something, even it is not right.

Death is no real justice

In Europe, we have already resolved that no vengeance is served with capital punishment; we hold the sanctity of human life as something to be valued to the point of natural expiration.

It informs why we still have serious ethical issues with euthanasia and abortion.

In the end, a jury voted in the majority and relatives of victims of 9/11 who might be in their rights in to demand the death penalty agreed to the sentence of life imprisonment without possibility of parole.

In some places, his sentence might be considered harsh, in that we are not certain of what knowledge Moussaoui had of 9/11 and if whatever knowledge he had would have helped the government in absolution of their dereliction of responsibility.

Where be the big fish?

More damning, is the fact that this man who has been a media celebrity for 4 and a half years is very small fry compared to the blue whales of the Al Qaeda leadership who frequently remind us that they are still about and sending forth troops for the global jihad.

At large, at peace and at liberty, they mock the global superpower to derision and more so after they could not persuade a jury of 12 to do their bidding.

This, I would say, this is the death knell of the death penalty in America, the people have spoken, I just hope the president and governors are listening.

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