Five Questions in Wake of Boston Bombings
1. Why didn’t the FBI keep better tabs on the older brother?
It was reported on Friday on CNN that a foreign government, later identified as Russia, notified the FBI two years ago that the older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was a terrorist risk and that the FBI actually visited him but found nothing “derogatory” and apparently dropped the matter.
2. Why is law enforcement wasting time spying on peace and Occupy activists?
Ever since 9/11, law enforcement has wasted an inordinate amount of time and money and human resources keeping track of peace activists and, more recently, activists from the Occupy Wall Street movement. This is a colossal waste of time and a distraction from the real threats.
3. What kind of “justice” is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev going to get?
President Obama early in the week said the culprits would feel “the full weight of justice.” Then Friday night, he talked about the greatness of America, and included in that litany our “court system” and recited that we have “justice for all” in this country. But does that include Dzhokhar Tsarnaev? Is Tsarnaev going to get full access to that court system and to the due process protections that U.S. citizens are supposed to be guaranteed? Already, we are being told that he hasn’t been issued his Miranda warning. And Republican Senators are urging Obama to hold him as an “enemy combatant.”
4. What’s a rational plan in dealing with future such attacks?
It’s possible that there will be similar bombings in the future. It’s inevitable that there will be mass murderers on the loose in major metropolitan cities. Are those cities going to automatically be put on lockdown from here on out? We need to think of ways to deal with such situations so as to minimize the terror and to preserve our freedoms.
5. Did the Tsarnaev brothers give the FBI and law enforcement a way to test out plans for martial law?
Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m not one of those rightwing nuts who thinks the Boston Marathon bombings were some kind of “inside job” conspiracy. And I’m not one of those rightwing nuts who thinks Obama is about to declare martial law.
But I am worried that the Bush and Obama administrations have set up the framework so that a future President who didn’t believe in our democratic system of government could use it to try to impose something awful here.
Ever since 9/11, members of the Executive Branch have been speculating about, and planning for, martial law in the event that the United States is attacked again by terrorists using weapons of mass destruction.
The Bush Administration considered suspending even the First Amendment.
And Bush issued a presidential directive that puts the President in charge of all branches of government in times of a national emergency, which the President declares.
The FBI has been working with the business community through a group called InfraGard to prepare for such a national emergency.
And journalist Tim Shorrock recently wrote an article in The Nation in which he quoted NSA whistleblower William Binney as saying that the United States has all the apparatus of a police state set in place. “We’re just waiting to turn the key,” he said.
It is logical to assume that the national security apparatus and law enforcement are preparing for a martial law situation in case we are attacked with weapons of mass destruction. It is logical to assume that this preparation starts at the very top with the FBI and Homeland Security and NorthCom and the NSA and then funnels on down to the state and local police through the Joint Terrorism Task Forces and Fusion Centers.
And if that’s the case, the Tsarnaev brothers just gave the security apparatus and law enforcement a way in real time to test out some of their plans.
If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story What Does Obama Mean By Bringing the Culprits to “Justice”?
Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter
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