Boston and terrorism

UPDATE: The FBI has now posted photos of two “persons of interest.” They are not the persons shown on the cover of the NY Post. They are high school runners and one has been identified and cleared.

The story and photos are now changed. The guys I showed earlier have been cleared. The official photos are below.

black hat

This is suspect #1, I call black hat. The other suspect is seen behind him.


Here is a closeup of his face and these two are described by the FBI as “armed and dangerous.” I wouldn’t be surprised to see more changes. The guy in the white hat was seen to set his backpack down by the Forum restaurant and walk down Boylston Street.

The Boston Marathon bombs have focused attention on a subject not popular with this administration. It would really be inconvenient if it was an act of an Islamic extremist, even a homegrown one. The bombs appear now to be based on black powder placed in metal pressure cookers which were also filled with shrapnel-like objects such as nails and ball bearings.

Boston Marathon Bomb Photos

This photo shows the remains of a blasted pressure cooker found at the scene.

These are not like the bombs used in the 2005 London bombings, which used organic peroxides, described by an alleged “terrorism expert” on CNN as “hydrogen peroxide.”

The London bombings were also suicide bombings and were followed by public claims of responsibility including video taped statements by the bombers made before the event. The Boston bombing did have some similarities in that backpacks were used and the bombs were placed to inflict maximum civilian casualties.

Pressure cookers were used as the containers and are well known for this use.

“A technique commonly taught in Afghan terrorist training camps is the use/conversion of pressure cookers into [improvised explosive devices],” the bulletin warned.

That [DHS] bulletin cited several plots from 2002 to 2004 to use pressure-cooker bombs in France, India and Nepal. But more recently there have been at least three other instances of would-be terrorists in the West, all of them Islamic radicals, in possession of pressure cookers for reasons that seemed not to involve having friends over for dinner.

So far they have been Islamic radicals.

One was an Army private linked to the 2009 Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan, who had reportedly been taking bombmaking tips from al-Qaeda’s short-lived (literally) online magazine Inspire and had various weapons and explosives along with his cooking pot. (The magazine reportedly recommended pressure cookers as explosive devices.) A 2010 suicide bomber in Stockholm had rigged a pressure-cooker bomb that failed to detonate. And as a newer DHS warning about the kitchen devices noted, the failed 2010 SUV bomb in New York’s Times Square was a pressure-cooker device containing 120 firecrackers. The same DHS memo refers to a March 2010 bombing with a pressure cooker at a Western Christian aid agency in Pakistan that killed six people.

Certainly the army private associated with Hassan is a home grown terrorist, as was Hassan himself, although described by the Obama folks as “workplace violence,” the Fort Hood shootings were a domestic terror incident.

What are other possibilities ? The news media seems focussed on “white right wingers.” The effort to divert attention to the left’s enemies is pitiful but not surprising.

However, white male privilege means white men are not collectively denigrated/targeted for those shootings — even though most come at the hands of white dudes.

Likewise, in the context of terrorist attacks, such privilege means white non-Islamic terrorists are typically portrayed not as representative of whole groups or ideologies, but as “lone wolf” threats to be dealt with as isolated law enforcement matters.

The fact that there is a world-wide Islamic movement that uses terrorism and bombs might be a useful information if this writer were not so determined to deflect attention from it.

The Long Island Railroad shooting in 1993 was inconveniently committed by a black man but that fact has disappeared from the conversation about “gun violence” just as has the horrendous carnage in Chicago, all committed by young black men, been ignored. The fact that Ferguson, the LIRR shooter had racism as a motive has also disappeared. Notes in his pocket explained his reasons.

One of the notes referred to “racism by Caucasians and Uncle Tom Negroes”.

Timothy McVeigh was a “lone wolf” with the exception of his partner Terry Nichols and his motivation was the government misbehavior at Waco. For this reason he attacked a government building, even the one where offices used by federal officials linked to Waco were located.

An attack on the Texas IRS offices in 2010 raised hopes on the left that it could be blamed on angry white Tea Party members but the suicidal pilot was a lefty. His suicide note ended: The communist creed: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.
The capitalist creed: From each according to his gullibility, to each according to his greed.
–Joe Stack (1956-2010), 02/18/2010
He was also very critical of George W Bush.

The carnage created by the Boston bombs is a bit unusual as the effects seem to have been maximal near the ground. I have taken a counter-terrorism course and the course emphasized that shooting incidents can be dealt with by lying flat on the ground as bullets tend to ricochet upward. Bombs and grenade incidents should be avoided by crouching behind some shelter as the shrapnel tends to fly parallel to the ground. Lying flat is less effective in avoiding injury. Early reports note a large number of leg amputations and some graphic photos from the scene emphasize this.

The source of this act is not yet clear and it may take a while unless the perpetrator makes a mistake like Timothy McVeigh made with his missing license plate on the getaway car. It may be a domestic terrorist but is unlikely to be anything to do with “Tax Day” or other theories of left wingers trying to implicate the Tea Party or the political right. It could be a mental case like the Tucson shooter or the Newtown shooter but these cases are more likely to involve direct action, like shooting.

Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber obviously was disturbed but not psychotic. His bombings were committed for a clear purpose and he was able to continue undiscovered for years.

From 1978 to 1995, Kaczynski sent 16 bombs to targets including universities and airlines, killing three people and injuring 23.

He was finally caught only because his brother recognized the rhetoric in a letter published by the New York Times. Kaczynski’s victims followed a pattern of technology and industry including an airliner, that fortunately involved a failed detonation. This Boston bomb seems to be more a random attack and the motive may be more difficult to identify unless the bomber is caught.

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One Response to “Boston and terrorism”

  1. doombuggy says:

    Good post.

    Pretty telling that the Left is anxious to blame their favorite targets. Their control of the narrative is so complete I suppose that one day they will just fill in the blanks with whatever suits them.

    There is something primal about a terrorist attack. I recall Anthony Cordesman being asked at the start of Iraq war 1 if we could expect terror attacks from Iraq agents. He discounted the effects of such action, saying that 20,000 Americans are murdered each year and yet we continue on with our lives. But there is something more than straight numbers here.