Wednesday, August 03, 2005

ABCs of Terror revisited

So after ABC showed the interview of Shamil Basayev on Nightline, quite a few people had a little problem with them. Namely Russia. The government of Russia has declared ABC News persona non grata in reaction to the interview. Seems like the least they could've done if you ask me. Upon further review, however, it seems that the interviewer, Andrei Babitsky, has a little history with Chechnya. In the mid-90s he gained some level of notoriety for his reporting on the situation between Chechnya and Russia. Then, in 2000 he was apparently kidnapped, or arrested, and traded to the Chechens for some Russian soldiers, 2 from what I gather. It would seem that the Russians didn't like his stance on the growing tensions, mostly that it was pro-Chechen. It could be that his coverage wasn't so much pro-Chechen but that it wasn't pro-Russian. It could also be that he was somewhat sympathetic to the Chechen resistance (terrorism) and this gave him the idea to volunteer to be traded for the soldiers. This would also give the Chechens the idea to later grant him interviews in order to gain sympathy from weak willed people who think women and children are perfectly viable targets for murder. It's kind of hard to cut through the BS with the results of a google search. You either get the Russian side or the Freedom of Speech advocates, but I have yet to find some middle ground in the results. It seems to me that the Chechens probably saw an opportunity to make some waves and Babitsky saw it as a chance to grab hold of some spotlight again. The whole thing stinks as far as I'm concerned, I'm sure this guy didn't know where he was, but he certainly knows how to get in touch with some Chechen warlord types. This isn't a case of outing a source, it's a case of turning in murderers. With that, I'll put up some links, have a nice night. report

IFEX report (a little biased)

San Francisco Chronicle article


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