This is from my Russian correspondent: the Chechen Embassy in the USA has delivered a note to the White House, requesting that Chechnya not be confused with the Czech Republic whenever the origin of the Boston terrorists is discussed.
One can understand that Chechnya doesn’t wish others to claim the distinction of having raised such upstanding youngsters. But considering that the Tsarnaev brothers never actually lived in Chechnya, perhaps we ought to give credit where it’s really due.
Some acclaim must go to Russia that launched two criminal wars in the North Caucasus, devastating Chechnya and turning many of its denizens, such as the Tsarnaevs, into refugees. Let’s also not forget the international proselytisers of Islam who succeeded in turning what for 200 years had been a struggle for Chechen liberation into an Islamic jihad. And finally, let’s praise America herself, particularly her intelligence and law-enforcement agencies.
It’s not as if they are deaf to the threat of terrorism. In fact since 2010 the FBI and other security agencies have been running a powerful programme snappily called Publicly Available Social Media Monitoring and Situational Awareness Initiative. The programme constantly monitors Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Linkedin and blogs, scanning them for 380 key words, such as ‘jihad’, ‘suicide attack’, ‘conspiracy’ and so forth.
Yet none of those services became curious about some items the elder brother Tamerlan had posted on YouTube. For example, he created a page of songs by the famous Chechen bard Timur Mutsurayev, including his big hit To Jihad We Vow Our Lives. Even Russian courts have banned some of those songs for their extremism, but of course multicultural PC isn’t as big in Russia as in the US.
Tamerlan also uploaded Appeal to Recruits by the Daghestani militant Amir Abu Dudjan. This chap’s terrorist operations are regularly reported on extremist websites, such as Kavkaztsentr. In addition Tamerlan’s site included subscription forms for various militant and extremist information services. Some of those were removed by Google, but the FBI couldn’t be bothered to take an interest.
Lest they be accused of negligence, police did pay a visit to the younger sibling Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after he had attended a mosque service, which must have been deemed more dangerous than openly advertising jihad. This raises a few uncomfortable questions.
Some of them involve the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which proscribes any infringement to the free exercise of religion. Presumably this means any religion, not just those we like. So how come an angelic young man, if his father’s description is to be believed, was interrogated by police simply for attending a religious service?
The only possible explanation is that US security services regard any centres of Islam as ipso facto clear and present danger. This view isn’t wholly indefensible, considering that many, perhaps most, mosques in the West like to preach jihad and even recruit potential terrorists. If that is indeed the case, then surely any country not bent on suicide would be within its right to put in place powerful pre-emptive measures. Such as, for example, shutting down all mosques that have been found to preach things other than that there’s no God but Allah and Mohammed is his prophet.
Drastically curtailing Islamic immigration would be another perfectly logical measure, along with deportation of any Muslims who don’t hold the country’s citizenship. Such steps appear draconian, but only out of historical context.
After all, if the US administration felt justified in interning all Nisei Americans for the duration of the Second World War, and the British government to do the same to all German immigrants (including Jews), then holding large groups as factors of danger solely on the basis of their ethnicity isn’t unprecedented. We are at war, aren’t we? If only against terrorism? If we are, then wartime laws should be in effect.
If, on the other hand, Islam isn’t regarded as inherently hostile to the West in general and America in particular, then harassing a young man for mosque attendance can only radicalise him – and in this instance make him susceptible to his elder brother’s influence.
These vile acts may have been perpetrated by the Tsarnaevs acting alone on the day. But surely anyone can see that they were backed up by some support infrastructure? I for one wouldn’t know how to convert a pressure cooker into a bomb, would you? But the Tsanaevs did, which can only mean that they had been trained. Indeed, Tamerlan had travelled for six months to an unknown destination some time before the attack. It’s a reasonable bet that he was trained then.
But the younger ‘angel’ also acted like a trained commando, and yet he hadn’t travelled anywhere. Where did he learn to use grenades and fire handguns with laudable accuracy? I used to practise at a pistol range regularly for a few years, and I was still rubbish. Where did Dzhokhar practise? How did the brothers get their handguns in Massachusetts, which has some of the toughest gun laws in the world? Connecticut next door is more liberal that way, but one needs to be a resident to purchase a pistol legally.
There’s clearly an organisation operating illegally in the United States and presumably elsewhere. But any such setup has to rely on the moral and physical support of a silent majority within a certain group, in this instance Muslim communities everywhere. You know, those chaps who danced in the streets when the Twin Towers were destroyed or when Londoners were murdered on buses and the tube?
Any reasonable country would instantly deport any such dancers and shut down all possible places where they might have acquired their choreographic skills. But Western countries are no longer reasonable. So terrorists can derive their sustenance from millions who are in broad sympathy with murderers, even if they aren’t murderers themselves.
Such beautiful-sounding words as democracy, human rights and multiculturalism are all fine and well. But they have a rich potential for turning into a suicide pact, and not the kind that entails merely a trip to a well-appointed Swiss clinic.