The latest media reports on the possible motives of the Boston bombing suspects quote U.S. officials who say the Tsarnaev brothers were motivated in part by
. . . anger over the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq . . .If expressing anger over U.S. wars in Afghanstan and Iraq on social media is the first step on some path to "online radicalization," an actual term promulgated by the White House complete with an Interagency Working Group to Counter Online Radicalization to Violence, then the list of potential "radicals" includes millions of Americans. Over 60% of Americans opposed the wars in 2010. That's a lot of radicals to keep tabs on.
We have been so hungry to shoehorn the Tsarnaev brothers into a terrorism rubric, that we should stop to consider that we don't yet know their motives, which may be much more complicated than the current terrorism paradigm of "radicaliziation." That hasn't stopped government officials from leaking details about road to radicalization that includes being angry over U.S. wars and the media from trolling through the brothers' online activities from their twitter feeds to Amazon wish lists trying to find some magical answer as to why the suspects might have committed this crime.
No matter how hard the government tries to link Tsarnaev brothers to "al Qaeda and its associate forces," the facts simply do not support that narrative. That doesn't stop officials from shoehorning them into another bizarre terrorism paradigm - "self-radicalization." From WaPo:
“These are persons operating inside the United States without a nexus” to an overseas group, a U.S. intelligence official said. Instead, officials said, the evidence suggests that Tsarnaev and his 26-year-old brother, Tamerlan, who was killed during a confrontation with police, were “self-radicalized.”So, the theory is now that the Boston suspects "self-radicalized" by reading information online. The national security surveillance apparatus should realize that censoring information online will not prevent this so-called "self-radicalization." Information does not cause crime, but that simple First Amendment-based concept could be a hard sell to an administration that has launched an unprecedented war on information.
We don't have all the facts, and what we do know is spotty information gathered from the suspects' possible online activities or selectively leaked from government officials speaking "on the condition of anonymity to describe the preliminary findings of an investigation in which information about key aspects of the plot is still being assembled."
While we're on the subject of a rush to judgment, the FBI released the celebrity impersonator suspected of sending Ricin to President Obama and two other government officials.
Mr. Curtis, a party entertainer who dresses and sings as Elvis, Prince, Johnny Cash, Bon Jovi and others, had been in jail since Wednesday. He said he had never even heard of ricin. “I thought they said rice,” he said. “I said I don’t even eat rice.”The eccentric, but apparently completely innocent, ,Mr. Curtis is now free, and focused on finding his dog, Moo Cow, who "got away when Homeland Security swarmed in on me when I went to check my mail." After what was presented as an open-and-shut case that turned out to be a somewhat endearing colorful local, let's hope the FBI refocuses their efforts on finding the right suspect.