Dzhokhar Tsarnaev the 19 year old surviving suspect in the Boston Bombings case pleaded not guilty to 30 federal charges on Wednesday, in his first court appearance since being captured almost 3 months ago.
Though the wider public view this as an open and shut case, the plea is an important development, as it will force scrutiny on to the prosecution’s key evidence, which up until now has been held back from public consumption. Presumably the alleged CCTV footage of Dzhokhar and his deceased older brother Tamerlan planting the rucksack bombs will be released during the trial, which should solve several anomalies in the media reporting, such as FBI photos of a black rucksack at the second explosion purported to have been carried out by Dzhokhar, despite images showing him to be carrying a light colored bag before the bombing.
What will be most interesting about the trial is how the state present Dzhokhar’s motive, and whether he’ll be willing to fully explore what lead up to his role in the attack. Other than fleeting and alleged references to radical Islam, something a lot of Americans will see even if it’s not there, there isn’t really any evidence or solid back-story as to how the plot developed. That’s not to say we already know he’s guilty, but he was certainly involved to some degree judging by his actions during the manhunt and alleged testimony after capture.
What is clear is that up until now he’s made no attempt to clear his name or implicate any co-conspirators or influences, something you’d expect from somebody who was set-up, pressured, involved with a wider network that hung them out to dry, or at least is claiming to be not guilty. Basic questions like motive, who supplied the weaponry, and who trained them to shoot and make pressure cooker bombs, have simply not been answered in adequate detail.
This mystery is compounded by conflicting accounts given by those who were close to the brothers, such as their mother claiming they were victims of FBI coercion and entrapment gone bad (or good depending on how you look at it), or other family members either corroborating or dismissing the Muslim extremist angle. The family seems to be split, one side are darlings of Russia Today and others like “Uncle Ruslan” was CNN’s lead interview, confirming all of America’s prejudices and nightmares.
As with any terrorist attack on Western soil, regardless of the truth, many myths will be created around the Boston bombing thanks to the media and those with agendas. It should come as no surprise that a movie is already in the works that will no doubt help cement some of those myths.