Category Archives: War

President Obama: One Night in Afghanistan

Posted by: TheLCster

“I will never send you into harm’s way unless it’s absolutely necessary. I anguish in thinking about the sacrifices that so many of you make.”~President Barack Obama


On March 28, 2010, at 10:55 am ET (7:25 pm local), Air Force One touched down under the shroud of nightfall at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. President Obama had just made an unannounced 12 hour, 46 minute journey to meet with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. He would take a short flight aboard Marine One to Kabul where the two delegations convened. Following their meetings, the President returned to Bagram Air Base where he spoke to a crowd of U.S. and allied troops:

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In his remarks, President Obama reiterated the mission before the troops:

“Our broad mission is clear: We are going to disrupt and dismantle, defeat and destroy al Qaeda and its extremist allies. That is our mission. And to accomplish that goal, our objectives here in Afghanistan are also clear: We’re going to deny al Qaeda safe haven. We’re going to reverse the Taliban’s momentum. We’re going to strengthen the capacity of Afghan security forces and the Afghan government so that they can begin taking responsibility and gain confidence of the Afghan people.”

He also reminded the troops of his unwavering support, noting efforts to improve pay and benefits, improving care for the wounded, moving forward with the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and increasing the VA budget.

President Barack Obama meets with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 28, 2010. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

“And I know that sometimes when you’re watching TV, the politics back home may look a little messy, and people are yelling and hollering, and Democrats this and Republicans that. I want you to understand this: There’s no daylight when it comes to support of all of you. There’s no daylight when it comes to supporting our troops. That brings us together. We are all incredibly proud. We all honor what you do. And all of you show all of America what’s possible when people come together, not based on color or creed, not based on faith or station, but based on a commitment to serve together, to bleed together and to succeed together as one people, as Americans.”

Full transcript
Photos courtesy of the White House by Pete Souza



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Academy Award® Nominated: In the Loop

Ensemble post by: Audiegrl, Geot, Bluedog89, and BuellBoy


In the film, the President of the United States and the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom are looking to launch a war in the Middle East. The plot follows government officials and advisers in their behind-the-scenes efforts either to promote the war or prevent it.

In America and the United Kingdom, each official, with his/her entourage of staff, some of whom do not agree with their political master, will do whatever he or she needs to achieve the desired end goal. This includes having fake meetings, fake committees, spinning information, leaking information and documents, and doctoring documents. These actions are most important in the lead up to the UN vote on the issue.

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The cast includes: Peter Capaldi, Tom Hollander, Gina McKee, James Gandolfini, Chris Addison, Anna Chlumsky, Enzo Cilenti, Paul Higgins, Mimi Kennedy, and Alex Macqueen

Reviews

IMDB member
“Political comedy is a hard stunt to pull off. Ever since 1964, it seemed like nothing could top Dr. Strangelove. A lot of movies have tried and a lot have failed, although there were the lucky few that passed the bar (Election, Thank You for Smoking) but the brilliant thing about In The Loop is that it’s so stupidly funny that it’s one of the best comedies of the 21st Century! Armando Iannucci, most known for his The Thick of It series in the UK, directs a movie with the a the familiar theme of The Office. That documentary-style of film-making can be hit-or-miss (most recently, Public Enemies, a miss) and Iannucci hits it right on. Every scene he graces with a camera comes out picture perfect; nobody could’ve pegged this movie any better. Iannucci, Jesse Armstrong, Tony Roche and Simon Blackwell’s script is something out of picture show heaven and sounds like it must’ve taken forever to finish, edit, revise, etc. Although these guys, these geniuses, apparently know what they’re doing and don’t care what anybody else says. That is the heart and soul of movie-making, readers. In The Loop is about a corrupt British government that accidentally gets the country thrown into the middle of a war. Loop stars Peter Capaldi, Gina McKee, James Gandolfini, Chris Addison and there’s even a whimsical cameo by Steve Coogan. Capaldi is the absolute best at what he did, spewing swears as coarse as they are a riot (“f*ck you, you lubricated horse c*ck!”) and freaking out. I can’t even put into words just how funny this guy was; he made the movie! But don’t forget Addison as Toby. Addison is the British Napoleon Dynamite, that incredibly awkward guy that makes even the audience members turn red. James Gandolfini and Gina McKee round out the rest of the cast greatly, filling In The Loop with the type of sexual tension that you don’t want to think about. It’s like when a sex scene pops up on a DVD you’re watching with your parents. Yeah, that bad.In The Loop is one of the most laugh out loud comedies I’ve seen in the past decade, that sadly nobody will get a chance to watch. In a world of Transformers and G.I Joe, In The Loop will sadly be ignored. But on an optimistic note, we may have found this summer’s sleeper, America.”

Did You Know?

Many scenes set at 10 Downing Street (the Prime Minister of the United Kingdoms’s office) were actually filmed at the real 10 Downing Street. The production gained access to the location largely because the staff were extremely excited to meet the actors who were playing their fictional counterparts.

Director Armando Iannucci provides the voice over for when the UN resolution passes.

The shooting script after thirty days of filming was 237 pages long. The first cut of the film was 4.5 hours long. The final edit took four months to complete.

One Nomination

Best in Adapted Screenplay

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Academy Award® Nominated: The Messenger

Ensemble post by: Audiegrl, Geot, and BuellBoy


In his most powerful performance to date, Ben Foster stars as Will Montgomery, a U.S. Army officer who has just returned home from a tour in Iraq and is assigned to the Army’s Casualty Notification service. Partnered with fellow officer Tony Stone (Woody Harrelson) to bear the bad news to the loved ones of fallen soldiers, Will faces the challenge of completing his mission while seeking to find comfort and healing back on the home front. When he finds himself drawn to Olivia (Samantha Morton), to whom he has just delivered the news of her husband’s death, Will’s emotional detachment begins to dissolve and the film reveals itself as a surprising, humorous, moving and very human portrait of grief, friendship and survival.

Featuring tour-de-force performances from Foster, Harrelson and Morton, and a brilliant directorial debut by Oren Moverman, The Messenger brings us into the inner lives of these outwardly steely heroes to reveal their fragility with compassion and dignity.

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The cast includes: Ben Foster, Jena Malone, Eamonn Walker, Woody Harrelson, Yaya DaCosta, Portia, Lisa Joyce, Steve Buscemi, Peter Francis James, Samantha Morton, and Paul Diomede

Reviews

IMDB member
“The Messenger has incredible acting by Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, and Samantha Morton.

The film has a curious flow to it. It begins predictable, yet remains engaging, exposing a heart-breaking consequence of war no family wants to face. Although the news remains the same, emotions run just as deep at each door. Every scene is handled marvelously through subtle performances by the actors. As the film unfolds, the viewer sinks into the complex characters on screen, discomforted by the internal struggles that slowly surface.

The Messenger is a non-linear, character-driven film with exceptional performances but might not be for everyone.”

Did You Know?

Sgt. Brian Scott, who was training to deploy to Iraq at Ft. Dix in New Jersey and was a technical adviser in this film, was subsequently injured in an IED attack in Baghdad.

Two Nominations

Best Supporting Actor~Woody Harrelson
Best Original Screenplay

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Nominated for Best Supporting Actor ~ Woody Harrelson ~The Messenger

Ensemble post by: Audiegrl, Geot, Bluedog89, and BuellBoy

Woody HarrelsonWoody Harrelson’s rare mix of intensity and charisma consistently surprises and delights audiences and critics alike for his work in both mainstream and independent projects. Most recently, Harrelson could be seen in Stuart Townsand’s BATTLE IN SEATTLE with Charlize Theron, Andre Benjamin and Ray Liotta, Brad Anderson’s TRANSSIBERIAN starring opposite Emily Mortimer and Ben Kingsley and Gabriele Muccino’s SEVEN POUNDS starring Will Smith and Rosario Dawson. Upcoming films include THE MESSENGER with Ben Foster for director Oren Moverman and BUNRAKU, directed by Guy Moshe and co-starring Josh Hartnett and Demi Moore. Harrelson recently completed filming on DEFENDOR for director Peter Stebbings, costarring Kat Dennings.

Harrleson’s critically-acclaimed portrayal of controversial magazine publisher Larry Flynt in Milos Forman’s THE PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT garnered him Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Nominations as Best Actor. Other highlights from Harrleson’s film career include NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, SEMI PRO, AFTER THE SUNSET, PLAY IT TO THE BONE, THE THIN RED LINE, THE HI-LO COUNTY, ED TV, WAG THE DOG, WELCOME TO SARAJEVO, KINGPIN, NATURAL BORN KILLERS, INDECENT PROPOSAL, WHITE MEN CAN’T JUMP, THE BIG WHITE, A SCANNER DARKLY, NORTH COUNTRY, THE PRIZE WINNER OF DEFINANCE, OHIO, A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION and Zak Penn’s ensemble comedy THE GRAND.

Harrelson first endeared himself to millions of viewers as a member of the ensemble cast of NBC’s long-running hit comedy, CHEERS. For his work as the affable bartender Woody Boyd, he won an Emmy in 1988 and was nominated four additional times during his eight-year run on the show. In 1999, he gained another Emmy nomination when he reprised the role in a guest appearance on the spin-off series FRASIER. He later made a return to television with a recurring guest role on the hit NBC series, WILL AND GRACE.

Woody Harrelson in The Messenger

Woody Harrelson in The Messenger

Balancing his film and television work, in 1999 Harrelson directed his own play, FURTHEST FROM THE SUN at the Theatre de la Juene Lune in Minneapolis. He followed next with the Roundabout’s Broadway revival of THE RAINMAKER; Sam Shepherd’s THE LATE HENRY MOSS, and John Kolvenbach’s ON AN AVERAGE DAY opposite Kyle MacLachlan at London’s West End. Harrelson directed the Toronto premiere of Kenneth Lonergan’s THIS IS OUR YOUTH at the Berkeley Street Theatre. In the winter of 2005 Harrelson returned to London’s West End, starring in Tennessee Williams’ NIGHT OF THE IGUANA at the Lyric Theatre.

A committed environmentalist, Harrelson joined his activism with his film efforts in Ron Mann’s GO FURTHER, a road documentary following Woody and friends on their bicycle journey down the Pacific Coast Highway from Seattle to Santa Barbara.

Along with being a father to his three beautiful daughters, closest to his heart is http://www.voiceyourself.com, a website Harrelson co-created with his wife Laura Louie which promotes and inspires individual action to create global momentum towards simple organic living and to restore balance and harmony to our planet.

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Nominated for Best Supporting Actor ~ Christoph Waltz ~Inglourious Basterds

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Christoph WaltzAustrian actor Christoph Waltz’s near thirty-year career as an actor includes an impressive roster of award-winning television, film and stage credits.

Waltz’s film credits include LAPISLAZULI (which debuted at the Berlin Film Festival), BERLIN BLUES, GUN-SHY, ANGST, SHE, DORIAN, THE BEAST, FALLING ROCKS, ORDINARY DECENT CRIMINAL, OUR GOD’S BROTHER and GOLDENEYE.

Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds

Christoph Waltz in Inglourious Basterds

Waltz is perhaps best known for his countless guest star and telefilm roles. The telefilms DER TANZ MIT DEM TEUFEL – DIE ENTFUHRUNG and DIENSTREISE – WAS FUR EIN NACHT won prestigious Adolf Grimme Awards for their creative team of director and actors. Waltz’s work in DU BIST NICHT ALLEIN – DIE ROY BLACK STORY won him a Bavarian TV Award, a German TV Award and an RTL Golden Lion Award.

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Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal Activist Lt. Dan Choi Recalled To Active Duty

Posted by: Audiegrl

Lt Dan Choi

Lt Dan Choi

In a sign that momentum behind a repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy is having an impact, openly gay U.S. Army National Guard Lieutenant Dan Choi has been recalled to active duty.

Choi, a West Point graduate and trained Arabic linguist, was dismissed from duty in the spring of 2009, because of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” Since then, he’s been a leading voice for the cessation of the policy.

The Advocate has more……

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Obama Outsmarts the Terrorists

Posted by: BetsM

President Obama isn’t nearly as scared of the terrorists as Bush was—and that’s precisely why al Qaeda is falling apart

Peter Beinart

Peter Beinart

The Daily Beast/Peter Beinart~Republicans think about terrorism the way Democrats think about poverty. Democrats know their anti-poverty policies don’t always work. But they tell themselves that at least their hearts are in the right place, at least they care about the problem.

That’s the way Republicans think about terrorism. In unguarded moments, honest Republicans will admit that not all of the Bush administration’s anti-terror policies worked. But they tell themselves that at least they know America is at war; at least they know the terrorists are evil; at least they really care about the problem.

In a sense, the Republicans are right: they do worry more about terrorism than Democrats. You can see it in the polls. Democrats–especially liberal Democrats—focus part of their foreign policy anxiety on things like climate change, global pandemics and financial collapse. For many Republicans, by contrast, the terrorists are today’s equivalent of the Nazis and the communists: they’re the only threat that really matters. Everything else is an afterthought.

But as conservatives used to say during the poverty debates of the 1960s and 1970s, intentions and outcomes are not the same thing. Sometimes, ironically enough, not worrying quite so much can produce better results.

Which brings us to Barack Obama’s “war on terror.” Conservatives keep saying that Obama doesn’t really believe we’re at war; that he sees terrorists as mere criminals, not the epic evil-doers that they really are. But here’s the irony: It’s precisely because he doesn’t see the terrorist threat as quite so epic that al Qaeda is falling apart.

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Shoshana Johnson Pens Her Story In “I’m Still Standing”

Posted by guest contributor: Shanti

Shoshana Johnson poses for a picture in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010

Shoshana Johnson poses for a picture in New York, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2010 (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

“In March of 2003, when Operation Iraqi Freedom was only days old, world headlines were made when a U.S. army convoy was attacked in the city of An-Nasiriyah en route to Baghdad. Several soldiers were killed and others were taken prisoner.

Jessica Lynch became the face and name associated with this tragedy, but another female soldier, Shoshana Johnson, was also wounded and captured in the ambush. A video of Shoshana being interrogated by her captors was soon broadcast on Spanish-language television and then picked up by American media. Shoshana had become the first black female prisoner of war in United States history. She was held for twenty-two days.

When Shoshana returned to the United States, she received numerous awards for her valor, including the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, and Prisoner of War medals. She appeared on news networks and national television shows such as Oprah, Ellen, The Tonight Show, and Larry King Live, but she was bound by a military gag order. She was unable to discuss what really happened in Iraq — until now.

Shoshana holds nothing back in this harrowing account of an ordinary woman caught in an extraordinary circumstance. She reveals decisions made by higher-ups that may have led to the capture, describes the pain of post-traumatic stress disorder, and shares the surprising story of how a specialist in a maintenance company ended up on the front lines of war.

Divulging personal emotions and frustrations while raising fresh political issues, I’m Still Standing is the never-before-told and much anticipated story of the headline-making ambush, capture, and rescue described with the exceptional bravery and candor of a single mom and soldier who became an American hero. Source

CNN’s Larry King Live ~ Transcript of Interview with Shoshana Johnson aired February 2, 2010

KING: We welcome Shoshana Johnson back to LARRY KING LIVE. She is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. She and other members of the 507th Maintenance Company were taken captive March 23, 2003. She was held prisoner 22 days. Author of a terrific new book I’m Still Standing; From Captive US Soldier to Free Citizen, My Journey Home.”

Before we get into this, what do you make of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell controversy?

SHOSHANA JOHNSON, FORMER POW: Silly. If men and women want to serve in our military, I really don’t care who they want to sleep with. It’s all about serving your country.

KING: So you would repeal it?

JOHNSON: Yes, definitely.

KING: It’s been seven years since you were a POW. Do you think about it a lot?

I'm Still Standing by Shoshana JohnsonJOHNSON: Still. Very much so. The conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq is still in the media, so it’s hard to forget.

KING: How were you caught?

JOHNSON: During an ambush, vehicles were disabled. Basically, it seemed like the whole city of Nazariyah came out and participated in the ambush. I was shot and — shot and caught, basically.

Read the entire transcript here
Read a sample chapter

Shoshana Johnson tells her side of the story to Matt Lauer of The Today Show

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Shoshana Johnson actually said she wanted to tell her story, because there were a lot of distortions and half truths about the details of her capture. She wanted to set the record straight. I appreciate Shoshana’s resolve and passion for not only surviving the trauma of being a POW, but her courage and drive to THRIVE.~Shanti

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A Tribute to Haitian Soldiers for Heroism in the American Revolution

Posted by: Audiegrl

Dedicated to the people of Haiti both in the US and abroad, please except our profound thanks, and know that our thoughts and prayers are with you…

Haitian Monument Statue in Franklin Square, Savannah, GA

Haitian Monument Statue in Franklin Square, Savannah, GA

After 228 years as largely unsung contributors to American independence, Haitian soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War’s bloody siege of Savannah had a monument dedicated in their honor. On October 9, 1779, a force of more than 500 Haitian gens de couleur libre (free men of color) joined American colonists and French troops in an unsuccessful push to drive the British from Savannah in coastal Georgia.

Chairman Daniel Fils-Aime

“We were here in 1779 to help America win independence. “ said Daniel Fils-Aime, chairman of the Miami-based Haitian American Historical Society. “That recognition is overdue.” “To see a monument in downtown Savannah and the commemoration of the involvement of the Haitian Americans, it’s a dream come true.” said Savannah Mayor Floyd Adams Jr. “This will help educate Americans but also Haitian youth about the significant contribution their ancestors made.” “The role of Haitian soldiers in the battle had long been ignored“, said North Miami Mayor Josaphat Celestin. “It means recognition for our efforts, that we were here all along, that Haiti was a part of the effort to liberate America and that they came here as free men, not as slaves,” Celestin said. “We hope this country will recognize this.”

Click to enlarge

“It’s a huge deal,” said Philippe Armand, vice president of the Association of American Chambers of Commerce in Latin America, who flew to Savannah from the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince. “All the Haitians who have gone to school know about it from the history books.”

Though not well known in the U.S., Haiti’s role in the American Revolution is a point of national pride for Haitians.

After returning home from the war, Haitian veterans soon led their own rebellion that won Haiti’s independence from France in 1804.


The Siege of Savannah

Click to enlarge

The Siege of Savannah on October 9th, 1779 presents the Revolutionary War as a world conflict more than does any other engagement of the Revolution. The memory of this battle also reminds us of the fact that significant foreign resources of men, money, and material contributed to the eventual success of the cause of American independence. French, Polish, Native Americans, African slaves, free men of African descent, Germans, Hessians, Austrians, Scots, Welsh, Irish, English, Swedish, and American and West Indian colonials also participated as individuals or whole units in this most culturally diverse battle of the war. For six weeks this diverse force was assembled in three armies to contend for the possession of Savannah. This battle resulted in the largest number of casualties the allies suffered in a single engagement.

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The presence of the Chasseurs-Volontaires de Saint-Domingue as the largest unit of soldiers of African descent to fight in this war is worthy of commemoration. The fact that their number was made up of free men who volunteered for this expedition is startling to most people and surprising to many historians. Their presence reminds us that men of African heritage were to be found on most battlefields of the Revolution in large numbers. As a new and relatively inexperienced unit, the Chasseurs participated in the siege warfare including the battle of September 24th and the siege of October 9th.

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The Chasseurs Volontaires de Saint-Domingue served as a reserve unit to American and French forces fighting a British contingent. As battered American and French soldiers fell back, the Haitian troops moved in to provide a retreat.

Twenty-five of their number has their names recorded as wounded or killed during the campaign. Over 60 were captured in the fall of Charleston eight months later. The British Navy captured three transports carrying Chasseurs; these soldiers were made prizes of war and sold into slavery. Other members of this unit were kept on duty away from their homes for many months as part of French garrison forces. A subsequent unit of Haitians was a part of the French and Spanish campaign against Pensacola where they faced some of the same regiments of British troops that their comrades faced in Savannah.

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The efforts of Haiti to secure its independence from colonial rule beginning in 1791 are remarkable for the fact that what began as a slave revolt was to ultimately succeed in prevailing over the resources of the French Empire and to form a government of Western Hemisphere Africans. Haiti, much smaller in population than the United States, was attacked by armies as large as those sent against America by Britain. The Haitian victory over the legions of Napoleon was achieved with much less foreign assistance than the United States enjoyed.

Henri Christophe

Henri Christophe, Click to enlarge

Many key figures in the Haitian War of Independence gained military experience and political insights through their participation in Savannah — most notably Henri Christophe, a youth at the time but in his adult years a general of Haitian armies and king of his nation for fourteen years. Many of the Haitian soldiers later fought to win their country’s own war of independence, crediting their military experience in Savannah. Influenced by both the events of the American Revolution and the rhetoric of the French Revolution, the people of Haiti began a struggle for self-government and liberty. The first nation in the Western Hemisphere to form a government led by people of African descent, it was also the first nation to renounce slavery.

Sources: Haitian American Historical Society, We Haitians United We Stand For Democracy, Wikipedia, and the Associated Press.


Help for Haiti~Learn What You Can Do

Complete Haiti Relief Coverage Main PageHaiti Relief Coverage Main Page

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BBC Airing Guantánamo Guard/Detainee Reunion

Posted by: Audiegrl

“He would say, ‘you ever listen to Eminem or Dr Dre’ and… I thought how could it be somebody is here who’s doing the same stuff that I do when I’m back home”~~Former Guard Brandon Neely

Brandon Neely, center, was a Guantánamo Bay guard, and Ruhal Ahmed, left, and Shafiq Rasul were prisoners.

Brandon Neely, center, was a Guantánamo Bay guard, and Ruhal Ahmed, left, and Shafiq Rasul were prisoners.

Why would a former Guantanamo Bay prison guard track down two of his former captives – two British men – and agree to fly to London to meet them?

BBC News/Gavin Lee~~”You look different without a cap.”

You look different without the jump suits.”

With those words, an extraordinary reunion gets under way.

The journey of reconciliation began almost a year ago in Huntsville, Texas. Mr Neely, 29, had left the US military in 2005 to become a police officer and was still struggling to come to terms with his time as a guard at Guantanamo.

He felt anger at a number of incidents of abuse he says he witnessed, and guilt over one in particular.

Highly controversial since it opened in 2002, Guantanamo prison was set up by President George Bush in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks to house suspected “terrorists“. But it has been heavily divisive and President Barack Obama has said it has “damaged [America’s] national security interests and become a tremendous recruiting tool for al Qaeda“.

Mr Neely recalls only the good publicity in the US media.

The news would always try to make Guantanamo into this great place,” he says, “like ‘they [prisoners] were treated so great’. No it wasn’t. You know here I was basically just putting innocent people in cages.”

The prisoners arriving on planes, in goggles and jump suits, from Afghanistan were termed by then US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as the “worst of the worst“. But after getting to know some of the English-speaking detainees, Mr Neely started to have doubts all of them were fanatical terrorists.

Mr Neely was 22 when he worked at the camp and left after six months to serve in Iraq. But after quitting the military his doubts about Guantanamo began to crystallize. This led to a spontaneous decision last year to reach out to his former prisoners on Facebook.

Released in 2004, after being held for two years, Mr Rasul and Mr Ahmed and another friend from Tipton had been captured in Afghanistan on suspicion of links to the Taliban. The three said they were beaten by US troops although this was disputed by the US government at the time.

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But what were the pair doing in Afghanistan in 2001?

They explain that, being in their late teens and early twenties at the time, they had made a naive, spontaneous decision to travel for free with an aid convoy weeks before a friend’s wedding, due to take place in Pakistan.

Mr Ahmed admits they had a secret agenda for entering Afghanistan, but it wasn’t to join al-Qaeda.

Aid work was like probably 5% of it. Our main reason was just to go and sightsee really and smoke some dope“.

Does their former prison guard believe them? Yes, says Mr Neely, who says he thinks it was a case of “wrong place, wrong time“.

Both sides are beginning to bond, yet towards the end, Mr Neely has a confession of his own. It threatens to destroy the mood of reconciliation.

He is deeply ashamed of an incident in which he “slammed” an elderly prisoner’s head against the floor.

Mr Neely recalls that he thought he had been under attack because the man kept trying to rise to his feet. But weeks later he discovered the prisoner thought he was being placed on his knees to be executed and believed he was fighting for his life.

Mr Ahmed is speechless, then evidently conflicted as he wrestles in his mind with whether or not he can forgive. Eventually, he says he can.

But should Mr Neely be prosecuted for his actions? Mr Ahmed pauses again.

He’s realized what he did was wrong and he’s living with it and suffering with it and as long as that he knows what he did was wrong. That’s the main thing.”

Afterwards, each say they had genuinely found some sort of closure from meeting. The sense of relief in all their faces speaks volumes, and they leave the meeting closer to one another.

Their story will be featured on the documentary Guantanamo Reunited on BBC Radio 5 live on Thursday 14 January at 2200 BST.

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NYT-Guantánamo Reunion, by Way of BBC

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