Although facts about the identities of the two alleged suspects of the deadly twin bombing of the Boston Marathon as well as facts surrounding the terrorist bombing, itself, changed practically minute to minute during the episode, federal, state, and municipal authorities identified the bombing suspects as two brothers hailing from a «Russian region near Chechnya». The brothers’ father lives in Dagestan.
The two were identified after one of the suspects robbed a 7-Eleven convenience store in Cambridge, near the campus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and a shootout with police in Watertown, a suburb of Boston. The FBI released videotape photographs of the two taken just minutes before two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, killing three and injuring over a 100 others.
The suspect seen in FBI-released videotapes wearing a white cap was identified by authorities as Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev, 19, who reportedly arrived with his older brother Tamerlan, 26, with their parents as refugees from the Caucasus region of Russia. Tamerlan was identified in surveillance videos as wearing a black cap moments before the marathon bombings on Boyleston Street in downtown Boston. The brothers and their parents were reported to be legal permanent residents of the United States. Some early news reports claim the family moved to the United States ten years ago from Kyrgyzstan while other reports stated they arrived from Turkey and yet other reports suggesting it was Kazakhstan.
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev escaped after his brother was shot by police in Watertown and he remained at large at the time of this report. There were late reports of police trapping the suspect in a locked down radius within a Boston suburb with a single gunshot reported. The entire city of Boston and its suburbs was shut down with residents urged to stay inside their homes, public transportation and schools closed down, and some streets blockaded. After the robbery in Cambridge, an MIT campus officer was shot to death in his patrol car, allegedly by one of the two brothers. A Boston Transit police officer was also shot and seriously wounded. The two brothers then car-jacked a Mercedes armed with an assault rifle and holding a bag. They told the hostage driver that they were the two responsible for the bombing at the marathon.
During the subsequent shootout with police, Tamerlan Tsaraev was shot and killed by police. There were reports that during the shootout with police in Cambridge, the two threw at least one bag containing a pressure cooker bomb, the same used in the marathon bombing, at pursuing police and that it exploded.
As Boston went into lock down mode, the media’s attention shifted to a home in Montgomery Village, Maryland, in the suburbs of Washington, DC, where the two brothers’ uncle, Ruslan Tsami, reportedly lived. The brothers’ father, Anzon Tsaraev, reportedly lives in Makhachkala, Russia, the capital of the Republic of Dagestan.
There were earlier reports, all proven false, that the «white-hat» student was a Brown University, Rhode Island student who went missing in March and has been the subject of an FBI-led search. However, in what may be a coincidence, there were reports that the Brothers Tsarnaev had both been students at Brown but had dropped out.
The Chechen origin and reported military training of the two brothers raises some pointed questions about past U.S. support for the Chechen insurgency and who sponsored the brothers to live in the United States, paid for their college tuition, receive military training abroad, and paid for Tamerlan’s Wai Kru martial arts training in Boston. It is known that the late Russian-Israeli tycoon Boris Berezovsky as well as several NGOs have provided financial and logistical assistance to Chechen exiles, some of whom have been associated with Doka Umarov, the self-appointed head of the Caucasian Emirate who calls himself «Emir of the Caucasus Emirate Abu-Usman». Dukaev’s group has claimed responsibility for a number of terrorist bombings in Russia, including those of a high speed Moscow-St. Petersburg train, Domodedovo International Airport, and Moscow Metro stations.
The Chechen secessionist cause also received support from the regime of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili. Arizona Republican Senator John McCain has been a leading defender of the Chechen separatists and has been vehement in denials that the Chechen movement has been infiltrated by Islamist radicals and members of Al Qaeda. McCain was also a major supporter of Libyan rebels allied with Al Qaeda and he currently supports Syrian rebels who sympathize with Al Qaeda groups.
Chechen Republic President Ramzan Kadyrov, whose name was reportedly placed on a classified portion of the U.S. Magnitsky List that bars certain Russian citizens from entry into the United States, stated that the Tsarnaev brothers had no connection to the Chechen Republic and that the family’s connections to the region dated back many years ago. In fact, some reports suggested that the father was an ethnic Russian who worked in Chechnya for a number of years.
Kadyrov’s office confirmed the Tsarnaev family spent time as refugees in Kazakhstan. The Chechen President’s press office spelled the name of the family «Tsornayev». Other reports claimed the Tsarnaev family left Dagestan in 2002. It is after that time that the story becomes murky. Some reports claim the Chechen brothers emigrated to the United States while others claim they did not arrive until 2011. However, Dzhokhar received a competitive scholarship from the city of Cambridge in 2011, an indication that he had already been in the United States for some time before 2011.
A Youtube account in the name of Tamerlan Tsarnaev was discovered to have posted videos associated with Salafist radicals, the Al Qaeda-linked «Black Banners of Khurusan», and Feiz Muhammad, an Australian Islamic cleric who has condemned the Harry Potter books and films. There is no actual way to determine whether the Youtube account belonged to the older Tsarnaev brother or whether it was a feint established by parties intending to link him to Islamist radicals.
The entire marathon bombing event was punctuated by the wrong suspects being identified in the media before the authorities could positively conclude the identities of the suspects. Chief media offenders were the New York Post and CNN. However, most of the media began resurrecting a slogan from the post-9/11 months: that the Boston marathon bombings represented the «new normal,» that is, that Americans should get used to the idea of living under virtual martial law with the U.S. Constitution representing nothing more than a «quaint piece of paper»…