Digging out the American Terror Code from a Hollywood plot

The Marathon and finish line kept ringing in my mind after listening to the news of the twin blasts at Boston. After a couple of days, I saw a child wearing a t-shirt with a “swoosh” and “there is no finish line” printed on it. This was probably the clue I was looking for.

Coincidentally, soon after the Boston bombing, Nike recalled all its “Boston Massacre” blood splattered T-Shirts[1]. Nike has a long history of provocative adverts using blood and religious symbolism, but the “Boston Massacre” is dangerously uncanny. Nike says the T-shirt is rooted in the history of World Series baseball championship, “the late-season sweep by the New York Yankees of the rival Boston Red Sox in 1978.”

Unfortunately, the company that inspires so many young athletes seems to be precariously perched in the history of American terror. Its advertising campaigns and association with a popular Hollywood movie, Go for it seem to be the primary source of inspiration behind the post- blasts stories.

The origin of Oklahoma and Boston bombing plots can be traced back to the 1977 execution of Gary Gilmore. He was charged with twin murders and became the first American to be executed after a gap of 10 years. Gilmore’s last words “Let’s Do It” inspired numerous TV shows and films including the 1979 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Executioner’s Song. [2] In 1977, along with The Exorcist and The Towering Inferno the third movie to be awarded the Golden Screen Award was E.B. Clucher’s, Crime Busters. The Italian director E.B. Clucher, alias Enzo Barboni, an ex-war correspondent directed another movie in 1983, Go for It that almost used Gilmore’s famous last words “Let’s do it”.

“Let’s do it” received its ultimate tribute when advertising guru, Dan Widen tweaked it to “Just Do it” to come up with the most successful marketing campaign for Nike in 1988. Before Dan could use it, Art William, a born again Christian and Insurance entrepreneur advocated the virtues of ‘just do it’ at a 1987 National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), Christian communicators’ convention.[3]

The movie Go for It assumes relevance from the fact that in the 1995 Oklahoma bombing, the code word used by the accused, Timothy McVeigh and his Army buddy, Terry Nichols was “Go for it”. [4]

Did the plotters only borrow the title of the movie or did they derive many more nuggets from the 1983 comedy? Do the rhyming ‘Just Do It’ and ‘Go for It’ connect Nike with the movie?

Go For It, revolves around two happy-go-lucky friends, enacted by Bud Spencer and Terence Hill. The movie starts with Terrence Hill skating down the highway wearing Nike shoes. The director’s focus on the ‘swoosh’ gives a clear indication that the movie had some kind of sponsorship deal with Nike.

1st Nugget – Use and Disposal of Patsies

Many conspiracy theories suggest that McVeigh and Nichols of Oklahoma fame were not the actual bombers but only scapegoats used to “deceive the public in such a way that the operations appear as if they are being carried out by other entities” John Spritzler questions, “Did the FBI run Tamerlan Tsarnaev, and his younger brother Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as patsies? Were the two Chechens at the marathon because they thought they were helping the authorities carry out the drill that we now know was going on at the marathon?”[5]

The first nugget that the plotter picks up from the movie is the use of patsies in any secret mission. Bud and Hill are patsies, spotted for their skills and gullibility. They are lured through exposure to money and luxury to take on a CIA mission to nab the super villain, K1-bomber. Like all other patsies, the duo is used by the CIA and discarded with a pat on the back by the President of the United States.

In the actual bombing plot, patsies are discarded either by execution or a life sentence. The Oklahoma culprit, McVeigh was executed in 2001 and Nichols was awarded life imprisonment. In the Boston case, Tamerlan Tsarnaev is dead and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is most likely to spend the rest of his life behind bars.

2nd Nugget – Synchronize Security Drills with Bombing

The most intriguing aspect in the movie is the planned security drill at the airport in the men’s washroom. Two kids throw a minor explosive in the dustbin and walk away. The explosion gives reason to the already well equipped security squad to enter and occupy the toilet.

This synchronization of the drills with the blast in the movie is important because it is reported that Boston blasts occurred on the same day when the national defence drills were underway at the finish line. According to Boston Globe article, “Police had deployed “air patrols, K9 units, and more than 1,000 uniformed officers and soldiers along the 26-mile course and the finish line.”[6] Obviously, the mastermind did not aim to inflict too much collateral damage but show off the state as ever prepared.

It is reported that Craft International, a Private military company’s (PMC) was involved in the security drill that was underway at the finish line of Boston Marathon on 15 April 2013. The skull logo of Craft International, that reads “Despite what your momma told you…violence does solve problems.”[7] It is such dubious linkages that give rise to the speculation that Boston bombing was a ‘False Flag Operation’ (FFO).

3rd Nugget- Vehicles and the Chase 

In the film, the duo uses a Ryder truck as a getaway. To carry out the heinous act of terrorism in Oklahoma, McVeigh uses a hired Ryder truck. To escape after the explosion McVeigh’s yellow Mercury without a proper license plate is caught by a highway patrol officer, almost in the same manner as Hill and Bud’s truck, without any papers, is stopped by highway patrol in the movie.

In the Boston bombing cover-up story, the car-jacking scene is repeated. The Chechen-American duo, allegedly car-jack a Chinese man in Cambridge and take him on a 90 minute wild ride. The police claim that Tsarnaev was shot during a dramatic gun battle with cops in Watertown, Massachusetts. The farfetched police version says he was run over by his younger brother Dzhokhar as he tried to escape in a stolen SUV.

4th Nugget – The Arrival of Yacht From Nowhere

Truck-jacking, car-jacking and a police chase may be common to most Hollywood movies. However, what is uncommon is that in both Go For It and Boston bombing the chase finally ends on a yacht. In the movie all the final action, dramatically happens on a yacht. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev the surviving Boston suspect, is also finally captured in a private yacht.

Why finish and not the start line

An obvious question is why the terrorist chose the finish line and not the start line to explode their bomb? From a terrorist’s perspective the start line would have been ideal because more people would have been killed. Perhaps the terrorist was motivated by the Nike byline, “There is no Finish Line” to literally bomb the finish line.

But how does the finish line connect to the Boston Marathon? The only connection that I have discovered till now is a 2011, inspiration movie by Erich Lytle, There is no Finish line…  The movie is sponsored by Nike and is a tribute to the continuing spirit of Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first ever woman’s Olympic marathon champion. She won the Boston marathon in 1979 and 1983 and was the Boston marathon record holder for 28 years at a stretch.

Another Boston connection appears in the 1983, Go for It. Almost throughout the movie Terrence Hill adorns the Boston “B” cap while Bud Spencer’s cap reads: Kiss me I’m black”.

Hill also has another red cap with a dollar sign which he wears only when he is having fun. In the middle of the movie, at the Miami beach Hill’s t-shirt has a massive Adidas logo. This particular costume is perhaps used to convey that all fun is sponsored by Nike’s rival and all action is underwritten by swoosh. For example, the fun and frolic at Boston Marathon is fully sponsored by Adidas and at the finish line one sees Adidas billboards prominently displayed.[8]


The mastermind weaves a terror web from “let’s do it to” to “go for it” and through “just do it” continues to “there is no finish line”. The movie provides a creative insight to the Oklahoma to Boston happenings with the mastermind successfully selling his story of patsies and terror to the public. It is these post-bombing stories that brand the likes of Tamerlan Tsarnaev as terror suspects for visiting websites related to conspiracy theory, while labeling Nike’s celebration of violence in its posters and punch lines as mere marketing gimmicks.

It is now apparent that just when the finish line was being bombed, politicians, security agencies, arms dealers, sports and apparel companies were lining up at the start point to sell their 2014 marathon, making the Boston resilience a euphemism for marketing.

Do Hollywood blockbusters have the power to free America of the agonizing April angst by breaking the American terror code or is Go for it an uncanny coincidence where the terrorist mastermind is in tandem with the film?

The writer is a research Scholar at School of Liberal Studies, Ambedkar University, and Delhi. He is an alumnus of King’s College, London He can be contacted at atul.beret@gmail.com
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