Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

CHUCK AND NANCY, YES THEY CAN! EDITION

Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

Nancy and Chuck, Yes they Can!

Chuck and Nancy, yes they CAN! The dynamic Democrats won the headline of the week after they went nose to nose with President Trump in a photo op gone rogue, they along with Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort, Michael Cohen, Mike Pence and Trump’s great wall, just some of the topics we explore this week on The Halli Casser-Jayne Podcast when Halli and her partner in politics veteran White House correspondent Matthew Cooper wax eloquent on all things politics, the podcast posted on all your favorite sites and apps, Wednesday, December 12, 3 pm ET at Halli Casser-Jayne dot com.

As we do every week, newsman Matthew Cooper joins Halli for their politics segment, PODCAST AMERICA, in which Matt and Halli slice and dice all things politics. And what a week it was. 
As we do every week, newsman Matthew Cooper joins Halli for their politics segment, PODCAST AMERICA, in which Matt and Halli slice and dice all things politics. And what a week it was. President Donald Trump’s personal fixer was sentenced to 36 months in Club Fed another Trump associate off to the pokey. The stock market went up and down and up and down — sorta like Trump’s moods, Trump’s Twitter feed as raucous as the markets; Chief of Staff John Kelly is out, but no one else wants in; Mike Flynn is soon to be sentenced and Paul Manafort, we learned, might have been lying to his own lawyers as he lied to the feds. But the big story of the week: Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer paid a visit to the Oval and proved there’s a new show in town and Yes they CAN! It was just another week in the storied presidency of Donald J. Trump. Welcome to The Halli Casser-Jayne Show and we’re just beginning.

Chuck and Nancy, yes they CAN!, Donald Trump, Mike Pence, those subjects and more when journalists Halli Casser-Jayne and Matthew Cooper present their fun and insightful political conversation on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show, Wednesday, December 12, the podcast posted 3 pm ET at Halli Casser-Jayne dot com.

TRUMP-PUTIN HELSINKI SUMMIT – PUTIN EXPERT FRANZ SEDELMAYER

Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

Trump-Putin Helsinki Summit

Trump-Putin Helsinki Summit. On July 16th President Donald Trump is scheduled to travel to Helsinki, Finland to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin for a summit. The meeting could not be any more controversial in light of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, which many think is the reason Donald Trump is president. And certainly fueling the fire is the Mueller probe into whether or not Trump colluded with the Russians to gain power, and then obstructed justice to hide the truth. The Halli Casser-Jayne Show welcomes Franz Sedelmayer, a former friend of the Russian President and the only individual to sue and collect money from Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Franz Sedelmayer’s unique story is told in his book WELCOME TO PUTINGRAD, THE INCREDIBLE STORY OF THE ONLY MAN TO COLLECT MONEY FROM VLADIMIR PUTIN. Sedelmeyer’s insight into Putin offers a rare glimpse into the Russian President.

Trump-Putin Helsinki SummitAt the age of 26, Franz Sedelmayer traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia and in a short period of time built an enormously successful police supply and training company. Who was one of young Sedelmayer’s big supporters? The young deputy mayor of St. Petersburg, a former KGB lieutenant colonel. His name? Vladimir Putin. The two young men formed a bond, and at Putin’s request Sedelmayer created and trained the KGB’s first Western-style SWAT team. Then Sedelmayer’s Russian company was expropriated by President Boris Yeltsin and his ambitious, political, and ruthless onetime friend, Vladimir Putin. Why did Putin sell out his friend? Was Putin paid off? In fact, shortly thereafter Putin landed his first Moscow post. Not to take what happened sitting down, Franz Sedelmayer went into battle to retrieve his assets and won—but Russia refused to pay damages. Undeterred, Sedelmayer persevered, waging a 20-year campaign against the Kremlin and its current president, Vladimir Putin, his former friend. His unique story is told in his book WELCOME TO PUTINGRAD, THE INCREDIBLE STORY OF THE ONLY MAN TO COLLECT MONEY FROM VLADIMIR PUTIN.

Trump-Putin Helsinki SummitDonald Trump, Vladimir Putin, foreign affairs, politics, Robert Mueller, Helsinki Summit and insight into the two men who will sit for a one on one meeting with author and Putin authority, Franz Sedelmayer on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show at Halli Casser-Jayne dot com.

 

VLADIMIR PUTIN & THE HOTTEST AMERICAN PRESIDENTS

Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

Vladimir Putin

Vladimir Putin, Thomas Jefferson, Barack Obama, Donald J. Trump, which is the Hottest Head of State? It’s politics unusal on TALKish, The Halli Casser-Jayne Show, when joining Halli at her table is the only man to wage a battle with Russian President Vladimir Putin and win, and the author of WELCOME TO PUTINGRAD, THE INCREDIBLE STORY OF THE ONLY MAN TO COLLECT MONEY FROM VLADIMIR PUTIN, Franz Sedelmeyer, and the co-author of a very funny book on American Presidents HOTTEST HEADS OF STATE, Kate Dobson.

At the age of 26, Franz Sedelmayer traveled to St. Petersburg, Russia and in a short period of time built an enormously successful police supply and training company. Who was one of young Sedelmayer’s big supporters? The young deputy mayor of St. Petersburg, a former KGB lieutenant colonel. His name? Vladimir Putin. The two young men formed a bond, and at Putin’s request Sedelmayer created and trained the KGB’s first Western-style SWAT team. Then, Sedelmayer’s Russian company was expropriated by President Boris Yeltsin and his ambitious, political, and ruthless onetime friend, Vladimir Putin. Why did Putin sell out his friend? Was Putin paid off? In fact, shortly thereafter Putin landed his first Moscow post. Not to take what happened sitting down, Franz Sedelmey went into battle to retrieve his assets and and won—but Russia refused to pay damages. Undeterred, he persevered, waging a 20-year campaign against the Kremlin and its current president, Vladimir Putin, his former friend.His unique story told in his book WELCOME TO PUTINGRAD, THE INCREDIBLE STORY OF THE ONLY MAN TO COLLECT MONEY FROM VLADIMIR PUTIN.

Vladimir PutinWith HOTTEST HEADS OF STATE VOLUME ONE: THE AMERICAN PRESIDENTS,  husband and wife team J.D. and Kate Dobson ask the tough questions that previous presidential biographers and American historians have been afraid to tackle: What are some pickup lines used by former occupants of the Oval Office? How can you style your hair like Martin Van Buren? And which president had the best beard? Smart, cheeky, and above all an entertaining journey through American political history as seen through the smoldering and beguiling eyes of our presidents. J.D.—a 2004 graduate of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, former congressional aide, lobbyist, and crisis communications consultant—and Kate—a Brown University alumna and former Washington Post comics editor—deliver this trip through our 45 presidents in the style of a teen magazine, complete with quizzes, lists, lots of photos, and no block of text longer than a full page. If you think politics has lost its sense of humor, the Dobsons have restored it.

Vladimir Putin, politics, humor presidents of the United States, books, authors, who could ask for more. Tune into TALKish, The Halli Casser-Jayne Show, Wednesday at 3 pm ET at Halli Casser-Jayne dot com.

FLIGHT OF CHARLES LINDBERGH AND APOLLO 8

Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

flight

The flight of Apollo 8 and Charles Lindbergh, The Spirit of St. Louis, NASA, astronauts, all critical to American aviation are the subject of The Halli Casser-Jayne Show when joining Halli at her table are science editor and senior writer for Time magazine Jeffrey Kluger, author of APOLLO 8: THE THRILLING STORY OF THE FIRST MISSION TO THE MOON and flyboy and author of THE FLIGHT, CHARLES LINDBERG’S DARING AND IMMORTAL 1927 TRANSATLANTIC CROSSING, Dan Hampton.

flightThis year marks the 90th anniversary of the first solo transatlantic flight, and the first non-stop flight between North America and mainland Europe of legendary aviator Charles Lindbergh. Who better to write the story of Charles Lindbergh’s 1927 Transatlantic Crossing than acclaimed aviator and aviation historian Dan Hampton the New York Times bestselling author of VIPER PILOT, LORDS OF THE SKY, and THE HUNTER KILLERS. Dan is a graduate of the USAF Fighter Weapons School, USN Top Gun School and USAF Special Operations School. Placing himself squarely in the cockpit with Lindbergh, Hampton’s book THE FLIGHT: CHARLES LINDBERGH’S DARING AND IMMORTAL 1927 TRANSATLANTIC CROSSING offers a fly-boy’s perspective to bring alive the danger, uncertainty, and heroic accomplishment of Lindbergh’s death-defying, non-stop flight across the Atlantic in The Spirit of St. Louis – an achievement that brought the world to a halt in May 1927 and made Lucky Lindy also nicknamed ‘Slim’, the most celebrated man of his time, and the most controversial.

flightThe story of Apollo 8 begins in August 1968. NASA was losing the space race with Russia, with earliest estimates of going to the moon still more than two years in the future, and President Kennedy’s promise to put a man on the moon by the end of the decade was sure to be broken. The United States was deep into the Cold War and in the middle of a year of violence abroad and at home: Vietnam, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy, the Democratic convention in Chicago descending into violence. Then, in the midst of all of that turmoil NASA scrapped their meticulous mission schedules and asked Frank Borman, Jim Lovell and Bill Anders to orbit the moon, and they would do it in just four months despite the substantial risks, the Apollo 8 mission, equal parts fearless and reckless, ingenious and impulsive – told in APOLLO 8: THE THRILLING STORY OF THE FIRST MISSION TO THE MOON written by science editor and senior writer for Time Jeffrey Kluger, also the co-author of the bestselling book APOLLO 13, on which the beloved film is based.

flight

PICTURE SHOWS : CHARLES LINDBERGH PICTURED AT LONG ISLAND NEW YORK

Flight, aviation history, Charles Lindbergh, NASA, Apollo 8, the Cold War, astronauts all on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show. For more information visit Halli Casser-Jayne dot com.

HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY: WRITERS PAM JENOFF JESSICA SHATTUCK

Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

holocaust Remembrance Day

As we commemorate HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY this week on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show we visit with two authors best known for their Holocaust historical fiction, New York Times bestselling author Pam Jenoff and New York Times Notable Author and PEN finalist Jessica Shattuck.

Holocaust Remembrance DayFor Pam Jenoff it all began with the astonishing success of her THE KOMMANDANT’S GIRL the World War II heartrending, Quill-nominated International Bestseller. Many successful books later she comes to us with her new title, THE ORPHAN’S TALE, already on the New York Times Bestseller List. THE ORPHAN’S TALE is set amid the unconventional world of a traveling circus, the novel bringing together two women—both refugees from their own pasts and each attempting to live under the radar during the Nazi incursion. Drawing on a little a little-known, real-life Nazi-run program, the Lebensborn Program, in which Jewish babies were ripped from their families and sent by train to concentration camps and the circuses of the era that sheltered Jews during the War, THE ORPHAN’S TALE exposes the light in the shadows of World War II.

Holocaust Remembrance DayAuthor Jessica Shattuck’s grandparents were Nazi’s. She admitted the truth in a recent New York Times op ed. “My grandparents were Nazis,” Shattuck wrote. “It took me until recently to be able to say — or write — this.” It was when Shattuck came upon a picture of her grandfather in his Nazi uniform that Shattuck could no longer deny the truth, even though she had had and loved her grandmother who Shattuck says did not seem temperamentally suited to hate. Understanding why and how this woman Shattuck knew and loved was swept up in a movement that became synonymous with evil led to Shattuck’s writing her gripping new novel THE WOMEN IN THE CASTLE (currently on the New York Times Bestseller List). Turbulent, disturbing, fraught, haunting, THE WOMEN IN THE CASTLE provides rarely seen insight into the lives of ordinary Germans during the Nazi era, providing a perspective rarely examined in the voluminous literature of the Second World War.

Holocaust Remembrance Day, Nazi, Germany, World War II, historical fiction, Jewish literature two interesting conversations with bestselling authors Pam Jenoff and Jessica Shattuck on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show, Wednesday, April 19, the podcast posted 3 pm ET. For more information visit Halli Casser-Jayne dot com.

A TRIP TO RUSSIA & A SAIL AROUND THE WORLD

Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

Lisa Dickey Bears in the Streets Russia

A trip to Russia and a sailing trip around the world are the two stories The Halli Casser-Jayne Show brings you Wednesday, February 8, 3 pm ET. Joining Halli at her table is Lisa Dickey the author of BEARS IN THE STREETS an eye-opening memoir of Dickey’s travels over twenty years through Russia and Jeremy Cage, entrepreneur, former Fortune 100 executive and President of The Cage Group, who had a dream to sail around the world and did.

In the fall of 1995, Lisa Dickey author and ghostwriter, whose talent has contributed to eight New York Times bestsellers, traveled across the whole of Russia, interviewing people from all walks of life in 11 different cities. In 2005, she made the entire trip again, interviewing all the same people to find out how their lives had changed. Ten years later, in 2015, she made the trip yet again, interviewing the same people she had met 20 years earlier, her goal to find out how life in Russia had changed in the ensuing years. Her new book BEARS IN THE STREETS: THREE JOURNEYS ACROSS A CHANGING RUSSIA, tells Lisa’s story and chronicles the changing lives of Russians in the ever-changing Russian political climate.

Jeremy Cage All Dreams on Deck RussiaEntrepreneur, former Fortune 100 executive and President of The Cage Group, Jeremy Cage had a dream to sail around the world. So, he did. With his wife and their two children the Cage family spent sixteen-months on their life-changing voyage. An expert in turning dreams into reality, since returning, Cage has become an advisor to thousands of people, showing them how to fulfill their dreams for their businesses and for themselves. Basing his advice on his years of corporate success as well as his around-the-world sailing adventure, Cage uses a boat metaphor to articulate his process in his book ALL DREAMS ON DECK, an inspiring, practical and enjoyable guide to making work and personal dreams come true.

Russia, Russian politics, Putin, sailing around the world, making dreams come true, adventure, don’t miss the next episode of The Halli Casser-Jayne Show Wednesday, February 8, 3 pm ET. For more information visit Halli Casser-Jayne dot com.

NY TIMES BESTSELLING THRILLER WRITER NELSON DEMILLE

Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

NELSON HALLIWednesday, June 10, 3 pm ET, New York Times bestselling author Nelson DeMille joins Halli at her table on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show to talk about his latest John Corey thriller RADIANT ANGEL.

The former U.S. Army lieutenant who served in Vietnam is the author of eighteen acclaimed novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Night Fall, PlumIsland, The Gate House, The Lion, and The Panther. His other New York Timesbestsellers include The Charm School, Word of Honor, The Gold Coast, Spencerville, The Lion’s Game, Up Country, Wild Fire, and The General’s Daughter, the last of which was a major motion picture starring John Travolta. Gripping, fun, acerbic, and timely, Nelson DeMille’s stories are always deceptively astute and DeMille does it once again with, RADIANT ANGEL, in which he takes us into the heart of a new Cold War with a clock-ticking plot that has Manhattan in its crosshairs and the all-too-real threat of a newly-resurgentRussia.

Thriller writer Nelson DeMille talks books, politics, Russia, a new cold war, men, women, sex and his just released new book RADIANT ANGEL on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show, Wednesday, June 10, 3 pm ET. For more information visit Halli Casser-Jayne dot com.

ACTRESS VICTORIA TENNANT TALKS HER NEW BOOK “IRINA BARONOVA AND THE BALLET RUSSES DE MONTE CARLO”

Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

VictoriaBookIrinaSunday, November 16, 8 pm ET, The Halli Casser-Jayne Show, Talk Radio for Fine Minds explores the life of Prima Ballerina Irina Baronova. Joining Halli at her table to discuss her new book IRINA BARONOVA AND THE BALLETS RUSSES DE MONTE CARLO is Baronova’s daughter author and actress Victoria Tennant.

Victoriapicturesfromthebook

Irina Baronova was a Russian-born ballerina and actress who was one of the Baby Ballerinas of the Ballets Russe de Monte Carlo, discovered by George Balanchine in Paris in the 1930s. Baronova’s first principal role was Odette in Swan Lake, partnered by Anton Dolin, which she performed at just 14 years old. Born in Russia, forced to flee to Romania because of the Russian Revolution her parents took her to Paris to study ballet at the behest of her dance teacher. From there Baronova traveled the world adored by all, retiring from dance to marry Cecil Tennant, Victoria’s father.

VICTORIAMITCHUMVictoria Tennant is an Emmy nominated and Golden Globe nominated film and television actress. Best known for her role in the iconic TV mini-series The Winds of War and War and Remembrance, in which she appeared as actor Robert Mitchum’s on-screen love interest, Pamela Tudsbury, Tennant also starred with her former husband, Steve Martin in two of his films All of Me and L.A. Story.

Miss Tennant will be appearing at the Miami Book Fair International November 16-23rd in downtown Miami at Miami Dade College.

A conversation with actress and author Victoria Tennant on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show, Talk Radio for Fine Minds, Sunday, November 16, 8 pm ET. Tune in at Halli Casser-Jayne dot com.

HAVE FEMALE TERRORISTS PENETRATED THE RING OF STEEL FOR THE SOCHI OLYMPICS?

Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

anne Sister of terrorist Darine Abu AishaOur recent, brilliant guest on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show, Talk Radio for Fine Minds was Dr. Anne Speckhard, author of a fascinating book based on over 400 interviews she conducted with terrorists worldwide, “Talking to Terrorists.” Dr. Speckhard spoke about those interviews and shared her thoughts on women who become terrorists and much more. I hope you’ll listen to our conversation. You can here on the blog, or download the interview FREE via iTunes, if that’s more convenient. Actually, The Halli Casser-Jayne Show is available via a host of venues and on multiple apps, including Soundcloud.com, Spreaker.com, m.blogtalkradio.com, tunein.com, stitcher.com.
With Dr. Speckhard’s permission, we are posting her latest article. Enjoy!

Have Female Terrorists Penetrated the Ring of Steel for the Sochi Olympics?

While Russian security forces search for four women, all believed to be prepared to detonate themselves in Sochi, hundreds of thousands of spectators are also preparing for travel there.  Russian President Vladimir Putin assures that his “ring of steel” security perimeter will protect both the athletes and guests, but at the same time posters of the four women circulate with rumors that one of them—Ruzanna Ibragimova has already penetrated it.

Who are these four women?  Who are their senders and why do they want to attack the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics? And are they the only threat to safety this year or are there other terrorist threats as well?  Could we see a Munich style attack on the athletes themselves?

The senders are from a group affiliated with the Caucasus Emirates—a group that grew out of the Chechen separatist movement. When the Soviet Union fell apart in 1992, the Chechens tried to separate from the Russian Federation wanting to become free as the other former Soviet republics—Ukraine, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, etc. broke away and won their freedom.  The Russians however refused breakaways from the federation itself and two wars ensued with the Chechen rebels led by Shamil Basaev.  In 2000 Basaev heeded the counsel of Khattab, a middle easterner who convinced him that the only way to win against the Russian military might was to embrace the martyrdom ideology and begin a campaign of suicide attacks.  Thus the separatists rebels transitioned their fight to a terrorist movement.

And a campaign of over one hundred and twelve suicide attacks with over twenty-five operations occurred with the Chechen terrorist movement spreading into Dagestan, Ingushetia and the surrounding regions—becoming what is now known as the Caucasus Emirates. Right from the start women took part on an equal basis making up fifty percent of the attackers and the suicide attacks included exploding airplanes, buses, subways, train stations, taking over a theater full of eight hundred in Moscow, a school of thirteen hundred in Beslan—mostly women and children and now threatening to deliver a “special package” to the Sochi Olympics.

This group is operationally sound—they have well placed and well hidden terror cells throughout the region with cadres who are highly motivated by the traumas of living under the iron fisted Putin’s regime coupled with a desire for revenge. They live by the motto “Victory or Paradise” and are unafraid of dying for their cause.  They have also shown the capacity for pulling off complex and terrifying attacks.

On the Russian side the forces have shown a propensity for corruption and inefficiency.  In the case of the Beslan hostage-taking the terrorists bragged to their hostages that they were able to bribe their way past check points and they also had managed to have a cache of weapons hidden in the school before the attack. In 2004, the Chechen terrorists managed to have explosives hidden under the review stand of then Chechen President Kadyrov who when he stood in a parade to review the Russian military might was blown to smithereens.  Clearly the Chechens can find ways to penetrate Russian security.

In the case of the four women now under search—Ruzanna Ibragimova was in a car when her insurgent husband was shot dead beside her.  She managed to escape and live but now wishes to die.  She’s trained as a suicide bomber with a group that has already sent bombers to successfully detonate themselves in Moscow—the group knows how to get her across checkpoints, arm her and she is motivated by trauma and revenge and the belief in the rewards of Islamic “martyrdom”.  She needs only to explode herself to go directly to paradise to reunite with her husband.

Oksana Aslanova another of the Dagestani women under search is also traumatically bereaved and ready to avenge her husband’s death.  Upon the death of her husband—Emir Valedjanov, the leader of the rebel group Jamaat Sharia of Dagestan—Oksana volunteered to become a suicide bomber.  She was trained and the plan was for her to detonate herself last June on the Day of Russia in Dagestan, but her operation was postponed. She now is believed to be lurking somewhere in the vicinity of Sochi ready to to “martyr” herself.

Zaira Allieva and Dzannet Tshakhaeva, the other two women under search were good friends of Naida Asilova who in October of 2013 exploded herself on a packed bus in Volgograd. A week later the women fled Dagestan and are also believed to be in the vicinity of Sochi, ready to attack. These women like the other “Black Widows” who have made up over half of the Chechen suicide attackers are not always widows but they have seen a lot of trauma under the repressive Russian forces and they are willing to attack innocent civilians in their desire to revenge, and to die in their fight for their cause.

Have the terrorists managed to hide explosives inside the Olympic venue or arms that they will now use to attack the Olympic athletes or to stage a Nairobi or Mumbai style attack? It’s impossible to say how far they can penetrate Russian security. However, Doku Umarov, the leader of the now greater movement—the Caucasus Emirate is clearly ambivalent about targeting innocent civilians in his separatist fight. After Beslan the public backlash against taking women and children hostages was so great he swore off of attacking civilians and using suicide attacks. Last July however he swore back on and vowed to stop the Olympics from happening.

The worldwide stage provided by the Olympics is likely too great a “theater” and potential opportunity for publicity for a dedicated terrorist to want to miss out on.  Terrorists thrive on appearing in the news… And demonstrating his groups might in taking on Putin’s iron fist is likely to win him more recruits to the cause.  This especially given there is not much else available in terms of democratic resistance for those disheartened by Putin’s anti-democratization actions and his dismantling of the freedoms won with the break up of the Soviet Union. Umar’s group may look attractive to some.

That said Umarov probably would not endorse an attack on the athletes themselves realizing that he would get the same negative backlash as after Beslan.  If he got the chance to blow up the Russian spectators or official review stand as they did with former Chechen President Kadyrov he would likely not have a moment’s hesitation.  While we will all wait to see the outcome and will be anxiously cheering on our athletes, let’s hope that the terrorists don’t manage to upstage them.

Anne Speckhard, Ph.D. is Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University in the Medical School and author of Talking to Terrorists . She conducted psychological autopsies of over half of the Chechen suicide terrorists, interviewed hostages from Beslan and Nord Ost and has interviewed over four hundred terrorists, their family members and supporters in various parts of the world.

 

While Russian security forces search for four women, all believed to be prepared to detonate themselves in Sochi, hundreds of thousands of spectators are also preparing for travel there.  Russian President Vladimir Putin assures that his “ring of steel” security perimeter will protect both the athletes and guests, but at the same time posters of the four women circulate with rumors that one of them—Ruzanna Ibragimova has already penetrated it.

 

Who are these four women?  Who are their senders and why do they want to attack the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics? And are they the only threat to safety this year or are there other terrorist threats as well?  Could we see a Munich style attack on the athletes themselves?

 

The senders are from a group affiliated with the Caucasus Emirates—a group that grew out of the Chechen separatist movement. When the Soviet Union fell apart in 1992, the Chechens tried to separate from the Russian Federation wanting to become free as the other former Soviet republics—Ukraine, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, etc. broke away and won their freedom.  The Russians however refused breakaways from the federation itself and two wars ensued with the Chechen rebels led by Shamil Basaev.  In 2000 Basaev heeded the counsel of Khattab, a middleeasterner who convinced him that the only way to win against the Russian military might was to embrace the martyrdom ideology and begin a campaign of suicide attacks.  Thus the separatists rebels transitioned their fight to a terrorist movement.

 

And a campaign of over one hundred and twelve suicide attacks with over twenty-five operations occurred with the Chechen terrorist movement spreading into Dagestan, Ingushetia and the surrounding regions—becoming what is now known as the Caucasus Emirates. Right from the start women took part on an equal basis making up fifty percent of the attackers and the suicide attacks included exploding airplanes, buses, subways, train stations, taking over a theater full of eight hundred in Moscow, a school of thirteen hundred in Beslan—mostly women and children and now threatening to deliver a “special package” to the Sochi Olympics.

 

This group is operationally sound—they have well placed and well hidden terror cells throughout the region with cadres who are highly motivated by the traumas of living under the iron fisted Putin’s regime coupled with a desire for revenge. They live by the motto “Victory or Paradise” and are unafraid of dying for their cause.  They have also shown the capacity for pulling off complex and terrifying attacks.

 

On the Russian side the forces have shown a propensity for corruption and inefficiency.  In the case of the Beslan hostage-taking the terrorists bragged to their hostages that they were able to bribe their way past check points and they also had managed to have a cache of weapons hidden in the school before the attack. In 2004, the Chechen terrorists managed to have explosives hidden under the review stand of then Chechen President Kadyrov who when he stood in a parade to review the Russian military might was blown to smithereens.  Clearly the Chechens can find ways to penetrate Russian security.

 

In the case of the four women now under search—Ruzanna Ibragimova was in a car when her insurgent husband was shot dead beside her.  She managed to escape and live but now wishes to die.  She’s trained as a suicide bomber with a group that has already sent bombers to successfully detonate themselves in Moscow—the group knows how to get her across checkpoints, arm her and she is motivated by trauma and revenge and the belief in the rewards of Islamic “martyrdom”.  She needs only to explode herself to go directly to paradise to reunite with her husband.

 

Oksana Aslanova another of the Dagestani women under search is also traumatically bereaved and ready to avenge her husband’s death.  Upon the death of her husband—Emir Valedjanov, the leader of the rebel group Jamaat Sharia of Dagestan—Oksana volunteered to become a suicide bomber.  She was trained and the plan was for her to detonate herself last June on the Day of Russia in Dagestan, but her operation was postponed. She now is believed to be lurking somewhere in the vicinity of Sochi ready to to “martyr” herself.

 

Zaira Allieva and Dzannet Tshakhaeva, the other two women under search were good friends of Naida Asilova who in October of 2013 exploded herself on a packed bus in Volgograd. A week later the women fled Dagestan and are also believed to be in the vicinity of Sochi, ready to attack. These women like the other “Black Widows” who have made up over half of the Chechen suicide attackers are not always widows but they have seen a lot of trauma under the repressive Russian forces and they are willing to attack innocent civilians in their desire to revenge, and to die in their fight for their cause.

 

Have the terrorists managed to hide explosives inside the Olympic venue or arms that they will now use to attack the Olympic athletes or to stage a Nairobi or Mumbai style attack? It’s impossible to say how far they can penetrate Russian security. However, Doku Umarov, the leader of the now greater movement—the Caucasus Emirate is clearly ambivalent about targeting innocent civilians in his separatist fight. After Beslan the public backlash against taking women and children hostages was so great he swore off of attacking civilians and using suicide attacks. Last July however he swore back on and vowed to stop the Olympics from happening.

 

The worldwide stage provided by the Olympics is likely too great a “theater” and potential opportunity for publicity for a dedicated terrorist to want to miss out on.  Terrorists thrive on appearing in the news… And demonstrating his groups might in taking on Putin’s iron fist is likely to win him more recruits to the cause.  This especially given there is not much else available in terms of democratic resistance for those disheartened by Putin’s anti-democratization actions and his dismantling of the freedoms won with the break up of the Soviet Union. Umar’s group may look attractive to some.

 

That said Umarov probably would not endorse an attack on the athletes themselves realizing that he would get the same negative backlash as after Beslan.  If he got the chance to blow up the Russian spectators or official review stand as they did with former Chechen President Kadyrov he would likely not have a moment’s hesitation.  While we will all wait to see the outcome and will be anxiously cheering on our athletes, let’s hope that the terrorists don’t manage to upstage them.

 

Anne Speckhard, Ph.D. is Adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Georgetown University in the Medical School and author of Talking to Terrorists . She conducted psychological autopsies of over half of the Chechen suicide terrorists, interviewed hostages from Beslan and Nord Ost and has interviewed over four hundred terrorists, their family members and supporters in various parts of the world.

 

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