Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Open Source Terrorist Training

Two stories in USA Today emphasize a point made here.

Al-Qaeda tie to school hostage-takers probed

Tedeyev says the hostage-takers had learned from past terrorist mistakes. While many Russians complain that the government tried to cover up the crisis, Tedeyev blames the media for giving the terrorists the information they needed to conduct the attack.

The hostage-takers carried gas masks and broke windows to avoid being gassed like Chechen separatists who took over a Moscow theater in 2002. During that rescue operation, 129 hostages died.

"It seems they studied all the cases," said Tedeyev. "It becomes more difficult for the state to fight terror. TV shows everything the Spetsnaz (special forces) does. We seem to teach (terrorists) ourselves, and then we suffer for it."

Russia school seizure was long planned

The Moscow theater standoff ended when Russian forces pumped in a knockout gas that disabled the militants — and inadvertently killed most of the 129 civilian victims. Perhaps learning from that experience, the Beslan hostage-takers brought along two dogs, possibly to detect gas.

The editors at USA Today might want to take a look at what they print, though. That way they won't raise questions that their reporters have already answered. From the second story:

Why the militants scouted Beslan at all was not immediately clear. The city of 30,000 could have been seen as large enough to provide a shockingly high number of victims while not large enough to risk a heavy police presence. It also is the location of the region's main airport and is on a railway line.

From the first:

[Beslan, a] city in North Ossetia, historically the only pro-Russian, Christian part of the North Caucasus.

Update: Off to OTB's Beltway Traffic Jam

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