In this motion, the defense repeats their contention that FBI monitoring is overstepping fair boundaries. They mention materials which they wish to review with their client: “BOP personnel are not in a position to know whether a particular sheaf of papers or collection of computer files are part of the discovery material produced by the government, much less to evaluate whether the materials are otherwise related to preparation of the defense.”
They also powerfully address monitoring of family visits. “The supposed comment by Mr. Tsarnaev ‘to his detriment’ during a visit with one of his sisters is a red herring. The government’s focus on this comment highlights the unfair prejudice that FBI case agent monitoring of family visits creates …
“… if Mr. Tsarnaev appears to be lighthearted, this will be spun into an argument that he should be executed because he lacks remorse and is insufficiently serious about his predicament or his actions … If he appears impassive or subdued, those observations likely will be characterized as evidence that he is cold-hearted and deserving of the death penalty.”
This is an example of the sort of innuendo and character assassination that have surrounded this case. The psyches of the Tsarnaev family have been turned inside out for the entertainment of a fascinated public. And every available fact has been twisted to support the myth of DT as Evil Muslim Monster.
The following facts are not hard evidence of guilt, but are treated as if they imply guilt.
Fact: Tamerlan and Zubeida showed an interest in fundamentalist Islam; Dzhokhar, though apparently not fundamentalist, is religious. Implication: Islam = terrorism.
Fact: TT spoke out loudly in mosques and used the Koran to deal with his anxiety. Implication: He might have been crazy to start with, but Islam pushed him over the edge.
Fact: DT was studying the history of Chechnya, and may have researched Al Qaeda and the reasons for terrorism. Implication: He was radicalized.
Fact: One DT tweet boasted: “Those dogs will find out they’re dealing with a lion.” Implication, according to at least one psychologist: simmering anger and deep hidden pain. (In the beginning, I too read his tweets like Tarot cards, picking out every sign of stress or adolescent posturing and seeing it as something deeply meaningful.)
Fact: After the bombing, he tweeted: “lol those people are cooked.” Implication: Smirking about the victims! (No MSM journalist bothered to find out the context – “those people” are the Westboro Baptists.)
Fact: In court, he smiled at his sisters, and showed no remorse while pleading “not guilty”. Implication: He’s a fiend!
Fact: Ibragim Todashev sometimes got involved in fist-fights. Implication: He was a dangerous hothead, and the FBI really killed him in self-defense … really.
Fact: Heda Umarova, a friend of DT’s, has decided to live in Chechnya instead of returning to the US. (America gave her shelter, she should be grateful, blah blah.) She has posted photos of Chechens carrying weapons. Implication: Chechen separatists are Islamic terrorists and want to kill Americans.
Fact: Heda’s brothers, who have been supporting DT online, also are suspected of being terrorists. Implication: this fiend could not possibly inspire support from any innocent person.
Sometimes it’s even more blatant. One repulsive online commentary referred to DT’s reading of the Koran in prison as “brushing up on jihadist instructions”.
To a limited extent, the psychological nit-picking makes sense. Judy Clarke will examine the psychological factors as part of the mitigation phase, should her client be convicted. The “Islam equals terrorism” innuendo is more disturbing.
This article quotes FBI statistics to point out that 90% of terrorist attacks on U.S. soil between 1980 and 2005 were carried out by non-Muslims. Some were committed by Jews in the name of Israel. Abortion-clinic bombings (and the “emotional terrorism” of the Westboro Baptists) can be attributed to Christian fundamentalism.
But acts committed by Jews or Christians are seen as political, not religious. No one talks about the Bible or the Torah as terrorist manifestos, or suggests that being a Jew or a Christian automatically makes you dangerous. Muslims are the only group in America who can be subjected to this sort of slander without any repercussions. Political correctness? Forget it!
There is considerable evidence for reasonable doubt in the Tsarnaev case. As the government continues to harass people in the Tsarnaev and Todashev circles, and the prosecution continues to encourage innuendo, I feel that the reasonable doubt gets even stronger.