Monday, September 06, 2004

Beslan - Reports vs. Propaganda

Two comments on media reports of the aftermath of the Beslan atrocity, both courtesy of Chechnya-sl:

Comment by Norbert Strade:

> Source: Reuters

> The man, dressed in dirty black shirt, looked and spoke very much
> like a native of one of Russia's North Caucasus regions, which
> include Chechnya and neighbouring North Ossetia, where the hostage
> crisis occurred.
> "I did not shoot. I swear by Allah I did not shoot," said the man,
> who looked scared. "I swear by Allah I want to live."

This complete episode was shown on Danish TV tonight. Two men in camouflage and masks drag this young guy into a little room and to a chair, twisting his arms so he is forced to almost crawl. He has North Caucasian features and looks very scared, and as far as I can hear, he speaks with a North Caucasian accent. He repeats the lines mentioned in the Reuters telegram. Btw., the sentence "I swear by Allah I want to live" comes after the masked men ask him several times: "Do you want to live?". But the most interesting part isn't mentioned in the telegram. He says he would never have shot, he has children himself. And he says "I didn't shoot. We had orders to shoot into the air when we are attacked" (!).

The man could have been one of the hostage-takers, but the clip doesn't contain any conclusive signs of this. It can be real, staged, using a prisoner forced to make certain statements (we've seen this many times in Chechnya), or it could even be a leftover from Dubrovka. But *if* it's authentic, the statement about "orders to shoot into the air" sounds like a repetition of Dubrovka, where the hostage-takers actually didn't shoot a single hostage (only one intruder), and their suicide belts were dysfunctional.

It also makes the observer wonder why such a claim is published on Russian national TV.


The only terrorist left alive gives statements

Ingushetiya..Ru, 05.09.2004 22:57

On the First Channel on 5 September they showed the only fighter who is alive and participated in the seizure of hostages in Beslan. It was possible to establish for our correspondent a surname of this fighter - [this surname is] Kulov, he is a Chechen, born in the Nozhay-Yurt district of Chechnya, recently he was renting an apartment in the town of Karabulak in Ingushetia. Kulov reported during investigation that their group commanded a Chechen fighter who had the nom de guerre "Colonel - [Rus. Polkovnik]". Only Polkovnik and Khodov knew where their group was going. After the seizure of school, in the group of fighters occurred a quarrel, since many of them were upset that the children were seized as hostages. Polkovnik personally shot down a leader of the group of those who were indignant, and to frighten them more, he blew up two women- smertnitsas, who were in their group. He blew up those women using his personal remote radio transmitter. In all, in their group there were 32 fighters. Taking into account that the bodies of 30 fighters have been discovered, one of the terrorists must had hid. Kulov does not know nationalities and surnames of other fighters, since among them it wasn't accepted to ask for a surname, but they addressed each other using Arab names. There wasn't a black man (a Negro) in their group. They took for a black man some fighter whose face was burnt and was covered by soot during the assault.

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