The Feds are casting their net very wide with the arrests of Khairullozhon Matanov and Konstantin Morozov. Even the MSM is beginning to take note of the “overkill” factor. The Boston Globe has remarked that the charges against Matanov “look like a vindictive overreach.”
Concerning Morozov, the Globe has noted that LE officials have declined to answer their questions. “Agents have interrogated many friends of the brothers, looking for co-conspirators or additional evidence against the Tsarnaevs … Authorities are not saying whether these actions are strategic moves, designed to scare them into revealing deeper incriminating knowledge they might have related to the bombing. However, some immigration lawyers see only selective punishment of vulnerable immigrants.”
I would re-phrase the above to say: “Agents have interrogated many friends of the brothers, looking for ANY evidence against the Tsarnaevs … or looking to scare at least one friend into INVENTING some evidence against the Tsarnaevs.” This targeting of increasingly distant “friends of friends” of the brothers is beginning to look a bit desperate.
By hook or by crook, LE may eventually get one of these people to support the prosecution’s case. But so far they are having a tough time of it. Although Chechens do not really have the physical superpowers that LE has claimed for Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Ibragim Todashev, these Russian-speaking Muslims do seem to be a fairly courageous bunch.
Konstantin Morozov last had contact with Tamerlan in 2011. On May 30 (the same day Matanov was arrested) FBI agents asked Konstantin to wear a wire and secretly tape conversations with a friend who also knew Tamerlan. Konstantin refused. He was subseqently detained on immigration charges and is now in jail. Apparently they can’t go after the unnamed friend, because he is a U.S. citizen and they have no leverage to threaten him with.
(It has long been standard practice for the FBI to try to force Muslim immigrants to become informants, with the consequence of refusal being deportation or worse. Tamerlan Tsarnaev may have been a victim of this treatment.)
Azamat Tazhayakov has refused a plea deal offer and opted to go to trial, risking a lengthy prison sentence which would pretty much destroy his young life.
Elena Teyer, Ibragim Todashev’s ex-mother-in law, offered Khair Matanov a room in her home, hoping this would help him to be released on bail. (It didn’t.) Elena contacted Dzhokhar’s attorneys offering to testify against the FBI, but has not received a reply. Karin Friedmann writes: “Teyer is determined to fight for justice and for the truth to come out about this concerted government attack on Russo-Muslim immigrants. ‘I am recently retired from long term active duty in the U.S. Army. I’m not like these kids [Dzhokhar’s three friends]. I’m not afraid.’ ’’
Tatiana Gruzdeva was Todashev’s girlfriend. During the month-long interrogation of Ibragim, the Feds arrested Tatiana on immigration charges after she refused to spy on her man. They were then able to add the taunt of “Ibragim, where’s your girlfriend?” to their harassment tactics. Tatiana spent three months in jail, and was later deported after giving an interview to journalist Susan Zalkind.
Ibragim Todashev. It is possible that Ibragim resisted confessing to something he didn’t do, gave in after being beaten, but then thought better of it and rushed the FBI agent and the state trooper. On the other hand, it is possible that he had knowledge of Tamerlan’s innocence which he was determined to reveal, and that he was killed to ensure his silence.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Did he take on the massive force of the BPD with one semi-automatic handgun, in order to give his brother time to escape? We don’t know what really happened in Watertown that night … but that is one possibility.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has resisted Judy Clarke’s standard program of “getting her clients to plead guilty”. And Eric Holder’s request for the death penalty has not changed his mind.
Another terror trial, another brave individual: Tarek Mehanna. Do most of you already know about this guy? I didn’t, but my interest was piqued when I learned that Judge O’Toole and prosecutor Ortiz were both players in his 2012 trial. This Egyptian-American was convicted of providing material support to Al Qaeda by translating and posting their materials online. In March 2014 he appealed his case to the Supreme Court (on the basis of his right to free speech). The Supremes are considering whether to consider it.
BTW, Tarek’s ordeal began when he was approached by Feds wanting him to act as an informant. These guys are nothing if not consistent.
A jury member, Beverly Richards, has said that some of the jurors wept over the verdict. (Under the law, they no choice but to find him guilty.) Richards asked to speak to O’Toole privately to beg for mercy for the defendant. Big surprise: O’Toole refused to speak to her.
Mehanna’s stunning statement at sentencing brought me to tears. He declined to plead for mercy. Instead, he condemned U.S. aggression against Muslim countries, and U.S. terrorism against Muslim civilians. “Logic dictates that you do whatever it takes to expel the invader from your home. But when that home is a Muslim land, and the invader is the U.S. military, the standards suddenly change. The people defending themselves against those who come to kill them from across the ocean become the terrorists who are killing Americans.”
He also said: “I wasn’t tried by a jury of my peers, because with the mentality gripping America today, I have no peers.”
Dzhokhar may have the same problem. But, the defense’s poll numbers for Manhattan and DC are encouraging. Have the Feds overplayed their hand with these desperate arrests? Has the prosecution overplayed its hand with their media-assisted demonization of Dzhokhar? Is the public seeing more clearly than the MSM expects them to?