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April 22, 2013 0

Slain Officer Tragic Reminder Of Extremist Dangers To Law Enforcement

Offi­cer Sean Collier

The hunt for sus­pected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsar­naev gripped the nation on April 19 as author­i­ties shut vir­tu­ally the entire city down in their hunt for the deadly fugitive.

Some­what side­lined by the man­hunt was the fatal encounter that touched off the mas­sive search, the shock­ing alleged mur­der by Dzhokhar and Tamer­lan Tsar­naev of a uni­ver­sity police offi­cer the night before.  Around 10:30pm on April 18, police received a call about a con­ve­nience store rob­bery near the Mass­a­chu­setts Insti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy (MIT) in Cam­bridge (the rob­bery later turned out to be uncon­nected).  Shortly there­after, 26-year-old MIT police offi­cer Sean Col­lier, report­edly encoun­tered the two broth­ers, who shot him mul­ti­ple times while he was still in his cruiser, mor­tally wound­ing him.

The broth­ers allegedly car­jacked a Mer­cedes shortly there­after.  Police located the stolen vehi­cle in Water­town, but when the first offi­cer approached the car, the broth­ers allegedly jumped out and opened fire.  As addi­tional offi­cers arrived, the sus­pects allegedly threw explo­sive devices at the offi­cers.  MBTA Tran­sit Police Offi­cer Richard Don­ahue, Jr., 33, received crit­i­cal gun­shot injuries dur­ing this chase, though he is now in sta­ble con­di­tion receiv­ing hos­pi­tal care.  Fif­teen other offi­cers were injured dur­ing the shootout.  Tarmer­lan Tsamaev died in this sec­ond encounter after receiv­ing mul­ti­ple injuries, includ­ing being run over by his own brother dri­ving a vehicle.

The tragic death of Offi­cer Col­lier and the near fatal shoot­ing of Offi­cer Don­ahue high­light the extent to which police offi­cers risk their own lives and wel­fare to pro­tect Amer­i­cans from dan­ger­ous extrem­ists.  How­ever, most Amer­i­cans are not aware how often the nation’s police offi­cers must place them­selves in the line of fire to oppose dan­ger­ous extremists.

Accord­ing to ADL records, Offi­cer Col­lier was actu­ally the 30th police offi­cer to die in the United States at the hands of domes­tic extrem­ists (of all vari­eties) since 2001.  In a num­ber of those instances, the offi­cers, like Col­lier, were killed while encoun­ter­ing a des­per­ate extrem­ist fugi­tive try­ing to evade cap­ture for a pre­vi­ous act.

Just since 2009, 33 shootouts (includ­ing the Water­town event) have taken place between law enforce­ment offi­cers and domes­tic extremists—including right-wing anti-government extrem­ists, white suprema­cists, domes­tic Mus­lim extrem­ists and oth­ers.  In those vio­lent encoun­ters, extrem­ists have shot 34 police offi­cers, 11 fatally.  In at least four of those inci­dents, it was prob­a­bly only body armor that saved the offi­cers’ lives.  Almost 25% of these shootouts involved extrem­ists who were fugi­tives or oth­er­wise resist­ing arrest.

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April 19, 2013 1

Profile Of Boston Bombers Emerges

Even as the man­hunt for Dzhokhar Tsar­naev con­tin­ues, a por­trait of him and his brother, Tamer­lan, the alleged per­pe­tra­tors of Monday’s Boston Marathon bomb­ing, has begun to emerge.

Based on social media pro­files appar­ently belong­ing to them, the broth­ers were inter­ested in mil­i­tancy, Islam and Chech­nya, a region in Russia.

The two report­edly came to the United States as refugees in the early 2000s, per­haps a cou­ple of years apart, after flee­ing the vio­lence in the Cau­ca­sus.  Both appeared to main­tain close ties to their eth­nic home­land. The younger brother, Dzhokhar, included the seal of his home­town soc­cer team as the back­ground of his Twit­ter account. The older, Tamer­lan, expressed his hope for Chechen inde­pen­dence and included books about Chech­nya about on his Ama­zon wish list.

The broth­ers were also prac­tic­ing Mus­lims, post­ing mes­sages about Islam and Ramadan on var­i­ous social media pro­files. There is an indi­ca­tion that Tamer­lan may have had a more rad­i­cal streak, reflected in his YouTube playlist fea­tur­ing videos by a rad­i­cal cleric liv­ing in Aus­tralia and videos about join­ing an Islamic army to help estab­lish a Caliphate as well as a playlist on “Ter­ror­ists” (the videos of which had pre­vi­ously been deleted by YouTube).

A more com­plete pro­file on the broth­ers can be found here: Social Media Pro­files Shed Light on Broth­ers Accused in Boston Marathon Attack.

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April 18, 2013 1

Extremists and Conspiracy Theorists React to Boston Marathon Terrorist Attack

Forty-eight hours after Monday’s hor­rific ter­ror­ist attack tar­get­ing the Boston Marathon, which left 3 peo­ple dead and close to 200 injured, extrem­ist and anti-government con­spir­acy the­o­ries about who was respon­si­ble are spread­ing across the Internet.

A screen­shot from the anti-Semitic con­spir­acy web­site “nodisinfo.com.”

The lack of infor­ma­tion cur­rently avail­able to the pub­lic about pos­si­ble per­pe­tra­tors has not kept extrem­ists from jump­ing to con­clu­sions.  Con­spir­acy the­o­rists span­ning the ide­o­log­i­cal spec­trum – from anti-Muslim big­ots to white suprema­cists – have accused dif­fer­ent groups and indi­vid­u­als of per­pe­trat­ing the bombing.

Here’s just a sam­pling of these accu­sa­tions. A com­pre­hen­sive overview of extrem­ist reac­tions to the Boston attack can be found here: Boston Bomb­ing Prompts Extrem­ist Con­spir­acy The­o­ries.

Con­spir­acy the­o­rist Mark Glenn claimed that the bomb­ing in Boston may have been orches­trated by Israel as a “way of not only rub­bing manure in Barack Obama’s face” but also to demon­strate what Israel is capa­ble of doing to the United States. He blamed the Jew­ish com­mu­nity and the State of Israel for a num­ber of attacks against Amer­i­cans, adding “You in the Jew­ish com­mu­nity and in the pro-Israel community…you have a crim­i­nal record.” Glenn con­cluded, “It is very pos­si­ble that this is an Israeli false flag event, but we’ll have to wait and see.”

Oth­ers claimed they were sure Mus­lims were behind the attack. Quran-burning Florida pas­tor Terry Jones released a state­ment that read, “Is it an Islamic attack? It looks like it. The bomb­ing came on Patri­ots Day. It has all of the ear­mark­ings (sic) of an Islamic attack but will there again be a great coverup by the Great Satan Obama? His Admin­is­tra­tion, the peo­ple he has sur­rounded him­self with, are all some type of closet Mus­lims, heav­ily influ­enced by Islam because of their background.”

Anti-government extrem­ists have described the attack as a “false flag” oper­a­tion orches­trated by the U.S. gov­ern­ment as a pre­text to cur­tail Amer­i­cans’ civil liberties. 

Other extreme orga­ni­za­tions seemed sat­is­fied with the attack and went so far as to describe it as a divine act. The vir­u­lently homo­pho­bic West­boro Bap­tist Church, for exam­ple, announced that it would picket the vic­tims’ funer­als and that the attack was a result of God’s anger about gay rights in America.

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