So, whenever Israel kills a bunch of Palestinians, they claim it's in response to suicide bombings, right? That's a great plan. I'm sure it doesn't just contribute to the cycle of violence and despair the whole region is locked into.
Well, anyway, the Israeli military has killed over 25 Palestinians, including children, in four different military raids over the last two weeks, the most recent being incursions into Gaza yesterday that resulted in 13 deaths (all Palestinian). But these were not in response to any attacks or suicide bombings; things have been very quiet recently.
So, does this mean that the next 25 people killed by suicide bombers are freebies? Just wondering.
More good news for lovers of justice: a German court today made the first-ever September 11th-related conviction, finding a young man named Mounir el-Motas'sadeq guilty of financially aiding and abetting Mohammed "Fireproof Passport" Atta and a couple of other 9/11 hijackers. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison, the maximum sentence allowable under German law.
Of course, there were a few...er...hiccups:
- El-Motas'sadeq was convicted on the strength of testimony by two other men. Under new anti-terrorism legislation in Germany (nearly identical to that contained in the USA-PATRIOT Act), the evidence was entered secretly, and while the judge and the prosecution was allowed to see it, the defense was not. This, shall we say, slightly hindered their ability to defend their client.
- The defense attorneys claimed that a third man could offer evidence that refuted that of the first two men and would exonerate their client, and requested that he be brought to Germany to testify. He needed to be brought to Germany because he is currently in detention here in the United States, although he has not been given access to an attorney or been informed of the charges or evidence against him. The United States government flatly refused to allow him to travel to Germany to testify. El-Motas'sadeq's attorneys then asked if he could be allowed to give written or videotaped testimony. This request was also refused.
- German law allows the families of victims to give testimony at a trial. The prosecution flew over the families of the World Trade Center attacks; several members of the family took the stand to call el-Motas'sadeq a "murderer". One woman who lost her husband in the attack later confessed that she didn't know who the defendant was or even what he was charged with; the prosecutors simply told them that he was connected with the 9/11 hijackers. The defense, of course, was not allowed to present evidence to the families. This set up a curious continuum in which a single person who might have offered evidence that would free the defendant was NOT allowed to testify, while a group of people who were largely ignorant of the case against him WERE allowed to testify.
I'm trying not to waste a lot of anger on this case, because I have a feeling that we're going to see a lot more just like it.
Really, I'm going for a sort of Ignatius - Reilly - as - played - by - Vincent - D'Onofrio - in - an - Orson - Welles - production - of - a - screenplay - written - by - Philip - Dick - with - music - by - the - Paranoids - from - Thomas - Pynchon's - 'The - Crying - of - Lot - 49' - as - interpreted - as - a - stage - play - with - visual - effects - by - Penn - Jillette - and - set - design - by - Henry - Darger - as - seen - by - Bob - Black - while - he's - working - off - a - drunken - bender - he - took - with - Alan - Moore - and - Dave - Thomas - from - Pere - Ubu - during - which - they - saw - Andy - Kindler - at - a - shitty - comedy - club - where - Abe - 'Kid - Twist' - Reles - and - Ron - 'The - Hedgehog' - Jeremy - were - working - part - time - as - bartenders - but - it - was - hard - to - hear - anything - because - Steve - Albini - was - working - the - boards - and - the - headliner - was - supposed - to - be - George - Carlin - but - he - cancelled - because - he - ended - up - spending - the - weekend - at - Gore - Vidal's - place - in - Italy - so - at - the - last - minute - they - got - Hermann - Goering's - reanimated - corpse - to - fill - in - for - him thing.