One aspect of the unsolved brutal throat-slashing murders of three men in a Waltham apartment in 2011, all three of whom knew Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the dead suspect in the Boston Marathon Bombings, has been overlooked.
It may be pure coincidence, but it turns out that Erik Weissman, 31 of Waltham, Raphael Terek, 37, of Waltham and Brendan Mess, 25, of Waltham were murdered on September 11, 2011. Terek and Weissman were Jewish.
That Tamerlan Tsarnaev knew the three men who were murdered became known recently, and the fact that Tamerlan was very close with at least one of them but never showed up for the funeral or memorial services, was considered odd at the time, but memory faded.
The exact date of the murders – September 11 – and its significance, had not yet been recognized.
Despite efforts of officials and the mainstream media to avoid any linkage between the bombings just two weeks ago and a violence emanating from a particular form of radicalized Islam, everyone has now been forced to acknowledge that connection.
The younger brother, Dzohkar, has admitted to authorities that his older brother Tamerlan was infuriated by the United States, in particular for what he believed was its attacks on Islam through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The current narrative seems to be an effort to localize the radicalization and to believe what some authorities say that the murders were acts taken without direction, support or connection to any terrorist groups outside of the United States.
It beggers the imagination to believe that there are no outside connections, as the major media would have us believe. This is particularly so since Tamerlan traveled to Dagestan, a brutally violent area of Russia riddled with Islamist terrorism in the year before the Boston Marathon Bombings.
Even more significantly, Russian authorities alerted U.S. authorities about Tamerlan, asking for information about him “based on information that he was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer, and that he had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country’s region to join unspecified underground groups.”
Still, as pieces continue to slip into place about the backgrounds of the Tsarnaev brothers, the fact that three unsolved grisly murders took place on September 11, the anniversary of the attacks on America by radical Islamist murderers, is one that cannot be ignored.
The day before the Marathon Massacre, the New York Times had scored plaudits for running an op-ed by one of Osama bin Laden’s bodyguards complaining about his hard life in Guantanamo Bay.
On April 14th, the paper of broken record paid 150 bucks to an Al Qaeda member for the opportunity to complain about being force fed during his hunger strike. On April 15th the bombs went off.
The attacks of September 11 introduced a dividing line between awareness and disregard. There was the world of September 10 and the world of September 11. In one world the planes passing in the sky were a minor reminder of our technological prowess. In the other, we were at war.
There was no such clear dividing line when September 11 faded from memory and we returned to a September 10 world. Nor is there an exact date for when we will return to an April 14 world in which it is okay to pay a terrorist in exchange for his propaganda. But if the media has its way, that day can’t come soon enough.
A day after the bombings, the New York Times wrote that a decade without terror had come to an end. But the terror had never stopped or paused. The FBI and local law enforcement had gone on breaking up numerous terror plots to the skepticism and ridicule of the media which accused them of violating Muslim civil rights and manufacturing threats.
Some of those plots seemed laughable. A man setting up a car bomb near a Broadway theater where crowds waiting to see The Lion King musical, kids in tow, were lining up. A plot to detonate bombs in the Grand Central and the Times Square subway stations. Underwear bombers. Shoe bombers. It became fashionable to laugh at them. Silly crazies trying to kill people in ridiculous ways. Almost as silly as trying to hijack planes while armed only with box cutters and then ramming those planes into buildings.
Liberal urbanites stopped breathing sighs of relief every time a terror plot was broken up and turned on law enforcement. There were suspicions that these were just setups. Representatives of Muslim groups complained that law enforcement was taking confused kids and tricking them into terrorist plots that they never could have carried out on their own.
But there was only one way to find out.
Last year the Associated Press won a Pulitzer for its attack on the NYPD’s mosque surveillance program. But that was the April 14 mindset. Now after April 15, the police are once again heroes and any editorials from imprisoned terrorists complaining about the lack of new Harry Potter novels at Gitmo have temporarily been placed on hold. But the police know better than anyone that it will not take very long for them to go from the heroes to the villains. The period of consciousness after April 15 will be much shorter than after September 11.
The long spring in which Americans didn’t have to turn on the news and see bloody body parts everywhere was made possible by the dedicated work of the very people the media spent a decade undermining. The media was undermining them on April 14, but two days later it was acknowledging that the temporary peace brought about by the work of the very people they despised had made their temporary ignorance of terror possible.
We don’t know who perpetrated the Marathon Massacre, but many of the Muslim terrorist plots broken up by the authorities would have been as deadly. And there will be others like them in the future. The one thing we can be certain of is that terrorism as a tactic is here to stay.
While law enforcement pores over the wreckage, the media is examining the political fallout. It is waiting for the time when it will once again be safe to pay terrorists for their propaganda. If the bomber turns out to be anything other than a Muslim terrorist, then they can get into their limos and drive back to that Sunday, April 14, when it was safe to be pro-terrorist. If he turns out to be in any way associated with the right, then they can celebrate hitting propaganda pay dirt. But even if he’s only another Unabomber or even another Bill Ayers, the false spring of April 14 will still beckon.
The “PalPress.com” website in Britain and the “Moheet” site, whose editorial offices are in Egypt, apparently are running out of anti-Zionist incitement. They headlined for their readers this week the old libel that Israel engineered the 9/11 disaster.
The latest rehash of the oft-repeated slanders could be dismissed as ridiculous, but the constant repetition of lies has a cumulative effect of turning the young Arab generation into firm believers that the “Zionists” really were the culprits of the worst-ever terrorist attack in the West, if not the entire world.
If enlightened pro-Arab thinkers in the West need any more evidence of the lack of veracity of anti-Israel propaganda, both websites published the same “study” that provides the proof: “Netanyahu – who was prime minister of Israel – is the architect of the September 11, 2001, through his managing the Mossad and Shin Bet.”
For good measure, they added that the “Prime Minister” has “a long history involvement in criminal acts and the Likud Party to which he belongs is the successor of a terrorist organization, which published a book in the 1980s “Terrorism: How the West Can Win.”
In case anyone has forgotten, Ariel Sharon was Prime Minister in 2001, but the Arab websites could easily dismiss this fact by claiming that Sharon was Netanyahu’s puppet.
The Moheet site’s editorial offices are in Cairo. The site was founded in 1997 and is based in Dubai with editorial offices in Cairo.
The Lebanese newspaper Al-Diyar was cited by PalPress for an “expose” based on “new evidence that has not been published before,” although the allegations are not new.
The Elders of Zion blog, which reported the latest Arab media incitement, notes, “So what does it say about the Arab media that they prioritize yet another anti-semitic theory on their front pages?”
In case anyone does not know the details of the conspiracy theory, Iran’s government-controlled Press TV provided the details last August, telling its readers that Czech-born Jew “Frank Lowy and his co-partner Larry Silverstein had rented the whole World Trade Center (WTC) for 99 years just a few weeks before the 9/11 attacks.
“Silverstein and the Westfield company pocketed about $5.4 billion from the attacks.”
Two other Jews supposedly behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks are New York Port Authority Louis Eisenberg, “a personal Jewish criminal,” according to PalPress and Moheet, and cosmetics tycoon Ron Lauder.
The libel also invents a “documentary study” that the Mossad blew up the Twin Towers. The theories draw a line, impossible to follow, which connect Jews with being former clients of the Shin Bet, or former IDF soldiers, or Likud party officials. They, obviously, are linked with the corruption charges against former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
Arab readers also again are told that Israeli citizens received advance warnings of the attacks and that only five Israelis were killed in the two aerial attacks on the Twin Towers.
The libel, repeated for years, rambles on and on but is based on a “study,” which is all it takes to convince insulated and less-than-brilliant Arabs that it must be true.
1. The Atlanta-based NCR, the global leader in retail software and services, acquired Israel’s Retalix for $800MN (Globes Business Daily, November 30, 2012).
2. The Larchmon, NY-based Bessemer Venture Partners led – along with the London-based Index Ventures and the Palo Alto-based Accel Partners – a $25MN round of private placement in Israel’s MyHeritage (Globes, November 30). Telefonica de Espana, the Spanish telecommunications giant, led – along with Singapore’s SingTel, the Mountain View, CA-based Mozilla Firefox, the Hong Kong-based Li Ka-Shing’s Horizons Ventures and theMenlo Park-based Draper, Fisher, Jurvetson – a $25MN round of private placement in Isreal’s EveryThing.ME (November 30). Li Ka-Shing’s Hutchison acquired Israel’s technology incubator, Kinrot (Nov. 12).
3. Britain’s BrightSource and France’s Alstom won tender for 121 Megawatt solar thermal power plant in Israel. The scope of the expected investment is $650MN (Globes, November 19).
4. Italy’s (giant) Edison Energy follows in the footsteps of Noble Energy, entering Israel’s natural gas exploration, concluding a contract with Israel’s Ratio Oil Exploration. Under the agreement, Edison will be the well-operator for the Gal licenses – which covers 1,770 square kilometers in the southwest corner of Israel’s exclusive economic zone with high potential of oil and natural gas – with 20% of the rights in the permit’s two licenses and an option on another 20% (Globes, Nov. 25).
Substantial Norwegian energy companies – such as SubSea7 and SeaDrill – consider participation in Israeli explorations. Currently, Norway’s AGR operates in Israel (Globes November 21).
5. Len Rosen, CEO of Britain’s Barclays Bank in Israel: “I have been in Israel during the last six years, but the only real violent event which I witnessed was September 11 in NYC…. I have not noticed a decline in the global interest in Israeli companies as far as Mergers and Acquisitions and investments in stock and bonds. I have noticed a decline in the scope of foreign investments, which is a derivative of a global decline… and global uncertainty…. There is a global decline in M&A due to the European crisis and American uncertainty….While security-oriented events have had a limited impact on Israel’s economy, the significant impact has been caused by global financial events…. Israel benefits form a sustained flow of investments and acquisitions…. Israel’s high tech and healthcare are unique, and its recent energy explorations and expansion of infrastructures are common…. Israel’s Treasury and Central Bank have displayed fiscal responsibility (Globes, November 23).”
6. Precedents to the limited, short-term impact of military clashes upon Israel’s economy. The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange registered a 3% decline upon the launching of the 1982 war on the PLO in Lebanon, but surged 5% (net) two months later. The August 1990 Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait caused a 14% drop on TASE with a 16% (net) increase two months later. During the September 1996 Palestinian riots (following the inauguration of the Western Wall Tunnels), TASE declined 6%, but rebounded 5% (net) two months later. September 11, 2001 depressed TASE by 11%, followed by a 23% expansion two months later. During the 2006 war on Hizballah in Lebanon, TASE suffered an 8% decline, but two months later demonstrated a 16% (net) increase. The December, 2008 Operation Cast Lead against Hamas in Gaza triggered a 10% fall on TASE, which turned around with a 25% surge two months later (Ma’ariv daily, November 18).
Bob Schieffer of CBS News is the moderator for the final presidential debate which takes place tonight, October 22, at 9:00 p.m. ET in the Lynn University auditorium in Boca Raton, Florida. Schieffer chose and announced the topics which will be addressed – subject to late-breaking news. They are, in random order:
America’s Role in the World
Our Longest War – Afghanistan and Pakistan
Red Lines: Israel and Iran
The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism I
The Changing Middle East and the New Face of Terrorism II
The Rise of China and Tomorrow’s Word
The issue of what happened in Benghazi, Libya in September 11, 2012 is likely to come up in at least one if not several of the different topic areas. President Obama will seek to put a definitive end to the questioning about how his administration handled the crisis, and presidential-hopeful Mitt Romney will seek to lay out the inconsistencies in the narratives presented by this administration over the course of the six weeks since the tragedy.
The consequences of the “Arab Spring” is likely to come up during at least one of the topics, as will the question of whether or not terrorism is being routed by President Obama’s policies, or whether it is in the rise, in part because of the president’s policies.
The decision to leave Afghanistan and the continued drone policy favored by President Obama is also likely to be discussed tonight.
Israel is most likely to be discussed in the “Iran Red Line” topic, and each candidate will try to show why he is the candidate whose policies will be most effective in protecting Israel and promoting regional stability.
An economic aspect of foreign policy may come up in the form of a question about the European financial crisis and what role the United States should play in addressing that problem. In addition, questions about the economic fallout of China’s ever-growing and influential role in the global economy is sure to further highlight the stark differences between the two candidates.
The format will be six 15-minute segments addressing each of the different topics.
Bob Schieffer has been with CBS News for more than 30 years. He has covered all four major beats in Washington – the White House, the Pentagon, the State Department and Capitol Hill. Schieffer has covered every presidential race since 1972.
Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton told CNN during an interview in Lima, Peru on Tuesday, Oct. 16, that she takes “responsibility” for what happened at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on the evening of September 11, 2011. But, she said, “what I want to avoid is some kind of political gotcha or blame game.”
If you’ve said you take responsibility for something, there is no “gotcha” or “blame game,” your acknowledgement means that you are the one to be blamed for the failure, that you are responsible for the consequences of the failures that occurred under your watch. So the question may remain whether the Secretary can credibly deflect responsibility from President Obama for the failure that led to the murders of American personnel in the most dangerous part of the world on the anniversary of the single worst attack on our country in history, not whether or not someone is to blame.
Blaming public officials for a failure so colossal that our Ambassador and others who were serving our country were murdered, that the buildings in Benghazi, Libya – which are the iconic representations of the United States of America – were invaded, looted and destroyed, is exactly the right thing, not a “game” and not to be ridiculed and not to be avoided, even if a national political campaign is taking place.
Has Clinton explained why the U.S. State Department refused to provide additional security when experts involved knew it was needed and made the requests? Has she explained why the man she personally chose to be the U.S. Ambassador to Libya received death threats and yet no additional security was provided? Has she explained why the sensibilities of the Libyans who might be offended if the American security assigned to the Benghazi consulate had bullets in their guns trumped the sensibilities of the American family members whose loved ones died because they were not protected?
In the wake of an attack like this, in the fog of war, there’s always going to be confusion. And I think it is absolutely fair to say that everyone had the same intelligence. Everyone who spoke tried to give the information that they had. As time has gone on, that information has changed. We’ve gotten more detail, but that’s not surprising. That always happens.
But Clinton’s direct subordinate Charlene Lamb, the person from the State Department with direct responsibility for the consulates, testified at the House congressional Oversight Committee hearing last week that she was in contact with the Benghazi consulate from almost the first minutes of the assault.
That means the State Department knew virtually immediately that there was no protest-gone-wrong outside the consulate, what there was, was a well-planned attack. As Lamb’s testimony made clear, There was no violence inspired by a movie deemed insulting, there was violence inspired by anti-American hatred.
But despite Secretary Clinton’s efforts to use her claim of responsibility as a shield to block further inquiries and to cast any efforts to do so as electioneering and playing “gotcha,” at least some Republican members of congress have made clear the president is ultimately responsible for both the tragedy and its cover-up.
In a letter released Monday, October 15, U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) stated,
the events of September 11 were preceded by an escalating pattern of attacks this year in Benghazi, including a bomb that was thrown into our Consulate in April, another explosive device that was detonated outside of our Consulate in June, and an assassination attempt on the British Ambassador. If the President was truly not aware of this rising threat level in Benghazi, then we have lost confidence in his national security team, whose responsibility it is to keep the President informed. But if the President was aware of these earlier attacks in Benghazi prior to the events of September 11, 2012, then he bears full responsibility for any security failures that occurred. The security of Americans serving our nation everywhere in the world is ultimately the job of the Commander-in-Chief. The buck stops there.
What’s more, the laying of blame for the tragedy on an American-made film for which this administration repeatedly apologized to the Muslim world also needs to be explained
the separate issue of the insistence by members of the Administration, including the President himself, that the attack in Benghazi was the result of a spontaneous demonstration triggered by a hateful video, long after it had become clear that the real cause was a terrorist attack. The President also bears responsibility for this portrayal of the attack, and we continue to believe that the American people deserve to know why the Administration acted as it did.
To mangle a tag phrase from a popular 1970 movie, responsibility means always having to say you’re sorry. And in this case there remains much more to be said.
Among the nearly 3000 people who were murdered by al-Qaeda terrorists on September 11, 2001, was Stamford, CT resident Randolph (Randy) Scott, a husband and father of three. Scott was killed when United Airlines Flight 175 flew into the World Trade Center at 9:03 a.m., near the floors of the offices where he worked.
Scott’s family believed he had died instantly.
However, ten years after the attack, a note thrown out the window of the South Tower shortly after impact – discovered by a guard near another building and eventually placed on display at a 9/11 museum – was identified, using DNA tests on blood found on the paper, as having been written by Scott minutes before he perished.
“I spent 10 years hoping that Randy wasn’t trapped in that building,” Randy’s widow Denise, 57, said recently during an interview in her Stamford home with two of her three daughters, Rebecca, 29, and Alexandra, 22.
“I thought he was killed instantly,” Rebecca interjected.
Randy Scott’s daughters fought tears as his message again triggered new mental images.
In a steady tone, their mother explained the power of the note. “You don’t want them to suffer. They’re trapped in a burning building. It’s just an unspeakable horror.”
“It tells people the story of the day,” Denise said.
In the first few years it seemed as if they were still there, stark lines rising into the sky, tall shadows falling on the streets, a missing space that your eyes filled in without even thinking. You walked past, and your eyes said, “Of course they’re there. They’re always there” and for a moment you saw them as they were, grey ghosts of steel rising above the rubble. You saw the city as it was and then you remembered that city is gone.
Manhattan, that far down, is a lonely place. It is not a human place, but a huddle of buildings where men and women commute to and from, its stores are there for office workers to shop at, its sidewalks go dark when the trains head out to New Jersey again turning it dangerously low rent. That is what made the pretense of a Ground Zero Mosque, in a neighborhood where you can hardly find enough Muslim residents to start a game of Buzkashi, so nakedly dishonest.
But the site has always attracted its share of exploiters. On a good day you can see South American and African vendors peddling commemorative patriotic knickknacks and on a bad day the Truthers show up howling their contempt for the site. Tourists stop by and pose for snapshots with their families. Office workers walk by without thinking. The site, like the towers, is just something that’s there. And lately even the vendors and Truthers hardly bother showing up anymore. Like so many others, they have already moved on to exploiting the next tragedy and the next outpouring of grief.
The neighborhood had grown less grim over time. The 99-cent stores and shops selling used clothing have given way to cafes and chain stores. The months during which the entire area was closed down, in part or in whole, took its toll on local businesses, but over time they bounced back. And so has the city.
Tonight and the night before as the towers of light cast blue beams across the sky, we remember but memory is a destructive medium. Each year the memories grow fainter. At lunch counters people ask each other where they were that day and exchange stories. But the stories grow fainter each year and the memories of walking across the Brooklyn Bridge or stumbling through the ash or handing out sandwiches to rescue workers have grown dimmer too.
This was the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. How many people are still moved by that date, how many less so than were in 1822 or 1862? The anniversaries that we hold on to are the ones that mean something to us. And what does September 11 mean to us? What did it mean to us eleven years ago and what does it mean to us now?
The fundamental narrative of war is, “We were attacked and we fought back.” It’s the same story for everyone regardless of how true it may be. But it is mostly true in this case. We were attacked and we tried to fight back. But we weren’t attacked on September 11. We were attacked long before then. That was just the date when one of the attacks got out undivided attention and the enemy elevated itself above a petty nuisance.
To walk through the darkness toward the towers of light is to pass through a city of shadows. In a stray glimmer of light reflecting from a storefront or a puddle you can still see the old MISSING posters and see khaki trucks tearing apart the street asphalt. You can still see glimpses of a city that was still reeling from the incomprehensibility of what had happened to it. It isn’t reeling anymore, instead the incomprehensibility has become routine.
New York City is used to tragedy. Terrible things happen here all the time. The oldest photos of the city show the same stunned faces, the legs lying in a puddle of blood, the gawking children and the police frowning at something we cannot see. And relentlessly the blood is washed away, the tears are dried and the city moves on. September 11 left behind more blood, more broken legs and more frowning police than ever before… but the ashes have still been dumped in a landfill, the tears dried and the city moved on.