The bomb attack killed three people and injured more than 260.
More than 1 million residents in the Greater Boston area were instructed by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to take “shelter in place,” lock their doors and stay there indefinitely. Plants, offices and schools were shut down in Boston and neighboring Watertown, Newton, Cambridge, Waltham and Brookline. Buses, subways and trains were grounded.
The lockdown and massive cop mobilization began after brothers Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, and, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26 — whom the FBI identified the day before as suspects in the bombing — were in a shootout with cops in Watertown. Tamerlan was killed, while his younger brother Dzhokhar escaped.
According to police accounts, the two Chechen immigrants had posted material supporting Islamist jihadism, as well as Chechen independence from Russia, on the Internet. The two brothers came to the U.S. 10 years ago when their family sought asylum here in the midst of Russian military repression of Chechen national liberation struggles.
Metro SWAT teams brandishing assault weapons went door to door in the area where Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was hiding. He was captured, badly injured, after the lockdown was suspended that evening.
“I don’t agree with all that police action,” Giomar, an unemployed housecleaner who declined to give her last name, told the Militant. “Just because of what happened doesn’t mean we need an army in Boston.” After Tsarnaev was captured, some Watertown residents gathered in the street to celebrate and thank the cops.
The Justice Department announced April 19 they intended to use a “public safety exception” to avoid informing Tsarnaev of his “Miranda rights” — the Constitutional right to have an attorney and to refuse to answer questions from the cops. The Justice Department’s High Value Interrogation Group interrogated him.
Federal Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler convened a court hearing April 22 at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, where he is being treated for bullet wounds and other injuries sustained in the firefight and arrest. Tsarnaev was charged with using a weapon of mass destruction and malicious destruction of property resulting in death, after which Bowler read him the Miranda rights. The federal charges carry a possible death penalty. Tsarnaev also faces possible state charges.
FBI, media campaigns continueTo garner support for spy operations and other probes, the FBI and other cop agencies continue to promote the idea that a “sleeper cell” was involved.
Federal agents questioned acquaintances of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, identified as Azamat and Dias Timur, in New Bedford, where he attended the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Later the two were arrested on immigration charges.
Much of the media coverage has been aimed at making working people fearful and feel dependent on government cops and spies for their safety.
The New York Post reported April 17 that cops and firefighters ordered the evacuation of an 11-story commercial building in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York after a “small white box” was found on the side of the building. It turned out to be an empty pizza box.
There are numerous calls in the media for more leeway for cop spying, broad expansion of the use of “smart” surveillance cameras, and other further inroads against political rights.
Boston had only 150 police surveillance cameras, the Wall Street Journal reported, while in New York there are over 3,000 networked government and corporate cameras in the financial district alone, and some 400,000 cameras in London. Such cameras are now capable of “activity forecasting,” and recognizing “anomalous” behavior, the paper said.
The police “have to realize that the threat is coming from the Muslim community and increase surveillance there,” U.S. Rep. Peter King, a Republican from New York, told the National Review.
A few politicians have sought to use the Boston bombings to derail the immigration reform bill in the Senate.
“How can we beef up security checks on people who wish to enter the U.S.?” Sen. Charles Grassley from Iowa said at the opening of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the bill.
The Internet is alive with reactionary conspiracy theories, which promote helplessness in face of supposed complex, mysterious and powerful forces. The blasts, Mike Adams wrote on NaturalNews.com, were deployed by the Boston bomb squad to be “used as a pretext for the President to call for TSA agents to be on the streets at all future sporting events.”
At the same time, a substantial layer of liberal commentators and political figures clearly hoped that the perpetrators of the bombings would turned out to be right-wing Caucasians à la Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh or “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, on the premise that the social consequences would then not be so bad.
“Let’s hope the Boston Marathon bomber is a white American,” David Sirota recently wrote for Salon.com. That, he argues, would “prevent an overreaction to the heinous attacks in Boston.”
Such comments were seized upon by a layer of conservatives and rightists who argue that those who defend the rights of Muslims and immigrants against spying and discrimination harbor prejudicial attitudes toward working people who are Caucasian and disingenuously seek to conceal supposed “terrorist” dangers from Muslim communities and the foreign-born.
John Studer contributed to this article.
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