The news headlines – from the original BBC report “Tamerlan Tsarnaev had right-wing extremist literature” to spinoffs like “Boston Bomber Was A White Supremacist Right-Wing Extremist?!” to ”Meet the Man Who Supplied Tamerlan Tsarnaev with Right Wing Literature” – trumpet a new narrative in the Boston Marathon case, implying that at least one of the bombers might have been a closet right-winger.

The articles and newscasts all were derived from a documentary broadcast on the BBC television show “Panorama,” which reportedly examined Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s reading material and “spent months speaking exclusively with friends of the bombers to try to understand the roots of their radicalization.”

Among the BBC’s findings – which were then quoted and repackaged throughout the U.S. media – were the following:

• Tamerlan Tsarnaev possessed articles which argued that both 9/11 and the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing were government conspiracies.
• Another piece of literature in his possession was about “the rape of our gun rights.”
• Reading material he had about white supremacy commented that “Hitler had a point.”
• Tamerlan Tsarnaev also had literature which explored what motivated mass killings and noted how the perpetrators murdered and maimed calmly.
• There was also material about U.S. drones killing civilians and about the plight of those still imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay.

Virtually all of the media reports – including the following televised broadcast by commentator Cenk Uygur on Current TV’s “The Young Turks” segment – seemed eager to deflect from the widely known fact that both Tsarnaev were radicalized Muslims and embrace instead a new narrative, that the bombers were attracted to right-wing ideas.

However, virtually all of the cited “right-wing” concerns and conspiracy theories are actually common beliefs and attitudes in today’s Muslim world.

For example, the statement in Tsarnaev’s reading material that “Hitler had a point” in killing the Jews, while compatible with truly extreme white supremacist, neo-Nazi ideology, is commonplace throughout the Arab-Muslim Middle East, where schoolchildren are routinely taught that Jews are the offspring of “apes and pigs.” Indeed, Hitler is well known to have been friends with, and highly influenced by, Haj Amin al-Husseini, leader of Arab Palestine during the British Mandate period.

Likewise with the BBC’s revelation that Tsarnaev was reading “material about U.S. drones killing civilians, and about the plight of those still imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay.” It is the left – and even more, defenders of Islam – who most often express concern over Gitmo prisoners. As for concern over U.S. drones “killing civilians,” those successfully targeted to date have been alleged Muslim terrorists, including American-born Anwar al-Awlaki, al-Qaida recruiter and mentor to Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan.

And Tsarnaev’s possession of articles arguing that the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks were U.S. government conspiracies – as opposed to the worst Islamic terror attacks in American history – would have understandable appeal for a Muslim, without any need to brand him as a “right winger.”

Indeed, conspiracy theories of all sorts regarding the 9/11 attacks – that they were perpetrated by Jews, by the U.S. government, by the Israeli Mossad – run rampant throughout the Muslim Middle East.

Does the Tsarnaevs’ reported interest in “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” make them rightwing? Hardly, “The Protocols” – perhaps the most enduring piece of antisemitic literature in history, is a Czarist-era hoax and today is one of the most popular anti-Jewish books in the Muslim world, even turned into a widely viewed television miniseries.

In fact, in the new book “Disinformation,” Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking Soviet bloc intelligence official ever to defect to the West, reveals how, as a one-time spymaster, he was involved in distributing “The Protocols” – translated into Arabic by the Soviets – in Muslim countries. Pacepa summarizes that particular “disinformation” campaign here.

Before Tsarnaev’s younger brother and accused fellow conspirator Dzhokhar was captured, he reportedly scrawled a note inside the winterized boat where he was hiding, reading: “We Muslims are one body. You hurt one you hurt us all.”

In April, shortly after the brothers are believed to have detonated a pair of homemade bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three and wounding more than 200 others, U.S. officials told reporters Tamerlan was an ardent reader of jihadist websites and extremist propaganda, suggesting the brothers were motivated by an anti-American, radical version of Islam.

Related column:

Boston bomber now a ‘right-wing extremist’ by Joseph Farah

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.