Maybe Dzhokhar’s Buddies Just Wanted a Job at HSBC?

A lot of people on Twitter are talking about how dumb-as-shit Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s college buddies, Azamat Tazhayakov, Dias Kadyrbayev, and Robel Phillipos were when they allegedly removed evidence relating to the Boston Marathon bombing and threw it in the trash or (in the case of Phillipos) lied about those activities.

I’m not convinced, though.

I’m not defending what the young men did. Nor am I vouching for their intelligence. Nor am I saying they shouldn’t be prosecuted — they should!

But I’m having a hard time distinguishing what they did from what, say, HSBC did, for years. Aside from the fact that HSBC affirmatively helped terrorists, rather than just covered up that help. And aside from the fact HSBC made a billion dollars doing so.

As a reminder, where’s what HSBC did — eliciting nary a blink of an eye from the same DOJ that is now (rightly) prosecuting these dumb-as-shit kids. They were a key — perhaps the key — bank providing Saudi al-Rajhi bank cash dollars. Details emerged in 2001 that the bank had been providing the dollars terrorists used in their plots, including the 9/11 plot. It took four years for HSBC to begin to get worried about it. But it still only halted the dollar trade for al-Rajhi while its US regulator, OCC, looked into its money laundering practices (it says something about HSBC’s awareness of the sensitivity of this issue that they didn’t halt their other abundant money laundering activities).

And then, once OCC was out of its hair, HSBC moved back into the cash dollar business with al-Rajhi, a bank reportedly involved with the most spectacular terrorist acts of recent years.

Just HSBC’s brief exit from the cash business with al Rajhi is similar to what Dzhokhar’s dumb-as-shit buddies did when they put his backpack in the public trash. Covering up terrorism.

The dumb-as-shit buddies have done nothing amounting to what HSBC did before and after, making $1 billion off a trade that probably helped terrorists finance their plots.

And yet the dumb-as-shit buddies are probably going to do prison time (and be deported in the case of the two Kazakh buddies).

The folks involved in HSBC’s support for terrorism?

They got promoted.

Again, I’m not defending what the dumb-as-shit buddies did. Just noting that elsewhere in society, richer white people get rewarded for doing worse. Maybe these dumb-as-shit buddies just thought they were auditioning for a job at HSBC?

9 replies
  1. guest says:

    Yeah, that was not smart at all. But really, given the overreach of DOJ recently, I would have been scared as shit in their shoes. It seems like it was a damned if you do, but quite possibly damned if you don’t situation for them.
    Were they so dumb that they didn’t realize their friend was guilty and they just wanted to prevent him from being framed? Or were they colossal jackasses who figured it out and thought they could actually help their guilty friend without fucking themselves over? I can’t decide which is dumber. It’s hard to imagine anyone being dumb enough for either scenario.

    Personally, I would have thrown my friend under the bus in a heartbeat, but I would have at least considered whether lying or destroying evidence would be better for me than the consequences of having my fingerprints on evidence, even if it was after the fact, and the guilt by association of having known one of the bombers. And the last 12 years track record gives me no confidence I could trust the law enforcement officers or our justice department to be fair or reasonable (actually, I lost confidence back in the 80s when all those day care workers got convicted of running absurd satanic clown cults and some of them are still rotting in jail).

  2. beowulf says:

    But I’m having a hard time distinguishing what they did from what, say, HSBC did, for years. Aside from the fact that HSBC affirmatively helped terrorists, rather than just covered up that help. And aside from the fact HSBC made a billion dollars doing so.

    Like Ron Unz (publisher of The American Conservative and all-around good egg) said, America is lousy with macro-corruption.

    “Unlike the situation in many Third World countries, American teachers and tax inspectors very rarely solicit bribes, and there is little overlap in personnel between our local police and the criminals whom they pursue. Most ordinary Americans are generally honest. So by these basic measures of day-to-day corruption, America is quite clean, not too different from Germany or Japan…

    However, although American micro-corruption is rare, we seem to suffer from appalling levels of macro-corruption, situations in which our various ruling elites squander or misappropriate tens or even hundreds of billions of dollars of our national wealth, sometimes doing so just barely on one side of technical legality and sometimes on the other.”

  3. scribe says:

    Well, in today’s job market, employers of all stripes look to practical, hands-on skill in prospective employees in addition to making them go through 6 or 7 interviews. So, your hypothesis is probably close to correct on the auditioning for HSBC point.

    These mopes strike me as typical teenage mopes whose only understanding of how the justice system works is from TV and movies, i.e., one in which the participants in shoot-em-ups and such routinely get a walk. They’re the kind of kids who, if one were to put on their lawyer hat and explain to them exactly what the cops can and will do to them, will meet that revelation with the kind of numb disbelief that only a severe case of cognitive dissonance can bring on. In other words, the wearer of the lawyer hat might as well be, in the words of Barney Frank, having a conversation with a dining room table. It’d be more productive.

  4. P J Evans says:

    They’re in trouble for visa violations because they were cutting classes. Pretty normal for that age, actually: not thinking more than a day ahead, and that only if pushed.

  5. hal says:

    Has the question crossed anyone’s mind why we have so many foreign students in our university? Like these dumb as shit one’s .. … Reported hardly attended classes, had very expensive cars and plenty of money.
    Because universities and colleges in the USA love foreign students. Why you ask? Because they pay full freight Dad pays every penny and the school does not need to dip into it student aid money. So go to class or don’t go to class who cares. Just keep the money coming. I worked at a small college and our admission department was spending more time in Asia then home. I checked with the VP and he told me they pay full rate and it’s great money. Just how many US students were not able to obtain admission because they might need student aid.

  6. P J Evans says:

    A lot of them are being paid by their governments, I understand.
    (There were a bunch at my junior college. The guy from Egypt was okay; he wasn’t flashy and he showed up for the exams on time. The others – flashy clothes and jewelry, always missed the midterms and showed up for the after-session. Them we could have done without.)

  7. FrankProbst says:

    While they probably are dumb-as-shit, I don’t see how the case against them can really go anywhere unless you’re relying on self-incriminating statements. And if I’m a juror in this day and age, those better be on video. I’ll give preponderance of the evidence to an FBI agent over a dumb-as-shit kid. But reasonable doubt? The kid’s going to win every time. Show me some iEvidence. It’s not your policy to record your interviews? Remind me: Who’s throwing away evidence again?

  8. guest says:

    @FrankProbst: FrankProbst, that is why you will probably not get on a jury. I wish I had your confidence that juries were that deliberative. I think most of them will assume that if the prosecutor thought it was strong enough and the judge didn’t throw it out, then anything said is reliable enough to convict.

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