It took more than three months from start to verdict in the Boston Marathon bombing trial. It will most likely take another couple of months for the government and the defense to lay out, respectively, the aggravating and mitigating circumstances, and for the jury to determine whether Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, convicted of all 30 charges on Wednesday, gets the death penalty, or life without parole. The trial has been an astoundingly time-consuming and expensive undertaking, but it has not given the public what it needs and wants most: the fullest possible understanding of what happened.
The two sides offered distinct visions of Mr.… Seguir leyendo »
In June, Corsica’s most active separatist group, the National Liberation Front, or FLNC, declared an end to its decades-long armed resistance against the French mainland. For many, its communiqué outlining “a process of demilitarization” and “progressive exit from clandestine activities” was a surprising reversal.
Since the establishment of the FLNC in 1976, there have been over 10,000 terrorist operations on the island. The FLNC and other separatist groups claimed responsibility for about half of these (most of which targeted the homes of non-Corsicans); the FLNC has also been implicated in some 40 assassinations.
But despite what the separatists would like to believe, only a tiny minority of locals support independence.… Seguir leyendo »
On Saturday, in the wake of the rocket attack that downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko urged the U.N. secretary-general to recognize the two main rebel groups in his country, the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic, as terrorist organizations.
In a similar vein Monday, Poroshenko told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that everyone must chose between the terrorists and the civilized world.
Although any country can declare those two rebel groups terrorist in accordance with their national legislation, and so make it illegal for any of their nationals to provide them with support, the U.N. secretary-general cannot, and nor can any other part of the United Nations, except possibly the Security Council.… Seguir leyendo »
EL pasado es el pasado», sentenció Gerry Adams días atrás al eludir su procesamiento por el asesinato de Jean McConville en diciembre de 1972. El pasado no desaparece aunque Adams intente esconderlo y transformarlo. «Los gemelos tenían seis años. Jamás podré olvidar su llanto aferrándose a mi madre mientras se la llevaban forcejeando. Echaron la puerta abajo y apuntaron sus pistolas contra nosotros. Dos de las personas que se la llevaron eran mujeres. Mostraron la misma piedad que dos bestias. Todavía tengo pesadillas con esa escena». La tristeza inundaba el rostro de Helen aquel verano de 1995 mientras relataba la angustia de vivir sin saber dónde se encontraba el cadáver de su madre, Jean McConville.… Seguir leyendo »
The front line in the Northern Ireland conflict has moved from the back streets of Belfast. The weapons are no longer ArmaLite rifles and car bombs; the warriors are no longer soldiers and hooded paramilitaries. In 2014, history itself is the new front line, and the battlefields are TV studios, newspapers, social media and the courts. The warriors are now politicians whose words are as full of hate as the bullets they have replaced. The body count may be lower, but mistrust and blame are not being replaced with hope and friendship.
In April 1998, when the Good Friday peace accord was signed, dealing with the conflict’s legacy was seen as too divisive.… Seguir leyendo »
Olympian Roberto Carcelén wouldn’t be competing in Sochi if it weren’t for his wife, Kate. She was the one who introduced him to skiing after he gave up elite surfing in Peru to move to Seattle and marry her. She convinced him that it was like surfing on frozen water.
When Carcelén skis for his native Peru on the cross-country track this month, however, Kate and their daughter will be at home. Amid reports about the possibility of terrorist attacks at the Winter Games, they decided it would be safer that way — and less stressful.
“I’m going to be up training in the mountains, while the family would be down in the city outside the Olympic rink,” Carcelén told CNN.… Seguir leyendo »
It’s the (wo)man hunt of the century. Russian officials, increasingly fearful of a terror attack during the upcoming Sochi Olympics, are scouring the city for a potential female suicide bomber who is thought to already be in the winter resort. Ruzanna Ibragimova, the main suspect, is a so-called Black Widow – a woman willing to kill herself, and others, to avenge the death of a loved one.
Ibragimova, whose militant husband was killed last year, is far from alone. Russian security forces are searching for a pair of other female militants because of concerns that they’ll try to hit targets in Sochi or in Moscow and other major cities.… Seguir leyendo »
The terrorist attacks in Volgograd on December 29 and 30 are an ominous sign that the decision to hold the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi may lead to one of the greatest catastrophes in the history of the Olympics.
Many of the 120,000 persons expected to visit the Olympics do not realize that they are walking into what effectively is a war zone.
The inability of the Russian authorities to prevent attacks was on display in Volgograd, a key connecting point for those en route to Sochi.
On December 29, a suicide bomber blew herself up in the entrance of the Volgograd railway station.… Seguir leyendo »
The Russian city of Volgograd (formerly known as Stalingrad) has been the site of carnage twice in 24 hours, as suicide bombers – believed to be separatists from the North Caucasus – attacked a train station and then a bus. Volgograd has already been a target once before this year, when a female suicide bomber blew up a bus in October.
With the Sochi Games just weeks away, the security threat is a concern – to put it mildly. Given the relative proximity of Volgograd to Sochi, the attacks would appear to support the theory that security at the Winter Olympic host city remains tight.… Seguir leyendo »
The horror of the attacks in the city of Volgograd is shocking, even by Russia’s grim standards. We have become accustomed to terrorists’ indiscriminate choice of victims and locations. We have even become accustomed to the lethal choreography of simultaneous attacks.
But in Volgograd the bombers cold-bloodedly returned on Monday, 24 hours after Sunday’s attack and two months after another attack in the same city, killing a further 14 people on top of the 23 earlier victims. They are not just organised and merciless, but horribly confident too.
The security services were on high alert. Ordinary citizens were looking for suspicious behaviour.… Seguir leyendo »
On June 17 and 18, the political world’s focus will be on Northern Ireland, where the Group of Eight summit will take place.
Although this is a region defined by its violent history, the summit is already proving to be one of the most complex and wide-ranging security operations Northern Ireland has ever seen. Thousands of additional police officers are being brought in from England, Wales and the Republic of Ireland to assist.
During the 2005 event, which took place in Scotland and was the last G8 summit in the UK, four al Qaeda-inspired men detonated bombs on the London transport network, killing 52 people and themselves.… Seguir leyendo »
Beginning in the mid-1990s under the regime of President Boris Yeltsin and continuing into the early part of the 2000s under Vladimir Putin, Russia fought a so-called “dirty war” against Chechen separatists in a region of the world that military strategists have long considered among the most indomitable. Even in Afghanistan, where many Chechen fighters went to train in Taliban-run training camps, they had a reputation for ferocity that frightened many war-hardened Afghans.
As the younger brother, 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is the surviving suspect in the Boston marathon bombings six days ago remained silent and in serious condition in a Boston hospital, and apparently did not issue any public statement about motives, it is impossible to say why — if indeed it was him and his brother — they did it.… Seguir leyendo »
The Boston Marathon bombings shook the nation. With one suspect killed and the other captured Friday night, there are far more questions than answers at this point. While authorities unravel details in the coming days and weeks, many people are curious about Chechnya and its history, hoping to better understand the background of the two suspected bombers.
The important thing to keep in mind right now is that 26-year-old Tamarlan Tsarnaev had a green card, and 19-year-old Dzhokar Tsarnaev became a naturalized U.S. citizen in September 2012. Assuming that their motives are related to their Chechen origins would be like assuming that Timothy McVeigh’s motives were related to his Scottish/Irish origins.… Seguir leyendo »
As the U.S. tries to process the news that the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombing had ties to the Russian republic of Chechnya, Russians and Chechens know what it means for them: trouble.
Little is known in Russia about the brothers, Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokar Tsarnaev. Apparently, the family moved to the U.S. more than a decade ago to seek refuge from Chechnya, which had a long and brutal secessionist conflict with Russia. Relations between ethnic Russians and Chechens remain fraught, and Chechen nationalists and religious fanatics have carried out numerous terrorist attacks on Russian soil.
The initial Russian reactions were incredulous: What do Chechens want with Boston?… Seguir leyendo »
The Colombian army’s killing of Alfonso Cano, head of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), will not eliminate that country’s largest guerrilla group anytime soon. But it does partly illustrate why international terrorism has not established a major presence in Latin America. Local security forces, bolstered by generous American assistance, have made the region a difficult place for foreign terrorists to set up operational cells – and other conditions also help to make Latin America less vulnerable.
One reason why the FARC has survived repeated blows to its leadership is the support that it receives from various groups, perhaps including government officials, in neighboring Ecuador and Venezuela.… Seguir leyendo »
The suicide bombing at Moscow’s busiest airport last Monday exposed more than a failure by security services to man metal detectors or extinguish potential threats. The terrorist attack, which killed 35 people and injured more than 100, revealed cracks in the rigid political system that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin built over the last decade. It was those weaknesses that made last week’s tragedy possible — and provide the conditions for new attacks.
Terrorist acts by definition prey on the vulnerabilities of governments and their security agencies. No country, no matter how well-prepared, can consider itself immune to such strikes. Terrorists have targeted metropolises like New York, London, Madrid and Stockholm in recent years.… Seguir leyendo »
El último golpe de terroristas chechenos contra la sociedad rusa no ha podido llegar en peor momento. Rusia está sufriendo las consecuencias de una crisis económica que está atacando duramente a su débil economía. La población, mayoritariamente desempleada, reclama trabajo, soluciones a la corrupción y el fin de la inseguridad ciudadana. A nivel internacional, la posición de Rusia se ha visto mermada por una guerra con Georgia que ha debilitado la imagen de un país en declive comprometiendo las relaciones con sus aliados (China, Venezuela, Irán etcétera…). Los rusos señalan al presidente Medvédev como culpable y recuerdan con nostalgia los años de presidencia de Putin.… Seguir leyendo »
Almost every month for the past two years, Chechen suicide bombers have struck. Their targets can be anything from Russian soldiers to Chechen police officers to the innocent civilians who were killed on the subway in Moscow this week. We all know the horror that people willing to kill themselves can inflict. But do we really understand what drives young women and men to strap explosives on their bodies and deliberately kill themselves in order to murder dozens of people going about their daily lives?
Chechen suicide attackers do not fit popular stereotypes, contrary to the Russian government’s efforts to pigeonhole them.… Seguir leyendo »
I was on the St. Petersburg-Moscow Express when I learned about the explosions in the Moscow subway. Ninety minutes out, my neighbor got a call on his cellphone. He asked loudly: “Papa, you at home? What happened?” He spoke for a long time in a whisper, then turned to me and said, “An hour ago there were two explosions in the Moscow metro.”
I hurriedly called Mama. Mondays she works in the Historical Museum on Red Square. It’s close to Lubyanka, where one of the explosions was. Thank God, she travels on a different subway line.
“You alive?” I asked.
“Alive, alive!”… Seguir leyendo »
Every time some disaster hits the Moscow subway, I remember that Soviet propaganda used to call this the most beautiful subway in the world.
Incredibly, in this one case, it wasn’t lying: Moscow subway stations are marble palaces with pillars, mosaics and statues of happy swimmers and oarswomen.
Despite all this decoration, I was afraid of the subway as a child. I felt that there was some hidden terror in the gap between the sparkling stations and the dark noisy tunnels with their all-too-obvious symbolism.
Most of my life has been spent along the same subway line. Its official name is Frunzenskaya, but since Muscovites nickname their subway lines according to their color on the map, everybody just calls it Red Line.… Seguir leyendo »