The Latest From Boston and Toronto

An initial hearing has been conducted in Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s criminal case. It was held at Tsarnaev’s hospital bedside, with the prosecutor, a court-appointed defense lawyer and a federal magistrate in attendance. Tsarnaev’s rights were explained, and he apparently uttered a word or two. You can read the transcript of the bedside hearing here. I found it rather bizarre.

Tsarnaev has apparently been questioned, to some degree, although no substantive interrogation is included in the transcript. Authorities say that “preliminary evidence from an interrogation suggests the brothers were motivated by religion”–no surprise there–“but were apparently not tied to any Islamic terrorist organizations.” That may well be true; as I have said more than once, my own instinct has always been that the brothers likely acted on their own. But presumably the FBI is not simply taking Tsarnaev’s word that no one else was involved. No doubt some, including the Obama administration and the FBI, would prefer that there be no connection to foreign terrorist groups, but I trust that won’t color the investigation.

Meanwhile, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police announced the arrest of two non-citizen Canadian residents who plotted to blow up a passenger train. Amazingly enough, these individuals are also Muslims. The Mounties say they were being directed by al Qaeda elements within Iran.