Thanks to the government’s publicity machine, it is practically a given in public consciousness that the Tsarnaev brothers caused the Boston marathon bombing, that the younger brother Dzhokhar escaped from a police shootout by running over the older Tamerlan, only to be caught later as the result of a massive manhunt by the heroic Boston police coupled with cooperation by the area’s good citizens in a “voluntary lockdown,” that he subsequently confessed to investigators that he and his brother did the bombing in revenge for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that a host of other odds and ends associated with the case are true. Words like “allegedly” are sometimes added pro forma to discussions of the subject, but few mean them seriously.

(BTW it is interesting that the mainstream media who propagate this narrative do not mention alternative narratives even to refute them as “nutty conspiracy theories,” although some are easy enough to refute, such as saying that the bombing itself was faked. What are they afraid of?)

You would think that the government’s case was solid enough that those responsible for it could sit back and let the legal process run its course, confining themselves to contributing to that process as required. But no, aside from the FBI hounding the deceased Tamerlan’s widow and continuing to question virtually everyone who ever met either of the brothers, the government has leaked further “information” from time to time, as cited in some previous posts in this series (most recently here, three posts ago).

And now, “U.S. officials briefed on the investigations” told the Wall Street Journal yesterday that in its initial alert to the US about Tamerlan Tsarnaev in 2011, Russia withheld the assertion that he had sent text messages expressing a desire to join militant anti-Russia groups in the Caucasus. The article quotes House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) as saying that the additional information would have caused the FBI “to open an investigation where you could track [Mr. Tsarnaev's] communications,” thus implying that it would have kept tabs on him after its 2011 interview instead of dropping him.

As WSJ itself puts it, the absence of that alternative FBI course of action “erased an opportunity to avert the [Boston] disaster,” and we can note the absence of any word such as “allegedly” in the quoted clause. Thus this is one more contribution to the given-ness of the official account. Of course, the entire idea that “intelligence failures” are at the root of the disaster, implying that the Tsarnaevs indeed perpetrated it, has itself almost become part of the official narrative — only almost, because it has mostly been Republicans who have raised it, whereas it is the Democrat administration that propagates the narrative. Incidentally, the officials told WSJ that the fact that Russia withheld the information has been known since “roughly a week after the April 15 bombings,” i.e., since almost three weeks ago, so why wait until now to tell us? Perhaps the Democrats who are the ubiquitous “sources familiar with the investigation” have only now thrown in the towel on the “intelligence failures” meme.

Just to be up to date, two other points. First, yesterday ABC News reported previously undisclosed evidence that the Tsarnaev brothers were involved in the 2011 murder of three people including a former sparring partner of Tamerlan. The evidence is said to include “crime scene forensic evidence” and cell phone records. This could be another government leak, or just state or local officials getting on the bandwagon.

Second, although Tamerlan’s body has been buried for a couple of days in an unmarked plot in a Muslim cemetery in Doswell, Virginia, protests against that happening anywhere in the US will not go away. Most recently, Doswell officials and townspeople have complained that no one there was notified, and Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (the extremely reactionary Republican candidate for Governor in the election next fall) is “looking into whether all laws were followed.”

Someone commenting on an earlier post in this series suggested that the vocal protests against the presence of Tamerlan’s body at the Massachusetts mortuary where it resided for a time were staged, but that hypothesis seems unnecessary. The amount of Islamophobia that this case has stirred up is almost unbelievable (see the comments thread to any related on-line MSM news story), and thus sufficient to cause people to hurriedly sketch a sign and head to the nearest demonstration, or, in rural Virginia, sit in a diner and complain.