Friday, April 18, 2014

The Boston Globe's failed "historic" Marathon finish line photo shooting

It was meant to be a big fiesta to celebrate "Boston Strong". One year after the Marathon bombings, the Boston Globe invited  “survivors, police, firefighters, EMTs, doctors, nurses, runners, political figures, store owners, the Boston Athletic Association, Red Sox and Bruins player” to be part of a "historic" photo shoot. The event took place in the morning of Sunday, April 6th, 2014.

The Globe writes: "Thousands of photographs had been snapped and there was no reason to stick around on the start of a glorious spring day. Yet there in the middle of Boylston Street, in the exact spot where there had been so much sadness and anguish almost a year ago to the day, now there were smiles, hugs and selfies. Nobody had to be there. They wanted to be there. Maybe even needed to be there."

This is, unfortunately, a flattering picture. One particular and prominent group is in large part missing on the photo: the hardest-hit survivors whose life has dramatically changed by the bombs. The Globe certainly invited them as the first. But alas, they didn't come.

Among the victims of the second bomb site the Richard Family, who has kept a low profile in the past, is a notable exception (David Yepez is another, less famous one). Here's a list of the prominent survivors who didn't want to come:

Heather Abbott

Roseann Sdoia

Adrianne Haslet-Davis

Jacqui Webb

Paul and J.P. Norden

Marc Fucarile

Aaron Hern with father Alan Hern

Also missing are the "heroes" of the second bomb site:

Matt Patterson

Tracy Monroe

Mike Chase and Dan Marshall

With so many Marathon Bombing "celebrities" missing - and the situation doesn't look better for the first bomb site -, one may contest the historic value of the picture. The fact that the photo shoot was attended by high-ranking officials like Carmen Ortiz, Thomas Menino, Ed Davis, and Martin Walsh doesn't change this diagnosis.

So why did the survivors, who were not that shy to speak with the media in the aftermath of the bombings, not come? This looks like a coordinated action, it almost resembles a boycott.

For the regular reader of this blog, one probable reason is obvious: it's the unsettled question where exactly the second bomb exploded - and the equivalent question whether Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was the bomber. Another reason might be the attendance of the Richard Family, who according to available photo and video evidence was not at the second bomb site. The official story has it that Matt Patterson, Mike Chase, and Tracy Monroe saved little Jane Richard's life. It would have been a wonderful opportunity to meet again, with many heart-melting pictures. But the lifesavers chose not to come.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The first 30 seconds after the second blast - a photo gallery

This is, one year after, the actual state of non-FBI photo evidence from the immediate aftermath of the second blast of the Boston Marathon Bombings, without comment, for documentary purposes. Most of these photos I have already posted within other contexts, they are compiled here to focus on the area of Boylston Street in front of the Forum. The times have been determined with the help of the Fred Land video and other sources. I've added the original URL and, if available, the photographer.


0.3-0.5 seconds after blast Boston Bombers jpeg.jpeg

2 seconds after blast (David L. Ryan)


2,5 seconds after blast

2,5 seconds after blast (David Silverman)


7 seconds after blast (David Silverman)



 13 seconds after blast

19 seconds after blast (Kenshin Okubo)


19 seconds after blast (Bill Hoenk)

20 seconds after blast (David Green)


30 seconds after blast

Monday, April 07, 2014

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev case: Witness for the Prosecution? - Update

Update  4/14/14: the little stairway in the background belongs to the building beside the Apple store.

Fred Langa/ Huffington Post

Jarrod Clowery in front of the Apple Store

Jarrod Clowery in front of Fidelity Investments

Jarrod Clowery is a potential key witness for the prosecution in the Tsarnaev trial because his various public accounts seem to confirm that the second bomb exploded near the metal barriers, not on the Forum's patio - which would indicate that Tsarnaev's bag was the bomb. I have analyzed his statements in a blog entry from August 2013 and mentioned the problems coming along with them.

In this article, I stated that the photo with Clowery sitting on the street, apparently injured and treated by two first aiders, was taken at the crossing Boylston Street/Ring Road. I based this conclusion on the zebra markings in the background which seemed to be the ones in front of the Forum.

After a closer scrutiny, I have to retract this discovery. The photo was not taken in front of Forum/Starbucks Coffee (755 Boylston Str.), but in front of the Apple Store (815 Boylston Str.). Several details in the background make this conclusion inevitable:

1 - there is no stop line marking parallel to the zebra markings
2 - there's a striking gap in the zebra markings (far left)
3 - there's no scrap from the explosion on the zebra markings
4 - the pole has a square socket

Apple Store 815 Boylston Street

Second Bomb Site 755 Boylston Street

(Image source: Google Street View)

All of these details fit the site at the Apple Store, but not the second bomb site. Additionally, the photo with Clowery standing upright is clearly taken in front of Fidelity Investments (801 Boylston Str.) right beneath the Apple store. You can see the italic "Fi..." writing in the window, and the patterns of the pavement and the walls match the location 1-1.

Jarrod Clowery has recently launched a charity, the "Heroes Hearts Foundation". On a speech at the founding assembly, he reiterated his story: he was blown onto the street by the second bomb, stood up in bewilderment, looked around for a couple of seconds, and was compelled to sit down by two off-duty policemen who cared for him afterwards. While it is theoretically possible that all of this happened at the Forum and the scene at the Apple Store occurred a bit later, like kind of a dejà vu, he never has mentioned the Apple Store episode.

Clowery himself has authenticated the first photo (using it on his Facebook page), and he will also not deny that he's the person standing in front of Fidelity Investments. The photographer of both pictures was Kenshin Okubo. Clowery wears a grey jacket - the Boston Red Sox Fashion Therma Base Premier Jacket: 

This jacket has some striking unique features:

-  a writing RED SOX on the front
-  red stripes at the elbows
-  a red stripe at the collar
-  a "red socks" logo on the left sleeve
-  a small logo on the back, below the collar

There is an individual identifiable on photos and videos of the second bomb site wearing the very same jacket, with torn pants and a striking similarity to Clowery. For convenience, I name this man "Red Sox Jacket". His actions can be reconstructed very well with the help of the footage:

7 seconds after blast: Red Sox Jacket runs away from the Forum, in the photo left (source: David Silverman)

24 seconds after blast: Red Sox Jacket enters the Fred Land video area near the Mandarin Hotel, in the lower left corner of the snapshot
27 seconds after blast: Red Sox Jacket leaves the video area

30 seconds after blast: Red Sox Jacket is on Boylston Street in front of the Mandarin Hotel looking back to the bomb site, in the photo right (source unknown)

In this diagram, the black stars represent the positions of Red Sox Jacket at the respective moments:

Either Jarrod Clowery is the man with the Red Sox jacket, then there are some irreconcilable discrepancies between the footage and his narrative; or it's a different person and only a remarkable coincidence, but in this case the question arises: where is Clowery on the footage of the aftermath of the second bomb? He must be somewhere.

The prosecutors have declared that they have thousands of photos and hundreds of witnesses for proving Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's guilt. In case they intend to summon Jarrod Clowery to the trial as a witness, he should be prepared for some uncomfortable questions from the defense team.