Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that yesterday afternoon the FBI arrested two shifty-eyed foreigners who are seen in a photograph with bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Later in the day they also nabbed a young black male for good measure. (This review is as good as any.) The media frenzy has almost surpassed the one that followed the bombing itself. (My favorite goof: a CNN TV caption this morning claimed that using vaseline in making a bomb prevents premature “donation.”)
To be precise, the arrests are of two Kazakh nationals, Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazhayakov, who had been cooperating with the investigation, but for their trouble have been charged with “conspiracy to obstruct justice” for removing items from Tsarnaev’s room, for which the maximum penalty is five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, and of Robel Phillipos for “willfully making materially false statements to federal law enforcement officials during a terrorism investigation,” which entails a possible eight years and $250,000.
This is what I think is going on. The echo chamber associated with the government’s narrative of this case demands blood, but may not get it from Tsarnaev himself. The authorities are faced with the possibility that the statements he (supposedly) gave to investigators before he was finally Mirandized, including a (supposed) confession will get thrown out because he was denied a lawyer after repeated requests. The circumstantial evidence against him also has holes (see here, with comment #146). And they face the problem of trying to get a death sentence for a curly-haired cutie who is easily portrayable as having been under the spell of his evil brother.
In this situation the feds are trying to build a frenzy against everything in sight that is “non-American,” which they figure will inevitably rebound against Tsarnaev, the “Chechen Islamist” (never mind that he is an American citizen). Thus two Kazakhs and a black with a foreign-sounding name.
But will that be enough? How about that Katherine Russell, the wife of the “terrorist,” who threw over good New England Christianity to embrace that “jihadist religion of Islam” and now goes around dressed like some woman from Afghanistan. She has acknowledged to the so-called investigation that she spoke to her husband Tamerlan Tsarnaev on the telephone after pictures of him appeared on TV as a suspect. Is that not some kind of conspiracy? Is she next?
What do you think?