Friday, June 27, 2014

Todashev Relative Offers Home to BMB Suspect

A long bail hearing for Khairullozhon Matanov, friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is facing the death penalty, took place on June 4, 2014. The thin, fragile-looking 23 year old asked Judge Marianne Bowler for "voluntary incarceration" instead of requesting bail because he had nowhere to live, since he lost his job as a taxi driver on account of his arrest. This same Judge Bowler convicted Tarek Mehanna of terrorism support based on inflammatory rhetoric in April of 2010.

Upon hearing this pitiful news, Elena Teyer, the mother of the wife of Ibrahim Todashev, who was murdered by the FBI in his Florida home in May of 2013, immediately contacted Matanov's attorney Edward Hayden to offer the young man a room in her home in Georgia and volunteered to pay for his transportation there. She has never met the Tsarnaevs nor this man before, but since the murder of her son-in-law she feels strongly, "We are all family now."

In August 2013, Teyer's daughter, Todashev's wife, Reniya Manukyan traveled to Dagestan to visit Zubeidat and Anzor Tsarnaev, Jahar and Tamerlan's parents.

"We cried so much there's just no more tears left," Reniya said about the visit.

Teyer wants to testify in the Tsarnaev trial as a witness against the FBI but her letters to Jahar's attorneys go unanswered. This is despite the fact that government prosecutors added to the case against Tsarnaev a clause implicating his brother Tamerlan in a triple homicide based on an alleged confession Todashev "was about to write down" before the FBI shot him seven times.

"I saw the body. I saw the inside of the apartment where he was killed," she says.

Teyer is determined to fight for justice and for the truth to come out about this concerted government attack on Russo-Muslim immigrants to the US.

"I am recently retired from long term active duty in the US Army. I'm not like these kids [Jahar's friends]. I'm not afraid."

Khairullozhon Matanov, originally from Kyrgyzstan, probably has by now realized that he walked into a trap. When the FBI posted photographs of the Tsarnaev brothers on TV and asked the public to identify them, they already knew who the boys were and where they lived. Local police reported that the FBI already had Tamerlan's home in Cambridge under surveillance.

The FBI seems to have cast a dragnet to lure in anyone who might know the Tsarnaevs, so that they could then ensnare them into false testimony or else prosecute them; therefore creating a false public impression that the FBI had heroically disrupted a local "terror cell."

Matanov believed the Tsarnaev brothers would never have committed the bombing and presumably was hoping to clear their names when he contacted the Braintree, Massachusetts police department and offered to give them whatever information he had, which was limited to their names and addresses, because he had no information whatsoever about the brothers being involved in the bombing. A few days after it happened he had even invited them for dinner at a local restaurant, something you don't normally do if you think a person might be a dangerous criminal hiding from authorities. The police contacted the FBI, who contacted Matanov approximately 24 hours later.

Instead of thanking him for the information, the FBI then started an intense investigation on Matanov. They conducted many interviews with him over the next year or so, in addition to both overt and covert surveillance. The most obvious surveillance was reported to the media by neighbors: an unmanned aircraft circling around his home. The only surveillance FBI Agent Timothy McElroy, who was on the witness stand for the majority of Matanov's bail hearing, admitted to was what he called "bumper log surveillance" - following Matanov around in black, unmarked government vehicles, keeping him in sight at all times. Manatov was also contacted via his attorney and told to stay away from Boston's July 4 and Patriots Day celebrations, to which he complied.

The hearing focused on his money transfers overseas and the fact that he had asked a friend to dispose of some cell phones, knowing the FBI would be on their way.

The majority of the money was sent to his family but there were 15 people in 6 countries whom he wired money to that did not share his last name, some of whom he used false aliases to contact, for example he sent an undisclosed amount of money as Ali Hasan to Kamoliodin Niiazaliev. The defense argued that he operated an illegal business selling stolen cell phones overseas, and that these wire transfers had nothing to do with terrorism. The FBI testimony was deliberately vague and allowed court reporters to insinuate that the purpose of the money transfers was related to terrorism in order to create a media buzz.

Attorney Hayden told Elena Teyer that he will try to find out if Matanov could be released to her home or to that of another person in Massachusetts who volunteered their home, as well as the amount of bail. A commissary account is being opened for Matanov's needs in prison by members of the Free Jahar movement. It is hoped that once he understands that he is not alone, Matanov will stand up and fight for his rights instead of bowing his head in fear.

Updates on Jahar's friends

Fallout from Marathon bombing case: Innocents snared and Imprisoned 

Updates on Jahar's friends 
Karin Friedemann
Matanov Commissary Fund Started

An account has been opened for Khairullozhon Matanov's commissary fund. He will need money to buy things like soap, toothpaste and snacks. Elena Teyer, Ibrahim Todashev's mother-in-law, made a donation of $50.

If you would like to deposit money into Khair's commissary fund, just click the link, register and you can enter either his last name or his register number. The facility is Plymouth County Sheriffs Dept. It is very simple. Thank you so much for anything you can do to help this young man, but do not send large amounts of money or else it could be used to deny him access to his government-appointed lawyer. 

To write to Mr. Matanov, address letter to:

Khairullozhon Matanov # 65363?, Unit GSE, Room # 107, ?PCCF, ?26 Long Pond Road, ?Plymouth, MA 02360

Matanov Neighbor Speaks Out

"We would always say hi to each other in the hallway or parking lot!" stated Aurora, a woman who lived in the same apartment building as Khair.

"I have to say, he is a kid with a big smile, full of life and very presentable. He's not the average 23 year old guy, very classy person, and cleaned up, very high maintenance. I really hope everything sorts out and this kid gets his life back! We need intelligent people walking on the street, not bums or thugs... He is innocent till proven guilty!"

"I knew him a bit, just hi and hello cause I always worked and so did he, so we barely even saw each other in the building, but he always was friendly and never gave me the impression that he was being watched. He was always happy, a kid!

She also mentioned that Khair's roommate hasn't been seen since Khair's arrest. This is somewhat worrying since all of the other Russian-speaking friends of friends of Jahar or Tamerlan Tsarnaev - even those who didn't even know the Tsarnaevs - have been detained and/or deported from both Massachusetts and Florida.

Bayan Kumiskali to testify at roommate Azamat Tazayhakov's trial

The government plans to call Bayan Kumiskali, the long time (six years) partner of Dias Kadyrbayev, as a witness for the upcoming trial of UMass student Azamat Tazayhakov, who rented a room in their apartment. She received immunity in exchange for her testimony. She was already called in front of the Grand Jury before. The defense once mentioned that Bayan said she had seen cameras and they had recorded their interviews, so her testimony may be helpful to the defense.

Dias and Azamat Separated

Dias Kadyrbayev and Azamat Tazayhakov, who have been sharing a cell at the Essex County Jail in Middleton, MA will return to their former separate cells that they were put in when first arrested. Dias is in unit 120a Cell 115 and Aza is unit 120a Cell 110. The judge said in the beginning that they would be separated again closer to trial, as they are being tried separately, so this was expected.

Azamat Defense Proposes Jury Instruction

In a highly creative move, Attorney Nicholas Wooldridge submitted 41 statements that the defense asks to be shown to the jury as additional instruction.

"Since the indictment is not evidence and since it does not purport to prove or even indicate evidence against the defendant, you are to give no weight whatsoever to it. Every defendant begins trial with an absolutely clean slate and without any evidence against him. Remember that those are merely accusations. What matters is the evidence, or lack thereof, that you heard in the trial," reads a document presented by Azamat Tazayhakov's defense team.

"A person has no legal obligation to voluntarily provide information or things requested by investigators," it reads.

Most of the document has a very general tone instructing jurors on the concept of US Law but Request #21 gets so specific to the case it's inflammatory!

"Caution as to Witness Who Received Immunity: "You have heard the testimony of Bayan Kumiskali. She provided evidence under an immunity agreement with the government. Some people in this position are entirely truthful when testifying. Still, you should consider the testimony of this individual with particular caution given that she was given an agreement from the government not to be prosecuted for her role in the alleged conduct. They may have had reason to make up stories or exaggerate what others did because they wanted to help themselves."

This entire document seems like a very unique approach to attempting to publicize the defense point of view. See: 

2014-06-15 Sun 08:10:04 cdt

FBI Monitoring Prison Visits of Defense attorney with Marathon Bombing Suspect

A pre-trial hearing for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev took place on June 18, 2014. US Attorney Carmen Ortiz was front row in the audience. Ortiz has ambitions to be governor and is no doubt using this terrorism prosecution as a personal career move.

As they have done in every hearing, defense lawyers requested the removal of Special Administrative Measures (SAMs) restrictions on their client, who is being kept in total lockdown. Lawyers have been complaining that they are unable to meet with Tsarnaev without the presence of an FBI officer in the room. During the last hearing on April 24, Judge O'Toole agreed with the defense that there is no national security reason why an FBI officer needs to be present and felt that the prison security should suffice. Although prosecutors insist that the FBI officer present is not going to be a witness at the trial, defense attorneys reported that the FBI officer was taking notes. The judge refused to remove SAMs and told the government they should use an out-of-state FBI agent during prison visits. The Constitutional protection of attorney-client privilege clearly does not apply especially when the defendant is a Muslim.

The defense complained about media leaks. Instead of handing over evidence to the defense, the government is working with the media. FBI agents were interviewed for TV documentaries that aired on National Geographic and 60 Minutes commemorating the one year anniversary of the bombing. These reports, which conflict each other in many ways, served to influence the minds of the public regarding guilt, long before trial. Defense attorneys complained that it is only on TV that they are learning what the prosecution's case is. Judge O'Toole admonished the government for participating in media interviews, calling it "unwise," but refused to penalize them in any way.

Throughout the proceedings, the defense has been muzzled. Attorneys have been warned against making any statements to media or even talking to friends and supporters about the case. Previously, government prosecutors brought up the possibility that defense attorneys might pass along messages from Tsarnaev to his "following" - very similar to the situation with Shaykh Omar Abdul Rahman's attorney, Lynne Stewart, who was imprisoned in retaliation for making statements to the press regarding statements her client made, except that Tsarnaev is not a political or religious leader with any following other than people following his case.

Tsarnaev cannot read any of his mail without a lawyer present and has been advised not to answer any of his mail. Likewise, his family cannot speak to the media about their belief in their son's innocence, lest they be accused of "passing along messages."

The only good thing coming out of this hearing is that the government's emotional tactic of accusing Tsarnaev of "betraying America" was struck down.

"I agree with the defense position that it was unduly prejudicial," O'Toole said, calling this type of charge "obnoxious."

However the prosecution will continue to use "He was comforting our enemies" as an argument for motive in the trial. It appears that pushing the issue of Tsarnaev's interest in Islamic causes will be central to their case. This would imply that they lack evidence, or that the evidence they have would not make the government look good. So far, they have swamped the defense with millions of pages of inconclusive, grainy photographs and some computer files showing that Tsarnaev watched jihad-related material on his laptop, but they have refused to hand over tangible evidence like the GPS of the vehicle that was used to flee from police the night Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed.

The prosecution asked the judge to demand that the defense supply them the name of their witnesses that they would use to counter the government expert witness' testimony on the Islamic nature of the Boston Marathon bombing. Presumably the government "expert witness" will be the laughingstock, Evan "Saddam is allied with al-Qaeda" Kohlmann, who has already been testifying in front of Congress about Tsarnaev's Islamic motivations long before he has even been found guilty. Defense attorney Judy Clarke argued that this is not standard practice, and according to the Fifth Amendment, they are not required to disclose this type of information to the prosecution at this point in the proceedings. O'Toole delayed making a decision.

US prosecutors say they will not use statements Tsarnaev made during his hospital bed FBI interrogation before his Miranda rights were read, during the guilt/innocence part of the trial but may bring it up for the sentencing part. Defense wants the evidence of these statements to be suppressed. O'Toole delayed the decision for mid-trial.

Tsarnaev's next status hearing is scheduled for August 14. 


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tsarnaev and Friends: Boston Legal Updates


Judge Strikes Down “Betraying America” Charge as Inflammatory
US District Judge George A. O’Toole Jr. at the John Joseph Moakley Courthouse.

A pre-trial hearing for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev took place on June 18, 2014. For the most part, there has been no progress in the Dzhokhar Tsarnaev case. SAMs are still in place, including an FBI agent taking notes on every prison visit involving attorneys and family together. At the same time the US government has not yet handed over the GPS of the Tsarnaev vehicle involved in the police chase to the defense. The government is still insisting on total control over the narrative that gets released to the public. The judge declined to penalize the government over media leaks.
However, Judge O’Toole did step in once, telling the US prosecutors that their charge of “Betraying America” was “obnoxious.”
“I agree with the defense position that it was unduly prejudicial,” O’Toole said.
Nevertheless, the prosecution will continue to use “He was comforting our enemies” as their main argument in the trial. It appears that pushing the issue of Tsarnaev’s interest in Islamic causes will be central to their case of explaining his motive, which will be the core of the government case for death penalty.
Azamat Tazhayakov Rejects Plea Deal
Tazhayakov’s lawyer, Matthew Myers, told reporters after a pretrial hearing on June 23, 2014 that prosecutors offered him a deal to plead to reduced charges but he turned it down. Myers would not disclose the terms of the offer.
“He knows he’s not guilty,” Myers said of Tazhayakov. “He’s confident.”
Nicholas Wooldridge, another lawyer representing Tazhayakov, said the defense is hopeful of finding an impartial jury.
“Even the average juror in Boston will be shocked by the lack of evidence,” he said.
At least 600 potential jurors for Tazhayakov’s case will be given screening questionnaires to fill out, in a defense attempt to weed out people with anti-Muslim prejudice and other factors. The final version of the questionnaire will be agreed upon by both sides.
Defense lawyers argued Monday that Tazhayakov and many other university students have been unfairly targeted because of guilt by association.
Federal prosecutors are facing the possibility that if the statements he made to the FBI while detained but not quite arrested were a result of intimidation, they could be thrown out of court and the entire case could be dismissed.
Khairullozhon Matanov Denied Bail
Judge Marianne Bowler arrived ten minutes late and then began a hearing for a young man from Kyrgyzstan on June 23, 2014 at 2:30pm with the words: “Well, Mr. Hayden, we are here at your request.”
Hayden’s client, Khair Matanov was the Quincy cab driver and friend of the Tsarnaevs who is accused of lying to the government about whether he drove his friends to the restaurant or if he met them at the restaurant.
At the last hearing, his government appointed attorney said “no contest” to incarceration due to his client being jobless and having nowhere to go. However, since more than one person offered their home to Matanov the lawyer actually then  went out of his way to look into the possibility. Hayden even found a job lead for the young man.
“Usually people have friends or family in the area, but [Matanov] didn’t have that resource, so it was up to me,” Hayden said.
Hayden argued that his client cooperated with FBI over extended period and met with them five times. The government watched his every move for one year and still haven’t found him doing anything terrorism related.
The government was forced to concede that Matanov is not “dangerous.” This is huge. The government only argued that he was a flight risk because he had so many relatives overseas. They further argued that because he worked 15-18 hours a day and sent all his money to his family, including paying for his brother’s heart surgery, this means there are many people who owe him a favor and would therefore harbor him. On this basis, Judge Bowler ruled in favor of his further detainment as a flight risk.
Even though bail was denied, this hearing was a very successful maneuver because it presented the defense with an opportunity to clarify in more detail about the money wire transfers and phones and the defense alibis. In the previous hearing, the FBI testimony dominated, but in this hearing, the defense did most of the talking. Khair’s alibi sounds reasonable. He sent money under a false name for tax purposes, but the money was earned legally. He sent $6500 to his grandfather, and even helped out a friend in Virginia who had lost his job.
To which Bowler responded, “before or after tax?” regarding the $71,000 total.
Hayden clarified beyond the shadow of a doubt that the government was was making innuendos regarding the money transfers being related to terrorism.
Hayden then argued that Matanov does not deserve to be locked up in solitary confinement for selling cell phones to Russia. Matanov regularly sold cell phones to Russia. The government admitted that the cell phones were not used for any terrorism related activity.
Matanov was the first person to go to the police to identify the Tsarnaevs after the FBI sent out their alert, according to the defense.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Another Tsarnaev Friend Ensnared: Todashev Relative Offers Home


On June 4, TMO attended a bail hearing in front of Judge Marianne Bowler for Khairullozhan Matanov, 23. The young man, clad in orange, looked exhausted. He put his hands over his face, leaning on the table briefly before the hearing began. No friends or family were there.
“He was shaking and looked like he had just finished crying,” described court observer, Jill, who attended his first hearing.
Matanov, a friend of Boston Marathon bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, is facing decades in prison for allegedly lying to the FBI and deleting files off his computer.
Matanov’s “lies” to the FBI were completely unrelated to the bombing. They included things like whether or not he drove the brothers to a restaurant or if they walked in, whether or not he ever watched movies on his computer, and if he had seen the photos of the brothers on TV or heard the the news on the radio, before he personally went to the police to identify them.
The FBI already knew who the brothers were. They had Tamerlan’s house under surveillance. The photos were intended to ensnare friends of the Tsarnaevs into becoming informants. Matanov believed his friends were innocent and had nothing of interest to tell the FBI beyond that he liked to play soccer with them.
As a result, the government is now accusing Matanov of the absurd, including: “hiking up a New Hampshire mountain in order to train like, and praise the mujahideen.”
Matanov’s computer deletions were easily recovered by the authorities after he gave them permission to search his computer – “saving them the time of having to get a search warrant,” Attorney Hayden quipped.
Yet prosecutors say Matanov “obstructed the FBI’s investigation of the bombings and the suspected bombers, and have caused the FBI to expend considerable additional resources during its investigation of the bombings and the suspected bombers.”
The files Matanov deleted were all public information that provided no additional clues whatsoever into the bombing. The FBI has been wasting ungodly amounts of money over the past year to spy on him. A large unmanned aircraft was spotted circling around his home. Several FBI agents were employed full time to follow him around in cars and to keep him in sight at all times around the clock, even following him into a dental office. Matanov’s needless incarceration continues at taxpayer expense.
Former prosecutor Matt Connolly writes in the Milford Daily News: “Matanov was exercising his right not to incriminate himself… All he did was try to distance himself from the Tsarnaevs thinking that his close connection with them would get him into trouble. If you know nothing about the crime being investigated you can’t obstruct it.”
Actually, the government indictment, which claims that Matanov hid his close relationship with the Tsarnaevs from the FBI seriously conflicts with the actual transcripts of police and FBI interviews with the defendant. Matanov’s lawyer made extensive use of these transcripts during the cross-examination of FBI Agent Timothy McElroy to demonstrate that Matanov immediately told the FBI everything he knew.
“I can’t imagine that they did it but I am willing to help,” the transcript reads.
According to his first FBI interview report dated 4/20, Matanov said that he saw and called Tamerlan often. Tamerlan drove Matanov to get his drivers license. Matanov told the FBI he often invited the brothers to Manasawa Restaurant, went to Tamerlan’s house, met his parents and skyped with Tamerlan when he went to Dagestan.
The indictment claims that Matanov told police detective Heslam he didn’t know whether Tamerlan lived with his wife and daughter. However, Heslam never asked about this.
According to the actual transcript, Matanov told the FBI he saw no one in Tamerlan’s apartment other than his wife and daughter.
The indictment accuses him of changing stories regarding whether or not he visited Tamerlan the Wednesday after the bombing. He admitted going to Tamerlan’s house during his first FBI interview. He didn’t withhold any information. The government allegation is referring to comments Matanov made to his roommate as well as a passenger in his taxicab, telling them he had not visited Tamerlan “in a while” and downplaying the relationship. He was not talking to the FBI. The FBI later talked to his roommate.
A Boston Globe editorial states, “Matanov charges look like a vindictive overreach.”
The hearing mainly focused on wire transfers Matanov made overseas. He appears to have been working very hard as a taxi driver to send money to his family. He sent money to 15 people in 6 different countries, sometimes using an alias. He also asked a friend to dispose of some cell phones. His lawyer, Edward Hayden, argued that Matanov was operating an illegal business sending stolen cell phones overseas. Neither the phones nor the wire transfers had anything to do with terrorism.
FBI Agent McElroy testified that he has no knowledge of anything on phones having to do with terrorism.
US prosecutor Scott Garland argued against granting Matanov bail, saying he was a “huge flight risk.” He speaks seven languages and has ties in six different countries. He has no reason to stay in the US – no family, no job, no property. He faces 20 years for obstruction of justice and eight years for each lie. He is likely to be deported after time served. “His only assurance would be his promise,” and the US alleges that he “repeatedly deceived authorities.”
Defense attorney Hayden then requested “voluntary incarceration” of his client, saying “there is no place for him to go.” Judge Bowler said if this changes, they could “revisit the issue.” She then asked if Matanov was ready to be arraigned.
As he stood to hear the charges read against him, Matanov gripped the table. He whimpered, “Not guilty” very quietly and was told to speak up. He repeated “Not guilty” to all the charges against him in a louder voice. The judge than warned Hayden to “be cautious regarding public statements,” alluding to a previous press conference. Matanov’s next hearing is scheduled for July 15 at 2pm. Matanov looked emotionally broken as US Marshalls shackled and handcuffed him.
Upon hearing the news of this “voluntary incarceration,” Elena Teyer, mother-in-law of Ibrahim Todashev, the friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev who was murdered in his home in Florida by Aaron McFarlane, an FBI agent from Boston, was deeply moved. She immediately called Matanov’s attorney to offer her home in Georgia. Teyer has never met Matanov nor the Tsnarnaevs but she told TMO, “We are all family now.” Another supporter in Massachusetts also offered Matanov a home. Attorney Hayden said he would try to find out what the amount of bail would be.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Tsarnaev Friend Testifies



The Dorchester Day Parade this year in Boston took place on Sunday, June 1. There was a special contingent representing the Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation (Team MR8), a marathon racing team comprised mainly of runners from Dorchester, Massachusetts, the Boston neighborhood of the 8 year old boy who was killed in the Marathon bombing of 2013. A bus containing his family members, including his sister Jane who lost her leg, participated in the parade. The bus was decorated with the word “peace” and “no more hurting people,” recalling a popular drawing by Martin.
Meanwhile the drama continued in court with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s friends. On June 2, 2014 Dias Kadyrbayev testified that he did not understand what was going on when he waived his Miranda rights, and that he was intimidated into cooperating with searches of his home.
“I could only understand about 2/3 of what he was saying” stated Kate, who observed the hearing but had trouble following Dias’ thick Russian accent.
The morning started off with linguist Dr. Aneta Pavlenko of Temple University testifying for over two hours as an expert witness on the defendant’s level of English proficiency. 
“His proficiency was not adequate to understand the complexity of the Miranda warning,” Pavelenko testified. “Government agents are not competent to determine proficiency of understanding.” 
She said Dias should have been provided with a translator and asked to restate the Miranda warning in his own words.
A couple emails as well as an essay were shown as evidence of Dias’ ability or lack thereof. Prosecutors argued that mistakes were just typos while the expert witness pointed out patterns of linguistic usage that would indicate an Intermediate level of proficiency in the English language. Dr. Pavelenko testified that the defense relied on emails to determine Dias’ level of English ability up to the date of the arrest because they show his spontaneous use of language.
There was an English essay under dispute, which contained no major errors. Dr. Pavelenko testified that this essay could not have been written by the defendant by himself. Later, Dias testified that he got help from English speaking friends. He wrote his homework assignments using google translate, and by changing online examples of essays with a computer app.
Next on the stand, Dias stated that Russian was his first language, Khazar was his second and English was his third language. He studied English in grades 6-11 from a teacher who was Russian. Originally he had hoped to go to MIT but scored poorly on the SAT in English. UMass Dartmouth was more lenient.
Living on campus, Dias said, “I was chilling with Russians mostly.” He had trouble talking on the phone – he would hang up on friends and text them instead. He learned slang words like “what’s up” from listening. In prison he has been studying the dictionary and for the SAT and has read 76 books in English to improve his skills.
Dias, his girlfriend Bayan, and Azamat Tazhayakov shared an apartment in Bedford, MA in 2012. Azamat’s phone was charging when a friend via VK (Russian version of Facebook) told Azamat a police officer called. He called back. Police had already questioned Saghar, an Indian friend, so they were expecting the police to similarly come over in 15 minutes to ask questions. Five hours later Bayan looked outside and saw 4 police cars and a SWAT team aiming their guns at them, the lasers’ red dots were on Bayan. Azamat came into the room and Dias told him not to move because he was afraid the police would shoot anyone who moved.
The police were yelling, “Jahar come out!” The students came out with their hands up,  Azamat first. They made them take off their shirts and pull down their pants, then handcuffed Dias so roughly that he was forced to kneel. He was put in the back seat of a car for three hours with a sniper standing a foot away from his open door. FBI agent John Walker sat in the front of the car and said, “Listen to me, where the **** is Jahar, don’t **** with me, tell me where the **** he is!”
“I kept on saying ‘I don’t know, I don’t know.’ I was scared,” Dias testified. “I didn’t know what was going to happen.”
It seemed like Walker was “looking through me.” His “vibe” was very alarming in its “intensity,” Dias said.
Walker asked if he could look in the house for Jahar, in case he left something dangerous. “I didn’t think there was anything dangerous in the apartment.” said Dias. He gave Walker his keys so the FBI could search the house without breaking the door. Walker took ten minutes to cut off the tight “plastic hangers” (handcuffs) with a knife, which left a mark on his hand. He was asked to sign a consent to search the property.
“Maybe I read the paper or maybe I didn’t, but I signed it to end the conversation.” Dias testified. He was re-handcuffed and transferred to a police car, where he heard on the radio that they caught Jahar.
“Can I go now since you got him?” he asked the police. Maybe, maybe not, he was told.
“When will we go go? Where are we going?” We gotta wait, he was told. “It was clear I couldn’t go.”
At the police barracks he was interrogated by Special Agent Azad. Dias stated that “he went on putting words in my mouth.” After other officers later showed Dias the notes special agents took during interrogation, Dias noticed words he didn’t recognize in English.
He was never told he was under arrest. He was told, “Don’t worry, school issues,” as he was handcuffed. When Dias noticed the word lawyer on Miranda form and asked if he needed one, Agent Azad said “Oh no, you’re fine. You’re helping us.”
Dias asked “what do you mean ‘in custody’?”
“Regardless of how well he spoke and understood English at the time, it’s been established that FBI agents specifically altered and added to Dias’s responses during the interrogation to things he never said,” court observer Jill told TMO.
The government alleges that at 3:30am on April 19, 2013, before Tsarnaev’s name was released to the public, Dias told associate on VK that Jahar was the bomber. What Dias actually said was that he recognized Jahar as the guy in the white hat on TV.
The government also stated that after visiting Jahar on April 18, Dias visited multiple English websites: FBI, CNN, FoxNews, NewYorker, CBSlocal, WCVB, FBI again, and googled variations of Jahar’s name.
Dias will continue to testify on June 3. A bail hearing for Khairullozhon Matanov, a fourth friend of Jahar’s who was arrested last week will take place June 4.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Homeland Security Agent Caught Lying at Hearing


Robel Phillipos (center) arrives for a hearing in his case at the federal courthouse in Boston, Massachusetts May 13, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Three friends of Dzhokhar (Jahar) Tsarnaev: Dias Kadyrbayev, Azamat Tazhayakov, and Robel Phillipos went before Judge Woodlock May 13-15, 2014 and sat through three full consecutive days of FBI and Homeland Security testimony. Dias Kadyrbayev was poised to testify regarding the nature of his detainment, interrogation, and arrest, but did not end up testifying.
There were only a few observers in the courtroom other than the media; Boston marathon bombing victim Marc Fucarile, and a few family members and friends of the defense. Dias and Azamat, accused of obstructing justice, and Robel, accused of lying to the FBI, had filed motions to dismiss the charges, which Judge Woodlock denied. He agreed to hold three separate trials for the defendants. Azamat will go first on June 30, 2014, followed by Dias on September 8 and Robel September 29. The judge denied the defense request for a trial outside Boston.
Most of the hearing focused on whether or not statements made by the defense while in custody of the FBI were voluntary, when they were detained without a warrant from 9pm until 5am the night of April 19, 2013. There was also the issue of whether or not their English was sufficient to understand what was going on and what they were signing.
The apartment near UMass Dartmouth was shared by the three students. They had a group cell phone plan that was billed to the home under the name Tsarnaev. A couple hours after police killed Jahar’s brother Tamerlan Tsarnaev, while Jahar was still on the run, one of these phones was used in the New Bedford home at 10:06am on April 19. It was Azamat calling his mom in Khazakstan. Shortly after Tamerlan was announced dead on TV, someone used the phone to text his parents in Dagestan. The FBI sent a SWAT team to raid the house without a warrant. Jahar was not there, but Dias, Azamat and Bayan were taken into FBI custody.
FBI Agent Walker testified that they were not under arrest, but they had accepted an “invitation to talk” at the police barracks in North Dartmouth. Walker said he was “not sure” if they were read their Miranda rights before they confessed to removing a backpack full of spent fireworks from the home, or before signing documents giving permission to search their computer, apartment and car. The boys were friendly and cooperative. While they were there, Dias’ attorney called saying he wanted to represent the boys but they were not informed of this. Dias had asked, “Do we need a lawyer?” and was told, “We can’t offer legal advice.”
FBI agent Azad testified that he told them they were not under arrest. They were having a friendly back and forth conversation. Dias asked repeatedly to see his girlfriend, Bayan, and was told, “Soon.” He also asked, “Are we almost done?”
At one point, Dias said, “I think we are being held against our will.” Walker testified that the FBI called a taxi, which pulled up out front, but could not explain why the boys did not get in. Attorney Stahl clarified that the FBI had taken away their wallets and keys.
Stahl asked why they did not arrest the boys. Walker said they were not sure if they had probable cause. They were waiting for the District Attorney’s office to tell them how to proceed.
Azamat’s attorney Nicholas Wooldridge cross examined Walker. “If you believe there is probable cause, you don’t need to consult with prosecutor.”
Walker responded, “We preferred to consult with DA first.”
Stahl asked FBI Agent Serillo, “Did Dias ask for a shirt or blanket?” Serilla answered, “I don’t recall.”
“The agents honestly felt scripted and were repeatedly thrown off by Stahl’s questions, answering, ‘I don’t recall…,’” court observer Jennifer told TMO.
Early in the morning, six FBI agents in 3 cars drove the boys home. They entered the home with their permission and removed two items belonging to Jahar: a baseball cap and an ashtray.
That same afternoon, the home was raided again by 12 government agents. FBI agents Quinn and Azad interviewed them for one hour. Azad testified that the boys had a “friendly and pleasant demeanor” and “had no idea what was to come.”
After they signed a consent for the FBI to search the apartment, they were handcuffed. Even though it is not normal for Homeland Security to deal with such technical matters, Homeland Security Agent Wiroll arrested them for student visa violations. He read their Miranda rights but there was no Russian translator present. The boys were forced at gunpoint to remove their shirts and walk backwards out of the apartment with their hands in the air. Even though Dias was handcuffed and put in the back of a police car, Walker testified that he was free to leave anytime he wanted, if he just had said, “I want to leave.”
In the back of the car, Walker told Dias, “Jahar’s life is over. Whether he’s still living or not, his life is over. He’s dead one way or another. Your life is not over. Yours doesn’t have to be. You must tell the truth. You have to tell me right now. Don’t make a mistake.” 
“It was disturbing to hear him to say it like that,” a supporter named Ana told TMO. “But in a way he is doing whatever he can to get this to be fair to the boys. He is responsible for their arrest.” 
Homeland Security agent Jameson Wiroll testified for at least 15 minutes that Dias did not need help with translating and that no Russian was spoken. But when Wiroll was double cross examined, he changed his story regarding whether or not Dias needed help with translation before he signed documents including a highly unusual immigration form where he “confesses” to throwing away the fireworks (something an FBI agent told the HSI agent to add). 
“It is not normal to include extra information not related to the subject a person was brought in for,” observed Attorney Stahl. Wiroll testified that he added it as “background information.” Stahl then pointed out on the same document that the Consul from Khazakstan was present and had helped with translating. The Judge said, “I’m confused.” Wiroll then admitted that Russian was spoken and they needed help with translation. 
Wiroll has a history of giving false testimony. He was named as a defendant in a 4th amendment violation civil case against the town of Rockport filed by James Atkinson involving a 2009 weapons case where all the charges against Atkinson were dropped because the local cops and FBI were found to have fabricated evidence, and used illegal wiretapping. 
According to a government transcript of a phone call from the Essex County jail to Bayan on May 24, 2013, Dias lamented about how he was treated after he had fully cooperated with law enforcement. “Everything that we did — everything that I did, everything that I signed, I signed it on my own. They asked me, right, “Will you give permission?” and I gave. But, then how they [trashed the place]… like pigs.”

Well-Known Palestinian Activist Detained in Jordan

May 15, 2014 


Amer Jubran speaking at the October 25, 2003 demonstration in San Francisco, California protesting the occupations of Palestine and Iraq.

In the dead of night, on May 5, 2014, Amer Jubran was arrested by the Mukhabarat, the secret intelligence agency of the Jordanian government. He has not been charged with any crime.
“He has not been allowed any contact with a lawyer and no one knows where he is being held. This arrest is the result of intelligence cooperation between Jordan, the United States, and Israel in their attempt to silence dissent and eliminate political support for resistance to the American-Zionist project in the region,” reports the New England Committee to Defend Palestine (NECDP), an organization Jubran founded.
Because of his past work with NECDP, ANSWER, and other political activist groups, Jubran has many friends and supporters in the US who sent out the alert via social media.
“We knew Amer when he was here too, and were fond of him– a very intelligent, dedicated and kind young man– Hope you will share this with all your lists and do what you can to help him. This is terrible news!” says activist Amy Hendrickson of Boston Anti-Zionist Action (BAZA).
Jubran’s family has already suffered greatly at the hands of the Zionists. Amer’s grandfather was shot by an Israeli soldier and left to bleed to death in the middle of a road. His family was forced to leave the area of al-Khalil in Palestine before he was born. They went into exile in Jordan.
His detainment in Jordan is not the first time Jubran has been persecuted for his relentless activism on behalf of the Palestinian people. The principles he fought to establish are:
• A single democratic Palestine in all of historic Palestine      
• The right of the Palestinian people to resist colonization and reclaim their land      
• An end to all US aid to Israel: military, economic, and political.
“In 2001 he was arrested for protesting an “Israel Day” celebration in a wealthy suburb of Boston. A long court struggle followed, and he was found not guilty,” writes Richard Hugus of NECDP.
“He was arrested again in 2002 during the Ashcroft-inspired attack on all Arabs and Muslims in the US, which Ashcroft waged through immigration authorities. This arrest followed two days after a march for Palestinian rights in the streets of downtown Boston which Amer helped to organize, and which had wide support. But one person whispered, and the deed was done. Another long court struggle followed.”
The anti-Islamic hate group, “Jihad Watch” led by the notorious bigot Robert Spencer posed a ridiculous alert claiming that Jubran was “on a jihad mission in Boston.”
Understanding that although all his free speech and political organizing activities were totally legal, he would never get a fair trial with Homeland Security, FBI and INS agents trying to intimidate his witness pool, Jubran told the judge, “If there is no justice for me here in the United States, I will take voluntary departure.” The popular community organizer left the US for Jordan in 2004.
In an article on Amer’s trial written for the New York Sun, columnist Josh Gerstein quotes a Boston pro-Israel activist responding to the news of Amer’s departure with the words, “I’m excited to hear that he’s not going to be around any more.”
Mourning the loss of this important community member, the Amer Jubran Defense Committee stated that “the clarity of Amer’s voice was crucial for helping to establish an important political current in the struggle for justice in Palestine.”
Documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show a pattern of intrusive police surveillance and coordinated activity between local and federal police agencies, including a police video of the 2001 demonstration in Brookline, Massachusetts, with close-up “mug” shots focusing on Palestinians in the rally; and still photographs of Jubran, his friends, witnesses and supporters taken inside the courtroom during his  Brookline trial, that were sent to the Boston Police.
“In Jordan Amer began working at his family’s business and started a family, but continued to raise the cause of Palestine. In 2006 he was beaten and arrested at a protest at the Zionist embassy in Amman. In 2010 he gave a lecture at the American University in Beirut and was under noticeable surveillance both leaving and returning to Amman,” writes Hugus.
It is impossible to see Jubran’s most recent arrest as anything other than an attempt to silence him. Freedom of speech is an internationally recognized human right. With enough public mobilization to pressure the Jordanian government, it is hoped the young man who has done so much for others, will be swiftly released from his secret detention. 

“Flood Jordan with your calls and emails! Amer is a STELLAR human being; we got to know and love him here in MA – before he was set-up by zionists and forced out of this country… What USrael and Jordan have done is an absolute abomination,” writes PF Soto, an activist in Cambridge, Massachusetts. 

Please urgently contact the Jordanian Ministry of Interior, Fax number (from the United States): 011-962-6560-6908 and the Jordanian Embassy in Washington DC, Telephone number: (202) 966 – 2664 / Fax number: (202) 966 – 3110. 
Talking points: 

•    Mr. Jubran is a well-known Palestinian activist and voice of dissent.
•    Mr. Jubran was detained on May 5 and has not been charged with any crime.
•    He was not allowed to contact a lawyer and no one knows where he is being held.
•    Demand that his rights be respected and that he be released immediately.