This combination of undated photos shows Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, left, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19. The FBI says the two brothers and suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing killed an MIT police officer, injured a transit officer in a firefight and threw explosive devices at police during a getaway attempt in a long night of violence that left Tamerlan dead and Dzhokhar still at large on Friday, April 19, 2013. The ethnic Chechen brothers lived in Dagestan, which borders the Chechnya region in southern Russia. They lived near Boston and had been in the U.S. for about a decade, one of their uncles reported said. Credit: AP
At least three family members of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers have expressed concerns that brothers Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, are being framed for the attack. The Chechen Republic’s president also used language indicating the suspects may be innocent.
Now BuzzFeed Editor-in-Chief Ben Smith is offering a theory trying to explain the conspiracy theories.
The brothers’ aunt, Maret Tsarnaeva, told reporters gathered outside her Toronto home on Friday, “I’m suspicious that this was staged. The Picture was staged.”
She went even further, alleging a massive conspiracy among those hunting her nephews.
“When you are blowing up people and you want to bring attention to something for some person — you do that math,” she added.
Anzor Tsarnaev, the suspects’ father, on Friday said “someone framed them,” but he didn’t know who. Further, brothers’ mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, said her children are “100 percent innocent” and suggested that they have been framed.
“This is a set up, my son would never ever carry out such terror attack,” she said Friday, according to the Daily Mail.
The Chechen Republic’s president Ramzan Kadyrov even released an interesting statement about the two suspects, saying “it is evident that special services needed to calm society by any means possible.”
The president, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, also wrote: “Any attempt to draw a connection between Chechnya and Tsarnaevs — if they are guilty — is futile.”
Here’s Smith’s take on the seemingly paranoid and conspiratorial comments that were coming from Chechens Friday:
This may sound paranoid. But paranoids can have real enemies. And you don’t have to be crazy to believe Chechen allegations of baroque and brutal government conspiracies — at least, not when they’re directed at the Russian government.
Reasonable people have directed truly horrendous allegations at President Vladimir Putin and his security services.The former Washington Post reporter David Satter argued convincingly in his 2003 book on Russia, Darkness At Dawn, that the Russian government had directed deadly and incomprehensible bombings of Russian apartment buildings in 1999, which killed 300 people — to justify a new invasion of Chechnya, and to speed Putin’s rise.
“They are ascribing to America things that are familiar to them at home,” Satter told BuzzFeed Friday, of the sort of incident that fringe lunatics in the United States claim as “false flag” attacks, and that Russians call “provocations.” “It’s not surprising that people have reacted that way.”
Smith also points out that Tsarnaeva actually cited her experiences as a Chechen when stating her conspiracy theory.
“I am used to being set up. Before I left former Soviet Union countries, that’s how I lived,” she said.
“That does not, of course, have any bearing on what appears to be an extremely clear case against Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsaraev. It speaks, instead, to what it means to be a citizen of Vladimir Putin’s Russia,” Smith writes.
The theories could also just be a way to cope with the reality authorities are painting: that these two men are radical terrorists who have become more acquainted with death then family this week.