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    BANDIT GROUPS GET MONEY FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES

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    MOSCOW (Colonel General Leonid Ivashov, vice-president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, for RIA Novosti) - Russia's security services have exposed one more foreign channel of financing terrorism in Chechnya. They detained a terrorist courier Natalia Khalkayeva, who acted as a contact for bandit groups and went abroad to receive money from international terrorist organisations, said Ilya Shabalkin, official representative of the Regional Operational Staff of the counter-terrorist operation in the North Caucasus.

    The bandit leaders used the money which Khalkayeva brought back to Chechnya to finance terrorist attacks and recruit women whom the terrorists trained as suicide bombers. Before her detainment, she talked on her satellite phone with subscribers in the Untied Arab Emirates, Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, Austria, Turkey and several other countries in Europe and the Middle East. According to the Russian counter-intelligence, she discussed the emergency delivery of funds and technical equipment collected abroad for bandits in Chechnya.

    Who collects blood money for the Chechen terrorists? It has been established that they received a vast amount of money from the North Caucasian diaspora in the US (New Jersey, Illinois and Maryland) via all kinds of "charitable," religious and so-called educational organisations. Over 50 pro-Islamic non-profit organisations registered in North America collected money for stooge Chechen companies. There was a time when the obscure organisation German Aid, the Danish Refugee Council and Norwegian and Polish advocates of the Caucasian terrorists sent hundreds of thousands of dollars to recipients in Chechnya. And the financial assistance of Help and Islamic Liberation topped $1,000,000.

    And how much has been provided in black cash? Nobody can say for sure, because the origin of the bulk of these organisations cannot be established with a sufficient degree of certainly. For example, the Belgian NSF and the Norwegian Church Aid live on private donations, and the background of the Dutch NSF, the Salvation Army, Kap Anamur and many other structures that transferred money to Chechnya is murky.

    We all remember the scandal with the British HALO Trust, a non-profit organisation whose purpose is "to remove the debris of war," which means picking mines from the territories of recent hostilities. According to the testimony which detained Chechen bandits gave in the FSB, instructors from HALO Trust trained over a hundred explosives specialists since 1997. The organisation lives on the money provided by the governments of Ireland, Canada, Japan and Finland, the British Department for International Development, and private individuals.

    The Russian security bodies spotlighted the organisation, or rather, its staff members British subjects Charley Emms and Nicholas Knobs and Zimbabwe citizen Thomas Dibb in 1997 in Chechnya, where they came without an official permission of the Russian authorities but only on a promise of assistance from Aslan Maskhadov. They began their "demining" project by making a topographic survey of Chechnya, during which they mapped local settlements by the NATO system of co-ordinates.

    After that, HALO Trust addressed the issue of illegal delivery of different equipment to Chechnya. In May 1998, HALO Trust's Caucasus desk officer Richard Bailys reported to his bosses in London that since HALO Trust was not registered [in Russia], it could not clear goods through Russian customs. The "peaceful Britons" then decided to use smugglers' routes to deliver cargoes to Chechen bandits. At about the same time, Emms wrote to London about his plans to ask Basayev for help. And "friend Shamil" apparently helped, as he had reliable routes by which he delivered drugs from Afghanistan to Europe via Turkey and Turkey-occupied North Cyprus and got back weapons.

    The Russian counter-intelligence also established that, proceeding from the regular instructions from London, the personnel of HALO Trust also collected socio-political, economic and military intelligence in Chechnya. The FSB uncovered a network of Chechen agents who were used to collect and transfer information about the situation and the progress of hostilities in Chechnya. Special foreign-made equipment - mine detectors, armour vests, helmets, vehicles, small arms, explosives, and communication systems - were confiscated from them.

    There are many organisations such as HALO Trust in the world. But for their regular financial injections to Chechen bandits, terrorism would have been erased in the North Caucasus long ago.

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