Saturday, December 23, 2006

Inversions of the Truth - II

In EJ, Marina Litvinovich, editor-in-chief of the Truth of Beslan website, protests about the lies and distortions in the official Russian report on the Beslan tragedy [my tr.]:

For a start, it’s important to make it clear that no report has been published, although the commission promised to do this. All that has happened is that the commission’s head, Alexander Torshin, read out this report - so far there is no printed text anywhere.

No one was invited to hear the presentation of the report - not journalists, nor victims, nor hostages nor relatives - no one. Everything is being done in a hurry and in secret. On the eve of the holidays, on Friday, so that no one would even notice what was taking place. Moreover, after the report the Federation Council has already voted to close the activity of the Commission of Inquiry into the terror act in Beslan. In other words, as far as the Federation Council is concerned, the matter is now closed.

Now the State Duma is to have its say. But the text of the report was presented in the lower chamber of parliament only yesterday evening, and the Duma Council has not yet had time to study it. But at today’s session already they are already trying to raise a motion for the closing of the commission’s activity. Meanwhile, not a single deputy has actually seen the text. Thus, they propose to vote blindly.

Let us move on to the text itself. The report is very similar to the one that was published in August - in fact, the commission has not worked since then. The commission did not meet in September, or October, or November, or December. And it’s totally unclear what the new report is based on, because no work has actually been done, there have been no expert assessments, no new evidence has been examined.

Moreover, Torshin’s report is based on the same assessment of the actions of operational staff which was removed from the judicial process six weeks ago. An assessment, in other words, that has been acknowledged to be illegal and invalid. As for the report’s principal conclusion - that the first shots were the result of the actions of the guerrillas - this conclusion has not been confirmed in any way. By no mathematical calculations or technical analyses - it is all empty words. Thus, Torshin asserts that the federal forces did not fire flamethrowers at the school in which the hostages were held. Yet one has only to enumerate the people who were killed or injured as they stood in the windows - from this it follows naturally that the shooting came from the street. There is much evidence to support the contention that there was also firing from tanks.

Another of the report’s conclusions is that 32 people took part in the school seizure, of whom 31 were killed and one has been sentenced in court. This is simply ridiculous. Even the Prosecutor’s office has already admitted under pressure from us that there may have been more of them. It’s a mystery why this figure has not changed in Torshin’s reports since 2004 - there is a mass of evidence which refutes it.

All this is being done for one purpose alone - to close the question of Beslan. And to bring an end, as the government representatives say, to “the speculations and insinuations” on this subject. But I think, these efforts are in vain - those who suffered will not give up. Whatever the lies that Torshin gives them, they lost their children and they will go to the end.

What is more, the investigation continues: expert analyses are being made, there are studies, examinations of witnesses. It’s only for Torshin that the question is closed - he is the only one for whom it’s all clear. He has cleared it all up and decided not to do any more work, taking into account the fact that in any case he has actually done no work for the past six months.

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