BOSTON UPDATE: FBI War on Marathon Bombing Witnesses Continues - WhoWhatWhy

BOSTON UPDATE: FBI War on Marathon Bombing Witnesses Continues

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The FBI’s apparent message to Tsarnaev’s defense team

The FBI’s apparent message to Tsarnaev’s defense team

The Boston Marathon bombing is much more important than has been acknowledged, principally because it is the major domestic national security event since 9-11 and has played a major role in expanding the power of the security state. For that reason, WhoWhatWhy is continuing to investigate troubling aspects of this story and the establishment media treatment of it. So even as it slips from the headlines, we will be exploring new elements of the story regularly as the trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev approaches. 


Since the Boston Marathon bombing a year and a half ago, the FBI appears to be intimidating, harassing, and silencing friends and acquaintances of the Tsarnaev brothers. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s lawyers have noticed it too—they’re having trouble getting anyone to talk to them, recent court papers reveal.

In what WhoWhatWhy previously described as the FBI’s “war on witnesses”, the Bureau seems to be employing a scorched earth strategy of destroying anything that might be of use to the “enemy.”

On August 29, Tsarnaev’s lawyers filed a motion requesting a continuance for more time to prepare their defense, noting the fact that they were given only half the median preparation time that federal courts have allowed over the past decade for defendants on trial for their lives. (The judge did grant a two-month delay while refusing the defense request to move the trial out of Boston.)

The lawyers cited “outpaced requirements” in building a proper defense for their client: (1) the international nature of the investigation—including language and geographic barriers, (2) the large amount of evidence that has to be scrutinized, and most tellingly, (3) the climate of intimidation and fear created by the FBI’s investigative efforts since the bombing. They write:

Domestic defense mitigation investigation has been conducted amid a growing atmosphere of anxiety and agitation generated by highly-publicized arrests, indictments, prosecutions, deportations (and, in one instance, the FBI killing) of members of Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s peer groups.

Most news reports brush over that last part. As if shooting to death an unarmed man involved in this case—as an FBI agent did to Tamerlan’s friend Ibragim Todashev—is not relevant to the difficulties the defense team has had in getting witnesses to talk to them. But even less extreme events are enough to silence potential witnesses, such as the mysterious closing of their bank accounts.

 The father of Ibragim Todashev displays end result of FBI interview.

The father of Ibragim Todashev displays end result of FBI interview.

Prosecutors resisted this and an earlier attempt to have the trial delayed. The victims have a right to see justice done—swiftly, the thinking goes.

The victims and their families certainly deserve justice for this horrible atrocity. True justice should include a full accounting—something a hurried, one-sided investigation is not likely to produce. And of course Boston and the American public deserve, and need, the truth, whatever it may be.

Yet a close read of the motion document reveals FBI activities that seem more of an effort to conceal than to illuminate.

The FBI’s March to the Sea

Tsarnaev’s defense team makes reference to the most troubling—and most anxiety-producing—action by the FBI since the bombing: the shooting to death of Tamerlan’s friend, Todashev. (See our earlier story on the head-scratching circumstances surrounding that shooting, including the questionable history of the agent who pulled the trigger.)

Some of the FBI’s aggressive tactics described in the defense document look like outright intimidation. For instance, individuals “with lawful immigration status have been detained for hours and required to surrender their electronic devices upon re-entry to the United States.”

And take a look at this excerpt:

“The investigation has been further hampered by aggressive FBI follow-up tracking and questioning of potential witnesses, as well as by the unrelenting attention of the news media.”

It is one thing to be aggressively tracking and questioning individuals suspected of committing crimes, but to be doing this to presumably innocent witnesses reeks of intimidation. Witness intimidation is a tactic ordinarily associated with mafia or drug cartel defendants.

Notably, this “tracking” must have been brought to the attention of defense lawyers by witnesses themselves, indicating overt surveillance: “We’re watching you.”

Then, farther down in the document:

“These difficult circumstances are compounded by a continuing pattern of aggressive FBI re-interviewing of potential witnesses — on occasion within hours of an attempted contact by defense investigator [emphasis added].”

Within hours of an attempted contact by defense investigator? Is the defense team being watched too? (We reached out to Tsarnaev’s defense team hoping they could expand on that, but have not yet had a response.)

1It wouldn’t be the first time the FBI was caught spying on defense lawyers in a high-profile terrorism case. Lawyers for accused 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed allege that the FBI has been surveilling  them.

Whether legal counsel are being watched directly or simply getting caught up in the surveillance of Tsarnaev’s acquaintances, the effect is the same: the feds know who is talking to whom, and when.

That’s a Nice Immigration Status You Got There…

Witnesses who are not U.S. citizens—which describes the majority of Tsarnaev’s friends, family, and many in the local Muslim community—are particularly vulnerable to law enforcement manipulation. The threat of deportation is a clear and present danger to these individuals, “regardless of whether criminal charges are ever brought or proven against them,” Tsarnaev’s lawyers wrote.

2Indeed, a handful of people loosely connected to the Tsarnaevs have already been deported, or had deportation proceedings initiated against them, despite having nothing to do with the Boston Marathon bombing. These include:

–   Konstantin Morozov: friend of Tamerlan, arrested and jailed pending deportation reportedly after refusing to wear a wire for the FBI as the Bureau sought information on one of Tamerlan’s Chechen friends.

–   Tatiana Gruzdeva: girlfriend of Ibragim Todashev, deported after speaking with Boston Magazine about the circumstances surrounding her boyfriend’s death.

  • Tatiana-Gruzdeva


    –   Ashurmamad Miraliev: friend of Ibragim Todashev, was reportedly denied a request for an attorney while interrogated by FBI for over six hours, and transferred to an immigration detention center where deportation proceedings were initiated.

  • Ashurmamad Miraliev

    Ashurmamad Miraliev

    –   Khusen Taramov: friend of Ibragim Todashev, denied reentry to the United States after visiting Chechnya, despite having a Green Card.

    Khusen Taramov

    Khusen Taramov

    Why hasn’t Boston’s “liberal” media made more noise about this? Arguably, the most newsworthy portion of Tsarnaev’s motion for continuance—potential witness intimidation—has been glossed over or ignored in most mainstream media accounts.

    The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations reached out to the media and the public to expose the intimidation and harassment of Todashev’s friends and associates—and got a fair amount press coverage by their local media. The same cannot be said for the Boston area press.

    Have they, albeit indirectly, been intimidated, too? The Boston media has historically had a close relationship with law enforcement, and when it ever so slightly challenged the police, found its usual (and needed) sources shut down.

    However, if ever there was a moment for the local press to do the right thing, this is surely it.

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49 responses to “BOSTON UPDATE: FBI War on Marathon Bombing Witnesses Continues”

  1. Club Girl II says:

    Dreary Day

    It was a dreary day here yesterday, so I just took to piddeling around online and found

  2. Title

    […]very few web-sites that transpire to become comprehensive beneath, from our point of view are undoubtedly effectively worth checking out[…]

  3. Avatar Guest says:

    The newly released movie, “Kill the Messenger” about the true story of journalist Gary Webb is a must see. Unfortunately, Boston Media hasn’t had anyone close at all to the morals of Gary Webb, however, times are changing due to social media and the Internet which offer a safer place to publish truths.

  4. Avatar Guest says:

    Precisely, it is actually called the ISBCC, The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, on Malcom X Blvd. in Roxbury, MA that Marshall roofing did the roofing work on.

  5. Avatar Guest says:

    Wow, the irony – the roofing company the injured roofers (Nordens & Fucarile) worked for, Marshall Roofing and Sheet Metal, does a fair share of Government contracted jobs toinclude that they did roofing on the newly constructed Islamic Center of Boston and at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, MA where the newly constructed MA National Guard Headquarters is located (those Guard soldiers in the Khaki pants with black back packs at the finish line that were initially misidentified as Craft Intl. Employees). Jahar and Steven Silva’s boss at the Harvard pool is also a weekend warrior/MA Army National Guard soldier who lives in Watertown right where Jahar was found hiding in the boat. The world is a small place for sure.

    • Avatar clarioncaller says:

      Those same three khaki’d characters, one holding a radiation measuring device, are videotaped together on Connecticut TV posing as state troopers following the Sandy Hoax incident. One of them was identified with the nickname ‘ChromeDome’.

  6. Avatar Anon says:

    I used to respect the FBI until I read about the Franklin Scandal and how they threatened witnesses, conducted inappropriate relationships with a defense lawyer, and did everything in their power to suppress the truth. Then I read about the racial harassment of a black agent and the million dollar settlement to keep it out of court. Later I happened upon a documentary about the RFK assassination which also revealed the interrogation and harassment of a young witness. I could go on, but will n ot for the sake of time and space. The FBI exists to protect the status quo and will do anything including murder witnesses to fulfill its mission.

    • Avatar Kenneth Watson says:

      Sandy Serrano was harassed by Special Unit Senator ( today she still tells the same story but at the time the pressure made her back off) which was temporarily attached to the LAPD which in fact had appalling relations with the FBI where officers had refused to allow Hoover to bully them and had taken the CIA as its partner and was ostensibly established by Police Chief Houghton “to prevent another Dallas” Its key members Pena and Hernandez were returned CIA and both made huge career advancements as a result.

    • Avatar Richard_Pietrasz says:

      If you want further reading about the FBI, read The Secret Life of Bill Clinton (especially the OK City bombing part), and Tainting Evidence, about the FBI lab.

  7. Avatar Guest says:

    Liz Brown-Norden, the mom of the Norden brothers went to the same high school as Sean Collier, Stoneham H.S., different year but same high school. Wow, maybe these families had known eachother. I think Collier may have originally been from Somerville but moved to Stoneham at one point. Either way Collier was also still very much connected to somerville where he was looking forward to starting on the police dept. there in Somerville and where the Nordens marathon runner friend, Mike Jefferson, is on the Fire Dept. there in a Somerville. Was Collier living in Somerville also at the time of his death??

  8. Avatar Guest says:

    The friend, Mike Jefferson, that was running the marathon that the Nordens went to watch was/is a firefighter with the Somerville fire dept.. Wonder if Jefferson or even Jefferson’s friends, the Nordens, knew MIT Police officer Sean Collier. Collier was getting ready to switch over to the Somerville Police Dept.

  9. Avatar Cathleen McGuire says:

    Seems to parallel the Sacco and Vanzetti case, immigrants in the Boston area who likewise faced prejudicial trials. They were executed.

  10. Avatar Bloom says:

    Thank you for this article. It’s a LOOOOOONNNNNGGGGG time coming! This has been obvious from the arrest of the three friends right after the bombings and Todashev’s murder a month later. The Boston media is totally bought and sold and reports nothing but “official sources.” They are a big part of the problem and have a lot to answer for in the setting up of an innocent young man for the government’s crimes.

  11. Avatar Professor says:

    The article describes the FBI intimidation. If true it would be more credible to name the alleged agents involved instead of making implications.

    • Avatar deltajent says:

      @ Professor: Yes, that would be nice…if we could find out their (real) names. A link in the article ( revealed the only reason the name of the shooter is known is due to a slip by a state attorney.

      This is how a police state works: concealed or alter identities of officials; immunity from prosecution, or even investigation in many cases, of crimes committed while on the job; a code of silence; and intimidation, harassment, and/or persecution of anyone perceived as remotely critical of the state’s abusive police apparatus.

      The FBI, like the CIA, is just another out-of-control agency that needs to be eliminated. Reform at this point is virtually impossible. Everything about this collection of domestic spies, thugs and psychopathic bureaucrats offends the senses of decent people. Even the interrogation…er, excuse me, interview process is an outrage. No audio or video recording is made, no lawyer is allowed to be present, and one of two agents takes notes which can then be later altered to fit their agenda. If the subject disagrees as to accuracy, it’s one mundane’s opinion against that of two federal agents. Good luck with that.

      If you’re ever interviewed by the FBI, either insist on making your own recording or refuse to say anything at all. It’s your right after all, and they’re your agents…theoretically.

    • Avatar barbara henninger says:

      The killer of Ibragim Todashev was FBI Agent Aaron McFarlane. You can read a bit about him here:

  12. Avatar Tom says:

    The use of immigration status to intimidate witnesses is so widespread and systematic in this case that one must wonder if the ability to do so wasn’t an important consideration in choice of patsies during the government’s planning of the event. The witness clean-up efforts after JFK got really messy with wet work in the dozens; the clean-up after 9/11 less so, and so far after Boston only one has needed killing — something of a victory for the perps to have it sewn up so neatly during the planning stages.

  13. Avatar abbeysbooks says:

    This is not new.FBI under Hoover worked the income tax intimidation strategy as well as closet activities shall we say. whowhatwhy is not being sophisticated here.The law/justice has never been what its ideology suggests, but an arm of the authoritarian govt which is fascism lite so far but getting heavier all the time.

  14. Avatar goingnowherefast says:

    The government is a criminal racket. The more crimes it commits, the harsher the intimidation tactics of those who know the truth in order to continue the illusion of normalcy.

    How long before the majority acknowledges the criminal nature of the system?

    • Avatar abbeysbooks says:

      It can’t be fixed.It can only be carried to excess to implode as Nietzsche says.WWW is investigation lite.No teeth.I was here when it happened and some people dug too deep.I bullied them until they left for their own place.That’s where you will find the meat.Can’t say as comment will be deleted.

  15. Avatar Patriarch says:

    There is an FBI AGENT assigned to JAHAR during all communications, in person or by phone, who “takes notes”. (SAM)

    What do you call that? I say: constitutional violations!

    Years ago, I was working late in my office on a Friday night, preparing for an expert witness testimony on MONDAY in federal court in Boston.

    Late into the night I received a call from the prosecutor that the case was dropped.

    I asked her how she knew where I was ( no cell phones then).

    She said, “We know where you are at all times. We assigned an agent!”

  16. Avatar SSAmest says:

    I think this is one of those rare times where the FBI actually “went live” and gave a real bomb out to the stooges they were framing instead of busting them the minute they plant what’s usually a phony bomb in the area they were directed to.

    • Avatar Sliide says:

      There are photos that show it was not them.
      Walking from the actual explosion with a backpack means it was not you because you could not even get to the second location that went off too close in time to the first.
      it was Craft. Tsarnaev was on the payroll just like Oswald. A patsy, just like Oswald. There are far too many connections between the Intel Community and Tamerlain to remove him and his brother from their direct control.

    • Avatar Tom says:

      What makes you think it was a real bomb? Watch video of the event again, closely this time. The row of flags immediately adjacent to the “explosion” barely ripple at first, then slowly respond as the warm gases wash over them like a summer gust of wind. A real explosion would have ripped the flags off their poles and probably snapped the poles, too. The smoke and gentle outward movement of gases at Boston was just like the practice bombs manufactured for training exercises.

    • Avatar Danielle Davito says:

      Watch the flags again.You’ll note that they in fact,begin to ‘wave’ a split-second before you can see,or hear the blast(spectator’s videos from sidewalk looking toward street,show the flags ‘jet’ straight out).That is the result of the supersonic wave,caused by a high explosive.The bomb wasn’t on the sidewalk,and certainly wasn’t a low explosive,like in a pressure-cooker bomb.It was an immonium nitrate bomb,in a Ryder truck,parked in an underground parking garage.There is white powder that can be seen on the ground,coming from LensCrafter’s windows,& falling perfectly within their parameters,toward the street.There are at least half-a-dozen 1-3ft. diameter holes blown out of the sidewalk,over a 50sqr.ft. radius.According to former NYPD bomb squad Det.Kevin Barry,he believes the powder to be ammonium nitrate.Watch-“Boston marathon 2013;explaining the explosions”.Also-“Raw footage;terrorism strikes Boston marathon as bombs explode”-Maria Stephanos,a Fox reporter from Dallas,was there as a ‘spectator’, (so she wasn’t put under lock-down at the Copley Sqr. Motel,like the rest of the media,prior to the blasts) says the explosion happened ‘in the middle of the building’,not on the sidewalk. Apparently she didn’t get the memo.An ‘underground’ explosion also explains the majority of injuries were to the legs of victims. No one suffered catastrophic injuries above the legs.

    • Avatar sputnik says:

      Moreover, in the video, watch the helium balloons (attached to the tops of lampposts?– it’s been awhile). What kind of shrapnel bomb can saw off people’s legs and not pop helium balloons?

    • Avatar Bloom says:

      No, they had Craft International do it and the brothers were only targeted–their packs had no bombs, Dzhokhar’s is grey and white, not black, and they were running away with their packs. It was done but not by the brothers. Dzhokhar was never in front of the Forum–only photos that were doctored and used in the Criminal Complaint tried to put him there. The FBI is desperate–one of the targets got away alive.

  17. Compare and contrast with the prosecution’s vital and mysterious alleged witness “Danny” — surely the defense has had an opportunity to depose him. (as if)

    • Avatar Patriarch says:

      He’s a quid pro quo green card candidate working with FBI RECRUITER Fox from the FBI STUDENT RECRUITMENT base at Northeastern U.

      (See whowhatwhy Refresher article “Danny pt 2”)

      CARLOS the cowboy hat hero, likewise.
      You can catch his backstory on youtube as well as a movie trailer “the prosecution of a president” in 2012.

      The producer, NATHAN Folks claims the crime scene were actors both limbed & amputees.

      He is interviewed.

      Has anyone taken note?
      No upper limb damage, no call for blood donations, & NO CIVIL LAWSUIT FILINGS, against the city or against WATERTOWN police ….

  18. Avatar Nick Miller says:

    It’s going to be kangaroo court in Boston. The spying on the defense team is what makes me laugh. This country man…. what happened?

    • Avatar Sliide says:

      What happened?
      Well Historian and Preacher Isaac Bachus pointed out the hypocrisy of the Adams boys in their Constitution of Mass from the beginning, s the Mass. COnstitution had a Parsonable Tax that violated the 1st Amendment and Baptists imprisoned and killed into the year 1806.
      Either the Lawyer Aristocracy sold out what was promised to us shorlty after the beginning as noted by the elimination of the Council of Censors from the 1st Pa. Constitution, or we were sold out from before the very begging as proved by Shayes and Fries Rebellions.
      In Shayes, the Men who won the War were being driven off the land that they had won with their Blood.
      Where were their War Spoils? What did they Win of not their land?
      How could any have standing against their Blood and Sacrifice?
      No it has always been this way. You just can no longer explain away what you are seeing.

    • Avatar abbeysbooks says:

      Here’s how they sold out:4 of 5 first presidents were from VA and knew this slavery law of 1760: In 1780 – date? – the law changed and VA was “allowed” to free their slaves following the Declaration of Independence. Sophistry is at the base, the foundational structure, of our legal system.

    • Avatar barbara henninger says:

      I just read Thomas Jefferson Master of the Mountain. He found slavery just too much of a good investment opportunity to let it go.

    • Avatar abbeysbooks says:

      Dolley Madison’s father never recouped his loss by freeing his slaves. His plantation couldn’t survive and all plantation owners knew their wealth came from the backs of slaves. Jefferson wasn’t going to give up his life style. Payne gave up his though and died a pauper,run out of the Philadelphia Quakers for poverty and went to the free Quakers where he is buried in their cemetery.He wanted Dolley to marry her first husband because he owed him money. Her husband probably lent him the money to put him in his debt so he could get the sought after Dolley.Is it ever anything but turtles all the way down to capitalism?

    • Avatar abbeysbooks says:

      Boston will be a “show trial” like the early ones Lenin did in which the poet Mandelstam was indicted and sent to the gulag.He had a bad heart condition.

  19. Avatar barbara henninger says:

    Thank you for staying on this. Khairullozhon Matanov, the friend of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar, is also still locked up. His trial is set for June, 2015. Tomorrow he’ll be spending his birthday in solitary where he’s been held without bail since May.

    • Avatar Bloom says:

      Holding all these people rounded up in solitary is another piece of this. We should send Russian language books to Matanov so he has something to read. Where is he being held? Send paperback books via a reputable bookseller.

    • Avatar barbara henninger says:

      I read that someone is sending him a lot of books, but he can send and receive letters, so you can ask him if he needs more.
      Khairullozhon Matanov
      ID# 65363
      Unit GSE Room 107
      26 Long Pond Road
      Plymouth, MA 02360

    • Avatar Bloom says:

      Thanks for the information. I’m glad books are being sent —I’ll try to send some too. And a letter.

    • Avatar barbara henninger says:

      You’re welcome. I was thinking maybe he could use a good Russian/English dictionary (although his English is pretty good) and also a law dictionary (U.S. law) in Russian.

  20. Avatar Guest says:

    Mr. Henry, your closing in this article honorably provides the media in Boston with the necessary and appropriate challenge – to do the right thing. yes, this is surely the time for the media in Boston to do so…..any takers? – we’ll see.

  21. Avatar Change You Can Keep says:

    If Tsarnaev really did commit the crimes he’s been charged with, why is it that the feds have to intimidate witnesses? If the story is true, there’s no need for these heavy handed tactics.

  22. Avatar Orangutan. says:

    Sad how easy it is to get away with acts of false flag terrorism.

  23. Avatar omniadeo says:

    Yeah, well, surely if there were anything to this story, someone would have talked.

    • Avatar barbara henninger says:

      How original.

    • Avatar RJ O'Guillory says:

      …you are an uniformed, naïve idiot if you believe what you wrote….amazing…The Boston Bombing was another false-flag that much of the country has not “bought”….I wish I was on the jury…I’d vote no from the get go and attempt to nullify any jury verdict…fuck the corrupt US Government and their fascist, pecker-headed goons…The FBI
      RJ O’Guillory

    • Avatar Johnny Kay says:

      But you would never make it to the jury. The government — the judge and prosecutor — will reject any juror whom they suspect is independent-minded and able to think critically. The jury will consist of weak, angry, easily-intimidated morons.

    • Avatar RJ O'Guillory says:

      …yes…sadly…you are probably correct..

    • Avatar Guest says:

      time to get informed, omni. operation gladio (i’m sure you’ll need to google that) was much larger than the BMB and lasted 40 years. guess what?!? no one talked.

    • Avatar medianotes6 says:

      Not for several decades, at the very least.
      They murdered someone in cold blood with impunity. Their message is “we can do what we want even with society watching”. What does that say to anyone who would come forward with information?

    • Avatar skipcook says:

      As LBJ said, which never made sense to me, because I believe he was part and parcel to the bloodshed, “Hell we’re running a God Damned Murder Incorporated here”. It has only gotten disgustingly worse.