Law, Facts, And Even Minimal Gestures Towards Research All Have Suspicious Muslim Connections

In the wake of the terrorist attack on the Boston Marathon and the identification, arrest, and charging of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, I've been feeling very self-conscious. That's because lots of people are talking about federal criminal law and criminal procedure, subjects with which I am somewhat familiar. When they do, I ask myself: when I very frequently talk about things I haven't bothered to learn about, do I sound like that? God help me.

Today: nutty and deliberately ignorant conspiracy theories about Tsarnaev's first court appearance.

As I mentioned early in the week, Tsarnaev made his initial appearance from his hospital bed on April 22, 2013, the first court day after his arrest. At that hearing, United States Magistrate Judge Marianne B. Bowler said this to him:

You have a right under the Constitution of the United States to remain silent. Any statement made by you may be used against you in court, and you have the right not to have your own words used against you.

In other words, Magistrate Judge Bowler informed Tsarnaev of his Fifth Amendment rights.

(The transcript suggests she did so incorrectly and confusingly — the last clause just isn't right unless you modify it to say "you have the right not to be compelled to say things against yourself," because the government certainly can use your words against you if those words aren't compelled. That may mean that the court reporter got it wrong, or that Judge Bowler had the sort of slip of the tongue any of us can have speaking extemporaneously.)

Judge Bowler reading Tsarnaev his rights has caused great consternation in some circles. It has been reported that he initially answered questions but stopped talking after read his rights. Outrageous! Critics want to know: why was he allowed to make a court appearance? Why did the judge read him his rights? More critically, what motive did the judge have to do so?

The jittery and uncombed are eager to rush in to answer that question.

First, I give you the one-vowel-short-of-aptly-named Pat Dollard, whose headline shrieks "SHOCK: JUDGE WHO ENDED INTERROGATION OF BOSTON BOMBER WITHOUT DOJ KNOWLEDGE LINKED TO MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD":

UPDATE: Judge Bowler lists herself as “a dedicated international traveler” on her bio in Business Week. Where does she travel to in such a dedicated fashion? Who does she see there, and what does she do, so regularly as to be self-described as “dedicated”. And, perhaps, “dedicated” to anything in particular? Did she take on a radical Muslim boyfriend in her travels?

International travel is, indeed, suspicious. An international travel is likely to encounter foreigners, some of whom are not even white.

Or take Daniel Greenfield of Frontpage Mag, who has this on "Boston Bomber Magistrate’s Middle Eastern Connections":

As FOX News reported and Robert Spencer noted, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev stopped talking once he was prematurely read his Miranda rights. That helps the authorities establish the lone wolf narrative. Whatever else we might have learned from him is probably lost.

. . . .

While Islamic infiltration of our political system is well known, the infiltration of our legal system is less well known, but operates within similar parameters with foreign contacts being made. There is no way of knowing how much Bowler has been influenced by her connections with the legal and political systems of the Muslim world, but it is telling that her international judicial relations appear to begin and end with the Muslim world.

The very fact that there is no way to know how much Bowler was influenced by Muslims show exactly how shadowy and mysterious Muslims are!

Now, here's why these people are full of shit.

Magistrate Judge Bowler was required by federal law to tell Tsarnaev of his right to remain silent. Rule 5 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, governing initial appearances, says this:

(d) Procedure in a Felony Case.

(1) Advice. If the defendant is charged with a felony, the judge must inform the defendant of the following:

(A) the complaint against the defendant, and any affidavit filed with it;

(B) the defendant's right to retain counsel or to request that counsel be appointed if the defendant cannot obtain counsel;

(C) the circumstances, if any, under which the defendant may secure pretrial release;

(D) any right to a preliminary hearing; and

(E) the defendant's right not to make a statement, and that any statement made may be used against the defendant.

And how did Magistrate Judge Bowler wind up holding an initial appearance? The U.S. Attorney's Office — the federal prosecutors, an arm of the U.S. Department of Justice — filed the criminal complaint on Sunday, April 21, 2013, initiating the criminal case. The docket for the case to date is here. Filing a complaint against a person in custody starts the federal criminal process moving, leading naturally to a first appearance. If the feds hadn't filed the complaint, there's no way Judge Bowler could have held a hearing with Tsarnaev without someone filing a habeas corpus petition. Judges can't initiate such federal criminal proceedings on their own.

The Patient Zero for this plague of derangement is Fox News' Megyn Kelly:.

The FBI filed a federal criminal complaint against the 19-year-old on Sunday, and federal District Court Judge Marianne Bowler [emphasis added] arrived at the hospital where he is being treated to preside over his initial hearing Monday, when she read him his Miranda rights.

[FBI officials told The Associated Press Wednesday that Tsarnaev acknowledged to investigators his role in the attacks before he was advised of his constitutional rights. He reportedly said he was only recently recruited by his brother to be part of the attack.]

But Fox News' sources say there was confusion about Bowler's timing, with some voicing concerns that investigators were not given enough time to question Dzhokhar under the "public safety exception" invoked by the Justice Department.

Someone with a saintly level of patience could probably teach prominent journalist Megyn Kelly the difference between a District Court Judge and a Magistrate Judge if she wanted to know for, say, the purpose of reporting accurately about the most important federal criminal case of the year. Maybe the same person could teach her how to use the Google to see which one Magistrate Judge Bowler is.

But Kelly is merely a carrier of the derangement. It is to her credit that she acknowledges being told that Rule 5 required Magistrate Judge Bowler to inform Tsarnaev of his rights — and that she acknowledges being told that the "Judge Bowler initiated the hearing too early" theory is bullshit.

Two officials with knowledge of the FBI briefing on Capitol Hill said the FBI was against stopping the investigators' questioning and was stunned that the judge, Justice Department prosecutors and public defenders showed up, feeling valuable intelligence may have been sacrificed as a result.

Yes, federal agents are often against application of the rule of law. But:

But Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd disputed the claims, saying that the suspect’s initial appearance was scheduled following the filing of the criminal complaint in a manner “consistent” with procedure – and that the agents were aware.

“The Rules of Criminal Procedure require the court to advise the defendant of his right to silence and his right to counsel during the initial appearance. The prosecutors and FBI agents in Boston were advised of the scheduled initial appearance in advance of its occurrence,” Boyd said.

A federal law enforcement official also told Fox News that the courts, not the Justice Department, made the decision on when and where to hold the hearing.

“The (FBI) agents and prosecutors were notified beforehand,” the official said, claiming those agents had already left the room when the judge came in.

So: some federal law enforcement official says that "the courts" made the decision when and where to hold the hearing. That is almost certainly literally true. But it's almost certain that first, the U.S. Attorney's office informed the court that they were ready for a hearing. Again, the feds initiate cases, and they initiate first appearances by showing up at court with someone in custody or asking the court to hold a hearing. Is it physically possible that Judge Bowler could, on her own initiative, scheduled a hearing after the feds initiated the case by filing the complaint? Yes. But it is an extraordinary claim, requiring some sort of evidence. Unnamed "federal law enforcement officials" are not known for their command of federal criminal procedure.

In short: the proposition that Judge Bowler was motivated by some sleeper-cell jihadist agenda to rush to inform Tsarnaev of his rights in order to shut him up is very stupid.

I recognize that federal criminal procedure is not common knowledge. But it's not hard to figure out either. I figured it out and I'm more than a little dim. A brief call to any first-year Deputy Federal Public Defender or Assistant United States Attorney, let alone any experienced federal criminal practitioner, would have cleared up these imbecilities.

But who wants to do actual research before accusing a judge of being a terrorist parisan? The wild-eyed people sniffing every falafel Judge Bowler ever ate are either (1) crazy (2) lazy (3) stupid or (4) dishonestly partisan, or some combination of those.

Update: A reaction from Pat Dollard:

Hey Moron

Perhaps Pat Dollard is not able to understand the difference between an interrogation by law enforcement and an appearance in court. Or, more likely, he doesn't care.

Edited Again:

And in the category of "really ought to know better," consider Paul Mirengoff at Powerline:

I have never practiced criminal law (except briefly at the international level) and have not studied it since 1974. Thus, like most Americans, much of what I think I know about criminal procedure comes from watching television and movies.

My viewing experience does not include any instances in which a judge read a criminal defendant his or her Miranda warning in the middle of police interrogation. Thus, I was shocked to learn that this happened in the case of the surviving Tsarnaev terrorist.

. . . .

I can’t help but that suspect that it was the Obama administration that decided Tsarnaev should receive the Miranda warning. After all, wasn’t it the prosecutor who brought the judge to Tsarnaev’s hospital room in the first place? And isn’t it almost certain that the local prosecutor, an assistant U.S. attorney, acted on instructions from the higest level of the Justice Department? Line prosecutors don’t make decisions about how to treat terrorists in high profile cases when there is time to consult the DOJ.

The party line is that the magistrate judge made the decision to Mirandize the terrorist because she deemed her appearance in the hospital as constituting an appearance in court by Tsarnaev. This strkes me as ridiculous, unless the prosecutor characterized the event as the equivalent of a court appearance.

Although Mirengoff might be known for engaging his mouth without engaging his brain, he's not a moron, and not lazy: he's a well-qualified attorney. But his post amounts to saying "please congratulate me for refusing to research and for assuming criminal procedure works like I see on TV." Mirengoff is perfectly capable of researching the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure and confirming that Rule 5 requires the judge to inform a defendant of their rights. Mirengoff attempt to evade the issue by asking why the judge would "deem her appearance in the hospital as constituting an appearance in court," and calling this ridiculous. It is Mirengoff's response that is both ridiculous and willfully ignorant. If the hearing held in the defendant's room wasn't an initial appearance, what the devil was it? It wasn't a probable cause hearing — the judge had already found probable cause by approving the complaint, and no further probable cause determination was necessary until either an indictment or preliminary hearing. It was run, in every respect, exactly like an initial appearance. Federal courts sometimes conduct initial appearances by video or in a hospital room when the circumstances require, as minimal research would have shown. It's very likely that the U.S. Attorney's Office pushed for an initial appearance in the hospital in order to ward off any future argument that the government failed to take Tsarnaev before the magistrate "without unreasonable delay" as required by Rule 5(1)(A).

If Meingoff is embarrassing, the loathsome and amoral torture-fetishist John Yoo is infuriating:

This is an outright violation of the separation of powers. It is not for federal judges, or worse yet their assistants, to rove around looking for criminal cases in which to act as law enforcement agents. The decision whether to read Miranda lies up to the executive branch.

Like Meingoff, John Yoo is neither stupid nor lazy nor unqualified to research legal issues. At the most charitable interpretation, neither wants to make even the most minimal inquiry about law and true facts when their gut reaction suits their partisan narrative. More likely, they are both deliberately dishonest people.

Last 5 posts by Ken White


  1. Caudex says

    Jesus wept. Hastur wept. Cthulhu wept. The gods of Chaos wept. The Emprah wept, big fat tears falling onto the Golden Throne. Every deity from every religion ever wept. How can people be so stupid, so afraid, so…so…AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGH!

  2. says

    Bonus fact: Judge Bowler was an AUSA right there in Boston for 12 years. Prior to that she was for a year an ADA for Middlesex County.

    But, hey, in 2011 she received an award from the U.S-Ukranian Foundation, and by oogey boogey flim flam do wop reasoning we can infer that shows a bias towards Eastern European immigrants being held for terrorism charges.

  3. Matthew Cline says

    What I don't understand about these people is that they seem to think this: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is fanatical enough to murder and maim random people he's never met, yet despite that fanaticism, when it comes to talking to the Feds he uses the law to decide how much to say.

  4. says

    In the interests of transparency, as a teenager, I spent a couple of years in Libya (dad was an engineer for Exxon). Rather than making me sympathetic to the Muslim Brotherhood, it made me more appreciative of the rights we Americans have. It also made me appreciative of the massive selection of breakfast cereal we have in the United States. Weetabix was all they had in Libya.

    But there you have it: Popehat commenter Jack B. has ties to Kadafi-era Libya.

  5. Jim Tyre says

    For those interested, here's a decent paper on the public safety exception to Miranda:

    Mirandizing Terrorists? An Empirical Analysis of the Public Safety Exception

    Joanna Wright
    Columbia Law Review

    October 12, 2011

    Columbia Law Review, Vol. 111, p. 1296, 2011


    The Quarles Public Safety Exception (“PSE”) exempts testimony from Miranda’s exclusionary rule and admits un-Mirandized statements made in response to questions intended to secure public safety. Recently, legislators, advocates, and academics have questioned the PSE’s ability to accommodate the unique challenges of terrorist interrogations, calling for legislative modification to or the elimination of suspected terrorists’ constitutional right to Miranda warnings. Before concluding that such drastic measures are necessary, this Note advocates for a logical, grounded assessment of the judiciary’s actual application of the PSE, learning as much as possible from the past case law to gauge exactly how courts utilize the PSE. This analysis examines whether or not the PSE is, in fact, capable of handling the unique challenges of terrorist interrogations. This Note conducts an empirical study of the PSE, systematically categorizing every state and federal court opinion that definitively asserts the appropriate application of the PSE, filtering the opinions through different metrics and variables relevant to terrorist interrogations. Ultimately, this Note concludes that the PSE is a fact-sensitive, capacious device equipped to properly handle the unique nature of terrorist interrogations, due largely to its malleability in the hands of the courts. Part I tracks the doctrinal evolution of confessions law leading up to the PSE. Part II presents the results of an empirical examination of the entire universe of Quarles case law. Part III pinpoints individual opinions that showcase features of the PSE particularly relevant to the debate. The data and analysis show, in conclusion, that Miranda warnings coupled with the PSE empower law enforcement to adequately interrogate suspected terrorists.

    Number of Pages in PDF File: 36

    Keywords: Quarles, Public Safety Exception, Miranda, Terrorists, Empirical Analysis, War on Terror, Terrorism, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, Faisal Shahzad, Constitutional Rights, National Security

    Accepted Paper Series

  6. naught_for_naught says

    I ask myself: when I very frequently talk about things I haven't bothered to learn about, do I sound like that? God help me.

    Based on my favorite episode of This American Life, I now qualify every "authoritative" statement I make with "According to Modern Jackass…."

    The thing about sounding like you are completely uniformed though is that it's not just people without any subject-matter expertise who say really bizarre things. Akhil Reed Amar, a a professor of Constitutional Law made this this argument in a piece he published on Slate. Either I am really naive about basic Constitutional protections like the fifth amendment, or a CV with Ivy League credentials don't mean as much as I thought they did…or of course both, both could be true.

    But according to Modern Jackass, the right against self incrimination, going back to the Magna Carta and enshrined in the Bill of Rights in the fifth amendment, are inviolable.

  7. MarkH says

    My wife and I meet many Muslims as part of our business, and we always enjoy it because they are kind and interesting people, and many have a good sense of humor.

    If some of these "journalists" would bother to travel the world, or heaven forbid, form some sort of ongoing relationship with people of other races and religions, their journalistic skills would probably become less biased.

    But, short of that, it must be the Judges fault for informing herself of her responsibilities. :p

  8. says

    Ken – These first two guys look like pretty soft targets, as we used to say back in the Corps.

    As for Kelly, I think lumping her in with them is a bum rap. She doesn't seem critical of the magistrate at all, and acknowledges the magistrate was required to warn the defendant of his rights.

    Rather, it sounds like she is reporting on what sources are saying is a dispute between the FBI and the United States Attorney as to whether to schedule the guy for an immediate hearing.

    Moreover (presuming the sources are right), the agents are not completely without a point. While Rule 5 requires the appearance to be "without unnecessary delay," there is authority that the defendant's being in a hospital constitutes good grounds for said delay. This, the agents might well contend, would allow them to keep chewing on the guy for information before anyone tells him he has the right to shut up.

    Whether delaying the hearing on these "humanitarian" grounds would be consistent with the whole "strike hard blows but fair ones" thing is a question for another day.

  9. Jim Tyre says

    For those interested, here's a decent paper on the public safety exception to Miranda

    Though, I must confess, I always thought that Miranda was Carmen Miranda and that the public safety exception was related to keeping a good distance from her headwear.

  10. says

    Jim: there are decent arguments to be made about application of the public safety exception to the law enforcement questioning of suspected terrorists. But none of those arguments have anything to do how an initial appearance in federal court is conducted. Once the government files charges and seeks a hearing, the exception period is over.

  11. Jim Tyre says

    Jim: there are decent arguments to be made about application of the public safety exception to the law enforcement questioning of suspected terrorists. But none of those arguments have anything to do how an initial appearance in federal court is conducted. Once the government files charges and seeks a hearing, the exception period is over

    Ken, no argument here. But there's so much misinfo out there about the PSE (before the government files charges) I thought a scholarly link, though otherwise highly inappropriate for Popehat, might be useful here. '-)

  12. says

    This is something I've never been quite able to nail down: is the withholding of Miranda and other forms of due process applicable when the suspect is a dirty furriner, or is it because of the magnitude of the crime?

    Over at my local paper, the resident legal experts in the comments section were advocating the revocation of Tsarnaev's citizenship so that he could be tortured. No one was using the Public Safety Exception as a reason to withhold due process; just the simple fact that he wasn't born in the United States.

  13. The Claw says

    It's remarkably charitable of you to attribute this mass of incorrect reportage to mere ignorance and incompetence, rather than politically-charged malice.

  14. MCB says

    It is also worth pointing out that if she doesn't do the Rule 5 hearing properly she is giving him an issue to make some kind of motion on or maybe an appeal after his inevitable conviction. Shoot having a judge do something really stupid in violation of procedural or substantive law is his best hope to have a real issue worth litigating as far as I can tell.

    If she were trying to help out her shadowy Muslim brother it would probably make more sense to not follow the rules than to follow them.

    Ah, but there I go again, thinking reason and logic matter to the crazies….sorry.

  15. Christophe says

    Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is fanatical enough to murder and maim random people he's never met, yet despite that fanaticism, when it comes to talking to the Feds he uses the law to decide how much to say.

    It's the same reasoning that paints red curbs in front of buildings as an anti-terrror measure. Because one thing mass murderers are for sure, is scrupulous about their obedience to civic parking regulations.

  16. NI says

    In fairness, I've already seen emails from crazy conspiracy nuts on the other side of the aisle claiming that the marathon bombing was the work of the CIA and done to give Obama an excuse to impose martial law. I guess if someone is of a mind to believe conspiracy theories, pretty much any fact pattern can be made to fit pretty much any conspiracy theory.

  17. Wick says

    @NI The two conspiracy theories are coming from the same side of the aisle, not the other side.

  18. sorrykb says

    The Slate article ("What If Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Decides Not to Talk?") is beyond cringe-worthy. But on the plus side, it was a helpful reminder to renew my ACLU membership. It also introduced (unless I'm just behind the times) the term "civilized compulsory interrogation". Will that be the new "enhanced interrogation"?
    On a related note, I'm curious if there ever has been an actual documented (not "the documents exist but they're classified but trust us it happened") instance of the "ticking bomb scenario" as popularized in fiction. Anywhere. Ever. I don't mean "Someone has valuable information that could save lives", but "We know there's a bomb. We know it's going to go off in X hours. We know you know where it is…"

  19. C. S. P. Schofield says

    I think that what we see here is the simple fact that nobody is getting out of this looking good. The Homeland Security boffins had these two gerbils in plain sight for years and failed to stop them. The police combined a massive overreaction with possibly the most blatant bit of inadvertent self-parody in modern times (keeping the Doughnut Shops open? Really!?!). The two 'terrorists' managed an attack that will have absolutely zero effect on the ability of the U.S. to make money OR war, and which will fuel the anger that I think will inevitably rain down on the Islamic lands someday soon.

    "What was Islam, daddy?"

    "That was a foolish religion that spent several decades picking a fight with the United States and ended up as obliterated as the Gods of the Babylonians."

    Just sit back and watch the circus; it's as good a way as any to pass the time until we finally lose our collective temper with these third rate hill bandits and go all Imperial on their ass.

    It ain't gonna to be good for us, but it will be worse for them and all their apologists. And I am firmly convinced that when the smoke clears, and Mecca and Medina are smoking heaps of rubble, and the Jihadists have been chased so far back into the hills that they have to get daylight shipped in via UPS, they are going to wonder what the %%$&* happened.

    My only real consolation is that, being in my 50's, I won't live long enough for the Imperial yoke to get really irksome at home… at least for WASPs like myself.


  20. MCB says

    Yes, I can see it now.

    Judge Marianne B. Bowler has been a straight arrow for decades. As a county prosecutor and then AUSA she followed the book, waived the flag, and towed the line. But, Judge Bowler also like to travel. Internationally.

    At first it was the soft stuff. A weekend jaunt to Toronto. Maybe a little late night "experimentation" with a Caribbean Cruise. But before you knew it she was sucking down the hard stuff: sabbaticals in France. And we all know once you get France you just have to main line it over to North Africa. Before long Judge Bowler wasn't just occasionally dabbling in flights that require customs inspections; she had become an international traveller.

    One night, blitzed on internationalism, she was downing drinks with foreign sounding names in Casablanca when a black helicopter landed. A tall, handsome Kenyan muslim with impeccable mastery of American English, slid in to a stool next to her. "Ms. Bowler, we have been watching you for sometime now. Some very big things are going to be happening in America, and we are going to need your help. We know you have traveled. How would you like to work for the UN to undermine American Democracy?"

    Was it the jet lag? The exciting new foods and languages? Was it the almost hypnotic note in the Kenyan's voice? Or had the seed of a treason been there all along waiting to be nourished by the hot Moroccan sun?

    We may never know. But that day a contract was signed in blood. And sealed with gold. Because the UN knows that gold is the only True Currency.

    And so, when the call came from that familiar Kenyan voice Judge Bowler boarded the helicopter to undermine America by "following" a little known Federal "Rule" of Criminal Procedure printed on the back of the new $1.00 bill. They call it, "Rule 5."

    The plan was in place.

  21. That Anonymous Coward says

    One would hope that Mr. Dollard could actually grasp the concept of allowing them to do it to the other guy means they will end up doing it to you.
    I enjoy seeing people railing about a case and how the target just has to be guilty because of X thing they dislike about that person so why investigate or let them have a day in court. So they throw the idea of fair and equal treatment to the wind because they are convinced the powers that be would never do it to them… well until they do and then they are shocked that they could be railroaded like that and there are people saying how they deserved it because of X unrelated reason.

  22. Jon says

    Ken, there's a shift about halfway through your post which had me confused for a second — the judge's name morphs from Bowler to Bowers (making my initial reaction, "Hey, Fox not only got the title wrong, they got the name wrong" until I realized they were indeed half right).

  23. says

    Okay, I might catch hell for the stupid I'm about to let out, but I'm gonna ask anyway…
    Is there really anybody left in America, with two brain cells to rub together, who DOESN'T know the whole "you have the right to remain silent" biz? Who would actually think they HAVE to talk, until someone reads their rights and then they're all, "Holy Shite Balls- you mean I can shut my air-hole?!? Right on!!"

    It just seems to me like all the conspiracy wackos are equating the reading of Miranda rights with touching the tree and shouting "base!" During a game of tag.

  24. says

    As a far right wing conservative extremist (tongue only very slightly in cheek), I am truly appalled at the number of people on the political right that are upset.

    After years of railing against the lawlessness of the Obama regime, how can anyone on my side of the political spectrum suddenly be upset that the Federal government, the judiciary, is actually following the rule of law?

    Do we REALLY want to decide that Feds can squirrel away a US Citizen for a little while (a few days, months, years) before producing them in front of a judge?

    And arguing the PSE in this case is another example of a very minor "exception" to the rules being expanded (see: RICO).

    Asking the first criminal seized in a drug bust if there's anyone else in the house, and do they have guns is a tad different than "well, let's see how long we can avoid following the Constitution!"

  25. says

    @Christophe Aha! But my company went one step further! Not only do we have the red curbs and yellow stripes, we have a policy! Woohoo! Yep, "Acts of Terror" are officially against company policy. I feel so safe now.

  26. Paul E. "Marbux" Merrell, J.D. says

    @ NI: I'd disagree with discarding all conspiracy theories automatically. Criminal conspiracies do occur. For example, a conspiracy among top U.S. officials to falsely accuse Saddam Hussein of possession of WMDs and of culpability in the 9/11 tragedies was used to lead the nation into war with Iraq. Commitment of ground troops to war in Viet Nam flowed directly from the so-called Gulf of Tonkin Incident, but now we know that: [i] at least one of the incidents did not happen; and [ii] the USS Maddox at the time was conducting electronic surveillance in support of an attack on North Viet Nam by the forces of South Viet Nam and was thus a legitimate military target for the North Vietnamese; i.e., we had already committed an act of war against North Viet Nam.

    In the instant case of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, we've all seen a conspiracy of media and government figures trying their damnedest to paint him as an unquestionably guilty, radical, foreign-inspired Islamist waging jihad, but the guy has yet to be found guilty even of the bombing in court.

    In my view conspiracy theorists perform a valuable public service by attempting to poke holes in official versions of events, bringing contrarian evidence and inferences to the fact-finding process. I rarely agree with them, but to assume that the "official" version of events is invariably true gives far too much faith to what government officials say, particularly as in the Tsarnaev case when they insist on anonymity in their statements that he has confessed.

    In today's climate, scepticism about government positions should be the rule rather than the exception. I've won too many cases against government to believe otherwise.

  27. naught_for_naught says

    @Christophe, RavingRambler

    Here's the thing about red curbs that you might be missing. Red curbs are not to deter terrorists from parking there. Painting the curb red is intended to prevent the non-terrorists from parking there. So not only will a red curb draw attention to a vehicle parked there, but it gives authority to remove the vehicle.

    An effective defense plan includes a layered series of measures designed to reduce risk. Painting a curb red is a pretty cost-effective measure if you see it for what it is. Of course, it's not the same as armed guards standing watch behind a k-rail perimeter.

  28. Matthew Cline says


    Is there really anybody left in America, with two brain cells to rub together, who DOESN'T know the whole "you have the right to remain silent" biz?

    There's people who've lived their entire lives in other countries who think that, when arrested in their non-U.S. country, that they have to be Mirandized. That's how well known Miranda rights are.

  29. C. S. P. Schofield says

    Paul E. "Marbux" Merrell, J.D.,

    I hate to harp on this, but Saddam did have WMDs. Chemical shells count. I know that a lot of people have pushed the idea that they don't, but they do.

    Did it matter? Hard to say. But Saddam had a lot of military hardware he wasn't supposed to, including chemical weapons.

  30. Lucy says

    MCB, nice. Oogey boogey flim flam do wop reasoning sounded right to me, but your story really connected the dots.

    Thank you for explaining once again how this process works. What gets me is that these explanations only infuriate the willfully ignorant rather than defuse them. (As seen in the update.)

  31. NI says

    Paul, I agree with you that conspiracy theorists sometimes perform the valuable service of encouraging people to be skeptical of government statements, and that sometimes there really are conspiracies. I also think that people who have money and power will do whatever they need to do to hold onto money and power, which often has the appearance of a conspiracy, whether it's a formal conspiracy or not.

    By the same token, government is, in the main, run by people too incompetent to organize a conspiracy. Think Watergate burglary. Think Iran-Contra. Think Fast and Furious. (Ooooh, selling weapons to Mexican drug lords, what could possibly go wrong?) So forgive me if my first inclination is not to assume that it's a conspiracy.

    And you also overlook the reason conspiracy theories are so popular: First, because most of what happens in life is actually fairly boring, and it's so much more interesting to assign responsibility to some dark cabal of evildoers than it is to acknowledge that shit happens. And second, it is too terrifying for some people to contemplate that a 20 year old social reject can enter a book depository in Texas and, with no help, shoot and kill the president of the United States and change the course of history. Because if it's true that any social reject with a rifle can do that, then the world is a much more dangerous place that we imagine; it's far less scary to assume that such deeds can only be done by powerful cabals. Well, guess what: two social rejects with basic bomb-making skills really did manage to shut down a major American city for a day, and there's no guarantee two more social rejects won't try something similar tomorrow. Yes, the world really is that dangerous.

    Religion, by the way, runs on the same basic set of human emotions: It's far more comforting to believe that the Creator of the universe is my best friend than it is to believe that we're on our own, and it's far more comforting to believe that everything happens for a reason than it is to believe that all we are is dust in the wind.

  32. naught_for_naught says

    @C. S. P. Schofield

    Harp all you want, but it won't change the facts that we went to war on a lie fabricated by Bush and his neocon handlers. For those who want to equivocate, arguing that the existence of 500 degraded chemical shells, shells that had been gathering dust on a shelf since before the Persian Gulf War, in any way satisfied the mission, here is Bush in his own words, assuring the people that Saddam was building a Nuke-u-ler bomb in addition to producing anthrax an a massive scale.

    Paul is on the mark, the case for the war in Iraq was a full on fabrication and completely without merit. It was a lie that cost $3 trillion+ in U.S. debt, 5,000+ soldier lives, 100,000+ Iraqi civilian lives, and left 10's of thousands of soldiers with permanent physical and mental disabilities. Now that is mass destruction.

  33. J says

    Should note, Kelly has a law degree and spent time at Jones Day before becoming one of Rupert's Angels.

  34. OngChotwI says

    A.C.: I've had police accuse me of busting out 4 house windows and an auto windshield for insurance fraud. (In the middle of winter.. with 8 inches of snow on the ground..) And that when the cop asked me if my tenant had signed the lease with Geri present, I assumed he'd found out the name of the young lady in the white outfit that had accompanied the tenant. Evidently, Gerry was the scruffy male she introduced me to later on, stating he was going to help her move in. Therefore.. I've lied to the cops.
    I haven't been extremely impressed with the latest batch of police here.. and hope the Police did a better job in other locations.
    Back in the '70s and 80's.. I remember discussions being more indepth. Now, you get a couple tweets' worth of information about a case and have to go out searching for enough information to make a balanced opinion on it.
    i.e. LEO & reporters need to do a better job.

  35. MattS says


    All conspiracy theories are written by the CIA PSYOPS division. There is only one true conspiracy and all the so called conspiracy theories are just red herrings put out by the government to hide the real truth from the American public.

    /straight face. :D

  36. says

    I've seen at least 10 different conspiracies pop up about the Boston Bombing. The more information the internet has, the more crack pot theories it can come up with. On another note, if Paul's mention of WMDs in Iraq ruined this thread, he owes everyone 2 internets.

  37. Shane says

    What really scares me about all of this crap is this, what if the defense attorney gets Gilligan off of the island. I am a afraid that at that point the American judicial system will have been just a three hour tour.

  38. C. S. P. Schofield says


    I'm not defending the Iraq war here. I'm saying that the increasing common narrative that Saddam had no WMDs is at least as false as anything Bush is accused of saying. Be careful of the truth, or I will be forced to conclude that you are more interested in anti-Bush outrage than in a real assessment of the war.

    Don't make a transparent lie part of your assertion that Bush was a liar if you want me to take you seriously.

    It isn't hard; Saddam had WMDs. He had a lot of things he had no business having. A case can still be made that the entire war was a waste. Saying there were no WMDs is sloppy. It takes your argument out of the realm of those that must be taken seriously, and into the realm of "The Twin Towers must have been a planned detonation" or "FRD had to know the attack on Pearl was coming".

  39. Ken Robers says

    I think Roscoe has it right. Megyn Kelly said nothing incorrect but was clearly citing the confusion within the FBI ranks. Megyn Kelly was law review in law school which tells me she was a pretty good student then and I am guessing she still is.

  40. AlphaCentauri says

    Q. How do we know Saddam had chemical and biological weapons?

    A. We kept the receipts.

  41. Michael K. says

    A "terrorist parisan"? Surely you meant "Parisian," because "partisan" isn't as funny.

  42. says

    I'm not sure about the rest off you but has anyone else noticed that Patrick Dollard's surname is so apt. Especially when one understands the original spelling was "Dullard"

  43. alexa-blue says

    Not to stray too far afield, but in a CNN article here, Eric Holder is quoted a saying, "we have a two-day period to question him under the public safety exception." True fact? The reading I did earlier (such as, what was linked too from here) suggested that it wasn't clear and the dubiousness of claiming public safety exception increases proportionately with time.

  44. jeff says

    But but but… surely he had that right even before they turned traitor and mentioned it?

  45. -dsr- says

    It's interesting that the judge made up her own wording for the Miranda warning. Not so many towns over from Boston, you'll find that the cops all carry credit-card sized pieces of plastic with a particular form of the warning on it, and they are trained to always read off the card, not memorize it.


    So that their testimony can go like this:

    Q: Did you advise Mr. X of his Miranda rights?

    A: Yes.

    Q: What exactly did you say?

    A: I read the form off of this card, exactly.

    So there are very few cases that turn on whether the defendant was properly Mirandized.

  46. Wolfwood says

    @ Paige:

    Actually, there are. As a criminal defense attorney, I have an interesting mix of career criminals who know the system better than I do, pitiable bumblers, and flat-out idiots. The last two categories include an awful lot of people who don't know their rights, even after watching every police show you can think of. And as Matthew Cline pointed out, recent immigrants may not know. Also, unless we keep requiring the reading of Miranda rights, it'll eventually fade out of public consciousness and we'll be back where we started.

  47. C. S. P. Schofield says


    If Holder said it, I would tend to assume it was pigswill. Even if what he said was something on the order of "Water is wet".

  48. AlphaCentauri says

    As I understand it, the only thing involved with not reading him his rights is whether that information can be used against him in trial. They don't need that information to convict him. There is plenty of other evidence including bystander photos of him and his brother setting off an incendiary device during the police shoot out. They don't need to use a word of any information he provided before being read his rights.

    He has no right to refuse to provide testimony against other people, though. So long as they hadn't read him his rights, and so long as the information he provided won't be used at his trial, and so long as there was no torture/withholding of pain medications involved, the interrogation wasn't violating his rights. Delaying reading his rights and not using the information in his own trial so he could speak freely without incriminating himself seems like a stroke of genius, frankly.

  49. AlphaCentauri says

    Well, I just checked the citizenship study materials, and there's nothing about the right to not testify against oneself. Only the first amendment and the right to bear arms seem to be mentioned. Then there's a bogus question about the rights in the Declaration of Independence, as if the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are guaranteed by law in the same way as first amendment rights.

  50. naught_for_naught says

    I'm not defending the Iraq war here. I'm saying that the increasing common narrative that Saddam had no WMDs is at least as false as anything Bush is accused of saying. Be careful of the truth, or I will be forced to conclude that you are more interested in anti-Bush outrage than in a real assessment of the war.

    The facts are on the table for anyone to see, who is actually willing to see. As the above link shows, the "shells," which you call the WMD's that will exonerate Bush's judgment, were shown to be so degraded that they couldn't be used for their intended purpose. What was found was a small, dusty pile of chemical waste, without any military function — weapons made before the Gulf War, not what Bush was talking about at all, which were WMD's being currently produced. It's a three prong test: (1) Iraq was stockpiling WMD's from (2) an "ongoing" operation to produce biological weapons such as anthrax as well as nuclear weapons which posed (3) a real an eminent threat to the safety of the region.

    That was Bush's case for war. That was the basis for launching the invasion. You have no evidence that program because there is none. Instead you insist that the whole debacle be evaluated as if it were a scavenger hunt, where one WMD is the same as any other, like they are undifferentiated WMD widgets. Well, they're not widgets, and they in no way satisfy the three-pronged test that determines whether there was any actual basis for Bush's claims and the war itself.

    I know that I'm off topic, and I apologize to the keepers and other readers of Pophat, but I need to say one last thing.

    Calling the case for the Iraq War as being too close to call is the sport of Bush apologists. I am not one, nor do I wish to be one of them, nor do I care if one of their own threatens me with not being taken seriously. To that little gambit I say, go fish.

  51. Chris W says

    As with the best comedy, the farce here is being carried on at multiple levels.

    On it's face, it would be absurd to plan a major conspiracy that would rely on the fact that a US citizen was unaware of his Miranda rights, *and*, having just detonated a bomb, would knuckle under to questioning anyway. Sure, it's *possible* that the guy wouldn't know he had 5th Amendment rights, and that he wouldn't clam up anyway. But would you want to plan something that requires that?

    But if you take a couple of steps back, you can see comedy carried out on a much grander canvas. The actors are all pretending that a scene that killed three, and badly hurt a couple of dozen, has the power to change the world. Whoever wrote this screenplay is expecting us to suspend disbelief, pretending that we don't know that many times more people than this are hurt and killed in accidents every day of the year.

    Everybody getting all panicky about this even is badly in need of perspective.

  52. MattS says

    C. S. P. Schofield,

    Yes, there are some people whose credibility is so low that if they tell you the sky is blue, you best look out the window to make sure it hasn't turned green or something.

  53. says

    Now, in a standard blog vs blog showdown, my money is on Ken in any form of legal freestyle battle. I think twitter wars might be new territory for Ken but he's one to rise to the occasion. If I can make a suggestion – "hey moron' in the opening salvo is pretty gangsta as far as that goes – I think you need to come back with either a good Yo Mamma or Deez Nutz quip.

  54. says

    @G Thompson – it was the first thing that popped into my mind other than 'who the hell is this guy" and "hey moron, seriously?' So I looked him up figuring he must be some famous dude or something. When you see his picture or read his profile, you'd actually be surprised if he responded with anything other than 'hey moron' – never trust someone who looks really constipated in a profile picture – never.

  55. says

    Well, now that we have a standard by which we can identify people prone to falling under the sway of jihadist propaganda — mere exposure seems to be the measure — we have to start considering Dollard, Gellar, Spencer, and the like as willing dupes, do we not?

    They've been 'contaminated' by countless hours of exposure to 'the hidden agenda' of those who would wrest our freedom from our very own hands, have they not?

  56. says

    If Bush knew, going in, that Saddam had no WMDs, then, why didn't we "find" some? Your average beat cop is smart enough to "find" drugs whenever they decide someone they want to arrest has them. You'd think if the entire thing was a known lie from the get-go, that everyone involved knew it was just about the oil, that there wouldn't have been such a public admission of "Oh, well, no WMDs after all. Silly us."

  57. says

    It would be kind of lulzy to get an internet rumor going that the Globalists have secret plans to make the Rape Supporting UConn Cartoon Husky, a Muslim. We could use a protractor to draw a triangle around one of hte eyes and send it to Alex Jones as proof it contains Masonic imagery. With a little work we could probably get Dollard to make a Documentary film about it.

  58. Allen says

    I thought all of this was pretty basic knowledge. Now, I understand a non-native citizen might not have been exposed to it growing up, but every child attending public schools in the US probably has heard these things.

    Right to due process.
    Right to avoid self-incrimination.
    Right to counsel.
    Right to a speedy trial.

    I would bet they're even written down somewhere. Where is it? Wait a minute I know, the Constitution.

    Indictment, yes the clock is now ticking. I wonder if these wizard researchers even understand what the appropriate remedy, as determined by the Supremes, is for failing to render a speedy trial.

  59. says

    You're noticing the "Dan Brown Effect". Most journalists and general audience writers have devoted most of their time and effort to a particular area of expertise: their ability to write. Unfortunately, this means they probably have devoted far less on developing expertise in the various subjects they are covering. Most science writers aren't really that well versed on science. Most court reporters aren't that well versed on the law. Most popular history writers aren't that well versed on history. We never notice this because we're not that well versed on science, law, or history either.

    The problem is that when you start reading a general audience article about something you do know a lot about. Suddenly you start noticing everything wrong about it. And the sad fact is pretty much everything you read is just as badly researched, you just don't know enough to recognize it.

  60. says

    @John – Alex jones' show is pretty lulzy if when you consider he's serious and so are his callers- but i'm pretty sure he has said that the globalists have infiltrated the anti-jihad movement, so they can discredit it or something. It wouldn't take much to convince him those cats are in on it. I just figured something out too – if you take the 4th letter of your name, the first letter of the first word you wrote and the 2nd letter of your name, it spells NWO and that can't just be a meaningless coincidence

  61. says

    @Stormy – looking at what happens constantly on Amazon for instance, with reviews on books that aren't yet released or by some controversial person, it seems many have their minds made up and read what they want into things (and often don't even need to read a book to have a very strong opinion on it). Combine this with the phenomenon you described, and there's just a big mess of teh stupid.

  62. Joe Hone says

    @ Stormy Dragon: "The problem is that when you start reading a general audience article about something you do know a lot about. Suddenly you start noticing everything wrong about it."

    I got curious about Dollard after his tweet and did a websearch – he fits right in here with the Dan Brown Effect; I'm speaking as a career criminal defense attorney.

  63. En Passant says

    This is simple, but the Kenyan Muslim administration and media lapdogs don't want you to know it.


    1. Police perform warrantless house to house search; fail to find the man in a boat.

    2. Woman in black robe similar to robes mandated for women by radical imams, claims to be “a dedicated international traveler”, visits man in a room with a bed.

    3. DOJ claims that FBI had advance knowledge of the visit, and left the room before the visit.

    3. No video was made of the encounter.

    Legal analysis: DOJ and FBI aided and abetted violation of rule 34.

    The Republic is so doomed!

  64. naught_for_naught says


    If Bush knew, going in, that Saddam had no WMDs, then, why didn't we "find" some?

    I always read your posts looking for a good argument, but I have to say that this is not your best work. First of all, lie is too strong of a word. Negligently disingenuous is a more accurate phrase, after all no bomb tosser like Kieth Olberman. That said,

    With this test you have created an Orwellian paradox of the first magnitude. If we extend its logic, the only way to prove that Bush was not "lying" about there being definitive proof that WMDs were being produced would be to actually find them. That doesn't make sense, and it gives me a headache.

    What shows how negligently disingenuous was is not solely determined by finding or not finding them, that's certainly part of it. The deception is documented in the Statements of Colin Powell, in the outting of Valerie Plame in response to Joe Wilson's contention that the WMD claim was BS, in the reliance on this source Curveball, on the crediting of dubious intelligence about meetings in Europe for the purchase of yellow cake, and on and on.

    C'mon, man!

  65. naught_for_naught says

    [EDIT — several typos completely mangled my ideas, so I edit and repost ]


    If Bush knew, going in, that Saddam had no WMDs, then, why didn't we "find" some?

    I always read your posts looking for a good argument, but I have to say that this is not your best work. First of all, the word lie is the wrong word to characterize the whole affair; although, it seems doubtless that 1,000's of lies were told in the process. But the term lie for Bush's final case for was should be tossed out. Instead it is fairly characterized as being Negligently disingenuous. I'll leave bomb tossing to Kieth Olberman and the other toss posts of his kind. That said….

    The test you have created to determine Bush's veracity is an Orwellian paradox of the first magnitude. If we extend its logic, the only way to prove that Bush was "lying"about knowing for certain that Saddam had an active WMD program would have been to find the program Bush promised us was there. That doesn't make sense, and it gives me a headache.

    This issue fits with this post, in that it deals with this same issue of people being willfully blind and ignorant, taking half truths as definitive proof, and generally being tool and just making shit up as you go to support a stupid idea.

    Concluding that the Bush administration was negligently disingenuous is based on much more that just determining whether we would Saddam's WMD program. It considers a pervasive pattern of deception, manipulation of evidence, and general imcompetence. This is documented in the Statements of Colin Powell, in the outting of Valerie Plame because her husband, Joe Wilson, challenged the case that Bush was making, in the reliance on this dubious intelligence sources like Curveball, on the crediting of fabricated intelligence reports about meetings in Europe for the purchase of yellow cake, and on and on.

    What I am saying is this. Dude, c'mon!

  66. MosesZD says

    Dear Dullard:

    When your ass has been handed to you, don't double down on your stupidity.

  67. C. S. P. Schofield says


    Y'see, that's the problem with the revisionist "Bush lied" narrative. It assumes that the Bush administration was competent enough to know that Saddam had allowed what WMDs he'd failed to account for to rot, dishonest enough to use their existence to 'justify' the war, and stupid enough to not have a dirt-cop style 'holdout' to plant. It doesn't hang together.

    They can't just say; "I don't think that the reasons given justified the war, and furthermore some of those reasons didn't pan out." They have to demonize Bush. I'm not sure why, though I could guess.

    You will notice how the narrative went from "There aren't any WMDs" to "Well, maybe there's a lot of WMD related equipment, but that doesn't prove anything" (PERSONALLY I think its suggestive as hell), to "OK, technically we've found some WMDs, but they were old so they don't really count".

    You will also notice how nobody on the Left wants to discuss the simple fact that, since Saddam had never come close to meeting the terms of surrender for the First Gulf War, a state of war already existed between our countries.

    It's all about demonizing Bush. Now Bush doesn't strike me as our greatest President ever, but I spent the eight years of his administration listening to these pillocks calling him a Nazi. As if a Nazi would have left them free to call him that. I'm sick of the lying pissbuckets of the Left, who have to run down Bush lest the public observe that Obama is also bumbling around in third world pest holes, dropping Foreign Policy stitches left and right, lying to congress and the public, and generally carrying on like R. Nixon with a deep tan.

    Stick to the godsdamned truth about what Bush did or didn't do; that's bad enough. And if lying to the public about administration policies is so awful, lets see some vitriol for Jug Ears at 1600m Penn., eh?

  68. Anita says

    xbradtc • Apr 27, 2013 @8:36 pm

    As a far right wing conservative extremist (tongue only very slightly in cheek), I am truly appalled at the number of people on the political right that are upset.

    Probably because they know that had the bombers been white Tea Party admirers (or could be construed as such), no such niceties would have been observed. And no one in the MSM or the government, or the ACLU would have cared.

  69. Jay says

    naught_for_naught :That was Bush's case for war

    No, no it was not. And you screeching absurdly about "lies" (you clearly don't know what the word lie actually means) doesn't make it so.

    An AUMF which actually made the case for OIF was written and approved by large, bi-partisan majorities in Congress.

    Your silly, lying screeching does nothing to address these facts.

  70. Jay says

    But Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd disputed the claims, saying that the suspect’s initial appearance was scheduled following the filing of the criminal complaint in a manner “consistent” with procedure

    -On this matter, I think an area criticism could be that the filing could have been further delayed.

  71. MCB says


    Well, if only we had some time when a crazy right wing white person had pulled off a terrorist attack where we could check that. Oh wait! We do! Once McVeigh was in Federal custody it looks like he was arraigned within 24 hours.

    And I don't recall anyone suggesting we ship him off to a military encampment to be tortured.

    Why, it's almost as if there isn't a giant conspiracy to destroy white folks.

    Also, is there anyone in here who (a) thinks terrorists should generally be arraigned in accordance with Federal law unless (b) they are white "Tea Party" folks? Anyone? A single person? Please, speak up!

  72. Matthew Cline says


    The ACLU has defended the right of Nazis to have marches. The point being not Godwinize on the Tea Party, but rather to point out that the ACLU will defend people who 1) are white, and 2) have opinions that the ACLU hates.

  73. C. S. P. Schofield says


    I was under the impression that McVeigh was less Right Wing than pure 'receiving Radio Venus on his bridgework'. I know that there was a lot of loose talk about him having ties to the Militia movement of the times, and I also know that it emerged that he had attended one meeting, and they had thrown him out as being an obvious nut.

    That said, I'm not in favor of torturing the surviving Boston Marathon bomber. He should get as fair a civil trial as is possible under these conditions. My only caveat would be that if he spouts the Hollywood cliche "I am a soldier in the fight against…..", then he should get as fair a MILITARY trial as possible under the circumstances. But I doubt that he's that silly. In fact, the more I think about it the more I am inclined to think that that line hasn't been used in the real world since the Countercultural idiocies of the late '60's and early '70's. If, indeed, it ever was.

  74. Sami says

    Personally, I would argue that the whole thing remains entirely moot regarding Tsarnaev's potential value in information-supply, but it's critical that America follow the rule of law because its credibility on that score is a) important and b) kind of shaky since the Bush years as it is.

    Tsarnaev is moot because he's badly wounded, including having been shot in the throat, and it's only been a few days. Anything he says, ANYTHING, will be absolutely meaningless.

    Because questioning will be done one of two ways.

    1) He'll be questioned without being given pain medication, on the understanding that he'll be medicated when the questioning is done, in which case his answers will be pretty easy to claim were extracted under duress, and, since it's an equivalent-to-torture scenario, can be assumed to be unreliable. He'd say anything to get his pain meds. (A little over a year ago, I broke my ankle and had orthopaedic surgery. Only once, in the aftermath, some of the five different kinds of pain medication I was taking started to wear off, and I can assure you, if my pills had been delayed until I had answered questions, I would call that torture, and I'm pretty sure I was in less pain than Tsarnaev right now.)

    2) He's questioned while medicated for pain. In which case they'll be questioning him while he's under the influence of pretty serious narcotics. I'm not a lawyer, but I'm willing to assume that "under the influence of heavy-duty narcotics" is something that undercuts the legal value of testimony. The public safety exemption isn't even important at this point, because sure, they could ask him about other explosives, but answers like, "The bomb is under the elephant!" aren't going to be very helpful.

    So these idiots are setting out to demand the abandonment of the Constitution and the rule of law and everything that makes America better than the terrorists, and there's not even any benefit to be derived from that.

  75. Matthew Cline says

    Mirengoff attempt to evade the issue by asking why the judge would "deem her appearance in the hospital as constituting an appearance in court," and calling this ridiculous. It is Mirengoff's response that is both ridiculous and willfully ignorant. If the hearing held in the defendant's room wasn't an initial appearance, what the devil was it?

    Is he implying that all the rules a judge normally has to follow only apply to hearings held in a courtroom, so if the judge holds a hearing in a hospital room that the judge can just ignore all the rules?

  76. Anony Mouse says

    As we saw with the charges here of use of WMD, the definition of WMD is considerably broader than just an MX ICBM. While the UN's focus is certainly on NBC weapons, they also classify certain types of missiles as WMD. Indeed, the Missile Technology Control Regime is part of their efforts to generally reduce WMDs world-wide.

    In other words, it wasn't just old chemical shells that he had in violation of UN Reslutions and that were classed as WMD; some of his missile systems also ran afoul.

    Yeah, it's a semantic defense, but why weaken your argument by leaving yourself open to semantic defenses? Or by leaving yourself open to people with working memories:

    It wasn't just Bush and his minions/masters who were beating the WMD drum. One of the primary reasons then-senator Clinton gave for why we shouldn't go into Iraq was the fear that Saddam would use chemical or biological agents on our soldiers. If she knew that WMD was just another Bush smoke screen, why would she play along by using weaponized WMD as a reason to not invade. Hell, why would scores of people directly opposed to Bush do so? ( )

    Unless they were part of the conspiracy too, I guess.

  77. Jay says

    Well, if only we had some time when a crazy right wing white person had pulled off a terrorist attack where we could check that. Oh wait! We do! Once McVeigh

    Nice meme you got going there. McVeigh was not "right wing"

    Persist with your meme, now.

  78. Jay says

    Once McVeigh was in Federal custody it looks like he was arraigned within 24 hours.

    Yes, on weapons charges. He was speeding and carrying a concealed weapon illegally.

    Could you be any more silly and dishonest?

  79. joe pullen says

    Someone should start a Pat Dollard funny hashtag on Twitter – geez is that guy even a real reporter?

  80. MCB says


    Did you even read the article I linked? "McVeigh was brought to Oklahoma City in leg irons and handcuffs tonight by helicopter and was arraigned by a federal magistrate on charges of destroying federal property." He was ARRESTED for something else, but then they figured out who he was. Once the feds got CUSTODY of him, they arraigned him quickly.

    As to McVeigh not being a true Scotsman, I mean Muslim, I mean right winger, well it's just silly. He was a "patriot movement" anti-government radical. He also had to be a little mentally unstable to do what he did, and no doubt that was a factor as well. He quite the NRA because he thought it was too moderate, and went to gun shows complaining about Waco which he saw as a massive big government conspiracy. Doubtless, he wouldn't have liked mainstream Republicans much, much as these folks probably weren't very happy with mainstream Islam.

  81. Jay says

    Did you even read the article I linked? "McVeigh was brought to Oklahoma City in leg irons and handcuffs tonight by helicopter and was arraigned by a federal magistrate on charges of destroying federal property."

    My God. You can't tell time:

    In a day of stunningly swift developments, Attorney General Janet Reno told a mid-afternoon news conference that McVeigh had been held since Wednesday by police …was not until Thursday night that local officers recognized him from composite drawings of two bombing suspects distributed by the FBI.

    So Saturday is 24 hours from Thursday, right?
    No matter, the point here is that the DOJ was under no obligation to file within 24 hours.

    Oh and carry on pretending the world of 1995 is somehow related to the world of 2013 regarding terrorism.
    that must be fun.

  82. says

    @Naught — you might be missing my sarcasm/cynicism. My point is, why do half a conspiracy? Why gather with his cohorts, chuckle over how they're going to hoodwink the masses into supporting the invasion of Iraq on false pretenses, and then not make sure the right weapons are found in the right places by the right people? Anyone who later claimed they were planted would be lumped in with all the other conspiracy nuts, and, as conspiracies go, this would be far easier to pull off (you'd need only a few loyal special forces types to plant the uranium, nerve gas, or whatever in a few "hidden" locations, which could be "discovered" as needed). Bush, Blair, et al, seemed genuinely surprised and confused when it turned out we invaded a country for no reason, or, at least, not for the reason we used. I suppose a compromise position might be that Bush, etc, knew their evidence for WMDs was highly suspect, but believed their intelligence was weak, and Saddam was just hiding them too well — this would explain why they exaggerated their certainty and then had no backup plan for when nothing materialized.

    I think Bush had many motivations for pushing the Iraq war, most of them highly dubious, and used the specter of WMDs as his main public justification, though it was not his main private one — but I think he did expect to find more than he did. This may be proof of incredible self-delusion, but he deluded a lot of smarter people, as well — and the more people you want to believe knowingly supported the invasion on false pretenses, the more unsustainable the idea becomes. Certainly, Bush didn't apply the highest standards of skepticism to his evidence; I don't deny that. Others may have had reasons to be similarly lax in judgment, choosing to err on the side of what they most wanted to believe, but I think they convinced themselves they believed it.

    Incompetence explains most of the tragedies of history far better than conspiracy, a theme we see echoed today in the Boston bombings.

  83. MCB says


    My god, you don't understand the difference between federal and local law enforcement.

  84. naught_for_naught says


    you might be missing my sarcasm/cynicism.

    You're probably right, I miss quite a bit.

    As you say, I don't think there was any conspiracy either, just a perfect storm of incompetency, ulterior motives, fear, intimidation and cowardice. There's plenty of fault to go around including Congress, the media and the public. Likewise, I think everyone who bought in had their own reasons for doing so.

    These are my arguments:

    (1) The march to war in Iraq began with President Bush, his cabinet and their grotesquely incorrect assessment of the situation, which I will characterize as being negligently disingenuous. Their negligence incorporated 1,000's of actual incidents of lying, but referring to the debacle as a whole as a lie does not accurately describe what happened. However, it was the president who made the case for war. (The link to Bush's speech is posted above, if anyone cares to review it.) We can all remember the talking points. They were drummed into us through every media outlet and repeated on the floor of the U.N. by then Secretary of State Powell.

    (2) The administration's case for war was based on three points: (a) Saddam Hussein was actively developing chemical, biological and nuclear weapons; (b) these weapons posed an eminent threat to the safety and security of the region; and (c) the U.S. was duty bound to intercede before the region became engulfed in a "mushroom cloud." Of course, none of these arguments were true, as any reasonable person knows.

    (3) The same kind of half truths, willful ignorance and sophistry that are at work in the subject of this post, namely the ignorance that backs the charge Judge Bowler's actions were a mistake and proof of some kind of Muslim sympathy, are at work in other comments regarding the Iraq war.

    Having disconnected the cable in my house, shutting out the 24-hour insanity that is cable news, I now rely exclusively on Modern Jackass for news and current events.

  85. Matt says

    "Federal courts sometimes conduct initial appearances by video or in a hospital room when the circumstances require, as minimal research would have shown."

    Seriously this. Heck, I'm sure I've seen it at least once on Law & Order, if you want to talk about only knowing things from TV and such…

  86. AlphaCentauri says

    We do know Tamarlin Tsarnaev was considered seriously nutty by the local Muslims, as they threw him out of their mosque the first time he attended after he caused a disruption because the imam held up Martin Luther King, Jr. as an exemplary person. We also know that people who knew them when they were younger did not consider them violent or particularly religious — it appears to have developed in the last few years in the older one; it's less clear how committed the younger one was.

    "Hyperreligiousity" is a common symptom of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Christians, for instance, may think they are Jesus's second coming, or they may attack someone they believe is possessed by the devil.

    It may be difficult for someone who is not a member of a particular faith to evaluate if a person's behavior is appropriate or crazy within his/her own cultural context. (If a white male congregant in a suburban Episcopal parish began fanning himself and shouting, "Oh, Jesus! Oh, Jesus! Oh, Jesus! during the sermon, your assessment of his mental stability would different than if it were a Black female congregant in an urban Baptist congregation, where such exclamations are common.)

    I think in the case of people like McVeigh and the Tsarnaevs, it's a function of the mental disorder, not the faith or politics that the mentally ill people thought they were following. There's no point arguing whether they're right wing or left wing. Their views and behavior are not accepted by the very people whose faith/politics they claim to follow.

  87. AlphaCentauri says

    As far as interviewing him in the hospital, I have to assume that happens pretty regularly, as victims and suspects whose survival is uncertain need to be interviewed as soon as possible. And he may well be hallucinating/delusional from the drugs, as well as being disinhibited. He's scared and completely helpless. He's going to tend to regard the people around him in very black-and-white terms. So I would guess an experience interviewer will treat him with kindness, as that is the most likely way to have him open up and provide informaton. You can't take anything he says as fact, but you can use it to generate leads to follow. You would have to gather other evidence to have anything admissable in court.

  88. Narad says

    "Hyperreligiousity" is a common symptom of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

    Lumping these two conditions together is a problem right out of the gate, not to mention pseudoquantifying the statement with "common."

  89. MCB says

    Yeah Norahc I've seen that as well. That would be a bigger problem, but since they don't need the statements, I doubt that it will be a huge issue.

  90. says

    There's a quote in the L. A. Times (, attributed to a "Senior Congressional Aide" that said: "…Tsarnaev had asked several times for a lawyer, but that request was ignored since he was being questioned under the public safety exemption to the Miranda rule"

    PLEASE tell me that's not right? The public safety exception just applies to the duty to advise the detainee of their right to counsel, not to the actual right to counsel itself… does it?!

  91. MCB says


    I'm pretty sure the statements would then be inadmissible is Tsarnaev was properly clear about wanting a lawyer ("I want an attorney" and not "I think I want an attorney.").

    But, what is the remedy? The statements can't get used at trial. That's it.

  92. Kat says

    I couldn't think of anything to say about this at the time it was posted and I still can't think of anything.

    I am speechless.

  93. Dictatortot says

    As Ken devastatingly shows, virtually none of these blogger objections passes the logic test. However, I'm not 100% sure they're quite as stupid, or as to-the-core dishonest, as Ken's takedown at first implies.

    Many of us non-lawyers start with something in our gut, and try to puzzle out a chain of logic that would account for the gut feeling that troubles us. Sometimes we end up with a faulty logical accounting for it, but that doesn't always mean the feeling is unjustified–maybe it's just been misdiagnosed.

    I'm no mindreader, so take this for what it's worth: I suspect that lots of people are concerned that wherever possible, the U.S. justice system will try to be deferential to Tsarnayev's interests. And not out of genuine concern for due process, but because prosecuting him causes discomfort for those politicos and functionaries whose default stance appears to be cringing before the nation's antagonists. And if such functionaries are more than a strawman and actually exist anywhere at all, a Massachusetts court is one of the likeliest places.

    Dollard's a fool if he thinks the Judge Bowler has any Muslim Brotherhood links … but maybe in some inchoate way, he suspects the judge belongs to a social & political class that's often all too eager to cut excuses for the likes of the Brotherhood. Maybe to him, she seems like the sort of person who, if in doubt and all other things being equal, might be inclined to serve the defendant's interests first. Being unable to ID those vague intuitions precisely, a person might well come up with post-hoc rationalizations that miss the mark.

  94. C B says

    As The Daily Show pointed out on Monday of this week, I think, it was obvious that "he was singing like a canary until he was Mirandized" was on the official Fox News Talking Points memo sent to all shows. These daily directives on how to steer the conversations help Fox to frame the debate the way they want them to go.

  95. says

    @Dictatortot- I can agree with your interpretation of the the thought processes that could be behind some of these batshit-wrong statements.

    However, I'm sure you'll agree that this isn't private bitching overheard in a bar- these are statements in the media, put out to influence the public by people who insinuate that they are in a position to know about these things (and some of them SHOULD) who DO have the ability to precisely ID these vague intuitions, but didn't. I think that's completely irresponsible.

    Sometimes that gut feeling that troubles us is just gas. And these asshats chose to fart on the 5:00 train.

  96. Dictatortot says

    For my own part, I suspect there's something to it–but that doesn't amount to anything that can or should be formally marshalled against a judge or politician. And you might be right about these reporters and bloggers, but that's one of the costs of no longer getting everything channelled through a handful of networks and anointed talking heads. On balance, methinks we've gained more than we've lost there.