|Apr 25, 2013 - Issue 514|
On February 7, 2003, I was on the T, stopped at the MIT station. Several policemen on the train platform looked at me, and I knew what was coming next. The doors opened and about six policemen came in and grabbed my arm, escorting me off the train.
The police said I resembled a bank robber.
On the platform, I shouted that I was an associate professor of mathematics at MIT, repeatedly, so that passengers could hear. The policemen wanted me to stop but I did not; this may have been the only reason I avoided being taken into custody, or worse.
you believe the media, the American consensus is that the two
Chechens the Boston police called “armed and dangerous” are in
fact the Marathon Bombers. I’m not so sure.
Yes, conspiracy theories are often crazy. Once, I talked to some dancers who had performed a “vibration” at Tennessee State University, and one of the women suddenly said to me, “Do you know about the Reptilians?” She was not a herpetologist. Apparently “Reptilians” were aliens from Sirius who had come to Earth.
There are, however, conspiracy theories that are sane. (I’m talking to you, creator of BostonMarathonConspiracy.com.) For example, COINTELPRO, or Operation Northwoods, or the Lusitania. In fact, these aren’t conspiracy theories so much as conspiracy facts, just facts that few Americans know.
The post-9/11, pre-Iraq War American drone would argue that the police must have evidence they are not telling the public. Someone who knows what happened on December 4, 1969 would use Occam’s Razor: the only evidence the police had was a short video of two men wearing backpacks, like three out of every five consumers - really suspicious. The police claimed they had unreleased video footage (“We know where [the weapons of mass destruction] are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat”), but if they have other footage, why not show it? Surely more than one video would have helped the public identify the suspects. Of course, I imagine that a video will turn up soon, showing a bald eagle attempting to pick up the bombs.
The question is: If the men were innocent, why did they run?
Innocent people do run. How about Angela Davis. The “man on the roof,” according to the police’s current theory about who committed the attack, is entirely innocent, yet he never came forward. Anyone from a quasi-totalitarian region, where to be accused is to be guilty (unlike America), and to be guilty means to be boiled in oil, might run. Any non-American, who consequently has his eyes wide open when it comes to America’s grotesque human rights abuses in Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and the studio of Chelsea Lately, might run. I knew right away that the Boston police had erred when they described the two suspects as “armed and dangerous.” That increased the likelihood that they would be brought in dead and reduced the chance they would come in voluntarily.
And we don’t know if they ran at first. We do know American police come in guns blazing, whether it’s warranted or not: Police killed an innocent 89 year-old woman in March 2013, an innocent 92 year-old woman in 2011, in 2005 police shot each other, in 2005 London police shot an innocent Brazilian seven times in the head following a terrorist attack, erroneously claiming that he, like the dead Chechen, was wearing a vest lined with explosives, which, in the Chechen’s case, miraculously did not explode even though he was shot multiple times - the list goes on. You can have fun Googling further examples yourself, and let me know if in a single one of these cases a policeman has ever gone to prison for a long time - or a short one. A “no” answer means that there is no incentive for a policeman not to kill the wrong person.
As Mark “Bloody Glove” Fuhrman said on tape, “Where would this country be if every time a sheriff went out with a posse to find somebody who just robbed and killed a bunch of people, he stopped and talked to them first… they shot them in the back. We still should be shooting people in the back.”
The crowds cheering when the remaining Chechen suspect was captured made me shake my head. The suspects’ friends and families agree that there was nothing suspect about them. “[I]t was just regular old Dzhokhar,” an acquaintance of the suspect told ABC News. “We had a typical conversation [after the bombing], he was not startled, he was not scared….” And yet one suspect’s in-laws, who need to re-read Ibsen’s Enemy of the People, concluded, “Our hearts are sickened by the knowledge of the horror he has inflicted.”
In other words, if someone acts like a non-terrorist, talks like a non-terrorist, and walks like a non-terrorist, he’s a terrorist! The settlers in Salem were more rational: at least it was possible to prove you were not a witch.
I am quite certain police will find bomb-making equipment in the suspects’ apartments exactly like the sort used in the attack, along with fingerprints like those a New York State policeman planted in a murder trial and O. J. Simpson’s bloody glove. When asked, “Did you plant or manufacture any evidence in [the O. J. Simpson murder] case?”, Fuhrman invoked his Fifth Amendment right to remain silent to avoid incriminating himself. The remaining Chechen suspect may even confess to something he did not do: we live in a country that tortures people.
A hip-hop quoting, allegedly pot-smoking Muslim master bomber with no escape plan, calmly tweeting right after the attack (“stay safe people”?), a Muslim terrorist who is skeptical that Muslim terrorists were behind the 9/11 attack, a suicidal bomber who is not a suicide-bomber but a trained lifeguard and medical student - that’s someone who saves lives - doesn’t add up. And I’m a mathematician.
It disgusts me that in the last decade Americans seem to have forgotten about laws and evidence, Senator Church, and the well-earned distrust of the police and FBI.
I do not know if the two Chechen immigrants are innocent. All I’m saying is: Force the police to prove their case.
Or not. Take the blue pill. Tell yourself, That guy on the train platform, he must be a bank robber.
I mean, look at him, he’s surrounded by police.
Columnist, Dr. Jonathan David Farley, wrote “How Al Qaeda Can Use Order
Theory to Evade or Defeat U.S. Forces: The Case of Binary Posets,” in Advances in Network Analysis and its Applications (Mathematics in Industry), Evangelos Kranakis (Ed.), Vienna, Austria: Springer Verlag (2012). Contact Dr. Farley.