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Boston Bombing News – The smothered arrest of a suspect on April 17th

In two entries on my blog at (here and  here) I already have highlighted the turbulent news releases two days after the Boston Marathon bombings. John King of CNN has played the most prominent role here: first, he reported that law enforcement had identified a suspicious dark-skinned male on a surveillance video who placed a black backpack in front of the Forum restaurant. An hour later, he reported that an arrest had been made, in succession of a twitter message from Associated Press.

As an instant reaction to this AP tweet, several hundred journalists gathered in front of the Boston federal courthouse in anticipation of the arrival of the arrested suspect. Some of them, like Kelley Tuthill of the Boston TV station WCVB, went inside. Court staff told her that a courtroom (Nr. 18) was prepared for “some kind of appearance”. But soon authorities denied that an arrest had been made, and at the same time the courthouse was evacuated due to a “code red” security alert, a very rare event. A bomb threat was later given as an explanation, but without any details.

After the crowd was forced back from the entrance and the street, a white van with tinted windows and a US marshal clinging to the passenger door passed by and entered the building via the back driveway. This incident was quickly brushed under the carpet and has raised no queries by anyone afterwards, but it is well documented by photos, video footage and twitter messages. In this WCVB video 

you can see the van right from the start as he arrives at the courthouse, turns left and drives into the building.

These circumstances don’t allow any other conclusion than that the van transported an arrested and potentially dangerous person to be arraigned at the courthouse. The conclusion that the courthouse was evacuated to expel the journalists inside lest they got a glimpse at the arrested individual is nearly inevitable. The presence of several Homeland Security cars in front of the building shows that the arrest was terror-related. The timely correlation to the messages of the arrest and their retraction strongly suggests that the person in the van was the subject of these messages – almost certainly the dark-skinned male reported by King.

The events of April 17th have been accompanied by several real-time online accounts. For a better oversight, I have compiled three timelines:

– a timeline of WCVB twitter messages

– a timeline of Boston police scanner messages, passed on real-time by three websites

– a summarized timeline with the most important points

It would be beyond the scope of this diary to unroll these timelines here. You can study them on my parallel blog entry. The confusing occurences on April 17th raise several questions to be answered by authorities:

Why was the arrest of a suspect denied in spite of being extensively reported on the Boston police scanner?

What was courtroom 18 prepared for (Kelley Tuthill), if not the arraignment of a suspect?

Who was the obviously arrested person inside the white van?

Why was the white van driving into the courthouse in spite of the fact that the courthouse was evacuated shortly before under a “code red” threat?

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