WhoWhatWhy Groundbreaking Investigative Journalism 2014-08-20T02:50:57Z http://whowhatwhy.com/feed/atom/ Joe Wagner and Bryson Hull <![CDATA[Missouri Burning: When the Army Isn’t More Firepower]]> http://whowhatwhy.com/?p=10727 2014-08-20T02:50:57Z 2014-08-19T20:10:20Z When the Thin Blue Line Turns Army Green. Credit: Tyson Manker

When the Thin Blue Line Turns Army Green. Credit: Tyson Manker

The Missouri National Guard’s deployment to quell rioting over the police killing of an unarmed black teen may mark the first time in U.S. history that putting soldiers on American streets isn’t an escalation of firepower.

The violence in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked by the death of 18-year-old Michael Brown is following the usual arc of a story about fraught race relations in America. Yet there is a big difference between this familiar tale and earlier ones, and it’s why Ferguson will make a different kind of history.

If accusations of excessive force by police, protests morphing into riots and deployment of the National Guard to quell the situation sound like parts of a familiar storyline, it’s because they are. The U.S. saw it most recently during the 1992 Los Angeles riots, set off by the acquittal of four white police officers in the beating of motorist Rodney King. The arrival of the National Guard is a regular feature in the history of American race riots.

This kind of event, typically, first sketches out the national racial divide in sharp relief, with the media cliché of “racially charged” setting up expectations for what’s coming next. Then the sides in the debate emerge and the narrative battle begins in earnest, alongside the street fighting. Sometime later, a unifying message like “Can we all get along?” surfaces, and around that, come the stories about unity and the process of healing.

It’s too early for that kind of closure in Ferguson, and there’s a big reason why that may not be how this ends.


Ferguson’s tale stuck to the race-riot script until the police responded to the protests, the rioting and the looting ignited by Brown’s death. The police show of force shocked the nation: huge armored vehicles on patrol, with officers in camouflage, body armor, helmets and gas masks, wielding battlefield hardware like assault and sniper rifles. The images drew visual comparisons of soldiers on patrol in Iraq and Afghanistan—comparisons too striking to ignore.

Attorney General Eric Holder, usually firmly on the side of expansive government power, expressed a deep concern “that the deployment of military equipment and vehicles sends a conflicting message.”

The public outcry over what’s happened in Ferguson hasn’t been marked principally by the usual polarizing racial divisions. The flashpoint has been by color-blind fury at the military weaponry and police heavy-handedness on display. Former soldiers have expressed anger, and pointed out that even if the police have the arsenal, they don’t have the training and discipline to operate like the military.


Ferguson is not an isolated example of this phenomenon. The flood of free surplus military weapons into police departments large and small is a problem that’s been growing nationwide since the drawdowns in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Department of Defense program that hands out the weapons has been in operation since 1990, when it was conceived to ensure police weren’t outgunned in the drug war.

It’s under a similar conceit of exaggerated threats that the program blossomed during the “war on terror.” The billions of dollars in Homeland Security cash-cow programs have given license to police departments to snap up everything they can. (For our earlier coverage of this issue, please click here and here)

To see how easy it is for police to score military hardware like the Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle (shown below), take a look at this website where the law enforcement agencies patrolling Ferguson may have gotten their battle gear.

1233The deployment of equipment like that is why Ferguson has more in common with the near-martial law lockdown in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombing than it does with the L.A. riots. In Boston, there was a glimpse of the Homeland Security-industrial complex in the form of the presence of private security contractor Craft International, which trains law enforcement in military tactics.

Yet in Ferguson the police went further than just rolling out with battlefield equipment and a military mentality. They arrested and attacked journalists, and peaceful protesters alike.

The response and violation of civil rights drew widespread criticism from ordinary people and President Obama, who said there was “no excuse for police to use excessive force against peaceful protests, or to throw protestors in jail for lawfully exercising their First Amendment rights” or journalists for doing their jobs. (New York Times reporter James Risen has something to say about that last contradiction.)


There is no reason to think that the confrontation isn’t also about race, the still-lingering effects of segregation and the feeling among American blacks that police and courts treat them unfairly. Ninety-three percent of Ferguson’s 512 arrests stemming from a vehicle stop last year were of blacks, according to data from Missouri’s Attorney-General. That’s against a black population of about 63 percent.

Nor is there any reason to think that it isn’t about economic inequality caused in part by the political control of Ferguson’s patronage by whites and the situation of enmity and disenfranchisement that creates.


That’s why the circumstances of Michael Brown’s shooting, subject of an FBI civil rights investigation and a state probe, will matter to a lot of people. For that reason, the question of his image as either a good boy or a strong-arm robber who had marijuana in his system will be much discussed. So, too, the results of the three autopsies on him will be debated until the justice system renders its verdict.

However, there is every reason to think that the confrontation in Ferguson will eventually be remembered more for its demonstration of the growing American police state and erosion of civil liberties since 9/11. Even President Obama, not one to routinely challenge the security apparatus, has proposed a second look at the Defense Department program:

“It’s probably useful for us to review how the funding has gone, how local law enforcement has used grant dollars, to make sure that what they’re… purchasing is stuff that they actually need. Because, you know, there is a big difference between our military and our local law enforcement, and we don’t want those lines blurred. That would be contrary to our traditions.

So whether military hardware stays on Main Street is to be decided by the same federal government that has been putting it there for a quarter-century. It remains to be seen if Obama’s nascent initiative, and other Democratic-led efforts in the House and the Senate, will have a practical effect before the headline-driven political will for action dies down.

The outcome will determine if Ferguson is remembered as another stain on the history of U.S. race relations, or as a landmark event in the struggle against the post-9/11 expansion of the American security state.


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WhoWhatWhy plans to continue doing this kind of groundbreaking original reporting. You can count on us. Can we count on you? What we do is only possible with your support.

Please click here to donate; it’s tax deductible. And it packs a punch.

Wei Tung <![CDATA[RadioWHO: We Aren’t Getting Real News]]> http://whowhatwhy.com/?p=10698 2014-08-17T15:09:50Z 2014-08-17T15:09:50Z 123Are we getting real news in our everyday lives?

That’s the question the hostesses of the Cafecito Break podcast posed to WhoWhatWhy Editor-in-Chief Russ Baker during the Aug. 11, 2014, show.

In the hour-long interview with Rosangel Perez and Ruthie Guten, Russ lays out why we aren’t getting real news. Instead, we’re getting a manipulated form designed to protect vested corporate and government interests.

With his hallmark tour of today’s headlines, Russ analyzes how news coverage of events from the Boston Bombing to MH-17 to Boko Haram demonstrates what we’re not being told, and why it’s happening.

If you want to be a more empowered news consumer, tune in for Russ Baker’s guide to sifting for the truth:


Are We Getting Real News w/ Investigative Journalist, Russ Baker, of WhoWhatWhy on Cafecito Break by Whowhatwhy on Mixcloud

Wei Tung <![CDATA[Cable Bribes, Fake GOP news, Texas Non-Miracle—and More Headlines]]> http://whowhatwhy.com/?p=10694 2014-08-17T01:06:05Z 2014-08-17T01:06:05Z
• Fake GOP news sites

• “Texas Miracle” and the dead and injured

And more headlines… ]]>
123• Traders profit from overburdened power grids (New York Times)

• Injured, dead workers fueled “Texas Miracle” (Texas Tribune)

• GOP creates fake news sites (TPM)

• “Food fascists” and GMOs (PRN.fm)

• Al Franken vulnerable (American Thinker)

• Ties between GOP’s “Libertarian moment” and Christian Right (TPM)

• Cable firms pay big to “honor” FCC guy who oversees them (BoingBoing)

• Russian Ministry of Defense briefing on MH 17 Ukraine crash (YouTube)

Russ Baker http://www.russbaker.com <![CDATA[Putting a 9/11 Mystery on the Ballot]]> http://whowhatwhy.com/?p=10683 2014-08-15T00:35:57Z 2014-08-14T11:00:19Z 123I was standing blocks from Building 7 of the World Trade Center complex and staring directly at it when it collapsed.

Working for the Los Angeles Times, I arrived that morning just in time to see an enormous cloud of dust and people running away. I had not yet known of the rapid and deadly descent of the South and North towers. That afternoon, I called in a series of reports to a staffer in the New York bureau.

I was literally on the phone with the office at 5:21 p.m., describing the fires burning in the structure as the building began—and completed— its remarkably fast, smooth descent to the ground. I described the building neatly pancaking, and the Pulitzer Prize winner on the other end taking my dictation declared: “That sounds like a controlled demolition.”

Controlled Demolition

Controlled Demolition

In fact, I have seen controlled demolitions before and since—and indeed, that was exactly what the destruction of Building 7 looked like, except perhaps for a marginally slower collapse of the top portion

As with most people, I was baffled by how Building 7—a smaller, 47-story tower that had not been hit by a plane and was separated from the Twin Towers by low-rise buildings–would come down at all. It just made no sense.

How exactly the building did come down has never been properly explained. An investigation by the National Institute of Standards and Technology concluded that the building was hit by debris from the collapsing North Tower that started fires. However, it ruled out diesel fuel, structural damage from the debris and structural elements (trusses, girders, and cantilever overhangs) as causes of the collapse. It said the lack of water to the sprinkler system was an important factor in allowing fires to rage all afternoon. But the panel declined to state how the fires could bring down the building—and in such a rapid manner.

Reasonable Doubts

For many years, those who have been troubled by things that did not make sense regarding the 9/11 attacks have been marginalized as kooks. To be sure, some entertain enormously elaborate, complex scenarios that assume unspeakable evil carried out by a bewildering number of individuals, nations, and institutions.

However, fair-minded people who have carefully studied the evidence are troubled by the “official story,” just as they are troubled by the official explanations of the assassinations of American leaders over half a century, and other traumas ranging from the Oklahoma City bombing to the Boston Marathon bombing.

There is a reason so many people don’t trust the security apparatus and its allies in government, academia and the media, or the reassuring stories they tell us time after time that “there’s nothing to see here, folks.”Or to allow even the most reasonable question into the public discourse.

That kind of question hasn’t been possible with the mystery of Building 7. Until now.

123A small group, NYC Coalition for Accountability Now (NYC CAN), run and largely staffed by a young man named Ted Walter, has come up with a solution: Get the public to legislate a formal inquiry into building collapses.

Noting that no high-rise building has ever collapsed as a result of fire, and seizing on the official position that the destruction of Building 7 cannot be definitively explained, Walter’s group has proposed that the city explore all building collapses since and including 9/11. The proposed inquiry pointedly excludes Buildings 1 and 2, the collapses of which have been much investigated and debated. It does not explicitly mention Building 7—but then it does not have to. Building 7 is unique in that it was not hit by a plane. Any serious investigation of building collapses would start with Building 7.

The mechanism for this is to seek to have New Yorkers vote on a ballot measure, the High-Rise Safety Initiative. Its supporters face a tough challenge ahead, and have already hit some formidable road blocks. Still they persevere.

Not Your Run-of-the-Mill “Kooks”

Ted Walter does not fit the caricature of the unshaven, grumpy, shouting activist. He’s a calm, thoughtful, precise fellow. He grew up in Wisconsin and Mozambique, where his father was an official of a private aid group, got a BA at New York University and a Masters in Public Policy at UC Berkeley, and then worked for San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors.

He’d arrived in New York from Mozambique at age 19 to attend college two weeks before the attacks. “9/11 was essentially my introduction to New York,” he says.

The first thing that struck him was to wonder why, so long after the first planes hit the World Trade Center, another plane was unimpeded in hitting the Pentagon. Where were the U.S.’s vaunted defenses?

He also found it odd that a building collapse would involve entire structures virtually vaporizing in the air.

It was not until the spring of 2006 that Walter began determinedly researching the events. “During the course of a couple months of reading everything I could find, I came to the conclusion that the official account of 9/11 was false,” he says.

In 2008, others launched something called the NYC 9/11 Ballot Initiative. Walter volunteered as a petitioner, then managed paid canvassers. The next year, he founded a group, NYC CAN, along with some family members of 9/11 victims, and assumed control of the ballot initiative. Although they submitted 80,000 signatures, more than the required number, the city successfully challenged the initiative in court and kept it off the ballot.

This was hardly surprising. In certain parts of the country, especially in many Western states and municipalities, major policy is often legislated directly at the polls. Not so in New York City, which has long made it virtually impossible to qualify such a measure for the ballot. In fact, New York City voters have only seen two of them in half a century.

123Nonetheless, in the spring of 2013, Walter and his group talked with a top New York City election attorney, decided there might be a chance at prevailing despite the long odds, and began moving forward with another attempt. It became the High-Rise Safety Initiative.

Between May 1 and July 31, they gathered more than 100,000 signatures, far more than the 30,000 required to gain a place on the ballot. They submitted the first 67,000 of those on July 3, and plan to submit the remaining 33,000 on Sept. 4, which is more than double what’s required to override the City Council.

As anticipated, the City challenged the petition—claiming that not enough signatures are valid, and that the petition language is not legally valid. Walter and company filed suit against the City to have that determination annulled, and were due to go into court on Aug. 14.

The group believes that it has overcome the usual issue of invalid signatures by filing so many—and because even in its 2009 effort, it was able to prove that enough signatures did pass muster. Now, it must pass the arcane statutory hurdles the city created exactly to prevent such measures. Walter thinks they have a chance.

The case should be decided by mid-September. If the initiative is successful, it will be on the November ballot.  

Officials Mortified

The mayor, a liberal named Bill DeBlasio, has not had kind things to say about the effort—presumably not unlike what his predecessors, Michael Bloomberg and Rudy Giuliani, might have had to say. As reported by Crain’s New York Business:

“From what I’ve heard it’s absolutely ridiculous,” a peeved Mr. de Blasio said in response to a reporter’s question. “And it’s inappropriate, after all the suffering that went on 9/11 and since. It seems to be this is a very insensitive and inappropriate action.”

Crain’s itself couldn’t help referring to the group as “conspiracy theorists,” an unfortunate term that instantly assumes no credibility to those asking what may in fact be legitimate—if uncomfortable—questions.

The speaker of the New York City Council, Melissa Mark-Viverito, a close ally of the mayor, lashed out: “Instead of wasting New Yorkers’ time and hard-earned taxpayer dollars humoring conspiracy theorists with wild fantasies, the City Council will continue to focus on passing sound legislation.”

A Skilled Communicator

Walter is very much a creature of the Internet Age. On the heels of Mark-Viverito’s statement, he was quick to put out an “Action Alert” email to his supporters:

Now we and the High-Rise Safety Initiative are calling on you to tell Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito that there are no wild fantasies here. The only wild fantasy is the one she chooses to believe—namely, that a 47-story skyscraper collapsed symmetrically, at free-fall acceleration, from small isolated fires.

Please take five minutes today to email the Speaker’s office with this message: The only “wild fantasy” is a skyscraper collapsing from fire. Explain to the Speaker and her staff why a 47-story steel-frame skyscraper cannot collapse from fire, and ask them to watch the 15-minute video Solving the Mystery of WTC 7, which features more than a dozen experts, who harbor not wild fantasies, but irrefutable scientific evidence.

If Walter and his group succeed in forcing a serious inquiry into the building collapse, they will have achieved what almost no one else in the 9/11 movement has: transforming a chaotic debate infused with powerful emotions and anger into a sober, methodical exploration of one portion of this sprawling, dark saga.


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WhoWhatWhy plans to continue doing this kind of groundbreaking original reporting. You can count on us. Can we count on you? What we do is only possible with your support.

Please click here to donate; it’s tax deductible. And it packs a punch.




James Huang <![CDATA[Koch Bros Buy Off Hispanic Votes, Socialist Zillionaires, GOP Hillary—and More Headlines]]> http://whowhatwhy.com/?p=10680 2014-08-13T18:05:52Z 2014-08-13T18:05:52Z
• How Socialist Hugo Chavez’s Friends Got Rich

• Hillary Clinton Sounding Republican

And more headlines… ]]>
123• Hugo Chavez’s friends got rich amid general poverty (Bloomberg)

• To fix Mideast mess, involve Iran sez Col. Wilkerson (Washington Spectator)

• Robin Williams and the mask of humor (OpEd News)

• Hillary Clinton “sounding like a Republican” on Iraq (Yahoo News/Christian Science Monitor)

• Koch Brothers offer cash to Hispanics on behalf of conservatives (AP/MSN)

• Andrew Cuomo in serious legal trouble?   (Politico)

• Where are the female billionaires? (BusinessWeek)

• The dirty history of germ warfare (BBC)


James Henry <![CDATA[BOSTON UPDATE: Boston Globe Reports on Its Own Bombing Reporting, Sort Of]]> http://whowhatwhy.com/?p=10674 2014-08-12T01:42:49Z 2014-08-12T01:38:07Z Boston Globe front page after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s capture

Boston Globe front page after Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s capture

The Boston Globe’s coverage of the Marathon bombing “was marked by an overload of inflammatory themes, words, phrases, and passages,” according to a media content analysis commissioned by Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s defense team.

Predictably, however, the Globe’s portrayal of the study is, well, a little selective.

The findings of the analysis, conducted by Edward J. Bronson, a trial venue expert and professor emeritus at California State University-Chico, are laid out in a sworn declaration filed on Aug. 7. It’s part of the defense effort to get the trial moved from Boston.

The analysis was done in conjunction with a survey which sought to measure the levels of bias regarding Tsarnaev’s guilt in the four cities where the trial could be held: Boston, Springfield, Manhattan, or Washington, D.C. Bronson recommended the trial be moved to Washington.

In its description of the declaration, however, the Globe provides us with some of Bronson’s blander conclusions. For instance, we’re told that the phrase “terror” and “terrorist” and related terms were used more than 1,400 times in the Globe’s reporting on the marathon bombing. Terrorist was used more than 620 times, although often not to characterize Tsarnaev. Rather, it was used in phrases like “terrorist attack.”


The newspaper, to its credit, did include this one: “The inflammatory coverage of the Boston Bombing case, even viewed solely through the Globe’s content, was overwhelming and thus extremely prejudicial,” Bronson wrote.

But that’s about it. The Globe then spends a good deal of ink highlighting the few limitations of the analysis Bronson acknowledged in his declaration, standard practice for any content analysis. For instance: “In a footnote, Bronson conceded that many of the more than 2,420 Globe articles he cited were not about the bombings but only referred to them.”

In other words, the Globe got a lot of mileage out of the story by shoehorning it into unrelated articles.

Here are some of the more notable passages from the declaration about the Globe’s reporting that didn’t make it into the article:

•  The use of these inflammatory and emotive terms is so extensive, varied, and almost uniformly prejudicial in that it matches or exceeds any other capital case I have studied in over 40 years.

•  A major concern in the nature of the media coverage and a source of substantial prejudice in the case is the fact that much of the coverage was guilt-oriented, creating a strong presumption of the defendant’s guilt.

•  It would be very difficult for any juror exposed to much of the significantly and consistently prejudicial publicity to accord the defendant any meaningful presumption of innocence.

•  My analysis under the category Nature of the Publicity demonstrates an extraordinarily high level of inflammatory publicity that also describes the defendant’s apparent guilt. I saw few references to any exculpatory facts or evidence.

From the beginning, WhoWhatWhy has been critical of the alarming rush to judgment and the jingoistic kumbaya that characterized much of the reporting. That reporting has convinced a significant majority of Bostonians of Tsarnaev’s unquestioned guilt.

Bronson’s analysis is an attempt to quantify the phenomenon, and it’s worth reading for its insight into how the public’s opinions are formed around major events. One need only spend a few minutes on this page to experience the “overload of inflammatory themes, words, phrases, and passages” that have been bandied about for more than a year now.

With that in mind, it is only natural that the Globe, Boston’s go-to newspaper, would write reams and reams of articles about such a high-profile event. And by expectation and necessity, mainstream outlets like the Globe hew close to an official narrative spun out of an unending stream of leaks.

That does not, however, absolve the court from considering what effect such “inflammatory” saturation coverage has had on potential jurors in Boston.



WhoWhatWhy plans to continue doing this kind of groundbreaking original reporting. You can count on us. Can we count on you? What we do is only possible with your support.

Please click here to donate; it’s tax deductible. And it packs a punch.



Bryson Hull <![CDATA[CONTEXT: Iraq—Just the Tip of the Spear]]> http://whowhatwhy.com/?p=10630 2014-08-09T17:44:01Z 2014-08-09T15:06:25Z Bombs Away Again in Iraq

Bombs Away Again in Iraq

The U.S. is bombing Iraq for the first time in three years, this time to slow the advance of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

If it seems like too little, too late, that’s because the well-financed al-Qaeda faction is moving swiftly across Iraq. It’s been two months since ISIS delivered a shock by taking over the northern city of Mosul, smack in the heart of Iraqi oil country.

Along the way, they’ve been embarrassing the Iraqi military that the U.S. government funded, trained and armed. Meanwhile, the Iraqi government ostensibly controlling the army is obviously not up to the task of managing the country, despite billions in U.S. support.

That’s no surprise, really. Nor is the fact that the White House is wrapping the current operations in a humanitarian cloth. President Obama said he decided to call in air strikes to protect American personnel still on the ground, three years after the formal withdrawal of troops, and to “avert a massacre” of a Christian minority ISIS threatened to slaughter if they didn’t convert to Islam. The specter of another Benghazi attack also figured in the decision-making.

What really appears to have spurred the White House into action is the advance of ISIS on Erbil, a longtime safe haven in northern Kurdistan. It happens to house a U.S joint operations center. There, a handful of U.S. military personnel coordinate with the local peshmerga fighters that have kept Kurdistan and its oil fields safe since the start of the Second Gulf War.








Kurdistan has always been the favorite child of Iraq’s regions. It’s relatively well-governed and, more importantly, harbors the biggest chunk of Iraq’s oil and gas reserves. The capture of the Mosul dam by ISIS—which could be used to flood cities as far away as Baghdad and knock out electricity at the same time—also seems to have prompted the U.S. into action.

The airstrikes are, of course, a tactical show of force to remind ISIS who’s got the air power to blow them into smithereens, and discourage further advances. In Pentagon/White House thinking, air strikes are casual sex versus the long-term commitment a boots-on-the-ground campaign requires.

Naturally, humanitarian reasons are always a good story to obscure or direct attention away from the real motivations behind military action. Remember Operation Restore Hope in Somalia in 1993? Set up under the U.N.’s rubric as a mission to help Somali famine victims, it became a U.S.-led military operation to flush out disparate militias blocking food aid. Even George H.W. Bush visited the country, despite the risks.

However, the United States had strategic and commercial interests in Somalia including contracts to explore potentially enormous oil deposits. Even Dole moved in with the blessing of the U.S. ambassador to grow bananas. That sparked a latter-day Banana Warafter the militias hired by Dole’s local representative clashed with those of an established Italian competitor.

So it bears remembering, as the U.S. sticks the tip of the spear back into Iraq, what kind of interests were being protected when the Second Gulf War began in 2003. Do oilfields in northern Iraq sound familiar?



WhoWhatWhy plans to continue doing this kind of groundbreaking original reporting. You can count on us. Can we count on you? What we do is only possible with your support.

Please click here to donate; it’s tax deductible. And it packs a punch.



James Huang <![CDATA[A New Snowden at Work, GMOs “OK”?, Zero Voter Fraud—and More Headlines]]> http://whowhatwhy.com/?p=10627 2014-08-08T16:40:40Z 2014-08-08T16:40:40Z
• Voter impersonation almost nonexistent

• Science guy not worried about GMOs

And more headlines… ]]>
123• New “Snowden” at work (CNN)

• Rise of the national security state (TomDispatch)

• Book on secret Vietnam “Phoenix Program” republished–review (TruthOut)

• Candidate Christie’s first foreign trip—to Mexico (Washington Post) WhoWhatWhy on Christie here, on Mexico counterinsurgency here

• How common is voter impersonation fraud? Maybe 31 out of a billion ballots cast (Washington Post)

• Science guru shocks fans by telling them to “chill out” about GMOs (Daily Kos)

• Dead zone in Gulf of Mexico is size of Connecticut (Reuters)

• Musicians pay journalists to listen—via startup (Poynter.org)


James Henry <![CDATA[BOSTON UPDATE: Another Tsarnaev Friend Arrested, Another Government Leak]]> http://whowhatwhy.com/?p=10623 2014-08-07T22:53:05Z 2014-08-07T19:05:04Z Stephen Silva, the latest Tsarnaev friend caught in the bombing probe

Stephen Silva, the latest Tsarnaev friend caught in the bombing probe

Yet another friend of accused Boston marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and his dead brother, Tamerlan, is caught in the seemingly unending expansion of the federal investigation.

Stephen Silva, 21, of Cambridge pleaded not guilty to charges of heroin dealing and possession of a firearm with defaced serial number.

The gun in question is a P95 Ruger 9mm pistol, similar to the one allegedly used by the Tsarnaev brothers in the murder of Massachusetts Institute of Technology police officer Sean Collier and the subsequent shootout with police in Watertown, Mass.

The 16-page indictment against Silva makes no mention of either the Boston Marathon bombing or the shooting of Sean Collier. The U.S. attorney’s office in Boston, which brought the charges, declined to say if the arrest of Silva was related to the Boston Marathon bombing investigation.

And according to the Boston Globe: “Details of the gun case remain unknown, and law enforcement officials would not comment.”

On the record, that is.

Off the record, the gun in Silva’s case is the weapon used to murder Officer Collier and engage police in the Watertown gunfight, according to anonymous law enforcement officials quoted in reports from major media organizations including ABC News and The Associated Press.

Why law enforcement is publicly hushed about an alleged bombing connection while simultaneously telling major news outlets there is indeed a link is unclear. However, a direct quote from a “high-ranking” official published by ABC News is telling:

“The defense is trying to paint Tamerlan as the mastermind, but they were working in concert and we have evidence that Dzhokhar secured the weapon,” the official said.

Tsarnaev’s defense for months has complained about the incessant stream of leaks from the law enforcement side, saying the comments are prejudicing potential jurors. Trying to get a change of venue for the trial, they conducted a poll which showed the majority of Bostonians believe he’s guilty. The quantity of leaks has grown so much the defense asked the judge to put a stop to them, lest anyone else become prejudiced.

Good luck with that.



WhoWhatWhy plans to continue doing this kind of groundbreaking original reporting. You can count on us. Can we count on you? What we do is only possible with your support.

Please click here to donate; it’s tax deductible. And it packs a punch.




Russ Baker http://www.russbaker.com <![CDATA[So Sue Me: Obama Trails in Executive Order Rankings]]> http://whowhatwhy.com/?p=10611 2014-08-07T16:00:34Z 2014-08-05T20:34:35Z 1Whatever one thinks about his pros and cons, Barack Obama is certainly struggling to do something while Congressional gridlock plays out.

And those who want to find fault with him for…his claimed foreign birth, his covert religious loyalties, his alleged secret socialist leanings…are now after him for signing a lot of executive orders. They’re focusing on one particular edict, but ultimately it’s about executive order abuse. What he has done, they say, is so bad he should be impeached.

But how many executive orders has he actually signed? And how does this compare with other presidents? We were surprised and intrigued by this chart, produced by Gerhard Peters of the American Presidency Project, University of California at Santa Barbara. It’s a useful resource and well worth studying….

Some intriguing numbers: Obama’s 183 executive orders compare favorably to George W. Bush’s 291, Richard Nixon’s 346, Bill Clinton’s 364, and Ronald Reagan’s 381. The 147 in Obama’s first term was less than the 166 of George H.W. Bush and the 169 logged by Gerald Ford. In fact, you have to go back to William McKinley to find someone with a lower rate of executive order signing.

Anyway, let’s all hear it for William Henry Harrison, who is the only president not to sign a single executive order. Though he died of pneumonia on the 32nd day of his term, so who knows?


Executive Orders – (Click to Download PDF)