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Thread: Breaking: Explosion Reported at Boston Marathon's Finish Line

  1. #651

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    The book sounds as if it might have some interesting new information and documentation. However, from the review, I think the case was even more sinister than she portrays...but at least she seems to be on the right track and perhaps will open some eyes in our society of ostriches.

    April 14, 2017 | James Henry


    New Book Claims FBI Obstructed Justice in Boston Bombing

    Michele McPhee author of Maximum Harm. Photo credit: ForeEdge and Michele McPhee
    Editor’s Note:
    Check in tomorrow for an exclusive WhoWhatWhy conversation with author Michele McPhee.
    ***
    For almost four years, WhoWhatWhy has been a lone voice casting doubt on the FBI’s official narrative of the Boston marathon bombing. Now, investigative journalist and Boston-based ABC news producer Michele McPhee has raised many of the same questions we’ve been asking since two explosions and the subsequent manhunt traumatized New England’s largest metropolitan area.
    In her new book, Maximum Harm: The Tsarnaev Brothers, the FBI, and the Road to the Marathon Bombing, McPhee adds weight to WhoWhatWhy’s skepticism that the feds have fully disclosed their dealings with the Tsarnaevs prior to the 2013 bombing.
    The reason: Many in Boston’s local law enforcement don’t buy it either.
    McPhee, with deep connections to the rank-and-file of Boston area law enforcement, documents an apparent widespread skepticism among many of the cops who were tasked with confronting the violence and bloodshed that week.
    A seasoned crime reporter, McPhee is currently the Boston producer for ABC News In the Brian Ross investigative unit and was formerly the Police Bureau Chief for the New York Daily News where she has covered corruption cases, murders, mobsters and terrorism trials. In Maximum Harm, she uses that experience to lay bare the feds’ interactions with Tamerlan Tsarnaev in the years before the bombing. She comes to some disturbing conclusions.
    Most shocking of all, McPhee claims that the government played a “direct role in creating the monster that Tamerlan Tsarnaev became.”
    In the years since the bombing, WhoWhatWhy has documented a disturbing number of half-truths, reversals, and outright lies that led us to question whether the FBI is telling the truth about what it knew about the Tsarnaevs prior to the bombing.
    But the Bureau, as well as most mainstream news outlets, has consistently discouraged any inquiry that goes beyond the question of whether the Tsarnaev brothers were innocent or guilty.
    No one doubts that the Tsarnaev brothers were guilty — of something. However, like a judge who refuses to admit evidence into a trial that might unduly influence a jury to consider anything beyond simple guilt or innocence, the FBI seems to be taking great pains to stifle any information that would cause the public to question the role of the feds in the events leading up to the tragedy of April 15, 2013.
    Thanks to McPhee’s reporting, it’s now clear that many in Boston’s law enforcement community have the same suspicions.
    Law enforcement officials told her that they suspect “Tamerlan was an informant for the feds… [t]hey believe that he was working for the US government, motivated by the promise of citizenship.” McPhee theorizes that because the government kept denying Tamerlan’s citizenship application, he snapped and went on a murderous rampage.
    The FBI adamantly maintains it had no idea who the bombing suspects were until older brother Tamerlan was killed in a shootout three days after the bombing. Younger brother Dzhokhar was taken into custody the following day after he was found hiding in a dry-docked boat. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 2015 for his participation in the bombing.

    Within hours of the brothers’ identities being made public, their mother told Russian media that the FBI had investigated her son Tamerlan two years before the bombing. The Bureau put out a statement soon after, acknowledging that they had conducted an “assessment” of him in 2011. This was based on a warning from Russia’s Federal security service (known in English by the acronym FSB) that Tamerlan was becoming radicalized.
    It didn’t take long for some observers, including WhoWhatWhy, to point out that Tamerlan Tsarnaev fit the exact description of a prototypical FBI “informant,” a role often played by individuals after having been themselves the target of an FBI investigation. With Tamerlan’s involvement in the bombing, the FBI felt enough pressure to put out a press release denying it had ever used Tamerlan as an informant.
    And yet, McPhee claims “[N]o one really believed the FBI’s denials, especially local law enforcement officials.”
    Law enforcement officials she spoke with believe that Tamerlan was recruited by the feds as early as 2010 and used as an informant to take down a drug running operation between Boston and Portland, Maine, with international connections. And in a bizarre twist, the pistol allegedly used by the brothers to kill MIT cop Sean Collier traces back to that same drug ring.
    McPhee also theorizes that Tamerlan was used by the CIA and/or FSB in a mysterious operation that resulted in the deaths of multiple young men in Dagestan said to be associated with Tsarnaev. This scenario was considered by WhoWhatWhy as well.
    Law enforcement officials also told McPhee that Tamerlan was used as a “mosque crawler” to smoke out radicals in Boston area mosques. “Tamerlan was just the man to infiltrate a mosque that had long been in the crosshairs of federal counterterrorism investigators, law enforcement officials in Massachusetts say privately,” McPhee writes.
    Other questions about Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s prior interactions with law enforcement surfaced not long after the bombing. He was never questioned about a gruesome 2011 triple murder in Waltham, Massachusetts, despite the fact that some of the victims’ friends suspected his involvement and told investigators as much. Brendan Mess, Erik Weissman, Raphael Teken were found nearly decapitated in Mess’s apartment — with marijuana sprinkled all over the bodies and cash scattered about.
    McPhee writes that “seasoned investigators” say Tamerlan was “too valuable as an asset” to be investigated for that murder, even though he was an obvious suspect. The case remained cold until the bombing refocused attention on him.
    Boston Marathon explosions. Photo credit: Aaron “tango” Tang / Wikimedia (CC BY 2.0)

    Although much of this material would likely never have been admitted into the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev — and therefore would not have changed the verdict — it could have certainly raised some questions in the court of public opinion about what kinds of things the national security apparatus is up to in the shadows.
    The book also contains some revelations about the night Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police that beg for further investigation. For one, many of the cops who engaged the brothers in a shootout on Laurel Street in Watertown, Massachusetts, swear they saw two different muzzle flashes, indicating they were being shot at with two different firearms. However, only one firearm was ever recovered.
    Watertown cop Jeffrey Pugliese encountered a still unknown individual in the backyard of one of the houses next to the shootout who appeared to be fleeing the scene. He did not pursue the mystery man at the time because he was focused on neutralizing the shooters. Is it possible this individual was the source of the second muzzle flash? Despite FBI pronouncements to the contrary, it appears possible, even likely, the Tsarnaevs had at least one accomplice.
    Also, carjacking victim Dun Meng told investigators he first saw Dzhokhar emerge from 89 Dexter Avenue, a house around the corner from the scene of the shootout and an area the Tsarnaevs would return to repeatedly that night. After loading their stockpile of bombs into the back of Meng’s Mercedes SUV on Dexter Avenue, the brothers headed back to Cambridge to get gas, at a station where Meng made his escape.
    According to McPhee, some cops suspect that members of a larger cell who may have helped the Tsarnaev brothers lived at 89 Dexter Avenue. When McPhee interviewed the owner of the property days after the shootout, he warned her to watch what she said because “the place is bugged by the FBI,” he said.
    Strangest of all, according to McPhee, two of the residents of 89 Dexter have an uncanny resemblance to both Tamerlan and Dzhokhar. McPhee claims the now infamous “Naked Man,” who many still believe was actually Tamerlan Tsarnaev, but who police claim was just an innocent bystander, lived in the apartment. The other was a Saudi national who looked so much like Dzhokhar that he was taken into custody and questioned for hours. To this day, no one else has been named a suspect.
    As we approach the fourth anniversary of this traumatic event, it’s clear that there are still many unanswered questions and loose threads that federal investigators and the mainstream press, for that matter, seem all too happy to ignore. It’s encouraging to see that many in Boston’s local law enforcement don’t feel the same.
    McPhee’s book is a brave and commendable effort to shed light on some of these questions. We hope it will inspire other law enforcement insiders to come forward with more of the missing pieces of the Boston marathon bombing puzzle.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

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    However, from the review, I think the case was even more sinister than she portrays.
    Yah, like, why were all those Craft International guys doing hanging around the finish line, who vanished right after the bombing?
    "We'll know our disinformation campaign is complete when everything the American public believes is false." --William J. Casey, D.C.I

    "We will lead every revolution against us." --Theodore Herzl

  3. #653

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    I accidentally saw 'Patriot Day' or I think it was called that. I had some time to spare before meeting some one and thought I was going to see some thing like 'Training Day' or some police/spy action drama type thing. It was awful. I decided to stay just to see how bad it was (and I still had all that time to wait any way) Not a thing about the spooky Craft workers. Not a thing about the relationship of the older Tsarnev brother with CIA Graham Fuller. So much not looked at. Total MSM propaganda. Urgh.

    This on the other hand looks good.
    "I think it would be a good idea." Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilization.

    The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.
    Karl Marx.

    "Well, he would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies, 1963, replied Ms Rice Davies when the prosecuting counsel pointed out that Lord Astor denied an affair or having even met her.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Magda Hassan View Post
    I accidentally saw 'Patriot Day' or I think it was called that. I had some time to spare before meeting some one and thought I was going to see some thing like 'Training Day' or some police/spy action drama type thing. It was awful. I decided to stay just to see how bad it was (and I still had all that time to wait any way) Not a thing about the spooky Craft workers. Not a thing about the relationship of the older Tsarnev brother with CIA Graham Fuller. So much not looked at. Total MSM propaganda. Urgh.

    This on the other hand looks good.
    It smells like a modified, limited hangout to me.
    Last edited by Lauren Johnson; 04-15-2017 at 05:20 PM.
    "We'll know our disinformation campaign is complete when everything the American public believes is false." --William J. Casey, D.C.I

    "We will lead every revolution against us." --Theodore Herzl

  5. #655

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lauren Johnson View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Magda Hassan View Post
    I accidentally saw 'Patriot Day' or I think it was called that. I had some time to spare before meeting some one and thought I was going to see some thing like 'Training Day' or some police/spy action drama type thing. It was awful. I decided to stay just to see how bad it was (and I still had all that time to wait any way) Not a thing about the spooky Craft workers. Not a thing about the relationship of the older Tsarnev brother with CIA Graham Fuller. So much not looked at. Total MSM propaganda. Urgh.

    This on the other hand looks good.
    It smells like a modified, limited hangout to me.
    No, I don't think so. I can't say exactly, as I've not read the book, but I think she has understood part of the false-flag events, if not all. It may be a way for most to ease themselves into the horrible reality one foot at a time. It has just gone on sale, so lets see what other reviews it gets from those in the know.
    Last edited by Lauren Johnson; 04-15-2017 at 05:19 PM.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

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    Here's the author's interview on WWW.
    Last edited by Lauren Johnson; 04-16-2017 at 02:05 AM.
    "We'll know our disinformation campaign is complete when everything the American public believes is false." --William J. Casey, D.C.I

    "We will lead every revolution against us." --Theodore Herzl

  7. #657

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lauren Johnson View Post
    Here's the author's interview on WWW.
    Well, after listening to her [and the WWW questioner], I think neither are trying to hide a bigger conspiracy - they only can't see it. That said, they raise enough questions [for the average citizen] to question the validity of the official version and the actions of the FBI [and others]in thwarting solution, rather than 'solving' the crime. She did learn about some of the important false flag aspects and did not pick up on others. She still believes that the system is basically good and even talks about a Congressional investigation - as if that would get to the truth of the matter. FBI, CIA and no doubt others were deeply involved in this before, during, after and IMHO the brothers were used and did not plan and execute the events - or at least not parts of it without being led/misled by the agencies who controlled and monitored them, used them for other operations, mostly outside the USA. So, the book is a 'start' and should sell well in the Boston area. Maybe someone else will write another including the other pieces. To my knowledge no book has yet been done on the entire matter as false-flag, only articles and mostly internet pieces.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  8. #658

    Default A good, but only PARTIAL list of suspicious aspects of the case.....

    JULY 10, 2017 | JAMES HENRY Who.What.Why


    THE FBI’S INCREASINGLY ODD SILENCE ON BOSTON BOMBING

    Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Geoffrey Meyer-van Voorthuijsen / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)
    As another mega-budget Hollywood movie about the Boston Marathon bombing nears release, the mainstream media are finally addressing the many unanswered questions concerning the mastermind of the bombing, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
    And yet — four years after the bombing and two years after Tamerlan’s younger brother Dzhokhar was sentenced to death for his role — the feds still aren’t talking.
    WhoWhatWhy readers will be familiar with most of these open questions:
    How was Tamerlan able to travel back and forth to the country from which he sought asylum in 2012, despite being on multiple terror watchlists?
    Why was he not questioned about the 2011 murder of three of his friends?
    Was Tamerlan working for or manipulated by the feds for some purpose?
    Was the FBI or some other federal agency using Tamerlan’s desire to become a US citizen as leverage?
    Did the Tsarnaevs have help constructing the bombs?
    Was anyone else involved in planning or inspiring the plot?
    As we highlighted in April, ABC News investigative reporter Michele McPhee published a damning exposéwhich documents the suspicion in Boston’s local law enforcement that the FBI is covering up its interactions with Tamerlan Tsarnaev prior to the bombing. McPhee’s investigation led her to conclude that there is indeed an FBI cover-up afoot.
    More recently, WBUR’s (Boston’s NPR station) Meghna Chakrabarti produced an hour-long special titled “Unanswered Questions about Tamerlan Tsarnaev.” Taking off from McPhee’s findings, the radio program explores some of the mysteries about which the government remains tight-lipped.
    Chakrabarti concludes: “There is still a tight shroud of secrecy wrapped around much of this case.”
    While she is more circumspect about the possibility of a cover-up, her long and detailed account points to a raft of strange coincidences and anomalies that scream for further explanation.
    Unanswered Questions about Tamerlan Tsarnaev by Jamie Bologna and Meghna Chakrabarti (left). Maximum Harm by Michele McPhee. Photo credit: WBURand ForeEdge

    It’s not just the media that’s still being shut out.
    As Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s automatic federal death penalty appeal gets underway, prosecutors are refusing to turn over “classified” documents to Tsarnaev’s appellate lawyers.
    What’s in those “classified” documents? It’s impossible to say, but they would likely shed some light on the unresolved mysteries surrounding Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
    The lead prosecutor in Tsarnaev’s trial, William Weinreb, told WBUR that he thinks “it is fair to say that there are still a number of questions unanswered about that case. Maybe the answers will emerge over time.”
    Sounds like the lead prosecutor was also kept in the dark.
    Epidemic of Secrecy

    .

    The trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was, from the beginning, cloaked in unprecedented levels of secrecy.
    Various media organizations raised issues with the inordinate number of sealed motions during the high-profile trial.
    The attorney who defended Whitey Bulger — another notorious Boston killer the feds were eager to distance themselves from — characterized Tsarnaev’s trial as an “epidemic of secrecy.”
    Bulger, the South Boston mobster, was employed by the FBI for years as an informant — all the while carrying on his murderous mob operations in and around Boston. Bulger’s attorney, Jay Carney, told the Boston Globe“transparency should be the presumption” instead of all the secrecy and sealed documents in the Tsarnaev trial.
    Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, FBI Suspects 1 and 2.
    Photo credit: FBI


    That didn’t happen. The government invoked that old standby “national security,” allowing it to shroud important details of the back story in darkness.
    Robert Ambrogi, executive director of the Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association, told Politico that the information lockdown “tells you that major parts of this case are being conducted out of the public view. If ever there was a case that cries out to be conducted in a public forum, this is it. It’s pretty shocking.”
    The judge in the case, George A. O’Toole Jr., ignited a veritable firestorm among Boston media when, three months after the conclusion of the trial, he continued to refuse to release the names of jurors.
    Experts quoted in media accounts at the time characterized the long delay as “unprecedented,” “an aberration,” and as having “no possible rationale.”
    Even Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s defense team, who presumably have a right to unfettered access to evidence against their client, found themselves filing numerous motions complaining to the judge about a lack of cooperation from the FBI and prosecution during the discovery phase of the trial.
    Compounding their difficulties, Tsarnaev was placed on draconian Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) that severely limited the defense team’s ability to interact freely with their client. It also continues to prevent Tsarnaev from communicating with anyone from the media — as WhoWhatWhy found out when we were given a Kafkaesque runaround after we requested an interview.
    Congress Shut Out

    .

    Because of FBI stonewalling, a delegation of congressmen felt compelled to travel to Russia, trying to get answers about Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Upon returning, Massachusetts Rep. Bill Keating (D-MA) said the FSB were more forthcoming than the FBI. (The FSB is Russia’s federal security service.)
    Russia had warned the FBI back in 2011 that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was becoming radicalized, and might be making plans to travel to Russia to engage in terrorist activity. The FBI claims to have conducted an assessment of Tsarnaev but found no links to terrorism and closed the investigation.
    The FBI’s pre-bombing interest in Tsarnaev thus came under intense, albeit short-lived, scrutiny.
    Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Judiciary Committee which oversees the FBI, wrote a scathing letter to then-Director James Comey complaining about a lack of transparency to his oversight committee.
    When the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community published an unclassified summary of “intelligence failures” that led up to the bombing, it too noted a lack of cooperation from the FBI, writing that “access to certain information was significantly delayed.”
    And when 47 inspectors general from various executive agencies sent a letter to Congress in 2014 complaining about a growing problem of stonewalling of investigationsby numerous executive branch agencies, the FBI’s lack of cooperation on the Boston Marathon bombing investigation was cited front and center.
    As a result of that letter, a bipartisan Congressional coalition introduced an amendment to the original 1978 Inspector General Act. Grassley, a cosponsor of the amendment, wrote at the time that a “federal agency’s failure to give its inspector general timely access to information as required by law raises red flags. It begs the question, ‘What are you trying to hide?’”
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  9. #659

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    OCTOBER 25, 2017 | JAMES HENRY


    DOJ CONTINUES TO BLOCK MEDIA ACCESS TO TSARNAEV

    Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Photo credit: US Marshals Service / Wikimedia
    For over two years now, WhoWhatWhy has been trying to get the government to give us the details of the justification behind incarcerating convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev under a repressive confinement regime known as Special Administrative Measures (SAMs). SAMs make it nearly impossible for the media to have any access to prisoners.
    The Department of Justice (DOJ) refuses to budge and continues to deploy the dubious logic that to confirm or deny the existence of SAMs would be an unwarranted invasion of Tsarnaev’s privacy. This was in response to a request we filed back in 2015 through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), seeking documents about the conditions of Tsarnaev’s confinement. The DOJ denied our request and subsequent appeal.
    And yet, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), a division of DOJ, readily confirms that Tsarnaev is in fact being held under SAMs.
    WhoWhatWhy twice submitted requests to interview Tsarnaev to the warden of the maximum-security federal penitentiary in Florence, Colorado, referred to as ADX Florence. We sent one in October 2015, and another in August 2017; both times we were told we could not interview him because “Inmate Tsarnaev has Special Administrative Measures,” which, among other things, “restricts [his] communication, to include contact with the media.”
    Essentially a form of solitary confinement, SAMs typically bar prisoners from communicating with anybody outside their prison cells, except for a very small number of pre-approved individuals, such as attorneys and inmates’ family members. SAMs were originally justified as a way to prevent members of organized crime from sending to compatriots outside the prison messages that could conceivably result in death or serious bodily injury. In the case of Tsarnaev, this justification rings hollow since DOJ insists that he and his brother Tamerlan had no “nexus” to any terrorist group and acted completely on their own.
    But it also has the effect of giving the government total control over the narrative and backstory of a troubling event like the Boston Marathon bombing. No one from the media can speak with Tsarnaev and even his defense team and family are severely restricted in what they can reveal about their communications with him.
    The US Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum Facility in Florence, Colorado. (ADX Florence) Photo credit: FBP / Wikimedia.

    Back in April 2016, we highlighted the Kafkaesque situation for a prisoner under SAMs.
    We wrote about how DOJ denied our first request under FOIA exemption 7(C); the department stated that “lacking [Tsarnaev’s] consent … even to acknowledge the existence of such records … could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of his personal privacy.” 7(C) is meant to protect the privacy of individuals whose records are held by law enforcement agencies.
    We appealed, pointing out that BOP had already confirmed the existence of the SAMs, and it was the very existence of the SAMs that prevented us from getting Tsarnaev’s “consent.” However, DOJ affirmed the denial of our initial request under a slightly modified “categorical” invocation of exemption 7(C) and added for good measure that it was not even “required to conduct a search for the requested records.”
    The day after our article ran, officials in the DOJ’s Office of Information Policy (OIP) emailed each other links to the article. How do we know? Because we FOIA’d our FOIA request.



    .

    We had hoped to gain some insight into the decision-making process behind the rejection of our FOIA request and appeal. The results were not very enlightening.
    We obtained 29 pages from the DOJ’s OIP in total — 10 of which are the requests and appeals we sent, with their corresponding responses. Another three and a half pages are blacked out and labeled “Non-Responsive Records.” We’re still waiting on records related to the initial request, which are processed by a different office.
    It’s not clear what, if anything, OIP officials had to say about our article other than linking to it. Most of the substance of each email between OIP officials is redacted.
    OIP Director Melanie Ann Pustay. Photo credit: DoJ

    The balance of the heavily redacted records are processing worksheets and emails between OIP employees. Anything related to decision-making about the appeal is blacked out under (b)(5), the infamous “withhold it because you want to” exemption. FOIA experts roundly criticize the exemption because of its broad language and its increasing use by executive branch agencies.
    It’s Who You Know?

    .

    In our ongoing effort to chip away at the wall of silence surrounding Tsarnaev, we also sent him a letter asking if he was willing to be interviewed. We were hoping to preempt any “without his consent” reasoning that we had encountered previously. The envelope was returned — opened — and accompanied by a notice indicating that the “correspondence was not delivered to the inmate because the inmate is not approved to correspond from [sic] you.”
    Interestingly, director Peter Berg of Patriots Day, the Hollywood production about the Boston Marathon bombing, was quoted as saying he had corresponded with the incarcerated Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
    “I did a lot of research on them,” director Peter Berg supposedly told Total Filmmagazine. “I met women who had dated them. I met the boxing coach of the older brother. I met the landlord. I wrote two letters to Dzhokhar in prison; he wrote one back [emphasis added].”
    We sought confirmation of the above statement from Berg’s production company. No one responded to our multiple phone messages or emails seeking clarification. It’s not clear whether Berg misspoke, was misquoted, or whether he actually did let slip the fact that he was granted special access to this otherwise gagged individual of great public interest.
    We know, from the fact that DOJ monitors news stories about itself, that they take a keen interest in how they are seen by the public. Is it possible Berg, with his favorable-to-law- enforcement portrayal of the marathon bombing, was granted special access to this mystery of a young man?
    We’ll let you know if anyone from Berg’s office gets back to us.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

  10. #660

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    DECEMBER 26, 2017 | JAMES HENRY


    ON BOSTON BOMBING, RIGHT TO KNOW IS ZERO

    Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from CPB, Bob Leonard / Wikimedia and A Name Like Shields Can / Flickr (CC BY 2.0).
    It has been nearly five years since two bombs exploded at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, and nearly three years since the conclusion of the trial of the sole surviving Tsarnaev brother, Dzhokhar. And yet, the government continues to maintain radio silence over many crucial questions related to the bombing.
    Since the 2013 bombing, WhoWhatWhy has made dozens and dozens of records requests through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and other records request laws, from multiple government agencies, in an effort to fill in some of the many holes in the story that remain after a secretive federal investigation and trial. The results have been mixed, to say the least.
    Most of the ongoing secrecy relates to the deceased mastermind and main bombing perpetrator: the older brother Tamerlan.
    The lead prosecutor who secured the conviction against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, William Weinreb, even admitted that “it is fair to say that there are still a number of questions unanswered about that case.”
    And a surprising number of Boston’s local law enforcement question whether the FBI is coming clean about what it knows about the now-deceased Tsarnaev brother.
    As we wrote back in July, some of these enduring questions are:
    * How was Tamerlan able to travel back and forth to the country from which he sought asylum in 2012, despite being on multiple terror watchlists?
    * Why was he not questioned about the 2011 murder of three of his friends?
    * Was Tamerlan working for the US government in some capacity?
    * Was the FBI or some other federal agency using Tamerlan’s desire to become a US citizen as leverage?
    * Did the Tsarnaevs have help constructing the bombs?
    * Was anyone else involved in planning or inspiring the plot?
    Besides the big questions, our ongoing efforts to track down and verify even mundane details about the bombing reveal a flawed and seemingly arbitrary system for making government documents public. Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s travel records, for instance.
    In September, we wrote about our attempts through FOIA to ascertain details of the confinement conditions of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. We also detailed our multiple requests to the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to interview Tsarnaev. The process was nothing short of a Kafkaesque wilderness of mirrors.
    Obtaining “public” records through FOIA has always been imperfect. And although improvements have been made, requesters are largely in the dark about what agencies might be holding back; most agencies’ search practices and criteria are like an impenetrable black box.
    WhoWhatWhy’s efforts at obtaining Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s 2012 travel records are a case in point. First off, the elder Tsarnaev brother is deceased. His records are ostensibly public information — and the public has a right to know more about him.
    Back in July, we sent Customs and Border Protection (CBP) a request for “arrival” and “departure” records produced when Tsarnaev traveled to Dagestan by way of Moscow in 2012. According to official accounts, Tsarnaev flew out of JFK International January 21, 2012, and returned to JFK July 19, 2012.
    The apparent ease with which Tsarnaev flew in and out of the US to a known hotbed of terroristic activity (Dagestan), despite being on multiple watch lists, is one of the enduring mysteries about the elder brother.
    Consider also that the Russians, who had flagged him as a dangerous radical well before US officials watch-listed him, also allowed him to fly in and out of their country unimpeded.
    So it piqued our interest when it came to our attention that there were early news reports, supposedly based on documentary “travel records,” that Tsarnaev had actually flown out of JFK January 12 — not January 21 as was claimed officially. This was based on a story reported by NBC News affiliate New York 4, which makes reference to “documents” that they “obtained.”
    The report even describes a photograph of Tsarnaev on one of the documents. The January 12 date was repeated by multiple media outlets and was even cited bythen head of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano when she testified before Congress about the bombing investigation.
    Photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Doug Letterman / Wikimedia.

    WhoWhatWhy reached out multiple times to the reporters who wrote the article and asked if they would either confirm — or correct — what was written in the article or, at the very least, describe what type of documents they were referencing. They “respectfully declined.”
    Spoiler alert: New York 4 screwed up the travel dates. But the fact that they were citing actual documents with contradictory dates was intriguing given that Tsarnaev’s travel to Russia was shady to begin with. So we tried to verify or disprove on our own.
    A deep dive through Tsarnaev’s 256 pages of immigration records (or A-file), much of which is redacted, is no help because it only documents his arrival at JFK airport July 19, 2012. His departure, six months earlier, is either not included in the A-file, or it is blacked out under one of the file’s many redactions. (Tsarnaev’s A-file was released to the FBI’s “electronic reading room,” which is what happens when three or more requests are made for the same records. WhoWhatWhy was one of those requesters.)
    So the only other option to clear up the mystery was FOIA.
    CBP on FOIA: LOL

    .

    In July of this year, we requested “all arrival/departure records for Tamerlan Tsarnaev” from CBP. By the end of August (which is a pretty quick turnaround as FOIA goes) CBP furnished us the results of its search. There was only one problem, they provided Tsarnaev’s “arrival” records only.
    WhoWhatWhy called CBP’s FOIA liaison to ask how it was possible they couldn’t find a corresponding departure record. The liaison indicated that a search was conducted with the information that was provided in the request — that was the result.
    So we appealed, pointing out that it was widely reported in the media, and government officials were on the record stating, that Tsarnaev had in fact traveled out of the country in January 2012 and that CBP must, therefore, have records of his departure. We also included — under the assumption that maybe the name search “Tamerlan Tsarnaev” was the problem — a long list of possible name variants we collected from Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s A-file and from an Intelligence Community Inspector General (IGIC) report.
    The IGIC report probed some of the “intelligence failures,” like how Tsarnaev’s travels in and out of the country eluded any additional scrutiny despite the fact that he was on multiple watch lists, each of which characterized him as a dangerous individual. Part of IGIC’s determination was that some of the watch list information about Tsarnaev included incorrect transliterations and incorrect birth dates. So we included all of those too.
    This time, we received five pages, including a “Person Encounter List,” a “Person Encounter Detail” (the sought-after departure records), and two “Person Encounter Detail[s]” documenting his return to the US July 19, 2012.
    The “departure” records indicated that he indeed left JFK January 21, not January 12 as New York 4 had erroneously reported. The name on the additional records: “Tamerlan Tsarnaev.”
    It was unclear, then, why the search for documents in the initial request didn’t produce the same records — so we FOIA’d our FOIA request. We asked for “all records, including emails, search slips, index entries, and/or memos” produced as a result of our initial request and subsequent appeal. Surprisingly, CBP’s “final response” came the very next day.
    The results: “we were unable to locate or identify any responsive records, based upon the information you provided in your request.”
    We appealed, pointing out the absurdity of the proposition that CBP would not be able to find its own FOIA processing records. A month and a half later we finally received 42 pages of FOIA processing records.
    Another spoiler alert: It’s not exactly clear in the records why the initial request only came up with Tsarnaev’s arrival records. But Tsarnaev’s Alien Identification Number (A-number) does appear in the subject line of one of the FOIA official’s emails — so maybe they had searched using that. It’s hard to tell. Presumably, CBP officials would know what is the most efficient way to search for records. Why not just search that way to begin with?
    Instead, the tertiary initial search for records ends up exhausting one of only two opportunities available — short of suing — forcing requesters to appeal just to get the records they were entitled to in the first place. And if at that point the requester disputes the legitimacy of the redactions in the documents, or what was provided — too bad.
    Yes, we ultimately did get the documents we were after. But only after getting the proverbial middle finger and an all-too-common runaround from CBP.
    It’s tempting to chalk the terrible state of information requesting up to the usual incompetent government trope. But the responses from all of the federal agencies are so consistently bad, that one has to wonder whether it is terrible by design.
    Jill Vaglica contributed to this article.
    If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” - Frederick Douglass
    "Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
    "Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn

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