Socialist Worker

Confusion in Boston as bombing suspects shot

by Judith Orr
Issue No. 2350

The suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

The suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

The police manhunt for the people who planted the Boston bombs targeted two brothers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. 

After pursuit by police and special forces, and a gunfight, the older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, lay dead. 

The younger brother is seriously injured in hospital. He has now been charged with using a “weapon of mass destruction” in relation to the bombing which killed three people and injured 180.

The FBI can only speculate on what may have motivated the alleged bombers for now. 

But that hasn’t stopped the race to paint them as “militant jihadists” because they were Muslims and had roots in Chechnya—a country that has been the victim of Russian imperialism. 

Much has been made about online postings, which may or may not have been made by the brothers, which include links to radical Muslim clerics on Youtube.

The FBI put the brothers under surveillance in 2011 following a request from Russian state authorities. But it stopped after it found nothing to report. 

US federal authorities are taking over the investigation. 

This means that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev could face capital punishment which is outlawed in Massachusetts, the state Boston is in.

Some Republicans, including South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham, called for Tsarnaev to be held as an enemy combatant. 

Graham claimed this was justified because of Tsarnaev’s “radical Islamist ties and the fact that Chechens are all over the world fighting with Al Qaida”. 

“We’re at war with radical Islamists, and we need to up our game,” he said.


These calls make assumptions about a political motive and connections to Al Qaida which the FBI admits it doesn’t have. 

They also put president Barack Obama’s long broken commitment to turn his back on the “war on terror” back under the spotlight. 

The Guantanamo Bay detention camp remains open. Last week an investigation concluded that human rights abuses there were “abhorrent and intolerable”. 

More than half of the detainees—84 people—are on hunger strike in protest at their imprisonment and conditions. 

Guards and prisoners clashed last week. The US military is 

force-feeding at least 16 of the hunger strikers. 

Obama already reduced legal rights for terror suspects in 2011, so suspects can be questioned for extended periods to get “intelligence”.

The Boston bombing has become the latest excuse for a moral panic about Muslims in the US. 

On Monday two men were arrested in Canada for allegedly plotting a terrorist attack on a train. The police claimed they were “receiving support from Al Qaida elements located in Iran”. 

This association of two favourite  enemies allowed the media to focus on the fact they were Muslims.

At the same time Russia’s rulers will be making the most of the opportunity the Boston events provide to portray itself as a victim of Islamic terrorists and justify further brutal crackdowns. 

Russia’s president Vladimir Putin has offered support to the US in investigating the bombers and will hope that the US will cooperate in his repression in the region.

Russia crushed Chechnya in two wars which left up to 200,000 Chechens dead out of a population of just 1.25 million by 1999.


Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'

Article information

Tue 23 Apr 2013, 18:27 BST
Issue No. 2350
Share this article


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.