What we know (or think we know) about Misha, supposed now to be one Mikhail Allakhverdov, comes to us via the “cut-out” Christian Caryl. In “‘Misha’ Speaks: An Interview with the Alleged Boston Bomber’s ‘Svengali'”, “Cut-Out” Caryl for now gives only a brief synopsis. It is promised at the end of the article that “Christian Caryl’s reporting on the Tsarnaev family and the Chechen and Russian community in Boston will appear in a coming issue of The New York Review [of Books].” This was promised on April 28, 2013.
In espionage parlance, a cut-out is a mutually trusted intermediary, method or channel of communication, facilitating the exchange of information between agents. (“Cut-out (espionage)”, Wikipedia, May 3, 2013). Christian Caryl is the intermediary between Misha and the public. We do not see Misha. We do not hear him speak. We must trust that the “cut-out”, Christian Caryl, is not a double agent but an honest reporter.
Already the term “Svengali” is de rigueur in connection with Misha. But I prefer the term “Rasputin.”
One would expect that, consequent to Christian Caryl’s startling revelation of April 28th, the herd of mainstream “news” would rush to the modest apartment of Misha and stake out the Svengali or Rasputin. “Come on out, Misha! We just want to interview you,” they would say. But this hasn’t happened. It is the dog that did not bark, a significant clue in itself.
In “Silver Blaze”, one of the 56 Sherlock Holmes short stories written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a Scotland Yard detective asks Holmes, “Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
Detective: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”
The “watchdog press” did not bark consequent to “Cut-Out” Caryl’s revelation. That is the curious incident.
Did the dog know its master? Did the “watchdog press” know it was not supposed to bark at Misha?
Who exactly is Christian Caryl, the “cut-out” between Misha and the public? His Misha scoop was published by the New York Review of Books. But Christian Caryl is also a frequent contributor to Foreign Policy magazine. (This is not to be confused with Foreign Affairs, the magazine published by the Council on Foreign Relations.)
April 28, evening: Christian Caryl breaks his Misha story. The “watchdog press” does not bark, but does lick the feet of Caryl, praising him for his scoop. May 1st: Any potential follow-up on Rasputin Misha is pushed off the front page when three of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s college chums are charged with cover-up. “Forget Misha! Dias Kadyrbayev, Azamat Tazhayakov, and Robel Phillipos are the new hot story!”
Has Misha been swept under the rug? Were the three college chums a little too convenient, coming along and sidetracking interest in Misha?
How about putting Zubeidat Tsarnaeva and Misha in the same room and filming what happens?
Of course, all suspects are presumed to be innocent. This includes, by the way, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, even if the U.S. President has already called him a “terrorist.”
(Further background: “Misha Found?”, Ersjdamoo’s Blog entry of April 30, 2013.)