In the lobby of her Etobicoke apartment building, the aunt of the two Boston bombing suspects shouted one word over and over as reporters questioned her about her now-infamous nephews — one dead, the other leading police on a chase Friday that effectively shut down Boston.
“Evidence,” Maret Tsarnaeva said repeatedly, her voice high with emotion. “I can’t lightly accept this kind of accusations without supporting evidence. Forgive me, but I cannot.”
Tsarnaeva, is aunt to Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a 19-year-old who survived an overnight shootout and police chase, and his older brother Tamerlan, 26, who was killed in the shootout. The family is ethnically Chechen.
Tsarnaeva had not spoken to the men in about five years, but said she “knew them as angels” and does not believe they were responsible for the attack.
“I don’t know them in a way that they could be capable of this,” she said. She would not rule out the possibility that the photos showing the brothers at the scene had been staged.
“I have to question everything. That’s my nature.”
Many members of the family moved to the U.S. in the early 2000s. Dzhokhar arrived in 2002 with his parents, then Tamerlan came in 2003, with the suspects’ two sisters.
Tsarnaeva, who says she had been a lawyer in Chechnya, claims to have helped with their refugee paperwork.
Tamerlan had married what he described as “a good Christian girl” in the U.S., and had a 3-year-old child, she said.
Tsarnaeva could not say what either nephew was doing recently, but it was confirmed Friday that Tamerlan had studied accounting at a community college but did not finish. Dzhokhar is a student at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth, numerous media reported Friday.
As a Chechen, Tsarnaeva says she is accustomed to being set up by the police, and does not believe that the photos or the reports from the FBI are true.
People should not just “swallow” everything the government is saying, she said.
“Being a Chechen … you always have to watch your back,” she said.
On Friday, Tsarnaeva called a hotline to ask for more evidence linking her nephews to the attack.
“I said please, take that into account. Give evidence. Give at least evidence to family members. Because I will never accuse my relatives, my nephews, without having evidence.”
The entire family is Muslim, though Tsarnaeva did not know how devout they were. In the last two years, however, Tamerlan had started praying five times a day, she said.
She described both nephews as smart and athletic, saying Tamerlan had been an amateur boxer. He competed in the National Golden Gloves competition in 2009.
Tsarnaeva said the boys’ father, her brother Anzor, was soft-hearted. He had recently moved to Russia.
“I don’t know how he’s taking this,” she said.
Other members of the suspects’ family were speaking out Friday; Tsarnaeva’s younger brother, Ruslan Tsarni, told reporters in Maryland that he was ashamed of his nephews, and that they were “losers” who couldn’t “settle themselves” in the U.S., according to numerous reports.
Responding to her brother’s words, Tsarnaeva said Ruslan Tsarni had been expecting a lot of the men, especially Tamerlan, who had been his favourite.
To her surviving nephew, Tsarnaeva said: “I just hope this is not true, because I don’t have evidence.”
“If that is you, you take the blame…. You did it for some purpose. Explain it, take some responsibility. What else can I say?”
Barack Obama says he wants to ban more classifications of firearms because he wants to keep Americans safe from gun crime.
Do you believe it?
I don’t believe Obama cares a whit about the safety of the American people – and I think I can prove it.
First of all, the statistics Obama ignores demonstrate conclusively that firearms in the hands of law-abiding citizens actually saves lives. It’s not even a close call. This fact is illustrated further by the fact that the urban areas that have outright banned firearms possession have become virtual shooting galleries, with more Americans being killed in Chicago than in Iraq and Afghanistan combined.
All that has been said before – not frequently enough, of course – but the evidence is in on the absolute need for firearms in the hands of American citizens if we are to remain a free and secure people.
But let me give you the indisputable proof that Obama is lying about his concerns for the safety and well-being of the American people.
What did his administration do last week in response to the sequestration budget cuts he himself proposed if an agreement could not be reached with Republicans to raise taxes?
Without any reason whatsoever, other than to punish American citizens and put them at risk of life and limb, his Department of Homeland Security pre-emptively released thousands of illegal-alien criminals from detention. He did this like a willful child who didn’t get his way – even though he got exactly what he asked for, as reporter Bob Woodward has documented.
Now what happens when you release illegal-alien criminals onto the streets of America with no tracking, no monitoring, no oversight, no paperwork? These are not just illegal aliens who came to America looking for work. They are illegal aliens who broke into the country and committed serious crimes. Obama’s DHS gave them get-out-of-jail-free cards.
Does that sound like the act of someone who cares about the safety and welfare of American citizens?
Does it make sense to disarm American citizens in the wake of actions like that?
When police chiefs are warning Americans to arm themselves because their departments no longer have the resources to provide adequate protection to citizens, is this a responsible action by a caring president?
Of course not.
To top it off, local officials offered to provide facilities to hold those illegal-alien criminals – at no cost to the federal government. Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio told DHS he’d take those prisoners free of charge and house them at his Tent City.
“I’ll take them,” he said. “I have room in my tents. I would be happy to have them – and I wouldn’t even charge them. I would love to take them in the tents.”
Like me, Arpaio doesn’t buy the Obama administration’s story that this move was done to cut spending.
He said: “I am always suspicious when the government that has billions of dollars has to say, ‘We are going to release [illegal immigrants] because of budget problems.’ I’m wary of that. They’re utilizing a budget so-called crisis as the reason to kick these people loose. I do have a concern about that.”
Obama makes a show of compassion for average Americans, but that’s all it is – sheer demagoguery. I’m convinced his efforts along these lines are specifically designed to create chaos, not save lives.
It’s like his former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, once said: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Obama doesn’t just wait for crises to happen. He creates them and exploits them for maximum political advantage.