Not what anyone really expected…

Even if there were actually more shocking things happening in the past week or so, or things at least as worthy of our attention, there is something quite revolting about someone, for whatever reason, deciding that blowing up a fun run/marathon is somehow a good idea. I will never get it, despite all the “explanations” that are coming forward now.


Hard to credit.  After the capture of the boy shown above President Obama had this to say. I highlight the part that has received less emphasis in the media because to me it is one of the most important parts of Obama’s speech.

One thing we do know is that whatever hateful agenda drove these men to such heinous acts will not — cannot — prevail.  Whatever they thought they could ultimately achieve, they’ve already failed.  They failed because the people of Boston refused to be intimidated.  They failed because, as Americans, we refused to be terrorized.  They failed because we will not waver from the character and the compassion and the values that define us as a country.  Nor will we break the bonds that hold us together as Americans.

That American spirit includes staying true to the unity and diversity that makes us strong — like no other nation in the world.  In this age of instant reporting and tweets and blogs, there’s a temptation to latch on to any bit of information, sometimes to jump to conclusions.  But when a tragedy like this happens, with public safety at risk and the stakes so high, it’s important that we do this right.  That’s why we have investigations.  That’s why we relentlessly gather the facts.  That’s why we have courts.  And that’s why we take care not to rush to judgment — not about the motivations of these individuals; certainly not about entire groups of people.

And speaking of tweets, you may be interested in Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s Twitter – it appears to be genuine – and in one of his friends. This is the friend:

  1. Junes @xXjungaXx19m

    Just got news that jahar is up and is being questioned already. Pretty sure he don’t have his lawyer next to him. #bullshit

  2. Junes @xXjungaXx19m

    He’s only a SUSPECT and he’s a US citizen why you taking his rights away? #bullshit

Compare our ABC’s Profile: the Boston bombing suspects and from The Sydney Morning Herald Boston bombing suspect ‘may never be able to talk’.

This story looks at the alleged Australian connection.

In a few months, starting last August, the YouTube account in the name of Tamerlan Tsarnaev took on an increasingly puritanical religious tone. It moved from secular militancy to Islamist certainty.

Some of the content Tamerlan viewed included videos of speeches by controversial Sydney Muslim Sheikh Feiz Mohammed.

NSW Police Deputy Commissioner Catherine Burns on Sunday said her unit had been contacted by him after the contents of the YouTube page were revealed.

”We don’t hold a concern at this particular point in time,” she said.

”Sheikh Feiz Mohammed was very clear in condemning the attacks in Boston and he also did say that he does not know the people involved, nor has he had any contact with them.’

On the Chechen connection see The Roots of Chechen Rage, Portrait of a Chechen Jihadist, and The Invisible War. Note however Caucasus jihadist group denies involvement in Boston attacks. All of those are from Foreign Policy, a source I have found good in the past.

Finally – and a similar point was made last Friday on the excellent Planet America – see Americans Are as Likely to Be Killed by Their Own Furniture as by Terrorism. Just for perspective.

Although I invite you to read the entire thirty-one page report, there are a few points worth highlighting that notably contrast with the conventional narrative of the terrorist threat:

  • “The total number of worldwide attacks in 2011, however, dropped by almost 12 percent from 2010 and nearly 29 percent from 2007.” (9)
  • “Attacks by AQ and its affiliates increased by 8 percent from 2010 to 2011. A significant increase in attacks by al-Shabaab, from 401 in 2010 to 544 in 2011, offset a sharp decline in attacks by al-Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI) and a smaller decline in attacks by al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al-Qa’ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).” (11)
  • “In cases where the religious affiliation of terrorism casualties could be determined, Muslims suffered between 82 and 97 percent of terrorism-related fatalities over the past five years.” (14)
  • Of 978 terrorism-related kidnapping last year, only three hostages were private U.S. citizens, or .003 percent. A private citizen is defined as ‘any U.S. citizen not acting in an official capacity on behalf of the U.S. government.’ (13, 17)
  • Of the 13,288 people killed by terrorist attacks last year, seventeen were private U.S. citizens, or .001 percent. (17)