Three Judges “Astonished” At Now Seeing The Collapse of Building 7 (14 years later) March 15, 2015

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_KFyW9LPRA

Three Judges “Astonished” At Now Seeing The Collapse of Building 7 (14 years later)
March 15, 2015

by Dalia Mae

In the interview above, after the court case, Harrit says,

“We got the opportunity, for once, to present a video of World Trade Centre 7 collapsing, in court, … at that time I recognised a state of astonishment among the three judges…. I understand, as usual, that none of them had heard or seen the collapse of Building 7 before.”

“I’m just an ordinary, very ordinary retired scientist from the University of Copenhagen who just can’t stand (when) the fundamental laws of Galileo and Sir Isaac Newton are not respected in the public domain.”

The former Prime Minister of Australia, Malcolm Fraser, was also unaware that a third building had collapsed on September 11, 2001 (when I interviewed him last year). Regardless of the outcome of this libel case, the collapse of this Building 7 has been deliberatedly “kept” from the public.

According to Mike Young’s report, Journalist Søren K. Villemoes seemed confident coming out of the courtroom after a four-hour long court drama in the Eastern High Court in Copenhagen. He writes that Harrit’s witness, a professor of theoretical physics Per Hedegård from the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute could have over complicated the issue.

In Denmark libel is a crime, as defined by Article 267 of the Danish Criminal Code, with a penalty of up to six months in prison or a fine. It is hard to win a libel case, and this “crackpot” case will be decided upon in four weeks.

Advertisements

The Relationship between Washington and ISIS: The Evidence

obama-isis

Reports that US and British aircraft carrying arms to ISIS have been shot down by Iraqi forces have been met with shock and denial in western countries. Few in the Middle East doubt that Washington is playing a ‘double game’ with its proxy armies in Syria, but some key myths remain important amongst the significantly more ignorant western audiences.

A central myth is that Washington now arms ‘moderate Syrian rebels’, to both overthrow the Syrian Government and supposedly defeat the ‘extremist rebels’. This claim became more important in 2014, when the rationale of US aggression against Syria shifted from ‘humanitarian intervention’ to a renewal of Bush’s ‘war on terror’.

A distinct controversy is whether the al Qaeda styled groups (especially Jabhat al Nusra and ISIS) have been generated as a sort of organic reaction to the repeated US interventions, or whether they are actually paid agents of Washington.

Certainly, prominent ISIS leaders were held in US prisons. ISIS leader, Ibrahim al-Badri (aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi) is said to have been held for between one and two years at Camp Bucca in Iraq. In 2006, as al-Baghdadi and others were released, the Bush administration announced its plan for a ‘New Middle East’, a plan which would employ sectarian violence as part of a process of ‘creative destruction’ in the region.

According to Seymour Hersh’s 2007 article, ‘The Redirection’, the US would make use of ‘moderate Sunni states’, not least the Saudis, to ‘contain’ the Shia gains in Iraq brought about by the 2003 US invasion. These ‘moderate Sunni’ forces would carry out clandestine operations to weaken Iran and Hezbollah, key enemies of Israel. This brought the Saudis and Israel closer, as both fear Iran.

While there have been claims that the ISIS ‘caliph’ al-Baghdadi is a CIA or Mossad trained agent, these have not yet been well backed up. There are certainly grounds for suspicion, but independent evidence is important, in the context of a supposed US ‘war’ against ISIS . So what is the broader evidence on Washington’s covert links with ISIS?

Not least are the admissions by senior US officials that key allies support the extremist group. In September 2014 General Martin Dempsey, head of the US military, told a Congressional hearing ‘I know major Arab allies who fund [ ISIS ]‘. Senator Lindsey Graham, of Armed Services Committee, responded with a justification, ‘They fund them because the Free Syrian Army couldn’t fight [Syrian President] Assad, they were trying to beat Assad’.

The next month, US Vice President Joe Biden went a step further, explaining that Turkey, Qatar, the UAE and Saudi Arabia ‘were so determined to take down Assad … they poured hundreds of millions of dollars and tens, thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad … [including] al Nusra and al Qaeda and extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world … [and then] this outfit called ISIL’. Biden’s admissions sought to exempt the US from this operation, as though Washington were innocent of sustained operations carried out by its key allies. That is simply not credible.

Washington’s relationship with the Saudis, as a divisive sectarian force in the region, in particular against Arab nationalism, goes back to the 1950s, when Winston Churchill introduced the Saudi King to President Eisenhower. At that time Washington wanted to set up the Saudi King as a rival to President Nasser of Egypt. More recently, British General Jonathan Shaw has acknowledged the contribution of Saudi Arabia’s extremist ideology: ‘This is a time bomb that, under the guise of education. Wahhabi Salafism is igniting under the world really. And it is funded by Saudi and Qatari money’, Shaw said.

Other evidence undermines western attempts to maintain a distinction between the ‘moderate rebels’, now openly armed and trained by the US, and the extremist groups Jabhat al Nusra and ISIS. While there has indeed been some rivalry (emphasised by the London-based, Muslim Brotherhood-aligned, Syrian Observatory of Human Rights), the absence of real ideological difference is best shown by the cooperation and mergers of groups.

As ISIS came from Iraq in 2013, its Syrian bases have generally remained in the far eastern part of Syria. However Jabhat al Nusra (the official al Qaeda branch in Syria, from which ISIS split) has collaborated with Syrian Islamist groups in western Syria for several years. The genocidal slogan of the Syrian Islamists, ‘Christians to Beirut and Alawis to the Grave’, reported many times in 2011 from the Farouk Brigade, sat well with the al Qaeda groups. Farouk (once the largest ‘Free Syrian Army’ group) indeed killed and ethnically cleansed many Christians and Alawis.

Long term cooperation between these ‘moderate rebels’ and the foreign-led Jabhat al-Nusra has been seen around Daraa in the south, in Homs-Idlib, along the Turkish border and in and around Aleppo. The words Jabhat al Nusra actually mean ‘support front’, that is, support for the Syrian Islamists. Back in December 2012, as Jabhat al Nusra was banned in various countries, 29 of these groups reciprocated the solidarity in their declaration: ‘We are all Jabhat al-Nusra’.

After the collapse of the ‘Free Syrian Army’ groups, cooperation between al Nusra and the newer US and Saudi backed groups (Dawud, the Islamic Front, the Syrian Revolutionary Front and Harakat Hazm) helped draw attention to Israel’s support for al Nusra, around the occupied Golan Heights. Since 2013 there have been many reports of ‘rebel’ fighters, including those from al Nusra, being treated in Israeli hospitals. Prime Minister Netanyahu even publicised his visit to wounded ‘rebels’ in early 2014. That led to a public ‘thank you’ from a Turkey-based ‘rebel’ leader, Mohammed Badie (February 2014).

The UN peacekeeping force based in the occupied Golan has reported its observations of Israel’s Defence Forces ‘interacting with’ al Nusra fighters at the border. At the same time, Israeli arms have been found with the extremist groups, in both Syria and Iraq. In November 2014 members of the Druze minority in the Golan protested against Israel’s hospital support for al Nusra and ISIS fighters. This in turn led to questions by the Israeli media, as to whether ‘ Israel does, in fact, hospitalize members of al-Nusra and Daesh [ISIS]‘. A military spokesman’s reply was hardly a denial: ‘In the past two years the Israel Defence Forces have been engaged in humanitarian, life-saving aid to wounded Syrians, irrespective of their identity.’

The artificial distinction between ‘rebel’ and ‘extremist’ groups is mocked by multiple reports of large scale defections and transfer of weapons. In July 2014 one thousand armed men in the Dawud Brigade defected to ISIS in Raqqa. In November defections to Jabhat al Nusra from the Syrian Revolutionary Front were reported. In December, Adib Al-Shishakli, representative at the Gulf Cooperation Council of the exile ‘ Syrian National Coalition’, said ‘opposition fighters’ were ‘increasingly joining’ ISIS ‘for financial reasons’. In that same month, ‘rebels’ in the Israel-backed Golan area were reported as defecting to ISIS, which had by this time began to establish a presence in Syria’s far south. Then, in early 2015, three thousand ‘moderate rebels’ from the US-backed ‘Harakat Hazzm’ collapsed into Jabhat al Nusra, taking a large stock of US arms including anti-tank weapons with them.

ISIS already had US weapons by other means, in both Iraq and Syria , as reported in July, September and October 2014. At that time a ‘non aggression pact’ was reported in the southern area of Hajar al-Aswad between ‘moderate rebels’ and ISIS, as both recognised a common enemy in Syria: ‘the Nussayri regime’, a sectarian way of referring to supposedly apostate Muslims. Some reported ISIS had bought weapons from the ‘rebels’.

In December 2014 there were western media reports of the US covert supply of heavy weapons to ‘Syrian rebels’ from Libya, and of Jabhat al-Nusra getting anti-tank weapons which had been supplied to Harakat Hazm. Video posted by al-Nusra showed these weapons being used to take over the Syrian military bases, Wadi Deif and Hamidiyeh, in Idlib province.

With ‘major Arab allies’ backing ISIS and substantial collaboration between US-armed ‘moderate rebels’ and ISIS, it is not such a logical stretch to suppose that the US and ‘coalition’ flights to ISIS areas (supposedly to ‘degrade’ the extremists) might have become covert supply lines. That is precisely what senior Iraqi sources began saying, in late 2014 and early 2015.

For example, as reported by both Iraqi and Iranian media, Iraqi MP Majid al-Ghraoui said in January that ‘an American aircraft dropped a load of weapons and equipment to the ISIS group militants at the area of al-Dour in the province of Salahuddin’. Photos were published of ISIS retrieving the weapons. The US admitted the seizure but said this was a ‘mistake’. In February Iraqi MP Hakem al-Zameli said the Iraqi army had shot down two British planes which were carrying weapons to ISIS in al-Anbar province. Again, photos were published of the wrecked planes. ‘We have discovered weapons made in the US , European countries and Israel from the areas liberated from ISIL’s control in Al-Baqdadi region’, al-Zameli said.

The Al-Ahad news website quoted Head of Al-Anbar Provincial Council Khalaf Tarmouz saying that a US plane supplied the ISIL terrorist organization with arms and ammunition in Salahuddin province. Also in February an Iraqi militia called Al-Hashad Al-Shabi said they had shot down a US Army helicopter carrying weapons for the ISIL in the western parts of Al-Baqdadi region in Al-Anbar province. Again, photos were published. After that, Iraqi counter-terrorism forces were reported as having arrested ‘four foreigners who were employed as military advisors to the ISIL fighters’, three of whom were American and Israeli. So far the western media has avoided these stories altogether; they are very damaging to the broader western narrative.

In Libya, a key US collaborator in the overthrow of the Gaddafi government has announced himself the newly declared head of the ‘Islamic State’ in North Africa. Abdel Hakim Belhaj was held in US prisons for several years, then ‘rendered’ to Gaddafi’s Libya, where he was wanted for terrorist acts. As former head of the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, then the Tripoli-based ‘Libyan Dawn’ group, Belhaj has been defended by Washington and praised by US Congressmen John McCain and Lindsey Graham.

Some image softening of the al Qaeda groups is underway. Jabhat al-Nusra is reported to be considering cutting ties to al Qaeda, to help sponsor Qatar boost their funding. Washington’s Foreign Affairs magazine even published a survey claiming that ISIS fighters were ‘surprisingly supportive of democracy’. After all the well published massacres that lacks credibility.

The Syrian Army is gradually reclaiming Aleppo, despite the hostile supply lines from Turkey, and southern Syria, in face of support for the sectarian groups from Jordan and Israel. The border with Lebanon is largely under Syrian Army and Hezbollah control. In the east, the Syrian Army and its local allies control most of Hasaka and Deir e-Zour, with a final campaign against Raqqa yet to come. The NATO-GCC attempt to overthrow the Syrian Government has failed.

Yet violent destabilisation persists. Evidence of the covert relationship between Washington and ISIS is substantial and helps explain what Syria’s Deputy Foreign Minister Fayssal Mikdad calls Washington’s ‘cosmetic war’ on ISIS. The extremist group is a foothold Washington keeps in the region, weakening both Syria and Iraq . Their ‘war’ on ISIS is ineffective. Studies by Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgent database show that ISIS attacks and killings in Iraq increased strongly after US air attacks began. The main on the ground fighting has been carried out by the Syrian Army and, more recently, the Iraqi armed forces with Iranian backing.

All this has been reported perversely in the western media. The same channels that celebrate the ISIS killing of Syrian soldiers also claim the Syrian Army is ‘not fighting ISIS’. This alleged ‘unwillingness’ was part of the justification for US bombing inside Syria. While it is certainly the case that Syrian priorities have remained in the heavily populated west, local media reports make it clear that, since at least the beginning of 2014, the Syrian Arab Army has been the major force engaged with ISIS in Hasaka, Raqqa and Deir eZour. A March 2015 Reuters report does concede that the Syrian Army recently killed two ISIS commanders (including Deeb Hedjian al-Otaibi) along with 24 fighters, at Hamadi Omar.

Closer cooperation between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon’s Hezbollah is anathema to Israel, the Saudis and Washington, yet it is happening. This is not a sectarian divide but rather based on some clear mutual interests, not least putting an end to sectarian (takfiri) terrorism.

It was only logical that, in the Iraqi military’s recent offensive on ISIS-held Tikrit, the Iranian military emerged as Iraq’s main partner. Washington has been sidelined, causing consternation in the US media. General Qasem Suleimani, head of Iran’s Quds Force is a leading player in the Tikrit operation.  A decade after Washington’s ‘creative destruction’ plans, designed to reduce Iranian influence in Iraq, an article in Foreign Policy magazine complains that Iran’s influence is ‘at its highest point in almost four centuries’.

——

Select references

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya (2006) Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a ‘New Middle East’

http://www.globalresearch.ca/plans-for-redrawing-the-middle-east-the-project-for-a-new-middle-east/3882

Seymour Hersh (2007) The Redirection

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/03/05/the-redirection

Al Akhbar (2011) Syria: What Kind of Revolution?

http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/540

The New Yorker (2013) Syrian Opposition Groups Stop Pretending

http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/syrian-opposition-groups-stop-pretending

RT (2014) Anyone but US! Biden blames allies for ISIS rise

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11l8nLZNPSY

Iraqi News (2015) American aircraft dropped weapons to ISIS, says MP

http://www.iraqinews.com/iraq-war/american-aircraft-airdropped-weapons-to-isis-says-mp/

Washington Post (2015) Syrian rebel group that got U.S. aid dissolves

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/syrian-fighter-group-that-got-us-missiles-dissolves-after-major-defeat/2015/03/01/286fa934-c048-11e4-a188-8e4971d37a8d_story.html

David Kenner (2015) For God and Country, and Iran, Foreign Policy

http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/03/05/for-god-and-country-and-iran/

Reuters (2015) Syrian air strike kills two Islamic State commanders

http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/07/us-mideast-crisis-syria-islamicstate-idUSKBN0M30F720150307

Week One at the Boston Bombing Trial

from Russ Baker @whowhaywhy.com

On Monday: Tsarnaev Loses Bid to Move Trial; Dissenting Judge Excoriates Majority
By The WhoWhatWhy Team
Accused Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev unsurprisingly lost his second appellate bid to move his trial by a vote of 2-1. But dissenting Judge Juan R. Torruella issued a scathing opinion, arguing that the refusal by both the trial and appeals courts to move the case were abuses of discretion. Further, he argued that if Tsarnaev’s case couldn’t prove overwhelming pretrial prejudice, no case could. Read on for more highlights from the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals opinion.

On Tuesday: FBI’s ‘Smoking Gun’ Video of Boston Marathon Bombing Doesn’t Exist
By Lara Turner
Right up until the opening of Boston Marathon Bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s trial, rumors about the existence of a video showing him dropping a bomb-laden backpack at the scene persisted. Now, the evidence is in – the video doesn’t exist. Lara Turner reports.

On Wednesday: Clinton’s Clever Calculation: Private Emailgate is the Lesser of Two Evils
By Klaus Marre
Why did former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, one of the most scrutinized people in the world, choose to do something her many enemies would be sure to pounce on the moment it was revealed? Klaus Marre analyzes the latest

Also on Wednesday: WhoWhatWhy Live from the Opening of the Boston Bombing Trial
By The WhoWhatWhy Team
WhoWhatWhy Editor-in-Chief Russ Baker and reporter Andy Thibault are tweeting live from the opening of the trial of accused Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. Tune in for real-time updates and analysis from inside the John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse in Boston.

On Thursday: WhoWhatWhy Live: Boston Bombing Victims, the FBI Video and Black Backpacks
By The WhoWhatWhy Team
The prosecution presents marathon bombing victims, the FBI testifies about a still-unseen “smoking gun” video, and the case of the black backpacks arises again. WhoWhatWhy Editor-in-Chief Russ Baker reports live from the federal courthouse in Boston.

Also on Thursday: Colluders in Crude: The Oily Politics of How the Obama Administration Sided with BP Over the American People
By Stuart H. Smith
“I am a first-hand witness to the Obama administration’s complicity in putting the interests of a foreign company above and beyond the health and safety of American workers.” Environmental plaintiff attorney Stuart H. Smith, who represented thousands of clients against BP, reveals just how much the administration knew—and tried to cover up—after the largest marine oil spill in history.

On Friday: RadioWHO Ep. 5: Many Prisoners Say They’re Innocent. Some Truly Are.
By Jeff Schechtman
Many prisoners say “I’m innocent,” but some really are. Every year hundreds of men and women are incarcerated for crimes they did not commit. Tune in for RadioWHO host Jeff Schechtman’s conversation with authors Nikki Pope and Courtney Lance, who’ve spent years dedicated to the cause of the wrongly convicted.

Connecticut State Police Union Clarifies Stance on PIO’s Reassignment

Via NBC News

A day after the Connecticut State Police Captains and Lieutenants Union expressed outrage over state police spokesman Lt. J. Paul Vance’s reassignment to the State Police Traffic Services Division, another union released a statement saying its members do not take issue with the news.

The Connecticut State Police Union issued a statement Sunday to clarify that its union, separate from the captains and lieutenants union, does not take issue with Vance’s upcoming transfer to the traffic division.

Union Outraged Over Reassignment of State Police Spokesman

“The Connecticut State Police Union does not have any concerns with the decision to transfer Lieutenant Paul Vance from the State Police’s public information office to the traffic services unit. Our Union, which represents 1,076 troopers, sergeants, and master sergeants did not issue the statement criticizing the decision to transfer Lieutenant Vance,” Connecticut State Police Union President Andrew Matthews said. “That statement was issued by CSEA SEIU Local 2001, which represents the 36 State Police captains and lieutenants. The Connecticut State Police Union, Inc. rarely addresses internal State Police transfers publicly and we had no intention of addressing Lieutenant Vance’s reassignment except to clarify that we did not issue the earlier statement that was released by the captains and lieutenants union.”

While the state police captains and lieutenants union criticized State Police Commissioner Dora B. Shriro’s management style and said that the “manner in which Lt. Vance was removed was inappropriate,” Matthews said that “is not reflective of the opinion of the Connecticut State Police Union membership.

“The troopers, sergeants, and master sergeants of the Connecticut State Police Union have a great deal of respect for both Commissioner Schriro and Colonel Meraviglia, who made the decision to transfer Lieutenant Vance, and for Lieutenant Vance himself,” Matthews said.

He went on to say that state police leadership “makes difficult decisions about staffing and assignments every day and that the task is made more difficult by the fact that the State Police is short staffed at nearly every rank.”

“The fact that the agency remains as effective as it is with its limited resources is a testament to the leadership of Commissioner Schriro, Colonel Meraviglia, and Lieutenant Colonel Hyatt,” Matthews said. “Simply, our agency is trying to do more with less and the traffic services unit, which has historically been run by a lieutenant, has gone without a lieutenant for an extended period of time. We are confident that Lt. Vance will provide the leadership that the traffic unit needs.”

No replacement has been announced to serve as the new state police public information officer.

Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection spokesman Scott DeVico previously said the change will happen on or around March 20. He could not give a reason for Vance’s reassignment.

http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/local/Connecticut-State-Police-Union-Clarifies-Stance-on-PIOs-Reassignment-294578101.html

Opening Statements Begin In Boston Marathon Bombing Trial

Opening Statements Begin In Boston Marathon Bombing Trial: ‘He Had Murder In His Heart’

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

BOSTON — The trial of the accused Boston Marathon bomber began Wednesday, with prosecutors saying Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wanted to “maim and kill as many people as possible” at the race.

Assistant U.S. Attorney William Weinreb described the homemade bomb filled with nails and ball bearings Tsarnaev allegedly detonated at the finish line of the race on April 15, 2013.

“It was the type of bomb favored by terrorists. … The defendant’s goal that day was to maim and kill as many people as possible,” Weinreb said. “He had murder in his heart, though you wouldn’t know it to look at him.” Tsarnaev appeared in court with a goatee, and wearing a blazer and white dress shirt.

Weinreb portrayed Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his older brother Tamerlan as “partners” who planned and carried out the crimes together. Tamerlan is now deceased.

tsarnaev

In this courtroom sketch, U.S. Attorney William Weinreb, left, is depicted delivering opening statements in front of U.S. District Judge George O’Toole Jr., right rear, on the first day of the federal death penalty trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Wednesday, March 4, 2015, in Boston. Tsarnaev, depicted seated second from right between defense attorneys Judy Clarke, third from right, and Miriam Conrad, right, is charged with conspiring with his brother to place two bombs near the marathon finish line in April 2013, killing three and injuring 260 people.

The defense, led by Judy Clarke, said it would not dispute that Dzokhar set off bombs on Boylston Street or that he got into a gunfight with police in Watertown.

“It was him,” Clarke said.

“For the next several weeks, we’re going to come face to face with unbearable grief, pain and loss caused by senseless, horribly misguided acts carried out by two brothers,” she continued. “We do not and will not at any point attempt to sidestep Dzhokhar’s responsibility for his actions.”

But Clarke set the stage to argue that her client should be spared from the death penalty by saying that while Tamerlan planned and organized the attacks, Dzhokhar essentially lived the life of a normal teenager who was interested in cars and girls.

“He was drawn into his brother’s passion and plan, and that led him to Boylston Street,” she said.

The afternoon testimony was dominated by five witnesses, several of them amputees, who described their life-threatening injuries. While these witnesses spoke, the prosecution at times played videos and showed images depicting gruesome injuries.

“My bones were literally lying next to me on the sidewalk,” said Rebekah Gregory, whose leg was amputated. “I thought that was the day that I’d die.”

Greogry said she was unaware that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was standing near them before the explosion until a prosecutor showed her a photo. Her boyfriend and several of his family members were also seriously hurt in the blast.

Perhaps the most emotional testimony came from Sydney Corcoran, who was a 17-year-old high school senior at the time of the bombing. She was attending the marathon to cheer for her aunt.

Shrapnel from the bomb severed Corcoran’s femoral artery. She nearly bled to death, but was saved by quick-acting strangers who applied a makeshift tourniquet.

“I remember feeling like I was going to sleep. It was so cold. I almost felt peaceful … I knew that I was fading fast,” said Corcoran, who frequently dabbed her eyes while she spoke. “How can this be real? Everything was so happy just two seconds ago.”

Corcoran’s mother lost both legs in the attack.

The defense declined to cross-examine Corcoran and other witnesses who’d been wounded.

Before opening statements began Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge George O’Toole ruled that he would limit the amount of personal history about Dzokhar that jurors would hear in the first phase of the trial.

This could be a disadvantage for the defense, which insists that Dzokhar was under the sway of his older brother when the two allegedly detonated two bombs at the Boston Marathon. O’Toole said, however, that there cannot be a total ban on the defendant’s personal history from the first phase of the trial.

Eight women and 10 men were selected for the jury on Tuesday after a protracted process to find 12 impartial jurors and six alternates who were willing to consider imposing the death penalty if the 21-year-old is convicted.

The two brothers are accused of killing three people and wounding 264 near the marathon’s finish line with homemade bombs fashioned from pressure cookers. The combined number of casualties from the attack made it one of the largest acts of domestic terrorism in the U.S.

tsarnaev

Boston Marathon bombing survivor Marc Fucarile, center, and his wife Jennifer, left, walk past protester Jose Briceno, right, as they leave federal court, Wednesday, March 4, 2015, in Boston, on the first day of the federal death penalty trial of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

Some of those survivors were on hand Wednesday morning, according to The Boston Globe.

The brothers, ethnic Chechen immigrants, allegedly also killed MIT police officer Sean Collier on April 18, 2013, after the FBI released photographs of the suspected bombers.

tsarnaev dzhokhar

The FBI says this photo shows Tamerlan Tsarnaev, left, and his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, moments before two bombs exploded at 2013 Boston Marathon.

U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz’s office charged Dzokhar Tsarnaev with 30 alleged crimesin federal court in April 2013. The grand jury indictment from June 2013 includes using a weapon of mass destruction; the use of a firearm resulting in death; and conspiring to use improvised explosive devices against people, property and places of public use.

Seventeen of the charges carry the death penalty. Only three federal prisoners have been executed in more than 50 years, though there are 61 federal inmates on death row, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Tsarnaev has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The trial reportedly could take up to three months. Prosecutors amassed a list of more than 730 potential witnesses and thousands of exhibits, radio station WBUR reported.

The defense has repeatedly asked for a change of venue, believing it’s impossible to seat impartial jurors in Boston, but the request been turned down five times. However, the argument could resurface during an appeal if Tsarnaev is convicted.

Most experts have said there’s little chance Tsarnaev will be acquitted. If the jury returns with a guilty verdict, the trial moves to the penalty phase, in which life in prison without parole would be a possible punishment in addition to the death penalty.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/04/opening-statements-boston-marathon-bombing_n_6797010.html

FEMA/DHS 12/14/12 Plan for “Mass Death of Children at a School By Firearms

Document Originated on October 8, 2012

Holder_McConnellBy James F. Tracy

A newly discovered Federal Emergency Management-Department of Homeland Security document designated “For Official Use Only” reveals plans for a “Site Activation Call-down Drill Exercise Plan,” otherwise known as a “Mass Casualty Drill.”

[Attorney General Eric Holder, Connecticut Governor Dannell Malloy, and top US Prosecutor in Connecticut David Fein announcing Project Longevity on November 27, 2012 . Image Credit: National Network for Safe Communities/WABC.]

The plan, created on  October 8, 2012, explicitly references a scenario where the “Mass Death of Children at a School By Firearms” is followed by a “Suicide or Apprehension of [an] Unknown Shooter.”

The 20-page document further instructs the “Use of Media” to be employed for “For Evaluation” and “for Information Distribution.”

Download drill-site-activation-call-down-exercise-plan (PDF)

While the date for the drill is marked “December 14, 2012″ on the document’s cover page, on page 12 under Chapter 2: Exercise Logistics, the event is scheduled one day earlier. “The Preparation for Mass Casualty Drill will be conducted on 12/13/12 beginning at 8:00AM. Exercise play is scheduled until the exercise director/Controller determines that the exercise determines that the exercise objectives have been met. Everyone must sign in with Controller upon arrival.”

 

The instructions emphasize, “All Spoken and Written Communication will start and end with the statement, “THIS IS A DRILL.”

At a minimum, the attached materials will be disseminated only on a need-t0-know basis, and when unattended will be stored in a locked container or area offering sufficient protection against theft, compromise, inadvertent access, and unauthorized disclosure.

The document’s directs parties to direct queries to FEMA’s “Point of Contact” person, Executive Director Tom Romano.

Is this a plan for what came to be widely-known as the Sandy Hook School Massacre? No location for where the exercise is to take place appears on the document. Yet in July 2014 Wolfgang Halbig announced that Connecticut State Troopers intimated to him that the Sandy Hook event was “scripted,” and that some had submitted false affidavits on what had taken place that day.

Also, on December 14, 2012 two similar exercises were apparently transpiring in very close proximity to Newtown. At roughly 9:00AM an “Active shooter drill” exercise commenced in Carmel Connecticut, 45 miles away from Newtown. “By grim coincidence, even as the terrible events were unfolding in Newtown on Friday morning,” the Southeast Brewster-Patch reported,

 the Putnam County Emergency Response Team (“ERT”) happened to be assembled for regular training in Carmel, and team members were at that very moment engaged in a mock scenario of an active-shooter in a school. The ERT is comprised of specially trained and heavily armed officers from the Sheriff’s Office and the Carmel and Kent Police Departments.  When news broke of the Newtown shooting, the Putnam County ERT commander called Newtown Police and offered to have the ERT respond to the Sandy Hook school, but that response was not needed because Connecticut police had already secured the scene.

Ashley Tarr, “Sheriff: Putnam Officials to Talk School Safety This Afternoon,” Southeast Brewster-Patch, December 18, 2012.

A second federally sponsored “course” with the stated goal of “enabl[ing] participants to improve their community’s mitigation and emergency operations plan specifically regarding the needs of children,” was slated for December 14, 2012 in nearby Bridgeport, CT.

Some other curious observations:

A HSEEP Training Course was held in 2010 at 18 Riverside Road, Sandy Hook, CT, with Tom Romano listed as the Contact Person.

The International Movie Data Base lists ABC News coverage of the Sandy Hook event, complete with “cast” including Kaitlin Roig, Paul Vance and Barack Obama, lists a broadcast date of December 12, 2012.

Other relevant entries from the Sandy Hook Massacre Timeline:

December 14, 2012

9:35AM [Estimate]
In the Sandy Hook library three faculty members hear noises and move 15 or so students to a storage closet in the library filled with computer servers. “Hold hands. Be quiet,” one teacher tells the children. One child questions “whether there are pots and pans were clanging. Another thought he heard firecrackers. Another worried an animal was coming to the door,” the Washington Post reports. “They were children in a place built for children, and the teachers didn’t know how to answer them … ‘It’s a drill,’ said a library clerk named Mary Anne Jacobs.” Eli Saslow, “Sandy Hook Massacre: Teachers Sought to Soothe Children in Moments of Terror,” Washington Post, December 15, 2012.

December 17

A special broadcast of Dr. Mehmet Oz’s syndicated television program is devoted to the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. Oz asks “Louie,” a Sandy Hook 3rd grader, “what you remember from that day.” “I remember that a lot–a lot of policemen were in the, uhm, school,” Louie responds. “Uhm, well, a lot–I was like [pause] hiding under–when we were having a drill we were hiding under, like … ” As Louie hesitates and takes several deep breaths, his mother nudges him while Oz taps the boy on the shoulder and changes the subject. “Take your time. There’s no hurry. Let me ask you, What would you like to say to your teachers?” Semuj1, Hurry–D/L Dr. Oz Interview, Sandy Hook Third Grader Louis ‘Having a Drill‘ – National TV,” Youtube, February 4, 2013; See also The Dr. Oz Show, “Dr. Oz Visits Newtown,” n.d.

January 13, 2013

Attorney Alexis Haller, Noah Pozner’s uncle, authors and submits a detailed memorandum to the Obama Administration’s White House Task Force on Gun Violence on behalf of the Pozner family. ” The eight-page document “proposes a range of [state, federal and local] legislative reforms to help prevent another targeted school shooting … The proposals … are based upon conversations within the family, consultations with school security experts, independent research related to prior school shootings, and discussion with legal professionals to focus on criminal law.” The statement urges linking gun control measures to mental health diagnoses, federal grants for school security system upgrades, and mandatory lockdown drills at public schools. Alexis Haller, “Memorandum from The Maternal Family of Noah Pozner to The White House Task Force on Gun Violence,” January 13, 2013.

%d bloggers like this: