Jihadists in Paradise: Related Video

Companion pieces to Mark Bowden's March 2007 cover story

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CIA surveillance footage

The endgame: “The CIA officers watching the monitors in their office in the container could see everything. The deserted beach registered bright white against the dark gray of the sea, and just in from the water’s edge were the splayed gray silhouettes of palm trees as seen from high above ... The two men appeared on the CIA monitor as black shadows.”


Arlyn Dela Cruz
Philippine journalist with exclusive access to Abu Sayyaf during the hostage chase

On beheading: “They don’t give you a chance to make an appeal. They see your life as worthless, because you’re an infidel.”

On meeting the terrorist Aldam Tilao for the first time: “He was very friendly, as if he knew me for years. So I thought, ’Who is this guy?’”

On interviewing the hostages in the jungle: “The minute I saw him, I knew that acceptance was written on his face.”

Col. Juancho Sabban
Deputy commander of southern operations for the Philippine marine corps

On Philippine intelligence: “Most intelligence units rely on funds. But marine intelligence is based on relationships.”

On the significance of Tilao’s death: “It significantly downgraded the leadership and the strength of the Abu Sayyaf group .”


Capt. Gieram Aragones
Intelligence officer leading the hunt for Abu Sayyaf

On his relationship with the CIA: “I always have two people talking to me.”

On his initial distrust of Alvin Siglos: “Personally speaking, I was not really impressed with the first debriefing.”

On his vow not to shave or cut his hair: “I don’t know. Maybe I was just being cocky then. I didn’t know I would get lucky, or that my work would be very fruitful”


 

Alvin Siglos
Childhood friend of Tilao’s who helped the authorities track him down

On his high school days with Tilao: “He was my defender during that time.”


From the upcoming documentary film by Wild Eyes Productions

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2007/02/jihadists-in-paradise-related-video/305652/