Tuesday, August 24, 2010

When is the Putin Solution right?

Then Russian President (now Prime Minister) Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian Special Forces to use a top secret nerve gas to resolve the Moscow October 2002 Nord Ost theatre hostage crisis. Thrity-nine Chechen Islamist separatists (some of them women with strapped on bombs on their bodies) took hostage more than 700 theatre goers and performers during act 2 of the hit musical "Nord Ost". The separatists demanded that Russia withdraw its armed forces from Chechnya, if not the separatists would start killing hostages.

The Russian government sent in negotiators and even allowed the media to interview the chief hostage taker so that his demands will be known. However the media was not allowed to spin the story.

The Russians jammed broadcast signals near the theatre.

As the demands were unacceptable to the Russians and the separatists refused concessions as being allowed to fly to a third country, President Putin ordered the storming of the theatre at dawn of October 26. The Russians used the media to lull the separatists to believing they won't storm the theatre. The secret nerve gas was deployed via the airconditioning system and this was hypothesized by German scientists as weaponized fentanyl, an extremely powerful opiod. As a result the separatists were disorientated that they weren't able to put on their gas masks. They were all mowed down by the Russians. The hostages too succumbed during the 1 and 1/2 hour long operation.

The final toll: 39 hostages killed and 129 hostages dead from gas poisoning. Approximately 19% of the hostages died.

Now let us go Manila on August 23,2010. A police officer who believed he was wrongfully dismissed from the service held hostage a bus with 20 tourists from Hong Kong in front of Manila's presidential inauguration venue, the Quirino Grandstand. The hostage standoff lasted for more than 10 hours.

The police officer posted his demands on the bus windows using bond paper. The media was able to interview the officer's brother and worse gave a spin to the story that almost guarantees disaster. And it did.

Also there are no seasoned negotiators. The representative from the Office of the Ombudsman promised to look into officer's case.

What dumbfounds observers is that they note that cable channels regularly feature hostage taking incidents analysis as standard fare. And bus hijackings are common situational training for special forces. The French and Israelis even have a fully functional passenger jet for training.

These cable shows are shown in Hong Kong!

The PNP obviously bungled this rescue attempt because they were not properly trained and equipped. Now did they use stun grenades when they stormed the bus? The Russians used special explosives to blast thick windows of hijacked trains and buses.

And if all fails, deploy the gas!

President Vladimir Putin in showing his presidential determination to destroy terrorism on Russian territory showed up soon at the hostage taking site and visited the victims in hospital. The Russian president did not even as a reflex mouth out the word "investigation" until when the dust settled. That is left to his ministers.

Compare this with the bumbling Noynoy Aquino who at midnight blurted out the word "investigation" even if the victims and casualties were still at emergency care in hospital.

The press cannot even say (until a few hours later) with certainty that the as_hole was dead and done with and how many of the hostages were safe. These are the first things that has to be communicated to the public.

The Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang was extremely saddened by the rescue outcome since he noted that there were several chances for a peaceful resolution.

In the case of Vladimir Putin, his handling of the crisis boosted his approval ratings to 86% confounding the pundits. In the case of Noynoy Aquino, well we can now read Facebook posts saying that many can't wait for June 30, 2016 to come along!

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