Friday, July 10, 2015

Official "Forum video": where is Jacqui Webb?

Chitose Suzuki/Boston Herald

Jacqui Webb is a survivor of the second explosion. She was very close to the bomb and suffered heavy injuries, but didn't lose a limb. She was at the Forum restaurant with her fiancé Paul Norden and some friends from Stoneham.

Initial reports say that the Norden brothers pushed her onto the street after the first blast, but this is quite obviously invented by the media to have a hero story to tell. After all, there was the line of metal barricades in the way. Jacqui Webb herself declares in this "Flipping Boston" video clip that she was thrown through the air, which is confirmed by a report in the New York Times:
The blast propelled Ms. Webb into the street, where she landed on her hands and knees. Her hands were burning so hot that her rings began to melt, and her right leg was gouged with shrapnel. She was afraid that the bomb had contained chemicals, so she stripped down to her underwear. A firefighter pulled off his sweatshirt for her. Others draped her in tablecloths.
In another report, she says:
"I remember the rings on my fingers were burning. A cop met me on Boylston, and he walked me across the street and sat me down. I had a large burn on my leg, and two large holes in it. You could see the muscle and down to the bone. My boyfriend was across the street.”
These statements make it possible to identify her on the available post-blast footage, namely the photos of David Silverman who has pictured a woman taking off her smoldering shirt in the middle of Boylston street, 7 seconds after the blast:

She can also be identified on another Silverman photo, if fairly blurred. The photo was taken only 2 seconds after the blast and shows her on the street while trying to get up (just left of the Spartan runner):

She then hobbles over to the other side of Boylston street (in the red rectangle) where she finally gets some aid.

The young woman in the photos is clearly Jacqui Webb. Based on the Forum video and the official narrative that the bomb exploded left of the tree, she must have been blown off a respectable distance of about 15 feet. This allows it to pinpoint her last position prior to the blast quite precisely. In the diagram, the hatched area around the tree depicts the area where she might have been and where we have to look for her in the video. 

And indeed, there is one - and only one - candidate for being Jacqui Webb in the Forum video: a woman with long dark hair, coming in from the left at 14:49:34 according to the clock, i.e. nine seconds after the first blast. She moves rapidly in front of Paul Norden and then towards the barriers, and in this moment the second bomb explodes. I have highlighted her location (head) by a yellow rectangle. The still is taken immediately before the second explosion.

The next still is taken immediately before the first blast, and the same place is now occupied by one of the girls seen at the barriers in the pre-blast photos from across the street (she moves away six seconds later):

 It is this girl here:

So the woman in the first still was directly at the barrier when the bomb exploded, at the same place as the girl seconds before. In the diagram, I have denoted her position with a light green circle and "JW", under the assumption that she is Jacqui Webb.

When "JW" passes Paul Norden in the Forum video (14:49:35), it seems indeed possible that he pushes her a little bit, thus confirming her identity. But then she moves towards the barriers by her own while her boyfriend moves off to the right. So the notion that he heroically saved her by pushing her out of the way of the blast is way exaggerated.

Given the questionable character of the Forum video, a critical analysis of the situation is essential. Let's have another look at the diagram.

JW was standing directly at the barrier that was blown across the street (barrier 3). Is there a physical explanation why the pressure wave blew her away in an entirely different direction than the barrier? It doesn't look so. Being so close to her, the barrier also looks like a serious obstacle for being "propelled in the air", as she told the New York Times.

Given that the woman in the Forum video is supposed to be Jacqui Webb it seems to be another case for someone whose actual pre-blast location is not correctly mapped in the video. This adds to the already overwhelming evidence that the video is manipulated. Jacqui Webb neither testified as a witness at the trial nor did she deliver a victim impact statement. She almost fell into oblivion as a victim of the second blast.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Boston Bombing: the Fred Langa photos

Fred Langa is a Boston journalist specialized on technics and computer science. Like Bill Hoenk he was a witness of the second blast and shot some photos of the immediate aftermath. He put them on his blog page on April 15, 2013, yet they have received little attention until now.

The FBI knows the photos since April 18, 2013, if not earlier. They visited Mr. Langa and asked him for high-resolution versions.

I have displayed here the four most important ones. Source:

Monday, June 22, 2015

A death verdict based on forged evidence?!

Next Wednesday, Judge George O'Toole will most certainly affirm the jury's verdict and speak out the death sentence against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. It is remarkable that the verdict is in big part based on a single piece of crippled evidence: the notorious video with Dzhokhar leaving back his bag in front of the Forum restaurant and a subsequent explosion, which allegedly was caused by his bag. It is even more remarkable that, as matters stand, the not-hidden parts of the so-called Forum video are manipulated. But one thing at a time.

Until the trial, the Forum video was not shown to the public who had to be content with more or less vague verbal descriptions. The most accurate account is to be found in the criminal complaint, formulated by FBI agent Daniel Genck. We never heard of him again since, and he didn't testify at the trial either.

Now, after the trial, the situation is as follows: one part of the Forum video has been made public. It continually covers the last four minutes prior to the explosion and the explosion itself, but stops immediately thereafter. Some after-blast segments of the Forum video - let's call them semi-public - were shown at the trial. They are defined as exhibits, but have not been put online, for instance exhibit 1634b. Yet other sequences after the explosion seem to have been completely cut out and not been played at the trial, as attentive court attendees have observed.

Hence it is fair to say that the Forum video is a piece of crippled evidence. Even more unsettling is that the crucial first seconds after the blast belong to the unseen, cut out parts. This time span is most important because it allows to draw inferences with regard to the origin of the blast, just like the Zapruder film in the JFK assassination case. The Zapruder film is so significant because it shows the first seconds after the shoots continuously and from a good vantage point. The Tsarnaev prosecution has not explained why the Forum video's very first seconds after the blast are kept hidden. This is, to repeat it, the central piece of evidence being used to bring Dzhokhar Tsarnaev to death. Not really a fair play.

The matter gets worse if we take a look at the published pre-blast part of the Forum video. There are several authenticity problems coming along with it, here is just a sample:

- it doesn't match Genck's description in the criminal complaint
- it doesn't match other footage made at the same time (Fred Land video)
- it overstrains the viewer's capability to imagine the presence of a 2' x 3' stroller on a crowded sidewalk
- it doesn't match the repeated statement of a key witness - Heather Abbott -, showing her at a different place in the moment of the explosion than she herself stated at the trial

Given the many cameras roaming around on Marathon day there is reason to believe that the Fred Land video is not the only footage in conflict with the Forum video. During the trial, the defense lawyers have been very tight-lipped about the evidence they acquired by their own, but they might well be in possession of unseen footage of the crime scene. Miriam Conrad's cryptic cross-examination of FBI photographer Michelle Gamble points into this direction. It looks unlikely that the prosecution's version of the Forum video will stand history.

A death verdict based on crippled and forged evidence is common in ruthless dictatorships. For the USA - in their own view a democratic society based on justice and human rights - it opens the door to a full-scale Orwellian police state.

Thursday, June 04, 2015

WGBH misidentifies Krystle Campbell as "injured man"

On the day of the Marathon bombings, the Boston broadcast station WGBH published a slideshow of 20 photos from the aftermath. Here is photo 3 with the underlying text:

The text is incorrect, however. The injured person is not a man. It is Krystle Campbell on her way to the medical tent. According to Dr. Allan Panter, the man in the beige shirt who treated her in her last minutes, she was not dead at this moment, but her heart worked only faintly and stopped beating after the arrival in the tent.

“From the waist down, it’s really tough to describe, complete mutilation. That’s all I can say.” (Frank Chiola, Boston Police officer, at the Tsarnaev trial, with regard to Krystle Campbell).


Sunday, May 31, 2015

Denise Richard and the woman with the sunglasses

Government Exhibit 1634b to be made public


Bill Hoenk

Stephen Woolfenden is one of the most severely hit survivors of the second Marathon bomb blast. He was the last prosecution witness to deliver a victim impact statement. He testified that, while lying on the sidewalk with heavy injuries himself, he saw Denise Richard crouching over her dying son Martin:
“I heard ‘please’ and ‘Martin’ being uttered by Denise Richard,” said Woolfenden, who was lying on the pavement next to Martin and his mother after the second bomb exploded. “Just pleading with her son.” Salem News

At last exhibit 1634b, a clip of the Forum video, was shown to illustrate his testimony. Woolfenden was asked to identify Denise and Martin Richard in the clip, which he did. After that, the prosecution rested its case. The clip has not been published yet, but jury, judge, lawyers and all courtroom attendees had an occasion to watch it. Here are some quotes:

1634b is Forum video shows Denise rocking back and forth over Martin, dying on the sidewalk. WCVB News

The prosecution rested its case in federal court during the penalty phase of Tsarnaev’s trial after playing a video showing the mother of 8-year-old Martin Richard crouched over him and resting her head on his chest as he lay dying. Salem News
“Martin, please,” Denise pleaded, over and over. Forum’s video showed Martin’s arms raise up and flop back down. Woolfenden didn’t hear a response. Boston Magazine
No journalist bothered to report the exact location where Denise and Martin Richard have been at this moment. But it is possible to conclude it from the context of the messages and two stills from the video, government exhibits 21-43 and 21-44. They were taken about four minutes after the blast, which roughly matches the time when Woolfenden spotted the couple. Within the yellow circles, a woman with long dark hair who could be Denise Richard is seen on the sidewalk behind the Forum fence.

Exhibit 21-44

Exhibit 21-43

Her appearance and location match the "woman with the sunglasses" in the title picture. She's caring for a boy who might be Martin Richard, as I have argued here. He is not recognizable however because he is covered by the chairs and tables on the patio. There is no other person identifiable as Denise Richard in these video stills. But the title picture depicts the back of another woman with dark long hair who also theoretically might be Mrs. Richard - in the highlighted rectangle.

This woman is also visible in the next photograph (Kenshin Okubo), kneeing on the sidewalk beside the upright metal barrier:

The woman at the barrier is a few feet further away from the Forum camera than the sunglasses woman and being covered by several people in between. As opposed to the boy who is sitting upright with his back to the patio fence, the unseen person being cared for by the woman at the barrier is lying flatly on the ground. It is impossible that the camera caught her resting her head on his chest as he lay dying, as one of the above quotes says. To put her head on his chest, she would have had to go down with her head so deep that the camera's view on her would have been blocked by other people with absolute certainty.

So there is a high probability that the woman in the Forum video who Stephen Woolfenden identified as Denise Richard was the sunglasses woman, and the remaining doubts will certainly be eliminated when the public gets access to exhibit 1634b at one time.

As I have pointed out in my last blog entry, there's one big problem with this narrative: the sunglasses woman is certainly not Denise Richard. The hair is similar, but her physiognomy is different. She wears sunglasses, not a brown cap as Denise Richard did. There's not the least sign on any of the available video and photographic footage that her right eye was hit by shrapnel. There is neither any blood in her face nor does her demeanor in any way indicate that she's so badly injured. She is in a condition to give help, not to need help.

Denise Richard had no opportunity to clarify this question because the prosecution didn't call her on the stand. This circumstance was used by the defense in a motion to strike the impact of Martin Richard as aggravating factor. Futile, of course.

And Bill Hoenk should be regarded as a whistleblower in the tradition of Sgt. Sean Murphy.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

First after-blast footage of Martin Richard discovered?

Please read also the follow up article: Denise Richard and the woman with the sunglasses

This picture is a still from the Daniel Robert video, taken at 0:25. For the fraction of a second, the head of some person with short, dark hair, apparently a young boy, gets visible in the background right of the policeman. Despite the blurriness it is recognizable that his face is not blood-stained, and he doesn't seem to scream. He might be without consciousness. He sits on the sidewalk directly at the corner of the Forum's little fence in front of the main entrance.

He is not Aaron Hern who was treated at another place, between the tree and the road sign. He is also not David Yepez for the same reasons. He is not Leo Woolfenden who looks different and was not at the crime scene when the photo was taken. From his look, it might be Martin Richard. Is it Martin Richard?

Between 0:07 and 0:27 the video camera doesn't change position and direction. During this time, the back of a woman with long smooth dark hair, a black jacket and blue jeans is seen cowering in front of the boy and almost always covering him - with the exception of the said half-second. Sometimes she turns right and her profile gets visible. This snapshot at 0:15 shows her head in the yellow circle.

The white dot on top of her hair is a reflection from the sunglasses she wears over her head, that's why I'll call her the sunglasses woman from now on. She appears on numerous other photos too, if only with her back mostly. This newly published photo (Bill Hoenk) is the only one that shows her from the front:

She cowers on the sidewalk on the right side of the photo. Her sunglasses are distinctly identifiable. She seems to spread a towel over the lower body of someone. This must be the boy from the above still. And indeed, his body size indicates that he's not an adult. Is this couple Denise and Martin Richard?

It is tempting to assume that the woman is Denise Richard - there is a certain resemblance, the hair is similar, she cares for a boy, and she wears her sunglasses over the head just like Denise Richard in the first published photo of the Richard family:

However, the sunglasses woman is definitely not Denise Richard who wore no sunglasses on Marathon day, but a striking brown cap. Here's an exhibit from the trial:

Opposed to that, our woman wears sunglasses, but no brown cap. Moreover, Denise Richard was heavily injured in her right eye by shrapnel, loosing the sight there. The face of the sunglasses woman is without any blood stain, and there is not the slightest hint in her demeanor that she's injured or hurt, neither in the face nor elsewhere. She is in a condition to care for others instead of looking like someone who is to be cared for.

If the sunglasses woman is not Denise Richard, what does that say for the identity of the boy? The still from the Daniel Robert video is, as mentioned, the first picture of someone who might be Martin Richard, thus breaking the eerie lack of footage: he and Lingzi Lu are the most prominent victims of the second bomb blast, but at the same time they are the only victims who are not depicted on any post-blast video or photo footage. This might have changed with the release of the new Bill Hoenk photos.

Be it Martin Richard or not, one thing is for sure: this boy was not at this place when the bomb exploded. He must have been moved there from somewhere else. Post-blast footage shows that another person was sitting at the fence at first - presumably Danling Zhou - and afterwards the spot is empty for a while. Then the sunglasses woman and her protégé occupy it for several minutes, at least since 2:40 minutes after the blast. On this photo from the sidewalk in front of Starbucks Coffee (Dana Rouleau), taken maybe 6 or 7 minutes after the blast, she is still at the same place - her face is visible:

If the boy is Martin Richard, the question arises why the sunglasses woman is with him the whole time and not his mother, as it always has been reported. If he's not Martin Richard, who is it?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

More Bill Hoenk photos of second bomb site published

Bill Hoenk is a non-professional photographer and was an eyewitness of the second bomb blast. He has shot some iconic photos of the immediate aftermath, and one of them gained outstanding prominence on the cover of the Time Magazine. I have introduced some of his pictures already in a former blog post.

On May 16th, 2015,  CBS News aired a portrait of Hoenk, which was an opportunity for him to publish six previously unseen photos. It remains to be seen if the timing - one day after the death verdict against Dzhokhar Tsarnaev - was pure coincidence, or if it was part of a strategy by whoever.

Here are the screenshots of the six pictures. I added the presumable time or time span (if not noted otherwise, with +-1 sec uncertainty), the reference that was used to determine the time, and the position from which he took the photos.



Reference: photos from Bill Hoenk/Kenshin Okubo 

Position: middle of Boylston Street, in front of Atlantic Fish





Reference: photos from Bill Hoenk/Kenshin Okubo

Position: middle of Boylston Street, in front of Atlantic Fish




0:24 +- 2 sec 

Reference: photos from Bill Hoenk/Kenshin Okubo

Position: middle of Boylston Street, in front of Atlantic Fish




1:30 +- 5 sec

Reference: David Green video

Position: across the street, corner Boylston/Ring




presumably 1:30 - 2:20

Reference: Kenshin Okubo photo (see below),  David Green video

Position: sidewalk in front of Atlantic Fish

The moment of this photo is difficult to determine. It was definitely shot after 1:30 because at this moment Hoenk changed his position from Boylston/Ring Road to the sidewalk of Atlantic Fish. You can see him crossing the street near the end of the David Green video.

The next photo was shot by Okubo at 2:26.

At the same moment, Hoenk pictured the scene from across the street, with officer Thomas Barrett carrying away Leo Woolfenden. So he has repositioned himself again at the other side of Boylston Street. But the depicted persons are similar to those on his photo, which indicates that he shot this photo only seconds before. Also, on his photo the sidewalk is not fully occupied by people, which indicates that it was taken in an early stage of the first response. Therefore 1:30 - 2:20.


3:40  +- 5 sec   

Reference: Daniel Robert video

Position:  across the street, corner Boylston/Ring



 Special thanks to wiseowl of  for unearthing the portrait.