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Russia Says Arrests Briton with Chechen Links "in possession of bomb-making equipment"
Reuters via Yahoo! News ^ | Friday November 16 10:56 AM ET | Reuters

Posted on 11/16/2001 3:40:26 PM PST by Pericles

Friday November 16 10:56 AM ET

Russia Says Arrests Briton with Chechen Links

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia said on Friday it had arrested a British national and two other people caught in possession of bomb-making equipment in a province bordering separatist Chechnya.

An aide to Sergei Yastrzhembsky, Russia's chief spokesman on Chechnya, gave the Briton's name, transliterated from the Russian, as John Beneny. No other details were available.

He is currently being held in Makhachkala, the provincial capital of Dagestan, a Russian republic east of Chechnya.

``We are pressing the Russian authorities for information on these reports,'' a British Embassy spokesman told Reuters.

``But the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not aware of any British citizen being arrested on the Chechen-Dagestan border.''

According to Yastrzhembsky's office, a Chechen and a former Russian servicemen were arrested along with Beneny. They were said to be carrying explosives, detonators, radio equipment, batteries, masking tape, grenades and ammunition.

The Briton said he was a journalist but Russian officials said he had no documents to support his claim. The man appeared to have entered the country via Turkey and Georgia, which borders Chechnya to the south.

TOPICS: Breaking News; Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
Western mercs have been serving in the armies of Islam for a while now. The 5th Column explained @ BIN LADEN GATE
1 posted on 11/16/2001 3:40:26 PM PST by Pericles
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To: Pericles
A few days ago I was watching "Vremya" and they were showing three bags that the FSB had found/confiscated/killed for (my Russian isn't that great, and the newscasters talk too fast), and in the bags were three containers with the cute little radiological symbol on them, and making the Geiger counter the official had make neat little clicking noises. I haven't seen anything here about that, but I thought it interesting.
2 posted on 11/16/2001 3:43:58 PM PST by historian1944
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To: vooch; randalcousins; Kate22; tonycavanagh; Hamiltonian; Black Jade; Travis McGee; madrussian...
3 posted on 11/16/2001 3:45:15 PM PST by Pericles
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To: Pericles
Chechens fighting on the side of the Taliban are in the news. Chechens are now what the Taliban used to be before 9/11: "good" or at most "neutral" terrorists. To qualify for the status of "bad" terrorists, they would have to kill Americans.
4 posted on 11/16/2001 4:11:32 PM PST by madrussian
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To: madrussian
Hmmmmm. I hope you're not right : (
5 posted on 11/16/2001 4:16:40 PM PST by Missy35
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To: Pericles
Who shot who in the what now ?
6 posted on 11/16/2001 4:29:54 PM PST by michaelje
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To: Pericles
Very interesting. Earlier in the week, a group of 11 persons connected with al Quaida were rounded up in Spain. Most of them were Syrians; the leader was a Spaniard who was a convert (who had formerly had some connection with HB, the political wing of the Basque terrorist group, ETA), and one of the members was a man named Ian Foster. Not a Spaniard, and certainly not a Syrian, I'd say.
7 posted on 11/16/2001 6:09:14 PM PST by livius
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To: tonycavanagh; MadIvan
8 posted on 11/16/2001 8:34:55 PM PST by Travis McGee
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To: Pericles
If the charges are true --- the Russians should shoot the bastard immediatly after questioning him "thoroughly".
Semper Fi
9 posted on 11/16/2001 9:10:43 PM PST by river rat
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To: Pericles
I don't care if our Russian friends put a bullet in the back of his head. Help the terrorists and you die.

Regards, Ivan
10 posted on 11/17/2001 12:32:52 AM PST by MadIvan
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: Black Jade
Thanks for the heads up Black Jade
12 posted on 11/19/2001 7:16:28 PM PST by michaelje
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To: Black Jade; historian1944; Missy35; vooch; randalcousins; Kate22; tonycavanagh; Hamiltonian...
Remember Princess Di's anti-land mine oganization?

UK charity teaching Chechens to make bombs, say Russians

Princess Diana wore a Halo Trust bulletproof jacket during a visit to a landmine field in Huambo, Angola, in January 1997. File photo by JOSE MANUAL RIBEIRO.

MOSCOW, Aug 10 (Reuters) - Russia's FSB domestic security service on Thursday accused a British anti-landmine charity of teaching Chechen rebels explosives techniques and of spying on Moscow's military.

The allegations, which came two days after a bomb killed eight people in a Moscow underpass, were denied by the Halo Trust mine clearance agency, which dubbed them a smear campaign.

Some officials have blamed the Moscow bomb on Chechen rebels.

The FSB, a successor body to the Soviet-era KGB, said in a statement: "The FSB has reliable information about the training of mine and explosives experts for armed groups of international terrorists fighting in Chechnya.

"One group which is secretly carrying out such operations inside Russia is the international non-governmental organisation, the Halo Trust."

The FSB said the Halo Trust held courses to train "specialists in mines and explosives" inside rebel Chechnya on Russia's southern rim and harboured British secret agents.

"It's a straightforward smear campaign, frankly," said the charity's director, Guy Willoughby. "If (the FSB) is trying to link Halo Trust training humanitarian mine clearance to bombs being made, then that's just sad really; it's stupid."

Speaking by telephone from Scotland, Willoughby said FSB allegations that Halo Trust workers had links to British intelligence were "ridiculous".

The trust is linked to the late Diana, Princess of Wales, who started her campaign against landmines in Angola in 1997.

A photo of her posing for the world's media wearing Halo Trust protective gear became an enduring image of her following her death in a car crash later the same year.

The FSB said it had found 15 Halo Trust workers inside Chechnya last November when searching for rebels as part of its now 11-month-old war against separatist guerrillas in the region.


"We have information that most of them are members of various British military structures and the leader, Matthew Middlemiss, is a staff military spy," the FSB said, adding that it was holding an unspecified number of the charity's workers.

Willoughby said Middlemiss had worked for the Halo Trust briefly but left the charity in 1996.

"He has never ever been to Chechnya, nor has he had anything to do with any Halo Trust programme in Chechnya," he said.

He said he had no knowledge of any of the trust's workers being detained. He said some staff had formerly worked in the military, but accusations that they gathered military intelligence were "completely untrue".

He also denied the possibility of Chechens applying mine clearance training to mine laying. Mine clearers were taught to find the mines and blow them up.

"You could say you gain knowledge (of explosives) but it would be a bit like saying: by training someone to pass their driving test, you're training them to be a getaway driver in an armed robbery," he said.

Russia has seized most territory in Chechnya, but has suffered mounting losses from landmines planted in roads in areas it says it controls. The rebels have vowed to step up their mine warfare.

The Halo Trust started working in Chechnya after the 1994-96 war which ended in a Russian rout and left much of the land scattered with deadly anti-personnel mines.

The charity said it was not working in Chechnya now and only did so with proper Russian visas and documentation. It said it had trained 150 Chechens to clear mines. The FSB said 100 had been trained as specialists in mines and explosives.

13 posted on 11/19/2001 7:24:01 PM PST by Pericles
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To: Squantos; harpseal; madrussian; Pericles
Interesting EOD/terrorism angle.
14 posted on 11/19/2001 10:55:51 PM PST by Travis McGee
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To: Travis McGee
Thanks for the flag. We all know there are some out there who take the training they get free from the Government (not just from the USA but from many Governments) and try to sell their skills to the highest bidder. When someone who has done this has been caught then they deserve the whatever fate their captors have for them.

Stay well - stay safe - Stay armed - Yorktown

15 posted on 11/20/2001 5:29:29 AM PST by harpseal
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To: Travis McGee
It is bizarre that "rebels" are contracting such EOD services to train. I smell a southern air-dynecorp-acme operation here. UXO ops are noisy, major surveys of property, demolitions etc etc. Covert is lacking if done properly as surveys and demolitions of the UXO is conducted of mine fields versus just crossing a mine field to conduct an attack per se.....

Showing one how to demine does not make them a anarchist bombmaker as they detect, and render safe the found UXO and that should be it. It would not be unusual for deminers to be employed "after" a conflict but not during as they run the risk of being termed "spy" or "Merc" and shot for such countermeasures provided the enemy. In this case the Chechens......

Stay Safe !

16 posted on 11/20/2001 6:30:08 AM PST by Squantos
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Comment #17 Removed by Moderator

To: Black Jade; madrussian
FSB versus Halo-Trust
Love this "" url...
Russia attack Diana's favourite charity for terrorism
18 posted on 11/23/2001 7:42:23 PM PST by CommiesOut
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Comment #19 Removed by Moderator

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