State of Massachusetts insists on calling ATHF ads "hoax devices"

Here's a press release I received from the office of Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley. She insists on called the ATHF signs "hoax devices." I assume that's because the case against the two young men who placed the signs around Boston depends on convincing the court that the two defendants were perpetrating a hoax. Of course, they didn't perpetrate a hoax because they didn't do anything deceitful.

This is just another example of the extreme over-reaction by the city of Boston in this farcical incident. Neither Cartoon Network nor the two men who were arrested yesterday are responsible for the fear and inconvenience that the citizens of Boston had to endure on Wednesday. And it's not the police's fault, or the emergency response workers, either. They were commendably doing their job and putting their life on the line without question or hesitation.

Instead, the ones to blame are the Boston city officials, whose astoundingly incompetent response to the report of a suspicious device triggered the panic. The people of Boston should be clamoring for the resignation of the mayor and the head of the department of security for being the only city in the ten-city ad campaign that didn't notice the signs hanging in plain sight for two full weeks and then misidentifying them in a way that caused widespread panic.

Now these shamefaced bureaucrats are rounding up scapegoats and asking Turner to pay for the damages caused by their own ineptitude. Talk about a hoax.


“The Attorney General’s Office, on behalf of the various state and local agencies who responded to the hoax device scare earlier this week, is engaged in ongoing discussions with those parties and with Turner Broadcasting and Interference, Inc., regarding restitution of claims and issues raised by Wednesday’s events.  As has been reported, Turner Broadcasting has offered to pay restitution and other costs associated with the response and investigation, and the company has been very cooperative with our office.  At this time, we believe we are close to reaching finality in a resolution of this matter.   

We have also begun discussions with the attorneys for the two defendants who were arraigned yesterday in connection with the placement of the hoax devices regarding a resolution to the criminal charges.  

Obviously, there are a number of parties involved in these negotiations, all of whom must meet agreement on any settlement.  Due to the complicated nature of these negotiations, as well as our desire to reach a conclusion that is fair and appropriate for all of the agencies involved, and is in the best interests of the Commonwealth, we will meet on Monday, February 5, 2007, and we hope to finalize amounts and arrangements.  A public announcement of the settlement should be made shortly after the parties are in agreement.”

Previously on Boing Boing:
Stickers: This is engineering, not bomb-making
Boston LED terror scare: a message to the media
Mark on ABC news about Mooninite devices
Fake pipe bombs found in Boston
Video of Mooninite menaces
Boston Mooninite installer arrested
Boston Channel photoshops Mooninite LED signs
Aqua Teen Hunger Force is the Bomb T-Shirts
LED ad campaign ignites terrorism scare in Boston


  1. Boston-area police and prosecutors have a history going back to 2004 of calling anything they don’t like a hoax device. It started when they were preparing for the Democratic Convention, tons of federal dollars were flying around, and they discovered that they would get more federal money every time they called out the bomb squad for a random object (briefcase, lunch bag, baby stroller, etc.) and every time they arrested someone and charged them with possession of a hoax device. The inevitable result: a huge increase in the bomb squad being called out when there’s no reason to suspect a bomb, a bunch of completely false arrests and baseless prosecutions, and a whole lot more federal money for the state and local police to buy vehicles and bomb-squad robots and overtime.

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