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Monday, June 25, 2007
Chilled by words of hatred

Abu Dujana laughed as he said Dan Rivers was himself an attack target.

YOGYAKARTA, Indonesia (CNN) -- I thought it was a joke when I first got the e-mail. CNN's Jakarta producer contacted me to say that the recently captured Indonesian terrorist suspect, Abu Dujana, was willing to do an interview. I felt like saying "Yes, well let's see if Osama's available too, and we can see if we can get them on Larry King as a double act."

But she insisted the police had sanctioned a face-to-face meeting with Jemaah Islamiyah's military commander, at a secret location somewhere in Java. We scrambled to the airport and less than 24 hours later I found myself nervously pacing up and down an empty, echoing corridor of a police building, waiting for a convoy carrying the most dangerous terrorist in Southeast Asia.

He appeared in silhouette initially. He was dressed in white and flanked by armed plainclothes police officers. As he approached I could see a slightly built, wiry man, who looked younger than the 37 years old police said he was.

Click here to read more

-- By Dan Rivers, CNN Correspondent
Posted By CNN: 12:13 PM ET
  13 Comments
I can't imagine what it felt like to sit in front of a man that has such hatred in his heart. I am very interested in seeing your interview with him.

Thank you...
Posted By Jess, Paris, KY : 12:43 PM ET
I have to admit that I am not too interested in watching this interview...I think your attitude in this blog was arrogant and lacking a reporter's 'unbiased view.'

Yes this guy is scum and yes I am glad that he is in custody for the vile crimes he has committed against humanity but...

as a viewer, I don't need to know what you personally think of any interviewee or that you have no idea how to engage small talk with him. Nor do I need to hear you dictated to everyone how YOUR interview will be run. Of course he was going to preach those religious nonsense views...they always do!! Duh!!! You also summarized your entire interview in print so why bother Dan?? I just hope the interview doesn't come across the way your blog did.

Just give me the facts, let us all learn more about what is going on in the world...let us be educated.

I hope he is quickly tried and convicted and is judged appropriately for the horrid crimes he has obviously committed against humanity.
Posted By Petra, Alaska : 2:57 PM ET
Hi Dan,
Just for a different opinion, I'd like to say that I enjoyed the way you discussed your approach to this interview. I understand what Petra from Alaska is referring to as far as objective journalism, but I think the subject matter in a blog allows for a little bit more of a personal view on things. It is interesting to think about what a journalist has to go through (mental or physical) to get the story sometimes. I appreciate the human aspect, so please keep it up (with journalistic integrity of course!).

As for this wonderful specimen of humanity you interviewed, I would argue once again that rational freethinking people of the world need to take charge of affairs before religious zealots destroy our civilization. We're entering a new Dark Age with all of this intolerance and extremism based upon religion. Enough already.
Posted By Bob, San Francisco, CA : 3:42 PM ET
So why does CNN find it necessary to give these terrorists a forum to preach their islamist doctrine? I think we already knew that anyone that is non-muslim, including women and children are targets of these muslim fanatics.

I can't wait for the next CNN special telling us how "peaceful" the muslim religion is.

Is there anything that CNN won't do to try to boost its ratings?
Posted By Perry, Dallas, Texas : 4:16 PM ET
Dan/AC360:
Okay, I admit I had to look up the word, "nihilistic" as a description for Abu Dujana.

Was the request for an interview just a ploy to gain publicity or did he really want to make a statement? How do you judge if someone wants to voice legitimate concerns or just manipulate an interview for propaganda?

As I read your article, I sensed the interview was a disappointment. Faced with a mass-murderer, did you really expect something more than he gave you?

On the other hand, would any journalist miss the opportunity to speak to such a connected terrorist?
Posted By Sharon D., Indianapolis, IN : 4:36 PM ET
What an evocative post; this interview sounds highly unsettling, and I look forward to watching it on the show. Thanks for the risks you take so that we may gain more insight into this very relevant, very scary issue.

Just a small note, no disrespect intended--the link in this post led to a page that was clearly marked as "behind the scenes", indicating that it wouldn't just be a straight facts article, but a chronicle of the journalist's experience. As such, one should expect to read personal insights from the journalists themselves, and I definitely appreciate the opportunity to take that trip behind the story and be privy to such revealing fare.
Posted By C. Williams, Las Cruces, NM : 5:31 PM ET
Dan, I remember your chilling interview with a radical cleric in Britain. You seem to specialize in interviewing extremists who see you as a "legitimate target". Interesting to read about your experience, I'm looking forward to seeing the interview.
Posted By laura, hoboken nj : 5:32 PM ET
I'm not sure why you had such a biased view against the man, even though we all know about his horrid actions. I can't say that it wouldn't be personal for me though, especially when he mentions that you too, just a journalist, are also a target. Does it really matter that you a re British? Well obviously it matters to him. Hopefully I'll watch the interview and may be able to understand this man's twisted truth.
Posted By Sumayah, Newbury Park, California : 6:21 PM ET
I think we need to see these kinds of interviews because no one should ever let their guard down and think that any of us are actually safe from this type of extreme hatred. I appreciate your honesty about this man and I would hope that you wouldn't be able to face such evil without having the slightest bit of emotion. If you didn't experience such feelings, I would wonder if you had a pulse. I don't know about other viewers, but I don't want a mannequin for a journalist- I want a human being.
Posted By Debbie, Denham Springs, LA : 7:03 PM ET
Hey Dan,
"He was led to a small office to face Mecca".
Well,he seems to have rights,more than we can say for his victims!!
He is just another psycho hiding behind faith to do atrocities to other human beings.
He's in prison,out of the "light",of course he would want the media attention!
I wouldn't make small talk with them,I wouldn't talk,period!!I say don't give them the time of the day and the chance to spread their hatred in our faces. The hell with them!!
Peace on earth and less "Big men" with little hearts running the show.
Joanne R.
Laval Quebec
Posted By Joanne R.Laval Quebec : 8:15 PM ET
Dan,

Be careful who you trust, you are not in the US! Even if I had a high-powered machine gun, no way would I want to get any where near a terrorist!

Marie Ann, Laredo, Texas
Posted By Anonymous : 12:52 AM ET
what a disgrace to humanity....
Posted By naurah,lahore,pakistan : 10:31 AM ET
Dan,

Where were you last night? I read this post and thought you would be on the set with the story.

What happened last night guys? Was it a repeated 360 in the second hour? CNN forget to pay its satellite bill! Just kidding.

Godspeed, Dan for getting this story. See you tonight, hopefully!
Posted By Barbara Ann, Ypsilanti, MI : 12:34 PM ET
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