On August 20th, details of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s injuries were released showing just how badly he was injured on April 19th. Dr. Stephen Ray Odom, who treated Tsarnaev while he was in Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, described his injuries during court proceedings on April 22nd: “He has multiple gunshot wounds, the most severe of which appears to have entered through the left side inside of his mouth and exited the left face, lower face…This was a high-powered injury that has resulted in skull-base fracture, with injuries to the middle ear, the skull base, the lateral portion of his C1 vertebrae, with a significant soft-tissue injury, as well as injury to the pharynx, the mouth, and a small vascular injury that’s been treated… [along with] multiple gunshot wounds to the extremities.”

What do you think of these details? Do they surprise you? Do you think police acted appropriately?


Sources:
 

Members of the congressional committee have raised even more questions toward the FBI, after they failed to appear before the committee, and due to their continuing refusal to provide crucial documents and information related to the Boston Marathon bombing, for example, the fact that the FBI knew one of the suspects prior to the bombings.

FBI requested that the public help them identify the suspects when photos of the brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were released, but caused later frustration among the public when it came to light that the FBI had known the first suspect, Tamerlan, for 5 years. 

 
On August 8, Lavabit email service, the one allegedly used by NSA leaker Edward Snowden, shut down its servers. The company’s owner, Ladar Levison, left a vague but strong message on the page:
“I have been forced to make a difficult decision: to become complicit in crimes against the American people or walk away from nearly ten years of hard work by shutting down Lavabit. After significant soul searching, I have decided to suspend operations. I wish that I could legally share with you the events that led to my decision. I cannot. I feel you deserve to know what’s going on–the first amendment is supposed to guarantee me the freedom to speak out in situations like this. Unfortunately, Congress has passed laws that say otherwise. As things currently stand, I cannot share my experiences over the last six weeks, even though I have twice made the appropriate requests.

What’s going to happen now? We’ve already started preparing the paperwork needed to continue to fight for the Constitution in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. A favorable decision would allow me resurrect Lavabit as an American company.

This experience has taught me one very important lesson: without congressional action or a strong judicial precedent, I would _strongly_ recommend against anyone trusting their private data to a company with physical ties to the United States.

Sincerely,

Ladar Levison

Owner and Operator, Lavabit LLC”

This note seems to state that Levison is under a gag order, which prevents him from publicly discussing the case. He has asked readers to contribute to his defense fund, alluding to a trial, and to push for greater transparency laws.


What do you think caused this sudden shut down? Why do you think Levison would need a legal defense team? Do you think the US government will become more transparent any time soon?

Sources:
 
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Photograph: Govexec.com

Editors Note: This was inspired by an anonymous submission to our website.

On July 10, 2013, nearly three months after the Boston Marathon bombing, the man accused of carrying out the terrorist attack, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, plead not guilty to all 30 charges against him. 17 of these charges carry the possibility of life in prison, or the death penalty. The charges are related to the bombing of the Boston Marathon,  the shooting death of Officer Sean Collier, the carjacking of “Danny”, and the shootout with police in which he and his brother Tamerlan allegedly took place.

 
A few weeks back, we gave you the story of Jared Marcum, the eighth grader from West Virginia who was facing jail time for events surrounding him wearing an NRA T-Shirt to school. We have recently learned that the charges against Marcum were dropped. Logan County, WV circuit judge Eric O’Bryant issued an order to drop the charge of “obstruction of an officer” against Marcum, presented after he refused to stop talking when the officer instructed him to. His attorney, Ben White, insisted Marcum was simply using his First Amendment right to free speech; it seems Mr. O’Bryant agreed.

Do you feel Marcum was in the right? What are your thoughts on how the officer handled the circumstance? Will there be more cases like this across the nation or will school boards work on tighter dress codes?


Sources:


 
On July 11th, news broke that a Boston police officer had been arrested on charges of possession of explosives, illegal possession of ammunition and obtaining stolen property. Later, the public was informed that the officer was Officer Kirk Merricks of Plymouth, MA. Merricks’ estranged wife had called police after she found what she thought were explosives in the home they previously shared. It had been determined that the explosives were stolen by the fact that they were military explosives; they were not available to the public.
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Photograph: BostonHerald.com
On the night on which MIT police officer Sean Collier was shot, it can be observed that two descriptions of different suspects could possibly match Officer Merricks. One description is of a black male, wearing all black, the other description being of a Hispanic male in a cowboy hat. When seen going into court, Merricks was wearing a black cowboy hat.

 
Photographs Courtesy of Boston Magazine
Today, July 18th, a Massachusetts State Police officer, Sean Murphy, released new photos of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev immediately before he was captured on April 19th. Officer Murphy released these photos in protest of Rolling Stone’s new cover, which some claim to “glamorize” Tsarnaev, making him look more like a “rock ‘n roll outlaw rather than a terrorist.” 

He claims he is trying to show the “real Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.” In the photos, we see a blood-soaked Tsarnaev attempting to exit the boat in which he was hiding for most of the day. We can also see a sniper’s light, or bead, on Tsarnaev’s forehead in two of the photos.

For comparison, these were the photos available of the capture prior to today:

 
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Photograph: Boston Globe
Editors Note: This was inspired by a submission from 'Kate'.

Whenever comparing different news sources, each piece can vary from the next. Sometimes it's a date difference, the events are not quite accurate, or a description of a witness misinterpreted, but usually it is conclusive that the facts are correct. We've seen this repeatedly concerning the case for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, many of which have yet to be cleared up.

Take a Fox News article that first reported the prime witness in relation with the Boston bombing suspects for example. The article states that “Danny” ran into a Mobil station and Tarek Ahmed, the man working behind the counter on that night, “described the young man as Caucasian.” However, it has been reported through many other news outlets that Danny is in fact a "Chinese entrepreneur".  In that same article the store clerk said, “they pushed him out of the car.” but another source states that Danny said, “I just [ran away]. I did it very fast, using my left hand and right hand simultaneously to open the door, unfasten my seat belt, jump out...and go.” 

With so many different outlets to relay information it can create a new interpretation of the story. In a Rasmussen poll conducted earlier this year, fifty-six percent of U.S. voters say they get most of their news from TV, twenty-five percent use the Internet as their main source of news, and ten percent still rely on newspapers. Studies have shown that most people trust their news resource. Fifty-six percent of all voters regard the news reported by the media as at least somewhat trustworthy, but that includes just six percent who think it is very trustworthy. Forty-two percent don’t trust the news media, and twelve percent believe the news it reports is not at all trustworthy.

 
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Photograph: RT.com
Editors Note: This was inspired by information sent to us by 'Joker'.

In February of this year, 18-year-old Justin Carter and a couple friends were talking and arguing on Facebook about a videogame called “League of Legends,” when the person he was arguing with essentially said “you’re insane.”

Carter responded with a strange comment: “I'm f---ed in the head alright. I think I'ma (sic) shoot up a kindergarten and watch the blood of the innocent rain down and eat the beating heart of one of them.” According to his father, he followed this with “LOL” (laughing out loud) and “J/K” (just kidding), but a woman in Canada saw the comment and, after discovering Carter lived very close to an elementary school, contacted the police. A search warrant, and later an arrest warrant, were then issued for Carter. However, no weapons of any kind were found in his apartment during the search, according to his mother.

 
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Photograph: nydailynews.com
Editors Note: The death of Police Officer Sean Collier is tragic, our condolences go to his family and friends.

On the night of April 18th, MIT Police Officer Sean Collier was shot and killed in cold blood as some would say. The official report, including the criminal complaint against, and indictment of, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, will tell you that he and his brother Tamerlan were the ones who shot Officer Collier, but some will disagree.

On the police scanner from that night, heard in the above video, the police officer(s) responding to the “officer down” call describe two suspects. The first suspect, they say, was a black male, 5’5” tall, about 120 pounds, wearing all black, possibly a Northface jacket. The second suspect was described as a hispanic male in a cowboy hat. 

Another discrepancy in the story is whether Officer Collier was responding to a call. Originally, news outlets claimed he was responding to a call from a local 7-11 convenience store regarding a robbery, which, at first, was thought to be by the Tsarnaev brothers. Eventually this story was recanted; it then changed to him responding to a disturbance on the campus of MIT. However, the report from the Cambridge Police Department’s website makes no mention of this: “At approximately 10:20 p.m. April 18, police received reports of shots fired on the MIT campus. At 10:30 p.m., an MIT campus police officer was found shot in his vehicle in the area of Vassar and Main streets. According to authorities, the officer was found evidencing multiple gunshot wounds. He was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital and pronounced deceased.”



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