Boston bombings spawn baseless conspiracies
An ugly reality that accommpanies events like the Boston bombings are the predictable conspiracy theories that follow.PT2M37S http://www.canberratimes.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2i2as 620 349 April 18, 2013
As officials continue to seek suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings, individuals are taking to the internet in efforts to identify potential culprits.
A group called 4chan ThinkTank posted a 57-picture album on the website imgur.com today that featured images of people who had black backpacks after it was revealed investigators were in possession of a video of a possible suspect.
Despite reports to the contrary there has not been an arrest in the Marathon attack.
The FBI and Homeland Security Department yesterday circulated a picture of a damaged black backpack that investigators believe may have held one of the two explosive devices placed near the race’s finish line.
Vigilante warnings ... an image being examined by online sleuths on a popular photo-sharing website.
The imgur.com website has had more than 1.5 million views, while on reddit.com, a subgroup called ‘‘findbostonbombers’’ had more than 100 message threads, ranging from ‘‘Electronic Bomb Component Analysis’’ to ‘‘Blue Robe Guy’’. The latter refers to a bearded white male wearing a red shirt, blue jacket and carrying a black backpack over his right arm.
Another reddit page urged caution as individuals take to the website while state, local and federal officials track down leads.
‘‘We do not condone vigilante justice. Our aim is simply to provide tips for the FBI, not to take matters into our own hands,’’ a user known as Rather—Confused said in a posting.
Moment of truth: one of the explosions at the Boston Marathon. Photo: AP
‘‘While it’s admirable to help, posting information on anyone noted in pictures could have a devastating effect on their life.’’
One such example cited by the website is Richard Jewell, the security guard who was falsely linked to the Centennial Olympic Park bombing during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta.
In what may prove to be a major breakthrough, a person carrying a black bag near the scene of the second bombing was caught on a surveillance video taken by a nearby Lord & Taylor department store, the Boston Globe has reported. The person had not been identified, however.
The victims ... Martin Richard, 8, Krystle Campbell, 29, and Lingzi Lu, a Boston University graduate. Photo: AP
The FBI and Boston police were forced to deny a CNN report that a suspect had been taken into police custody.
‘‘Despite reports to the contrary there has not been an arrest in the Marathon attack,’’ the Boston Police Department posted on Twitter.
The two blasts went off in a 13-second period about 100 metres apart as stragglers from the marathon - in which 23,000 competitors took part - were crossing the finish line.
No stone unturned ... Investigators inspect the roof of a building above the bomb blast site in Boston. Photo: Reuters
Meanwhile, a bomb threat at the federal courthouse in Boston forced the postponement of a scheduled 5 pm news briefing on the investigation.
Federal and state authorities were responding to the threat at the John Joseph Moakley US Courthouse, causing the delay, the agency said. Court employees were later allowed to return.
Pressure cooker lid found on roof
With no claim of responsibility made for the attack, the FBI said it had launched a "worldwide" hunt for the attackers.
Evidence ... Boston Marathon bomb scene pictures taken by investigators show the remains of an explosive device. Photo: Reuters
It released photographs of the mangled metal remnants of a pressure cooker believed to have been used for one of the bombs which sprayed nails, ball bearings and metal pellets into the huge crowds.
The lid of one pressure cooker was found on the roof of the Charlesmark Hotel, close to the marathon finish line where the bombs were placed. A guest, whose girlfriend was running in the race, had been watching from the roof and just after the bombs exploded he found what he thought was the hub of a car wheel and handed it to police.
Shreds of black nylon bags believed to have been used to carry the bombs have also been found.
Boston Marathon bombing
One of the blast sites on Boylston Street near the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon.
Doctors at hospitals where the critically injured were taken say ball bearings and nails removed from patients were being used in the investigation.
George Velmahos, Massachusetts General Hospital's chief of trauma surgery, said the metal was being handed over to police. He said 12 nails were taken from one patient's body.
US authorities have thrown virtually every investigative agency into the hunt, with more than 1000 officers working in Boston alone, said Rick DesLauriers, head of the FBI's Boston office.
Obama has condemned the attack as "an act of terror" and vowed that the attackers "will feel the full weight of justice".
He will attend a special inter-faith service for the victims at Boston's Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Thursday morning, US time.
Armed National Guard troops and police patrolled Boston's airport, commuter trains and buses, and authorities said the tightened security would last several days.
About 100 of the injured have left Boston hospitals but many remain in a critical condition.
Emotional tributes are flowing for the dead - eight-year-old Martin Richard, restaurant manager Krystle Campbell and a Chinese graduate student at Boston University identified as Lu Lingzi.
- Bloomberg, AFP