Conspiracy theorist

Rolling Stone works for the FBI

By: Mark Luedtke

 If you believe the mainstream media, Rolling Stone really messed up when it put a flattering picture of alleged Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev on the cover. He, along with his older brother Tamerlan, killed by police in an alleged shootout, is accused of killing three people and wounding 180 with two backpack bombs at the race. It looks like a glamour photo, although National Geographic claims it was a self-portrait taken directly from Tsarnaev’s Twitter profile and not edited. The uncanny resemblance to Bruce Springsteen from the time he released Born to Run is probably why Rolling Stone picked it.

Critics are outraged. In response, one policeman leaked pictures of Tsarnaev bloodied from being shot despite being unarmed. But Stuff magazine of New Zealand calls the cover dreamy and brilliant.

“As the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple points out, the image is exploitative – but it isn’t just exploitative: It’s also smart, unnerving journalism. By depicting a terrorist as sweet and handsome rather than ugly and terrifying, Rolling Stone has subverted our expectations and hinted at a larger truth. The cover presents a stark contrast with our usual image of terrorists.”

Even though terrorism is almost non-existent in the U.S., Rolling Stone is helping the FBI spread irrational fear by implying the dreamy-looking boy next door might blow you up. We’re supposed to be terrified of our neighbors, even the dreamy ones, and we’re supposed to worship the mighty, heavily-armed and armored paragons of virtue who drag Americans from their houses at gunpoint and lock cities down in martial law. This article might be the most effective piece of fear-mongering propaganda yet.

And that’s not the only way the Rolling Stone cover story is brilliant. Having failed to kill Tsarnaev with a hail of bullets while he cowered unarmed in a boat, the government now has to prosecute him, and a conviction is not certain. The Casey Anthony and George Zimmerman juries proved that once in a while in high profile cases, juries do the right thing and demand a prosecutor prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.

To minimize the risk of acquittal, prosecutors and media propagandists bias the jury pool in their favor before the trial begins. The weaker the case, the more effort they put into biasing the jury pool in advance. We saw it in both the Casey Anthony and George Zimmerman cases, but despite more than a year of propaganda in both cases, prosecutors still failed to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Regarding the Boston Marathon bombing, the prosecution’s case is a disaster. The remarkable number of lies – including a false confession – the government told throughout the investigation might be enough to guarantee reasonable doubt alone. Then there are a number of additional problems for the prosecution. For example, the light-colored backpack carried by Dzhokhar and caught on surveillance video doesn’t match the light-colored backpack that exploded. They’re obviously different. A strong case can be made that Tamerlan’s black backpack doesn’t match the black backpack that exploded, either.

Further, a surveillance camera was looking right at the light-colored backpack, but there’s no picture of Dzhokhar setting the backpack down. There are far too many other problems with the official story to print here. FBI agents have an extensive history of identifying patsies and giving them fake backpack bombs to entrap them. Given the FBI’s admitted contacts with the brothers, it’s likely the Tsarnaevs were patsies in an FBI operation that went terribly wrong, not actual bombers.

Given all these problems, the last thing the government wants is a trial, so the first thing it did after interrogating the badly wounded Tsarnaev without a lawyer present was assign Tsarnaev a lawyer famous for getting her clients to confess to avoid the death penalty. It didn’t work. Tsarnaev requested an additional lawyer. In the meantime, the case dropped out of the media leaving the prosecutor without propaganda aid. Rolling Stone came to the rescue with an article that created a firestorm of controversy and put the case at the top of the media again. While critics claim Rolling Stone made Tsarnaev a martyr, Stuff described the article, “The story, a two-month investigative report by Janet Reitman, tracks Tsarnaev’s tragic, dangerous path from a well-liked student to a monster, focusing on the increasing influence of radical Islam.” Some martyr. Rolling Stone makes the case Tsarnaev is guilty, and since it reaches a younger demographic than the mainstream media, it brilliantly biases the young jury pool in favor of the prosecutor while further biasing older readers of the outraged mainstream media toward the prosecutor as well.

But the real genius of the story is how Rolling Stone advanced the prosecutor’s agenda and statist, police state propaganda while managing to appear as a counter-culture magazine.

But it may not be enough to save the government. A conscientious jury could still acquit. I hope Tsarnaev’s court-appointed lawyers are brave enough to thoroughly challenge the government’s case so we can finally discover the truth about the bombings and so the victims can get justice.

The views and opinions expressed in Conspiracy Theorist are the views and/or opinions of the author and do not reflect the views and/or opinions of the Dayton City Paper or Dayton City Media and are published strictly for entertainment purposes only.

 Mark Luedtke is an electrical engineer with a degree from the University of Cincinnati and currently works for a Dayton attorney. He can be reached at


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Reach DCP freelance writer Mark Luedtke at

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