Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston Marathon Bombing, Summary & Updates

I will be posting updates here as significant new information develops.  Single additions will be dated in brackets [ ].  
G. Lee Aikin, DCSGP

May 1, 2013 (update, 6:00 pm)
Now, on Monday, there is more news about the family and the remaining bomber. This  past Friday saw an event filled 24 hours, which finally resulted in the capture and hospitalization of the remaining bomber.  Below is an excellent article which captures all the significant details of the take down, except that "flash bangs" were used to disorient the fugitive.

On Monday (April 15, 2013) I had just returned from mailing my taxes, and discovered that DC area channels 4, 7, and 9 were all doing nonstop coverage of bombings at the Boston Marathon.  I will continue to provide summaries for those who don't have time to watch the Special Reports that have been especially active since midnight on Thursday.

Monday, April 15th, two bombs went off about 15 to 20 seconds apart at 2:50 pm, near the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  This was after the best runners had finished the race. There are 3 reported dead including Martin Richard 8, Krystle Campbell 29, and a Boston Univ. graduate student a young woman, Lu Lingzi from northeast China.  Over 175 have been treated, including children, at least 17 critical.  Massachusetts General Hosp. reports that 4 had a lower limb amputated, they hope to save one leg, and 7 are still critical.  Doctors are finding metal balls 2 to 3 mm in diameter and small nails that appear to have the heads cut off.  All this material is being given to police as soon as it is removed.

As of late Thursday, some 50 people are still hospitalized.  One or more limbs have been lost by 13 people including a 7 year old.  Below is a link describing the hopes and potential treatment and restoration of regular living for the victims.

April 15, the city and airport were in lockdown and the large crime scene was roped off and evidence gathering rushing to finish before rain arrived.  There were 27,000 runners, plus at least 2 support team for each runner, lots of family and other spectators--a huge crowd.  Over the weekend of April 26 and 27 the streets were reopened and a number of people made a point of shopping there because the store owners had lost 10 days of income.

Security was high.  The Al Qaeda magazine, Inspire, has been urging independent actions against high profile events, especially in the US.  Our Emancipation Day Parade was a success with no incidents. I did not hear anyone talking about security or Boston, but also did not ask questions.  I am told the turnout was better this year than last.  At any rate, we should be very alert to stray packages/backpacks/suspicious behavior, and cooperative if police want to inspect what we are carrying.  Security was enhanced for the parade, but not oppressively visible.  DC will soon be hosting the Marine Marathon.

At this time,  the President has call this an "act of terror."  On Tuesday the question was still wide open as to whether it is domestic, like Oklahoma, or foreign, like 9/11, London, and Madrid bombings.  The FBI and Boston police have the investigation.  A Saudi man was investigated because of suspicious burns on his hands, but it seems to only be a visa violation issue, although some conservative sources are still trying to build a Saudi connection.  A Pakistani Taliban group which claimed credit for a recent bombing attempt in NY has denied this one [apparently truthfully].  Because this occurred on Tax Day some are wondering if there is a domestic connection.

It is now pretty clear that the perpetrators were Islamic Jihadist in orientation, evident from Facebook and other communications.  The  older brother was married to a 24 year old American who had converted to Islam.  Apparently he was an abusive husband.  Police are also investigating her possible knowledge/involvement.  One source has indicated his interest in a Mahdis, end times orientation.  I will be watching that one. He had internet sites that were pretty far out, including one that decried the evils of Harry Potter.  He had a 3 year old daughter.  The older brother launched himself at officers in what might have been a suicide by cop.  His younger brother jumped in a vehicle and fled.  Was he totally committed, or did his brother drag him into this?  Since he has been caught alive, hopefully they will find out more.  Currently he cannot speak because of a bullet to the throat.

Officials held him without a Miranda warning because of ongoing potential danger.  Over the next two (?) days they questioned him for a total of 16 hours, presumably using writing, and taking breaks because he was still seriously wounded.  He is now in a prison hospital.  It seems his older brother was the prime mover, and Russian intelligence had been watching the family and communicated with US authorities several years ago. Various failures of trust, spelling, etc. lead to failure to track the brothers by US intelligence.  More details will be uncovered.  The mother seems to have been a militant Islamic influence, and Dagestan is a very troubled and violent country where the older brother spent 6 months.  Here is a fascinating analysis of the Russian aspect of their warnings to US and treatment of family.  [Needs more research.]

[6/1/13]  Here is a decade long survey of some FBI actions regarding what they have perceived as various important threats.  Have they once again focused on the wrong potential enemies as happened years ago when Hoover focused on the civil rights movement and neglected organized crime?  ]

The actual devices are now described as black back packs or duffle bags containing a gallon and 1/2 pressure cooker, which on some domestic terror bomb instruction sites is called a "Hellhounds" device.  A pressure cooker lid was found on top of a roof, and fragment of a circuit board possibly used in triggering, now identified as from a mobile toy vehicle.  They were packed with the previously described metallic debris which has caused severe trauma and more than 13 traumatic leg amputations.

A detailed survey of security cameras, and personal cameras and cell phones has disclosed a man with a cell phone in hand who put down his backpack and as the first bomb went off quickly left the scene of the second bomb.  It is probable both bombs were set of by a cell phone.  The man had dark clothing and a white baseball cap worn backwards.  Here is the Thursday evening FBI link showing the official camera feeds.  Now we know they had photos of two men, see details below.

The two young men are described as Tamerlan Tsarnaev (26), now dead and his 19 year old brother Dzhokhar, currently (Friday) subject of massive manhunt which has now succeeded as shown in the link at the top.  The story below has many details on the dead Tamerlan.

Their uncle in Gaithersberg, MD, has expressed deep shame regarding their behavior, and urged Dzhokhar to turn himself in.  The boys were brought to the US in 2002-3, and received green cards as Chechen refugees.  Dzhokhar became a naturalized citizen on 9/11/12, very ironically or was it deliberate??  Tamerlan remarked he had no US friends, a small child, and a working class job.  He wanted to be an Olympic boxer.  The police are now looking into a triple murder that killed a good friend(?) who was also a boxer.  Was the b The phone call to an uncle whom he had not talked with for two years is indicative of pre suicide behavior. On Saturday, his parents in Dagestan and the leader of Chechnia blame the US and suspect a frame up.  It is reported that his parents went back to Dagestan because the father was ill and wanted to die there.

Their father, Anzor Tsarmaev, from Makhachkal, Dagestan (Russia) thought the 19 year old was in his second year of medical school.  Did his son lie to him, feel like a failure??    They were originally from Kyrgyzstan.  Thursday night the men robbed a 7/11, and ended up killing a police man and wounding another.  Then they were chased to Watertown where a huge battle took place, shooting, bombs thrown, Tamerlan running at police hurled an exploding bomb and killed by a hail of gunfire.  Apparently the lid of a pressure cooker came off.  If it had not, many police probably would have been injured.  Dzhokhar jumped into a van and rammed through the police lines, then fled on foot.  The massive manhunt is finished, and barring info on additional plotters, people should be able to return to normal. Amtrac service between Boston and NY was suspended.

While still hospitalized in serious condition it appears that Dzhokhar will probably live.  He is already writing some answers since there is a tube down his throat.  Here is a detailed link regarding the period from the 7-11 robbery to the final confrontation with police, and an excerpt from the carjacked driver who must have been absolutely terrified.  There are more than 2,000 comments, and a complete copy of the Criminal Complaint filed with the court.  One detail provided by the cab driver is that their plan was to go to New York with bombs next.

     "Did you hear about the Boston explosion?" a man said to the driver after reaching in his window and opening the car door. "I did that," he said while pointing a loaded firearm at the driver.   According to the complaint, the driver told police the carjacker forced him to pick up a second man. The two men, speaking in a foreign language, put something in the trunk of the stolen vehicle.    The victim moved to the passenger seat and gave the two men $45 from his wallet. The armed man drove the car to an ATM, where they tried to empty the victim's account. The victim escaped at their next stop, a gas station and convenience store on Memorial Drive in Cambridge.

On Monday the smoke was white, the bombs not too large, and many injuries to lower parts of bodies.  This suggests low level explosives and not too large a package, the kind of thing independents (domestic or foreign inspired) might put together.  C-4 and ammonia nitrate fertilizer have been ruled out.  While not a fertilizer bomb, it was a stronger type that can be home manufactured but requiring some skill, but not the level of skill taught in Jijadi terror schools.  Now on Friday we have a huge new amount of information.  Authorities are currently preparing to explode bombs found in the suspects' home.  A woman was removed from the house screaming.  They have found a veritable bomb factory there and may not be able to remove before exploding.

On Monday it was said two more bombs had been found before they exploded (this information has now been officially denied).  An explosion at the JFK library occurred around the same time.  It was in a utility area, and it is not known if it was accidental or on purpose, and possibly a pure coincidence.  It is now being called fire related and not bomb connected.

In Washington, DC, security around the White House and the Mall and museums has been heightened.  There is also added security for the Metro subway system.  DC's Mayor and Police Chief say there is no indication at this time of any credible DC threat. Will be back by Friday with more updates.

Meanwhile, we have had two other incidents of major concern--letters to Congress and the President containing powder and apparently the poison Ricin.  A man, Paul Kevin Curtis, from Mississippi, has now been picked up because of a similar act not too long ago.  He had been trying to get his Congressman's attention for some time.  See link.

In addition there is the huge explosion in Texas, at a fertilizer plant.  Naturally, after Boston, people have been concerned about the possibility of an additional terror act.  One peculiar tidbit was the possible presence of a Turk asking questions at a local press briefings.  However, an expert has explained that there is a strong possibility that water put on the fire at the plant caused a violent chemical reaction and thus the huge explosion.  This explosion was at least 30 times larger than the Oklahoma truck bombing, but about 1 tenth the size of the Texas city explosion that killed 500.  Twelve people are reported dead.  Many more still unaccounted for.  Five are firemen, search is still ongoing, and many surrounding homes, and school are severely damaged and will need to be searched.  See link.

I will continue to follow the bombing story, but only add something when major information is released.  This may take a while even if the bomber recovers enough and is willing to cooperate.  I will probably not continue with the Ricin and explosion unless it turns out that they are connected to the bombing in some way.  No information that the Texas explosion or the Ricin poisoning are related to Boston has surfaced.


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