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What did Todashev, shot by FBI, know about the Boston bombing?

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Originally published at Digital Journal.

Now that it has emerged that the friend of Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was shot three times in the back, and once in the top of the head, as he allegedly attacked an FBI agent and a Massachusetts state trooper, rampant speculation may begin.The story put forth by the FBI on how Ibragim Todashev wound up dead in Florida is so wildly improbable as to be laughable.

On one hand, the direct testimony from the FBI agent who did the shooting, taken from the Florida State's Attorney Report, is as follows:

"In order to stop this threat, I shot Todashev three to four times. Todashev fell backwards, but did not go to the ground. He then re-established his footing and suddenly lunged toward us. I shot him three or four more times in order to stop his continuing deadly threat. This time Todashev fell to the ground face first and I believed the threat had been eliminated

The state's attorney found that a total of seven shots had been fired: three entry wounds to the back, two to the left arm, one to the left side of the chest, and one to the top of the head. Two of the back shots are square in the back, near the spine, at chest level, with the third at waist level to the right-hand side. (Photographs of Todashev Wounds, Released by Family)

How Todashev winds up with three entry wounds to the back is a question which cannot be answered by the agent's own scenario. Moreover, the shot to the top of the head means either it was the last shot fired, as it would have immediately dropped Todashev, likely stone cold dead, or other shots would have been fired at Todashev's lifeless body.

A man cannot keep coming at you with the kind of wound Todashev sustained to the head. It was a game-ender, made by a .40 round from the agent's Glock, which is a serious and devastating round. According to the report, the bullet "entered the top of the head, passed through the brain and the base of the skull."

Dave Lindorff, writing for Counterpunch (also a writer for OpEdNews,) does an admirable job of showing other glaring inconsistencies in the testimonies of the two law enforcement officers who were present: the Massachusetts state trooper, and the FBI shooter himself. Lindorff circles back to the one irreconcilable question which the Florida report raises: How does Todashev come to be shot three times in the back?

Lindorff writes:

"Meanwhile...[the agent] Todashev...was shot as he ran at the agent and staggered backwards, clearly indicating that he had been hit from the front. Again we had three shots, so it had to be the chest and the left arm. Now he "rights himself" and charges forward again, taking four more shots. But these, remember, are all either into the back, near the centerline of the body, or into the top of the head. The head shot couldn't have been number one in the second volley, because that would have been the shot that dropped him. So what would have caused his body to turn around exposing his back?"

Call it the case of the vaunted "somersault attack": you throw yourself at your opponent, back first. The back is exposed long enough for not one, not two, but for three shots to be delivered. Then another shot manages to hit him on the top of the head.

Image by Todashev Family)   Details   DMCA
Autopsy photo released by Todashev father of back wounds.

Furthermore, the Todashev family's private investigator, upon first viewing the scene, said immediately that the lack of blood splatters on the walls, except some at floor level, indicated that Todashev had been shot as he lay on the ground. Ed Busquet, a former captain and homicide detective in the North Palm Police Department, reportedly said "Look at this -- no blood spattered on the walls. He was shot while down on the floor."

If speculation now abounds, it is entirely the FBI's own doing, for attempting to sell the public a story that a fifth-grader could pick apart.

Image by Unknown Owner)   Details   DMCA

Image by Unknown Owner)   Details   DMCA
Todashev Family:
Blood stains at the exit point from the room where Todashev was interrogated.

Busquet's observation recalls a long-ago case, in the FBI's unbroken string of 150 exonerations out of 150 agent shootings over the last 18 years, when a mob hit man was shot in the back while laying handcuffed, face down, on the ground. The discharge of the agent's weapon was ruled "accidental," although the suspect, who survived, subsequently won a civil lawsuit over the incident.

Suffice it to say that, unless the FBI comes up with a far better story, it is now highly likely, if not near certain, that Todashev was "executed" as his father first claimed. The burning question now is: why?

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Ralph Lopez majored in Economics and Political Science at Yale University. He writes for Truth Out, Alternet, Consortium News, Op-Ed News, and other Internet media. He reported from Afghanistan in 2009 and produced a short documentary film on (more...)

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