RadioWhoWhatWhy: Trials are Not a Search for the Truth

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Masha Gessen is a Russian and American writer and activist, known for her opposition to Putin, has a new book out about the Boston Marathon bombings. Photo credit: Ilya Schurov / Flickr

Masha Gessen is a Russian and American writer and activist, known for her opposition to Putin, has a new book out about the Boston Marathon bombings. Photo credit: Ilya Schurov / Flickr

In so many ways, the story of the Tsarnaev brothers is like the story of the blind man and the elephant. Every part you touch gives you a different picture, a different impression, a different experience.

WhoWhatWhy has devoted more resources to this story than almost any other media outlet. In the language of the industry, it has owned the story. It has raised serious questions about the role of the FBI, the decisions of the prosecutors, investigators, and of the government in general.

We have made it clear to everyone who has read our coverage that while we certainly don’t yet know the truth of what really happened, for a long time, the mainstream coverage has eschewed much of what to us has been obvious.
Now, Russian–American Journalist Masha Gessen in her book,The Brothers: The Road to an American Tragedy, takes a look at the history of the Tsarnaev brothers and their family. She also covered the recently concluded trial. While you may have heard her talk about the trial in other interviews, in language consistent with the story the government wants you to hear, in this interview with WhoWhatWhy’s Jeff Schechtman she begins to move closer to what readers here have already long understood.
It’s a clear example that the public perception of what happened in Boston on April 15, 2013 is beginning to shift and further indication that our search for the truth just might pay off.

 

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10 responses to “RadioWhoWhatWhy: Trials are Not a Search for the Truth”

  1. Difficult to listen to, since it seems clear (to me) that she is struggling with the inconsistencies in her own narrative, but cannot quite break through or let go of a narrative she is so invested in. And of course the issue of hard evidence that either of the brothers actually planted bombs is sidestepped. A bit too much insistence that she doesn’t hold with conspiracy theories, repeated over and over during the interview. However, the info about Dzhokhar, his visits to mosques and his video interests was important and necessary info. And it was worthwhile listening to her struggles for clarity. This is a purely subjective judgment, but I felt acutely uncomfortable listening to her, in contrast to Russ Baker, for example, who inspires immediate trust. With Mr. Baker I feel, “This is a man who is not going to deceive.” With Ms. Gessen i felt this is a woman who is not being entirely honest with herself. But she had the good will to be interviewed for this site and that is a plus. But one can feel her emotional defensiveness surrounding the issue of FBI complicity in this case. (Pardon the subjective judgements here, 40 years as an acting/drama teacher, one develops acutely sensitive ears.)

    • onetree says:

      To me, not holding with or being averse to conspiracy theories means being entirely too invested in official narratives, lacking critical thinking skills, and lacking courage to start at “square one” and ignore official narratives to find truth. Personally, I would not be so proud of this.

      I think your assessment is excellent.

    • reporter says:

      Ms. Gessen is a well-respected journalist, doing great work on Russian subjects as Putin and Pussy Riot. She is a Russian, who immigrated to the US..I am not sure why one think she is hard to listen and struggling with inconsistencies. She is someone who knows what she writes and talks about. Perhaps it is over the head of an actingdrama teacher.

    • danny j says:

      From what I’ve read of her “journalism,” she comes off as a propagandist who promotes the official U.S. narrative by demonizing Putin, ridiculing modern Russia and defending anyone who opposes Putin and modern Russia, including the neo-nazis in Ukraine.

      Here are some examples:

      Putin’s Military Doctrine: He wins by lying

      Crimea is Putin’s Revenge

      Putin Snubbed: May release Mikhail Khodorkoskvy to distract attention from Western Leaders decision to skip HIS Olympics

      How to Read the Russian Election: If you’re wondering which of the candidates opposing Vladimir Putin is a stooge, rest assured they all are.

      Do Russians Have a Death Wish?

      http://www.slate.com/authors.masha_gessen.html

    • oh_look says:

      Janet Napolitano sure didn’t like the fact that Gessen brought up the Russians notifying the FBI/GOV about Tamerlan. She gets very defensive in her op-ed.
      It must be hard for some people to write a book about something then find out things were not quite what they had seemed. Gessen would really need to add an entire new section onto her book to account for all the discrepancies in the case. That would be the ethical thing to do. However, an issue like this really does separate the “boys from the men” so-to-speak, if a writer finds his/her book is not quite accurate…probably most are going to insist on their version, which is sad.

    • FiuToYou says:

      She might be afraid of ending up in the cemetery. I think that’s one of the things that all ‘real’ journalists have on the back of their minds. Scary country when it gets to that point, but unfortunately it’s a real threat. Accidents and suicides seem to be the norm.

    • Ah, how true, sadly. Good observation.

    • shishani says:

      the info about Dzhokhar, his visits to mosques and his
      video interests was important and necessary info. And it was worthwhile
      listening to her struggles for clarity. This is a purely subjective judgment.

      The Chechens fought two war with Russia, they
      one the first one and lost the last one.

      Every Chechen in this world, man, woman, young and old
      keeps videos of those

      Wars and that does not make all Chechens terrorists, by
      the way Chechen people have one enemy and that’s, Russia,
      not America
      or Americans or any one else at that.

    • Thanks. That’s an important clarification. I assumed as much.

    • danny j says:

      I found Ms. Gessen’s demeanor to be uncomfortable as well. I have not read her book, but I did read the NY Times book review, written by – of all people – former head of the Department of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/12/books/review/the-brothers-masha-gessens-book-about-the-boston-marathon-bombers.html?_r=1

      From that I got the sense that Ms. Gessen set out to just fill in some blanks in the official conspiracy theory and make a buck, but then found and published some information that didn’t fit. She was and is not willing to face the implications of these inconsistencies, and I think that is what you and I sensed in Russ’ interview.

      She is being marginalized (by Ms. Napolitano among others) as bordering on being “a conspiracy theorist.” Knowing that can be the death knell to a publishing career (if not a literal one), I think she is cowering away from delving deeper into what she accidentally uncovered.