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Re: Deadly Eye of the Believer

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  • emmil kasaev
    I met Mary in Tbilisi as well in December 1999. She wanted to go inside Chechnya with a Russian camera man. It was risky to go inside for foreign journalists
    Message 1 of 7 , Sep 30, 2001
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      I met Mary in Tbilisi as well in December 1999. She wanted to go inside
      Chechnya with a Russian camera man. It was risky to go inside for foreign
      journalists as the bombing raids were very intense along the Chechen -
      Georgian route. Gergian authorities too refused to let foreigners into
      Chechnya. She was pleading with us and so we took her in. She said that she
      needed to go in as she would expose horrors of the war in Chechnya to the
      westerners and that would save Chechna from destruction. She said she saved
      that way East Timorese. I had my own share of experience with the
      journalists and was learned not to trust them. I remember she told me once
      all journalists who go in talk about how big heroes they are and I am
      different, I will talk about the sufferings of the people. Well, we took her
      in and took her out so that she would say how great she was oversoming
      terrible hardships in Chechnya trying to escape from Chechnya as the
      russians blocked off the only escape route to georgia. She spent eight days
      trying to go out along with two Chechen fighters from Hussein's team.
      I do not know exactly if she had met Hattab or any other major Chechen
      commander. I really doubt she did, but I k now for a fact that not one
      Chechen fighter or a mujahid is scared of Hattab. There are plenty who
      respect him for courage though. Also, Chechens fighters are free to leave
      the war any time they want. Neither Maskhadov, Basaev or anyone will try or
      even be able to hold them back. We dod not fight on coercion. Chechens fight
      voluntarily as staying out of the fight is considered to be a shame by our
      customs. I guess Mary has her own view of the conflict in Chechnya and she
      probably had it before she even walked into Chechnya. I am just sorry that I
      might have been of help to her to write this nasty piece of an article. I am
      sure that those Chechen fighters who risked their lives to save hers would
      be too.



      He had shoulder-length, oiled black ringlets, a tall fur hat and an
      American camouflage uniform. He swaggered a bit and his clean and
      pressed kit contrasted with the squalor of the local fighters.
      Phrases about God and paradise rolled off his tongue.
      -Snip-

      Marie Colvin won Foreign Correspondent of the year at the last
      National Newspaper awards.
      ------------------------------------------------------------------------
      > >
      > > I would like to know when and where in Chechnya, Ms Marie Colvin did
      > > have talk with Khattab. Also somehow, it's hard for myself to imagine
      > > Khattab wearing a papakha (a tall fur hat). But, who knows maybe for
      > > this interview he took off his beret and put on the papakha.
      > > In the eyes of a pretty, foreign correspondent everyone wants to look
      >cool. M.L.





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    • marius@sprint.ca
      ... don t think either of them got very far inside. Marie s story that she won an award for was mostly about her escape back out over the mountains. I think
      Message 2 of 7 , Sep 30, 2001
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        --- In chechnya-sl@y..., ryp <ryp@c...> wrote:
        > I met Marie in Tiblisi before she went in with Maggie O'Kane. I
        don't think either of them got very far inside. Marie's story that she
        won an award for was mostly about her escape back out over the
        mountains. I think you can find it if you search.
        >
        > Khattab was pretty busy at the time in Khankala and other spots.
        >
        > RYP
        >
        > ----------------------------------------------------------------------

        Thanks for the hint Robert,

        I've found her article in our archives that was published by The
        Sunday Times on 12th of Dec. 1999. But, as far as I know in the second
        of week of Dec. Grozny was completely surrounded by the Russian forces.
        I guess, she had reached Komsomolskoye(which is south of Grozny)below
        is her story about this village:

        Moscow's Wrath Leaves No Place for Chechens to Hide

        From the mountains, Komsomolskaya looks as it must from the cockpit
        of a plane-a place of white roofs, dirt streets and barn yards of
        cows and chickens. Smoke rises from the few chimneys, yet pilots dive
        on this village day and night. All last week Russian artillery
        crashed into homes.

        The inhabitants of the village are no different from villagers
        anywhere. It is not a military base. The victims are the old, the
        poor and women and children. Any sons who may be fighting with the
        rebels are not here.

        The worst hit so far have been the Zakriyev family. They are too poor
        to have a basement. Dakov, the 51-year-old father, works as a
        labourer on building sites and their house is made of mud and straw
        bricks.

        Last week the family was asleep on the floor of the front room when a
        missile crashed into the house and exploded. Adem, Dakov's
        18-year-old son, died instantly.

        "I was knocked out," said Virlant, 39, his mother. "The crying of the
        children woke me." The youngest of her four surviving children,
        two-year-old Medina, is now a very quiet child who clings constantly
        to her.

        The family buried Adem just before dawn because, they say, the
        Russians have been bombing funerals. Komsomolskaya is a village in shock.

        Marie Colvin
        The Sunday Times

        ----------------------------------------------------------------------

        Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything about her meeting with
        Khattab. You said that Khattab was pretty busy at that time (Nov-Dec)
        in Khankala. My understanding is that Khattab and his mujahedin were
        in the mountains that time and they never defended Grozny. Remember
        the Chechen withdrawal from Grozny in February?. Basayev is losing
        his foot, gets operated in Alkhan-Kala and Khattab's group after 40km
        march is reaching Basayev's fighters there, taking Shamil and the
        wounded back to the mountains.

        Anyway, it still puzzles me, when and where Marie met Khattab, but I
        think it's possible that she could have talked to him somewhere in
        the mountains. She is a very brave lady, sending reports also from
        the other "hot spots" like Kosovo, Afghanistan, Erithrea, East Timor.

        Marius
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------

        The below is excerpted Marie's story and her escape from Chechnya:


        Highway to the Danger Zone

        That's the road Marie Colvin travels to the world's battlefields. Her
        vivid writing, sometimes first person, and clear point of view make
        for compelling reading in the Sunday Times of London. But do her
        techniques cross the line? By Sherry Ricchiardi


        From AJR, April 2000


        THE PITCH BLACKNESS slipped away, stealing their
        only cover as they drove through a snowy mountain pass deep in
        Chechen-held territory. The first shafts of sunlight served as a
        deadly cue.

        Suddenly, it came. A bone-chilling screech shattered the quiet of the
        gray, subzero morning in the towering mountains south of Grozny.
        Russian warplanes swooped like menacing hawks, spitting fire onto
        the narrow, dirt road. At the center of a bull's-eye was a lone
        four-wheel-drive vehicle carrying Chechen fighters and one of Europe's
        most daring war correspondents.
        There was no time for Marie Colvin to wonder if she had gone too
        far this time, smuggling herself past Russian checkpoints into the
        heart of the carnage. Trapped in the back seat with no escape route,
        she braced for the final impact.
        Milliseconds later, slivers of glass and steel went flying as a
        burst of high-caliber machine gun fire ripped into the back end of the
        mud-caked vehicle. Operating on instinct, Colvin scrambled free of the
        wreckage, running with Chechen fighters into a field of thorny bushes
        and barren birch trees, scant cover from an airattack. She remembers
        thinking, "This is a death trap."
        For the next nine hours, Colvin lay with her body pressed to the
        frozen earth, not daring to move as Russian planes continued to bomb
        and strafe the sloping valley in a morbid game of hide-and-seek. Once,
        a shell exploded so close that shrapnel sliced off the tree branches
        that hung above her.
        "It was torturous. I knew if I cracked and ran, I was dead," the
        reporter recalls. After dark, she crept back to the road and thumbed a
        ride with Chechen fighters returning from the firing line in a rickety
        1950s-vintage pickup truck. By daybreak she was deeper into forbidden
        territory.

        In December, the reporter shared a 20-by-6-foot filth-encrusted
        sleeping area with more than a dozen Chechen fighters in a remote
        command post. Once, when hard lumps disrupted her sleep, she reached
        down and pulled out two hand grenades. The rebels "would come off the
        firing line and just collapse," Colvin says, adding, "They were very
        kind to me."
        A Chechen commander paved the way by announcing: "There are no
        women here. Just a journalist." To his fighters, many of them Islamic,
        the edict was a release from conventions based on gender. "They were
        very respectful. They weren't protective, just accepting," says
        Colvin, who was accompanied by a Russian photographer working for the
        Sunday Times.

        Yet journalists covering brutal wars, such as in Chechnya, have
        few options. They either report the story from the "safe" side,
        allowing their activities to be directed and monitored, or they defy
        authority and smuggle themselves beyond safety zones to act as
        eyewitnesses.
        "I didn't see American journalists inside Chechnya," Colvin says.
        "I felt very strongly about going to look at the inside story. Here we
        have a former superpower with a military of 1.5 million that is
        indiscriminately bombing and killing civilians. Everybody else was
        covering it from the Russian side." In December, she went to her
        editor and volunteered to slip inside.
        To readers in London, there is nothing unusual about a
        front-page story that tells them, "Pinned down by fire, Marie Colvin
        shares the anguish of the Chechen rebels" or a paragraph that scolds
        Russian pilots for bombing civilians. Her stories tend to center on
        the suffering of innocents--women, children, elderly victims--or
        underdog combatants in pursuit of what might be considered a noble or
        courageous cause.
        She had this to say about the Chechen rebels: "There is this
        notion that Chechens all are thugs, and if you go in as a journalist
        you could be beheaded. That certainly was not true of the people I met
        there. I felt very passionately that [the war] is wrong. I saw
        indiscriminate killing of civilians."


        WHILE COLVIN WAS NO stranger to danger, the travel-at-your-own-risk
        bar was raised in Chechnya, a place she calls "far worse" than Kosovo.
        Staying alive became an obsession after a road offering her best
        chance for retreat was captured by Russian paratroopers.
        A reign of terror followed, with Russian MiGs firing on any
        vehicle that attempted to pass. Alternative routes were blocked by
        heavy fighting. The only possibility of escape into neighboring
        Georgia was over a 12,600-foot ice-covered mountain where the risks of
        robbery and kidnapping became new enemies.
        It was, says Colvin, "a terrible nightmare" that drove her to
        break her own rules about making herself the focus of a story. "I am a
        city girl, and I am not particularly fit. I never planned to climb a
        12,000-foot mountain. It was test enough that it was worth writing
        about," she explains. "I feel I played chicken with my life a lot
        during that trip."

        Colvin wrote:
        Within an hour we were zigzagging up a mountain on a 6 inch-wide
        path covered in snow and ice. I was carrying a pack with a satellite
        telephone and a computer and wearing a flak jacket. I felt every
        ounce... I regretted every cigarette I had ever smoked--and I had
        smoked a lot in the past few days: cheap Russian tobacco that gave me
        some respite from the bombs and the decisions... We walked up the
        slope, looking down thousands of feet into a gorge that one slip would
        take us into. Magomet [a guide] hauled me by the hand to the last
        summit. I slept for an hour sitting against a stone in the snow until
        Magomet woke us at dawn with a warning that we were still in Chechnya
        and would have to move.
        It was a discouraging day. Traveling up the next river, I stepped
        in the wrong spot and plunged through the ice up to the hip into
        raging torrent below.
        The next 12 hours were passed in a daze, one foot in front of the
        other, up and over another mountain. The air was so thin that I could
        not fill my lungs, and the wind was so strong that several times I was
        almost blown off the mountainside. Just before dawn we reached a
        snow-covered field amid the peaks.
        For the next two days we lived in the shepherd's hut on flour and
        water. I supplemented the porridge once with wild onions. They tasted
        horrible but they would give us some vitamins. Magomet gave me a
        pistol loaded with nine bullets--telling me not to shoot a wild animal
        until it was 10 meters away but to shoot a man the moment one
        appeared--and set off to find a way forward.
        In the riveting account, Colvin described how on December 29, the
        bedraggled group came upon a pile of stones that marked the Georgian
        border. But, before they could cross, shots rang out. As they dove for
        cover more rounds were fired. Colvin remembers thinking, "It seems
        unfair that here, yards from the border, we will die."
        On instinct, the guide began shouting wildly in Chechen. Suddenly,
        the gunfire stopped. Then, the beginning of a miracle. Just before
        dark, a helicopter thundered into view and quickly landed. As Colvin
        rushed down the slope she was greeted by a hulk of a man, a Hemingway
        figure in white beard and blue snow jacket. He uttered words that
        would become indelible: "Jack Hariman, American Embassy. Are we glad
        to find you!"
        Back in London, her editor passed the news to family and friends
        that "Marie was out alive," then cracked a bottle of champagne to
        celebrate. Colvin, physically exhausted, climbed into the helicopter
        and headed to the Georgian capital of Tblisi toward what, at the
        moment, she craved the most: a steaming hot bath and a clean bed
        without grenades.
      • RPG
        ... Oh. So they weren t shot in the head by Saudis now? ... http://www.zus.cc.pl tego potrzebujesz !
        Message 3 of 7 , Oct 1, 2001
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          > The Russians were locked in negotiations with Saudi authorities over the two
          > hijackers - Iriskhan Arsayev and Deni Magomerdzayev - who survived after the
          > plane, which initially carried 162 passengers and 12 crew, was stormed by
          > commandos in Medina on Friday.

          > Russian officials identified the third hijacker, who was killed in the
          > operation, as Supyan Arsayev. An air stewardess was stabbed to death and a
          > Turkish passenger also died. Another stewardess who had earlier been stabbed
          > was among those freed.

          Oh. So they weren't shot in the head by Saudis now?


          ---
          http://www.zus.cc.pl tego potrzebujesz !
          ---
        • ryp
          I met Marie in Tiblisi before she went in with Maggie O Kane. I don t think either of them got very far inside. Marie s story that she won an award for was
          Message 4 of 7 , Oct 1, 2001
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            I met Marie in Tiblisi before she went in with Maggie O'Kane. I don't think
            either of them got very far inside. Marie's story that she won an award for
            was mostly about her escape back out over the mountains. I think you can
            find it if you search.

            Khattab was pretty busy at the time in Khankala and other spots.

            RYP

            Here is a mention of Khattab in that light.

            The Sunday Times (UK)
            18 March 2001
            Putin targeted by Chechen assassins
            Mark Franchetti, Moscow, and Marie Colvin

            THE Kremlin is to step up security around President Vladimir Putin amid
            fears
            that Chechen terrorists might try to assassinate him after last week's
            hijacking of a Russian airliner to Saudi Arabia.

            As about 150 hostages freed from the plane flew home to Moscow yesterday,
            the
            Kremlin said more bodyguards would be assigned to the Russian leader.
            Stricter safety measures would also be implemented during his trips within
            the country.

            Putin is seen as a target for the Chechens because of the hard line he
            adopted towards the breakaway republic when he was prime minister. It
            produced the surge of popularity among Russians that helped him to win the
            presidency last year.

            As many as 150 heavily armed guards were deployed last week in Khakassia,
            Siberia, to guarantee his safety during a brief skiing holiday, which was
            cut
            short by news of the hijacking.

            "Security around the president is much tighter than it was under Boris
            Yeltsin," said Igor Korotchenko, a military expert. "Some of the guards who
            speed around with him in his motorcade are armed with grenade launchers.
            Under Yeltsin they just deployed automatic weapons. The next time he travels
            to Chechnya I would expect hundreds of security officers to be deployed. His
            men are on constant alert specifically because of the threat of
            assassination."

            In the Kremlin on Friday night, Putin ordered the Russian security services
            to step up efforts to track down Chechen field commanders still at large.

            The Russians were locked in negotiations with Saudi authorities over the two
            hijackers - Iriskhan Arsayev and Deni Magomerdzayev - who survived after the
            plane, which initially carried 162 passengers and 12 crew, was stormed by
            commandos in Medina on Friday.

            Russian officials identified the third hijacker, who was killed in the
            operation, as Supyan Arsayev. An air stewardess was stabbed to death and a
            Turkish passenger also died. Another stewardess who had earlier been stabbed
            was among those freed.

            At least 45 people had already been released by the hijackers or had escaped
            from the plane, which was seized during a flight from Istanbul to Moscow.
            The
            hijackers demanded an end to Russia's campaign in Chechnya.

            Putin wants the surviving hijackers to be put on trial in Moscow. But
            agreeing to the request could be problematic for the Saudis, who have no
            extradition treaty with Russia.

            Although hijackers can be beheaded under Saudi law, the Chechen cause
            commands widespread support among local fundamentalists who comprise the
            main
            source of opposition in the kingdom.

            Wealthy Saudis have donated money privately to the Chechen cause and have
            built mosques in Chechnya. One of the main Chechen generals, known only as
            Khattab, a colourful figure with shoulder-length ringlets and who wears
            designer fatigues, is a Saudi.

            Saudi interior ministry sources said the order to storm the hijacked plane
            had been given after discussions with freed hostages.

            "We acquired intelligence from these interviews that there were no guns on
            board the plane, only knives," the source said. Some of the released
            passengers said the hijackers had threatened to blow up the plane. This was
            judged an empty threat because nobody aboard had seen a bomb or explosives.

            The Saudi commandos had rehearsed their operation the night before on an
            identical aircraft, and the Russians approved it.

            The actions of the Russian pilot prevented any onward journey. A Saudi
            source
            said he barricaded himself in the cockpit with one other member of the crew
            and refused to fly the plane anywhere else. The door was reinforced and as
            the hijackers had no guns or explosives, they could not reach him.


            On 9/30/01 3:34 PM, "marius@..." <marius@...> wrote:

            > --- In chechnya-sl@y..., RadieBunn@s... wrote:
            >> Sunday Times September 30, 2001 Marie Colvin
            >>
            >
            > In the mountains of Chechnya, Commander Khattab, the Saudi leader of
            > a Chechen commando squad fighting the Russians, looked more the movie
            > star than Islamic fundamentalist.
            >>
            >> He had shoulder-length, oiled black ringlets, a tall fur hat and an
            >> American camouflage uniform. He swaggered a bit and his clean and
            >> pressed kit contrasted with the squalor of the local fighters.
            >> Phrases about God and paradise rolled off his tongue.
            >>
            >> -Snip-
            >>
            >> Marie Colvin won Foreign Correspondent of the year at the last
            >> National Newspaper awards
            > ------------------------------------------------------------------------
            >
            > I would like to know when and where in Chechnya, Ms Marie Colvin did
            > have talk with Khattab. Also somehow, it's hard for myself to imagine
            > Khattab wearing a papakha (a tall fur hat). But, who knows maybe for
            > this interview he took off his beret and put on the papakha.
            > In the eyes of a pretty, foreign correspondent everyone wants to look
            > cool. M.L.
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
            >
            >
          • janos@lobb.com
            ... gatheringcelebrating some milestones of the spread of evangelism and solidif= ication of it in New England. I heard the singers, the prayers and the keyn=
            Message 5 of 7 , Oct 1, 2001
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              > Khattab could have dictated the letter found in the luggage of
              > Mohammed Atta, one of the pilots who flew a plane into the World
              > Trade Center. It exhorted the hijackers to crave death and "be
              > optimistic," as the prophet Muhammad had always been optimistic.
              >
              ......
              ......
              > Even the Chechens fighting alongside Khattab expressed their
              > scepticism about his beliefs. During their few moments away from the
              > front they preferred a drink and the company of women, both banned by
              > fundamentalists. >
              >
              > Marie Colvin won Foreign Correspondent of the year at the last
              > National Newspaper awards

              What a rubbish lie !! Yesterday I was in New Hampshire to see a Christian =
              gatheringcelebrating some milestones of the spread of evangelism and solidif=
              ication of it in New England. I heard the singers, the prayers and the keyn=
              ote speakers. If I could exchange the labels and references of their keyword=
              s from'christian' to "muslim" from "God" to "Allah" from "Jesus" to "Mohamme=
              d" from "missionarist" to "jihadist" etc.. then I would have thought that I =
              was not at an "evangelist" but at a "wahabist" togetherness. /However the a=
              ccompanying pig roast helped to bring back reality./In times when the usual =
              more less peaceful coexistence isdisturbed, there are people who spring to i=
              nterpret the "events" for the disturbed 'masses" by advocating their own ver=
              y limited view of the word usually covered by some purposeful eclectical rub=
              bish, lie and misinterpretation.

              That is exa ctly what this Marie Colvin is doing here.János /who does not b=
              elieve in any supreme being./
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