Monday, December 26, 2005

Not So Sweet This Time Around

Remember the mysterious sweet smell in NY a few months back which put people in the mind of french toast and pancakes? Which re-aired about a month back for a few hours. And gave some people the jitters because they thought they were smelling a chemical attack.

Now Russia has its own version. But it's much less sweet smelling.

A gas smelling of garlic hurt dozens of Russian shoppers when it was released into a supermarket on Monday in the city of St Petersburg, but police ruled out a terrorist attack.

And unfortunately in their case, the terrorism fears may be justified:

Local media quoted prosecutors as saying the gas was methyl mercaptan, a compound added to domestic gas to give it its odor which is poisonous in large quantities.

Other pipe bombs were found in the shop that had not diffused. 66 people were hospitalized.

As Captain Ed points out, the Russians are very intent on calling this not terrorism, and instead, a form of Russian market competition:

Their explanation now states that the attack comes from competition between Makisdom and rival shops in the same market as their handyman business. In other words, think Macys vs. Gimbels -- if Macy's was run by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Gimbels by Carlos the Jackal.

This explanation reflects a ludicrous level of denial. Of course these attacks constitute terrorism; they're designed to inflict fear on civilians for a specific effect, even if the Russians have correctly identified the perpetrators and their motivations, which sounds doubtful in the extreme to me.


He also points out, that if Russian commercial enterprises now have access to this kind of technology and are willing to use them, imagine what the real terrorists will do.

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