some people expressed their feelings/opinions on yt about the DP
The fact that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was only 19-years-old when prosecutors allege he built and planted two pressure cooker bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon in April 2013 will play an important role in whether or not he gets the death penalty, according to Tamar Birckhead, a law professor at University of North Carolina and former criminal defense lawyer who specializes in juvenile delinquency.”It’s unlikely given his age…,” Birckhead said of the likelihood of Tsarnaev being put to death.
Three people were killed and more than 260 were injured in the bombings. Federal prosecutors on Thursday announced they will seek the death penalty against Tsarnaev, now 20, citing allegations that he killed an MIT police officer as well as an 8-year-old boy, a “particularly vulnerable” victim because of his age.
They also cited his alleged decision to target the Boston Marathon, “an iconic event that draws large crowds of men, women and children to its final stretch, making it especially susceptible to the act and effects of terrorism.”Birckhead, who defended Richard Reid, the attempted “shoe bomber,” told CBS News’ Crimesider that while she isn’t sure if Tsarnaev’s age came into play in the U.S. Justice Department’s decision to pursue the death penalty, she said it should have.“If you look at the past 100 people who have been executed, more than a third were under the age of 25 when they committed their crimes, and 20 were under the age of 21,” Birckhead pointed out.
In 2005, the Supreme Court ruled that it is unconstitutional to execute someone under the age of 18. Birckhead said she thinks a trial in the case will be avoided by means of a plea and a sentence of life without parole. But, if it does go to trial, she says, Tsarnaev’s defense attorneys are likely to emphasize his youth when fighting for his life.“The younger you are, the less culpable you are for your crimes,” Birckhead said.
“We know from neuroscience and what we know about brain development that the human brain continues to grow and develop until someone is in their mid-20s.”She said Tsarnaev’s defense could argue that his age impairs his impulse control, ability to stand up to peer pressure and ability to weigh risks and benefits. It’s likely that his defense team will have him evaluated by a series of experts that can speak to his mental state at the time of the offense as well as his family history and whether he has a history of trauma, Birckhead said.
The fact that Tsarnaev does not have a criminal record and the possibility that he was under the influence of his older brother, 26-year-old Tamerlan Tsarnaev, could also be raised in court, Birckhead said.“They will make the case that this was not indicative of who [Dzhokhar] is as a human being and it doesn’t rise to the level of mandating death,” she said.
Tsarnaev’s case has attracted a high-profile defense team, including Judy Clarke, a San Diego attorney who has negotiated multiple plea agreements with prosecutors to spare her clients the death penalty, including Susan Smith, the South Carolina mother convicted in 1995 of drowning her two young sons; Jared Loughner, who killed six and injured 13 others including former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in a 2011 shooting; “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski; and Zacarias Moussaoui, who pleaded guilty to helping mastermind the Sept. 11, 2011 attacks.
Birckhead said another factor that could make it hard for prosecutors to secure a death penalty sentence is if the trial is held in Massachusetts, a state that abolished its own death penalty in 1984. According to a report on CBS This Morning, recent polling shows that a majority of people in Massachusetts support a sentence of life in prison without parole for Tsarnaev as opposed to the death penalty.
Two other federal death penalty cases have been brought in Massachusetts: In 2001, Kristen Gilbert, a former veterans hospital nurse who killed four patients by overdosing them was spared the death penalty by a jury. Gary Lee Samson pleaded guilty in the carjack killings of two Massachusetts men was sentenced to death in 2003, but the punishment was overturned and he is awaiting a new penalty trial, reports the Associated Press.
Since the federal death penalty was reinstated in 1988, 70 death sentences have been imposed, but only three have been carried out, including the execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh in 2001.
Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty. No trial date has been set.
It sure would be nice if during Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s trial the so called “video evidence” of him placing the bomb would be shown to the public. But my guess is since the mayor of Boston still hasn’t seen it, the public never will. As good citizens we should trust them when they say it…
For those who still think Jahar left the scene without his backpack…maybe this picture will put things into perspective.
"Hundreds of bags and parcels left behind after the Boston bombings on Monday." (Photo: Reuters)
I know this is an old post but I thought I’d point out that this is a photo of the baggage claim that runners check in before the start of the marathon and pick up at the end (the numbers on the white sheet match the numbers on their register bibs) but because the event turned into a crime scene they were abandoned. Notice that the yellow bags say “Boston Marathon” on them and not “CSI” or “Forensic Evidence” or w/e the bags would’ve said that the dropped items were collected in for processing
It’s true that spectators did leave behind some belongings and maybe Dzhokhar’s bag was one of them but this picture doesn’t reflect that
I don’t know but if ya go here there are tons of pics of all the bags plus numerous articles made mentions of the dozens and dozens of bags that people just dropped when they ran…the bomb squad had to check them all out http://www.google.com/search?safe=off&hl=en&site=webhp&tbm=isch&source=hp&ei=m2jkUo-iCc7_rAf_iYCIBQ&q=bags+left+behind+at+boston+marathon&oq=bags+left+behind+at+boston+marathon&gs_l=mobile-gws-hp.12…3709.16786.0.182184.108.40.206.220.127.116.114.6624.0j32j2j4j0j1.39.0….0…1c.1.32.mobile-gws-hp..26.16.1915.MqxpvL9ouR8
"It’s just modern government. Over the past 20 years the media has intensified - become 24 hours a day. So you have to try to be smarter, sharper and quicker off the mark than you used to be"
Alistair Campbell, former ‘spin doctor’The secrets of spin: the dark artsPolitical and social propaganda and it’s associated measures to influence media coverage is more typically known as ‘public relations’ or ‘spin’. Whist traditional public relations may also rely on creative presentation of the facts, spin is far more sinister and often employs the use of disingenuous, deceptive and/or highly manipulative tactics. Entire companies exist that deal solely with issues government’s may require ‘spinning’using media experts often referred to as ‘aides’, but more commonly known a ‘spin doctors’.Various underhand techniques are involved that can include:
- Selectively presenting facts and quotes that support one’s position (cherry picking) and selective timed release of those facts, choosing a ‘good’ day for announcements etc.
- Non-denial denial
- Non-apology apology…….. matters and incidents often being ‘regrettable’, for example.
- Using loaded phrases
- Ambiguity: incorporating unclear phrasing in a speech that makes any exact meaning hard to pin down: useful when intending to appear to be addressing an issue or question, whilst ensuring evasion.
- Burying bad news: announcing one popular thing at the same time as several unpopular things, hoping that the media will focus on the popular one.
- Misdirection and diversion: including making specific announcements/releasing information deliberately timed to coincide with an issue or event, knowing media coverage will then either overshadow that event or steer public attention away from it.
- Admitting to certain ‘weaknesses’ or mistakes in order to cover up a much larger one or some other type of wrongdoing not yet exposed. This is usually accompanied by jargon and statements that appear accusatory or apologetic, but actually mean very little, such as’Mistakes were made’ or ‘lessons were learned’ or ‘going forward’, although no admission as to who actually made those mistakes is made, or indeed what lessons were ever learned, or specific details on what will happen ‘going forward’.Whilst the overt campaign to spin Dzhokhar Tsarnaev into a ‘guilty Jihadi-motivated terrorist’ has been in full swing for many months, the covert campaign has been more subtle, although equally gaulling. Various tactics and techniques have been employed that, if you know the secrets and language of spin, are actually very easy to discern.Spinning Dzhokhar Tsarnaev: ‘not guilty’Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s plea hearing on July 10th 2013 had been long anticipated, not least by the world’s news media. Tsarnaev’s plea of not guilty to all charges in a 30 count indictment was virtually guaranteed to be headline news and as such, become the subject of much public discussion and debate. Was it simply a ploy? Was he really innocent? Was is possible that the so-called ‘mountain of evidence’ against him was not as comprehensive as the public had been led to believe?
Regardless of the reasoning behind Tsarnaev’s plea, it became evident that individuals connected to the case were very ill-at-ease with the prospect of informed public debate on the matter, but the spin-doctors had prepared ahead. It came as no surprise then, that July 10th was also the date Ed Davis (Police Commissioner for Boston at the time), Richard Serino (former director of FEMA) and Kurt Schwartz (Under-secretary for Homeland Security and Emergency Management in Massachusetts) appeared before a Congressional hearing and gave evidence about ‘lessons learned' from the Boston marathon bombings. If one were ever in any doubt as to the true of motivations of government that day, one only had to read the language of the opening pre-scripted statement for insight: spin, and plenty of it.'A little less than three months ago, the city of Boston suffered a horrific terrorist attack during the 117th Boston Marathon. The attack claimed the lives of three observers and injured nearly 300. As the events of April 15th unfolded, we wrestled with the fact that we were witnessing the first successful terrorist bombing on US soil since the September 11th terrorist attacks. Just as we did in the aftermath of 9/11, we must learn from the Boston Marathon bombing.
That is why this committee has set out to unearth the lessons-learned from this act of terrorism. At a future time, this committee will look at whether this tragedy could have been prevented.
However, today’s hearing will focus entirely on the emergency response to the events that occurred on April 15, 2013’The stage was set for a gushing account of the admirable successes of emergency services on the day in question, interspersed with a wealth of patriotic phrasing and language. After all was delivered, and perhaps unsurprisingly, it transpired that very few ‘lessons' actually needed to be 'learned’. The question of what lessons were actually learned and by whom was rendered moot.
The intent was clear: diversion and misdirection. The public is now well-versed in the catalogue of government successes in ‘defeating terror’, so was there any real need to hear it yet again, on that particular day ? No, but they were told again anyway.
This effectively buried any in-depth media analysis of the issues surrounding Tsarnaev’s not guilty plea, diverted attention back to the horrific atrocity perpetrated months previously, and reinforced the jihadi narrative and the new war on ‘home-grown terror’ that inevitably followed. As intended, it played solely to the government’s own strengths in combating the perceived challenges it faced on April 15th. The many ‘heroes’ of the marathon bombing were once again thrust into the media spotlight, leaving coverage of the important issues surrounding Tsarnaev’s not guilty plea to simply fall by the way side.
It wasn’t until the following day, July 11th, that the Congressional bun-fight over issues relating to alleged intelligence failings over the marathon bombing’s began. Ed Davis once again testified, this time about matters far less favourable and far more difficult to spin: his experience of ‘information sharing’, or more precisely, the lack thereof. The revelation and subsequent reporting - that somehow the bombings could have been prevented - created more than enough fallout to permanently bury any meaningful debate over the outcome of Tsarnaev’s plea hearing: that he had leaded not guilty, and why?
Mere coincidence? Take another look at the opening statement from the previous day:'At a future time, this committee will look at whether this tragedy could have been prevented.
However, today’s hearing will focus entirely on the emergency response to the events that occurred on April 15, 2013’Read: ‘Today’s hearing will focus entirely on portraying the government in a positive light and remind the public that we will defeat the evil’s of terrorism on their behalf, whether those alleged terrorist’s are guilty or not’
'At future time' was actually just one day - ‘We’ll get to the tricky stuff tomorrow’.Death penalty arguments and important discovery issues subject to more ‘dark arts’Following its success at stamping out comprehensive coverage and the resulting public analysis on the issues arising from Tsarnaev’s not guilty plea, the government increased the spin significantly for his next important hearing on September 23rd, at 10am.
Attorneys for Tsarnaev stated in court that the government had failed to provide a substantial amount of key evidence that had been requested months previously, and that this had prevented the defence from submitting a proposal arguing against the possibility of the death penalty for Tsarnaev, should he be convicted. Prosecutors rejected this notion and persisted in arguing that all submissions must be made to Attorney General Eric Holder by October 31st regardless.
What better way to divert attention from probable prosecutorial failings and arguments over life and death than hold a official ‘announcement’ at precisely 10am, followed by an immediate televised press conference at Boston Police Headquarters?Ed Davis, Police Commissioner for Boston resigns:'Ed Davis was thrust into the national spotlight on April 15 when twin explosions near the marathon finish line killed three people and wounded more than 260. Over the past seven years, Ed Davis has served the people of Boston with integrity, a steady hand, and compassion. During some of our City’s most trying days, Commissioner Davis worked relentlessly to protect the safety of all our citizens.
Mayor Merino, at Ed Davis resignation press conference
“It is time to go,” Davis said today, his voice trembling slightly, during a news conference at police headquarters.
“I feel very positive about leaving on my timeline,’’ he said. “I leave the department on my own accord. I wanted to clear the deck for the new administration.’’
The result? Just as planned, the ‘heroes’ of the marathon bombings once again graced the pages of every newspaper and tv screen, and public officials were universally congratulated over their successes at dealing with the ‘act of evil’ that struck their city.
Tsarnaev’s hearing, which actually generated some very thought provoking and significant questions concerning the workings of the justice system, was instead relegated to inconsequential reportage and barely featured on the tv news.
So far, the government’s self- serving attitude coupled with it’s blatant attempts at spinning the State V Tsarnaev have been palpable. Consequently, they have left themselves open. So what will be next on the Tsarnaev agenda?The release of Keating’s report timed to coincide with Tsarnaev death penalty announcement?Eric Holder is due to announce his decision on whether prosecutors should seek the death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, upon conviction, by January 31st. Whatever the outcome of Holder’s decision, it’s bound to generate media interest and therefore inform public interest and any resulting dialogue. So again, is it just coincidence that this is also the time U.S. Rep. William Keating has decided to make public his ‘findings’ from his 6 month inter-continental investigation into Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s alleged links to terrorists from Dagestan and any intelligence issues arising from it?
The death penalty is an extremely emotive issue whether you agree with it in principle or not. No matter what the decision, there will be many who will be outraged. The government knows this, but the spin-doctors will doubtless prescribe some manipulative ploy to mitigate the fallout. Keating’s report looks like a strong candidate to be deemed more ‘worthy of discussion’ than Holder’s death penalty decision, with its purported ‘new insights’ into Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s alleged activities in Dagestan, and consequent recommendations regarding security improvements.
Really? Not if you read the spin.
This was Rep. Keating’s offering on the startling new revelations and insights the report will contain:"I would think that Tamerlan Tsarnaev did meet with insurgents here, I believe that, although the government has not confirmed it here, I think he was not successful in whatever effort he made and that he came back to us"So it would appear that Keating knows nothing. He ‘believes’ that Tamerlan Tsarnaev met with insurgents, accept he’s not entirely sure, so he’s asked, but regrettably, could not find anyone to confirm that particular speculation for him.
Undeterred, Keating further speculates that Tsarnaev was probably ‘unsuccessful’ (meaning he never met insurgents - totally at odds with Keating’s first sentence) so flew home again having committed no crime what so ever.
To summarise: ‘Tsarnaev went, then he came back.’
What an absolute embarrassment. It took Republican Keating 6 months to come up with that? Is the government seriously prepared to release a ‘report’ with a conclusion formed from such an patently nonsensical basis?
Unfortunately that’s exactly what they are prepared to do, and they will do so as part of a pre-planned release, timed to coincide with Eric Holder’s death penalty announcement. Spin. And if any hint were needed as to the politico/media horseplay that is about to occur, take a look at the loaded language used by Keating with respect to the ‘recommendations’ aspect of the report:"It will reflect on our response," Keating said. "There will be suggestions going forward”It speaks for itself.Todashev Report: Will it be released or won’t it?It actually doesn’t matter.
On January 10, 2014 FBI Director James Comey made the announcement that he was ‘eagerly awaiting the release’ of the report into the FBI’s internal review of the shooting of Ibraghim Todeshev, stating it would be released ‘hopefully, very soon’, with some estimates putting the release as soon as the end of January.
Going on past form, Comey may well be ‘eagerly awaiting’ just another instance of the FBI investigating and exonerating itself.
If the FBI review is released simultaneously with Keating’s report the resulting media coverage of the ‘double drop’ is likely to far outweigh purposeful considerations as the rights or wrongs of Holder’s decision, where as if the the review is withheld once again, the same is also true. Questions will abound over ‘why are they stalling again?’ - either way the result is the same. The government knows this, and appears to have planned meticulously for this very outcome.But if you still find it hard to believe that spin can be as corrosively cynical as the examples given above, consider this previous instance involving none other than AG Eric Holder:Eric Holder and the Department of Justice: Whipping up a whirlwind of spinInternal Department of Justice emails obtained through a FOIA request show that Eric Holder’s closest communications aides - or spin doctors - collaborated with the left-wing spin group Media Matters for America in a duplicitous attempt to divert attention away from negative news stories that plagued Holder and the Department of Justice in 2012.
Dozens of pages of emails between DOJ Office of Public Affairs Director Tracy Schmaler and various employee’s from Media Matters show that Schmaler, under Holder’s direction, also worked with the group to systematically attack journalists attempting to report on Department of Justice scandals (most notably the Black Panther Party voter intimidation scandal and subsequent enquiry into it).
The emails reveal that the DOJ regularly enlisted Media Matters to spin issues it considered potentially damaging to it’s public image, employing every single underhand tactic at it’s disposal.
- They pre-planned press releases timed to coincide with other announcements or events in an attempt to bury and divert attention away from ‘bad’ news, whilst simultaneously doing the exact opposite with news the DOJ considered ‘good’.
- They released pre-scripted statements full of nonsensical loaded language, and deceitfully planned to discredit journalists by deliberately writing untruths about them and ‘planting’ the stories in the news media.
- They even employed the ‘limited hangout' - a technique whereby public admissions of fault or blame are conceded on a given issue, in the hope it will deflect attention away from a far more damaging 'mistake' that occurred: in plain English: a cover-up.
Spin: Manipulation and contempt for the general public
There are very few individuals who view spin in a positive light or deem it an acceptable part of the workings of government. In fact the only people who benefit from spin are those in power and the multitude of media companies that have sprung up as a result of it. But it is also too simplistic to treat the media as if were a transparent conduit of information where spin doctors construct their ‘take’, and then the media simply pass on the spun communications to their audiences. The media are, like politician’s and public figures, dependent upon audiences and their attitudes, and are therefore more inclined to present ‘news’ to the public that reflects the perceived public interest, so insuring viewing figures and sales.
Yet, this is exactly the situation that the government takes full advantage of when aggressively pushing it’s own agenda in the Boston marathon bombing case. The people of Boston suffered an unimaginable atrocity, so by continually promoting the ‘heroes of the hour’ who ‘triumphed over evil’, the government knows precisely the coverage it will get, versus alternative issues such as whether the defendant accused of that atrocity should have proper access to the state’s case against him, for example. Few media outlets will risk potentially alienating viewers/readers when faced with a choice between the two.
A reasonable question here is: how do they get away with it ? Spin-doctors, for the most part, anticipate and respond to events, but their job can be made much easier thanks to the pre-emptive strike. This form of spin is perhaps the most sinister, as it often appropriates the distinguished robes of expertise, insight, and the privileged inside track. With an unshakeable air of authority, all manner of unproven ‘truths’ can be announced, and repeated ad infinitum, as though the power of the mantra alone is transformative: the narrative for a particular agenda ‘becomes’ the truth.
To question that ‘truth’ is to be pro-terrorist, unpatriotic, an unhinged conspiracy theorist – a ‘grassy knoll type’. It doesn’t matter if what’s being spun is untrue, or defamatory, or anything else. All that matters is that the narrative is accepted.
However, such a toxic and delusional framework around judicial proceedings can render a case impossible: a fair trial may be utterly precluded by an avalanche of prejudiced media reporting and the case abandoned entirely. Where would that leave the heroes and the victims of the marathon bombings? There is a whirlwind here that may yet be reaped.
And the ‘truth’ of the matter is, it is entirely of their own making.
Lol, this makes me laugh in a way. I look nearly 10 years younger than I actually am and don’t obsess over my skin so..