1The prosecution pulled a couple of astonishing 180°s in the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev trial Thursday. The fancy footwork actually had the government denying evidence it once claimed to have possessed. In fact, in one instance, the prosecution managed to pull a full 360°.

It started when one witness, FBI Supervisory Agent Michael Knapp—who works with the Terrorist Explosive Device Analytical Center (TEDAC) in Quantico, Virginia—testified that the bombs allegedly made by Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were “not that sophisticated.” He also stated that investigators found explosives residue in the Tsarnaev brothers’ Norfolk Street, Cambridge, apartment and in their vehicles.

However, both these assertions directly contradict what the public has been led to believe since the April 2013 Boston Marathon bombing—based not only on what law enforcement told the media, but also on the prosecution’s own statements. Despite these glaring discrepancies, Knapp’s testimony Thursday went unchallenged by the defense.

The reason for the defense’s silence seems clear. With the prosecution trying to paint the brothers as “lone wolves” who acted without any outside help, the defense has focused on saving Dzhokhar from the death penalty by blaming the defendant’s actions on older brother Tamerlan. As a result, both sides appear content to ignore the possibility that others were involved in the planning or facilitation of the bombing—even though the government once contended that this might be the case.

Thursday’s testimony is a case study in how language can be twisted to gain a legal advantage, while leaving potentially significant matters of fact unexplored.

Let’s take a look at the prosecution’s latest assertions, one at a time.

The Bombs: Sophisticated or Simple?

The first issue concerns the design of the bombs that exploded on Boylston Street on April 15. 2013. According to Knapp’s Thursday testimony, the bombs were relatively simple devices. Although he didn’t say it directly, he implied that anyone with an Internet connection could have pulled off the Boston bombing.

But that assertion contradicts the opinion of numerous experts, and of investigators directly connected to this case.

Not long after the bombing, former CIA operative Bob Baer, told CNN:

The police are looking at this as a sophisticated device, which does not precisely follow the internet plans that are in Inspire magazine… In order to have them foolproof, you need a bomb maker to do it, or someone with a lot of practice. These things just don’t go off with that consistency that they managed to make happen.

About a year later, retired Army Lt. Gen. Mike Barbero, former director of the Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), told ABC News:

For a ‘novice’ pair of IED builders and emplacers, for them to work as they did, to be effective, that indicates to me a level of sophistication that they received some sort of training from somewhere.

Barbero headed JIEDDO at the time of the marathon attacks. JIEDDO works directly with Knapp’s TEDAC, an interagency organization that scrutinizes explosive devices for various government agencies, including the military.

The prosecution has changed its position on the level of sophistication of the bombs used in Boston.

The prosecution has changed its position on the level of sophistication of the bombs used in Boston.


When justifying why FBI agents questioned Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for two days before reading him his Miranda rights, the prosecution pointed to the sophistication of the bombs, which led them to believe there were others involved.

That, in turn, allowed the government to interrogate Tsarnaev without a Miranda warning under the “public safety exception,” on the assumption that more attacks might be imminent .

The government’s May 2014 motion reads:

The Marathon bombs were constructed using improvised fuses made from Christmas lights and improvised, remote-control detonators fashioned from model car parts. These relatively sophisticated devices would have been difficult for the Tsarnaevs to fabricate successfully without training or assistance from others.

Until Thursday’s testimony by FBI agent Knapp, it was assumed that the brothers must have had help in either designing or constructing the bombs. Investigators said Tamerlan could have received training while he was overseas in Dagestan, a Russian state with a jihadi underground, for six months in 2012.

But the prosecution had reason to stay away from this scenario, because it would play into the defense’s strategy of showing Tamerlan as mastermind and Dzhokhar as weak-willed dupe. So Knapp’s testimony on Thursday portraying the Marathon bombs as “unsophisticated” wrote any need for “explosives training” out of the case.

And since Dzhokhar’s lawyers have admitted his culpability, the defense was happy to go along with any story that reinforces Tamerlan’s central role. What gets lost in this complicity of silence is the possibility that the Tsarnaevs had help in carrying out the bombing—a possibility that the establishment media should be pursuing, since it could lead to answers about who might’ve been providing that help.

The Black Powder: Now You See It, Now You Don’t. Or Do You?

The other issue raised by Thursday’s testimony concerns the whereabouts of explosives powder (gunpowder) residue. Investigators seemed to have had a hard time deciding whether there were traces of powder in the Tsarnaevs’ Cambridge apartment. So far, they have reversed themselves three times over the course of the investigation—twice in official proceedings.

A month after the bombing, a “source close to the investigation” told CNN that explosives residue had been found in the small Norfolk Street apartment. The report said the residue “turned up in at least three places,” namely the kitchen table, the kitchen sink and the bathtub.

But a year later, in the same government motion that claimed the brothers likely had “training or assistance from others,” prosecutors argued that there were “virtually no traces of black powder” in the Tsarnaev apartment. This would suggest that the bombs were built elsewhere, possibly in an unidentified safe-house provided by those never identified “others.

It’s worth noting that this claim was put forward to justify the failure of law enforcement officers to read Dzhokhar Tsarnaev his Miranda rights while interrogating him in the hospital. (Even before the interrogation began, authorities were telling residents in and around Boston that they could be confident “the threat has been removed.”)

So after informing the court in May 2014 that there was no explosives residue in the Tsarnaevs’ apartment, on Thursday Special Agent Knapp testified that there was evidence of explosives residue—in both the apartment and in the Tsarnaevs’ cars.

Is U.S. Hiding Something?

The pattern seems clear: the hide-and-seek residue makes its appearance when necessary to prove the brothers were the sole perpetrators of the bombing, thereby diverting public attention from the role others may have played in the attack.

But when it serves the government’s purpose to raise the specter of imminent danger from shadowy accomplices, the residue conveniently disappears.

Then, presto-chango, it’s back when any hint of accomplices might aid the defense in warding off the death penalty.

In other words, the government has been allowed to have its cake and eat it too, while the defense, for its own reasons, has not questioned these reversals, And the press—so far—seems not even to have noticed them.

The Public Interest

The whole purpose of a court trial is to decide the guilt or innocence of the accused. But in a case involving the worst terror attack on American soil since 9/11, the public may well want to ask: are there valid trails of evidence leading to the involvement of others in the bombing—trails of evidence that are being ignored, or deliberately suppressed, in the legal games being played in Boston?

If no one in authority, or in the media, even tries to look deeper into this tragedy, we may never get to the bottom of how, where and by whom the bombs that killed three and injured more than 260 people were constructed.

And that failure would be compounding the tragedy.

0 responses to “What’s Not Being Revealed in the Tsarnaev Courtroom”

  1. Tarry Faster says:

    I kept thinking that SOMEONE would explain what THESE guys were doing there:


    • danny j says:

      The caps these guys (and the dozen or more of them that showed up at the Finish Line within 2 minutes of the bomb explosions) are from Craft International. This is one of those shadowy Blackwater-type mercenary/drill trainer groups.


      Craft was co-founded by Chris “American Sniper” Kyle.

    • Tarry Faster says:

      Well, that explains it! Just a group of avid joggers, out to enjoy themselves … leaving their packs behind.

    • danny j says:

      LOL. In this time-lapse video from behind the Finish Line, you can see some Craft guys walk up at :50. Then, at 1:20, a black Craft SUV pulls up and unloads a half dozen more. Lots of interesting comings, doings and goings by those guys.


  2. gregorio says:

    Writers Henry and Turner state that “Dzhokar’s lawyers have admitted his culpability.” Dzhokar pleaded “not guilty”–which is why they are having this trial. He can’t be guilty and not guilty at the same time. To believe lawyers, police or almost any government agent rather than what Dzhokar himself says show how Americans will gullibly trust anything an “authority” figure says. These “defense lawyers” in this kangaroo court have been strenuously supporting the prosecution, not Dzhokar. The prosecution interviewed 94 witnesses in 15 days; the “defense” interviewed 4 in 6 hours! Kevin Cullen, writing in the Boston Globe, said that when the “defense” finally interviewed a couple of witnesses they sounded more like they were lawyers for the prosecution.

  3. JayGoldenBeach says:

    FBI failed to intercept or was directed not to intercept any of the hijackers on 9/11 in spite of supposedly watching them all closely. Whatever the reason, 9/11 attacks happened under FBI’s nose!

    Why such unearned public trust in such weak evidence?!

    Many Americans have a child-like belief in the overall honesty and integrity of our federal security forces. Americans also have a propensity to deify uniformed, armed authority figures, both police and military. Perhaps to question the integrity of the federal police force would be seen by some as un-American? Or maybe many of us are just brain damaged, gullible dolts.

    • oh_look says:

      So many get outraged at any suggestion that the U.S. may be behind many of the terrible events at home and abroad.

    • Math & Physics says:

      Are you so much of a dumb ass, that you have yet to figure out how the LAWS OF PHYSICS were violated?
      Aluminum cannot cut through a larger piece of rigid structural steel(>85Ksi tensile) at subsonic speed.
      FACT: No airliner hit the WTC, NOT POSSIBLE.
      Just look at the impact of the Empire St bld, July 28th 1945. Even the masonry facade (<1Ksi tensile), caused the airframe to bounce off, falling to the street.

      You sound like one gigantic HAYSEED, spouting pro gov BS.

    • TJTruth2 says:

      Here come the disinfo coitintelpro dimwits. Countless eyewitnesses saw planes hit the WTC. You’re trying your best to pollute the well and encourage guilt by association. You hope that all the legitimate questions about 9/11 are overshadowed by your kooky BS. Either that or you’re just an idiot.

    • Math & Physics says:

      Here is a legitimate question, HOW DOES ALUMINUM CUT THROUGH STRUCTURAL STEEL?!
      Show an example of how your IVY league physics werks. Physics by definition is 100% REPEATABLE.

    • TJTruth2 says:

      Here are numerous, detailed EYE WITNESS REPORTS of the second plane hitting the tower: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xsmc_rS2jOo

    • Math & Physics says:

      I can dig up numerous “eye witnesses” that will say David Copperfield made the statue of liberty disappear, doesn’t mean it left Elise Island. There are also numerous accounts of people stating “What plane, there was no plane”. But I’m sure you will disregard that due to your personal cognitive dissonance.

    • TJTruth2 says:

      So what’s your theory, that it was a hologram that the eyewitnesses all saw? Do you realize how completely idiotic and ridiculous that is? If you aren’t on the CIA payroll, you should be. It sickens me that legitimate questions about what happened that tragic day are overshadowed by crazy, convoluted, unsubstantiated BS like your own. “Crisis actors” at the marathon, “crisis actors” at Sandyhook, “no planes” in NYC on 9/11 – all created, coaxed, encouraged and managed by cointelpro elements within the US government, no doubt. And you’re doing your part to spread the disinfo. You should be completely ashamed of yourself.

    • Math & Physics says:

      “theory”? I’m not dealing with subjective matter, Newtonian Physics has been recognized for five centuries as 100% REPEATABLE.
      Even the pope won’t deny what engineering is based on these days.
      No plane could penetrate the WTC, simple fact, you are too dumb to recognize reality.

    • TJTruth2 says:

      Simple question. What APPEARED to hit the buildings, then?

    • Math & Physics says:

      Like most movies, probably CGI. But again, that is subjective opinion, stick w/ the facts that can’t be denied, it wasn’t Flt 175.

    • John Cathy says:

      wake up and listen

  4. Tanya Stone says:

    It will be interesting to see what evidence the lawsuits of the 276 victims of the bombing brings forward. Wait — there hasn’t been a single lawsuit from the victims. Not against the city, or the security arrangements, or the Boston Marathon organization — deep pockets, all. And why is that?

    • ra wo says:

      The lawsuit should be against the FBI/DOJ for supposedly letting them “slip off the radar” after being interviewed, even though clearly they were tracking them and setting them up all along. This is where the juicy stuff is.

  5. onetree says:

    The first mistake is going along with the government’s assertions about pressure cooker bombs and where/when they may have been used, as well as who built them. It still seems very possible to me that the brothers may not have done anything more than show up at the marathon in backpacks and hats. I believe it is an underestimate of the FBI’s ability to lie, to fabricate evidence, manipulate people, and to cover up these sorts of mass mayhem. Not to remember and/or realize that “our” government has aspects that are very practiced at this sort of activity. So anything the prosecution asserts or any evidence presented by them has to be judged with this knowledge in mind.

    I watched a video yesterday that shows fairly convincingly that mortars may have been used. The video shows people clearing away those pipes. Other videos show a lot of interesting things — obvious things — that have never been discussed or mentioned by the government or defense.

    Another question I had was who is/are the actual publishers of Inspire magazine. I suspect it could be one or more of “our” government agencies for the purpose of setting up people like the Tsarnaev brothers as patsies.

    Something that may have been discussed at some point but that I have missed is how the brothers might have paid for all of the items they supposedly purchased related to bomb making and carrying out the “plan.” The suggestion has been made and that Dzhokhar was selling marijuana and “always seemed to have money,” without any real evidence given. I’m not even sure whether or not he had a job at the time of the bombing. If Tamerlan was a stay-at-home dad and his wife worked long hours as a home health aid, there most likely wasn’t a lot of extra money in their family budget. Many things are said about Tamerlan, many accusations that cannot be proven or disproven because he is not on trial. He cannot defend himself against these. I would not be surprised if we were to eventually find that none of the accusations are true.

    Nothing has been settled, no confidence has been gained by the testimony, and more questions than answers are the only real results of the trial so far IMHO.

  6. ra wo says:

    “Is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Drugged or Brainwashed? Fire the Defense.”

    “In media report after media report, words come across that give the
    impression that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is acting in ways which puzzle even
    seasoned court reporters, and seems to be hardly at his own trial at
    all. As an afterthought reports will not that he is “slouched” in his
    seat or “looking at the floor.” In a pre-trial hearing he kept smiling at his sisters, the only people he acknowledged, who were sobbing the whole time.

    BBC reported last month that as his lawyer confessed for him, Tsarnaev:

    “slouched in his seat and [showing] little reaction,”

    These are alarming indicators in a democracy where competency to stand trial
    is a key criteria of the legitimacy of the proceedings. The fact is
    this does not involve only Tsarnaev, but could be anyone.

    In a powerful compilation a Youtube user has
    pieced together media reports and interviews of the defendant’s
    friends, in his first pre-trial appearance, and it is unanimous that
    Dzhokhar is behaving like a different person than the one they knew.
    That was nearly two years ago, and since then he has been subjected to
    another nearly two years in isolation, with the government able to do
    anything they want to him…ARTICLE: https://wordpress.com/post/87019396/65/

  7. WholeTruth&NothingButTheTruth says:

    I suspect there is a MA Army National Guard, etc. thread.

  8. DM says:

    Whether or not there are “valid trails of evidence leading to the involvement of others in the bombing” (though I would readily believe there are, not least because of the prosecution’s many objections to certain questions), the statements of the counterterrorism experts from DHS, the CIA, and other respected sources remain (for one example, those quoted here http://thebostonmarathonbombings.weebly.com/timers-or-cellphones-how-many-ways-to-say-exactly-nothing.html). They can’t all be so easily dismissed. And no trace of a detonator was found??
    And frankly, I have yet to see anything dug up about the Tsarnaev brothers that even remotely substantiates the level of hate or violent radicalism it would take to set off a real bomb to harm Americans, while there is plenty to argue the opposite – i.e., their palpable desperation, as Chechens, to become American citizens and live in the US, far from the violence that has been devastating their native land.

  9. AWAY90 says:

    Tima is nickname for Tamerlan

    • ra wo says:

      Could be. Not the biggest point. Who is the agent with the earpiece, who is trailing the brothers BEFORE the bombs go off, in this video? Why did the FBI blur the man’s face
      out before they put it on TV? I am a little surprised that WWW has not jumped on this, it is a smoking gun. They were trailing the brothers all along. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Oi0qzuU_Ik

    • gingercake5 says:

      Yes, there are a lot of smoking gu ns because this incident was staged. I guess the trial is staged, too, considering the strange moves by the defense. My guess it will end up like the OKC thing, where there was a quick ex ecution to please the public. Then the guy walks free.

  10. ra wo says:

    US Representative Michael McCaul, chairman of the committee which oversees DHS, told the New York Times: “the level of sophistication” of the bombs used at the marathon “leads me to believe that there was a trainer.”


    – And who is “Tima?” WWW reported tweet from courtroom saying Jahar was texting someone names “Tima” about “jihad.”

    – FBI story that the brothers dropped off the radar after 2011 can be shown to be false. US House of Representatives Department of Homeland Security Committee report, “The Road to Boston: Counterterrorism Challenges and Lessons from the Marathon Bombings,” states that Moscow FBI office was eavesdropping on Tamerlan, communication with William Plotnikov the Canadian jihadi:

    “FBI officials in Moscow indicated that electronic communication between
    the two [Tsarnaev and Plotnikov] may have been collected.”

    Lends credence to family contention that FBI was interacting with them all along and trying to get Tamerlan to turn informant on Chechen community.

    Jahar’s backpack cannot weigh 30 lbs. from the way he is walking, using one strap.

    Ah yes let’s not forget the mystery man with the earpiece tracking the brothers before the bombs, with his face BLURRED OUT BY THE FBI. That tells us they are hiding something. Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Oi0qzuU_Ik

    Jury must conclude something was going on, but not what the government is telling them.

    • shishani says:

      The agent is making sure that the
      brothers follow their instruction

      As ordered, the way I see it, the
      brothers were working for the? And

      They had no idea that they were carrying
      explosives if so they were.

      Their friend in Florida was informed by the brothers that
      they were

      Working for the US government and that’s why he was

    • ra wo says:

      Anyone who has been backpacking knows what a 30 lb. pack feels like, it is no joke. You need it by both straps or you will pull heavily to one side to balance the load. Jahar was doing neither, and looks like he has maybe a book and a bag lunch in there, not 30 lbs. The explosives were already there or dropped by someone else.

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