BOSTON — Dzokhkar Tsarnaev was found guilty Wednesday of all 30 federal counts in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing case and faces a possible death sentence.
He was convicted of a string of charges, including conspiracy to use a weapon of mass destruction.
Tsarnaev, flanked by his three lawyers, showed no emotion, mostly staring at the defense table and occasionally looking straight ahead. At one point he crossed his arms as Federal Judge George O’Toole read the lengthy verdict.
The seven-woman, five-man federal jury returned its verdict after two days of deliberations.
Sentencing for the 21-year-old Tsarnaev will be determined at another hearing that could last as long as two weeks. Seventeen of the 30 counts carrued a possible death penalty
The bombing on April 15, 2013 left three people dead and 260 injured. A fourth person, a security officer, was killed three days later during an intense manhunt that brought the shocked city to a standstill.
The outcome of some kind of guilty verdict was in little doubt after the defense acknowledged that Tsarrnaev had placed a pressure-cooker explosive device in the crowd near the finish line on Boston’s Boylston Street of the annual race.
The defense had argued that while Dzohkhar was involved, he was manipulated by his older brother, Tamerlan, who was killed during a police shootout as the manhunt unfolded.
None of the four defense witnesses suggested that Tsarnaev was innocent.
“We are not asking you to go easy on Dzhokhar,” defense attorney Judy Clarke said in her closing argument. His actions “deserve to be condemned. And the time is now.”
Closing arguments were wrapped up Monday in the guilt-or-innocence phase of the trial with prosecutors ratcheting up their case that Tsarnaev, 2
Prosecutors described Tsarnaev as a true believer in the cause of radical, violent jihad to avenge what he saw as harm by the United States against Muslims.
“The plan was to make this bombing as memorable as it could possibly be,” Assistant U.S. Attorney William Weinreb said.
Prosecutors pulled no punches, calling 92 witnesses over 15 days, including double amputees and the father of an 8-year-old boy who was killed. They presented a trove of more than 4,000 hours of surveillance footage that left little doubt about the Tsarnaevs’ culpability, not only in the marathon bombings but also in the murder of Collier.
If that weren’t enough, they hammered home his motive: retribution on Allah’s behalf for the harm he said America had done to Muslims.
They quoted words Tsarnaev had written inside a backyard boat where he hid during the manhunt: “stop killing our innocent people and we will stop” was among the statements. These were not the work of his brother, Tamerlan, whom the defense has blamed for conceiving the terrorist plot. Tamerlan died after Tsarnaev ran him over in a shootout.
Judge O’Toole met earlier with attorneys for both sides for about 30 minutes to address the questions raised by the seven-woman, five-man jury, which deliberated for more than seven hours Tuesday before ending the day without a verdict.
The charges against Tsarnaev — totaling 30 counts — fall into four main categories. Twelve pertain to two pressure-cooker bombs used at the marathon.Three other charges dealt with conspiracy; another three covered the fatal shooting on April 18, 2013, of MIT security officer Sean Collier.
The final 12 addressed what happened after Collier’s murder, including a carjacking, robbery and use of improvised explosives against Watertown, Mass., police officers.
Here are the “facts” in the case against Boston Marathon Bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
O’Toole began Wednesday’s proceedings by reading the jurors’ questions, one of which had two parts, and delivering his answers.
“Can a conspiracy pertain to a sequence of events over multiple days or a distinct event?” was the first question.
“Duration is a question of fact for you to determine,” O’Toole told the jury. It could be limited to one event or apply to more than one. Tsarnaev is charged with conspiracy in three counts, all of which name four victims who were killed during the week of April 15, 2013.
Jurors also asked whether they need to consider all the subclauses in each count, or if reaching unanimity on the overall question of guilt for that count is sufficient.
O’Toole said they must consider every subclause only if they determine Tsarnaev is guilty on that charge.
The jury’s last question sought clarification on the difference between aiding and abetting. Twenty-five of the 30 counts charge Tsarnaev with aiding and abetting, sometimes in conjunction with a broader charge.
“Aiding and abetting is a single concept,” O’Toole told the jury. “Aiding and abetting means to intentionally help another person commit a criminal offense.”
Even when a defendant isn’t fighting the charges, jurors still need time to work through each question, says Michael Coyne, dean of the Massachusetts School of Law.
The Boston Marathon bombing and trial has not been covered responsibly by the media, which has allowed the case to proceed and the trial to near its end with many important questions unanswered and unexplored.
Guatemalans deliberately infected with STDs sue Johns Hopkins University / Rockefeller Foundation for $1bn
To learn about the history of Human Guinea Pigs, read A Terrible Mistake: The Murder of Frank Olson and the CIA
Land Grab coming as farmers default on bank loans!
As California’s multi-year drought rages on, consumers in the rest of the United States may soon be feeling the pinch at the grocery store as farmers around California reduce water and plant fewer crops.
California, sometimes called the ‘nation’s salad bowl’, is the country’s largest producer of grapes, kiwis, olives, avocados, broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, tree nuts and dairy. Now in the fourth year of a massive drought ‒ and facing only a year’s worth of water remaining in the state ‒ food prices in the US and agricultural unemployment in California are set to climb as farmers do what they can to conserve water and protect their investments.
“Farms and agriculture are prospering and they could go out of business next year,” Joe De Bosque, a farmer in California’s Central Valley, told RT. “How many businesses do you know that are prospering and profitable that go out of business? None! It’s going to happen in California, I guarantee you! If we have no water next year it’s gonna happen! Successful farms are gonna go out of business!”
De Bosque has employed new irrigation techniques in an effort to save water, as 3 million acres of land go unplanted.
“Since we’ve changed to drip irrigation we actually produce 30 percent more crop with 30 percent less water,” he said. “It’s not necessarily how much can we make per acre, it’s how much can we make with an acre-foot of water.”
Cannon Michael, a farmer in the Central Valley, left more than 1,000 acres of land unplanted this season to try and conserve water, he told Ensia. The fallow fields amount to about 10 percent of the 10,500 irrigated acres that make up his farm, Bowles Farming Company.
In the spring of 2014, Michael and some of his neighbors on the west side of the valley who still had some water implemented conservation measures and fallowed land early in last year’s season. Their actions allowed them to make 13,500 acre-feet (4.4 billion gallons) of water, from a reservoir known as Millerton Lake, available to east-side farmers who had been cut off. And they did so at an affordable price ‒ $250 an acre-foot ‒ rather than the $1,000 to $2,000 per acre-foot that water was trading for on the open market.
“We saw an opportunity to transfer some water to our neighbors who were struggling,” Michael said.
Yet Big Agriculture was largely spared from the mandatory water restrictions that California Governor Jerry Brown (d) issued on Wednesday, the first in the state’s history. While cities and towns are required to cut water usage by 25 percent, the agriculture industry merely has to report more information about their use of water.
But even a significant drop in residential water use will not move the consumption needle nearly as much as even a small reduction by farmers, the LA Times reported. Of all the surface water consumed in the state, roughly 80 percent is earmarked for the agricultural sector.
“The big question is agriculture, and there are difficult trade-offs that need to be made,” said Katrina Jessoe, assistant professor of agricultural and resource economics at the University of California, Davis.
Farmers aren’t the only people affected by the water restrictions.
Tractor dealer Steve Malanca is struggling because, right now, no one wants a five-year, $300,000 loan to buy a tractor, he told RT.
“All of us are being affected,” he said. “There’s an irrigation company that supplies irrigation equipment, there are tractor dealerships, there’s car dealerships selling cars to the farmers. Everybody is affected without exception… when the farmer is making money.”
Mayor Robert Silva of Mendota, in the heart of the agricultural Central Valley, told the LA Times that unemployment among farmworkers had soared as the soil turned to crust and farmers left half or more of their fields fallow. Many people are traveling 60 or 70 miles to look for work, Silva said, and families are increasingly relying on food donations.
“You can’t pay the bills with free food,” he said. “Give me some water, and I know I can go to work, that’s the bottom line.”
Some people suggest that farmers switch from animal agriculture to crops.
“Animal agriculture uses more water for drinking and growing food for feed than even the thirstiest vegetable crops. California would realize gargantuan water savings if more crops were fed directly to people instead of being wastefully diverted to the production of meat, dairy and eggs,” Deborah W. Elliott wrote in a letter to the editor of the LA Times. “All we have to do is alter our habits and incentivize the growing of vegetable and fruit crops.”
Farmers like De Bosque, however, propose a temporary increase in pumping when rains come, so farmers can put the rain in the bank and use it in the hot summer instead of turning to other methods.
More at RT
DOUBLE RED ALERT (Soros buying up farmland)
People around the world are noticing that our planet’s weather is dramatically changing. They are also beginning to notice the long lingering trails left behind airplanes that have lead millions to accept the reality of chemtrail/geoengineering programs. Could there be a connection between the trails and our severe weather? While there are many agendas associated with these damaging programs, evidence is now abundant which proves that geoengineering can be used to control weather. In this documentary you will learn how the aerosols being sprayed into our sky are used in conjunction with other technologies to control our weather. While geoengineers maintain that their models are only for the mitigation of global warming, it is now clear that they can be used as a way to consolidate an enormous amount of both monetary and political power into the hands of a few by the leverage that weather control gives certain corporations over the Earth’s natural systems. This of course, is being done at the expense of every living thing on the planet. Directed/Produced by Michael J. Murphy and Produced/Edited by Barry Kolsky.. Written by Michael J. Murphy and Barry Kolsky.
FORT MEADE, Md. (AP) — Two cross-dressing men who were fired upon by National Security Agency police when they disobeyed orders at a heavily guarded gate had just stolen a car from a man who had picked them up to “party” at a motel, police said Tuesday.
The FBI said the driver, Ricky Shawatza Hall, 27, died at the scene, and his passenger remained hospitalized. An NSA police officer who was slightly injured was released from a hospital.
NSA police opened fire on the stolen SUV after the men failed to follow instructions for leaving a restricted area, authorities said.
Only minutes before that, the pair drove off in the sport utility vehicle of a 60-year-old man who had picked them up in Baltimore and brought them to a Howard County motel to “party.”
The SUV’s owner, a Baltimore resident who has not been publicly identified, told investigators that he picked up the two strangers in Baltimore, and they checked into a room at the Terrace Motel in Elkridge at about 7:30 a.m. Monday with a plan to “party,” Howard County Police said.
Police spokeswoman Mary Phelan told The Associated Press on Tuesday that she “can’t confirm there was any sexual activity involved,” and declined to elaborate on whether drugs or alcohol were part of their “party.”
The two men were dressed as women, but “not in an attempt to disguise themselves from authorities,” FBI spokeswoman Amy Thoreson said, repeating in a statement Tuesday that terrorism has been ruled out.
The SUV owner told police that he went to the bathroom about an hour after checking in to a room, and when he came out, the others were gone, along with his car keys. He called police to report the stolen car. Minutes later, just before 9 a.m., the men took a highway exit that leads directly to a restricted area at the NSA entrance at Fort Meade.
The FBI said Monday that agents do not believe terrorism was their motive. No one has explained yet why the men ended up outside the NSA. However, the new timeline suggests they may have simply taken a wrong turn while fleeing the motel, about 12 minutes away.
Once so secretive that it was known as “No Such Agency,” the NSA is now in some ways just another part of the suburban sprawl between Baltimore and Washington. Thousands of daily commuters who traverse the Baltimore-Washington Parkway pass its heavily secured campus at Fort Meade each day. About 11,000 military personnel and about 29,000 civilian employees with security clearances work inside the barbed wire.
Similarly, the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, is less than a mile from the George Washington Parkway, a heavily-traveled link between downtown Washington and the Capital Beltway. The CIA also has a training facility known as “The Farm” at Camp Peary, also conveniently located along Interstate 64 in Williamsburg, Virginia.
The NSA is Maryland’s largest employer, and Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, whose district includes the NSA campus, said its convenient location is critical.
He also said the NSA gate is far enough removed from the highway that it’s easy to avoid ending up there by mistake.
“I drive by there every day, when I come from Baltimore to go to the Capitol. There’s plenty of signage there,” he said. “If you follow the signs that say `prohibited,’ you can very easily get off. When you break the law, you break the law everywhere.”
But it’s not uncommon for drivers to take the wrong exit and end up at the tightly secured gates.
Most drivers then carefully follow the orders of heavily armed federal officers and turn around without getting into more trouble. In this case, authorities say the men ignored instructions on how to leave, and ended up stuck behind barriers. Police ordered them to stop, and then things escalated quickly.
“The driver failed to obey an NSA Police officer’s routine instructions for safely exiting the secure campus,” Jonathan Freed, an NSA spokesman, said in a statement. The vehicle failed to stop, then “accelerated toward an NSA Police vehicle blocking the road. NSA Police fired at the vehicle when it refused to stop. The unauthorized vehicle crashed into the NSA Police vehicle.”
The FBI declined to comment on the conditions of the surviving suspect and officer, except to say they were being treated at a local hospital. They also haven’t said how the man driving the stolen car died.
It’s not the first time someone has disobeyed orders at an NSA gate. In July, a man failed to obey an NSA officer’s command to stop as he approached a checkpoint. That man drove away, injuring an NSA officer and nearly striking a barricade. He was later arrested and is awaiting trial on federal charges.
The FBI is investigating and working with the U.S. attorney’s office in Maryland to determine if federal charges are warranted.
The video of Dun “Danny” Meng’s escape is a perfect microcosm of what is frustrating about the Boston bombing trial: It features cherry-picked evidence by the prosecution, inconsistencies with information that has been uncovered pre-trial and a defense that is solely interested in trying to avoid the death penalty for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
As a result, the video ends up raising as many questions as it is supposed to answer and these questions are not being asked. What the jury saw is Meng’s daring escape from his SUV at a gas station in Cambridge.
It is reasonable to assume that the video’s main purpose is to show, indisputably, that the prosecution’s version of events happened exactly as they say it did.
They should even be given some license for attempting to dramatize things a little, as long as that first condition is met as much as possible.
However, what is represented in the video does not necessarily jibe with what the prosecution says happened.
The editing choices that were made have unnecessarily obscured and confused key details about just exactly how Meng’s escape played out (for a detailed discussion of the carjacking victim’s conflicting accounts of how he escaped, see here and here).
Thanks to this video, we can add another question to the list of confusion: Who was sitting where in the SUV?
Officially, by the time the Mercedes SUV can be seen pulling into the Shell station on the video in question, Tamerlan was driving, Danny was in the passenger seat, and Dzhokhar was sitting in the backseat.
In the video, we see the SUV pull up to one of the gas pumps and stop. Strangely, we see Dzhokhar emerge from behind the gas pump, obscuring the front passenger door before he makes his way into the store.
Strange because we were told he was sitting in the backseat. Yet we don’t see Dzhokhar get out of the rear door. Neither do we see him walk from the other side of the SUV.
Did they edit that out? Why?
Or did he climb over the carjacking victim’s lap to exit the front passenger door?
It’s of course possible that editing was done for the sake of time constraints, but if that’s the case, then why so much video of Dzhokhar wandering around the convenient store scratching his chin. Why not edit some of that out?
And why all the “cut to” scene editing? Again, it certainly adds to the drama, but it doesn’t give us an accurate portrayal of the most critical events and how they happened relative to time.
Why not let us see the camera trained on the SUV, for the entire time, so that we can see the whole sequence of events from one angle, uninterrupted? That particular portion could have been shown after all the cut and spliced scene changes.
And what happened to the timestamp? Was that edited out?
READ THE REST AT: WHO WHAT WHY
If its all a “HOAX” … why take a chance of legal discovery by suing?
Families of nine Sandy Hook victims sue estate of Adam Lanza’s mother | 16 March 2015 | The families of nine people killed in the Newtown elementary school shooting have filed lawsuits against the estate of the [alleged] gunman’s mother. The lawsuits allege that Nancy Lanza incorrectly secured her legally owned Bushmaster AR-15 rifle, which her troubled adult son, Adam Lanza, [allegedly] used to kill 20 children and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, the Connecticut Post reported Friday. The lawsuits seek to collect on Nancy Lanza’s homeowner’s insurance, the Connecticut Post reported.
The US State Department has been sued over its concealment of around 700 transcripts of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s phone conversations in the 1970s. The suit stems from an outstanding Freedom of Information request filed in 2001.
The National Security Archive filed suit on Wednesday, calling for the prompt declassification and processing of the 700 or so remaining telephone conversation (telcon) transcripts of Kissinger’s official State Dept. business from 1973 to 1977, detailing foreign relations when he was the top diplomat for Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
“Notwithstanding the fact that plaintiff submitted its initial FOIA request for the Kissinger telcons more than thirteen years ago, to date, defendant State has not fully responded to plaintiff’s FOIA requests and appeals, in which well over 600 Kissinger telephone conversation transcripts are at issue,” according to the complaint, filed in US District Court in Washington.
The era of American foreign policy in question included the CIA-fueled coup in Chile that brought Augusto Pinochet to power, the US blessing of Indonesian president Suharto’s bloody invasion of East Timor, and the waning years of America’s vast war in Indochina, not to mention domestic events such as the fallout from the Watergate scandal and President Nixon’s subsequent resignation. Nixon was granted a presidential pardon by his predecessor, Ford, one month after stepping down.
The Kissinger-records flap comes amid a new controversy surrounding another former secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama’s original top diplomat who, according to reports, ran electronic correspondence through a personal email account administered from her family home while she served in the State Dept.
“There’s a long track record of secretaries of state having real problems keeping records available for posterity,” Tom Blanton, executive director of the National Security Archive, told Politico.
With its 2001 legal complaint based on the Federal Records Act, the National Security Archive, an organization that collects declassified government records, successfully compelled the State Dept. to advise Kissinger to release telcons and other records he had claimed as his own, removing them from his offices upon leaving his post as secretary of state. He had subsequently deposited them at the Library of Congress, seeking to shield them from disclosure.
Upon Kissinger’s relent, the Archive then published 15,502 of those conversations in the Digital National Security Archive series.
Yet, beginning in 2007, the State Dept. withheld the 700 or so remaining telcons, stating they were “pre-decisional” or exempt from disclosure based on executive privilege, claims that by law cannot hold up after 40 years. Those exceptions were challenged by the Archive in an appeal filed in July 2007.
“The Archive’s formal appeal of the withholding, along with repeated queries by the Archive to State and the White House Counsel’s Office about the status of the telcons, have been met only with years of delay, thus making the lawsuit necessary,” the organization said Wednesday.
Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, and likely 2016 presidential candidate, joined Democratic Sens. Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand to end the federal ban on medical marijuana, now legalized in 23 states.
The three senators issued a statement saying the bill would “allow patients, doctors and businesses in states that have already passed medical-marijuana laws to participate in those programs without fear of federal prosecution,” Time reported.
Mr. Paul has spoken out about marijuana users in the past saying they should not be placed in jail, Reuters said.
He also said former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, and a likely opponent for the 2016 Republican nomination, showed hypocrisy for his opposition to medical marijuana in Florida, yet admitted to using pot in college.
Mr. Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio, Gov. Rick Perry and Sen. Ted Cruz, all mentioned as possible 2016 presidential hopefuls, have said they believe states have the right to make their own marijuana laws.
Roughly 46 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana, although most Republicans oppose legalization, a Reuters/Ipsos poll said.
Last week’s opening arguments in the Boston marathon bombing trial immediately veered away from facts and toward influencing the jury’s willingness to impose the death penalty. That’s even before any conviction had been secured.
The focus is already on the sentencing phase, when jurors will have to decide if Dzhokhar Tsarnaev merits the death penalty for his admitted role in the bombing. But while the defense’s calculated opening argument admission—“It was him“—garnered headlines, the prosecution likewise labored to construct a subjective, sentence-focused narrative for the jury.
In search of as many aggravating aspects as possible, Assistant U.S. Attorney William Weinreb sought to make Tsarnaev culpable for both his brother Tamerlan’s death in Watertown, and a nearly-fatal gunshot wound to a pursuing police officer. Yet those are very loaded interpretations of what happened that night.
In the courtroom, Weinreb told the jury that following a firefight with police, Tsarnaev killed his brother by running him over while trying to run down police officers: “The defendant ran right over his brother and dragged his body about 50 feet down the street.”
But Watertown police officers on the scene said that Tamerlan was very much alive after being struck. “He was conscious. He was moaning and still moving,” one officer said in July, 2013.
Indeed, Tamerlan’s death certificate notes that he suffered multiple gunshot wounds before being struck and does not specify the vehicular injuries as the cause of death.
Making Friendly Fire Unfriendly
In addition, Weinreb sought to blame Tsarnaev for the wounding of transit police officer Richard Donohue, who nearly bled to death after taking a bullet in the thigh. Weinreb told the jury this was a “stray bullet,” glossing over the fact it was fired by a fellow law enforcement officer in the hail of gunfire that failed to stop Tsarnaev’s temporary escape that night.
Shading the evidence to bolster one’s case is the essence of any criminal trial. But jumping to such advocacy so quickly in what is normally a simple narrative of the case highlights the unusual aspect of this trial.
It is not about guilt or innocence, much less what actually transpired, but is solely concerned with the sentencing phase and its balancing of mitigating and aggravating circumstances.
The goal, for the prosecution, is to convince the jury to apply the death penalty. For the defense, it is to portray Tsarnaev as a victim of his big brother’s radicalism and not a willful, malicious agent of mayhem.
As such, jurors looking for objective facts in the courtroom may be disappointed.
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