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24 April 2013


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William R. Cumming

Predict a superseding indictment will be issued sometime in the future and the WMD count eliminated!

Norbert M. Salamon

interesting note on this issue inAsia Times Online:
Orwell does America by Pepe Escobar.


The Col may or may not be correct in some of his assumptions about this matter. He has a good track record. But it seems to me, far, far, too soon to reach any conclusions about the origins of this incident. This is all the more so given the unique challenges of communicating with the perp in custody. and that is leaving aside all the usual challenges. i.e. people disassembling.

As to the WMD count....like so many words/phrases....it has been distorted beyond any meaning but those, good intentioned or not, who want to use the term as an excuse to stop coherent thought. 'well, if they possess/use WMD's then we just to have to'....fill in the blanks.


"A weapon of mass destruction" is now a legal term of art. From the original Russian, "Oruzhiye Massivnoe Porazhenie" which clearly meant a Nuclear, Chemical or Biological (NBC) weapon, the legal profession has created a new definition. A "weapon of mass destruction" is now clearly whatever a prosecutor wishes it to be. There was a recent case, you may recall where an American associated with the Syrian Resistance was charged with using a "weapon of mass destruction" because he had fired an RPG-7.

The Twisted Genius

The legal construct of weapon of mass destruction is an emotional trick to scare the public and to make the accused look more diabolical and dangerous. The pressure cooker bombs could better be described as destructive devices as in the NFA of 1934 if you want to distinguish them from firearms or blunt objects. I remember when WMD only referred to nuclear weapons and serious chemical and biological weapons. I'm not even sure that tactical nuclear weapons (backpack nukes) are truly WMDs. A ricin laced letter surely isn't.

Patrick D

"While I do not wish to understate the significance of the Boston Marathon attacks in any way, I was also appalled that the surviving bomber is being charged with using a "weapon of mass destruction" which was composed of material that could be purchased at Home Depot. I am interested in your thoughts."

I agree. And that was after a sizable chunk of a major metropolis was "locked down" (nice euphemism but I thought the term was only used in prison situations) in pursuit of an individual. The precedents set in Boston and the majority of the population's willingness to accept them are staggering.


Patrick D

"locked down" is what the Israelis do to Palestinian villages. pl



Basilisk say I should have a cone shaped hat with stars and moons on it. How about a side bet? pl

Patrick D

Ha! At least that usage is more in line with my understanding.


Charging this suspect with using WMD helps push the envelope for outlawing black-power (WMD precursor) or even bbs. One only had to listen to NPR's latest anti-gun rant as to how those on the "terror watch list" could still buy firearms at gun shows to see where this is heading.

William R. Cumming

Well in jest some have stated WMD means a weapon of mass disruption which the pressure cooker bombers certainly accomplished.

But DoD has banned the use of the term WMD in favor of the original CBRNE and of course the FIRE SERVICE long used BNICE!

WMD first appeared as a statutory term in the 1996 Defense Authorization Act and its Title XIV--Defense against Weapons of Mass Destruction Act drafted largely by Sam Nunn's Senate staff when in hearings they learned that no one in the Executive Branch had any idea as to how to respond to any WMD incident event and certainly the STATES and their local governments did not either. WHY? There was no system in place to deal with such an event and no specific plan outside of the FRERP [federal radiological emergency response plan] designed after the core-melt accident at TMI in 1979 but with a reference to terrorism from its inception.
Of course as Senator Nunn and others worried there was in fact a bomb detonated at the Atlanta Summer Olympics in 1996!
The federal criminal act drafted later.


It seems to me that the message to the rest of the world (and to the "El Quaida" types in particular) is that the US for all its technology and power is weak. If 2 lone youngsters with pressure cookers can create that much havoc for a few days, imagine what a few more people, with more lethal weapons and a better organization could do.
What I find ominous, is that a lock-down was decided by the authorities and accepted by the people! And all that just to find 1 kid on the run. What's the next step? Maybe people will find that drones buzzing above makes them feel safer


Patrick D said, "And that was after a sizable chunk of a major metropolis was "locked down" (nice euphemism but I thought the term was only used in prison situations) in pursuit of an individual. The precedents set in Boston and the majority of the population's willingness to accept them are staggering."

You are not the first on this site to criticize Boston's cooperation with authorities' requests to shelter-in-place as something onerous... In reply, the words from S.I. Rosenbaum:

"Paralyzed, the pundits are saying. A city terrorized, brought to a halt. An overreaction.

"Don’t believe it.

"On Friday, the city of Boston was waiting. Crouching, like a tiger in tall grass. We were two million souls focused on a single target: a crazed and wounded boy, desperate and dangerous, hiding somewhere in Watertown, gone to ground. To flush him out, the city held still.

"There’s a difference between paralysis and stillness. Stillness is deliberate. It was a tool – a tactical move. The police did not order us to stay in our houses – they requested it, and we complied, not because we were terrorized and not because we were sheep to the police state, but because we knew that in doing so, we left the police and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as the only pieces out on the board. We wanted him captured. For us, staying indoors on Friday was no different from staying in during a winter storm so that the snowplows could clear the streets. We were giving the professionals room to work.

"Because at its heart, Boston believes in expertise, and in order. Sure, we may be a liberal bastion of fornicators – as the world now knows, Boston is a city that keeps its dildos on top of the fridge – but we are also a city of professionals, and we believe in letting them get shit done.

"You could see it in the response of the hospitals after the bombing on Monday, the stream of doctors and hospital workers reporting for duty, triaging the wounded, working together to make sure that no one emergency room was overwhelmed by casualties.

"And you could hear it in the calm, patient voices of the police, crackling over the scanner Thursday night. More than seven different police agencies had to coordinate in the dark, densely residential streets of Watertown, and they did it without panic or fractiousness. When the LAPD was hunting Christopher Dorner, they put innocent people in the hospital. Our law enforcement officers – as much as we usually enjoy abusing them as racist buffoons – showed themselves in this crisis to be canny, patient, and disciplined. They did not engage in racial profiling. They didn’t abuse the people they were there to protect.

"While yahoos in other parts of the country imagined that Bostonians must long to take to the streets with guns to hunt our fugitive down, in reality, we would much rather let our competent police force do it. And they did.

"They successfully captured Dzhokhar Tsarnaev alive – without a single civilian injury.

"And it’s important, too, that Tsarnaev was taken alive. Many, many people in the city were praying for Tsarnaev’s life on Friday. We wanted justice and answers, not revenge, not a corpse. We want to hear why he did this obscene thing to us, to people we loved, on a day so many of us think of as the best day of the year.

"The reason we love Marathon Day is because it gives us a chance to cheer for something simple and pure and good. We stand at the sidelines and cheer the names that the runners have taped to their shirts or written on their arms; we enter into a partnership between the ones who are running for no reason but to run, and the ones who are cheering for no reason but to love.

"On Friday, when the words we were waiting for came – “conscious, alive, and captured” – the city burst out of doors. People lined the streets in Watertown, cheering and clapping the police as they rolled out of the neighborhood. On Beacon Street, a stream of whooping kids poured along the Marathon route, high-fiving strangers. It was the Marathon again. We were cheering for something very simple, something good.


"This is what civilization looks like. Boston strong."


rcopolier said...

"locked down" is what the Israelis do to Palestinian villages. pl

Is this what they call the "Israelification" of United States?


I have two thoughts about this (OK, maybe three):
First, calling a pressure cooker filled with black powder (I think) and BBs a WMD is ridiculous on its face and just cheapens that term to irrelevance. How would you now describe the detonation of a nuclear device? A super-WMD? a super-duper-WMD? This guy killed four people and injured several hundred - you don't need to invoke WMD-related charges to try him effectively IMO.

Second, no amount of surveillance or intrusiveness into all our lives will catch people who act on their own or with their close friends or relatives. The FBI will take some unjustified hits about this from grandstanders and idiots, but you really just cannot create a system that will catch this sort of person, provided that they are reasonably careful during the run-up period as they get to the point that they're prepared to use violence.

And finally, what happened in Boston was not a "lock-down". It was a request (and a reasonable one) from the police that they would appreciate it if everyone would stay off the streets, as far as I can tell.


I'll take it...despite the fact I too think you have, or you should have, anyway, an 'official' a wizard's hat! I am dubious that my hunch will come out in the near future, in the event I turn out to be correct.. In fact, I expect just the opposite. In the short term. But I'll still take the bet! Fresh, live, Maine lobsters on my end? Your end?

Clifford Kiracofe

My thoughts are that we do not have all the facts in yet with respect to the IC and this case.

For example, now the WP reports that CIA asked that one brother, presumably the older, be put on the CT watch list a year before the attack:

"The CIA asked the main U.S. counterterrorism agency to add the name of one of the suspected Boston Marathon bombers to a watch list more than a year before the attack, according to U.S. officials.

The agency took the step after Russian authorities contacted officials there in the fall of 2011 and raised concerns that Tamerlan Tsarnaev — who was killed last week in a confrontation with police — was seen as an increasingly radical Islamist and could be planning to travel overseas. The CIA requested that his name be put on a database maintained by the National Counterterrorism Center."

It is reasonable to assume the older brother withheld information from his little brother. and his family. The older brother may well have had closer contacts with foreign terrorist organizations, Wahhabi-salafi circles, and the like. He may well have discussed such a mission with foreign contacts. To maintain operational security it seems the older brother only told the younger brother about the plans a week in advance.

The "lone wolf" style here does not rule out foreign contacts, inspiriation, or even direction. We will have to await the results of the IC investigations going on now.



well, I am glad you are proud of your skiil, and courage, etc. pl



How about a country ham? pl



it really doesn't matter if the elder ever talked to a jihadi. the process of alienation from the United States doesn't need that. their conception of the world as a moiety suffices especially when that is combined with their perception of what they see as our enmity.

do you really expect perfect function in bureaucracies like the IC and FBI? pl


From dealings with the FBI, it seems they've bought hook, line and sinker into the entire diversity complex instead of what they need to do to get the job done.

I guess investigative work is a lot more difficult than setting up loud mouths on jihadi websites.


Oh, now you made me WANT to be wrong. Ham is perfect. We're on...but give me a decent amount of time for the initial story to either be validated, relatively speaking, or refuted, relative speaking. I believe we are both gentlemen enough to say that our respective cases have been made or not.



sure, whatever. you've seen my ham recipe here. this would be a dry cured country ham. i gave one to some one who should have known better last year and the idiot put it in the refrigerator and ruined it. What you do is hang it until you are ready to cook it. pl

Mike Ross

I am not from Boston nor live there.


mike ross

Good. a disinterested opinion is more valuable. pl

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