Chris Matthews suggests that Boston suspects are Arabs

on 102 Comments

I’ve watched about as much as a sentient being can stand of cable coverage of the FBI’s announcement of suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing case– an hour or so– and in that time Chris Matthews kept hinting that the suspects are Arabs. He wondered whether the FBI doesn’t have ethnographic experts who can say on the basis of facial features whether these guys are from a foreign country, and he promptly offered Yemen as a possibility. Later he pressed experts about his suspicion that the suspects are foreign. They put on new baseball caps to try to “hide their identity” and pretend to be Americans, he said. They’re political zealots, he said in so many words on another occasion– not the kind you find in America. I don’t see what evidence he has for these assertions. In fact, they seem unfair.

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102 Responses

  1. Bumblebye
    April 18, 2013, 9:11 pm

    Gosh! From 11 fuzzy stills and 30secs of video he can extrapolate so much! I could see two young males.

    • DICKERSON3870
      April 18, 2013, 10:28 pm

      RE: “From 11 fuzzy stills and 30secs of video he [Chris Matthews] can extrapolate so much!” ~ Bumblebye

      MY REPY: I’ll have you know that Chris “Tweety Bird” Matthews does not extrapolate, he divines!

      DICTIONARY.COM: divine
      • verb (used with object)
      to discover or declare (something obscure or in the future) by divination; prophesy.
      • verb (used without object)
      to use or practice divination; prophesy.

    • RoHa
      April 18, 2013, 10:39 pm

      Are they swarthy, unshaven, fanatical, wild-eyed young males? If so, gotta be Arabs.

      • K Renner
        April 19, 2013, 8:43 am

        Apart from the swarthiness, that description sounds like me. According to a few people, at least.

  2. RJL
    April 18, 2013, 9:28 pm

    Oh come on, Phil, you KNOW they’re Mossad people, dressed to look like people of Mideast descent, hell bent on making more trouble for all the innocents living so peacefully in the calm sands of the Middle East. Can’t you get it right the first time?

    • ToivoS
      April 19, 2013, 3:55 am

      Actually they do not look like people of ME descent. Rather one looks very Israeli to me. The other looks Irish. Latest breaking news is that Israel is sending in investigators to help the FBI and Boston police in their investigation. I am sure that they are not in the least interested in allowing Mossad agents to join in the investigation. We can assume that they are there to assassinate any of their agents that may have been revealed.

    • Ellen
      April 19, 2013, 3:56 am

      RJL, if the released photos are, indeed, of the pepetuators they are “dressed up” to look like any ole’ students in Boston: baseball hats, heavy back packs, kaki pants…

      The baggy kaki pants and baseball hats… that still in?

    • Ecru
      April 19, 2013, 8:25 am

      Interesting choice of words. Mossad (Israeli) agents dressed to LOOK LIKE people of Middle Eastern descent.

      So you’re admitting that Israeli’s aren’t people of middle eastern descent?

    • K Renner
      April 19, 2013, 8:45 am

      You look stupid, even more than usual, by saying this.

      No one’s saying that your precious “MOSSAD” had anything to do with the attack.

      All they’re saying is that this jumping the gun on “the perps are Arab” is unsubstantiated and disgusting.

      • Sumud
        April 19, 2013, 5:06 pm

        You look stupid, even more than usual, by saying this.

        RJL has evidently not understood Phil’s article at all.

  3. just
    April 18, 2013, 10:05 pm

    Bless you Philip– I could not stomach it.

    I read Mondoweiss instead, and am a bit more informed than I was this morning. Thank you.

  4. Rusty Pipes
    April 18, 2013, 10:10 pm

    Obviously, the new baseball caps are there to disguise the fact that they are Arab. After all, if they aren’t wearing white peaked hoods on Boyleston Street, they couldn’t possibly be white supremacists.

  5. gamal
    April 18, 2013, 10:47 pm

    “and in that time Chris Matthews kept hinting that the suspects are Arabs. He wondered whether the FBI doesn’t have ethnographic experts who can say on the basis of facial features whether these guys are from a foreign country, and he promptly offered Yemen as a possibility.”

    not sure what looking Arab is, most of the world look like Arabs of one kind or another, as a Brazilian ( J-C Menendes) at Stockwell station in South London found to his cost, which was 9 bullets in the head, “Destroy the brain utterly and instantly” is apparently the SOP of the anti-terrorist unit that mistook him for a Somali, perhaps it works self-reflexively, bit pale for a Somali perhaps but you never know. Remember somewhere is an Arab who looks just like you.

  6. a blah chick
    April 18, 2013, 10:52 pm

    Don’t worry, Chris. Even if you turn out to be totally wrong no one will remember it.

  7. Pamela Olson
    April 18, 2013, 11:12 pm

    I’d guess they’re from Oman. Or Belgium. Or Texas.

  8. Nevada Ned
    April 18, 2013, 11:18 pm

    A suspect is in custody for sending ricin to Obama and a US Senator. Much to the disappointment of Chris Matthews, the suspect is not an Arab.

  9. Annie Robbins
    April 19, 2013, 12:14 am

    my hunch is these are timothy mcVeigh wannabees. waco massacre 20 yr anniversary tomorrow.

    watch explosion at 30 seconds:

    and there’s a gunman loose at MIT right now, officer shot.

    hope we can make it thru the weekend without anymore deaths.

  10. Taxi
    April 19, 2013, 12:14 am

    Oh put a sock in it Chris Mathews! Go to bed will ya – it’s way past your scoop time!

  11. chris o
    April 19, 2013, 3:35 am

    I thought it seemed plausible that they could be Arabs, too. And I even thought possibly Yemeni. Not because they look like it for sure or you can really tell. (Arabs are classified as Caucasians to the extent that classification system still exists. Welcome to the club, friends. Psyche!)

    You have to look at motive and target. We have killed and injured a large number in Yemen, and other Arab countries, mostly essentially innocent people. So there is a pretty large and real motive that has actually been operational in many cases such as the Ft. Hood shooter and the Times Sq. bomber. And then there is the target: the iconic Boston Marathon. I think even most non-runners have heard of this. So to not speculate about it being an Arab or Muslim would be a little too PC, it would be ridiculous, frankly.

    None of this is to say that this is TRUE. It is just SPECULATION, which is an important exercise and fun, too. We could speculate about the probability that it was a right-wing attack, an anarchist attack, just pure nihilism or maybe mental illness (incredibly unlikely with 2 bombers). And we could speculate that it is Arabs or Muslims, possibly foreign, possibly domestic, acting out of a whole range of motivations. There are a fair number of grievances against the US from factions in that part of the world, be it Iraq, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen. So it is quite plausible and at this stage, the most plausible scenario

    Along with the Times Sq. bomber and the Ft. Hood shooter have been many hapless souls caught in FBI entrapment stings. They were all motivated by what they saw as a US war on Islam. They weren’t connected to al-Qaeda but they were simpatico.

    National security experts have long said that our posture in the Arab and Muslim world with invasions, drone attacks and a large body count increases the risk of terrorist attacks against the US.

    I think these are all reasonable points and not motivated by racism or animus.

    • German Lefty
      April 19, 2013, 5:15 am

      Arabs are classified as Caucasians to the extent that classification system still exists.

      That’s true. I remember that I learnt this at school and was surprised.

      • Taxi
        April 19, 2013, 10:28 am

        There are originally five races: Chinese, Mongolian, Red Indian, African, and Caucasian (Caucasian includes both Aryan and Semitic, the Semite being the darker shade of white).

        Modern homo sapiens are a mixed rainbow of the above.

        That’s what I was taught in school.

      • Ecru
        April 19, 2013, 2:59 pm

        Wowch! I was never taught about “racial categorization” at school (although I did learn of it in books) that would have been a bit worrying. Later on however I was taught about it at Uni….. as a way of saying how stupid people can be in believing in such arbitrary constructions. And humanity made up of a mix? What utter tosh we get taught in schools.

        But one fun thing does come out of it. Aryans. Aryans are great, fab, they’re absolutely brill. Love ’em! Because Hitler constantly on about them would have had a heart attack if he ever met one of his “pure Master Race.” Their descendants are alive and well and make up the majority population in….PAKISTAN! Can you imagine the look on his face, or that of any other “Aryan Nationalist” if they ever learned that little factoid? Their “pure Aryans” are actually brown not white? Come on, you gotta laugh.

      • Stephen Shenfield
        April 19, 2013, 3:59 pm

        Europeans, but not Africans and Asians, are of partly Neanderthal descent. We/they are not fully Homo sapiens. Does anyone think that explains anything?

      • Taxi
        April 20, 2013, 4:10 am

        Aryans are actually from a mountainous region in central Iran and they’re known for having snow-white skin and red hair. You can even audibly hear the link between Iran and Aryan.

        ‘Aryan’ is derived from Sanskrit and means ‘noble’.

        “The name Iran/Iranian is itself equivalent to Aryan, where Iran means “land of the Aryans, and has been in use since Sassanid times.””

        Also, there’s nothing wrong with learning at school what races lived in the cave-age days, way before humans learned how to travel long distances which allowed for our gene pool to expand it’s variety.

      • German Lefty
        April 20, 2013, 5:23 am

        Caucasian includes both Aryan and Semitic, the Semite being the darker shade of white

        Yes, we were taught in biology class that the so-called “Aryans”, Jews, and Arabs belong to the same group of people. Of course, this ignores the existence of black Jews.

        Can you imagine the look on his face, or that of any other “Aryan Nationalist” if they ever learned that little factoid? Their “pure Aryans” are actually brown not white?

        We were taught this, too. That the Aryans how Hitler defined them don’t exist…

      • German Lefty
        April 20, 2013, 5:40 am

        Europeans, but not Africans and Asians, are of partly Neanderthal descent.

        Are you serious? Because I don’t think that true.
        Watch the BBC documentary “Andrew Marr’s History of the World”:
        Part 1:
        Part 2:
        (The crucial segments are in the first part at 7:50 and 10:50.)

      • Taxi
        April 20, 2013, 7:10 am

        German Lefty,
        Being jewish means one is a member of the jewish religion and a religion is NOT an ethnicity or race, it’s an intangible ‘belief’ system. The first jews were semitic Arab nomads hailing from the deep Arabian desert. They’re Arabs cuz they come from ‘Arabia’ and they’re jewish cuz they follow judaism. Ethiopain jews are therefore Africans who follow judaism. No confusion here – clear as daylight and simple as ABC.

        Also, sorry to say but you’re mistaken: Aryans, be they Nordic or Iranian, are white-skinned and hitler had unconscionably endeavored to erase the darker shades (semites) from the caucasian gene pool, starting with the German jews. Except that most German jews are not semites, but european Khazars and Turkik-white (white skin with dark hair and dark eyebrows). THIS fact, it seems, hitler was not aware of – or else he was aware of it but completely ignored it to fulfill his insane and genocidal political dictatorship.

      • Ecru
        April 20, 2013, 7:57 am

        @ Taxi

        Well not really the term “Aryan” is somewhat problematic in reality.

        1) It’s originally a linguistic term that became conflated with ideas of racial characteristics and culture, in particular the “Nordic race” stuff of the late 19th century. This is ALWAYS a bad idea. For starters it forgets that people can learn new languages. A modern example would be the Irish, we speak mainly English (West Germanic) not Irish Gaelic (Q-Celtic). Doesn’t however mean we’ve magically become Anglo-Saxons though.

        2) It was then borrowed by archaeologist who were describing a material culture NOT a distinct population (people always get mixed up about that, sometimes even archaeologists especially archaeologists pre-1940’s)

        3) The modern Western use of the term derives ultimately from India where the Aryans were the supposedly invading heroes of Vedic tradition. Modern scholarship has big problems with this view of things (it’s still being debated but Indian archaeology’s going through a bit of a nationalist phase at the moment which makes everything much more difficult than need be) as it’s a bit simplistic and a lot of what’s been thought of as evidence (the fall of the Indus Civilization for example) doesn’t fit the chronology.

        So yes the Iranian name is related to a term we know as Aryan but that doesn’t actually mean that they’re the Aryans most people think of, or that even these Aryans as a single distinct population ever existed (Visigoths for example had one name as a collective but were in fact made up of multiple ethnic groups). Look you get into all sorts of stuff dealing with Proto-IndoEuropean and messy archaeology looking for the origins of IndoEuropean at this point and frankly – Life’s. Too. Short.

        As for learning about “races” I disagree. It promulgates these silly divisions that actually make no sense. Black for example, I know quite a few people darker than many Africans but who are still classed as “white,” and “black” people paler than a whole lot of “white” people. The characteristics we associate with race exist on clines they’re not distinct quanta. And the various traits all exist on different clines at that. As for “back in the days of the cavemen” well they were able to travel long distances actually – they got us all out of Africa for starters.

      • Bumblebye
        April 20, 2013, 10:02 am

        Andrew Marr isn’t that up to date on the human mixing:
        Asians are included, and also have a few Denisovan genes mixed in.

      • German Lefty
        April 20, 2013, 1:53 pm

        Aryans are actually from a mountainous region in central Iran

        Your statement reminded me of this article:
        The Führer Cult: Germans Cringe at Hitler’s Popularity in Pakistan
        In the Islamic world, not just in Pakistan but right across from Iran to northern Africa, anti-Semitic sentiment of course plays a role. Conversations with German visitors rapidly turn to the injustice being suffered by the Palestinians who were robbed of their land.
        One can try to cut such conversations short, like a German acquaintance of mine did recently. He told a taxi driver in Iran he should stop talking nonsense because he as a dark-skinned person wouldn’t have survived long in Nazi Germany. The taxi driver looked at him surprised and said: “But I’m Aryan!”

        Also, there’s nothing wrong with learning at school what races lived in the cave-age days, way before humans learned how to travel long distances which allowed for our gene pool to expand it’s variety.


      • German Lefty
        April 20, 2013, 5:25 pm

        Being jewish means one is a member of the jewish religion and a religion is NOT an ethnicity or race, it’s an intangible ‘belief’ system.

        That’s my definition of “being Jewish”, too. However, whenever I told self-identified secular Jews that they aren’t really Jews, they objected. Apparently, being Jewish means something different to different people. Also, a lot of people equate Jews with Semites, because the term “anti-Semitism” solely refers to the hatred of Jews.
        The term “Aryan” is defined differently by different people, too.

        Also, sorry to say but you’re mistaken:

        Where do you think I am mistaken?
        I wrote: The Aryans how Hitler defined them don’t exist.
        You wrote: THIS fact, it seems, hitler was not aware of.
        Conclusion: We agree that Hitler used a wrong definition.

      • Taxi
        April 20, 2013, 5:26 pm

        What you call a “division”, others would call a ‘distinction’. And there are distinctions in life to be made. Nothing wrong or unnatural about that. Humanity was not baked by the Great Hand in the Sky holding a single cookie cutter.

        I already said my bit on the ‘Aryan’ thang and I also provided a link. Your link?

        I’ve heard that a spaceman got the caveman out of the cave who in turn got us out of Africa – you know anything ’bout that?….. LOL just kidding!

      • German Lefty
        April 20, 2013, 5:27 pm

        Thanks for the link, Bumblebye.

      • Taxi
        April 22, 2013, 3:02 pm

        Right you are, German Lefty – my misunderstanding.

      • Ecru
        April 23, 2013, 12:05 pm

        @ Taxi

        Honestly I didn’t think anything I was saying about the term “Aryan” was at all so controversial that it needed links. However, since it apparently is :-

        Use of Aryan as a linguistic term –
        “In the 18th century, the most ancient known Indo-European languages were those of the ancient Indo-Iranians. The word Aryan was therefore adopted to refer not only to the Indo-Iranian peoples, but also to native Indo-European speakers as a whole…”

        The conflation of a linguistic/material culture with a social culture –
        “The ethnic group composed of the Proto-Indo-Europeans and their modern descendants was termed the “Aryans”.

        The Vedic origins of the word “Aryan” as used today
        “The term Aryan originates from the Sanskrit word ārya….”

        All of this is from the Wikipedia page, not the best source in the world but there y’go.

        As for “race” you’ll forgive me for relying on these old fashioned things called books that have one great benefit – they’re peer reviewed (also they’re sat on my bookshelf so I don’t have to go searching all over the web for the info)

        “Race as a concept has little utility…..”

        “…the lack of agreement among different researchers indicates that the entire concept of race is arbitrary as it applies to humans. If clearly discernible races existed, their number should have long since been determined without argument.”

        Relethford, J.H. – “The Human Species – an Introduction to Biological Anthropology” (2003).

        Since the 1600’s, race has also referred to various culturally defined groups and this meaning is still common.

        …even today there are no established criteria for assessing races of plants and animals, including humans.

        ….anthropologists recognise that race isn’t a valid concept….

        …human races are a product of the human tendency to impose order on complex natural phenomena.

        Jurmain R. “Essentials of Physical Anthropology” (2011)

        Or if you want to get more technical…I tell you what, let’s not. Suffice to say, genetic variation in humans is so low “race” fails in genetic tests as well.

        OK that’s all I’m going to write on this, we’ve gotten off topic enough as it is.

    • Ecru
      April 19, 2013, 8:38 am

      Yes Arabs are classed as (ughh) “Caucasian” but it’s a meaningless term. Race is a social not biological construct, and I’ve never understood American anthropologists obsession with measuring things. Maybe it has something to do with all the stats on baseball cards, some kind of weird cultural fetish for statistics no matter how meaningless?

  12. German Lefty
    April 19, 2013, 5:13 am

    He wondered whether the FBI doesn’t have ethnographic experts who can say on the basis of facial features whether these guys are from a foreign country

    Wow! Since when is the USA an ethnic nationalist country? Since when do US citizens look a certain way? I guess Obama is a foreigner too, because he doesn’t look like an American Indian. If Chris Matthews believes that Arabs are foreign to the USA, then his Irish descent makes him a foreigner too.

    • eljay
      April 19, 2013, 8:16 am

      >> German Lefty @ April 19, 2013 at 5:13 am

      Matthews was probably just wondered whether the FBI could confirm that the terrorists were from Iran. Boston’s not quite 9/11, but I suspect it could be spun into sufficient justification for “liberating” Iran.

      And in case that’s not enough, let’s not forget that Iranmadinejad threatened to wipe Israel off the map and push it into the sea!

      Oh, and the Holocaust.


  13. amigo
    April 19, 2013, 5:52 am

    Well gollleeeee, one is a White guy.

    Poor ole Chris Mathews–hit his finger instead of the nail.

    We await the background of suspect number 2.

  14. Taxi
    April 19, 2013, 8:03 am

    The suspects are from CHECHNYA!

    • lysias
      April 19, 2013, 10:54 am

      But the family apparently originally comes from Kyrgyzstan. The father found a job in Chechnya, so they moved there.

      I wonder if what provoked the brothers’ radicalization may not have been resentment of Kyrgyzstan serving as a major terminus for supplying U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.

      • Ecru
        April 19, 2013, 3:03 pm

        Yeah but even so I wonder because surely Chechens would be a bit more upset at Russia than the USA. I know if I was Chechen I would be, the Russians basically [email protected] all over them. From orbit!

      • lysias
        April 19, 2013, 3:28 pm

        The uncle said in his interview that the family are Chechens. So I guess they were just temporarily in Kyrgyzstan.

        So the brothers’ radicalization is more likely to be related somehow to the fact that the Chechen rebellion against the Russians was secretly supported by the U.S./CIA and allies.

  15. Citizen
    April 19, 2013, 8:23 am

    The suspects are brothers. They may have come from Chechnya. One is dead, another is on-the-run from a gun fight with police; a cop was also killed in the shoot-out. Public transit has been stopped. Cops are going door-to-door. Public has been told to report anything suspicious, stay inside, don’t answer the door unless its the police.

    The younger one is still alive. He’s age 19.

  16. flyod
    April 19, 2013, 8:23 am

    this is the modern world

  17. Qualtrough
    April 19, 2013, 8:23 am

    Official word now is that they are brothers from Chechnya. So, those hoping they were white got their wish, but those hoping they were not Muslim probably didn’t. In any case Chris Matthews is once again completely wrong, although he probably did get a nice shiver up his leg.

  18. seafoid
    April 19, 2013, 8:24 am

    I find that it helps a lot to substitute “Jew” for “Arab” in such times of panic. Of course it would be completely unacceptable to talk about Jews in such terms.

  19. Citizen
    April 19, 2013, 8:29 am

    News now says they hated Russia. Both are/were athletes, the older a good boxer.

    • K Renner
      April 19, 2013, 8:51 am

      Soon we’ll hear justification for the two Chechen wars perpetrated by the Russians and their horrendous record regarding “collateral” damage during those wars.

    • lysias
      April 19, 2013, 10:56 am

      If they hated Russia, what would turn them against the U.S.? U.S.-Russian relations have soured the past couple of years.

  20. tanoli
    April 19, 2013, 8:29 am

    Chechens are no Arabs. When these pix were released, I was at the gym & the consensus was they were Egyptians.

    • Taxi
      April 19, 2013, 10:15 am

      Your average Egyptian looks north African, with brown-honey skin. Turkish people have very white skin and dark hair. Mediterranean sea Arabs have olive skin and brown hair.

  21. Citizen
    April 19, 2013, 8:32 am

    One born in Russia, the other in Kyrgyzstan. Moved here around 2002.

  22. Citizen
    April 19, 2013, 8:35 am

    They are permanent residents of the US. The older one was accidentally run over by his younger brother when they were escaping. They hijacked an SUV and eventually released the owner unharmed. The older one died in a hospital–they found an IUD strapped to his torso…

    • MRW
      April 19, 2013, 10:50 am

      IUD? Intra Uterine Device?

      • Sumud
        April 19, 2013, 5:15 pm

        A Dalkon Shield I’m guessing.

  23. Ecru
    April 19, 2013, 8:43 am

    The BBC is presently reporting that the suspects in Boston are Russians, but ethnically Chechen. Considering Chechnya is IN the Caucasus Mountains it’s hard to think of people MORE caucasian than them.

    Unfortunately this is going to be hell for American Muslims and absolute delight for Zionists who are, lets face it, the well-spring of modern Islamophobia.

    • Citizen
      April 19, 2013, 8:59 am

      Here’s demographics & religion re Chechyna:

    • piotr
      April 19, 2013, 9:57 am

      My take is that while many people have frustrations and violent fantasies, not all have the state that enacts those fantasies for them. Hence the distinction between “the savage and the civilized man”.

    • Taxi
      April 19, 2013, 10:09 am

      This is where your average America finally should be learning that not ALL moslems are Arabs. And if they stay focused long enough, they’ll learn too that not all Arabs are moslem.

      Let’s hope at least some of them learn more about the ‘other’.

      R.I.P victims of the Boston Marathon. Deep sympathy to their families and friends.

  24. Jeff Levy
    April 19, 2013, 9:15 am

    As a Boston-area resident, I was fortunate to be able to hear Phil Weiss speak in
    Cambridge, and bring some sanity to the discussion shortly after the bombings.

    Here are a few racism-related and simply silly scare tactic things I’ve come across in the Rush to Misjudgment since Phil’s talk:

    a) Boston sportscasters reported two days ago that pitcher John Lester has become
    a leader on the issue of healing the city. The evidence: Lester had the Red Sox all
    players go out out to dinner together the night of bombing. This apparently
    demonstrated to confused Bostonians the importance of teamwork.

    The Red Sox “have always been a rallying point for all Bostonians,” they said.
    That did not mention that in fact, the Red Sox were renowned as a team
    that was the last to allow black or latino players to play. Ownership was
    so racist that even Willie Mays and Jackie Robinson were both turned
    down by the team.

    b) Mayor Tom Menino gave what people called a moving speech at the Healing
    Our City extravaganza. He is furious at the “cowards” who bombed Boston.
    This is understandable. But what about all the black and latino kids who
    have been killed on his mayoral watch over the past years? Not so much…

    c) Metrowest Regional Transit officials warn their employees and all commuters
    to be vigilant about dangerous suspects who might:
    — walk with unfocused eyes
    — not make eye contact when walking by
    — use their cameras to take photos of buildings
    — ask for directions from transportation staff.

    • MHughes976
      April 19, 2013, 1:11 pm

      But I think it’s to the credit of Boston-area residents that Phil’s talk went ahead in the atmosphere of crisis and seems to have been well received.

  25. MRW
    April 19, 2013, 10:29 am

    Who says they are Muslim? How does anyone know? There are lots of Juhuro in Chechnya, Russia, and Kyrgyzstan. Also in Israel. Maybe that’s why Israel is sticking its nose into this affair; it has something to fear.

    • Philip Weiss
      April 19, 2013, 11:21 am

      Thank you MRW. I heard broadcasters saying that this morning. Do they know? Let’s everyone take some deep breaths.

      • Citizen
        April 19, 2013, 11:30 am

        I heard they were Muslims from a number of news channels, but nothing indicating why the news folks were saying that. But here’s Pam Geller tooting a horn blowing they are Muslims:

        Note the photo of the younger one on Geller’s web site–he sure looks like a young Bob Dylan to me. My guess is that they they are of Turkish ethnicity, but not quite like, say a Turk born in Turkey today, and Muslim cultural heritage, not necessarily religious. But still awaiting actual facts to be established.

      • MRW
        April 19, 2013, 12:30 pm

        True to form, Geller has done no homework. Interesting background on history of Chechnyan religion here, including the footnotes:

        I looked it up because when I was in Chechnya and Stavropol Krai decades ago, I remember the so-called pagan and other symbols on buildings and churches/mosques/temples and free-standing shrines to deities that predated the Soviet Unio by centuries upon centuries.

        The simplistic way in which we adjudicate ancient cultures whose language we neither read nor speak is appalling.

    • miriam6
      April 20, 2013, 2:15 pm

      well, mrw,

      you like to stick your nose in Israel’s’ affairs

      Why shouldn’t they reciprocate?

  26. Elliot
    April 19, 2013, 10:47 am

    Meanwhile, over in the Israeli press, Haaretz US commentator, Hemi Shalev, points at how the killing of three people has transfixed a nation while the killing of 145 other Americans, who were shot or otherwise died violent deaths since the Boston marathon attacks on Monday, have been ignored.
    Shalev compares Israeli and American responses to “terrorism” but ignores the routine killing of Palestinians living under Israeli control.

  27. W.Jones
    April 19, 2013, 11:05 am

    When I was in Russia, a Chechen told me that when America beat Russia at a soccer match, Chechen people were very happy about it, because of their conflict with Russia. My impression was that Chechens are rather “pro-American”. Plus, the west gave them sympathetic media attention. So either this is a sign that they might not have been legit. chechens, or that the birds have come home to roost, or both (as with the origin of the US-Afghan conflict)

    • Citizen
      April 19, 2013, 11:34 am


      I’m not quite sure what you are driving at, unless it’s that the brothers hate Russia, but having lived a considerable while in US, now saw that USA was as much a culprit as Russia in whatever annoyed, annoys them the most. Which would be, what?

      Looks like I’m on the right track, judging by this article from Israel on the younger suspect’s Facebook page:

    • MRW
      April 19, 2013, 12:50 pm

      Nobody gives a shit about religion defining you in Russia, not even Jews. Nobody cares. People are loyal to their town or village or district or city. That’s the tie that binds. It’s loyalty to some description or definition of the land. Mother Russia is the bigger umbrella over it if attacked, which is why Russians fought as they did in WWII. Friedman had a brilliant description of this in Red Mafiya. He was trying to use his Jewishness in Little Odessa to warm up a Jewish Russian gangster oligarch he wanted to interview. The guy couldn’t give a shit how Jewish he was. By accident Freidman mentioned that his grandfather came from the same village the gangster was from. That was it. Instant blood brothers.

      I remember this land-loyalty-affinity thingey from my three months traveling all over the western half of Russia decades ago. At the time I thought it was because religion was banned. Only westerners wear their religion on their sleeves. (I mean, c’mon, think Bialystock and Israel.)

      • Ecru
        April 19, 2013, 3:09 pm

        Historically the Palestinian peoples too cared less about your religion (authorities were another matter but they always are) more about where you came from. It was ties to the land that mattered.

        This is something Israelis will I fear never understand – they might be from the land but they’re not of the land.

      • Inanna
        April 19, 2013, 8:21 pm

        Yes, it’s the difference between baladiyya and wataniyya in Arabic. Baladiyya is the connection to home and land, wataniyya is the connection to the nation or nationalism. I would argue that in the Levant, baladiyya is much stronger than wataniyya and always has been.

      • Ecru
        April 20, 2013, 7:31 am

        Thank you Inanna (lovely name btw I always did have a soft spot for the Sumerians), unfortunately I don’t read Arabic so had no idea about that. What IS it Semitic languages have against vowels anyway – they just trying to make things difficult?

      • miriam6
        April 20, 2013, 2:34 pm


        You are playing the alien , Wandering Jew card .

        Your (Germanic romantic) -romanticising of the Palestinian attachment to their land

        It is all very— ” Blood and Soil “—
        You do realise the racialist tone of your comment don’t you?

        There is such a long history of folks claiming Jews don’t really have “roots” in any countries soil, even though they may have lived there for centuries

        So where DO you consider Jews CAN be “of” the land.

        Just Like the Palestinians.

        And what about the Mizrahim?

        would you apply the same criteria to immigrants to your national homeland?

        Would they be permanently—- From the land— -not OF–it?

        Or does your way of thinking ONLY apply to JEWS/ISRAELIS?

      • W.Jones
        April 21, 2013, 8:53 pm

        That makes sense, Inanna. One observation about Palestinian Muslims was that they put stronger emphasis on respect to relatives graves they passed by than to some religious parallels they might have if they were Arabian. This was portrayed as a native distinction by an anthropologist.

      • Taxi
        April 23, 2013, 11:17 am

        Not ALL jews are semites with a so-called legitimate claim to ANY part of the wider holy land region. For sure, most ashkanazim are NOT semite.

        Reminding you here also that the only semite jews are Arab jews. And guess WHY miss miriam?! Because the first Hebrews were born, bred and nomaded around the greater Arabian desert – way before they marched forth and genocided the Cannanites, stole their land and renamed it israel to suit their barbaric fantacy of a ‘visionary god-given homeland’. Yes I dare call the genocide of a whole people in the name of ‘a vision from god’, a barbaric fantacy of zealots!

        The rest of your rant is much-ado ’bout cut&paste from the hasbara manual.

      • Ecru
        April 23, 2013, 12:15 pm

        Sorry, a Zionist castigating somebody for a “blood and soil” mentality? Talk about pot calling kettle. Your entire pet project is based on ideas of blood and land and through the “Jewish (and ONLY Jewish nobody else need apply) right of return” it exercises that idea every single day. And if I do have that “romantic idea” at least, unlike Zionists, I didn’t get it from Hitler.

        In answer to your question though I would say most Israelis (I didn’t say or imply Jews – you’re trying to misrepresent my words) are of Europe, it’s where the culture and the (odious) political philosophy of Zionism grew up.

        And that thing about “my national homeland” well you’d probably be best not asking an Irish Republican that one considering Ulster is still under Occupation. However “of” just takes time, and I would say compassion. The latter being a quality not often, if ever, associated with Israelis and Zionists.

      • W.Jones
        April 21, 2013, 8:51 pm


        I am not sure if you were replying to me, but you are basically correct. This is correct for Chechens too. The main thing is that they wanted independence, rather than religion, although religious distinction could make it a stronger division.

        The Jewish gangster thing works in the same way. Arguably I think Friedman’s religion might play a tiny role in creating a link, but emphasizing it could also put off the mafia guy alot.

        How I think this ties into the Boston thing is that it could cast doubt on an official story that could portray the event as “jihad” inspired or something. Someone who knows Russia like you pointed out would see that this would not be a real motivation.

  28. kalithea
    April 19, 2013, 12:56 pm

    I don’t know if anyone else heard this, Stephanopoulos mentioned it on ABC News. One of the suspects twittered a picture of the marathon bombing with the caption: “FAKE STORY”.

    THIS, I believe! No doubt there’s a cover-up on some level going on here. Here’s another thing that’s strange. The surgeon or physician who attended to the 1st suspect was in his home in Watertown when the shooting happened. He stated he heard the shots. Then, the surgeon happens to leave a part of the city that is in heavy lockdown in time to attend at Beth Israel to this particular, high-level suspect. Hello!

    How did he get from that lock-down’d part of town to that hospital? Was he escorted? Then, when he spoke over the phone with the media; he refused to give even one detail regarding what he saw and the condition of the suspect. Coincidence? He was in Watertown and then poof! all of a sudden he’s in the hospital when they wheel in the suspect who conveniently dies.

    There are also photos on the web of Blackwater type security agents patrolling the marathon BEFORE the bombing. Why??? Did they have some indication something was going down? Maybe it’s just normal procedure to hire private security for these events, mind you. But there were quite a few there all positioned around the finish area.

    My feeling is that there is a whole lot here that doesn’t jive. I’m thinking, these kids were not recruited by Al-Qaeda, BUT THEY WERE RECRUITED BY SOMEONE. The question is BY WHOM? And why did one of the suspects write: FAKE STORY on twitter with a picture of the bombing???

  29. MHughes976
    April 19, 2013, 1:10 pm

    I think that these terrible events, if they work out as if it now looks that they will, will stoke the fires of Islamophobia but probably not stir them into a blaze, since the total detachment of most Boston Muslims from the whole business will be pretty obvious except to the most paranoid and since Chechnya is part of the Middle East only in a very wide cultural sense. Wouldn’t be surprised if lysias is right that the specific link is with Afghanistan and all its works. Piotr mentions states executing violent fantasies, but this time I don’t think anyone will call for an invasion of Russia, even of Kyrgyzstan.
    Deepest sympathy to victims, as ever.

  30. kalithea
    April 19, 2013, 1:24 pm

    Something doesn’t jive here. There are too many strange elements in this. Were these kids recruited and BY WHOM? I just heard now on ABC News that the younger guy RECENTLY started hanging out with guys with expensive cars and expensive shoes who flashed a lot of money. Huh?

    I don’t believe these kids were recruited by Al-Qaeda, sorry. I think something else is going on here.

    • ryan-o
      April 19, 2013, 3:11 pm

      I was listening to the police radio while a lot of action was going on. They said a lot of strange things and there were audible shots fired on more than one occasion and also a few explosions. At least one explosion was deliberate by the bomb squad.

      The media reported some of these things last night. Today they seem to have forgotten. It sounded important last night though. One thing that is lost on a lot of people is the fact that Chechnya is not in the Middle East and the suspects are not Arabs. Americans especially don’t seem to know that not all Arabs are Muslims and not all Muslims are Arabs. Less than one fifth are actually. It matters because the media is profiling them not just because of religion but because they are brown.

    • RoHa
      April 20, 2013, 12:48 am

      “Something doesn’t jive here. ”

      No dancing in the streets?

      But certainly something doesn’t jibe. I don’t know what is really going on, but the combination of bombs and poisoned letters is too reminiscent of September 2001 for me to start investing in Iranian stocks.

  31. Citizen
    April 19, 2013, 2:36 pm

    Fox News expert, billed as a Chechnya expert, was interviewed now at 2:30 PM, Friday, today; he says the suspects could not attack in Russia as it is a more oppressive government that would not all allow it. Fox news also reports the younger suspect has tweeted, since the bombings, that he’s a “stress-free kind of guy.”

  32. Citizen
    April 19, 2013, 4:23 pm

    Are MW regulars aware of this:

  33. American
    April 19, 2013, 4:49 pm

    For some perspective on terrorism…

    According to statistics gathered by the National Abortion Federation (NAF), an organization of abortion providers, since 1977 in the United States and Canada, there have been 8 murders,17 attempted murders, 383 death threats, 153 incidents of assault or battery, 3 kidnappings, 41 bombings, 173 arsons, 91 attempted bombings or arsons, 619 bomb threats, 1630 incidents of trespassing, 1264 incidents of vandalism, and 100 attacks with butyric acid (“stink bombs”).[12] The New York Times also cites over one hundred abortion clinic bombings and incidents of arson, over three hundred invasions, and over four hundred incidents of vandalism between 1978 and 1993.[16]

  34. kalithea
    April 19, 2013, 8:22 pm

    The aunt of the suspects believes they were set up. The younger suspect was studying medecine; he was captain of the wrestling team; everyone said he was a nice person; not one person had anything bad to say about him. I heard someone in an interview say he was very intelligent; an honour student. The garage owner where the younger suspect fixed his car stated that recently, the younger suspect was hanging out with individuals who had expensive cars, expensive attire and flashed a lot of money and that this was not the usual friends he would see him with. Who were these people and were they involved in any set up? Why would a kid whom everyone liked and who had EVERYTHING going for him suddenly destroy his whole life and commit this horrific act?

    The other suspect was a boxer who participated in competitions and had a wife and young child.

    Both the father and the aunt believe they were set up. But by whom? By which country’s intelligence services??? Was this a false flag? Because certainly, this does not look to be Al-Qaeda connected.

    The father of the suspects said this:

    ““I learned about the incident from TV. My opinion is: the special services have framed my children, because they are practicing Muslims. Why did they kill Tamerlan? He was supposed to be caught alive. The younger is on the run now. He was a sophomore at a medical school in the U.S. We expected him to come home for vacation. Now I don’t know what’s going to happen. Tell you once again: I believe special services have framed my children.”

    I believe SPECIAL SERVICES FRAMED my children…but which country’s intelligence set them up and for what reason…a false flag?

    • Citizen
      April 20, 2013, 11:01 am

      The FBI questioned the older suspect a few years ago because an unidentified foreign government agent said they need to be checked out because they likely were involved with Muslim terrorists, but the FBI found nothing to hold on to, so dropped the matter. Wonder what foreign country that was?

  35. james3
    April 20, 2013, 12:43 am

    Shore enuff, Chris Matthews was well, sorta’ not wrong. What matters is that the Tsarnaev brothers were enemies of American Middle Eastern policy, to be specific American Middle Eastern violence directed at Muslims.

    “he was upset with America because America was in Afghanistan and other Muslim countries.” is how a Russian speaking neighbor described the feelings of the wanna be American Olympic boxer, Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

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