Don’t Forget Misha

By: Bethany Stotts
Accuracy in Media

The mainstream media are absent on the Misha story, preferring to let the discussion of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s possible mentor devolve into hearsay reporting rather than to delve in-depth into the background of this Islamist. Perhaps he undermines the narrative that this was a couple of self-radicalized kids who were just taking out their anger at America for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Who is Misha? “Misha was an Armenian native and a convert to Islam and quickly began influencing his new friend, family members said,” according to the Associated Press. “Under the tutelage of a friend known to the Tsarnaev family only as Misha, Tamerlan gave up boxing and stopped studying music, his family said. He began opposing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He turned to websites and literature claiming that the CIA was behind the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and Jews controlled the world.”

“Tamerlan loved music and, a few years ago, he sent Khozhugov [his brother-in-law] a song he’d composed in English and Russian,” continues the AP. “He said he was about to start music school.” Then, after talking with Misha, he decided that Islam could not support his musical goals.

“Musical instruments are considered haram (sinful) by Islamists,” outlines Abdel Bari Atwan in his recent book After bin Laden: Al Qaeda, the Next Generation. “Ibn Tamiyyah—a scholar widely admired by jihadis—said that music is ‘alcohol to one’s soul.’”

The younger Tsarnaev brother has confessed to the authorities that the Boston bombs were designed using the recipe outlined by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’s online jihadist magazine, Inspire. But, as the Misha connection shows, Tamerlan’s views may not have been only radicalized over the Internet—they were likely radicalized first at home. The Tsarnaev brothers’ uncle, Ruslan Tsarni told the Daily Mail that “that the man responsible was a cleric aged around 30 called Misha and that he was an Armenian who, unusually for such a largely Christian people, had converted to Islam.”

“As far as he knew Misha was based in a mosque that was a short drive from Cambridge and that he was new to Islam.”

Last weekend, Christian Caryl, a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books, located Misha, also known as Mikhail Allakhverdov. “He confirmed he was a convert to Islam and that he had known Tamerlan Tsarnaev, but he flatly denied any part in the bombings,” reports Caryl. The interview doesn’t indicate whether he was a cleric, as Uncle Tsarni alleged. “I wasn’t his teacher. If I had been his teacher, I would have made sure he never did anything like this,” Allakhverdov told Caryl.

The FBI would not disclose to Caryl whether Allakhverdov was connected to the bombing, so Caryl relies on statements by anonymous government officials that he had no connection to the bombing.

Regardless of whether Misha aided in the bombings, isn’t what he taught Tamerlan—that he might have radicalized him—still of interest?

The stories between Misha and Tamerlan’s uncle Tsarni are simply irreconcilable. “A close friend of the family in Boston said that Misha was not known to have visited Tamerlan at home,” reports Caryl. (Relatives said otherwise.) “I interviewed Allakhverdov in Russian and it seems likely that in whatever contact the two men had, they would have spoken Russian.”

If these two stories don’t match, then why aren’t the media digging deeper into this issue? Perhaps they are afraid of the Islamist angle. This piece by the Los Angeles Times does little but repeat the family’s side and Allakhverdov’s assertion that he was not Tamerlan’s teacher. The Boston Herald likewise reprinted his assertion, as did CBS Boston.

“CNN has made repeated efforts to speak with Allakhverdov, but has so far been unsuccessful,” report Josh Levs and Ben Brumfield for CNN. Allakhverdov is also not speaking to The Washington Post.

Todd Wallack and Lisa Wangness of the Boston Globe, in contrast, asked the hard questions. “The Review of Books published a brief account of the interview with Allakhverdov on its blog Sunday night, saying the item was part of a longer piece on the Tsarnaev family and Boston’s Russian and Chechen community to be published in a forthcoming edition of the journal,” they wrote for the Boston Globe. “But the brief account left many questions unanswered…There was no information about Tamerlan’s religious beliefs or politics, nor was there an explanation of why the two men stopped talking.”

Since Allakhverdov clearly has no interest in speaking to the press further, as evinced by his refusal to speak to the Post or CNN, perhaps a little investigative journalism is in order. These future stories should center around facts, not hearsay quotes from either party.

However, as of this writing the media appears to have dropped the story entirely, abrogating its journalistic duties.

Bethany Stotts is a freelance writer, and former staff writer for Accuracy in Academia. She blogs at http://bethanystotts.wordpress.com/.


How Obama Obstructs Justice in the Search for a Communist Terrorist

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

If the FBI wants to find Joanne Chesimard, who has just been added to the “Most Wanted Terrorists List,” it could begin by wiretapping President Obama’s friends, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, and other members of the Weather Underground. The Weather Underground helped Chesimard—a convicted cop-killer—escape from a New Jersey prison in 1979 and flee to Cuba.

Chesimard, also known as Assata Shakur, was involved in the “execution style” murder of New Jersey State Trooper Werner Foerster. The attack on Foerster in a gun battle also took the life of Chesimard’s associate, Zayd Shakur. Ayers and Dohrn named one of their children after Zayd Shakur, who now goes under the name of “Zayd Dohrn,” and is a playwright.

The doubling of the reward from $1 million to $2 million for information leading to her capture and return to New Jersey was made on the 40th anniversary of Foerster’s brutal murder.

However, Chesimard is still today being protected by a support network of “progressive” activists, lawyers and the Cuban government.

Alluding to terrorist support networks for Chesimard in the U.S, Aaron Ford, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s office in Newark, New Jersey, said, “We would be naïve to think there’s not some communication between her and some of those people she used to run around with today.”

Chesimard was a member of the Black Liberation Army (BLA), a group that worked with the Weather Underground. The Black Liberation Army was an outgrowth of the Black Panthers, a black militant group that described police officers as “Pigs” and called for their deaths.

Her escape to Cuba was not surprising. Former FBI informant Larry Grathwohl points out that the Weather Underground was a virtual project of the Cuban intelligence service, the DGI. His book, Bringing Down America, has been updated and republished.

However, the role of the Weather Underground in helping Chesimard go “underground” for more than four years in the U.S., and then escape to Cuba, is being conspicuously ignored in most of the stories about her being named as the first woman added to the Most Wanted Terrorists List.

Raising the stakes, Colonel Rick Fuentes, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police, said at Thursday’s news conference on this matter that they have “reason to believe she has established associations with other international terrorist organizations.”

Hence, it appears to be the case that Chesimard has maintained her contacts with leftists and terrorists in the United States and abroad.

Fuentes said that Chesimard “flaunts her freedom in the face of this horrific crime…In 1984, she surfaced in Cuba and was given political asylum by Fidel Castro. To this day, from her safe haven in Cuba, Chesimard has been given the pulpit to preach and profess, stirring supporters and groups to mobilize against the United States by any means necessary. As a government functionary and instrument of anti-U.S. propaganda, she has been used by the Castro regime to greet foreign delegations visiting Cuba.”

The FBI has posted videos and stories about the search for Chesimard. “This case is just as important today as it was when it happened 40 years ago,” says Mike Rinaldi, a lieutenant in the New Jersey State Police and member of the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) in Newark. “Bringing Joanne Chesimard back here to face justice is still a top priority.”

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, said, “I would like to commend the FBI for naming Joanne Chesimard a Most Wanted Terrorist, first woman ever to make this notorious list. In addition, I would like to applaud the New Jersey state authorities for adding additional reward money for information leading to the capture and arrest of Chesimard, bringing the total reward to $2 million.”

She said naming Chesimard as a Most Wanted Terrorist “is another reaffirmation that the Castro regime facilitates and supports terrorism and undermines U.S. interests consistently.”

At the very least, it also means that the Obama Administration cannot legally justify, under any circumstances, removing Cuba from the list of states supporting international terrorism.

The additional $1 million in reward money, which would come from the State of New Jersey’s forfeiture funds, could be an enticement to people, possibly in Cuba, to apprehend and transfer Chesimard back to the U.S. “Officials did not say whether they hope someone in Cuba will capture her and forcibly return her to the United States, but they did offer that the reward is available to anyone, in any country,” noted Ryan Hutchins of the New Jersey Star-Ledger.

Wiretaps on Chesimard’s associates in the U.S. could be justified, but are not likely, since Eric Holder, a former “black power” activist, runs Obama’s Department of Justice. He was deputy attorney general in the Clinton Administration and was involved in pardons for members of the Weather Underground. As Attorney General, he approved the early release from prison of communist terrorist Marilyn Buck, a member of the Weather Underground and Black Liberation Army involved in Chesimard’s escape from prison. The Obama/Holder Justice Department falsely claimed that Buck had repented for her terrorist ways.

Chesimard is living in Cuba, under the protection of the Castro brothers. But The New York Times once reported that she has been so open about her life in Cuba that she was once listed in the Havana telephone book under her new name, Assata Shakur.

With close connections to the “progressive” movement that worked for Obama’s election as President, Chesimard has been thumbing her nose at federal law enforcement officials who want to bring her back to the U.S. She thinks she can’t be touched. She certainly doesn’t fear a drone strike.

As we noted in a 2011 column, Chesimard gives interviews to American radicals who visit Cuba, such as the late Manning Marable, the professor of history and political science at Columbia University whose biography of Malcolm X was released after his death.

Rather than crack down on Cuba, Obama has facilitated travel to the Communist island through such venues as the Venceremos Brigades, a means by which the Castro dictatorship recruits Americans as agents of influence, trains them in guerrilla warfare tactics, and puts them in touch with international terrorists.

Bernardine Dohrn arranged Veneceremos Brigades trips to Cuba.

Chesimard has an American attorney, Soffiyah Elijah, who serves as Deputy Director of the Criminal Justice Institute at Harvard Law School and has traveled to Cuba on many occasions, including as a member of the Venceremos Brigades.

The Director Emeritus of the Criminal Justice Institute is Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. He mentored both Michelle Obama and Barack Obama during their respective periods at Harvard.

In a move that ignited controversy among law enforcement, the White House in 2011 hosted a rapper who had performed a song praising Chesimard.

The lyrics of rapper Common’s “A Song For Assata” include:

In the Spirit of God.

In the Spirit of the Ancestors.

In the Spirit of the Black Panthers.

In the Spirit of Assata Shakur.

We make this movement towards freedom for all those who have been oppressed, and all those in the struggle.

Clues as to how to find Chesimard were on display on November 13, 2010, when a memorial tribute was held for “Comrade” Marilyn Buck in New York City after she passed away. The sponsors highlighted a Chesimard recording in praise of Buck that had been smuggled out of Communist Cuba and played at the service. Soffiyah Elijah gave the eulogy. Former members of the Weather Underground and the Puerto Rican terrorist group, FALN, showed up to praise Buck as a great freedom fighter.

Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn paid tribute to Buck in an announcement in the booklet distributed at her memorial service.

Chesimard also has supporters in the media, such as HuffPost Live anchor Marc Lamont Hill, who regularly appears on the Fox News Channel’s “O’Reilly Factor” program.

Chesimard is the most prominent communist terrorist still on the loose. But she is not the only one. Other fugitives on the FBI list include members of the May 19th Communist Organization.

Joel Gilbert, director of the film, Dreams from My Real Father, describes the May 19th Communist Organization as “an above ground support group for the Weather Underground” that was based in New York City from 1978-1985. He says Obama was “likely” a member of the group during his time at Columbia University in the early 1980’s.

The major media have consistently refused to cover the indisputable evidence of Obama’s communist connections, including a relationship with Communist Party member Frank Marshall Davis, featured in the film.

Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected].


The Washington Post’s Liberal Image and Record

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

The Washington Post says that Ken Cuccinelli, who is running for governor of Virginia, has an image problem because he has described sex between homosexuals as “wrong” and branded President Obama’s team as “the biggest set of lawbreakers in America.”

When one reads the front-page Post article with these assertions, it is hard not to wonder whether the paper is being serious or comical. If it is serious, then the attempt clearly is to make it appear as though Cuccinelli has an image problem that he can only solve by acting and thinking like a Democrat.

Welcome to the world of The Washington Post, which wants to influence political races across the country, but especially in neighboring Virginia.

But there’s more: “As Virginia’s attorney general, his targets have included abortion-clinic rules, climate scientists and the Environmental Protection Agency, which he has derided as the ‘agency of mass destruction.’”

Can you believe that this guy wants medical “rules” and standards to apply to the abortion industry? And that he has criticized the federal government for destroying private businesses in the name of a theory about man-made global warming that is in dispute among scientists?

These are additional sins in the eyes of the Post, which wants to influence the race on behalf of Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a former Democratic National Committee chairman.

In overall terms, according to the Post, Cuccinelli has “established himself as a combative icon of the tea party movement” and “has endeared himself to conservatives while inflaming Democrats.”

The print version of the article wondered if Cuccinelli would “soften” his image while the online version was headlined, “Cuccinelli’s test: Winning centrists without losing conservatives.”

The liberal bias of the Post is legendary, but it is helpful on occasion to dissect how the slanting of the “news’ is actually carried out on a day-to-day basis.

If it is true that that Cuccinelli is trying to soften his image through a TV commercial featuring his wife talking about his humanitarian causes, then that is the result of a campaign against him that has been featured in the pages of the Post, depicting him as harsh, rigid and ideological.

It is a typical ploy—to portray the conservative as an extremist.

If this paper finds it objectionable that Cuccinelli, a Catholic, would describe homosexuality as “wrong,” then you know that the Post is offended by any number of traditional conservative beliefs and practices. Indeed, the Post is a long-time Democratic Party paper that only pretends to be fair to the other major political party. The Paul Schwartzman article about Cuccinelli is only one of the most brazen examples of how the bias is implemented in practice.

More than two years ago we noted that the Post relentlessly hammered Cuccinelli over his opposition to Obamacare. But his legal action against the socialized medicine scheme was vindicated by a federal court.

Now consider how the Post has covered McAuliffe’s refusal to release his tax returns. It was covered in a story headlined, “McAuliffe releases abridged tax information, reports $8.2 million in income in 2011.”

The term, “abridged tax information,” is another way of saying that McAuliffe did not release his tax returns so the public can fully understand how he made and spent his money. Cuccinelli opened eight years of tax records—a total of 225 pages—to the media, the story noted.

But if you think the Post will run a front-page story about McAuliffe’s image problem as a result of this concealment, you have another thing coming.

Ditto for McAuliffe’s image problem that has resulted from his involvement with a “green” car venture linked to a Chinese businessman and offshore tax shelters.

Fortunately, a report from a conservative-oriented news site, Virginia Watchdog, examines this controversial aspect of McAuliffe’s career.

The firm, GreenTech, is a subsidiary of Capital Wealth Holdings (CWH), an investment company incorporated in the tax shelter country of the British Virgin Islands, and was founded in 2009 by Chinese businessman Charles Wang.

McAuliffe, a part-owner of GreenTech who stepped down as chairman four months ago, has been grilled by Ryan Nobles of NBC’s Richmond, Virginia affiliate NBC12 about why the car company failed to follow through on a plan to build a factory in Virginia, and instead moved it to Mississippi. The company is headquartered in McLean, Virginia.

Watchdog.org, an affiliate of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity, ran a 17-part series on the car company.

You can bet the Post will do its best to ignore or play down this major issue in the Virginia gubernatorial campaign. It is determined to protect McAuliffe’s “image” as a respectable businessman while savaging Cuccinelli.

Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected].