While much of the debate about Afghanistan here in the States has been focused on how to adjust the U.S.’s war strategy, the latest video from the Rethink Afghanistan project takes a look at the other side of the equation by talking to Afghan citizens about their hopes for the future.
The general sentiment among the Afghans interviewed is that they want the fighting to end. “We wish there would be no more bloodshed in Afghanistan,” says one of the men featured in the video.
The Obama administration has promised to begin moving the 700 odd men held in the Bagram prison in Afghanistan into a new 60 million dollar facility by next month. But in a video released by Brave New Films, two men who were held in the notorious detention center ask how much of a difference this will make when its unclear why people were arrested in the first place. The two brothers Abdel and Noor Raqeeb, say they were held without formal charges, tortured, only to be released with an apology for being mistaken for Taliban spokesperson.
Abdel Raqeeb was released this August after being detained for 2 years and allegedly tortured. Upon his release he was told he had been mistaken for a Taliban spokesman. His brother Noor Raqeeb imprisoned for 10 days in 2007 was told he too had been picked up on the same mistaken assumption.
The Obama administration has promised to begin moving the 700 odd men held in the Bagram prison in Afghanistan into a new 60 million dollar facility by next month. But in a video released by Brave New Films today, two men who were held in the notorious detention center ask how much of a difference this will make when its unclear why people were arrested in the first place.
Abdel Raqeeb was released this August after being detained for 2 years and allegedly tortured. Upon his release he was told he had been mistaken for a Taliban spokesman. His brother Noor Raqeeb imprisoned for 10 days in 2007 was told he too had been picked up on the same mistaken assumption. The brothers were interviewed by filmmaker Anita Sreedhar last month.
By Ryan Grim at Huffington Post
Abdul Raqeeb, a former prisoner held for two years by US forces in Afghanistan, is speaking out against his brutalization at the hands of his captors.
The International Justice Network, in papers filed in an effort to free Raqeeb, charge that his “custodians have subjected him to acts of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, and outrages upon his personal dignity.”
Raqeeb was released without explanation, on August 13, 2009, from a military prison in Bagram that continues to hold hundreds of Afghans without charges.
Now freed, Raqeeb recounted his experience in a new video interview with Brave New Foundation’s project Rethink Afghanistan.
Raqeeb, whose brother Noor was also taken but released after a much shorter period, is telling his story just as President Obama is reportedly preparing to announce an escalation of the war in Afghanistan, which polls show a majority of Americans believe is not worth fighting.
Obama is expected to announce his decision next week. Due to a scheduling conflict, he bumped his decision up on the calendar — the week after next, he is flying to Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Price.
The Washington Post delicately described the contradiction as one of a series of “public relations challenges if they happened too close to the presentation of an expanded war effort.”
Obama, noted the paper, “likely wanted as many days as possible between the troops announcement and the date in mid-December when he is to travel to Oslo to accept his Nobel Peace Prize.”
Watch Raqeeb and his brother tell their story:
Matthew Hoh and Daniel Ellsberg recently sat down for a conversation about the war in Afghanistan.
Matthew Hoh made headlines late last month when he resigned from the U.S. State Department. Hoh, 36, became the first known U.S. official to resign in protest over the war in Afghanistan. Ellsberg, gained notoriety in 1971, after he leaked parts of the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times as part of an effort to end the Vietnam War, a war that he argued was “a wrongful war.”
Below are two clips from Hoh and Ellsberg’s exchange documented by Brave New Films.
Both wonder what the US is doing in Afghanistan, arguing that American hubris is one of the things keeping the country from learning the lessons of the Soviets’ War in Afghanistan.
Former CIA officer and author Robert Baer argues that “Afghanistan is a quagmire that everyone wants us in,” in a new video segment from the Brave New Foundation’s “Rethink Afghanistan” project.
Baer observes that Russia and Iran are seeking expansion and are happy that US troops are stuck in Afghanistan, whilst it is in Al Qaeda’s interests for the US to be in a war where Muslim civilian casualties are unavoidable.
“Afghanistan is making us more unsafe,” he says.
More than two-thirds of injured or sick workers in a recent survey feared employer discipline or even losing their jobs if their injuries were reported, a new study from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) revealed today.
The GAO surveyed more than 1,000 occupational health practitioners and found:
- More than two-thirds observed worker fear for reporting an injury or illness.
- A third said they were pressured by employers to provide insufficient treatments to workers to hide or downplay work-related injuries or illnesses.
- More than half of practitioners said they were pressured by an employer to downplay an injury or illness so it wouldn’t be reported to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s official log that tracks workplace injuries and illnesses.
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka says the GAO report confirms what rank-and-file workers, local union safety activists and workplace safety professionals have long said:
Employer policies and practices that discourage the reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses are widespread and are undermining the safety and health of America’s workers….These destructive and discriminatory practices must be stopped.
Injury and illness records help OSHA allocate its resources, accurately target its inspections and evaluate the success of efforts to improve workplace health and safety. Employers underreport injury and illness rates because lower rates likely lead to fewer inspections, improve their competitiveness when bidding for new contracts and lower their workers’ compensation costs.