Were the Boston Bombings Acts of Terrorism?

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By now, most people would answer “of course it was terrorism.” We now know about the older brother’s trip to Chechnya and his seeming conversion to jihad afterwards, and we have the younger brother’s mute “confession,” although most of the important questions remain unanswered. But the establishment media were quick to label the bombings terrorism from the moment the two brothers’ photos were posted on TV, without any of this background known. Why the rush?

Glenn Greenwald in The Guardian asks an important question: When can an act of mass violence be deemed “terrorism”? Our establishment media quickly defined the Boston bombings, in the public’s eye, as terrorism, whereas Aurora, Sandy Hook, Tucson, and Columbine were not so defined. Repulsive acts of murder, of course, but not terrorism.

President Obama at first refused to define the Boston bombings as “terrorism.” Good for him. At that point he didn’t know why the violence took place, although the establishment media obviously thought they knew, and didn’t need any facts to back up their claim.

Then President Obama changed course and referred to “acts of terrorism.” What is going on here? Did he get some information in a briefing from the intelligence community that caused him to now link the bombings to a terrorist plot?

Here we are standing firmly on the quicksand of conjecture, of course. But that is all we can do – try to figure out what is going on – because as American citizens we are not being told what is going on. And probably never will be. One of the joys of being a citizen in a world empire in its late decadent stages is that you cannot possibly know what really is going on. The best you can do is conject: try to connect the dots. The invisible government – the CIA and other intelligence agencies, the information gathered by the FBI and the rest of the Homeland Security snoops, the secret deliberations of the President and the Executive Branch, the private discussions and real motives of the Federal Reserve, the off-the-record deals between Wall Street and Washington – all that is none of our business as citizens, we are told. And that invisible government is what really runs our government. It is obvious that our elected “representatives” in Congress are not in charge – that’s laughable. That is just a fig leaf to make the gullible believe that we are a “democracy” and our participation as voters counts.

But I digress. Back to Glenn Greenwald. He thinks a key factor is that two Muslims were involved in the Boston bombings. No identified Muslims were involved in the Aurora, Sandy Hook, Tucson, and Columbine murders. We have been conditioned by government leaders and the establishment media to think of the “war on terrorism” as a “war on Muslim terrorism”

I think Greenwald has a point. As much as I am opposed to the government/establishment media line, the very first thought I had when I saw that side profile of “Suspect No. 2″ on TV was: “Look at that nose. He’s from the Middle East.” And you know what that means. (Full disclosure: I am a repeat offender stereotyper.)

But I think Greenwald’s point is only part of the answer. It tells us why the Boston bombings were so easy to sell to the public as terrorism. It does not explain why the Tsarnaev brothers committed these atrocities (what they hoped to gain from it); what happened during older brother Tamerlan’s return to Russia last year, and whether that is what changed his worldview; or why the FBI cleared him with the Russian intelligence services for that trip.

Here it is time to consider a second article of reasonable conjecture. DEBKAfile is a private intelligence newsletter, and the headline in its April 23 issue gives the plot away: “The Tsarnaev brothers were double agents who decoyed US into terror trap.”

DEBKAfile conjects that “the brothers were double agents, hired by US and Saudi intelligence to penetrate the Wahhabi jihadist networks which, helped by Saudi financial institutions, had spread across the restive Russian Caucasian [sic]. Instead, the two former Chechens betrayed their mission and went secretly over to the radical Islamist networks.”

That certainly would help to explain, in conjecture at least, some of the mysteries of this story. For example: Why the FBI had been involved with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, but apparently was taken by surprise when he engineered the bombings; why the Russians agreed to let him return to his family home for six months (it was in their interest to have more spies in the Chechen community); and the unplanned, mysterious meeting in the White House between President Obama and a Saudi representative. We can also note that there is evidence that the brothers’ uncle in Montgomery Village, Maryland, he of the front-lawn press conference, has been associated with CIA missions in the past. Perhaps this was a family affair – several members of the family had been recruited by the CIA – and the uncle was horrified at the brothers’ double-cross (and afraid for his own future, no doubt), thus explaining his nasty comments about them at the press conference.

Now for a third dose of reasonable conjecture: my own. Why is the quick labeling of the Boston bombings as “terrorism” important to all of us?

Answer: Because it justifies, in government law enforcement circles, a sweeping expansion of their powers over us lowly citizens. The word “terrorism” heightens the fear factor that they use to manipulate the public. It justifies (in their minds, at least) the lockdown of an entire metropolitan area in the manhunt – this had never been done before. It conditions us for future government lockdowns and use of martial law. And, perhaps most importantly, it gives them carte blanche to do whatever they want with anyone labeled a “terrorist” with no evidence to back up that claim. U.S. citizens still have some rights, at least in theory (Miranda rights, a lawyer, trial by jury, etc.), but anyone labeled a “terrorist” (“enemy combatant”) by the government does not. By the now-accepted precedent of actions by Presidents Bush and Obama – not by the Constitution – you forfeit all those rights when the government decides it wants to do with you as it wishes.

Granted, federal authorities have decided to try Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as a U.S. citizen, not as an “enemy combatant,” and the official charges against him do not mention terrorism. No doubt they feel that the evidence against him is so conclusive that they have no fear of losing this court case. But the establishment media had already successfully established the bombings in the public mind as acts of terrorism, and in no way have the feds renounced their “right” to use the labels “enemy combatant” and “terrorist” in future cases. Public awareness of this case is so overwhelming, it is only good public relations to play it straight. The public knows virtually nothing about most people labeled “enemy combatants,” however, and in those cases the government can – and will – use whatever means it desires.

And that is why it is vitally important to you how the Boston bombings were labeled. You may be next.

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