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Boston Marathon Bombing

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11Boston Marathon Survivor Walks Off 'Meet The Press' Set In Tears

A visit to NBC’s political show Meet The Press by Boston Marathon survivor Adrianne Haslet-Davis resulted in her becoming so upset that she left the set in tears.

Haslet-Davis, a dancer who lost part of her leg in the bombing of April 15, 2013, specifically asked that the names of the bombing suspects, Dzokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, not be used during her interview. Ger request was reportedly honored by the show’s staff, reports the NY Daily News.

That is, until Haslet-Davis’ round-table interview began and she says the names of the alleged bombers were used, causing her to walk off the set in tears.

“Cannot believe @meetthepress chose to use the bombers name instead of respect their guest. Had to walk off set crying,” Haslet-Davis tweeted.

“I feel so disrespected @meetthepress I asked politely yesterday and you said yes. Now you choose to use the name instead,” she tweeted a few minutes later.

NBC News spokeswoman Erika Masonhall said that “due to the nature of the discussion, Meet The Press could not guarantee that her request would be granted and regrets any distress caused by the miscommunication.”

David Gregory, the host of Meet The Press, also commented on Twitter about the situation.

“I’m so sorry @AdrianneHaslet was upset tdy + had a bad experience w MTP. As I told her, her comfort level is far more imp than any show,” Gregory tweeted.

On her website, the Inquisitr reports that Haslet-Davis wrote a scathing letter to all those involved with her Meet The Press appearance, saying in part:

“I did specifically ask of two things for this interview, one being that his name (and you know to whom I refer to) not be mentioned in my presence. Your decision to back out on that promise you made and the horrific way you brought that decision to my attention just minutes prior to taping was not only a cowardice move but a dishonorable one as well.”

“To say that I am hurt is an understatement, for you not only disrespected me, you disrespected the survivors of the bombing and the victims memories by blatantly disregarding this request and putting the value of a terrorist’s name, who put a city in turmoil and caused irrevocable damage physically and emotionally to people of this city, over Boston’s integrity, fortitude, and my personal well being.”

Haslet-Davis also wrote on her website, “I will not be a victim, not on anyone’s level, whether it be from a terrorist, or the press.”


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11Taxpayers To Foot Legal Bill For Man Who Lied To Feds About Boston Bombing

A federal judge ruled today that a taxpayer-funded program will pay the legal fees of Robel Phillipos, a friend of Dzokhar Tsarnaev accused of lying to investigators following the Boston Marathon bombing.

Citing financial need, the judge ruled Phillipos is qualified to have his legal expenses covered by the federal program. He will retain the legal representation of attorney Derege Demissie. Demissie requested a second attorney to assist him in the case, but Judge Marianne Bowler shot down the request.

"I don't see this to be of such a great complexity that it needs more than one attorney at a time," Bowler said.

Phillipos is one of three University of Massachusetts students accused of misleading investigators in the weeks following the Boston Marathon bombing. Authorities allege Azamat Tazhayakov and Dias Kadyrbayev threw away a computer and a backpack full of fireworks from Tsarnaev’s dorm room after he was announced as a suspect in the bombing. Phillipos is accused of lying to investigators about his knowledge of the cover-up.

Phillipos has been charged with lying to investigators and faces up to 16 years in prison if convicted. Tazhayakov and Kadyrbayev are charged with obstruction of justice and face up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

All three men have pleaded not guilty to their charges.

Dzokhar Tsarnaev, meanwhile, will go on trial in November for terrorism charges. Federal prosecutors will pursue the death penalty in the case. 

Sources: Reuters, Boston


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11Holder: Tsarnaev Death Penalty Decision Coming Friday

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder told lawmakers today that he would decide by Friday whether prosecutors will pursue the death penalty for suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev. Holder made the announcement during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing.

Tsarnaev is facing 30 federal charges for his involvement in planning and executing the Boston Marathon Bombing on April 15, 2013.  The detonation of two homemade pressure cooker bombs on that day killed three marathon spectators and injured an additional 250. Tsarnaev has formally pleaded not guilty to all 30 of the charges.

Tsarnaev is the only living suspect in the Marathon bombing. His brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed by police during the highly televised manhunt that followed the bombing.

Massachusetts abolished the death penalty in 1984, but Tsarnaev is being prosecuted in a federal court. Since the federal government reinstated the death penalty in 1988, only three people have been executed. One of these people is Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

Aitan D. Goelman was part of the legal team that prosecuted McVeigh in 1997. He recently weighed on what he thinks the federal government should do regarding Tsarnaev.

"If you have the death penalty and don't use it in this kind of case where someone puts bombs down in crowds of civilians, then in what kind of case do you use it?” he said.

Even if prosecutors pursue the death pentalty and Tsarnaev is convicted of his crimes, an execution is far from certain. In accordance with federal law, all jurors ruling on the case must not only find him guilty but must also be in favor of an execution. If even one juror opposes an execution, Tsarnaev will likely be punished with a life sentence in prison.

We’ll update you on Holder’s decision on Friday. 

Sources: Fox 6 Now, CBS


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11Family Says Boston Bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev Heard Voices, Mother Of Survivors Disgusted By Excuses

Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, heard voices, but never sought help for his mental health issues, his friends and family told the Boston Globe.

Liz Norden, a mother whose two sons both lost a leg in the bombing, says that’s no excuse. Norden says the report downplays Islamic extremism and attempts to pin the blame on poverty, bad luck, and mental health problems – all of which are considered out of the Tsarnaev’s control.

“I hope people don’t fall for this. It’s a joke. There’s no excuse for what those terrorists did,” Norden told the Boston Herald.

“Tamerlan had some form of schizophrenia,” a family friend told the Globe “That, combined with smoking marijuana and head trauma from boxing, had made him ill.”

His mother, Zubeidat, allegedly knew about the voices in her son’s head, but wouldn’t get him help.

“No, he’s fine,” the mom would say, according to a friend. “She couldn’t accept the tiniest criticism of him.”

There is no known evidence that Tamerlan was clinically diagnosed with a mental illness.

“I’m angry and I just don’t under­stand why they are making­ excuses,” Norden said. “I’m still trying to figure this all out. JP just had surgery, again, and to read this is aggravating. It really is sickening. I read the story and all I could think was, ‘Here we go again.’ People haven’t seen what my boys have gone through in these past eight months. Now come the excuses for the bombers.”

Assertions of mental illness could hold sway in the sentencing of 20-year-old Dzhokar Tsarnaev.

“It may be some sort of an effort to get the word out and it could be twofold to lay the seeds for the government to reconsider (death) and letting potential jurors see this stuff was going on in the background,” criminal defense attorney Robert Jubinville told the Boston Herald.

“It’s going to be interesting what Holder does,” Jubinville added. “It’s a tough decision. You’ve got people whose lives have changed forever. I’m sure they’re going to put a finger up and see which way the political winds are blowing.”

Sources: Boston Herald, New York Daily News


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11Alicia Ann Lynch, 22, Threatened With Death And Rape After Dressing As Boston Bombing Victim In Halloween Twitter Post

In a Halloween season where some costumes pushed the extreme boundaries of good taste, to say the least — including some donned by celebrities — one 22-year-old Michigan woman may have taken the prize for sheer thoughtless stupidity.

But when Alicia Ann Lynch of Bay City, MI, tweeted out a photo of herself in costume as a Boston Marathon bombing victim (see full photo below) she was unprepared for the vitriol that would be spewed in her direction from every corner of the internet almost immediately.

Lynch has not only received death threats and threats of rape, her parents and best friend have also been subject to a barrage of abuse after online vigilantes dug up information about them.

She was also fired from her job, which perhaps was to be expected.

While there’s no question that Lynch’s costume was horrendously offensive, insensitive and just plain stupid — and posting a picture of herself in costume on Twitter perhaps even stupider — the over-the-top reaction to her idiocy raises questions about how much is too much when it comes to social media retaliation against people who post tasteless material.

Do the people threatening and harassing Lynch on line actually care about her insensitivity to victims of the Marathon attack? Or is there some other, more unsavory motivation at work?

“Threatening to murder and rape a young woman for f*****g up is not bringing her any closer to realizing the fault of her ways,” wrote commentator Laura Beck on the web site Jezebel. “Proposing punishment by rape and murder couldn't be more antithetical to the light and love flooding Boston after the marathon. Those venomous cries for vigilante ‘justice’ come from a dark, ugly place.”

“Is that chick with the marathon bombing halloween costume dead yet? have we killed her yet? If we havent, then what are we waiting for?” went one fairly typical tweet, posted by Josh Duhamel and reproduced on the site Buzzfeed, which first publicized Lynch’s photo.

Other internet users in various social media tracked down Lynch’s personal information, which wasn’t hard to find since she had earlier posted a photo of her own driver’s license on line.

Clearly, she is not given to considering the consequences of her social media postings. She had also posted a lengthy series of nude and semi-nude photos of herself — which in the interest of propriety we won’t link to here — on the social blogging site Tumblr.

The sexy selfies were quickly located by various users and circulated on line, before Lynch apparently canceled all of her social media accounts.

She then appeared to return to Twitter to apologize for the costume, but her supposed user name, @SomeSkankInMI, should have been a tipoff that the account was phony, as Lynch now says that it was.

However, she did issue an apology of sorts in an e-mail to Buzzfeed, though the apology took the all-too-familiar “sorry if anyone was offended” form often favored by celebrities and politicians.

“My costume was not meant to disrespect anyone, ever. I am truly sorry to anyone that I may have offended or hurt with this,” she wrote. “I wore a costume to work, with people that know me, and wouldn’t get offended by it. I had even ran the idea by a friend whom had his father in the marathon and he didn’t have an issue with it.”

She later told Buzzfeed by phone that her closest friend had received threats to “blow up her house and hang her child.”

While she claims not to be bothered by most of the threats directed against her personally, the rape threats, she said, hit home. According to Buzzfeed, they recalled for her “an experience she tearily described undergoing last Thanksgiving.”

Nonetheless, she still appeared not to fully grasp why her costume was deeply offensive to many people.

“Honestly, it’s the Day of the Dead,” she said. “I wasn’t a dead person, I wasn’t being disrespectful. I was a survivor of a marathon. And it’s not like I was walking around with a fake leg or my arm torn off or something like that.”

Marathon Halloween Costume

SOURCES: Buzzfeed, Jezebel, Toronto Sun, New York Daily News


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11Marathon Victims' $1.2 Million Compensation Brings Little Solace

Boston Marathon bombing victims Paul and JP Norden now have $1.2 million dollars each at their disposal thanks to The One Fund, an organization providing charitable assistance to the injured and their families. But the money comes as little consolation for their pain, and the brothers claim it could even worsen their financial situation.

Both men lost a leg in the attack, and received health care via Massachusetts’s program for needy patients before the checks came — now they don’t qualify for the program, and will need to pay out of pocket.

Said JP, "People will say stuff: 'Oh, you guys got $1.2 million. Did we? Because I know I've got to buy a leg for the rest of my life. I can't go out and buy a house." 

The cost of a prosthetic limb over a lifespan may be greater than the amount of the check, according to some experts.

As of now, the brothers are storing their checks in a drawer, confused on how they will spend them. They reportedly fear that spending the money now may set them up for a rocky future as medical costs mount and job prospects diminish.

The One Fund, however, reports that a second payment is slated, and says it will go over each victim’s individual needs before determining the next reward.

The One Fund has already distributed more than $60 million to victims, with the intention of helping to speed their recovery.

Patricia Watson, senior educational specialist at the National Center for PTSD, told the Washington Post that there is no way to predict who will move on and who will remain traumatized.

Said Watson, “There is no simple algorithm as to why some people recover and some people don’t. Resources are a big positive protective factor for many people. In the same way, ongoing adversity does make it difficult for people to recover.”

According to The One Fund’s treasurer, "There’s no amount of money in the world that’s going to compensate people for losing a limb. We never proposed that it would."

Sources: Newser, Washington Post

 


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11Satanists Perform ‘Pink Mass’ Ritual, Turn Westboro Baptist Church Founder’s Dead Mom Gay

Members of a cult that worships the Dark Lord have performed a ritual over the grave of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps Jr.’s mother that supposedly will make her spirit gay. The Satanic Temple performed what is known as a “Pink Mass,” a satanic ritual that is supposed to turn the deceased's straight spirit into a homosexual one.

The ritual was performed on Sunday in the Phelps family graveyard in Mississippi. There were actually two rituals that were performed over Catherine Johnston’s final resting place — one with a female couple and another with a male couple.

Lucien Greaves, the Temple’s representative and officiator of the ceremony, talked to Vice about the Pink Mass, although the details were scarce.  

“There were, in fact, scriptures recited, candles lit and a ceremonial proceeding that we may eventually post the details of at our website, westboro-baptist.com," Greaves said. "That is, if the Pink Mass generates sufficient interest to the point that other responsible parties, respectful of the graveyard, wish to perform their own."

According to the website mentioned above, which the Satanic Temple now controls, “Upon completion of the Pink Mass ceremony, Catherine Johnston is now gay in the afterlife."

Greaves revealed where the idea where for the ceremony originated.

“The idea for the Pink Mass ceremony and website came during the aftermath of the tragic Boston Marathon bombings, during which time the WBC were threatening to protest the funerals of the bombing victims," Greaves said. "Members of The Satanic Temple were in Boston waiting for them, but they failed to show. Later, the WBC issued a statement that they had been present 'in spirit'. We decided that a same-sex couple celebrating ceremony at the grave-site of Fred Phelps's mother was an appropriate way to meet the Westboro Baptists, 'in spirit', but this time on our terms.”

It is unclear if the WBC will now start protesting Johnson’s grave.

"We believe that Fred Phelps is obligated to believe that his mother is now gay in the afterlife,” Greaves said. “Further, if beliefs are inviolable rights, nobody has the right to challenge our right to believe that Fred Phelps believes that his mother is now gay."

Sources: Vice, Gawker


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11Boston Bombing Suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the Cover of Rolling Stone?

What does Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have in common with Rihanna, Justin Bieber, John Lennon and B.B. King? He will appear on the cover of the August issue of Rolling Stone.

On newsstands Friday, the issue features Tsarnaev leaning against a wall and staring blankly at the camera. Below his image is the headline “The Bomber.” The subheading reads, “How a popular, promising student was failed by his family, fell into radical Islam and became a monster."

Northeastern University criminologist Jack Levin told MyFoxBoston.com that the cover sends the wrong message to Americans.

"If they want to become famous – kill somebody," Levin said of the message.

“Boycott Rolling Stone” immediately began trending on Twitter. Critics want to know why the magazine would glamorize a suspected terrorist as they would a rock star.

“I think it’s wrong to make celebrities out of these people,” one person wrote on Rolling Stone’s Facebook page. “Why give the guy the cover of Rolling Stone? TIME gave Charles Manson the cover and all the magazines carried pictures of the Columbine shooters on the covers, too. Don’t make martyrs out of these people.”

“Boycott Rolling Stone Magazine and all their advertisers. No reason to legitimize a mass murderer,” tweeted @VinnyEgizi.

A Facebook page called “Boycott Rolling Stone Magazine for their latest cover” already has more than 21,000 likes.

So why feature Tsarnaev now? Does this have anything to do with the thousands of teen girls who developed crushes on him?

In a blog entry, Rolling Stone claims there are revelations made in the feature, namely something about Dzhokar’s mother thinking Islam would solve his older brother Tamerlan’s mental problems. Contributing editor Janet Reitman, who wrote the article, says she spent two months talking with “childhood and high school friends, teachers, neighbors and law enforcement agents.”

Charged with using and conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction resulting in death, Tsarnaev, who turns 20 years old on Monday, made his first federal court appearance on July 10. He pleaded not guilty to 30 counts associated with the April 15 bombing that killed 3 people and injured 264.

Sources: Fox News, ABC


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11FBI Changes Todashev Story: Suspect Was Kind of, Sort of Armed When Fatally Shot

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has a new version of events they say led to the fatal shooting of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s unarmed friend, Ibragim Todashev, during an FBI interview in Orlanda, Fla.

Initial reports claimed Todashev attacked an FBI agent with a knife when he was shot and killed on May 22. This week it was revealed that the 27-year-old was unarmed. According to an FBI source, Todashev was killed when a “violent confrontation was initiated by the individual.” Now, an anonymous source told The New York Times that Todashev might have attacked the agent with a table and metal pole.

Speaking anonymously, law enforcement officials say Todashev, also of Chechnya, was a suspect in a triple murder that took place in Waltham, Mass., on Sept. 11, 2011. Three men were found dead in an apartment, their throats slit and marijuana thrown on their bodies. Authorities believe Tamerlan Tsarnaev was also a suspect in that crime.

After being interrogated for several hours, Todashev was allegedly prepared to confess to the crime, when suddenly everything changed. A senior law enforcement official claims Todashev threw a table and ran at the agent with a metal pole, before he was shot. The metal pole, he noted, may have actually been a broomstick.

On Thursday of this week, Todashev’s Chechen father, speaking at a Moscow press conference, demanded to know why his unarmed son was killed. He was apparently shot several times as the first officer failed to bring him down.

The more “answers” surface, the more confusing the shooting becomes.

A probe has been launched into the incident, which could take months to complete.

“The FBI takes very seriously any shooting incidents involving our agents and as such we have an effective, time-tested process for addressing them internally,” FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said in a statement Wednesday. “The review process is thorough and objective and conducted as expeditiously as possible under the circumstances.” 

The Council of American-Islamic Relations in Tampa has called for an independent investigation. Hassan Shibly, executive director of CAIR-Tampa, wants to know if excessive force was used.

"Our call for an independent investigation of this disturbing incident is not just about the victim and his family, but is also about constitutional rights and the rule of law," Shibly said.

Sources: Slate, Yahoo!


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11Boston Bombing Suspect’s Friend Ibragim Todashev Unarmed When Fatally Shot By The FBI

Ibragim Todashev, a friend of Boston Maraton bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was unarmed when an FBI agent shot and killed him last week. An advocacy group now wants an independent civil rights investigation into Todashev’s death.

Todashev, 27, also a native of Chechnya, knew both Tamerlane Tsarnaev and his brother Dzhokhar. A legal resident of the U.S. since about 2008, he was being questioned by an FBI agent and two Massachusetts state troopers at his home in Orlando, Fla., on May 21. A Bureau statement said Todashev was killed when a “violent confrontation was initiated by the individual.”

Law enforcement officials told the Washington Post Wednesday that Todashev did not have a gun or knife when he was shot and killed by the FBI.

Hassan Shibly, spokesman for the Council of American-Islamic Relations in Tampa, is demanding the Department of Justice probe the circumstances behind Todashev’s shooting. Shibly, executive director of CAIR-Tampa, wants to know if excessive force was used.

"Our call for an independent investigation of this disturbing incident is not just about the victim and his family, but is also about constitutional rights and the rule of law," he said.

Speaking anonymously, law enforcement officials say Todashev was a suspect in a triple murder that took place in Waltham, Mass., on Sept. 11, 2011. Three men were found dead in an apartment, their throats slit and marijuana thrown on their bodies.

His death was declared a homicide by the medical examiner.

Investigators say the probe could last months.

“The FBI takes very seriously any shooting incidents involving our agents and as such we have an effective, time-tested process for addressing them internally,” FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said in a statement Wednesday. “The review process is thorough and objective and conducted as expeditiously as possible under the circumstances.” 

Sources: RT.com, Boston Herald


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