Boston Marathon Bombings’ Guilty Verdict Exposed as a Gross Travesty of Justice
By Joachim Hagopian
Global Research, April 11, 2015
With the official government narrative of the 9/11 attack filled with a plethora of lies that have since been subsequently exposed, the next biggest “war on terror” event on US soil that the feds failed to stop was the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. And now the lone living suspect from that horrific crime that killed three people, left 17 limbless and injured 264 victims (though that number’s been accused of being purposely inflated) has now been found guilty of all 30 counts after the jury’s 11 hour deliberation earlier this week. As we mark the second anniversary of this tragic event and the second and final phase of the trial beginning on Monday that will decide the fate of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev – whether he’ll live out the rest of his life in prison or be put to death, a critical review of preceding events and developments surrounding his high profile, extremely significant case seems both timely and much needed.
Despite Dzhokhar Tsarnaev pleading not guilty to the 30 counts (17 carrying the death penalty) he was charged within a week after the April 15th bombings last year, his lead defense attorney Judy Clark several days ago conceded to the jury that her client was guilty in her closing argument. Apparently blaming the dead brother whose due process was denied became Dzhokhar’s only defense strategy. The defense team insisted that he was coerced and bullied by his older brother into committing alleged acts of terrorism. Considering no real solid proof other than photos placing Dzhokhar and older brother Tamerlan both wearing backpacks at the scene of the crime where the two bombs exploded was even presented at the trial, no justice for either the Tsarnaevs nor the many victims can possibly come from this guilty verdict.
If the purpose of the US judicial system in criminal trials is to ensure that all factual evidence surrounding an alleged crime or crimes be accurately and fairly presented so that the jurors can properly assess the best semblance of the truth as presented by both prosecution and defense in order for the jury to adjudicate and decide a defendant’s true guilt or innocence, this trial was a complete travesty of justice. And if a basic tenet of the justice system in the United States holds that a defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty, then again this verdict outcome is an obscene farce and a shameful joke exposing America’s justice system for its gross injustice. Just as the 9/11 commission failed to adequately address and answer dozens of questions that its official narrative failed to deliver, and years earlier the Warren Commission failed JFK and America, so does the prosecution’s case of evidence of Tsarnaev’s guilt fail to be convincing, much less provide definitive and unequivocal proof that the 21-year old Chechen American with his brother committed the Boston Marathon crimes.
And the prime reason why is that so much of the testimony and so called evidence was based on the FBI and local law enforcement’s dishonest versions of events that were based near exclusively on the government’s one star witness’s faulty, changeable, non-credible accounting of events. The identity of this sole witness that even through the trial was never revealed, testified in court by his fake name “Danny.” Later it was learned that Danny’s real name was Dun Meng. A Chinese national finishing his masters at Northeastern University in engineering, during his alleged carjacking, Meng claimed that the deceased brother Tamerlan confessed that he and his younger brother were responsible for both the Marathon bombings as well as the murder of the MIT campus policeman.
Throughout his trial testimony, the key witness maintained constant eye contact with what seemed almost like his handler, Northeastern University criminology professor James Fox. Fox clearly acted as Meng’s coach and gatekeeper ensuring that Fox would be present in a tentative interview with WhoWhatWhy journalist Russ Baker though it turned out Fox made sure it never happened. In a television interview with the immigrant gas station attendant that Meng ran to when he escaped, it was Fox once again guarding his henhouse, making sure the attendant stayed on script, an odd role for a criminology professor. But in a case where the entire story was badly scripted by the feds, necessitating absolute control over all outgoing information to the public, Professor Fox was merely playing his part. And that part also included state propagandist. Samplings from articles he wrote for the Boston Globe, starting with his response to the difficulty of finding a cemetery that would accept Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s body, he wrote:
I truly understand and appreciate why many folks want nothing to do with the corpse of a man who apparently hated America and our way of life… If and when Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were scheduled to die, his name and image would be plastered all over the news, further increasing his undeserved celebrity in the minds of those on the political fringe who view our government as evil and corrupt… The bombing seems to have been an attack against American life, not specifically American lives. Those killed and injured were unfortunate surrogates of the intended target: America and the freedoms we enjoy.”
When the strength of the state’s evidence to convict and execute a man relies solely on one incognito witness whose tightly controlled testimony repeatedly kept changing depending on whom he talked to, how can a guilty verdict be considered legitimate or fair? Virtually the entire guilt or innocence of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev rested on what this one alleged witness claimed, yet he kept changing his story on numerous occasions despite his gatekeeper’s best intentions.
The other so called incriminating evidence used against Dzhokhar was a bogus, totally unbelievable written confession that he is purported to have written in the dark on the inside wall of the boathe was hiding out in. Dzhokhar was supposedly laying there nearly bleeding to death from the alleged gunshot exchange with police a few hours earlier. Yet on video footage the young man is seen emerging unassisted from the boat appearing bloodless and uninjured only to be admitted minutes later to the emergency hospital room in critical condition suffering from a deeply sliced neck wound that prevented him from speaking for weeks. How did that happen while in police custody? And that came after a swarm of police shot a slew of bullet holes into the boat while Tsarnaev supposedly lay there gravely injured.
Just as the French authorities made sure that no prisoners were allowed to be taken alive in the alleged Hebdo Paris crime spree in January, nor in Osama bin Laden’s alleged execution in Pakistan in 2011, nor in the JFK assassination, that barrage of gunfire into that boat by FBI and/or local police was also intended to kill the only suspect. That way the government’s complicity, criminal involvement and subsequent cover-up would have conveniently been eliminated – wiped clean of any messy complications in the form of a suspect trial and the truth inadvertently leaking out. So the US government proceeds with a pseudo-trial that kept the defendant silent and unable to ever present his side of the story. In effect, he may as well have been silenced by the bullets intended to kill him.
Another of the dozens of discrepancies in this case is over how and when older brother Tamerlan actually died. A series of photos of a naked and handcuffed Tamerlan were taken as the police placed him into custody and inside a patrol car. Both CNN and the Boston Globe reported that Tamerlan was alive in police custody. Yet the feds’ official line was that after the brothers robbed a 7-Eleven, Tamerlan was killed in the Watertown shootout with the police while Dzhokhar backed the car over him as he made his temporary getaway. It can only be one or the other. The photos don’t lie. Cops do.
For so many incredulous inconsistencies to actually be accepted as convincing “evidence” while so many discrepant facts directly contradict state evidence, and then the “no questions asked” defense and mainstream media throughout the trial passively swallowing it hook, line and sinker in its rush to convict Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (trial being over in less than a month with 95 witnesses) is utterly preposterous and again, a complete and total miscarriage of justice. For nearly two years all the potential defense witnesses were constantly harassed, deported, jailed, and even killed, thus, virtually silencing any chance of a fair defense for Dzhokhar.
But then the propaganda lies built into this case from the start were designed to convict the brothers as the patsy fall guys all along. Going back to the JFK assassination and Lee Harvey Oswald, every false flag operation has its unwitting stooges who are used by the feds as props to take the sole blame. From President Obama to the FBI to their propagandist presstitutes, they were all publicly weighing in their guilty verdicts no sooner than the release of the photos that within days of the bombings identified the two brothers as the only prime suspects, thus prejudicing the entire case, effectively swaying Americans into believing that the one suspect still alive was guilty long before his trial ever began. And we know based on both Obama and the FBI’s track records that they both are constantly lying through their teeth and obviously cannot be trusted. The overwhelming majority of American citizens per last August’s CNN poll, an all-time high of 87%, of Americans simply do not trust their own government, knowing that they are constantly being lied to every day. And with so many blatant holes in the state’s case, anyone half aware and informed of what’s been allowed to go down in the Boston Marathon bombings case would be near 100% certain that the government is once again producing an over-the-top false narrative designed to hide its own criminality. But then the US federal government’s become a militarized dictatorship, part of an international crime cabal that uses state propaganda as effectively as the Nazis ever did.
All kinds of unexplained anomalies are rampant throughout this case. A number of paid mercenaries from Craft International, a paramilitary private security contractor out of Texas (not unlike notorious Blackwater/aka Xe/aka Academi) were also spotted in photos wearing those same black colored government-issued-like backpacks. The question of whether any of them laid their backpack and its contents on the ground never quite came up in the trial. Apparently these guys were part of a Homeland Security training exercise that just happened to be training at the exact same time and place as the so called terrorists on that Boston Marathon day. Think about those odds, kind of like America’s entire national air defense on 9/11 conveniently being absent, purposely diverted to training exercises in the Atlantic just so the 9/11 false flag could be executed as planned. In Boston the unmistakable heavy presence of the military and special ops personnel assembled en-masse instantly on the scene after the marathon explosions is yet another giveaway indicating that the feds had something if not everything to do with this tragedy.
Clearly it was a training exercise alright, Bostonians was used as a guinea pig litmus test for assessing how a large US urban population of over a million people would react to a first practice, simulation dry-run of martial law in America, conveniently prepping us for what’s to come. The 2012 National Defense Authorization Act upheld by the US Supreme Court a year ago now permits the US military to invade our homes without warrant, arrest us without charges, and imprison us indefinitely without trial, legal representation or due process. After the marathon bombings the feds’ stand down order issued over an expansive, densely populated metropolitan area to remain in their homes while a massive police state-army dressed and armed for war against its own people without warrants entered thousands of homes with automatic weapons drawn in the largest, monster-scale manhunt in US history searching for one teenager from a family with whom the feds were already very familiar.
Perhaps the most respected independent news team that’s been diligently investigating the Boston Marathon bombings the last two years – WhoWhatWhy – has asserted that older brother Tamerlan was most likely an FBI informant. Through court motions last year Dzhokhar’s defense team submitted evidence that the FBI had approached the older Tsarnaev brother in an effort to recruit him to spy on his fellow Boston Chechen and Muslim community. The US intel community has a verifiably long history both here and around the globe of seeking out troubled youth and young people like the Tsarnaevs as informants in its worldwide clandestine operations.
The FBI and CIA’s common misuse of paying informants to entrap others globally into joining plots of terrorism was well documented in researcher-author Trevor Aaronson’s book The Terror Factory: Inside the FBI’s Manufactured War on Terrorism. Between 9/11 and 2011 he confirmed that 508 defendants were recruited by informants paid up to $100,000 in multiple sting operations. In fact, in all but only three high profile cases were the FBI and their informants not involved. Again, this demonstrates that the US government’s calling card around the world reads “Terrorism-R-US,” just another M.O. for squandering hard earned taxpayer dollars to keep its invented “war on terror” very much ongoing and alive forever.
What seems most probable are efforts by the FBI to recruit Tamerlan to become a snitch in the neocons’ self-serving war on terror. Yet this piece of crucial evidence has been purposely withheld from all court proceedings and MSM’s dubious, half-ass coverage. 26-year old Tamerlin was a down on his luck, unemployed boxer whose dream of Olympic gold had been shattered, married to a nurse’s aide working 60 hours a week to make ends meet. Yet WhoWhatWhy states that just two days prior to the bombings, Tamerlan could afford sending his mother in Russia $900 cash along with paying for the backpacks (or were they government issued?), ammunition and bomb-making materials. Yet this critical piece of information was also prohibited from further inquiry during the trial.
Of course the FBI predictably denied any Tsarnaev solicitation to become an informant. Prior to last month’s trial, the US Circuit Court judge presiding over the case explicitly ordered that the brother’s involvement with FBI not be allowed to enter his courtroom during the trial. It remains to be seen if Judge George A. O’Toole will permit the defense to present this critical information during the upcoming sentencing phase. Because the government has so much to hide and has failed to address so many discrepancies in the case for obvious high stakes reasons, it probably won’t be included, which of course only reinforces what many of us already know, that this trial is but a sham for police state propaganda and truth suppression.
Of all the receipts for typical everyday items purchased, the only receipts found in Tamerlan’s pockets were receipts for his self-incriminating bomb-making materials. That’s almost like finding the unblemished passport belonging to the lead 9/11 box-cutter a couple blocks from the towers’ ashes the day after, or the Hebdo gunman’s wallet with ID left carelessly on purpose in the cab so those terrorists could instantly be identified. This calling card pattern smacks of yet another inside job rendition with the same shabby, grubby fed fingerprints carelessly smudged all over it.
Another inconsistent weakness in the prosecution’s case was the sophistication required for making the “pressure-cooker” bombs used at the marathon. Supposedly Tamerlan learned off an al Qaeda internet website where the article’s authors mention the directions being beyond the scope of a novice. Throughout the trial, the prosecution team would go back and forth promoting the notion of the bombs’ complexity whenever it served their purpose. For example, as the reason used to justify the FBI interrogating Dzhokhar for two days straight without reading him his Miranda rights, the FBI suspected that others were also involved, partially based on the bombs seeming more than homemade-like. Yet whenever it would come up as a reason to mitigate seeking the death penalty, the notion of lone wolves would get drummed home every time.
The traces of bomb materials in Tamerlan’s apartment underwent the same flip floppy logic as a transparent prosecution ploy used to convict the younger brother. Three times the feds changed their tune on traces of the bomb material being found in the apartment and whether the brothers had outside help or not. These discrepancies consistently went unchallenged by the defense during the trial as if pre-scripted to let the shady government off the hook in its back and forth rendition of “truth,” protecting the feds’ cover-up lies of discrepancy in order to allow the US government to get away with its incriminating part.
The one thread of unfailing consistency throughout this entire two year story is the constant inconsistencies and the countless conspicuously avoided bottom line questions that smack of inside cover-up. Initially the Tsarnaevs were not the suspects. Apparently once the photos of the Tsarnaev brothers at the Boston Marathon were made public asking for help in identifying their names, overheard on a Boston police scanner and then scooped up immediately by social media network sources, the names Mike Mulugeta and Sunil Trapathi were erroneously identified as the suspects. The fact that the FBI knew who the two men in those photos were because they had previous dealings with them enough to place them on a no fly list, the FBI willfully lied to America pretending it needed the public’s assistance to identify them. And then the police put out false names of innocent people as suspects. Mike Mulugeta reportedly was shot dead though any actual accounts confirming his death are completely absent. However, East Indian American and Brown University student Sunil Trapathi who had been reported missing since mid-March was found floating face down in pond water in Providence, Rhode Island about a week after the Marathon explosions. What little information about his suspicious death was released through his family and the question of whether the death resulted from foul play is still largely unknown.
More bogus, planted propaganda against the brothers shortly after they were identified as the prime suspects was the FBI claim linking them to the triple murder case in Waltham, Massachusetts that took place on September 11th, 2011. Only during the trial did it come out that there existed absolutely no evidence that Tamerlan was involved. Yet the systematic damage of misinformation supporting the brothers’ guilt was already done, ensuring that in the court of public opinion the Tsarnaevs were guilty as charged right from the get-go.
Here the Tsarnaev brothers were supposedly on a no fly list acting as more evidence supporting prior contact with intelligence agencies, yet Tamerlan was permitted to fly to known terrorist hotbed Chechnya and neighboring Dagestan from January 21, 2012 to July 17, 2012. His family members insist he spent his entire time with family, among them a distant cousin who heads a non-violent organization critical of Western policies toward Islam. Yet his visit was used by prosecution as so called evidence that the older brother was “radicalized” there and came home an inspired terrorist seeking revenge on America.
A New York Times article dated April 20, 2013 suggests that Tamerlan was first approached by the FBI in January 2011 after a return trip from Russia. Russian intelligence services that monitored phone calls in Chechnya warned the FBI in March 2011 that Tamerlan was becoming a potential threat. Thus two plus years well in advance of the bombings, the FBI was already cognizant of Tamerlan’s extremist leaning activities. Yet the FBI allowed him to travel yet again to Russia despite being on a no fly list and less than nine months after his return from that final trip abroad, the Boston Marathon bombings occurred. This damning piece of government evidence makes the feds minimally guilty of criminal gross negligence if not actually a criminal accomplice.
Yet another despicable chapter to this tragic saga is the FBI’s murder of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s friend in Florida. Within weeks after the Boston bombings, an unarmed Ibragim Todashev was shot by an FBI agent previously reprimanded for excessive force as an Oakland police officer. Initially the FBI lied about the circumstances, falsely claiming Todashev wielded a knife. The victim’s family is suing the FBI for $30 million. Even after admitting the lie about the victim brandishing a weapon, the Justice Department (overseeing the FBI) and a Florida prosecutor cleared the murdering FBI agent of any wrongdoing. The official government’s response that in effect supports such egregious acts of violence toward innocent civilians strongly indicates that the victim knew too much and the crime syndicate’s answer for people aware of the feds’ evildoing is to systematically assassinate those who might incriminate the federal government. Neutralizing perceived threats is standard operating procedure.
As an aside, the Tsarnaev brothers’ uncle who went public shortly after the bombings blasting his nephews as “losers” was married for several years in the 1990’s to the daughter of well-known CIA career officer Graham Fuller. Fuller is the CIA architect for creating the Mujahedeen movement that fought the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980’s, the same outfit whose leader Osama bin Laden emerged as the so called 9/11 al Qaeda mastermind. Fuller was a committed advocate for using Islamic fundamentalists as US proxy war mercenaries. Another coincidence that the CIA VIP’s son-in-law and his nephews came from Chechnya, a hotspot for separatist Muslim terrorist activity?
Once again the United States government appears to be at least complicit in another state crime against its own citizens… and then applying a media blackout to any real investigative reporting that would ask the dozens of questions to get to the truth. Even the defendant’s legal representation abandoned Tsarnaev’s right to a fair trial, and by co-opting to act in accordance with the government’s “no questions asked” implicitly applied gag-rule, it too is complicit in this heinous crime for neither seeking the truth nor any real justice for either the defendants or the scores of victims. The US crime cabal and its fabricated “war on terror” is perpetuated globally, both on US soil and around the world as an ongoing crime against humanity. The truth behind 9/11 is in-our-face, and so is the truth behind these Boston bombings. The criminals in Washington must pay for their crimes.
Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing and has a blog site at http://empireexposed. blogspot. com/. He is also a regular contributor to Global Research and a syndicated columnist at Veterans Today.
‘The Brothers,’ Masha Gessen’s Book About the Boston Marathon Bombers
By JANET NAPOLITANO APRIL 7, 2015
There is no episode more disturbing and disruptive in Boston’s history than the April 15, 2013, bombing that killed three and injured more than 260 — including 16 who lost limbs. It was followed by a violent, chaotic escape attempt during which an M.I.T. police officer was killed, an exhaustive manhunt took place and the governor ordered those in greater Boston to “shelter in place.” By the time Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving brother of the two bombers, was discovered hiding in a boat dry-docked in a backyard, everyone in the region was touched, either physically or emotionally, by this crime.
As secretary of homeland security, I immediately mobilized the department to assist Boston emergency responders and to work with the F.B.I. to identify the perpetrators. Because the Boston Marathon is an iconic American event, we suspected terrorism, but no group stepped forward to claim credit. Massive law enforcement resources — local, state and federal — had to be organized and deployed so that, within just a few days, we had narrowed the inquiry from the thousands of spectators who had come to cheer on the runners to two, who had come to plant bombs.
Masha Gessen’s “The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy” seeks to explain how Dzhokhar and his older brother, Tamerlan, became the Bombers. The author of previous books about Vladimir Putin and the protest group Pussy Riot, and a Russian immigrant to America herself, Gessen traces the Tsarnaev family’s roots: first as Chechens displaced to Central Asia, where Tamerlan was born; then as a family emigrating back to Chechnya, where Dzhokhar was born. Shortly before Russian planes attacked Chechnya in 1994, the Tsarnaevs fled to Dagestan. From there, they made their way to Boston, where they applied for asylum on the grounds that they were fleeing persecution based on ethnic origin and escaping a war. The Tsarnaevs’ claims, though slightly exaggerated, were typical of Chechens at the time. Upon receiving asylum, the family finally reunited.
Gessen finds no single point in the brothers’ lives at which they were radicalized. Instead, she presents twists and turns that offer vantage points where we can pause and ask, What if? Consider Tamerlan. According to Gessen, Tamerlan’s parents possessed high — perhaps inflated — expectations for him. He failed to meet those expectations, despite glimmers of hope. Once considered an Olympic boxing prospect, Tamerlan was denied the opportunity to compete at nationals because he was not a citizen. He dropped out of community college, married and fathered a daughter. He delivered pizza, drove a van for a nursing home and began dealing pot. There was no American dream for him. Nor was there an American dream for his sisters, both of whom dropped out of high school, entered into bad marriages and were saddled with children as teenagers.
Of all the Tsarnaev offspring, Dzhokhar, the youngest, had the most promise. A naturalized American citizen, he graduated from high school, received a scholarship and enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. At college, he befriended other students who, like him, hailed from Russian-speaking countries. Gessen characterizes him as “the sweet kid, the kid everyone loves.”
Continue reading the main story
The narrative shifts when Tamerlan, in January 2012, returned to Dagestan — ostensibly to renew his Russian passport. Although there has been speculation that Tamerlan was radicalized to the point of jihad in Dagestan, Gessen disagrees. Tracing his activities there, she concludes that “most of what Tamerlan did during his six months in Dagestan was talk.” Sitting at cafes and making critical comments about the United States is a far cry from being an active terrorist in training.
In Massachusetts, Dzhokhar was losing focus and dedicating his time to hanging out and getting stoned with friends. He quit wrestling; his grades slipped. He filled his Facebook page with “posts about girls, food, sleeping habits, the drudgery of college and a couple of sophomoric jokes in Russian.” These were hardly the concerns of a would-be terrorist or a devout follower of the Muslim faith. When he told his friends he knew how to make a bomb and that there were things in the Quran worth fighting for, his friends paid no attention because “Who knew what could come out of the guy’s mouth?”
Upon returning from Dagestan, Tamerlan was somewhat more outspoken, and was twice removed from his mosque for objecting to statements of the imam. In the course of armchair quarterbacking that followed the bombing, it was revealed that the Russian Federal Security Service, known as the F.S.B., had notified the F.B.I. in 2011 about Tamerlan’s presence in the United States. Although criticized for inadequate follow-up, the F.B.I. actually interviewed Tamerlan and other household members at least three times in 2011. Further requests to the F.S.B. for details went unanswered. Other than putting Tamerlan under 24-hour surveillance, it is difficult to ascertain what more the F.B.I. could have done — according to Gessen, Russia routinely presumes all young urban Muslim men to be radical.
This, then, is the opaque backdrop for the Boston bombing: an all-too-common family immigration history, six months of loose talk by one brother and a few offhand comments by the other.
Gessen elides much of the bombing itself, or its impact on the victims. She goes right to its aftermath. For failing to report Dzhokar’s identity to law enforcement after recognizing his image on television and instead disposing of his backpack, Dzhokar’s hapless college friends were charged and convicted of obstructing justice, destroying evidence and making material false statements. As of last month, they face possible sentences ranging from seven years (in a plea bargain) to up to 25 years. Two were also arrested for student visa violations. Gessen aptly entitles this chapter “Everyone Is Going to Jail.”
Up to this point, Gessen’s narrative is straightforward and captivating. In the final chapters, however, the book becomes curiouser and curiouser; Gessen seems to become a conspiracy theorist. She postulates that the F.B.I. recruited Tamerlan as an informant during their visits to the Tsarnaev home in 2011. She then surmises that Tamerlan went rogue and participated in the killing of three friends with whom he dealt marijuana. She goes further, and suggests that after the bombings, the F.B.I. delayed telling Boston law enforcement about Tamerlan’s identity because they wanted to reach him first, kill him and hide his presence as an informant. Gessen likens this alleged behavior to the F.B.I.’s use of sting operations, and she implies that the bureau has been entrapping defendants as opposed to finding real terrorists. And, finally, relying on the words of “several” unnamed explosives experts, she asserts that the Tsarnaevs must have had help constructing the bombs, despite the presence of explicit instructions on the Internet and in Inspire, a jihadist magazine.
It is important that we constantly evaluate law enforcement actions, especially where a terrorist intent is inferred, and where directives such as the one to Bostonians to “shelter in place” can cause the paralysis that terrorism is designed to foster. But evaluation is not the same thing as speculation. Gessen overlooks — and thus fails to credit — the law enforcement agents who scoured hours of videotape looking for possible offenders. The notion of a deliberate F.B.I. cover-up is laughable in light of the number of agents from various departments involved, the sleep-deprived speed with which they were operating and the thousands of images that required review.
There was also a very real concern about misidentifying the perpetrators, especially since a Saudi student and two Moroccans — a runner and his coach — had been mistakenly suspected, with their identities splashed across the press, earlier in the week. Nonetheless, by that Thursday there was sufficient confidence that the images intended for broadcast, known as Black Hat and White Hat, were persons of interest, and very likely the bombers themselves. From that point forward there was a massive manhunt — again contrary to the theory of an F.B.I. cover-up.
For all her primary research, major questions elude Gessen: How and why did the two brothers shift from living somewhat aimless young lives to bombing the marathon? What was the relationship between the brothers? How, when and where was the plot hatched?
When we understand better what causes young men like Tamerlan and Dzhokhar to commit such acts, we will know better how to prevent them. And we must be resilient when such attacks occur, so that life returns to normal as soon as possible.
At this writing, no one knows whether Dzhokhar will receive the death penalty. In any case, what is left of his life will be spent behind bars instead of pursuing the American dream as his parents hoped he would. Meanwhile, last year there were 36,000 runners and a record number of spectators lining the course at the Boston Marathon; a million are expected on April 20. People there called it “Boston Strong.” I call it resilience, that enduring strand of the American fabric that, in the end, will outlast the most dastardly plots against it.
The Road to an American Tragedy
By Masha Gessen
273 pp. Riverhead Books. $27.95.
Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California, is a former secretary of homeland security and a former governor of Arizona.
The case came to trial in June 1921, and lasted for seven weeks. The state's case against the two was almost non-existent. Twelve of Vanzetti's customers (he was working as a fish seller) testified that he was delivering fish to them at the time of the crime. An official of the Italian Consulate in Boston testified that Sacco had been seeing him about a passport at the time. Furthermore, somebody else confessed to the crime and said that neither Sacco nor Vanzetti had anything to do with it.
The judge in the case, Judge Webster Thayer, said of Vanzetti: "This man, although he may not have actually committed the crime attributed to him, is nevertheless morally culpable, because he is the enemy of our existing institutions." The foreman of the jury, a retired policeman, said in response to a friend of his who ventured the opinion that Sacco and Vanzetti might be innocent "Damn them. They ought to hang anyway." Having sentenced the two men to death, the judge boasted to a friend "Did you see what I did to those anarchist bastards the other day?"
Exclusive: Relatives of Boston Marathon Bomber Break Their Silence
Simon Shuster / Grozny @shustry 7:48 PM ET
Members of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's family tell TIME they tried in vain to dismiss his defense lawyers
Throughout the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the 21-year-old who was convicted last week of bombing the Boston Marathon in 2013, his family resisted the urge to speak out publicly in his defense. Tsarnaev’s defense team had advised them not to grant interviews, they say, as it could risk his chances at trial. But when the jury issued its guilty verdict on April 8, convicting him on 17 counts that could each carry the death penalty, some of his relatives decided to go public with their outrage.
On the evening of April 14, three members of the Tsarnaev family met at a café in the city of Grozny, close to their ancestral home in southern Russia, and told a TIME reporter how the trial had torn their family apart, how helpless they felt against what they see as an American conspiracy against them and, above all, how they still hope to convince Tsarnaev to fire his legal team and seek to overturn the verdict on appeal.
“It would be so much easier if he had actually committed these crimes,” says his aunt, Maret Tsarnaeva. “Then we could swallow this pain and accept it.”
But two years after the bombing that killed three people and wounded hundreds near the race’s finish line on April 15, 2013, they still refuse to admit Tsarnaev’s guilt. From their homes in Chechnya and Dagestan, two predominantly Muslim regions of Russia, some of his family members have tried to convince Tsarnaev to fire his court-appointed lawyer, Judy Clarke, who has taken a surprising approach to his defense.
In one of her first arguments before the jury after entering a not-guilty plea, Clarke said that her client is indeed responsible for the “senseless, horrific, misguided acts.” But in committing these crimes, she argued that he was acting under the direction of his older brother, Tamerlan, who was killed in a shootout with authorities soon after the bombing.
This line of defense has outraged many of Tsarnaev’s relatives, who have tried to convince him to dismiss Clarke and ask for a lawyer who will argue his innocence. “Why do we even need defense attorneys if they just tell the jury he is guilty?” his aunt asks. “What’s the point?”
Like many observers of the case in Russia, the Tsarnaev family has claimed that the bombing was part of a U.S. government conspiracy intended to test the American public’s reaction to a terrorist threat and the imposition of martial law in a U.S. city. “This was all fabricated by the American special services,” Said-Hussein Tsarnaev, the convicted bomber’s uncle, tells TIME.
Tsarnaev’s mother, Zubeidat, made similar claims of a conspiracy soon after his arrest, but she seems to have come around since then to the strategy that her son’s lawyers have taken at trial. As a result, the family appears to have suffered a rancorous split. While the brothers’ paternal relatives, who spoke to TIME on Wednesday, have demanded a new legal team, their mother has refused to call for Clarke’s dismissal. “The mother won’t let us do it,” says Hava Tsarnaeva, the brothers’ great-aunt in Chechnya. “She won’t listen to reason.”
Their only real means of pressuring her is through Tsarnaev’s father, Anzor, a native of Chechnya who now lives in neighboring Dagestan. But he seems to have taken his wife’s side on the quality of their son’s defense. “As frightening as it is to admit, Anzor has been his wife’s zombie all his life, from the first day they met,” says his sister, Maret.
In their desperation to reach Tsarnaev during the trial, his paternal relatives have tried sending letters, arranging phone calls and even encouraging a friend to go to the Boston courtroom and cry out to Tsarnaev during a hearing. But all of these efforts failed to reach him, they say, let alone convince him to fire his lawyers.
Their focus now has turned to outside help, primarily from rights activists and international institutions, though these efforts also have little chance of success. On Wednesday, they met with a leading rights activist in Chechnya, Heda Saratova, in the hope of filing an appeal in the case to the European Court of Human Rights. Saratova informed them that the U.S. is not a party to the Court’s founding treaty, and therefore does not accept its jurisdiction.
On hearing the news, Maret Tsarnaeva, the aunt, let out a laugh through her tears. “So I guess the U.S. has really proven its exceptionalism in this case,” she says, bitterly. “It’s a closed circle.” And it leaves his family no choice but to wait for April 21, when the sentencing phase of the trial will consider whether Tsarnaev should face the death penalty or spend the rest of his life in prison.
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