Re: Deadly Eye of the Believer
- 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
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.
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
Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com/intl.asp
- --- In chechnya-sl@y..., ryp <ryp@c...> wrote:
> I met Marie in Tiblisi before she went in with Maggie O'Kane. Idon'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.
>Thanks for the hint Robert,
> Khattab was pretty busy at the time in Khankala and other spots.
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
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
The family buried Adem just before dawn because, they say, the
Russians have been bombing funerals. Komsomolskaya is a village in shock.
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.
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
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
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
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
"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
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."
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
> The Russians were locked in negotiations with Saudi authorities over the twoOh. So they weren't shot in the head by Saudis now?
> 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.
http://www.zus.cc.pl tego potrzebujesz !
- 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.
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
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,
Kremlin said more bodyguards would be assigned to the Russian leader.
Stricter safety measures would also be implemented during his trips within
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
>> 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/
> 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 theirWhat a rubbish lie !! Yesterday I was in New Hampshire to see a Christian =
> 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
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./