Saturday, November 21, 2015

The character assassination of Hasna Ait Boulahcen


Hasna Ait Boulahcen was a cousine of Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the assumed mastermind of the Paris shootings. She was killed when the police stormed her apartment in Saint Denis. For more than two days, it was uniformly reported that she died from an self-ignited explosive vest in an act of suicide bombing.

Prosecutors have now announced that this is not the case. Boulahcen has been exculpated from the accusation, simply because she wore no suicide vest.

Hasna Ait Boulahcen was originally accused of being a fanatical Islamic State operative with an explosive vest strapped to her body.

The 26-year-old was embroiled in a siege with her twisted cousin Abdelhamid Abaaoud but it Paris prosecutors have now revealed her head was in fact blown off when a third man standing next to her in the St Denis flat blew himself up on Wednesday morning.

Ait Boulahcen, a suburban Parisian who had studied at university and run a building company, was heard to shout "Help me, help me!" in the seconds before her death. This raises the prospect that Ait Boulahcen was trying to give herself up – and may even have been a hostage – when she was caught in the crossfire.

Asked to explain the U-turn further tonight, the Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said: "All I can tell you is that the kamikaze was not Hasna."

The alleged suicide vest was the only indication that Boulahcen was in any way involved in the criminal activities of her cousin. This means that her exculpation is complete, she might even have been a hostage, as the Mirror writes. It is amusing and appalling at the same time how the media savaged Boulahcen as the first European femal suicide bomber or the party girl who became a jihadist. This kitchen sink psychology reveals an intellectual blackout and is in fact a brutal calumny of a young woman who became the tragic victim of a police raid. It shows once more that the mainstream media have sqaundered their self-assumed role as the guardians of democracy.

There is no reason to believe that Hasna Boulahcen was a radical Islamist or even ready to support a terror attack. She deserves a posthumous apology from those who offended her. The Telegraph has now corrected his original story and apparently still considers her a terrorist - without any justification, however. This doesn't look like an apology.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The strange circumstances of Lingzi Lu's death

Dr. John Cowin (source: Healthy Living)

The "official" Boston Bombing story has it that Lingzi Lu lost her life within a few minutes after the bomb blast, on the sidewalk in front of the Forum. The official story goes on to claim that her body was covered with table cloths and stayed at the crime scene for a couple of hours. At the Tsarnaev trial, the prosecution tried to carve this story into stone by the testimony of Boston Police officer Lauren Woods. Unfortunately, the transcript of her intriguing statement will not be published before December 24, 2015. However, there are enough snippets saved in Twitter messages and reports to get a fairly coherent picture of the circumstances of the expiring of Lingzi Lu. I added an appendix with the most important tweets.

To make it short: Woods testified that, after Lingzi Lu was provisionally treated on the sidewalk, she was put onto a backboard and moved to an ambulance. But the personnel of the ambulance refused to load her onto the vehicle in order to "save space for those they could save." Lingzi was then moved to the sidewalk at Crate&Barrell and covered by a white sheet - obviously she had died in the meantime.

Another key witness for the expiring of Lingzi Lu has not been called by the prosecution: Dr. John Cowin, a surgeon from Florida, who happened to be at the second bomb site and provided several victims with first aid. Dr. Cowin has spoken about this experience at a few occasions in the aftermath of the bombings.

The earliest quote is from April 15, 2013, maybe three hours after the bombings. He gave a short statement to Al Jazeera:
"The worst thing was a little boy, his mother was holding hand but he was obviously expired. We had another woman who arrested while we were there."
 Orlando Sentinel, April 17:
John Cowin said he ran to try to help Lingzi after tending to a man who lost a foot and his 3-year-old son, who suffered a small cut to his head. People were administering CPR when he stepped in to try to clear Lingzi's airway until she could be loaded onto an ambulance. "But I knew she wasn't going to make it," he said.
He said her friend, another student from China, was propped up against a fence with a shrapnel wound to her stomach. People from a nearby restaurant were using tablecloths to bandage her wound. John Cowin, who served as a military physician more than three decades ago and was stationed in the Philippines, helped load the students and other patients into ambulances.
Boston Globe, April 18:
Next, Cowin encountered two Boston University graduate students, one propped against a fence after being hit in the chest with shrapnel. Her friend lay unconscious a few feet away with a severe neck wound.
Cowin tended to the first, as paramedics began unsuccessful attempts to resuscitate her friend, later identified as Lingzi Lu. “I’ve been calling the consulate ever since,” Cowin said Wednesday. “If it will help them at all, I just want her family to know that she didn’t suffer.”
A compilation of Dr. Cowin's facebook notices after the attacks - the exact date is unclear:
The next two most seriously injured were two Chinese girls.  The first was propped up against a fence and was obviously going into shock.  There was someone trying to help her.  People from the restaurant where the bomb exploded were bringing out tablecloths to use as bandages.  She had one covering her abdomen.  When I lifted it, she had a shrapnel wound to her belly.  We got some tablecloths under her head so we could lay her down.  At the same time they were giving CPR to the other Chinese woman.  She had vomited so they were trying to clear her airway. At that point the medics arrived with an airway.  The airway was inserted and I bagged her until they were able to put her in an ambulance.
Healthy Living, June 1:
He also attempted to help Lingzi Lu, a 23-year-old Chinese woman who was attending graduate school at Boston University. She had vomited, so Dr. Cowin attempted to clear her airway while paramedics used an Ambu bag — a squeezable bag with a face mask — to help her breathe.
“Unfortunately, she suffered devastating injuries, and I knew she was not going to make it,” he says in a somber voice. “However, her friend suffered from shrapnel into the abdomen, and people were using tablecloths from the restaurant where they were eating to help bandage her wound. I also laid her down, so she would not go into shock. She ended up living.”

When Dr. Cowin was separated from Lingzi, he obviously regarded her as alive, if most precarious ("she wasn't going to make it"). He believed that she was being loaded onto an ambulance and moved to a hospital. He must have missed the dramatic scene when the EMT personnel refused to accept Lingzi. In the first interview he said that she "arrested", which probably means cardiac arrest - but that doesn't mean she was dead. That's why they performed CPR. He uses the term "expire" only for Martin Richard, not Lingzi Lu.

The behavior of the ambulance team is not only strange, it is outrageous and a denial of assistance resulting in death. The alleged reasoning ("to save space for those they could save") insinuates masses of life-endangered victims, but this was not the case at the second bomb site. The crime scene was quite overseeable now, several minutes after the blast. Many people were maimed, but the few individuals whose live was in danger were already moved to a hospital minutes ago.

How is it possible that Lingzi Lu was denied access to the ambulance???

Please read also Did Officer Lauren Woods mix up Lingzi Lu and Zhou Danling?

Appendix - Tweets on the Lauren Woods testimony

Friday, July 10, 2015

Official "Forum video": where is Jacqui Webb?

Chitose Suzuki/Boston Herald

Jacqui Webb is a survivor of the second explosion. She was very close to the bomb and suffered heavy injuries, but didn't lose a limb. She was at the Forum restaurant with her fiancé Paul Norden and some friends from Stoneham.

Initial reports say that the Norden brothers pushed her onto the street after the first blast, but this is quite obviously invented by the media to have a hero story to tell. After all, there was the line of metal barricades in the way. Jacqui Webb herself declares in this "Flipping Boston" video clip that she was thrown through the air, which is confirmed by a report in the New York Times:
The blast propelled Ms. Webb into the street, where she landed on her hands and knees. Her hands were burning so hot that her rings began to melt, and her right leg was gouged with shrapnel. She was afraid that the bomb had contained chemicals, so she stripped down to her underwear. A firefighter pulled off his sweatshirt for her. Others draped her in tablecloths.
In another report, she says:
"I remember the rings on my fingers were burning. A cop met me on Boylston, and he walked me across the street and sat me down. I had a large burn on my leg, and two large holes in it. You could see the muscle and down to the bone. My boyfriend was across the street.”
These statements make it possible to identify her on the available post-blast footage, namely the photos of David Silverman who has pictured a woman taking off her smoldering shirt in the middle of Boylston street, 7 seconds after the blast:

She can also be identified on another Silverman photo, if fairly blurred. The photo was taken only 2 seconds after the blast and shows her on the street while trying to get up (just left of the Spartan runner):

She then hobbles over to the other side of Boylston street (in the red rectangle) where she finally gets some aid.

The young woman in the photos is clearly Jacqui Webb. Based on the Forum video and the official narrative that the bomb exploded left of the tree, she must have been blown off a respectable distance of about 15 feet. This allows it to pinpoint her last position prior to the blast quite precisely. In the diagram, the hatched area around the tree depicts the area where she might have been and where we have to look for her in the video. 

And indeed, there is one - and only one - candidate for being Jacqui Webb in the Forum video: a woman with long dark hair, coming in from the left at 14:49:34 according to the clock, i.e. nine seconds after the first blast. She moves rapidly in front of Paul Norden and then towards the barriers, and in this moment the second bomb explodes. I have highlighted her location (head) by a yellow rectangle. The still is taken immediately before the second explosion.

The next still is taken immediately before the first blast, and the same place is now occupied by one of the girls seen at the barriers in the pre-blast photos from across the street (she moves away six seconds later):

 It is this girl here:

So the woman in the first still was directly at the barrier when the bomb exploded, at the same place as the girl seconds before. In the diagram, I have denoted her position with a light green circle and "JW", under the assumption that she is Jacqui Webb.

When "JW" passes Paul Norden in the Forum video (14:49:35), it seems indeed possible that he pushes her a little bit, thus confirming her identity. But then she moves towards the barriers by her own while her boyfriend moves off to the right. So the notion that he heroically saved her by pushing her out of the way of the blast is way exaggerated.

Given the questionable character of the Forum video, a critical analysis of the situation is essential. Let's have another look at the diagram.

JW was standing directly at the barrier that was blown across the street (barrier 3). Is there a physical explanation why the pressure wave blew her away in an entirely different direction than the barrier? It doesn't look so. Being so close to her, the barrier also looks like a serious obstacle for being "propelled in the air", as she told the New York Times.

Given that the woman in the Forum video is supposed to be Jacqui Webb it seems to be another case for someone whose actual pre-blast location is not correctly mapped in the video. This adds to the already overwhelming evidence that the video is manipulated. Jacqui Webb neither testified as a witness at the trial nor did she deliver a victim impact statement. She almost fell into oblivion as a victim of the second blast.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Boston Bombing: the Fred Langa photos

Fred Langa is a Boston journalist specialized on technics and computer science. Like Bill Hoenk he was a witness of the second blast and shot some photos of the immediate aftermath. He put them on his blog page on April 15, 2013, yet they have received little attention until now.

The FBI knows the photos since April 18, 2013, if not earlier. They visited Mr. Langa and asked him for high-resolution versions.

I have displayed here the four most important ones. Source:

Monday, June 22, 2015

A death verdict based on forged evidence?!

Next Wednesday, Judge George O'Toole will most certainly affirm the jury's verdict and speak out the death sentence against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. It is remarkable that the verdict is in big part based on a single piece of crippled evidence: the notorious video with Dzhokhar leaving back his bag in front of the Forum restaurant and a subsequent explosion, which allegedly was caused by his bag. It is even more remarkable that, as matters stand, the not-hidden parts of the so-called Forum video are manipulated. But one thing at a time.

Until the trial, the Forum video was not shown to the public who had to be content with more or less vague verbal descriptions. The most accurate account is to be found in the criminal complaint, formulated by FBI agent Daniel Genck. We never heard of him again since, and he didn't testify at the trial either.

Now, after the trial, the situation is as follows: one part of the Forum video has been made public. It continually covers the last four minutes prior to the explosion and the explosion itself, but stops immediately thereafter. Some after-blast segments of the Forum video - let's call them semi-public - were shown at the trial. They are defined as exhibits, but have not been put online, for instance exhibit 1634b. Yet other sequences after the explosion seem to have been completely cut out and not been played at the trial, as attentive court attendees have observed.

Hence it is fair to say that the Forum video is a piece of crippled evidence. Even more unsettling is that the crucial first seconds after the blast belong to the unseen, cut out parts. This time span is most important because it allows to draw inferences with regard to the origin of the blast, just like the Zapruder film in the JFK assassination case. The Zapruder film is so significant because it shows the first seconds after the shoots continuously and from a good vantage point. The Tsarnaev prosecution has not explained why the Forum video's very first seconds after the blast are kept hidden. This is, to repeat it, the central piece of evidence being used to bring Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death. Not really a fair play.

The matter gets worse if we take a look at the published pre-blast part of the Forum video. There are several authenticity problems coming along with it, here is just a sample:

- it doesn't match Genck's description in the criminal complaint
- it doesn't match other footage made at the same time (Fred Land video)
- it overstrains the viewer's capability to imagine the presence of a 2' x 3' stroller on a crowded sidewalk
- it doesn't match the repeated statement of a key witness - Heather Abbott -, showing her at a different place in the moment of the explosion than she herself stated at the trial

Given the many cameras roaming around on Marathon day there is reason to believe that the Fred Land video is not the only footage in conflict with the Forum video. During the trial, the defense lawyers have been very tight-lipped about the evidence they acquired by their own, but they might well be in possession of unseen footage of the crime scene. Miriam Conrad's cryptic cross-examination of FBI photographer Michelle Gamble points into this direction. It looks unlikely that the prosecution's version of the Forum video will stand history.

A death verdict based on crippled and forged evidence is common in ruthless dictatorships. For the USA - in their own view a democratic society based on justice and human rights - it opens the door to a full-scale Orwellian police state.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

WGBH misidentifies Krystle Campbell as "injured man"

On the day of the Marathon bombings, the Boston broadcast station WGBH published a slideshow of 20 photos from the aftermath. Here is photo 3 with the underlying text:

The text is incorrect, however. The injured person is not a man. It is Krystle Campbell on her way to the medical tent. According to Dr. Allan Panter, the man in the beige shirt who treated her in her last minutes, she was not dead at this moment, but her heart worked only faintly and stopped beating after the arrival in the tent.

“From the waist down, it’s really tough to describe, complete mutilation. That’s all I can say.” (Frank Chiola, Boston Police officer, at the Tsarnaev trial, with regard to Krystle Campbell).


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Denise Richard and the woman with the sunglasses

Government Exhibit 1634b to be made public


Bill Hoenk

Stephen Woolfenden is one of the most severely hit survivors of the second Marathon bomb blast. He was the last prosecution witness to deliver a victim impact statement. He testified that, while lying on the sidewalk with heavy injuries himself, he saw Denise Richard crouching over her dying son Martin:
“I heard ‘please’ and ‘Martin’ being uttered by Denise Richard,” said Woolfenden, who was lying on the pavement next to Martin and his mother after the second bomb exploded. “Just pleading with her son.” Salem News

At last exhibit 1634b, a clip of the Forum video, was shown to illustrate his testimony. Woolfenden was asked to identify Denise and Martin Richard in the clip, which he did. After that, the prosecution rested its case. The clip has not been published yet, but jury, judge, lawyers and all courtroom attendees had an occasion to watch it. Here are some quotes:

1634b is Forum video shows Denise rocking back and forth over Martin, dying on the sidewalk. WCVB News

The prosecution rested its case in federal court during the penalty phase of Tsarnaev’s trial after playing a video showing the mother of 8-year-old Martin Richard crouched over him and resting her head on his chest as he lay dying. Salem News
“Martin, please,” Denise pleaded, over and over. Forum’s video showed Martin’s arms raise up and flop back down. Woolfenden didn’t hear a response. Boston Magazine
No journalist bothered to report the exact location where Denise and Martin Richard have been at this moment. But it is possible to conclude it from the context of the messages and two stills from the video, government exhibits 21-43 and 21-44. They were taken about four minutes after the blast, which roughly matches the time when Woolfenden spotted the couple. Within the yellow circles, a woman with long dark hair who could be Denise Richard is seen on the sidewalk behind the Forum fence.

Exhibit 21-44

Exhibit 21-43

Her appearance and location match the "woman with the sunglasses" in the title picture. She's caring for a boy who might be Martin Richard, as I have argued here. He is not recognizable however because he is covered by the chairs and tables on the patio. There is no other person identifiable as Denise Richard in these video stills. But the title picture depicts the back of another woman with dark long hair who also theoretically might be Mrs. Richard - in the highlighted rectangle.

This woman is also visible in the next photograph (Kenshin Okubo), kneeing on the sidewalk beside the upright metal barrier:

The woman at the barrier is a few feet further away from the Forum camera than the sunglasses woman and being covered by several people in between. As opposed to the boy who is sitting upright with his back to the patio fence, the unseen person being cared for by the woman at the barrier is lying flatly on the ground. It is impossible that the camera caught her resting her head on his chest as he lay dying, as one of the above quotes says. To put her head on his chest, she would have had to go down with her head so deep that the camera's view on her would have been blocked by other people with absolute certainty.

So there is a high probability that the woman in the Forum video who Stephen Woolfenden identified as Denise Richard was the sunglasses woman, and the remaining doubts will certainly be eliminated when the public gets access to exhibit 1634b at one time.

As I have pointed out in my last blog entry, there's one big problem with this narrative: the sunglasses woman is certainly not Denise Richard. The hair is similar, but her physiognomy is different. She wears sunglasses, not a brown cap as Denise Richard did. There's not the least sign on any of the available video and photographic footage that her right eye was hit by shrapnel. There is neither any blood in her face nor does her demeanor in any way indicate that she's so badly injured. She is in a condition to give help, not to need help.

Denise Richard had no opportunity to clarify this question because the prosecution didn't call her on the stand. This circumstance was used by the defense in a motion to strike the impact of Martin Richard as aggravating factor. Futile, of course.

And Bill Hoenk should be regarded as a whistleblower in the tradition of Sgt. Sean Murphy.