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« Wait, What Else is the FSB "Helping" the FBI With Besides the Boston Bombing?! | Main | Where's Pavel Durov? And I Guess His Manifesto Isn't Working Out »

May 16, 2013

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Mr. X

If you don't like jihadists, get the U.S. government out of the business of facilitating allies who arm them to the teeth. Simple. You and @LibertyLynx and Pirrong can't handle that simple fact.

mab

Cathy, has anyone said what their native language was? Was it Russian? Did they speak Russian with their Kazakh friends? How well did they read it?

I agree that their "justification" (revenge for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) doesn't sound like Chechen resistance leaders, etc. But it does sound exactly like the paid posts on Ekho Moskvy and every other Russian site. There's one guy who has a set piece on how many people were killed by the US military in every conflict (he always says the US military killed them). Isn't it possible that their "self-radicalization" was a mix of Russian anti-Americanism + Islamist stuff? To me, the chicken is coming home to roost in Russian blogs.

Catherine Fitzpatrick

Hi, in all the news articles I've read, they are described as being half Chechen and half Avar (their mother is Avar) and their native language is described as Chechen, but like a lot of people in this region, they speak Russian, and maybe because that's their parents' own lingua franca. On Dzhokhar's social media, and on Tamerlan's, you find them speaking Russian, either with Cyrrilic or with Latin letters. And that's because they are communicating with other Russian-language jihadists or admirers of all the Islamist videos who are of all kinds of ethnic groups. It's like the Uzbek suspect I've written about here:

http://3dblogger.typepad.com/different_stans/2013/05/youtube-feed-of-uzbek-suspect-fazliddin-kurbanov-hate-for-russians-americans-love-for-jihad-explosiv.html

who has a classic "self-radicalizer" (a term I don't really believe in) Youtube with a mixture of Russian-language jihadist, Arabic, Uzbek, anti-American films from all over, and who writes his Youtube comments sometimes in badly spelled Russian, sometimes in Uzbek.

Indeed, the entire thing is so perfectly concocted that you wonder if he is an NSS agent sent to spy on other Uzbeks. Wouldn't it be funny if the people the FBI were catching in their sting operations were in fact KGB-successor agents?

Yes, indeed, this sounds like the stock 50-ruble club or whatever the Russian equivalent of the paid Chinese 50 cent club is. The paid posts on the Russian sites always have this stock set of anti-American tropes and it is so often artificial in that way that you wonder if there are actually an real human beings that have these views, but maybe there are, because maybe these propagagndists are successful.

Yes, I've been meaning to do a post on those stock propagandist points and how the US should work harder to refute them.

They all have that smarmy, nasty superior feel that the KGB stuff has always had. Obviously, most of the people killed in Afghanistan have been killed by the Taliban, and in Iraq, the militans and terrorists of Iraq and supported by Iran and Syria did the lion's share of killing even if you read the leftist site Iraq Body Count. These facts are constantly portrayed falsely and to explain that is not to justify the invasion of Iraq, but to simply report that every week, it was terrorists, not US troops blowing away 50 people in the marketplaces.

I think the reason they sound like the paid posts is because they're a paid post themselves. I realize this isn't a popular point of view but it's my hunch and a few others feel the same way but they don't publicize it because they then get viciously attacked (as I did by even Andrew Sullivan, it's insane how reluctant people are to blame the Russians for anything).

And yes, a more sophisticated and subtle version of my hypothesis is that the anti-American propaganda the Russian intelligence services have been blasting for decades, which has become really vile everywhere, is really having its desired effect. I certainly see its effect from Central Asians who have less free media. At least, that's what I'm understanding you to say -- that after years of having all those paid trolls show up and claim that America is the worst, America killed the most people, America is waging war on Muslims (instead of terrorists waging war first on their fellow Muslims and in fact killing the most people) -- that they have gotten it to succeed with people like the Tsarnaevs or Kurbanov.

Every time my blog is translated on Inosmi.ru I get hundreds of hate notes and hate emails all "of a type". Sure, some of them may be opinions genuinely held. But so many of them feel like they are sprayed by bots or inserted by the 50-cent crowd. It reminds me of the hundreds of hate letters the Sakharovs would receive in their mailbox which was blocked from receiving anything from abroad -- suddenly there were all these perfectly-scripted hate letters right out of Pravda editorials.

Before he became far less critical (and silent) about Putin and Russia, Evgeny Morozov had this great article about how the KGB outsources hate and has those paid trolls and the debilitating effect they have. It's an article on Open Democracy, one of his first in the West in English.

mab

"At least, that's what I'm understanding you to say -- that after years of having all those paid trolls show up and claim that America is the worst, America killed the most people, America is waging war on Muslims (instead of terrorists waging war first on their fellow Muslims and in fact killing the most people) -- that they have gotten it to succeed with people like the Tsarnaevs or Kurbanov."

Yes, that's what I think. I don't have any inside information, but my hunch is that the Russian anti-American screeds combined with jihadist stuff were a perfect storm for the Tsarnaev boys.

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