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NG: FROM THE LIFE OF DOUBLE AGENTS (V.Izmailov) [about Arjan Erkel abduction]

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  • Norbert Strade
    [This is an unauthorized translation posted to a press distribution list. N.S.] FROM THE LIFE OF DOUBLE AGENTS Novaya Gazeta, October 27, 2003 by Vyacheslav
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 3, 2003
      [This is an unauthorized translation posted to a press distribution
      list. N.S.]


      Novaya Gazeta, October 27, 2003
      by Vyacheslav Izmailov

      The Dutch Arjan Erkel was abducted by the same people who were used to
      liquidate the Jordanian Khattab

      It's near 10 years that the Chechen war is going on, smoothly turning
      from the first one to the second. And all these years war operations
      were followed by criminal business linked to abductions of people.
      Chechen fighters, their companions from Daghestan, Ingushetia, and
      Kabardino-Balkaria earn their living by this. Very often our law
      enforcement officers and intelligence services know the names of the
      bandits and their whereabouts; some officers even manage to have their
      own profit from the people trade (Novaya Gazeta has published materials
      about that repeatedly). There's also well known the world special
      services' common practice to draw criminal structures to fulfilment of
      some especially delicate tasks. Our special services are not the
      exclusion. Novaya Gazeta has also repeatedly reported that FSB (Federal
      Security Service) and GRU (Main Intelligence Directorate) took part in
      many mysterious events, for example, in the abduction of a well-known
      journalist Andrei Babitsky. We also had similar suspicions with regard
      to another mysterious event – the abduction of Arjan Erkel, a Dutch
      doctor, at present the most famous among the hostages. We have conducted
      our own journalist investigation and here you are the interim results of it.

      Just to remind, Arjan Erkel, a citizen of Holland, who had been working
      for a Swiss mission of Medecins sans Frontieres, was abducted late by
      night on 12 October last year on the outskirts of Makhachkala. A
      criminal case was instituted on the fact of the abduction, which is
      still being conducted by the prosecutor's office of the republic of
      Daghestan and the operational support was charged to the local office of
      struggle with organized crime. The chief of the office is colonel Akhmed
      Kuliyev and colonel Imamutdin Temirbulatov is directly in charge of the
      Erkel's search. Every day at 8 p.m. at the operational meeting by the
      Interior Minister of Daghestan Adilgirey Magomedtagirov the report
      regarding this investigation is heard in the first place. Besides, a
      special operational group of FSB of Russia, sent to Daghestan by the
      order of the FSB director Nikolay Patrushev, is investigating the case
      of Erkel. Main directorate on struggle with organized crime of the
      Ministry of Interior is charged to help the investigation all ways. The
      case is under personal control of Minister of Interior Boris Gryzlov,
      Minister of Foreign Affairs Igor Ivanov and President Vladimir Putin.

      This is, so to speak, the official part. But the most important is
      hidden from the eyes of observers.

      Following Erkel

      From the moment of the abduction I started my journalist investigation.
      I had to meet repeatedly a lot of people, who are to this or that extend
      involved professionally in the Erkel's case – with those who is
      conducting the investigation in the law enforcement structures and with
      mediators working in Daghestan and Chechnya, who is making a sort of
      business on it. They always have their share in it. It's clear that the
      more expensive the hostage – the higher the mediator's share.

      That's why very often they raise too high the initial sum of ransom,
      which the abductors ask for the unfortunate.

      In particular, mediation functions of the late Balaudi Tekilov in the
      case of liberation of soldiers and officers were estimated by Boris
      Berezovsky at dozens thousands of US dollars, and those of Salavi
      Abdrazakov, whose speciality was mediation in cases of abductions of
      journalists and citizens of foreign countries, – at hundreds thousands
      of US dollars. The abductors themselves received millions.

      As we managed to learn, the mediator in the Erkel's case is a native of
      Pankisi gorge of Georgia (the name we won't call in the interests of the
      investigation and in order not to harm the hostage). The information
      about the abductors' demands gets through him in some complicated routes
      directly to Holland – to the Erkel's motherland – and to Switzerland,
      where the office of the human rights organization, which he is
      representing, is situated.

      Five millions of dollars – that is the demand of the abductors for his

      Under double control

      - Whom did Erkel disturb, why was his activity in Daghestan controlled
      so closely by the local FSB office? – I asked one of the intelligence
      service officers. The officer, who knows me many years, tells me:
      - You know, his behaviour was not entirely adequate to the humanitarian
      mission for the sake of which he was staying on the territory of
      Daghestan: he met representatives of local political opposition, he
      showed his interest in disposition of military units, he discussed some
      topics with American military diplomats, who were visiting North Caucasus.
      - So what? May be he wanted to help with medicines – he is a "doctor
      without borders", he doesn't pick out his patients…
      - And nobody charged him with these meetings. FSB just worked according
      to its regulations: we made our observations and analysis.
      - Late evening on 12 August last year, at the moment of the abduction,
      did FSB workers also shadow Erkel?
      - Yes, they did.
      - Why didn't they stand in the abductors' way, didn't follow them,
      didn't ask for the help of the local police if they couldn't cope with
      it themselves?
      - This question you should address to chief of FSB of Daghestan, general
      Vladimir Muratov.
      - I shall – on the pages of Novaya Gazeta. And not this only question. I
      don't doubt, that the FSB observers have detected that they were not the
      only persons who were watching Erkel. And the FSB professionals couldn't
      but guess that "the number two shadow" was a criminal one. Moreover, FSB
      people have warned Erkel of his possible abduction.
      - You are right. After being warned, and to all appearances, being
      warned several times, Erkel paid a visit to the Daghestan FSB
      Directorate in Makhachkala and to the Regional directorate on struggle
      with organized crime. There he was proposed guard, which he rejected.
      Essentially, Erkel neglected his personal security for some unknown
      objectives. The conclusion that suggests itself: beside humanitarian
      goals the missionary had some other tasks.
      - Is it a hint on espionage? Your office cannot get rid of
      espionage-mania? In the first place, it is not proved in the Erkel's
      case, and in the second place – can you imagine a "doctor without
      border" with FSB guard?
      - That's right, it was not proved. But some questions remain. It seems
      that Erkel had something to hide, if he neglected his own security after
      numerous warnings.
      As a matter of fact, all these questions are secondary. If only Erkel is
      alive. Just one remark: FSB officers were aware of everything from the
      very beginning.

      Feat of intelligence officer

      Several years ago Federal Security Service managed to put its officer in
      the Dagestani wahhabits group, linked with Khattab and Basayev. With the
      time being, the FSB officer maintained good contacts with militants'
      leaders from Shamil, Untsukul, and Tsumadin regions of Dagestan. Via
      mediator, named Ibragim, he was able to deliver the letter to Khattab.

      After one of the main terrorists was eliminated, his "colleagues"
      launched an investigation on his sudden death. In some way, they got
      "help" from FSB spokesman general Zdanovitch, who reported about
      successful operation on TV.

      Double-agent was secretly rewarded by President and transferred to
      another job outside Russia.

      However, militants found Ibragim in Azerbaijan and murdered him. Among
      those, who killed him, was Ibragim's cousine (let's call him Imam), who
      also was reportedly tied with FSB.

      Imam was very influential among terrorists: he and his people organized
      contract killings, abductions, terrorist attacks. Having enough clout,
      Imam managed to escape prosecution. However, wahhabits' leadership
      obliged him to do the following: to avenge Khatab by organizing a major
      terrorist attack and to get money as after Kahtab's death funding from
      international terrorist organizations was suspended.


      Imam had organized a set of terrorist acts. The most large-scale and
      cruel terrorist act was blast in Kaspiisk, which resulted in 43 people
      (including kids) being killed. Not only that. After getting false
      information from Imam, FSB detained military officers on charges of
      organizing the blast. For a year, 8 officers were subjects to tortures
      and humiliations, imprisoned in Dagestan. After one year in prison they
      were released on the court's rule.

      Imam's gang kept on being active. It organized the assassination of
      Ahverdilav Akilov, head of counter-terrorist department, and six of his
      people. According to our information, some of the major recent contract
      killings were also organized by Imam's people.

      On the top of it, they kidnapped Arjan Erkel to get money for the gang.
      Imam managed to expose FSB once again. FSB people had been watching
      Arjan so they were the first suspected of Arjan's abduction.

      Many people believed FSB had something to do with Erkel's abduction.
      Earlier FSB staged "exchange" and "release" of Andrey Babitsky, radio
      Freedom correspondent, who had been kept in Avtury village, in the FSB
      officer's house. Then there was Kenneth Gluck's case, where security
      forces also played role.

      Where Erkel is kept

      Based on information from different sources in Chechnya and Dagestan
      (including those "mediators" who contacted MSF on my behalf), Arjan
      Erkel was recently moved from Dagestan to Chechnya where he had been
      kept in Nozhay-Yurt district. Some time ago he was returned to Dagestan.

      Also different sources state Erkel was abducted and still kept by the
      person , which we call Imam, and his gang. Imam's real name is well
      known to the security forces. His people's names are well known as well.
      His activities are well known, however, he is unassailable yet. To get
      him now means to lose Arjan.

      Before publishing this article, I was thinking if it was the right time
      to do it. We do not use Imam's real name, however, sure, he'll
      recognized himself.
      Imam's crimes have been well known for a long time. Why does he keep on
      killing, kidnapping, stealing, terrorizing the whole republic ?

      Those, who are responsible for catching him, are intimidated by him as
      well. His killers were able to get and murder his enemies, including
      high-ranked security officials. Not to mention, Imam is perfectly aware
      of all secrets of security services and top officials.

      I believe, Imam is in the deadlock himself. He realizes this can not
      last for too long. So the only way for him is to release Arjan
    • mariuslab2002
      ... to liquidate the Jordanian Khattab
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 3, 2003
        --- In chechnya-sl@yahoogroups.com, Norbert Strade <nost@p...> wrote:
        > [This is an unauthorized translation posted to a press distribution
        > list. N.S.]
        > Novaya Gazeta, October 27, 2003
        > by Vyacheslav Izmailov
        >The Dutch Arjan Erkel was abducted by the same people who were used
        to liquidate >>>the Jordanian Khattab<<<

        Izmailov always seems to know a lot of details and his conclusions in
        this article are totally plausible.

        But why Izmailov still doesn't know the obvious fact that Khattab
        wasn't a Jordanian? Khattab was a Saudi, and I would assume that most
        people writing on the subject of Chechnya know that very well now.
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