Countering the Craft International Boston Marathon bombing theory

There’s a theory buzzing around the Interwebs claiming that ex-US Military employees from Craft International are really behind the Boston Marathon bombings.

Such theories can be found here, for example.

This theory draws on three images for evidence: one taken prior to the bombings and the other two taken after.

In the ‘before’ image, a military-looking man can be seen wearing a black backpack with a small, white square patch on the top handle. In one of the ‘after’ images, the same man is said to be fleeing the scene without a backpack.

Here are these two images as popularly presented on the Interwebs:

Boston imaged cropped

Boston image

Where did his backpack go? This is where the third image comes in. Here it is:

The backpack

The backpack

Notice the white square?

Case closed.

Right?

Wrong.

What the persons who wish to implicate this poor chap in the Boston Marathon bombings don’t tell you is that the image of him supposedly ‘fleeing’ the scene has been cropped. Here’s the original:

Boston imaged full

Boston image, full

As you can see in the full image, this photo was taken well after the bombings. Emergency staff are out in force, tending to those few people who still require medical attention. It looks more like he’s assisting emergency staff, not fleeing the scene.

‘Okay, so he’s not fleeing the scene,’ I hear you say, ‘So what? He could still be the culprit. He could have planted the backpack bomb and then stuck around. Right?’

Wrong again.

Here’s why. There exists footage (see below), recorded by Fatma Tanis, that shows our poor chap in the crowd with his backpack on his back just after the first bomb detonates and just before the second bomb detonates. There is so little time between him appearing in frame and the second detonation that it is nigh on impossible that he could have set down the second bomb and fled to a safe distance before it detonated.

A two-minute video presenting the theory, the evidence for it (stated succinctly by DAHBOO77), and the counter-evidence in the footage captured by Tanis.

‘Our silent majority’ Geelong Advertiser article

My article and I get a wee spanking on 94.7 The Pulse

I have an opinion piece about the October 10 Geelong mayoral forum in today’s Geelong Advertiser (p. 16). In it I claim that

Of the 13 impromptu audience questions [at the mayoral forum], I believe six were obviously asked by advocates or people who were there to direct ‘Dorothy Dixer‘ questions at a particular candidate.

Here’s my evidence for that claim:

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Candidate preferences for Geelong Mayor election

Late on Monday 1 October, the Victorian Electoral Commission released candidate preferences for the coming Geelong Mayor election.

Here’s each candidate’s nomination of preferences, in numerical order.

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Osama bin Laden’s death: justice and extrajudicial killing

The scenes of jubilation in the US following Osama bin Laden’s death indicate that many people think killing him without trial was a good thing. But you don’t have to be an Osama bin Laden apologist to believe that it would have been preferable for the US to maintain at least a veneer of justice by first putting him on trial.

There were three possible courses of action:

Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden

  1. Find bin Laden, kill him without trial;
  2. Find bin Laden, try him and then kill him;
  3. Find bin Laden, try him and and jail him for life.

(1) is pure blood lust. It may feel good, but it lacks even the pretence of impartial judgement. (2) at least makes the veneer of justice possible — of weighing evidence and punishing accordingly. Think, in recent history, of Saddam Hussein’s trial and execution or, going further back, the trial and execution of Charles I. In terms of impartial judgement, (3) is similar to (2) but with an alternative punishment.

Now, if you’re in a firefight with Osama bin Laden and he’d rather die than surrender, then (1) is the only option. But then you’ve chosen (1) because (2) and (3) were not available options. In this situation (1) may be justified. It does not make it just.

Based on the FBI most-wanted list, Osama bin Laden has yet to be convicted: ‘REWARD: The Rewards For Justice Program, United States Department of State, is offering a reward of up to $25 million for information leading directly to the apprehension or conviction of Usama Bin Laden.’

The problem with the images beaming out of the US of Osama-death parties is that they suggest people think (1) was the first preference and best option. Those images just look like people celebrating an extrajudicial killing by a big state.

WikiLeaks and US State Department to-and-fro

The Index on Censorship has published the legal toing and froing that took place between Julian Assange, WikiLeaks Editor in Chief, and a Legal Adviser to the US Department of State (USDOS) prior to the public release of classified US Government documents. The correspondence is brief and worth the read.

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Footage released of US forces killing two Reuters employees in Iraq

Still from the US Apache helicopter

Still from the US Apache helicopter

WikiLeaks, a website for whistle blowers, has released video evidence of US forces killing two Iraqi Reuters employees: Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen. The footage is taken from an Apache helicopter gun sight on July 12, 2007. The helicopter (one of two) circles above a town in Iraq as those on board try to identify who the people are on the street and what they are carrying.

The transcript of communication between ground forces (GF), the helicopter from which the footage is taken (H1), a second Apache helicopter (H2) and ground command (GC), although difficult to decipher, sufficiently reveals how events unfold:

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