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INovaya Gazeta: New Version Of The First Explosions

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  • mariuslab2002
    Investigations New Version Of The First Explosions Novaya Gazeta received the conclusions of the mathematical simulation of the first explosions at the
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 19 9:09 PM

      New Version Of The First Explosions

      Novaya Gazeta received the conclusions of the mathematical simulation
      of the first explosions at the Beslan's School#1. This has been the
      third expertise attempting to convince us that the school was blown up
      by terrorists, and not by special police squad soldiers.

      Criminal case # 20/849 on prosecution
      Conclusions by complex forensic expertise (mathematic simulation,
      technical-explosion expertise and ballistic expertise)
      Volume 176
      Photo 1. Trajectory of the second grenade launcher shot made from the
      roof of the building through the gym to the north-west window.
      Photo 2. The breach under the north-west window of the gym caused with
      hitting of the grenade into the wall between window-sill and the
      central heating radiator.

      It has been one and a half year since the publication date of the
      report by Yuri Savelyev titled "Beslan. The Truth By The Hostages".
      The first part of the report presents a scrupulous analysis of the
      testimony by the hostages; also the picture of the first explosions –
      that provoked the assault made - is simulated on the basis of
      mathematical and physical calculation. The conclusion in that report
      contradicted official hypothesis and stated that the first explosions
      were a result of shooting at the school building made with grenade
      launchers and flame throwers. Responding to Mr. Savelyev's report, the
      investigation requested for the Complex Expertise of mathematical
      simulation. The expertise was performed by the employees from the
      research institute after Karbyshev belonging to defense ministry and
      by the employees from scientific-industrial enterprise "Basalt" which
      develops fire grenade systems. 11 months and 600,000 rubles have been
      spent on the expertise. The conclusions by experts are rather
      equivocal. Specialists did not find errors in the calculation made by
      Yuri Savelyev, and in some cases they admitted the testimony by
      hostages to have been correct, where it was obvious. But mainly the
      experts have had to gerrymander the facts and calculations so that to
      prove the hypothesis by investigation that it were IED's (improvised
      explosive devices) made by terrorists to have exploded in the gym of
      the School #1.

      Novaya Gazeta and the website PravdaBeslana.Ru got all the 405 pages
      of the new expertise report with charts, formulas and schemes. We have
      asked Yuri Savelyev to make comments on the decision of the commission
      of experts. Mr. Savelyev is a specialist in the field of physics of
      burning and physics of explosion.

      A: So far there have been three expertise conclusions among the
      materials of the criminal case #20/849 (on the count of terrorist
      seizure of School #1 in the city of Beslan). Each expertise locates
      differently the first explosions that happened within the interval of
      27 seconds at 13:03 on 3 September 2004 in the gym where 1,128
      hostages were held.

      According to technical-explosion forensic expertise by the FSB
      research institute of criminalistics, no less than three explosions of
      IED's, installed by terrorists, took place in the gym at 13:03. The
      first explosion was located to the backboard on the western wall of
      the gym, the second to the right side jamb at the same wall, and the
      third to the window-sill at the north wall (See the scheme 1 – E.M.).
      Importantly, in expert's opinion it was a plastic bottle to explode on
      the window-sill which was stuffed with explosive equal to 1.2 kg of
      TNT equivalent.

      The second expertise, carried out by the employees from Forensic
      Center, only tells about two exploded IED's. The first one allegedly
      detonated under the basketball basket near the western wall, and the
      second by the north wall under the window aperture (See the Scheme 2 –
      E.M.). Conclusions by Forensic Center specialists are at variance with
      those by FSB institute of criminalistics. In FC experts' opinion, the
      explosive device was not on the window-sill, but it was placed under a
      chair at a distance 0.5 m from the wall, and its power is affirmed to
      be 5.2 kg of TNT equivalent.

      As for the third official expertise of mathematical simulation made in
      September 2007, its conclusions differ greatly from the first two.
      According to it, the first explosion happened at the north-east
      (opposite) side of the gym.

      According to those expert accounts, it was an IED equal to 3-6 kg of
      TNT to detonate being installed by the terrorists on a chair at a
      distance of 1.1 m from the northern wall and 5.1 m from the eastern
      wall (See the Scheme 3).

      The second explosion took place 20 sec later in the opposite
      (north-west) corner of the gym and it actually was a simultaneous
      detonation of several IED's (5-10 pieces). In experts' sight, one of
      those "smaller" explosions caused the breach under a northern window
      near the western wall and caused minor damage to the frame of that
      window (See Photo 2).

      Generally, it's only one thing that is common about all the three
      hypotheses: it was exactly IED's installed by the terrorists to have
      detonated. As for power, location and number of the devices – the
      experts split on that point.

      Actually, the last expertise of the mathematic simulation was done
      because of the pressure by public organizations of Beslan, requiring
      checking the conclusions formulated in part 1 of my report that
      practically coincided with main conclusions by Independent
      Parliamentary Panel of the republic of Northern Ossetia-Alania:

      1. During next 27 seconds after the first explosions no IDE detonated
      in the gym. Part of them detonated much later, which was caused with
      the fire in the gym.

      2. Over 40 hostages testified in court under oath and during
      examinations that the first explosion took place (on above) in the
      attic-floor room of the gym between entrance from the school yard and
      the backboard (See Scheme 4). The nature and the consequences of that
      explosion make one conclude it was a thermobaric grenade, launched
      from the roof of the neighboring 5-storey building #37 situated on
      Shkolny Lane. That explosion formed a round hole in the gym's ceiling
      through which explosion products penetrated the gym's space in a shape
      of a fire ball (it was caused with after-burning of magnesium in the
      thermobaric mixture of the grenade).

      3. Having studied the consequences of the explosion near the northern
      window (the size of the breach under the window, and along with that
      the fact that the frame remained sound (!) (See Photo 2) I concluded
      that those damages could not have been caused with IED explosion
      either on the window-sill or near the window. But such an effect could
      have been caused with a device equal to about 6 kg of TNT delivered to
      the outside wall under the window-sill. It could very probably have
      been a grenade (most likely RShG-1) launched from the roof of the
      building 41 situated on Shkolny Lane (See Photo 1).

      I believe that testimony by tens of hostages saying about the hole in
      the ceiling in the north-east part of the gym became very inconvenient
      for the investigation. As material evidence that hole disappeared
      after the gym burnt down and the roof fell – and the fire brigades
      were not allowed to the scene during 2 hours and a half. Nonetheless,
      the investigation had to explain forming of that hole in the ceiling
      that appeared exactly as a result of the first explosion. It was also
      necessary to give an explanation about other consequences of the attic
      explosion: the steel corbel of the abat-jour, curved for 15 cm; the
      stripped from it iron deck; the massive entrance double-wing doors
      knocked out and so on.

      All those damages (in the eastern part of the gym) did not fit the
      initial hypothesis placing the first explosions in the western part of
      the gym. This is why investigation had to request for another
      expertise after which the first explosion epicenter was "moved" for 20
      m towards the eastern wall.

      Q: And experts say it was not a thermobaric grenade on the gym's roof,
      but it was terrorists' IED installed near that place. How do experts
      come to this conclusion?

      A: Very simple. Two years later they examined the gym and found a
      deformation in the spot on the floor where hostages pointed the major
      damages to have appeared after the first explosion. The matter is that
      somewhere near that place the terrorists really installed an IED which
      seemed to be rather powerful. But it detonated much later after first
      explosions and the detonation was caused with an open flame when the
      gym caught up fire. Even the sappers from the 58th Army, who were
      there, testified about that, let alone many of the hostages. For
      example, Angela Digurova got her head injured when she was sitting
      near the entrance to the gym, due to the explosion from above. She
      managed to raise her daughter and push her out of the window (near
      which investigation says the first explosion happened). Mrs. Digurova
      herself stayed under window. When the fire began on the floor, caused
      with dropping from above burning fragments of ceiling and
      warmth-keeping jacket, Angela began to crawl away from that place. She
      said during the court proceedings "after we crawled away, there was
      another big explosion to sound behind us".

      Nonetheless, the experts ignored the description by the hostages and
      "associated" the hole in the ceiling with the floor-based IED
      mentioned above. They made a rather true-like calculation of the
      consequences of that IED detonation.

      Q: How convincing is their hypothesis?

      A: The experts failed to explain the damage of the steel corbel of the
      abat-jour over the entrance to the gym from the yard. According to my
      calculation it could only have been damaged with a shock wave of the
      explosion on the gym's roof. As for experts, they proposed several
      versions about the corbel. It could have been curved: 1) by a boy who
      probably jumped on it from a height of 1.2 m long before the events in
      question; 2) by a man weighing over 87 kg who could jump from the
      ground and hanged by it for a while.

      Another hypothesis proposed was that the IED detonation broke the
      ceiling in the north-east corner of the gym, tossed up the boards of
      the ceiling, and the boards hit the roofing slate tossing it up to 6 m
      high. Then the slate just fell on the corbel and curved it. The
      experts even tried to prove this hypothesis with calculation. But I'd
      like to remind here that any mathematic simulation must be proved with
      an experiment.

      And again the experts ignored the testifying by hostages when they
      said "There are no witnesses of that explosion (IED detonation on a
      chair near the eastern wall – E.M.) as the hostages and the terrorist,
      who stayed near that place, got killed".

      In my letter to Vladimir Putin I called that statement to be another
      lies and adduced an example of testimony by a hostage Mrs. Bichenova,
      who had stayed handbreadth to the chair with the IED that detonated
      according to the experts. But Mrs. Bichenova as well as her son
      survived and her son managed to run out of the gym through the broken
      with explosion door.

      Much evidence also has been given by other hostages who must have been
      killed, according to the expert calculation, as they were in the
      lethal zone of the IED detonation – that's about 2 m for an IED with
      the charge equal to 3 kg of TNT, and over 2.5 m for an explosion of 6
      kg of TNT. Exactly such a power of explosion was calculated by the

      In the first part of my report I quoted the testimony by the hostages
      who had been sitting near that IED just 1-3 m away! All of them
      managed to get out from the gym after the first explosion and they
      didn't even have their ear-drums injured! The testimony by all those
      hostages proves that that IED did not explode at 13:03 on 3 September

      Nevertheless, I consider investigation to have done an important step
      towards the truth. It has already "moved" the epicenter of the first
      explosion for 20 m. It only remains to do the next step: to locate the
      epicenter of the explosion upwards to the attic and explain what
      exactly exploded there.

      Q: Yuri Petrovich, actually the complex expertise was ordered to be
      performed so that to check your calculations about first explosions
      provoked with the shooting from grenade launchers and fire throwers.
      What is said about that in the expertise report?

      A: The experts confirmed that possible explosion of a thermobaric
      grenade could have been an explanation for all the damages mentioned
      by hostages and those found by myself. The experts were able to
      forward only two counter-evidence: 1) The possible attic explosion
      could not have thrown about the piles of things with which the
      terrorists had barricaded the entrance to the gym – that's chairs,
      tables, bags etc. 2) such an explosion wouldn't have destroyed the
      window on the opposite side of the gym.

      Well, let my colleagues have the first counter-evidence on their
      conscience. I suggest that the readers put a handful of sunflower
      seeds on the table and then blow on it from above, imitating a shock
      wave from the ceiling. Let them see the seeds go to all directions.
      And the experts say that the shock wave must have swept all the things
      from the entrance doors only to one direction towards the eastern wall
      separating the gym from the weight room. This is in contradiction with
      the testimony by hostages.

      As for the second counter-evidence, it's just made up. I never
      affirmed what they alleged to me.

      Q: What does the expertise say about the second explosion after which
      a breach appeared in the brick wall under the window, while the window
      frame stayed sound?

      A: The experts made a large volume of calculation for justification
      the hypothesis of an IED exploded by terrorists near the window. The
      hypothesis says the chair charged with 3-6 kg of TNT equivalent had
      been standing at a distance of 0.5 m from the wall under the window.
      To justify this version, another "hole" was found on the gym's floor.
      I was accused of distorting the facts and affirming that there was no
      hole on the floor in that place.

      Strangely, but during carrying out the expertise to check my own
      report, including the checking done by the parliamentary panel, no one
      applied to me personally! If someone had asked me about that "hole", I
      would have shown to the experts the following evidence: 1) scene
      inspection protocol drawn up by investigators from Prosecutor
      General's office on 4 September 2004; 2) the pictures by a well-known
      photo journalist Yuri Tutov taken at 15:25 on 3 September 2004; 3) my
      own photos of the floor under the window with the breach.

      The experts pass a burnt area on the floor for that "hole"! The
      photos by Yuri Tutov, attached to my report, clearly show all the
      phases of burning of the five huge wooden ceiling shields – the moment
      they caught fire, then burning of all the surface of the shields, then
      their dropping exactly at the place where the "hole" was found. As for
      the scene inspection report, this official document established two
      breaches of the floor near that northern window, the centers of
      breaches being 0.75 m and 1.3 m respectively from the wall under the
      window, and it established the burnout in that place. No breach of the
      wooden floor was found at a distance of 0.5 m from the wall.

      The experts did not complete the calculation for justification of the
      consequences of the second explosion (the breach under the window, but
      also the window frame undamaged with the shock wave). The matter is
      that a charge of 5.2-6.2 kg of TNT equivalent, attached to the wall
      from outside or delivered there with a grenade launching, can really
      make a breach in the wall with a diameter of 1.5-1.6 m.

      But when same quantity of the charge is placed at a distance of 0.5 m
      from the wall, then there cannot have been any breach, let alone the
      one with above mentioned diameter. Making such a breach would take a
      charge of 12-14 kg of the TNT equivalent. To be on the safe side, the
      experts say about the figure of 13.8 kg of TNT equivalent. However, no
      explosive device of such a power was found in the gym. But let us
      assume that an explosion of the above alleged power really took place.
      Then the hole on the floor must have been no less than 1.5 m in
      diameter and there must have been a significantly large crater on the
      ground. Besides, such an explosion must have destroyed not only this
      window frame but also those neighboring to it. Nothing of that
      happened in reality. And none of the three expertises has been able to
      explain that fact.

      Q: Yuri Petrovich, what else is possible to be done by the
      investigation to disprove your research results?

      A: I don't think it's necessary to carry out new expertises. This is
      very expensive and it has no sense as the best qualified experts – who
      are trapped by this situation – have already given their opinion. To
      prove the truth by the hostages we just need to force FSB to
      declassify and submit to investigation and to the public the video
      materials made by FSB employees during all the three days of the
      tragedy, and especially for the period from 13 p.m. to 15 p.m. of 3
      September 2004. It's been several years that the victims and their
      relatives press for that to be done. But FSB refused it to Beslan
      residents, Prosecutor General's office, both parliamentary panels, the
      court, and even President of Russia. As for me personally, such an
      attitude tells me much.

      Besides, it's just inaccessible to reduce the Beslan tragedy only to
      the topic of the nature of the first explosions, which is what only
      first part of my report deals with. I would also want to draw
      attention to a number of other serious aspects only partly dealt with
      in my report:

      — Death of more than 100 hostages outside the gym, in the main ruined
      southern wing and in the canteen. Those people had survived in the
      exploded gym but met their death in another hell that was maybe even

      — Disappearing from the school over 30 terrorists in the morning of 3

      — Unimpeded coming to Beslan – just one hour before that all the
      police traffic blocks had been removed – of the numerous motorized
      terrorist group where present were gunmen who had been detained,
      arrested and even prosecuted long before the Beslan terrorist act.

      The full version of the complex expertise is published in Russian at:

      Elena Milashina

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