False Accusation Linking Armenian To Boston Bombings Should Be Condemned

Boston Marathon suspects' uncle Ruslan Tsarni made baseless accusations


Many unanswered questions remain in the wake of the barbaric Boston Marathon bombings last week.

In the absence of established facts, it is difficult to reach an informed conclusion and find a motive for the murderous actions of the Tsarnaev brothers — Tamerlan, 26, and Dzhokhar, 19. It is interesting to note that Tamerlan carries the name of a vicious 14th century Turkic warlord who razed entire cities to the ground and butchered millions of innocent people.

Instead of jumping to unwarranted conclusions and making generalizations about Chechens, Muslims, and the Tsarnaev family, some probing questions are in order:

— Back in 2011, when the Russian intelligence services asked the FBI to investigate Tamerlan’s radical Islamist ties and plans to join underground groups, how thoroughly did the FBI carry out this task? If the FBI agents did a thorough job and found nothing sinister, why did they not follow up a few months later when Tamerlan returned to the US in 2012, having spent six months in the troubled Russian republics of Chechnya and Dagestan? And why did US law enforcement agencies fail to investigate the Jihadist videos and links to radical Islamist websites found on Tamerlan’s computer?

— If the Russian tip was not seriously pursued by US officials, was their decision based on political considerations or a proper assessment of the risk of terrorism? Since Chechen insurgents were fighting Russia for independence, did US officials prefer not to meddle in an internal Russian conflict? Did the US view Chechen “terrorists” as “freedom fighters,” concluding that they represented no threat to the United States? More significantly, what role did the anti-Russian stance of influential neo-conservative American circles play in assessing the warnings on Tamerlan?

— Did the Russian intelligence services thoroughly investigate Tamerlan when he fell in their lap while visiting Dagestan and Chechnya for six months, particularly if they were dissatisfied with the FBI’s lukewarm response to their earlier request?

— Would this terrorist act killing four Americans and injuring close to 200 now prompt US intelligence agencies to cooperate more fully with their Russian counterparts to jointly combat terrorism regardless of international political concerns?

— Will the US investigate the 10-day visit to Turkey in July 2003 by Tamerlan and three of his family members, as disclosed by Turkish Interior Minister Muammer Guler? What was the purpose of Tsarnaevs’ visit to Turkey and who were their contacts?

Turning to Ruslan Tsarni, the talkative uncle of the Tsarnaev brothers, who made controversial and contradictory comments disseminated worldwide by CNN, NBC, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and Time magazine, among others. Uncle Tsarni accused an unnamed Armenian convert to Islam in Cambridge, Mass., for radicalizing Tamerlan!

Tsarni, a Maryland resident, told the NBC Today show that one of his Armenian acquaintances informed him about an “outside influence” on Tamerlan: “He [the acquaintance] said, there is someone who brainwashed him [Tamerlan], some newly convert to Islam. I would like to stress [the acquaintance] was of Armenian descent.”

However, Uncle Tsarni, gave CNN a completely different explanation for the despicable actions of his nephews. He had accused them of being “losers,” claiming that they had brought shame on their family and the Chechen people. But, he later told NBC Today that he had called his nephews “losers” out of anger, and that he was now sure their crime had nothing to do with Russia or Chechnya. Tsarni also contradicted himself on CNN by claiming that the person who had “brainwashed” Tamerlan was the “new convert to Islam of Armenian descent,” not the acquaintance!

The question is, who is Tsarni and why is he accusing an Armenian? A cursory internet search reveals that he has had direct ties to western energy companies involved in the Caspian region. He has worked for Big Sky Energy, Golden Eagle Partners, and Nelson Resources Ltd., all three with direct investments in Caspian Sea energy projects. Could Tsarni’s ties to these energy companies explain his accusation against an Armenian?

Finally, why hasn’t a single Armenian organization or official complained to the news media about their dissemination of Tsarni’s baseless and libelous statements, accusing an Armenian for radicalizing Tamerlan? A similar situation occurred years ago, when an Australian newspaper, The Canberra Times, reported: “Pope Shot by Armenian Gunman.” In reality, Pope John Paul II was shot by Mehmet Ali Agca, a Turk!

It is high time that Armenians organize an anti-defamation organization that would vigorously pursue all those who libel and defame them around the world.

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  1. Aram Hamparian (ANCA) said:

    Our community deserves a fair and complete picture of the actions of those who represent our views and values in the civic arena.

    The fact is, as was broadly circulated in real-time on Facebook and Twitter, as soon as the “uncle” story broke, the ANCA set up media@anca.org to crowd-source misleading coverage and, over the course of the next 48 hours, responded directly, quietly, and comprehensively to each and every of the hundreds of instances of unconfirmed reports of an Armenian connection to the Boston bombers. We enlisted many friendly media-watchdogs, Armenian and non-Armenian in this effort. Without public declarations and denials that a team of media professionals advised us would likely only have added fuel to the media fire, we worked non-stop through the weekend to provide relevant facts, challenge poor reporting, and call on journalists to live up to their professional standards.

    The results from such efforts, by the ANCA and others, include a public admission, on April 20th, from a top CNN producer, Steve Krakauer, that his network “obviously” doesn’t know if the accusation is true. This admission was then circulated up and down the media food chain. Today, more than 48 hours after the fact, we can see, for a number of reasons – including third-party interventions – that the mainstream media has not recycled this unsubstantiated allegation into its ongoing coverage.

    • john said:

      Aram, you are correct to keep it quiet and work quietly and work within the media vs public.

      I just noted CNN this evening, they were going over the subject again, mentioned what the
      Uncle said BUT, they went further and said there was NO Evidence to back up or prove what the Uncle said about Armenians and that the brothers did it on their on on Radicalization. If you want to see the discussion, if you can, replay CNN show 7 to 8 PM – time of the discussion was between 7:30 to 7:40 PM.

    • anna said:

      well, today (April 24th) the AP already put the word Armenian in the TITLe of their article….is this provocation or what! This is very disturbing and it is obvious that the Turkish Lobby is working really hard, especially to include the word Armenian in the title now as to provoke even harder and get peoples attention right aways. I hope the Armenian community will counter this provocation immediately.


      • Janine said:

        CNN has it as a lead story today and has now “upgraded” to say there is a name of this so-called Armenian convert: Misha. Never mind that this is not even an Armenian name!!! Isn’t it also a part of the story that today is the commemoration of the jihadist genocide?

  2. jda said:

    No doubt Dzokhar and his Uncle were until 4/15 two of the alleged 1M “Turkic Americans” who according to the ATAA asked government officials not to use the words “Armenian Genocide.”

    However, ATAA will likely now disqualify Ingushetians, Daghestanis and Chechens briefly from the definition of “who is a Turk”, which I think includes Native Americans, Siberians, Japanese, Hungarians, some Balts, Melungeons, Koreans, Mongolians, Pete Seeger, Abraham Lincoln, Sherpas, Kobe, and Rihanna.

    In the meantime, I am sure the talking points are being distributed by ATAA that renegade Armenian Muslim converts are worldwide terror kingpins, according to a recent study conducted by the impartial Kirlikovali Institute.

  3. Antranig said:

    Taking advantage of the media’s attention to falsely accuse an Armenian seemed like such a convenient scapegoat for Ruslan Tsarni until everybody realized this clown was just another opportunistic liar capitalizing on an opportunity to spew anti-Armenian propaganda and protect his “loser” nephews.

    Perhaps uncle Tsarni should take his own advice and ask for forgiveness from Armenians for his defamatory statements.

    I concur with the idea of creating an anti-defamation organization.
    Self-righteous pip squeaks like ruslan tsarni can and should be put in their spot.

    • Karine said:

      I believe he protects rather himself not to be asked to leave the country. If he would ever thought about his nephews, he would have contacted them after the bombing to see if they were okay (very possibly- since they were into sports – they would have been present at the marathon).

  4. jenn said:

    The daily mail, UK paper and website also interviwed the uncle, the article posted yesterday, on their site, he says again an Armenian. Convert to Islam brainwashed this guy, the mom invited him over, he claims his name is misha is an Islamic exorcist who cast out demons living in Boston, I feel bad no one in the Armenian community has spoken out about this, its ashame what this guy is getting away with, this story is going to escalate if none speaks up,,

  5. Satenik said:

    Perhaps the uncle is as much as a loser as his nephews. As for blaming the Armenians ( I never heard more ridiculous story than that), I remember when pope John II was shot by a Turk, his first response was that ” I am Armenian”, well seems that not much has changed in the psyche of these people. They never want to take any responsibility for their actions. Now apparently the younger brother of the terrorist is blaming his elder brother for indoctrinating him. So it was not an Armenian after all but his “halal” brother…surprise surprise. Same old same old. Some things just don’t ever change because some people’s minds remain forever limited. My sincere commiserations to the victims and injured of this horrific crime.I hope that the perpetrators will be brought to justice!

  6. Mihran said:

    The Armenian American public should be thankful to ANCA and its team for doing such a good job in nipping in the bud so promptly of this mad accusation made by the uncle of Tsarnaev brothers.

    Well done.

  7. gary_S said:

    I challenge the uncle to naming that “Armenian Muslim convert.” Bet he can’t because we all know he doesn’t exist! The brothers were 100% to blame!

  8. tiko said:

    Thank you Mr. Hamparian!

    It is certainly a fact that no Turk can be trusted. They will do and say anything to save their own hides. Yet with the vigilant effort of the ANCA, I hope lies like this will stop in their track.

  9. MAG said:

    Mr. Sassounian You may have not done anything but ANCA was on top of this from the moment the news broke Don’t be Monday morning quarterback.

    • Harut Sassounian said:

      I hope the M in MAG does not stand for Misha!
      I know what ANCA has done and I am proud of what they have done. I happen to be on the ANCA Advisory Board (West Coast). I don’t need Misha to tell me about the ANCA!

      • MAG said:

        (Finally, why hasn’t a single Armenian organization or official complained to the news media)
        Misha didn’t write this you did, Watch Mark Guiragos on CNN you will learn thing or two.

        • Ray said:

          MAG, that wasn’t necessary (Monday morning…). Regarding Mark Geragos’ interview on CNN, what he did was great but for a high profile lawyer he made a terrible mistake trying to refute Misha’s ethnicity by saying that “Misha isn’t an Armenian name”. As though Armenians don’t have non-Armenian names! Anderson Cooper was very kind not to tell him that “Mark” is not an Armenian name either! With that kind of defense the other side can rip him apart. Armenians can have, and do have non-Armenian names, Many Armenians living in Western Europe/North America have European names, and many living in Armenia Russia have Russian names. Misha is not unusual at all for Armenians living in Armenia, and other parts of ex-Soviet Republics. If you Google Misha you’ll see a whole bunch of guys with “ian/yan” last names.

          Since I am on the subject of names I would like to bring up another point regarding Mr. Sassounian’s article where he says “It is interesting to note that Tamerlan carries the name of a vicious 14th century Turkic warlord who razed entire cities to the ground and butchered millions of innocent people.” With all due respect Mr. Sassounian this doesn’t come across as something an educated and worldly man like you would say. Is the person’s name in question, or his deed? Every culture has their heroes. For Mongols, and Turkic people Chengiz Khan, and Tamurlane are heroes, and the names Chengiz, and Teimour (and its variations) is as common as any among those peoples. If the bomber’s name was Alexander would you question the person’s name because it is the name of the Macedonian ruler that wreaked havoc from Northern Africa to India in 4th century BC? Things like this do not add anything to the story, and it’s no better than “uncle Ruslan” invoking the name Armenian as the ethnicity of Misha.

        • Harut Sassounian said:

          As long as you keep hiding your true identity behind initials, I continue to believe that “M” stands for Misha.
          Come out of your hiding and have the courage to write a comment in your own name, as I do!
          We will then know if you are Misha or not!

  10. Alex Postallian said:

    I believe the F.B.I. better check up on the uncle,whose pointing fingers at everybody else.If he changed his story,numerous times,he must be a turk.Because everyone knows,or should,the turkies are the worlds biggest LIARS and COWARDS.most decent people would be too embarressed to open their mouths,if they had two terrorists nephews.Its in the turkish blood.Finally SHIP THEM ALL BACK,TO THE SEWERS THEY CAME FROM.

  11. Artin said:

    Bravo ARAM!!! BRAVO!!! Thatswhy I donate to the ANCA, without you guys protecting our interests we would be like the poor Assyrians…

  12. Hovsep said:

    Unless if the mysterious Armenian convert surfaces, this story will be quickly forgotten. Why make it more memorable by making a fuss about it?

    The ANCA’s response is spot on: quiety dispute the facts behind the scenes, with the editors and relevant people, so that the baseless story gets no traction in the media. Well done.

  13. Alfred said:

    I believe even uncle ruslan has hand with the nephews, and FBI must questioning more and investigate him too.

  14. SA said:

    CNN keeps replaying this interview with the idiot uncle and keeps reporting the quote about the “Armenian Islam Convert”. There is an article on cnn.com with tons of comments, most defending Armenians, a few making anti-Armenian remarks. Get on there and post comments to protect our name and educate the world about the Armenian Genocide and the on-going anti-Armenian efforts by the Turks and Azeris!

  15. Kevork said:

    I had the displeasure of stopping by CNN while flipping through the channels, and came across Wolf Blitzer interviewing Juliette Kayyem, and now convinced who and what he is. If the story came out as “a Jewish convert” not a single word would be uttered about it by Blitzer or on the so-called “mainstream media”. And this clown on CNN was salivating over “an Armenian named Misha”, and kept repeating it over and over again trying to interview Kayyem, even as she tried to ignore it as such a ridiculous claim, he came back with something like “shouldn’t this Misha the Armenian be investigated?”, until Kayyem finally said there are a lot of inconsistent stories from their family members. Since Blitzer likes investigations so much, perhaps this “Wolf the Zionist” should also be investigated as an enemy combatant, agent or spy, or something since we all know which country he has his allegiance to, and it isn’t the USA.

  16. Ray said:

    Thank you Mr. Sassounian for bringing this to the attention of those who had missed it, however I would like to point out that the uncle has made a very controversial comment but in no way it was contradictory. If you watch his interviews he is clearly blaming the “Armenian convert”. In none of them he says that “the acquaintance” is Armenian. For some reason the news agencies have taken liberties with the transcript accompanying the video, and inserted [acqiantance] in the transcript (maybe this is what Aram Hamparian of ANCA was referring to in his comment when he said ANCA “responded directly, quietly, and comprehensively”. The FBI should investigate and get to the bottom of this. It shouldn’t be hard to find the “Armenian convert to Islam” in Cambridge, MA if he exists. And if it turns out that the uncle is lying (in all likelihood) then let’s see if he will name those who have paid him when he is charged with obstruction of justice. I am wondering if this tragic event was a rehearsal organized by Turks to deflect attention from Genocide’s 100 anniversary in two years…

  17. Jack said:

    I am not a media professional, but I think it’s a mistake to remain silent and hope that it just disappears. Guess what? It’s on the front page in huge headline on CNN.com !!! Do you think our enemies will allow it to disappear in the future? We should sue this uncle and make his life a living hell. Isn’t slander against the law??

  18. Brian said:

    I wouldn’t be suprised that the Turkish goverment told him to say these things which are false!
    Why isn’t the media talking about his visit to Turkey back in 2003? Armenian’s need to raise hell about this!

  19. Vazken said:

    Is not there a legal action one can take against this terrorist family for falsely implicating Armenians? It is not enought that these barbaric murderer turks kill innocent civilians and maimed many for life, they also want to spread seeds of discontent to further harm our way of life which they so dispise.

  20. Samuel Darbinian said:

    The person named Ruslan tsami, uncle of terrorist criminal brothers after bombing came & claim that an armenian convert moslem indoctrinated his cousins to become profesional jihadiist terrorists, the question is if this person is not a coward terrorist, why he did not inform authorities prevent his terrorist cousins act & save the life of inosent people?
    Another question is why after his terrorist cousin opperation, come to public used media to propagate jihadist antichristian propaganda & against armenian communities.
    For sure Ruslan Tsami protecting his terrorist cousins, even in much wider universal jihadist mission enjoying with support of azarbaijani terrorist government & with its terrorist embasy staffs.

  21. Alex Postallian said:

    ruslan tsami is turk,his former father-in-law was graham fuller,of the cia in turkey,with close ties to haliburton.So you can see how this loud-mouthed lying turk was sponsered by our own govt people.This is the worst crime,and see why the turks get special attention…PAY OFF…….The ex father-in-law of this bum was GRAHAM FULLER,former executive of the cia in jerky turkey….NOW HAVE YOU GOT THE BIG PICTURE…