Why Bomb the Boston Marathon?

by on April 25, 2013 · 10 comments

in Media, War and Peace, World News

Islamic Totalitarians, the Apocalypse, and Terrorism

Editor’s Note: Since most of the news media ‘experts’ have no clue what they’re talking about when it comes to the context of the lives of the accused Boston Marathon bombers, we’re publishing this detailed backgrounder by researcher Chip Berlet. 

By Chip Berlet / Talk to Action

E 43.tifWalk a mile in the shoes of those who claim to honor God and yet cheer the bombing of the Boston Marathon. They represent only a tiny fraction of the Muslims on our planet, yet they see themselves as carrying out the will of God. Fanatics such as these can be found in many of the World’s religions. They shoot abortion providers in the United States; blast apart buses in Israel; and murder Muslims in India (and vice versa).

These religious fanatics often combine a totalitarian political mindset with a belief in sacred prophecy that they are mandated by God to rule the world, and they must act now against their enemies because time is running out. In fact they believe that we are approaching the end of time itself, the literal end of the world as we know it.

This worldview is call apocalypticism. Sketchy details are emerging that suggests one of the motives for the alleged suspects in the Boston bombing may have been a belief in an obscure and contested Muslim prophecy about the apocalyptic End Times.

We may never know the full details of what motivated the Tsarnaev brothers, but if we want to understand the genesis of much Islamic terrorism by a small handful of Muslims around the world, a speculative tour of their apocalyptic worldview may help us design a more effective response.

A YouTube page reportedly created by Tamerlan Tsarnaev reveals a fascination with apocalyptic Islamic prophecy. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died in a battle with police early Friday morning; his brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was arrested late Friday night. The two brothers were named as bombing suspects by authorities, but family and friends find it hard to believe they were implicated in the act of terrorism. Although at this stage it is just speculation, it is possible that the brothers taught themselves how to be Islamic terrorists for God by using online resources.

Apocalypticism is the belief in an approaching confrontation between absolute good and absolute evil about which a select few have forewarning so they can make appropriate preparations. During this confrontation, hidden truths are revealed, and afterwards the earth is transformed in a significant way.

Terrorism fueled by apocalyptic belief within Islam is a core element for the most aggressive and militant forms of Islam such as al Queda and Hamas, and it created one of the most ruthless resistance campaigns in Chechnya where the Tsarnaev elders lived during the equally brutal and murderous Russian invasions in the 1990s.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s YouTube page included a link to a 13 minute video, titled “The Emergence of Prophecy: The Black Flags from Khorasan,” claiming that an Islamic holy war has already started. The apocalyptic video is by renegade cleric Shaykh Feiz Mohammed. The video begins with the statement that “The prophet said when you see the black flags coming from the direction of Khorasan, you will join their army. That army has already started its march.”

Khorasan is the name of an ancient region, just to the south and east of Chechnya and incorporating parts of Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, and Tajikistan.

A rare old map illustrates its dimensions https://www.raremaps.com/gallery/detail/29426/

The brothers Tsarnaev were raised in a broader region bordering Khorasan among Muslims where the Black Flag prophecy says God will raise a mighty army. Straddling the territory from Chechnya to Iran and Afghanistan are the Caucasus, a mountain range from which the term Caucasian is derived.

soldier of allahThe Black Flags from Khorasan prophecy tells of a massive army of non-Arab Muslims marching on Jerusalem to prepare the way for the return of the Mahdi, the figure in Islamic apocalyptic narrative who signals the end of time and the global triumph of Islam.

The video claims that in the forthcoming End Times Allah “will rise up a group of people, which will give their allegiance to Imam Mahdi and Eesa (Jesus)….” Along with the Mahdi, Jesus of Nazareth is a prophet in Islamic religious tradition who precedes the Mahdi and tells of the forthcoming victory of Islam. According to the video, “We now know that the army of Mahdi will come out of Khorasan with their black banners….”

The text then claims that the “last hour would not come unless seventy thousand persons” from the region led an attack. The “last hour” also refers to the End Times in Islamic apocalyptic prophecy as well as Christian versions of the prophecy.

On the video a speaker appears who claims the lineage of these people from Khorasan traces to the early Israelites. A subtext here is that these Muslims from the Khorasan region are one of the lost tribes of Israel and thus have an original unbroken covenant with God.

The text resumes, stating: “The appearance of Imam Mahdi…is that he has deep wheatish complexion, light stature, medium height, beautiful broad complexion, long straight nose, eyebrows round like a bow, big natural black eyes….”

Following this there are video images of men and women with rifles and automatic weapons. The video claims that “no power will be able to stop them and they will finally reach Jerusalem where they will erect their flags.” The narrator then says that the Jihad is already in process “across the Holy Land,” and that “nothing can stop that Jihad, No one can stop it….”

As of Friday night, a copy of the video was still on You Tube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJknGtKV34I

The prophecy outlined in The Black Flags from Khorasan is part of a scary messianic and apocalyptic movement within Islam is called Mahdism. According to Professor Timothy R. Furnish, apocalyptic Mahdist movements are to fundamentalist uprisings what nuclear weapons are to conventional ones: triggered by the same detonating agents, but far more powerful in scope and effect.”-{1} Mahdist movements are tightly wound around apocalyptic frameworks giving form to the future of all humanity at the end of time.


chechnya-skull-gunThe Chechen Republic, with a predominantly Muslim population, is a reluctant part of the Russian federation. Chechnya lies between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea along with Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan, all surrounded by the much larger territories of Russia, Turkey, and Iran The repression and human rights atrocities committed in Chechnya by invading Russian troops were brutal and deadly.

In 2002 Human Rights Watch issued a report stating that “Russian forces in Chechnya arbitrarily detain, torture, and kill civilians in a climate of lawlessness.” Some Chechen Muslims suggest that Russia and the United States reached an understanding whereby the U.S. would not pay attention to human rights abuses in Chechnya as long as Russian forces were fighting radical Muslims.

Richard H. Schultz, Jr. and Andrea J. Dew in Insurgents, Terrorists, and Militias: The Warriors of Contemporary Combat, note “the growing significance of Sufi Islam in the social, political, cultural, and economic life of Chechnya.”

The Sufi form of Islam around the world is a pacifist religious movement, and Sufis generally stay out of politics, and sometimes are persecuted by the more orthodox Muslims.

According to Schultz & Dew, in Chechnya an aberrant form of Sufism developed.

Schultz & Dew suggest that after the Russian invasion of the North Caucuses, the “idea ofghazzavat or holy war made it easier for Chechens to take on” the Russian invaders.

“By labeling the Russians ‘infidels,’ the ghazzavat doctrine” infused the Muslim fighter with a “feeling of worthiness and moral supremacy.” In addition, it “provided fighters with safe passage to the afterlife” by “eliminating fear of death and the unknown.” The guarantee of entering the afterlife as heroes and martyrs to God’s just cause helps generate a constant flow of terrorists.

What began as a resistance by Chechen nationalists seeking independence from Russia eventually morphed into a religious campaign dominated by Muslims. According to Shultz & Dew, “radical Islamists from various Arab and Muslim countries” joined the Chechen resistance, and saw the fight as “part of the international holy war.” In 2003, the authors note, “the U.S. State Department designated three Chechen groups as terrorist organizations and charged they had links to al-Qaeda.”

This has been disputed by some experts. Clearly, not all Chechen resistance fighters were Muslim; some were simply nationalists opposed to the vicious Russian campaign against Chechnya. And not all resistance fighters turned to terrorism.

Why Patriots Day?

Patriots’ Day in Massachusetts, although celebrated on a Monday, is dedicated to the colonial Minutemen patriots of Lexington and Concord and surrounding towns who on April 19, 1775 launched the revolution that gave birth to the United States. This is an important date for right-wing movements in the United States, and there are numerous posts on the Internet explaining why.

Early speculation as to the perpetrators of the bombing centered on domestic right-wing militants. As someone who for forty years has studied domestic right-wing militias and neonazi groups (not the same thing) I had trouble imagining how such groups would explain targeting Boston on a day that was an iconic part of their anti-regime philosophy.

satan signWhat if you believe in the Islamic prophecy? Imagine that you are a devout Muslim who has been drawn into a fanatical totalitarian sociopolitical movement that sees the United States as the Great Satan. Attacking civilians on Patriots day is an act that glorifies God.

Bombing the Boston Marathon punishes a country bent on crippling global Islam. A colleague who is a filmmaker pointed out that blowing the legs off of marathon bystanders was symbolically cutting off America at the knees. Boston, once heralded by devout Christians as the apocalyptic New Jerusalem is exposed as the wellspring of evil, not the location where Jesus of Nazareth returns in triumph with a Christian millennium.

Bombing a celebration of Patriots Day in Boston not only targets the claim that America stands for democracy, but also reveals the weakness and powerlessness of the imperial juggernaut helping despoil Muslim lands from Chechnya to Mecca and beyond. This doesn’t have to make sense to the average American, it just has to make sense to two young Muslim men on a mission for God and glory who perhaps are on their way to a hero’s welcome in the afterlife.

The Devil is in the Details

jihad2 A The prophecy about a mighty army of non-Arab Muslims under a sea of black flags storming Jerusalem from the region of Khorasan is very marginal within contemporary Islam. A hadîth is a saying attributed to the prophet Muhammad in one or more collections handed down over time within Islam. Some hadiths are concerned more reliable than others by experts within the faith. According to Sheikh Salman al-Oadah at Islam Today:

The hadîth about the army with black banners coming out of Khorasan has two chains of transmission [historic references and cites], but both are weak and cannot be authenticated.

If a Muslim believes in this hadîth, he believes in something false. Anyone who cares about his religion and belief should avoid heading towards falsehood.

Being an observant Muslim or even a “fundamentalist” Muslim who resents U.S. foreign policy actions in the Middle East and South Asia does not mean that one automatically supports theocracy, violence, or terrorism. The problem is maximized when Fundamentalism is tied to a totalitarian worldview, especially when mixed with apocalyptic or millennial excitement.

It depends on your version of your religion as to whether or not you see the return of the Messiah in the End Times as requiring some earthly assistance, including the use of force to “hasten the end.” Most of the devout pray to hasten the return of the Messiah…but a few use bombs such as those that exploded in Boston.

In his masterful and terrifying book, The End of Days, my colleague Gershom Gorenberg traces the way in which small groups of Jews, Christians, and Muslims seek to control the Temple Mount in Jerusalem as a landing pad for global Godliness. Alas, for the most fanatic, this means converting or killing all of us who refuse to join in the purification of the planet in anticipation of the end of time and the return of the prophesied Messiah.


  • For Jews, the Messiah has not yet arrived. Jesus was not a true Messiah. When the true Messiah returns, he will return to the rebuilt Temple of Solomon, the site of which is in Jerusalem.
  • For Christians, it is Jesus, the true Messiah, who was executed and rose from the dead, and ascended into heaven, who is the true Messiah. Some believe Jesus will return to the Temple Mount
  • For Muslims, the actual Messiah is called the Mahdi. Muslims know this is correct because Jesus—who is a revered prophet in Islam—returns and tells the world that he was indeed a prophet of God, but that the real Messiah (the Mahdi) returns to establish Islam as the ruler of earth.

wherethe messiah will returnEach religion expects the true Messiah to return to the same small hill in Jerusalem. For Jews and Christians it is the Temple Mount. For Muslims, who currently control the land, the same hill is called al-Haram al-Sharif. In anticipation of the return of the Messiah—in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—some engage in rituals of purification to cleanse Earth and hasten the return of the Messiah. In rare instances this includes violence as a part of the ritual of purification.

The bombing of the Boston Marathon may be a horrid example of a totalitarian tendency dubbed “political religion” and popularized as a concept by theorist Eric Voegelin in the 1930s.-{2} Examples of political religions include Hitlerism, Stalinism, and the regime of Pol Pot in Cambodia.

All are forms of totalitarianism that demonized and scapegoat a named enemy for all problems in a society. Other scholars use terms such as “the sacralization of politics” (Gentile) and palingenesis (Griffin) to analyze such movements.

The term “political religion” does not mean a religion that has become politicized; it means a political movement that raises the stakes for its program so that obedience and action are raised to the level of a religious or metaphysical obligation. You are either on the bus or you will be thrown under the bus.

Obedience to the end goals of the political movement are an absolutist requirement. Having arrived at this totalitarian worldview, it is quite possible to attach it to a religious motive, especially one based in apocalyptic prophecy.

This is the worldview of the militant “Jihadists” who engage in acts of terrorism. Most Muslims see Jihad within Islam as a term that means a struggle to find truth and not justifying acts of terrorism. According to an essay in the Islamic magazine The Fountain, Jihadists:

…cannot fight those who do not oppose them, cannot engage in indiscriminate killing and pillage, and must remain honorable while fighting (no deliberate killing of women, children, or the elderly, mutilation of corpses, and destruction of land and crops). Force is to be used only when there is no other choice (2:190).-{3}

Islamic fundamentalism

Deobandi & Wahhabi Hand and GloveIn Islam there was a series of reformations in the 1700s, similar to Martin Luther’s reformation of Catholicism into Protestantism, but the decentralized nature of Islam was an issue, and there were several separate reform movements. One was led by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703-92), that became the Wahhabi movement-the theology behind the Saudi government. Think of the Wahhabist Saudi government as similar to the theocratic government created by John Calvin in Geneva. Both are based on the idea of the sovereignty of God administered by righteous men.

Now there is a second reformation going on within Islam that is more global-theocratic Islamic fundamentalism. Jamal Malik, who studies Muslim identity, explains that with Islamic fundamentalism “Islamic tradition is modernized, since the imagined Islamic society is to compete and correspond with Western achievements. This would only be possible in a centralized Islamic state over which they would wield control as the agents of God’s sovereignty on earth. . . .” {4}

This explanation of Islamic fundamentalism describes a form of theocracy–a system where the only appropriate political leaders are persons who see themselves as devoted to carrying out the will of God as interpreted by a common religion. Some scholars, however, argue that not all forms of fundamentalism are necessarily theocratic, at least in practice.

Contemporary Islamic fundamentalism has its roots in the theological/political theories of Abul Ala Mawdudi (1903-79) and Sayyid Qutb (1906-66) and the emergence of a theological outlook called Salafism that is complimentary to Wahhabism. As Khaled Abou El Fadl explains:

Wahhabi thought exercised its greatest influence not under its own label, but under the rubric of Salafism. In their literature, Wahhabi clerics have consistently described themselves as Salafis, and not Wahhabis….

Salafism is a creed founded in the late nineteenth century by Muslim reformers such as Muhammad ‘Abduh, al-Afghani and Rashid Rida. Salafism appealed to a very basic concept in Islam: Muslims ought to follow the precedent of the Prophet and his companions (al-salaf al-salih).

Methodologically, Salafism was nearly identical to Wahhabism except that Wahhabism is far less tolerant of diversity and differences of opinion. The founders of Salafism maintained that on all issues Muslims ought to return to the Qur’an and the sunna (precedent) of the Prophet. In doing so, Muslims ought to reinterpret the original sources in light of modern needs and demands, without being slavishly bound to the interpretations of earlier Muslim generations. {5}

The result is a form of Islamic fundamentalism that is very repressive. Mawdudi argued that his ideal Islamic State “would be totalitarian, because it subjected everything to the rule of God. . .” notes Karen Armstrong. {6}

Some observers use the term “fundamentalist” to describe all militant totalitarian apocalyptic religious movements. This is not accurate. The term fundamentalism, originally used to describe a form of Christianity, is properly used to describe similar but not identical religious revitalization movements in various religious traditions, including Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism.

Fundamentalism is often confused with orthodoxy and traditionalism. Fundamentalists claim to be restoring the “true” religion by returning to “traditional” beliefs and enforcing orthodox beliefs-the set of theological doctrines approved of as sound and correct by a faith’s religious leaders.

In fact, while fundamentalist movements claim to be restoring tradition and orthodoxy, they actually create a new version of an existing religion based on a mythic and romanticized past. This thesis was a central argument in Karen Armstrong’s The Battle for God, a comparative study of fundamentalism in Christianity, Islam, and Judaism. {7}

So, while fundamentalism is a reaction against the Enlightenment and modernity, it is ironically a distinctly modern phenomenon. Jamal Malik, who studies Muslim identity, explains that with Islamic fundamentalism “Islamic tradition is modernized, since the imagined Islamic society is to compete and correspond with Western achievements. This would only be possible in a centralized Islamic state over which they would wield control as the agents of God’s sovereignty on earth. . . .” {8}

This explanation of Islamic fundamentalism describes a form of theocracy -a system where the only appropriate political leaders are persons who see themselves as devoted to carrying out the will of God as interpreted by a common religion. Some scholars, however, argue that not all forms of fundamentalism are necessarily theocratic, at least in practice.

Furthermore, fundamentalist religious movements seldom turn to violence, even when they are wound up tighter than a clock spring with apocalyptic excitement and anticipation. The response to apocalyptic belief systems anticipating the End of Days can be passive, defensive, or aggressive.

Professor Lee Quinby takes a dim view of apocalypticism. In her book Anti–Apocalypse, Quinby argues that “Apocalypticism in each of its modes fuels discord, breeds anxiety or apathy, and sometimes causes panic,” and that “this process can occur at the individual, community, national, or international level.”

END-TIMESWhat makes apocalypse so compelling,” argues Quinby,” is its promise of future perfection, eternal happiness, and godlike understanding of life, but it is that very will to absolute power and knowledge that produces its compulsions of violence, hatred, and oppression.” {9}

Quinby also published a study titled “Coercive Purity: The Dangerous Promise of Apocalyptic Masculinity.” Scholar Carol Mason has written in Killing for Life: The Apocalyptic Narrative of Pro-Life Politics of the religious justifications used by those who murder abortion provider in the United States.

Sociologist of religion Brenda Brasher argues that apocalypticism “is potentially beneficent or potentially destructive. A crucial distinction,” she says is, “in the definition of the status of the ‘Other’ in the anticipated confrontation. If the ‘Other’ is constructed as wholly evil, then the ramifications are really horrendous.

In this form, apocalypticism leaves no room for ambiguity in the stories told about the ‘Other.’ There is a real hardening of sides. We are good, they are evil. This is not a disagreement, but a struggle with evil incarnate, so there is no structure for a peaceful reconciliation.” In this scenario, Brasher says that people “are cast in their roles as either enemy or friend and there is no such thing as middle ground. In the battle with evil, can you really say you are neutral?”

On the other hand, Brasher points out that “apocalyptic themes have been drawn upon by people who are in distress”:

…people faced with horrific conditions and who are trying to sustain themselves, provide dignity, and preserve a sense of community. An example would be the role of apocalyptic Christianity among African slaves brought to the United States. This is also true of the anti-slavery abolition movements and the Civil Rights movement. In this beneficent form apocalyptic belief provides a moral framework that resists the effects of chaos and provides a means by which communities can survive and endure.

Where Do We Go From Here?

For those whose lives were tragically altered forever on April 15, 2013 in Boston, none of this really matters. Yet if we are to fight terrorism, it best be on the basis of understanding what motivates terrorism.

Jessica Stern, a terrorism expert at Harvard University, has found through extensive research that the single most common aspect of terrorists is a deep sense of having been humiliated.

What then is the effectiveness of a “War on Terrorism” using bombs and drones? This need to punish our enemies in acts of revenge only adds fuel to the flames that return home to engulf us in terrorist acts.

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1- Timothy R. Furnish, “What’s Worse than Violent Jihadists?,” History News Network http://hnn.us/articles/13146.html; _____Holiest Wars: Islamic Mahdis, their Jihads and Osama bin Laden ( Westport, CT: Praeger, 2005).

2- Thierry Gontier, “From ‘political theology’ to ‘political religion’: Voegelin and Carl Schmitt,” Eric Voegelin Institite, 2009,http://www.lsu.edu/artsci/groups/voegelin/society/2009%20Papers/Thierry%20Gontier.shtml.

3- What does the Qur’an say about Jihad and how did the Prophet implement it?” Fountain magazine, January-March 2002,http://www.fountainmagazine.com/Issue/detail/What-does-the-Quran-say-about-Jihad-and-how-did-the-Prophet-implement-it.

4- Jamal Malik. “Making Sense of Islamic Fundamentalism,” ISIM Newsletter, 1, (International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World). October 1998. Originally online at http://www.isim.nl/newsletter/1/research/01AD30.html. Retrieved 10/19/2001. New Url: http://www.isim.nl/files/newsl_1.pdf (4/22/03).

5- Khaled Abou El Fadl, “Islam and the Theology of Power,” special section, “Islam: Images, Politics, Paradox. Middle East Report, 221, (Winter 2001). Online athttp://www.merip.org/mer/mer221/221_abu_el_fadl.html, Retrieved 12/12/2002. For more on Wahhabism and bin Laden, see Jean E. Rosenfeld, “The `Religion’ of Usamah bin Ladin: Terror As the Hand of God.” Online athttp://www.publiceye.org/frontpage/911/Islam/rosenfeld2001.htm; Catherine Wessinger, “Bin Laden and Revolutionary Millennialism,” op-ed. New Orleans Times-Picayune, October 10, 2001. Online at http://www.mille.org/cmshome/wessladen.html.

6- Karen Armstrong, The Battle for God (New York: Ballantine Books, 2001 p. 238.

7- Armstrong, Battle for God.

8- Jamal Malik. “Making Sense of Islamic Fundamentalism,” ISIM Newsletter, 1, (International Institute for the Study of Islam in the Modern World). October 1998. Originally online at http://www.isim.nl/newsletter/1/research/01AD30.html. Retrieved 10/19/2001. New Url: http://www.isim.nl/files/newsl_1.pdf (4/22/03).

9- Quinby, Anti–Apocalypse, p. 162.

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Chip Berlet, an investigative reporter and scholar, has studied repression, right-wing movements, and political violence for over forty years. He was an associate editor of the Encyclopedia of Millennialism and Millennial Movements and recently authored the study “The United States: Messianism, Apocalypticism, and Political Religion” collected in The Sacred in Twentieth Century Politics. Berlet also coordinated and co-authored the revisions for the entry on “Neo-Nazism” in the new edition of the Encyclopaedia Judaica.

Originally published at Talk to Action. Reprinted by permission of the author.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Bearded OBcean April 25, 2013 at 2:06 pm

Good and very informative. However, the rush to implicate the “right wing” in the early hours had the appearance more of wishful thinking than of anything else. The media seem to want to associate any incident with the “right wing” even when there are no political motives, ie Jared Lee Loughner or James Holmes.


Seth April 26, 2013 at 12:34 am

Author has already put more thought into it than the bombers did. Here’s how I see it:

An angry young man failing to assimilate or succeed at a boxing career becomes increasingly radicalized while in the US, starting with the influence of his mother and others in his community. He is seeking this out, more than being brainwashed. He’s prone to this whole ideological bent because its message speaks to his anger, not unlike these Tea Party types. This eventually causes some degree of conflict within the family, in the same way strident political or religious views might in any other family. This has a deeper context in a family of Chechen refugees, but still pretty garden variety in the context of being some sort of crazy radical.

Makes trip to Dagestan, and frequents a more radical mosque than what the rest of the family over there attends. As he was already on their radar, he is under surveillance pretty much the whole time by Russian police/intelligence, and is frequently seen in the company of a Salafist extremist, who is later killed. Eventually, he is pretty much asked to leave by the family there due to his more extreme views and activities, as this is the kind of thing that can make you disappear over in that part of the world.

At this point, he has popped up on some radars, and certainly made a lot of people around him nervous or offended. No longer garden variety by any stretch, but not a hardened al-Qaeda terrorist or Chechen freedom fighter or anything. Just someone becoming increasingly strident and radicalized with his extreme views in a rather dangerous way, and more than a little starstruck by these legit jihadist types that represent the person he would like to see himself as (a true Chechen and Muslim, and a “real man” warrior). Because he is “American”, these guys are probably a little starstruck as well. But beyond generally talking about jihad and maybe bombs and tactics, he is not “trained” by them, per se, and certainly not for the purpose of attacking the US.

He comes home, and now has a purpose for his shitty little life, however ill-defined and misguided. His younger brother, also having the same kind of ethnic identity issues, falls under his sway, and the two “self-radicalize” and train themselves via the internet, with this bastardized form of jihad, which in itself is just a bastardized form of Islam. It’s neither a fully-articulated or logical form of jihad, nor one that he just invented out of thin air, given that there are in fact Muslim terrorists out there calling for these exact kinds of attacks on America, and in fact providing online information to help radicalize and train these types of people, right down to the building of these exact kinds of bombs.

And this to me is where the labels, ideologies, and even borders, fail to define or contain the full scope of this.

American, foreign, radicalized, trained, terrorist, ideology… what do any of these terms even mean in the full context of this?

So anyhow, barring any great new info, my last question at this point is whether the older brother or his father killed those three dealers in Waltham a couple of years ago for selling pot to the younger brother.


Bearded OBcean April 26, 2013 at 9:58 am

I don’t recall when the tea partiers blew people up. Their anger is no different than the OWS crowd. That’s just a cheap throwaway line.

If he was influenced in his radicalism by the community, as you state, that doesn’t really seem very different from a great number of other terrorists and warrants a greater search to find out who in his community sympathizes with said terrorists.


Seth April 28, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Here’s the thing for me on that. Those who sympathize with terrorists, or persecuted Muslims around the world? The “community” consists of a mosque that he was shouted out of a few months ago for his strident views. I’m really not too concerned with anyone who is against the Iraq War, our foreign policy or any of that. Similar to OWS or the Tea Party or any other group that expresses their beliefs through angry politics, that’s just freedom of expression right there.

I’m thinking it was really just his mother, this Armenian “Misha” guy who thinks he’s an exorcist, and some people he met while in Dagestan, maybe a few others that helped to “radicalize” the kid. Mostly online stuff, really. This doesn’t really seem to have the hallmarks of some major organization or network backing this, which makes it both more and less dangerous of a threat, IMO. Just some angry loser with influence over his little brother and a vague notion of “jihad”.


Lester Burnham April 26, 2013 at 10:34 am

“He’s prone to this whole ideological bent because its message speaks to his anger, not unlike these Tea Party types.”

Dude, that’s just silly. I bet you were totally bummed out when the terrorists turned out to be Chechen islamists instead of some angry pasty white-male tea party supporters. But it was Patriot’s Day and Tax Day so there was some hope, right?


Seth April 28, 2013 at 4:01 pm

I didn’t imply it was a rightwing attack by any stretch. I was drawing an analogy to say that these guys were not that threatening or ideological to start, just full of angst in a garden variety and not very articulate or informed kind of way, not unlike how Tea Partiers are.

Sometimes, that will progress to this level, as it did with McVeigh on that side of the ledger (or ELF, if you prefer). But that’s pretty rare. 99.99% of the time, that angst is just harmless bluster — again, not unlike Tea Partiers. Bottom line is that these kids weren’t hardened, true believer al-Qaeda agents or anything, just angry at life. Again, not unlike Tea Partiers.


john eisenhart April 26, 2013 at 9:59 am

As a person who has refuses to be brought into “left vs “right,” “Us vs Them”, Terrorist vs Homeland.” false narrative but puts faith in critical thinking and skepticism of government and corporate power, this piece is nothing but flaming the flames of bulls**t. The OB rag is too lazy and brainwashed to investigate the ongoing military presence and worship and previous numerous FBI sting rouses aimed at instilling fear in the public using dim witted patsies to carry out fake or real bombs (93 WTC bombing was part of a FBI sting operation.) This current Boston bombing event has so many inconsistent stories given to the corporate controlled media and spins hearsay into fact that any critical thinker would and should express doubt about the “official” narrative. Looking to recent past: The Bin Laden raid and burial at sea story- How can one believe this? Corpus delicti anyone? The underwear bomber story is laid out in detail by passenger attorney Kurt Haskell. This narrative from first hand account forced the State Dept. to admit they put Umar on the plane. (Patrick F. Kennedy State Dept. ) Overall one must seriously question the totalitarian department entitled “Homeland Security.” Billions of dollars being taken from the poor and middle class and funneled into an organization that is supposedly protecting us from “evil muslim” . Please the story is getting to a level of absurdity. Do you really want to be hoodwinked? Perhaps old hippies don’t die , they just become pawns for the the power elite’s agenda of death and destruction.


John April 28, 2013 at 1:24 am

While there’s no doubt these federal agencies have become bloated and self serving, typical of the thing that always escapes you conspiracy theorists is these guys DID set off bombs and DID kill and maim people, and the federal government DID NOT.
Like most conspiracy theorists I’m sure you mistake your paranoia for courage in “standing up to the man” and your ignorance about the details of these issues to be enlightenment about things us “sheeple” are asleep about.
Like any religion, when you are wed to conspiracy theories you tend to reject facts which do not validate your beliefs and cherry pick the ones that do.
It’s actually pretty ironic you posted this criticism of the OB Rag’s editors considering this piece wasn’t written by them but by Chip Berlet, who also happens to be an expert on conspiracy theory and the way such nonsense eats away at democracy.


john eisenhart April 30, 2013 at 8:04 pm

Allegations of chemical weapons use in Syria may be supported by the United States, France, Britain, Israel, and Qatar, but former Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich thinks they might just be Western-manufactured pretexts for war.

The anti-war Democrat, who went on a fact-finding mission to Syria in June 2011, sent out a little-noticed tweet on Thursday imploring his followers to “Google ‘Syria #FalseFlag #Chemical Weapons'” if they’re “trying to make sense of what’s happening.”

My man Dennis K. has similar conspiracy views!……we both want, what John Lennon sang, “just give me the Truth.” No theory, just fact. “Just give me the Truth.”


John May 1, 2013 at 1:10 am

I guess I should have followed this:

“Like any religion, when you are wed to conspiracy theories you tend to reject facts which do not validate your beliefs and cherry pick the ones that do.”


“And when shown how foolish your talking points are you’ll quickly change the subject rather than concede you are wrong.”

However let’s have a good belly laugh over that “truth” thing you’re asking for. I know I sure did when I saw activists piling in their cars and buses (point, couldn’t get there without OIL!) to travel to NYC and Washington DC in 2003 to carry signs pleading for “No Wars for Oil” and Shrub actually said on TV “this isn’t about oil”. When I was in 4th grade social studies in 1971 the first chapter of the textbook screamed how the reason the Middle East is important to US policy is because of OIL. I know I couldn’t wipe my backside without toilet paper that couldn’t get to the store without it.
Bush actually said that despite what the Joint Resolution said about America’s national security and national interests depending on peace and security in the Persian Gulf. It was a lie that people stupidly needed to be told.
Please don’t complain about wanting the truth. I guarantee if you’re important enough to need it you already know it or where to find it.

Anyway this is for you:


I had a good laugh over that one. They took a couple of seconds of video and stretched it out to look much longer. If it wasn’t so silly it would be offensive.


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