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The Boston Massacre Theories

Politics / Social Issues Apr 17, 2013 - 12:07 PM GMT

By: Michael_T_Bucci


Hours after the tragic massacre at the Boston Marathon on April 15, web writers and bloggers filled the internet with "theories", and professional new organizations did likewise.

Alex Spillius of UK's The Telegraph summarized these theories the morning after: "The first is that domestic right-wing extremists were responsible. The second is that Islamists, either foreign or American, and linked to al-Qaeda spiritually or practically, were to blame. A third possibility is killers with no ideological agenda whatsoever." However, Mr. Spillius, sitting 4,800 km from Back Bay Boston, strikingly missed theory Number Four: the bombing was a "false flag attack" by the US Government. Clearly, he didn't have full insight into the American Right, especially the faction called "Truthers" who generally believe the U.S. government commits acts of terrorism against itself to justify public support for state repression, i.e., beginning with a "cover-up" of 9/11.

At a popular "conspiracy" web site in Canada, for example, two stories appeared the day after the bombings and concluded, "Comparisons to 9/11 are inevitable." What is "inevitable"? Citing the abundant presence of law enforcement - "all of America's security forces were there" - failing to prevent this so-called "terrorist attack" does not lead to any verifiable conclusion that the US Government permitted or even engineered these bombings in order to invoke limited martial law on Boyleston Street, decimate civil liberties and the Constitution, and justify an intensification of onerous security measures within public areas, transportation and communication hubs as the author alleged. Many "anti-government" cliques and sects - Truthers, Tea Party leaders, "Patriots", libertarians like Alex Jones ( - would prefer you believe that the enemy of America is "government". Failing this, they are Islamists, as Rupert Murdoch's FOX NEWS would counter. On the one hand, it is true that limited marital law was declared by government on a Back Bay square mile; people were denied civil liberties during those hours; and increased security will result. It is legitimate to cite these are results of the bombings in order to construct opinion; but it is illegitimate and unfounded to claim the bombings were planted by government in order to cause these results.

"Muslims in the USA fear an irrational backlash to their community in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings" ran the headline in USA Today on April 16. The paper reported: "Regular Fox News guest commentator Erik Rush quickly sent out tweets blaming Muslims, adding in one, 'Let's kill them,' a post he subsequently deleted." Anti-Muslim blogger Pam Geller wrote "Jihad in America". Conservative and right-wing Evangelical Christian Glenn Beck opined that "no American citizen blows up random people; that's a Middle Eastern scene, that's not an American scene." Saudi Arabian Al Arabiya news channel quickly reported the Erik Rush tweet to its middle-eastern audience: "A right-wing media pundit from the United States has called for all Muslims to be killed in a ‘sarcastic’ tweet made in response to the Boston Marathon bombings. . . [A] Twitter user asked, “Are you ALREADY BLAMING MUSLIMS??” – to which Rush reportedly responded: "Yes, they're evil. Let's kill them all."

In such an atmosphere, a 22-year old Saudi student was detained for "acting suspiciously" at the marathon finish line. Detectives and bomb disposal officers raided Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi's apartment the night of the bombing while he remained in hospital from suffering serious burns. Major TV networks in America - not only FOX - highlighted this story only hours after the tragedy, citing him "a Saudi national". Rupert Murdoch's New York Post proclaimed, "FBI grills Saudi man - Smells of gunpowder". The following day officials announced he was not suspected of any involvement in the attack and was rather viewed as a victim and a witness.

Lawrence Harmon wrote in the Boston Globe on April 16: "The perpetuator or perpetrators behind the two bombs that exploded within a few seconds of each other near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon are still unknown. But there are working theories. Terrorists often plan their strikes on anniversaries and commemorative dates. Yesterday marked both a patriotic holiday in Massachusetts and Israel Independence Day, which raises the possibility of Islamic terrorism. April 15 is also the deadline for filing federal taxes, which suggests the possibility of homegrown, anti-tax extremists. The pathological possibilities abound at this point."

Mr. Harmon in Boston, like Mr. Alex Spillius at The Telegraph, missed items of synchronicity that UK's Daily Mail didn't. To wit:

- Yesterday's attack took place on Patriots' Day, which marks the first battle of the Revolutionary War and the 'shot heard 'round the world.' It is a day held in reverence by right-wing domestic groups and others who oppose the federal government.
- The 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, which killed 168, occurred the day after Patriots' Day. Bomber Timothy McVeigh was said believe the date was significant.
- The federal siege of the Branch Dravidian compound, which left 82 members of the cult dead, began on Patriots' Day in 1993.
- Today is also Tax Day, when federal income tax returns are due. In recent years, it has been seized on by members of the Tea Party as cause to protest federal government policies and tax rates.
- A Justice Department source tells MailOnline that authorities are looking into the possibility that the Boston attack, which killed three and injured 144 more [sic] at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, could have been planned to coincide with Patriots' Day.

But the Los Angeles Times reported that "government analysts leaned toward the theory that the attack was the work of home-grown radicals inspired by Al Qaeda, as opposed to anti-government extremists. They based that hunch in part on the use of multiple bombs in a public place, which has been a signature of Al Qaeda strikes, and on the fact that the target was not connected to a government building. 'My educated guess would be self-radicalized Islamic extremists from the area,' the official said, speaking anonymously to discuss intelligence matters."

RT (Russia Today) reported, "News began to spread of a US government cellphone network shutdown." The RT story went on to reinforce anti-government paranoia by adding, "while the claims were quickly shown to be false, a secret federal rule does, in fact, make such a shutdown possible."

Many right-wing web sites expressed fury at being implicated (blaming "left wing media"). The Islamic community in America was shaken from being targeted (blaming "right wing media"). The Government is seeking answers. The media (whichever wing) only reports what they are told. FBI Special Agent Richard DesLauriers said in Boston, "Somebody knows who did this". Many in Boston grieve and wait.

What is verifiable are: two bombs, three deaths, 176 injured, panic, mayhem, a period of martial law in Back Bay, shock, trauma and, in the absence of a suspect or suspects, conspiracy theories mirroring old ones - "the pathological possibilities abound at this point."

In 1963, I and my high school friends asked the question: "Who really killed JFK?" Conspiracy theories circulated at the time proposing suspects. In 1968, I and my co-workers in Boston asked the question: "Who really murdered MLK? Who really murdered RFK?" Conspiracy theories circulated proposing answers. And since 1898, historians have asked the question: "Who really sunk the Maine?" Then, much like Rupert Murdoch today, the "yellow journalist" William Randolph Hearst answered the question: "It was the cowardly Spanish!"

Whether solved or not, the wiser position was expressed on April 16 by staff writer Barry Grey at WSWS: "It is necessary to treat all of the initial reports by the media with extreme skepticism. Whether the Boston bombing was a terror attack by Al Qaeda or by a home-grown right-wing organization, or an act carried out with state involvement, remains unknown.

Some things we may never know, or know for certain. But we know we must move on, with or without answers, and will.

* * *

To my old friends in Boston, know this:
There are stages individuals go through after suffering trauma. Shock is followed by grief; grief is followed by anger and moral outrage; anger and outrage are followed by resignation and acceptance; this is followed by equilibrium. The time for each is not fixed.  Keep these in mind, Boston, as you pass through all of these stages in the days and months ahead. Do not linger in any one stage but proceed through them all until closure is reached.

The Boston massacre of 2013 will never and should never be forgotten. But you will be healed and made stronger. I have faith in you, and in your great city.

By Michael T Bucci


Michael T Bucci is a retired public relations executive from New Jersey presently residing in New England. His essays have appeared at The Market Oracle. He is the author of nine books on practical spirituality including White Book: Cerithous.

    © 2013 Copyright Michael T Bucci - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

© 2005-2019 - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.

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