Tag Archives: foreign

82nd Annual Academy Awards ~ Oscars® ~ Best Foreign Language Film

Posted by: Audiegrl

Ajami
Ajami(Israel) Directed by Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani

Click here for complete coverage of Ajami, that includes: nominations, trailers, cast, reviews, production notes, and more…

El Secreto de Sus Ojos
El Secreto de Sus Ojos(Argentina) Directed by Juan José Campanella

Click here for complete coverage of El Secreto de Sus Ojos, that includes: nominations, trailers, cast, reviews, production notes, and more…

The Milk of Sorrow
The Milk of Sorrow(Peru) Directed by Claudia Llosa

Click here for complete coverage of The Milk of Sorrow, that includes: nominations, trailers, cast, reviews, production notes, and more…

Un Prophète
Un Prophète(France) Directed by Jacques Audiard

Click here for complete coverage of Un Prophète, that includes: nominations, trailers, cast, reviews, production notes, and more…

The White Ribbon
The White Ribbon(Germany) Directed by Michael Haneke

Click here for complete coverage of The White Ribbon, that includes: nominations, trailers, cast, reviews, production notes, and more…
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Academy Award® Nominated: The Milk of Sorrow (La Teta Asustada) ~ Peru

Ensemble post by: Audiegrl and Geot

The Milk of Sorrow Peru
Fausta is ill with a disease contracted from her mother’s breast milk known as “the milk of sorrow”. However, this is not a sickness caused by bacteria or infection: it is a condition that only affects those women in Peru who were abused or raped during the years of terrorist struggle. Although this horrific period is now history, Fausta is nonetheless a living reminder of this time. Her sickness is called fear – and it has robbed her of her soul. But then, when her mother suddenly dies, Fausta is forced to face her fears.
This is the first nomination for Peru.

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Credits

Director/Screenplay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Claudia Llosa
Producers . . . . . . . . . Antonio Chavarrías, José María Morales and Claudia Llosa
Cinematography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Natasha Braier
Editing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Frank Gutiérrez
Production Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Patricia Bueno and Susana Torres
Sound . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fabiola Ordoyo
Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Selma Mutal
Production Company . . . . . . Wanda Visión/Oberon Cinematogràfica/Vela Films

The cast includes: Magaly Solier (Fausta), Susi Sánchez (Aída), Efraín Solís (Noé), Marino Ballón (Lúcido), Delci Heredia (Carmela), María del Pilar Guerrero (Máxima).

Reviews

IMDB member from Spain
Winner of the first award at the Berlinale, La Teta Asustada is the second film made by Claudia Llosa, director of the brilliant and exotic Madeinusa. The movie shows an interesting picture of a village in Peru, the life of a family, the things they do to earn a living, and the fears of Fausta, a girl whose mother taught her the power of songs to send away tears.Fausta keeps a secret, and she wants no one to discover it. Meanwhile, he tries to save money to make a wish come true.Magaly Solier plays a gorgeous role, like she did in Madeinusa, and makes us share her feelings through her eyes and her voice. Besides, the film shows the customs of a family and the way every member helps doing his best with a smile. Don’t miss it.

One Nomination

Best Foreign Language Film~Peru

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Academy Award® Nominated: The White Ribbon (Das Weisse Band) ~ Germany

Ensemble post by: Audiegrl and Geot

The White Ribbon

The action takes place in a German village in the fifteen months that precede World War I. Among the people who live there are a baron, who is a large landowner and a local moral authority, his estate manager, a pastor with his many children, a widowed doctor and a schoolteacher who is thinking of getting married. It is he who, many years later, tells this story.

Though everything seems to be quiet and orderly, as it always has been, with the seasons following each other, and good harvests following bad ones, suddenly some strange events start to occur. If some appear to be quite ordinary, even accidental — a farmer’s wife dies falling through rotten floorboards — others are inexplicable and may well be malevolent. Thus, a wire placed at knee-height has brought down the horse being ridden by the doctor, who is severely wounded.

There’s more of the same: an unknown hand opens a window to expose a newborn baby to the intense cold of the winter. A whole field of cabbages, on the baron’s land, are beheaded with a scythe. One of the Baron’s sons disappears: he is found his feet and hands bound, his buttocks lashed by a whip. A barn belonging to the manor is set on fire. A farmer hangs himself. A midwife’s handicapped child is found tied to a tree, in a forest, seriously beaten, with a threatening message on his chest speaking of divine punishment.

The village is worried, and at a loss as to what to do. The schoolteacher observes, investigates and little by little discovers the incredible truth…

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Credits

Director/Screenplay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Michael Haneke
Producers . Stefan Arndt, Veit Heiduschka, Margaret Menegoz and Andrea Occhipinti
Cinematography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Christian Berger
Editing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Monika Willi
Production Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Christoph Kaner
Costume Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Moidele Bickel
Sound . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Guillaume Sciama
Production Company . X Filme Creative Pool/Wega Film/Les Films du Losange/Lucky Red

The cast includes: Christian Friedel (The Schoolteacher), Leonie Benesch (Eva), Ulrich Tukur (The Baron), Ursina Lardi (Marie-Louise, the Baroness), Burghart Klaussner (The Pastor), Steffi Kühnert (Anna, the Pastor’s wife).

Reviews

IMDB member from Germany
Few film auteurs can match the consistency of Michael Haneke, and once again the Austrian filmmaker has come up trumps with an exquisite and brooding mediation on repression, tradition and the sins of the father.

Shot in stunning black and white, the film chronicles a series of mysterious events in a town leading up to the outbreak of WWI. The pace is slow and thoughtful, and the film is reference to August Sander while being a respectful throwback to the German expressionists whose work would come out of the horrors the film’s narrative seems to foreshadow.

The hallmarks of Haneke’s body of work are all there – elegiac tone, clinical editing, wincingly frank dialogue – but in many ways The White Ribbon stands alone in the canon. It is a challenging work that will polarize audiences but represents a breathtaking new wave not just in the director’s career but in European cinema.

Did You Know?

The White Ribbon is the ninth predominantly black-and-white film to be nominated for Cinematography since 1967, when the separate category for black-and-white cinematography was eliminated. Previously nominated films were In Cold Blood (1967), The Last Picture Show (1971), Lenny (1974), Raging Bull (1980) Zelig (1983), Schindler’s List (1993) The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001) and Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005) This is also the ninth nomination for Germany.

Two Nominations

Best Foreign Language Film~Germany
Best Cinematography

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Academy Award® Nominated: El Secreto de Sus Ojos (The Secret of Her Eyes) ~ Argentina

Ensemble post by: Audiegrl and Geot

El Secreto de Sus Ojos
The story, set in 1999, is told in flashback form: in June 1974 a federal justice agent, Benjamín Espósito, becomes spellbound by and subsequently entangled in the investigation of the crime of a young woman, brutally raped and murdered inside her house in a Buenos Aires neighbourhood. Her widowed husband, bank employee Ricardo Morales, is shocked by the news; Espósito vows to find the killer and bring him to justice. In his ordeal he is aided by his alcoholic assistent Pablo Sandoval and a newcomer, the upper class lawyer Irene Menéndez-Hastings, who takes over as department chief. Espósito’s rivaling partner Romano pins the murder on two immigrant workers so as to get rid of the matter – an issue that enrages Espósito, who attacks Romano in a fury.

He finds a tip soon enough while looking over some old pictures provided by Morales: he comes across a dubious young man – identified as Isidoro Gómez – who looks at the victim in a suspicious way in several photos. Espósito investigates the whereabouts of Gómez, and determines that he is living and working in Buenos Aires, but fails to locate him.

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Credits

Director . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Juan José Campanella
Screenplay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Juan José Campanella and Eduardo Sacheri
Producers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Mariela Besuievsky and Juan José Campanella
Cinematography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Félix Monti
Editing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Juan José Campanella
Production Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Marcelo Pont
Costume Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cecilia Monti
Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Federico Jusid
Sound . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . José Luis Díaz Ouzande
Production Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Haddock Films

The cast includes: Ricardo Darín (Benjamín Espósito), Soledad Villamil (Irene Menéndez Hastings), Pablo Rago (Ricardo Morales), Guillermo Francella (Pablo Sandoval), Javier Godina (Gómez).

Reviews

IMDB member from Spain
This is quite frankly an astonishing film. One that fills your entire array of senses and sensitivities, and the praise from Argentine reviewers here is 100 percent justified. Ricardo Darín turns in another majestic performance as a Buenos Aires court employee who is fiercely affected by the rape and murder of a young girl in 1974, a tragedy that dominates his life. Overlapping this theme is the powerfully sensual but never physical relationship between Darín and his superior, the investigating judge played by the superb Soledad Villamil. The connection between the two is electric. It’s a pity this film cannot easily transcend the language barrier, if it was an English-language film of the same quality it would already be hailed as a masterpiece. The blending of tragedy, love, violence and humour is brilliant, and the comedy dialogue fantastic. One scene where Ricardo Darín is balled out for having searched an old lady’s house is priceless in terms of comic timing and delivery. A wonderful performance also from Guillermo Francella as the court clerk with a drinking problem, in fact the secondary acting is all first-class. The camera-work is impressive, especially the swoop down into the football stadium and the closeups, and the script is also superb. Argentina has nominated the film as its candidate for best foreign film at the Oscar’s, it deserves to walk it.

Did You Know?

This is the sixth nomination for Argentina. As of 2009 El Secreto de Sus Ojos is Argentina’s most viewed cinema movie since 1983, with nearly 3 million viewers. This is the second movie directed by Juan José Campanella to receive an Oscar nomination. The first one was El Hijo de la Novia (2001).

One Nomination

Best Foreign Language Film~Argentina

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Academy Award® Nominated: Ajami ~ Israel

Ensemble post by: Audiegrl and Geot

Written and directed by a Palestinian and an Israeli director, Scandar Copti (a Palestinian born and raised in Ajami) and Yaron Shani (a Jewish Israeli), Ajami explores five different stories set in an actual impoverished Christian-and-Muslim Arab neighborhood of the Tel Aviv – Jaffa metropolis, called Ajami.

Jaffa’s Ajami neighborhood is a melting pot of cultures and conflicting views among Jews, Muslims and Christians. Back and forth in time, and through the eyes of various characters, we witness how impossible the situation actually is: the 13-year-old Nasri who lives in fear; a young Palestinian refugee called Malek, who works illegally in Israel; the affluent Palestinian Binj who dreams of a bright future with his Jewish girlfriend and the Jewish policeman Dando who is obsessed with finding his missing brother. The many characters played by non-professional actors lend the story the feel of a documentary.

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Credits

Directors/Screenplay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani
Producers . . . . . . . . . Mosh Danon, Talia Kleinhendler and Thanassis Karathanos
Cinematography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Boaz Yehonatan Yacov
Editing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Yaron Shani and Scandar Copti
Production Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Yoav Sinai
Costume Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rona Doron
Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rabiah Buchari
Sound . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Matthias Schwab
Production Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Inosan Productions

Cast includes: Fouad Habash (Nassri), Nisrin Reihan (Ilham), Scandar Copti (Binj), Elias Sabah (Shata), Shahir Kabaha (Omar), Hilal Caboub (Anan).

Reviews

IMDB member from Israel
Ajami is the first full length feature film directed by two young Israelis Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani. They have produced an extraordinary film which features five separate stories set in Ajami, a poor Arab neighborhood situated in the city of Tel-Aviv/Yafo. The many characters are played mostly by non professionals, i.e. are not working actors, and the result gives a documentary feel to the film. Amazingly the level of acting is very high and ensures that the film is completely believable and absorbing from beginning to end. Perhaps the only drawback is the limited time available to develop each main character. The viewer wants to know more about them and their lives but time is limited. The film shows a part of Israeli society rarely shown in Israeli films (Arab Moslem and Arab Christian families living in Ajami) and the makers are to be commended for their achievement in showing a rather hidden side of our society.

Did You Know?

This is the ninth nomination for Israel. Previous nominations were for Sallah (1964), The Policeman (1971), I Love You Rosa (1972), The House on Chelouche Street (1973), Operation Thunderbolt (1977), Beyond the Walls (1984), Beaufort (2007) and Waltz with Bashir (2008).

One Nomination

Best Foreign Language Film ~ Israel

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Academy Award® Nominated: Un Prophète (The Prophet) ~ France

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Un Prophéte France
Set largely within prison walls, the film details the prison career of Malik el Djebena (Tahar Rahim), a 19-year-old man of North African origin but estranged from the Muslim community. Sentenced to six years for what appears to be violence against police (albeit denied by Malik), he is chosen by Cesar Luciani (Niels Arestrup), feared kingpin of the prisons reigning Corsican gang, to kill a prisoner named Reyeb (Hichem Yacoubi) who had initially offers Malik drugs in exchange for sex. Reyeb is in prison awaiting testifying against the mob. Malik commits the bloody murder, and thanks to Luciani’s near-total control of the prisons internal workings – gets off scot-free. This makes him a lieutenant in the prisons Corsican gang, initially entrusted only with menial duties and disparaged as an Arab outsider.

Haunted by visions of a ghostly Reyeb, and determined to get on, the illiterate Malik not only learns to read, but teaches himself Corsican, surreptitiously learning the ins and outs of Luciani’s business. Another inmate, Ryad (Adel Bencherif), becomes Malik’s friend, later his ally on the outside. When Luciani arranges periods of leave for Malik, entrusting him with various criminal missions, Malik takes the opportunity to do some business of his own, setting up a drugs trade with Ryad’s aid. Life gets increasingly dangerous for Malik, both inside and outside prison walls, but he seems partly through Reyeb’s benign, unearthly influence – to lead a charmed life. Powers of prophecy are attributed to him after surviving a bizarre car crash an incident presaged in an enigmatic fantasy sequence.

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Credits

Directer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jacques Audiard
Screenplay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thomas Bidegain, Jacques Audiard, Abdel Raouf
Cinematography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Stéphane Fontaine
Editing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Juliette Welfling
Production Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Michel Barthélemy
Costume Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Virginie Montel
Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Alexandre Desplat
Sound . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Brigitte Taillandier
Production Company . . . . . . . . . . . . .Why Not Productions/Page 114/Chic Films

The cast includes: Tahar Rahim (Malik El Djebena), Niels Arestrup (Cesar Luciani), Hichem Yacoubi (Reyeb), Adel Bencherif (Riad).

Reviews

IMDB member from France
At times hard to watch but in the end you come out with the feeling of having watched a masterpiece. Perfect acting, scenario, directing, cinematography & sound…This is definitely not a Hollywood production, but the best of what french cinema can be. Audiard is a great director, having previously made Read My Lips which I also recommend. The main actor Tahar Rahim is a revelation, keep an eye on him in the future. Niels Arestrup is also quite good in his role as a Corsican crime boss.

Did You Know?

Un Prophète is the 36th nomination for France. It has taken home nine Oscars for My Uncle (1958), Black Orpheus (1959), Sundays and Cybele (1962), A Man and a Woman (1966), The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), Day for Night (1973), Madame Rosa (1977), Get Out Your Handkerchiefs (1978) and Indochine (1992).

Additionally, France received three Special/Honorary Awards prior to the establishment of Foreign Language Film as a regular category in 1956: for Monsieur Vincent (1948), The Walls of Malapaga (1950) [shared with Italy] and Forbidden Games (1952). Other nominations were for Gervaise (1956), Gates of Paris (1957), La Vérité (1960), The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), Live for Life (1967), Stolen Kisses (1968), My Night at Maud’s (1969), Hoa-Binh (1970), Lacombe, Lucien (1974), Cousin, Cousine (1976), A Simple Story (1979), The Last Metro (1980), Coup de Torchon (“Clean Slate”) (1982), Entre Nous (1983), Three Men and a Cradle (1985), Betty Blue (1986), Au Revoir Les Enfants (Goodbye, Children) (1987), Camille Claudel (1989), Cyrano de Bergerac (1990), Ridicule (1996), East-West (1999), The Taste of Others (2000), Amélie (2001), The Chorus (Les Choristes) (2004), Joyeux Noël (2005) and The Class (2008).

One Nomination

Best Foreign Language Film ~ France

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80 Best Picture Posters to Premiere at the Academy

Posted by: Audiegrl

The Wizard of Oz movie posterThe Wizard of Oz,” “Citizen Kane” and “Casablanca” will be among the 80 Best Picture nominees represented in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ new exhibition “The More the Merrier: Posters from the Ten Best Picture Nominees, 1936 – 1943,” opening on Saturday, January 23, in the Academy’s Grand Lobby Gallery in Beverly Hills. Admission is free.

Focusing on the eight consecutive years during which there were annually ten Best Picture nominees, the exhibition will showcase what are arguably some of the most striking movie posters ever created, including artwork for “Romeo and Juliet” (1936), “A Star Is Born” (1937), “Jezebel” (1938), “Stagecoach” (1939), “The Philadelphia Story” (1940), “The Maltese Falcon” (1941), “The Pride of the Yankees” (1942) and “Heaven Can Wait” (1943). Key artists and illustrators whose work will be featured include Norman Rockwell, Al Hirschfeld, Jacques Kapralik, France’s Boris Grinsson and Pierre Pigeot, and Italy’s Ercole Brini.

The exhibition also will present the only known three-sheet posters for “The Great Ziegfeld” (1936), the special British cinema display for “Lost Horizon” (1937), and an original painting for “Gone with the Wind” (1939) by the prolific artist Sergio Gargiulo.

Gone With the Wind movie posterThe More the Merrier” is drawn from the collection of Academy member and poster art director Mike Kaplan, and augmented by materials from the Academy’s Margaret Herrick Library. The posters include foreign versions from South American and Europe.

The specific number of Best Picture nominees ranged from 3 to 12 in the Awards years from 1927/28 through 1943; in 1944 the number was set at 5, as it remained until 2009. The 82nd Academy Awards®, which will be televised on Sunday, March 7, will return to the Academy’s past practice of nominating 10 films for the Best Picture award.

Kaplan will lead a public gallery talk at the Academy on Sunday, January 24, at 3 p.m. No reservations are required.

The More the Merrier: Posters from the Ten Best Picture Nominees, 1936 – 1943” will be on display through Sunday, April 18. The Academy’s Grand Lobby Gallery is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills and is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and weekends, noon to 6 p.m. For more information call (310) 247-3600 or visit www.oscars.org.

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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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President Obama’s Bow: Right-Wing’s Silly Stupid Pathetically Weak Attack on Obama

Posted by Audiegrl

President Barack Obama bows as he is greeted by Japanese Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko as he arrives at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo

Ok, its only been 10 months, and I’m already getting sick and tired of Fox News’ stupid attacks on President Obama. If this is going to be the trend for the next 3 to 7 years, I’m going to need someone to talk me down.

If they are going to attack him for bowing to foreign leaders, they really need to work on getting rid of all the photos and video of Republican President’s doing exactly what they are accusing President Obama of doing.

Ultra-right wing internet news outlet Newsmax had a screaming headline “No American President Ever Bowed to a Foreign Leader — Until Now”. TheFoxNation brays “Should a U.S. President Ever Bow to a Foreign Leader?” Fox News has been questioning bowing all day, with Fox and Friends anchor Steve Doocy, idiotically parroting right-wing blog Hot Air, that “in 230 years since the country was founded in 1776, that no other U.S. President has ever bowed to a foreign leader“.

Come on now! These right-wing folks are making it way too easy. My Google and Wikipedia are in for some fun. I’ll start chronologically, and leave President Bush for last. 😉

A September 2, 1959 Associated Press photo shows President Dwight Eisenhower bowing his head while meeting French President Charles De Gaulle. The caption of the photograph read: “President Dwight Eisenhower bows as he acknowledges speech of greeting by French President Charles De Gaulle on his arrival at Le Bourget near Paris on Sept. 2, 1959. Between the two chief executives is Ludovic Chancel, French Chief of Protocol.”

We also have a photo of President Eisenhower and First Lady Mamie looking pretty chummy with Nikita Khrushchev and his wife Nina at a state dinner in September of 1959. Khrushchev’s US visit resulted in an informal agreement with President Eisenhower that there would be no firm deadline over Berlin, but that there would be a four-power summit to try to resolve the issue, and the premier left the US in general good feelings.

This February 1972 photo shows President Richard Nixon bowing to Japanese Emperor Hirohito. You know, the guy who ordered the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor? Under his orders, on December 7, 1941, Japan struck the US Fleet in Pearl Harbor and began the invasion of Malaysia. At the end of the American occupation of Japan, Hirohito was prepared to apologize formally to U.S. Gen. Douglas MacArthur for Japan’s actions during World War II – including an apology for the attack on Pearl Harbor. MacArthur refused to admit him or even acknowledge him.

In February 1972, President and Mrs. Nixon traveled to China, where the president was to engage in direct talks with Communist Party Leader, Mao Tse-Tung. Yes, the same Mao who is Glenn Beck’s favorite boogy-man . Here is a photo of President Nixon shaking hands and grinning at Mao on February 29, 1972.

Last but not least, we have the hand-holding and cheek-kissing President George W. Bush. On a April 2005 visit to the President’s ranch, Saudi Prince Abdullah is greeted with a kiss on both cheeks and taken by the hand to the house. Jon Stewart did a segment about this on The Daily Show’s. Thanks to Jed Lewison of DKosTV, we have a mash-up video below.

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U.S. Now Most Admired Country Globally (thanks to the election of President Obama)

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Reuters/Patricia Reaney—The United States is the most admired country globally thanks largely to the star power of President Barack Obama and his administration, according to a new poll.

It climbed from seventh place last year, ahead of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Japan which completed the top five nations in the Nation Brand Index (NBI).

What’s really remarkable is that in all my years studying national reputation, I have never seen any country experience such a dramatic change in its standing as we see for the United States for 2009,” said Simon Anholt, the founder of NBI, which measured the global image of 50 countries each year.

heartusaHe believes that during the previous administration of George W. Bush the United States suffered in the world ranking with its unpopular foreign policies but since Obama was elected, and despite the recent economic turmoil, the country’s status has risen globally.

“There is no other explanation,” Anholt said in an interview, referring to the impact of Obama.

The global survey, conducted by GFK Roper Public Affairs & Media, involved 20,000 people in 20 rich and developing countries around the globe. They were asked to rate 50 nations in categories such as culture, governance, people, exports, tourism, landscape and education.

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