American Elephants

State Supported Terrorism: The Downside of Welfare by The Elephant's Child

As we gradually learn about the two Tsarnaev brothers, one of the big questions has been where did they get the money and training to amass their arsenal of bombs and guns? Apparently, from the taxpayers of Boston.

According to the Boston Herald Tammerlan Tsarnaev, a 26-year-old with a green card entitling him to permanent residence in the United States, was living on taxpayer-funded welfare checks from the State of Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services, along with his wife and their 3-year-old daughter. The welfare benefits ended in 2012 when the family stopped meeting income eligibility requirements.

His wife was working 80 hour weeks as a home health aide, while Tammerlan stayed home and delved into the world of radical anti-American Islamism.  Both of the Tsarnaev parents received benefits, and the brothers received benefits through their parents when they were of age. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a 19-year-old now in federal custody, was attending college on scholarship, but recent grades showed hm failing. He apparently earned money by selling pot, and in 2011, when FBI agents interviewed the brothers on suspicion of terrorism, the City of Cambridge awarded him a $2,500 scholarship, according to the Boston Globe.

Tammerlan had been a Golden Gloves boxer who delivered pizza while attending community college, and hoped to compete in the Olympics.  Supposedly at the urging of his mother, he began taking his religion more seriously, started intensely studying Islam and attending a radical local mosque funded with Saudi money and controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood. Relatives say his descent into extremist Islam began around 2008 or 2009.

The Russian FSB intelligence service reportedly contacted the FBI repeatedly to warn that Tammerlan was suspected of being a dangerous radical. In mid-2011 he was being monitored by the FSB, as he prepared to leave the United States to join unspecified underground groups. The FBI reported finding no “terrorism activity,” and according to Secretary Janet Napolitano dropped him off their watch list. Lots of questions.

The bigger the bureaucracy, the more fraud and abuse can be found. You get way too many layers of management, and the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing, and nobody wants to stir up trouble, large or small. The ideal becomes going along to get along. Is that inevitable? I thought there was something in the immigration laws that required those seeking to immigrate to prove that they would be self-supporting. That’s another problem with big bureaucracies, The people no longer know what the rules are, and we only find out when something terrible happens to expose the carelessness of government. Mistakes happen, of course, but when they become big ones, people lose faith in their officials.

A Picture Worth a Thousand Words. by The Elephant's Child

This picture hit me harder than the videos of the explosion itself.  A “person of interest” is in custody, and Boston’s police are efficiently following up on every lead, combing through videos and pictures taken at the scene, and through surveillance tapes.

It all seem so pointless. Americans are not cowed by acts of terror, but enraged. Groups that are too small and too weak to gather either notice nor interest think that acts of destruction can—what? Draw interest to their cause? The record would not bear that out. Terrorist groups don’t usually attack conventional security forces, they attack “soft” targets like tired athletes and their supporters that will draw widespread publicity.

In Iraq, al Qaeda operatives are suspected of 12 explosions responsible for killing 55 people across Iraq on the same day as the Boston Marathon. Max Boot, an expert on guerrilla warfare, traveled to Boston yesterday where he was scheduled to speak about the history of guerrilla warfare and terrorism, which he reprised in today’s Wall Street Journal.

Our thoughts and prayers are with those injured and the families of those who were killed. City officials, security people and ordinary bystanders and first responders were magnificent. Bless them all.



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