The Boston Marathon bombing suspects — a few thoughts (updated)

Update: Early hours Friday morning — “One suspect in custody, another remains on the loose” — sounds like this story will become much clearer in the next few hours.

Col Allan (left), two individuals circled in red and wrongly linked to the bombings by Allan's paper, and on the right the two suspects identified by the FBI.

At this time, the New York Post’s editor, Col Allan, shown on the left in the photo above, has not been identified as a suspect involved in the Boston Marathon bombing. However, by publishing photos of the two individuals circled in red above — individuals who the FBI has indicated have no connection to the bombing — Allan’s paper could be playing a role in helping the bombing suspects evade arrest. Does that mean Allan knows more about the bombing than he has let on?

This isn’t the first time the New York Post has published misleading information about the case. Earlier it reported on a Saudi suspect in the case — again, pure fiction.

Does Allan have an interest in preventing the FBI making any arrests?

This looks like a case that Alex Jones needs to investigate.

But seriously, since suspects, suspicions and a limited amount of evidence are what could at this point be described as the signature of the Marathon bombings, it’s worth attempting to transpose this event into a different context: President Obama’s drone war.

“Yes, we’ll find you and, yes, you will find justice and we’ll hold you accountable,” Obama said today.

If the individuals shown above (the two on the right) are found in the United States, unless they put up resistance, they will most likely be arrested. And if the FBI has sufficient evidence they will be charged and face trial.

But suppose they are spotted in Yemen and no more is known about them then than is known now. Will Obama authorize their killing?

(And just to be clear: by posing this particular hypothetical, I’m not implying that the suspects look Middle Eastern. As far as I can tell, they appear to come from somewhere between California and Japan.)

This much we already know: the president has authorized the killing of hundreds of men about whom he knew just as little as he now knows about the perpetrators of the Boston bombings — men whose names will almost certainly never be known and whose “guilt” consisted of nothing more than that they fit a certain profile.

This administration might exercise more caution before acting on its suspicions than does the editor of the New York Post. But whereas Allan’s suspicions lead him to publish photos of innocent men, Obama suspicions lead him to authorize assassinations. The killings occur without any judicial review. The guilt or innocence of the dead is never established.

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