They finally read Dzhokhar Tsarnaev his Miranda rights and appointed him a lawyer. He’s been accused of using a weapon of mass destruction in the Boston bombings. Ironically, Pres. Obama will face no such charge for the 3,000 Muslims he’s ordered killed in countries throughout the Middle East and Africa. Of course, I believe the alleged Boston bomber should face his day in court and punishment if found guilty. But what irks me is that there will never be accountability for those with far more power and far more lethal weapons at their disposal.
As I wrote here a few days ago, after earning the disdain of at least one of my long-time readers and supporters, FBI questioning elicited from Dzhokhar Tsarnaev that the motivation for the alleged terror attack involved the U.S. targeting of Muslim throughout the Middle East. The brothers, according to reports, had come under the sway of radical Islamist elements. His family has invoked a mysterious character named Misha, an alleged Armenian convert to Islam, who radicalized them. It’s hard to tell whether this is a true story or something concocted to transfer agency for the terror acts onto another party than their son.
The younger brother also told his interrogators that the internet played an instrumental role in their alleged crimes. They read the Al Qaeda online magazine, Inspire, which offered a recipe for making bombs out of pressure cookers. They participated in online Russian-Chechen forums and maintained YouTube accounts offering radical Islamist videos.
This teaches us that just as social media have enabled democracy and constructive values to make great strides in the world, the online world can offer fuel to the imbalanced as well. Without the digital revolution of the past two decades this blog could not exist. The Arab Spring might never have happened–or certainly not in the form it did. But four people in Boston might be alive as well and 200 injured might be whole.
It’s our job to the best of our ability to ensure that these gifts that the web offers are used carefully and responsibly. They have the power to do great good and evil.
Earlier, I reported that the Russian intelligence agency had conveyed to the FBI its suspicions that the elder Tsarnaev brother had embraced radical Islam. After what appears to have been a rather cursory investigation, he was given a clean bill of health. The FBI tried to throw the blame back at the FSB by saying after they investigated they asked it for further evidence to support its allegations. As none was forthcoming, they closed their case.
They’ve also argued that once they found no evidence of a terror threat that they were legally bound to desist from investigating him further. From what I know about such matters, that appears to be a smokescreen. Yes, it’s important to protect the rights and privacy of law-abiding citizens. But given his subsequent acts, it appears Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a terrorist in the making.
There are also reports that the unsolved murder of Tsarnaev’s best friend and two others, one of whom was a known drug dealer, may’ve been his work. The throats of the victims were slashed and marijuana was strewn all over their bodies. That strikes me as the possible act of someone who was deeply offended by the drugs and drug culture his friend might’ve entered. From his other rants against the Cambridge mosque where he worshiped, we know he was capable of fits of rage against those who violated his sense of morality and Muslim propriety. Though one of the victims was his best friend, he never attended the funeral. To be clear, this is speculation at this point. But it is suggestive.
He left for Russia only a few weeks after the killings.
As a result of the FSB warning, the CIA added Tsarnaev to a terror watch list, the Telegraph reported (and the NY Times as well) today:
The main US counterterrorism agency added Tamerlan Tsarnaev to its watch list at the request of the CIA more than a year before the bombings in Boston, it has emerged.
The move came after Russian officials contacted the CIA in 2011 concerned that Tsarnaev was becoming more radicalised and could be planning to travel overseas. As a result the CIA asked that his name be put on a database run by the National Counterterrorism Center, the Washington Post reports.
The database feeds a series of US government watch lists, including the “no fly” list and the FBI’s main terrorist database, but it appears Tsarnaev was not tracked because the list was too large.
…Last night Senator Saxby Chambliss, the vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, claimed that Russia had actually warned US officials about Tsarnaev not once, but twice.
The Times report offers even more evidence of something falling through the cracks regarding this case:
The picture emerging Wednesday was of a counterterrorism bureaucracy that had at least four contacts with Russian spy services about Mr. Tsarnaev in the year before he took a six-month trip to Russia in 2012, but never found reason to investigate him further after he returned, or at any time before last week’s attacks in Boston that killed 3 people and injured more than 260.
There appear to have been a number of intelligence failures in this case. But I want to make clear that I do not share the Republican rush to condemn the FBI in order to associate this case with the impending immigration reform debate. The fact that Chechen immigrants may’ve become domestic terrorists should not derail the efforts to allow millions of others to earn the right to become U.S. citizens.
This shows how primitive counter-terrorism really is. Seems like the guy logged onto radical sites, held extreme views on his youtube account, and an IP trace landed him on a watch list. There’s probably millions of people on these lists, all more impossible than the next to keep an eye on.
So people who don’t talk on the phone and don’t use the internet, who’s going to tag them? This ‘war’ just can’t be won.
Richard Silverstein says
700,000 people are currently on the terror watch list.
What’s with this WMD talk? Has a term once regarded (by me) as reserved for Nukes, Chemical and Biological Weapons, now being applied to hand grenades? QUESTION: What weapon is NOT a “WMD” these days? Has the law been re-written? Indeed, IS THERE a statute that defines WMD? Wazzat? Is the bunker-buster bomb Israel wants to blow up Iranian nuke factories also a “WMD”? Does the USA supply the world with “WMD”s? Etc.
Richard Silverstein says
Apparently, terror attacks involve charges of use of WMD. It has more to do with the nature of the attack itself rather than the level of weaponry involved.
What do you make of this? http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/04/was-boston-bomber-radicalized-at-u-s-sponsored-workshop-on-creating-instability-and-extremism.html
There are also suggestions that the brothers’ Uncle Ruslan is connected with the CIA.
And this from Sibel Edmonds: http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2013/04/24/boston-terror-updates-developments-april-24-2013/
K Renner says
Someone should tell Peter King that his policy of spying on mosques and anyone who looks “obviously Muslim” is a pathetic failure. He should resign.
Mary Hughes-Thompson says
“The database feeds a series of US government watch lists, including the “no fly” list and the FBI’s main terrorist database, but it appears Tsarnaev was not tracked because the list was too large.”
My nephew and his wife were travelling to the U.S. from England with their 3 year old son and 11 year old daughter a few years ago. It appears the 3 year old has the same name as someone on the no-fly list – James Alexander Thompson. Jamie and his sister and parents were delayed for over an hour until somebody with a brain agreed it was unlikely he was a terrorist.
i dont think it reasonable to believe such explanations when every single case involving “terrorism” since 9-11 in America has involved extensive FBI involvement.
not only do they never let go but they “guide” the entire affair always there to offer a helping hand.
people can read the history of all these cases and decide for themselves if it is a plausible excuse.
reasonable people should no longer accept the excuses of these agencies that want you to believe they are doing there job except that when they dont do their job they really were just doing their job.
it doesnt add up when they expect you to believe people are killing themselves in an Israeli security cell or when a couple of brothers out-wit the entire American security apparatus to plant bombs even though the CIA FBI AND homeland security were well aware of them.