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How The FBI Has Been Working Hard To Deport Friends Of Guy They Killed During Interview About Boston Bombing

from the parallel-construction dept

This week's This American Life is an entire hour devoted to investigating the FBI's killing of Ibragim Todashev along with a companion piece in Boston Magazine. You probably heard about the basics of the Todashev story. Todashev was a friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older of the two brothers implicated in the Boston Marathon bombings (and the one who was killed when law enforcement tried to capture them), who was being interviewed by the FBI and was then shot multiple times and killed -- with a whole variety of conflicting stories coming out soon after as to what he did to lead to his death. One of the key stories was that Todashev had just admitted to participating, with Tsarnaev, in a grisly triple homicide outside of Boston a year and half earlier, and then supposedly lunged at the FBI agents (there were a variety of different reports, each claiming he had some kind of weapon, but each time the report differed on what kind of weapon). But reporter Susan Zalkind, who had been friendly with one of the 3 men killed back in 2011, which Todashev supposedly confessed to taking part in, decided to explore the story more deeply, and found a variety of oddities at every turn, nearly all of which involve strange moves by the FBI.

It's also impossible to listen to this story, without connecting it to some of the recent Snowden revelations concerning how the NSA and FBI act. While the various chapters of the story are all interesting (including Todashev's girlfriend who agreed to be interviewed by Zalkind, and a month or so later was deported, almost certainly because of the interview), perhaps the most striking is the story of Ashurmamad Miraliev, profiled in Act 2 of This American Life and written up in more detail by Zalkind last fall.

Miraliev was someone who lived in Florida and had become an acquaintance, but not a close friend, of Todashev. Months after Todashev was killed, Miraliev was pulled over and arrested, supposedly for having an expired license (it had expired a week or so earlier). He was then interrogated for six hours by the FBI (without a lawyer) -- almost all about Todashev, asking specific questions about the triple homicide and Todashev's involvement (remember, this is supposedly well after the FBI claims Todashev confessed to those murders). Miraliev pointed out that he wasn't that close to Todashev, that he'd never been to Massachusetts, and that all of that happened well before he'd ever met Todashev. He then asked to be let go, and was told that he was being thrown in jail based on absolutely ridiculous trumped up charges that are way too convoluted to fully cover here, but the short version is that a year earlier, Miraliev had apparently gotten into a yelling altercation with a guy who Todashev had fought with, and the feds (a year later) had pressured the guy Todashev fought with to press charges, and then claimed that Miraliev was "witness tampering" for that screaming match. The charges were later dropped after a judge pointed out how ridiculous they were -- but the whole thing still got Miraliev put on a terrorist watch list, caused him to miss a court date for his student visa, and got him kicked out of the country:
So the FBI had been matchmaking: They had helped the sheriff’s department go fishing on a long-closed case to find a victim and a charge with which they could pressure or detain first Ibragim, and later Ashurmamad. The witness-tampering charge the FBI brought against Ashurmamad was so flimsy that it was dropped in just a month.

And yet it didn’t matter. Although he had never been to Boston and never met the Tsarnaevs, Ashurmamad was nonetheless flagged—according to a note on the booking sheet—“ON TERRORIST WATCH LIST/PLACED PROTECTIVE CUSTODY AND HIGH RISK. HOUSE ALONE.” Ashurmamad was taken from the Orlando Police Department to the Osceola County jail, where he was kept alone in an 8-by-10 room. To meet with his lawyers, he had to have his hands and wrists shackled and be chained to the ground. Ashurmamad told me there were no windows, the light was always on, and he was always cold. He was there for a month until the tampering case was dropped. But he wasn’t released. His student visa had expired, and he’d missed a court date while he was in jail. So he was moved directly to an immigration detention facility, and on November 4, he was ordered to be deported back to Tajikistan.
Hearing the original story, and reading through the details, I'm further reminded of the stories of how the NSA, FBI and others in the federal government use "parallel construction" to build questionable cases against individuals they want dealt with.

The whole story highlights, yet again, why anyone who claims "if you've done nothing wrong, you have nothing to fear," are simply wrong. Miraliev did not appear to do anything "wrong" other than failing to reregister his driver's license on time. But, because the FBI wanted to pressure and then punish him, to give them information they didn't have supposedly to confirm a murder which the FBI itself claims they had already solved, suddenly he got kicked out of the country entirely, losing everything he had (he lost his home, his money and car, which were all left in the US when he got sent back to Tajikistan).

While Zalkind presents a plausible theory on what may have happened with the FBI and Todashev, the hiding of information, the coverup and the continued efforts to bully, threaten, harass and (eventually) deport a number of his friends is quite shocking. One former law enforcement official quoted in the show, notes that when your job is to stop terrorism, these kinds of actions seem perfectly reasonable. Even if you have no proof, you just want anyone who knew anyone to be gone, so they're not your problem. It's entirely possible that's what's going on, and no one seems to care about punishing perfectly innocent people.

But if you actually believed the crap that the NSA and FBI have been saying about only targeting real threats to national security, and not putting innocent people at risk, take a listen or read the writeup. It presents a very different picture than one of an FBI protecting the country. It suggests a bunch of thuggish bullies who went too far, and are now doing everything possible to cover their tracks.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2014 @ 2:44pm

    apart from the 'covering their tracks' bit, because they weren't that bothered about doing so, this is a stark reminder of the Fascist thugs in pre-WWII Germany! and to think that millions died to stop this from ever happening again!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2014 @ 3:03pm

    If any other country treated a religious or ethnic group like this the US government would be screaming about it being persecution.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    icon
    ECA (profile), Mar 11th, 2014 @ 3:35pm

    Re:

    NOT REALLY

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
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    ECA (profile), Mar 11th, 2014 @ 3:38pm

    Strange?

    I would like to know MORE about the Drivers license.

    AS the State always sends letter 1 month ahead.
    This would be important, IF the FBI/NSA/... STOPPED the letter from being delivered, AFTER it was sent..

    IF they STOPPED the state from sending the notice, then thats FULL ENTRAPMENT.. They MADE the situation to FORCE an out come.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    tomczerniawski, Mar 11th, 2014 @ 4:38pm

    Very suspicious

    It seems like they're trying to silence anyone who might know anything about the Boston bombing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Mar 11th, 2014 @ 4:59pm

    And this is why we should not have blind faith in those charged with upholding the law, but actual oversight and actual penalties when they cross the line, not arbitration and coverups.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    icon
    madasahatter (profile), Mar 11th, 2014 @ 5:54pm

    Re: Strange?

    I can believe he forgot to renew his drivers license. It is not that hard to do. The problem is not questioning someone for background information. But the FBI blatantly overstepped and apparently were looking for a charge they could make stick.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2014 @ 6:51pm

    above the law and It's only going to get worse.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2014 @ 6:55pm

    This is what happens when...

    ...weaklings, cowards, idiots and bullies are given badges. Actual police work is HARD. These losers aren't good enough to do it, so they cover up their failures by doing crap like this.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    Rebelready (profile), Mar 11th, 2014 @ 7:48pm

    Uncle Scam at it again!

    Rule of thumb - when a government investigation is really slow to non-existent, it is because the government had more than hand in the event that requires investigating! IMO the exposure by Snowden of the NSA is a planned distraction to divert eyes from much bigger crimes by the government. It was a cunning plan as the government is well aware it is hard to rally people unless they are personally affected by a wrong and this NSA stuff covers a large mass that would be outraged and pay attention. A DIVERSION!!

    These people persecuted Aaron Swartz with outrages overcharge regarding alleged computer crime yet they are running a bogus show trial for the Defendant in the Boston Bombing Matter and using computers court computers to render bogus documents in the form of orders and motions and including the notice of intent to seek the death penalty; the court is colluding with the government. The BOP locator has never found the Defendant to be in BOP custody. The documents uploaded at this site are the exact PDF files retrieved from the Public Access to Court Records System(PACER. Links inside links will take to more files and further description of this fraud upon the people. These government people have been caught with their pants down and no matter how many shills they have out there thwarting truth, they still do not have a working pair of suspenders! http://friendfeed.com/fraud-upon-the-court

    All three federal branches and a slew of traitors are colluding. People need to put aside their different views and concentrate on the common enemy. We no longer have a legitimate government or judicial system.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 11th, 2014 @ 8:57pm

    Re: Uncle Scam at it again!

    Eh, it doesn't have to be a conspiracy. I have no idea what happened when the FBI killed Todashev; maybe they had plausible and legally-defensible reasons for doing so, maybe they didn't. In the absence of further evidence, it's impossible to say with any confidence.

    What I can say with confidence is that after the killing, every single person who could be held accountable and/or suffer political fallout and/or face bad publicity instantly began attempts to cover his or her own ass. When everybody involved is individually acting in the same way, it starts to look a lot like collective action. But just because everybody involved is (probably) lying and (definitely) trying not to get blamed, it doesn't mean that there was a conspiracy to lie.

    Personally, I don't think there can be any collusion simply because our government doesn't appear to be even remotely competent enough to make it work. Hell, they can't even manage simple things like spying on Congress or keeping known terrorists from bombing a marathon. Creating and maintaining a vast national conspiracy is utterly beyond their capabilities.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    Rebelready (profile), Mar 11th, 2014 @ 9:17pm

    Re: Re: Uncle Scam at it again!

    The evidence disagrees with you! It is a massive criminal conspiracy and it is a crime against the people! They took care of what would be considered the biggest exposure risk.

    I suggest you open your eyes; you are extremely correct regarding the incompetence of this government. The fact that their incompetence has a greater mass than ever onto them and along with a strong showing that they don't care, should really concern you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    techflaws (profile), Mar 11th, 2014 @ 11:22pm

    I'll say that again: these shenanigans make you think fondly of McCarthyism.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2014 @ 12:05am

    Re: This is what happens when...

    Correction, they failed upwards, int he vain hope that they might actually learn. After all if they're upwards, then they can't have done anythiing wrong now and can't do any damage now, can they?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    David, Mar 12th, 2014 @ 1:59am

    Re: This is what happens when...

    It's rather what happens when weaklings, cowards, idiots and bullies are given seats in congress.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    Ninja (profile), Mar 12th, 2014 @ 3:38am

    We tend to have contact with many different, unimportant people in our lives by chance or due to some business that we either won't be seeing again or we will connect on very specific matters, not knowing a damn about what they do in their lives. Case point: my brother-in-law is a convicted drug dealer. I barely have any contact with him but he is a relative of my girl and thus I have a connection that can be explored even though I've never even touched anything illegal (weed or otherwise, including my "pirate" downloads that are fully legal here). He's the only case in the family that "went wrong". This could be used against me since I do have him on my facebook and we've had contact, albeit brief, before. Hell, if the owner of the pizzeria next home does something wrong and you always buy there you already have an issue. And that's why both due process and privacy are important. In a through investigation law enforcement will come to the conclusion that there is no relation between the individuals other than the pizza or the family ties. But ill intentioned officials may use it to turn your life into living hell. Stasi.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 12th, 2014 @ 4:51am

    Tying up loose ends and all that jazz.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    thomass, Mar 12th, 2014 @ 11:39am

    the us version of parallel construction is constructive possession imo. A crime. Have all the tools available to break a rule and the rule is broken. But the gov has all the tools available for bad prosecutions... but claims they don't use them... even though they do.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    askeptic, Mar 12th, 2014 @ 11:48am

    Re: Very suspicious

    Yeah, strange about that.
    It's not like the FBI has never been involved in criminal activity in the Boston area.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    TomT, Mar 12th, 2014 @ 12:55pm

    If you really want this investigated, vote Republican. Otherwise, stop complaining. The media is in the bag for the Democrats. The media only does its job under a Republican administration. I sleep well at night knowing my government is being watched by the media when Repbulicans are in charge.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    Rebelready (profile), Mar 12th, 2014 @ 10:13pm

    Re:

    Sounds like a good solution and it would be if both sides of the aisle were not infested with criminals. Are you keeping a close watch on your Reps? Have you noticed anything peculiar with there travels? I have and there is a strong appearance they are traveling via photo-shop and green-screen to promote the agenda that fills their campaign chest and likely their own pockets! This country is ran by the military industrial complex among other corrupt corporation level entities. R & L need to combine efforts and STOP the negative discourse.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    icon
    Rebelready (profile), Mar 12th, 2014 @ 10:14pm

    Re: Re:

    their travels-sorry!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    icon
    Rebelready (profile), Mar 12th, 2014 @ 11:02pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm referring to the Congressional Delegation that went to Russia last May and House Home Land Committee Chair who went before the Olympics. Very peculiar aberrations in videos and pics with those trips.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    Pragmatic, Mar 14th, 2014 @ 6:32am

    Re:

    Vote Republican to stop this stuff? ROFL!!

    They. Effin'. Started. It.

    Who brought in the PATRIOT Act? There you go, Sport.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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