Friday, April 19, 2013

Chechen Terrorists Make Move: One Dead; Other Holed Up In Watertown, MA

April 19, 2013 -- One of the two suspects being sought in the Boston Marathon bombing is dead, having been killed during a gun battle confrontation with police in Watertown, Massachusetts last night, following a car chase from Cambridge, MA where at least the younger brother had resided for "several years" -- perhaps for as long as 10 years -- and to where they apparently had initially retreated to following the planting of the bombs just across the Charles River in Boston on Monday. The terrorists, as it turns out, were Chechen brothers who may have also received military terror training overseas.

The name of "suspect number two" who last night managed to elude police and is still at large, is Dzhokhar A.Tsarneav, age 19, who on his "Profile" (FaceBook style) page self-identifies as a Muslim. Under "Beliefs" he posted under "World View:  Islam" and under "Personal Priority:   Career and Money" and his site further shows that he has145 followers.  His dead brother's first name was reportedly, "Tamerlan Tsarneav."

What is now becoming clear is the close proximity of the actual Boston Marathon finishing line to their residence, which means that they could have literally walked away from the finishing line of the marathon where they had just planted the deadly bombs, by walking just a few blocks in Boston, and then walked the short distance across a bridge over the Charles River, to their residence in Cambridge.  And, conversely, it is clear that the brothers could have easily assembled those deadly devices -- which some experts have described as potentially unstable over any length of time -- right in their residence in Cambridge, and then simply walked them over to the marathon.  They had reportedly been residing there in Cambridge as permanent residents of the United States. The second brother is still on the loose, and has become the subject of a massive door-to-door manhunt in about a 15 or 20 block area of Watertown.

UPDATE: In a series of announcements, it has become clear that several extraordinary steps, nearly the entire area in and around Boston, out to and including Watertown, Massachusetts, are on virtual shut down as the massive manhunt for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev proceeds.  

UPDATE:  Here is the "Wanted Poster:"

UPDATE:  And here is the latest FBI photo of Dzhokhar which was also uploaded this morning, no doubt intended as an aid in the massive manhunt that has been underway for several hours:

A police officer in Cambridge, Massachusetts -- a campus policeman from MIT -- was killed by the suspects late yesterday evening, having been shot in his vehicle in the vicinity of Vassar and Main Streets in Cambridge.  The officer's gun was stolen from him. An alarm call had gone out to Cambridge police indicating that there was a robbery at the convenience store in the town.  The campus police officer from MIT may have recognized one or perhaps both of the perpetrators, and they may have recognized that they had been "made" or identified by him, which prompted them to then attack him. 

The suspects subsequently hijacked a black Mercedes SUV from a gas station in the area, forcing the driver to accompany them.  At some point, while it had been stopped for gas, the driver of the SUV was reportedly able to escape, or was kicked out by the terrorists, and he ran into a convenience store asking the clerk to call the police.  He is unharmed.  Following a high speed car chase into Watertown, a gunfight ensued, and another uniformed officer, a transit officer, was killed by gunshot during a confrontation with the terror suspects in Watertown, Massachusetts.

One of the two brothers (suspect number one) was fatally wounded.  However, the Dzhokhar A.Tsarneav is still on the loose.

According to Jennifer Griffin of Fox News, while monitoring police scanners earlier yesterday, she said that at least one message she heard regarding the terror suspects indicated that they were on the lookout for a 5' 7" foreigner perhaps of Middle Eastern origin.

As a result of the fluid situation, the entire City of Watertown is now on complete lock-down, as was just announced by the police chief.

In addition, what have been described as possibly "military grade" terror devices, many of which were being thrown by the suspects from the hijacked vehicle, are currently being located and disarmed.

As of a little after 5 pm yesterday, the FBI had publicly released several still photos and a video which identified two suspects at the scene of the Boston Marathon on Monday.  Late yesterday evening, more photos were released by the FBI, all of which can be found here.

Here was the video of the two during the race:

Supplementing this video, there were several still photos, including the newest ones now displayed below.

Last night, the FBI released additional photos, which are by far the most clear shots of the two suspects.  The suspects apparently had sought to make some sort of move outside, perhaps because it was in the dark, from whatever location they had been hiding in, perhaps around Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Here is the clearest shot yet of "suspect number one" from the race.  He was the man who was also killed in a gun battle confrontation with police earlier this evening.

And here is the other of the two clear photos of Dzhokhar A.Tsarneav who is reportedly still at large somewhere within the perimeter in the Watertown, Massachusetts area:

 Here was the clearest photo of the two of them together, which was uploaded with the above shot by the FBI, somewhere around 4 am this morning:

As a result, a massive manhunt is now on the way for Dzhokhar A.Tsarneav shown on the left above, who as we indicated is reportedly still on the loose in Watertown, several miles from Boston. His brother, "suspect number one" on the right was apparently killed in the exchange of gunfire with police following the car chase last evening.  According to hospital officials who briefly spoke at Beth Israel early this morning, in addition to having sustained multiple gunshot wounds, and perhaps shrapnel wounds, he also had trauma wounds, perhaps sustained from an explosive device.  The possibility, therefore, exists that he may have been wounded by one of his own devices.

When the two suspects carjacked the Mercedes SUV vehicle at the gas station, including having taken the owner hostage, the wild car chase thereupon ensued with the individuals in the hijacked vehicle throwing explosives from the vehicle and exchanging gunfire with police. At some point, the second police officer, reportedly identified as transit officer, was severely wounded in the exchange of gunfire, and is in critical condition in the hospital.

Late breaking reports from Fox News federal sources were cited as having indicated that the two suspects "may have been from overseas, and may have had military training."

UPDATE: The Daily Caller now has a post up indicating that, in addition to his nefarious activities over the past few days, several friends said that Dzhokhar Tsarneav was also a pothead, and that had posted a few tweets back in early November indicating that he was a supporter of Barack Obama during the 2012 Presidential Election.
. . .
"Boston bombing suspect and fugitive Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was a “normal pot head” who supported President Obama for re-election last November, according to friends and his Twitter account.
. . .
Tsarneav’s Twitter account provided clues about the suspected bomber’s political views. On November 6th, he retweeted several statements suggesting a preference for President Obama over Republican candidate Mitt Romney.

He retweeted a statement from President Obama’s Organizing for Action account that said: “This happened because of you. Thank you,” in reference to Obama’s victory.
. . . .

Saturday, April 13, 2013

NJ Superior Court Judge: Blogger Protected By State Shield Law

April 13, 2013 -- A New Jersey Superior Court Judge, Karen M. Cassidy, A.J.S.C., has issued a written opinion (posted by CountyWatchers, here and hereafter cited as "decis") quashing a subpoena that had been issued by the Union County Prosecutor, Theodore Romankow, whose office had been seeking to compel a county-oriented blogger by the name of Tina Renna, to disclose the sources for a few recent posts (e.g., here, here, and here) which Tina wrote revealing details about a number of Union County, NJ local employees were misusing their official positions to make personal use county property (portable electrical generators) during the recent "superstorm" Sandy.  That storm knocked out power in large areas of the State of New Jersey, in some cases for considerable periods of time, and the power outages included areas of Union County.

Ms. Renna, 51, has been posting revealing news items for several years now (since 2005) on her blog which is entitled, "The County Watchers" and which she has published regularly in conjunction with a  501(c)3 organization that she is involved with, called "Union County Watchdog Association." She relied on unnamed sources in her posts about the misuse of the county-owned generators.

Renna posted here about the court ruling in her favor.

Late last night (April 12th) the (NJ) Star-Ledger also published a story about the ruling, one which appears to be a case of first impression regarding the coverage of a "Newspaperman's privilege" for a non-traditional news source, such as is The County Watcher, by the protections of the New Jersey Shield Law.  The NJ Shield Law, or "Newspaperman's Privilege Law" N.J.S.A. 2A-84A-21, et seq. was initially passed by the New Jersey Legislature way back in 1977, long before blogs, new media and even any publicly available internet electronic media sources existed.

From the Star-Ledger report:
. . .
In a decision that could impact bloggers across New Jersey, a Superior Court judge ruled today that a self-declared citizen watchdog who writes stinging critiques of Union County government has the same legal protections as a professional journalist.

While questioning the quality and tone of the writing in Tina Renna’s blog posts, Judge Karen Cassidy concluded Renna "obtained material in the course of professional newsgathering activities" with the aim of disseminating it over the internet.

As such, Cassidy wrote in her opinion, Renna should be covered by the state’s shield law. Under that law, one of the most powerful of its kind in the country, journalistss generally cannot be forced to reveal their sources or other sensitive information to law enforcement or grand juries.
. . . .
Actually, in her analysis, Judge Cassidy noted three fundamental factors which she determined were necessary for making a proper determination regarding whether a potential claimant seeking protection under the provisions of the NJ Shield Law, is qualified thereby.

The judge rejected several arguments that had been advanced by the State urging that Renna and her organizational blogger participants were not journalists at all (citing as evidence the fact that they had not previously identified themselves as such), petty ruminations about spelling and grammatical errors contained in her posts, and a claim that she and her blog participants were identifiable as advocates for political change, rather than as journalists.

According to the judge, the person must meet those three requisite general criteria in order to be identified as a protected journalist under the protection of the shield law, including as follows:  The "first factor a claimant must demonstrate to establish privilege is a requisite connection to the news media." [decis at 16].  The second factor, according to the judge, is that the journalist maintain a "necessary purpose to gather and disseminate news" [decis at 18].  And, "[t]he third and final factor requires that the materials were obtained in the course of professional newsgathering activities." [decis at 19].

In her analysis of the facts of the case in the context of those factors, the judge concluded that Tina Renna and her stories met all three criteria, and held that she was thereby protected by the NJ Shield Law from the attempt on the part of the Union County Prosecutor to force her reveal her sources for the "generator" story.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Incompetent Staging Of PR Video Contributed To Diplomat's Death

The first account of young diplomat, Anne Smedinghoff's death in Afghanistan, including the official version that was told to her father, was simply not true. Somehow, it always seems to come back to staged events, and Shaun Waterman of the Washington Times quotes James Carafano of the Heritage Foundation legitimately asking, is this another "one off" for the State Department, ala Bengazi, or an indication of a real  problem in the way State is "doing risk management for high-risk posts?"

Via a post on the Weekly Standard, it now is clear that that several media outlets, including a detailed eye-witness account from McClatchy, are now all reporting that the initial and "official" account of the deaths in Afghanistan of the young and idealistic diplomat, 25 year old Anne Smedinghoff and several others in her party, were clearly erroneous. The State Department has since conceded that the initial report was in error as well.

The most logical conclusion is that the initial account was a cover-up story, one that seemed obviously intended to mask the embarrassing reality of the tragic incident.  However, State claimed that initial reports were confused with the indications that the actual target of the attack [Mohammad Ashraf Nasery, the Governor of Zabol Province] was in an armored vehicle, and was uninjured in the attack. Nevertheless, fateful mistakes in the staging of the "book distributing" event that was being video-taped, involved a few very bad errors in judgment in both the planning and execution thereof.

Instead having been inside an armored vehicle when she was killed by the blast from a suicide bomber, as was initially reported and also officially told to the father of the young woman, it now seems that Anne and her group had been out walking around a few hundred yards through a wooded area, videographer in hand, filming the event for obvious PR purposes.  But they were somehow guided to the wrong building, different from the school at which their staged "book distributing" PR event was supposed to have taken place. And while apparently doubling back on foot, the very visible group, made up predominantly of westerners, was attacked and several in the group, including Anne, were killed by a suicide bomber.

Whose "brilliant" idea was it for this young, idealistic "diplomat," Anne Smedinghoff, and the very visible party of several westerners she was traveling with, including a camera videographer, to have been walking around out in the open on foot, engaging in an only marginally significant PR event -- distributing books -- in a highly dangerous province of the war zone in Afghanistan?

And, who was the employee or employees at the State Department, or security detail, who did such a poor job on the "advance work" for that staged walk through the woods, the one which resulted in the entire party ending up at the wrong building, where it suddenly became obvious that they were lost? That is a question that will likely never be publicly answered! But somebody really dropped the ball.

Moreover, why was Anne Smeddinghoff's father initially lied to by the State Department, when he was falsely told that she was inside an armored vehicle when the attack that tragically killed her occurred?

At least that last question literally answers itself!  Imagine if they had told the poor man the truth!
"Well, sir, we set up this big PR event for your daughter, cameras and all, and she and her party were on foot and they took a long walk out in the open, but they ended up at the wrong building.  So, as they were doubling back, a car bomber, who was apparently there watching the whole thing, just drove up and detonated his bomb, unfortunately killing her and several others."

And finally, here is a take away question:  Is it possible that John Kerry could actually end up being a bigger disaster as Secretary of State, than was Hillary Clinton? He sure seems to be off to a "strong" start.

But, of course, people will remember that former Sec'y of State Clinton lied right to the face of the father of Ty Woods, right after the Benghazi fiasco, when she and the Obama administration were first attempting to serve up their cover-up story by seeking to falsely blame the Benghazi attack on a "spontaneous demonstration" in reaction to the Mohammed video.

And she did so at the solemn receiving ceremony in the United States, when Wood's body and those of the others were returned to the United States. Clinton, as you may recall, actually told Ty Woods father at the time, as he later revealed on the Lars Larson radio show:
"We’re going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video."

Have none of these people any sense of shame?