Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Associated Press changed story about Kadyrbayev testimony

Under this headline

Friend says he thought Tsarnaev was bomb suspect

Associated Press published a summary of Dias Kadyrbayev's court appearance today. The article highlights Kadyrbayev's answer to a question in the cross-examination that seems to indicate that he suspected his friend Dzhokhar Tsarnaev of planting the pressure cooker bomb in front of the Forum restaurant.
 "You said you didn't know for sure that he was the bomber, that you suspected he was the bomber, correct?" asked Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephanie Siegmann.
"Yes, that's correct," Kadyrbayev replied.

The answer was also quickly picked up by twitter accounts of Patricia Wen (Boston Globe), J.M. Lawrence (Boston Justice), Laurel L. Sweet (Boston Herald) and others as a kind of confession by proxy. But things are a bit more tricky.

Interestingly, the headline chooses the weaker "bomb suspect" instead of "bomber". This has a reason. The link in its current form is an update of an earlier AP message with a completely different content. Here's the original version:

           Associated Press 
BOSTON (AP) — A man told federal agents he suspected his friend Dzhokhar Tsarnaev (joh-HAHR' tsahr-NEYE'-ehv) was being sought in the Boston Marathon bombing when he removed items from Tsarnaev's dorm room.

Dias Kadyrbayev (DY'-us kah-dur-BY'-ehv) acknowledged during testimony Tuesday that he suspected Tsarnaev was one of two men whose photographs were released by the FBI three days after twin explosions at the 2013 marathon killed three people and injured more than 260.
Authorities say he told them that he and another Tsarnaev friend went to Tsarnaev's dorm room at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth and took Tsarnaev's backpack containing fireworks and threw it in a trash bin.

Kadyrbayev's testimony came while he was cross-examined by a prosecutor during a hearing on his request to suppress the statements he made to authorities.

Some newspapers still have the old content, like the Huron Daily Tribune, others have the updated version.

The difference between the two versions is like day and night. The original version says that Kadyrbayev suspected Tsarnaev being "one of two men whose photographs were released by the FBI". The updated version says that he suspected Tsarnaev of planting one of the bombs.

Unfortunately, in the update AP has thrown out the information that Kadyrbayev's suspicion referred to photographs of the brothers and replaced it by the sly "bomber" question. Obviously, after raising the issue of the photos and Kadyrbayev's reaction to it, Attourney Siegmann's question impermissibly equated the men in the photo with the - still unknown - individuals who placed the bombs. Kadyrbayev's admission that he "suspected" Tsarnaev originally referred to the identity of the man on the photo, not Tsarnaev's involvement in the bombings. But he went into Siegmann's trap. The equation Tsarnaevs=bombers which has been hammered into the heads of the public for over a year didn't fail to affect Kadyrbayev, too.

It is therefore erroneous to take Kadyrbayev's imprudent answer as an affirmation that Tsarnaev was the second bomber. The fact that Associated Press doesn't mention the "two men on the photographs" in the updated version, thereby suppressing the context, demonstrates that the mainstream media are still keen to keep Tsarnaev as a scapegoat at all costs.

A transcript of the testimony is urgently needed.