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Tuesday, October 29, 2002
The Moscow theatre siege

With the melange of speculation and misinformation coming from Moscow, one must rely only on things that are beyond question. Accordingly, here are two facts of which I am reasonably certain:
1. Film of the empty theatre after the hostages had been released showed the seats intact, with bundles of explosive strategically placed. One's initial impression is that the surprise assault achieved its objective.
2. Several different radio broadcasts have made it clear that the hostages were aware that gas was being used. One broadcast conversation was between a girl in the theatre and someone outside. Before she passed out, the hostage said that gas was being pumped in.
No one has asked the obvious question: why, if some of the hostages had time to realise that they were being gassed did the Chechens fail to detonate at least some of their bombs? Is it that they consciously chose not to do so, or were the bombs dummies?

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