In the first proof of life video in over of year, Warren Weinstein proves that he’s still alive and kicking even after being kidnapped by al Qaeda terrorists more than two years ago in Pakistan.
In the video, Weinstein appeared thin and grizzled, with a long gray beard and a trimmed moustache, a far cry from his previous clean-shaven and more filled-out appearance. He was wearing a black hat and a light gray jacket. At age 72, Weinstein admits that he isn’t in the best of heath and that “the years have taken their toll.” His eyes watered several times during the recording and he appears desolate and lacking hope, despite his pleas to President Barack Obama to negotiate with al Qaeda for his release.
The State Department is working to authenticate the video, with Jen Psaki, a representative of the department, reiterating the request that Weinstein be released for the sake of his family. She mentioned that this is yet another holiday that Weinstein has been kept away from his family and that the prayers of the State Department are with him as well as with those who miss and love him.
A few reporters in Pakistan were anonymously emailed the video in addition to a link to an image of a handwritten letter said to be penned by Weinstein as well. He requested the media ensure that he is not forgotten by continuing to play his story and to force the American government to attempt to negotiate or campaign for his release. Weinstein says he does not want to become just another statistic.
The first video proving Weinstein had been captured but treated relatively well was released in May 2012, making this second video to demonstrate that Warren Weinstein is still alive after being kidnapped by al Qaeda.
Weinstein is from Rockville, MD. and was a consultant for J.E. Austin Associates Inc., a USAID contractor. He came to Pakistan nine years ago to assist the U.S. government in a time of danger and uncertainty for the Middle Eastern country. On August 20 of 2011, he was abducted from his Lahore home in Pakistan, shortly before he had planned to return home to the United States. According to the U.S. Embassy and Pakistani officials, the kidnappers pretended to be neighbors with food for Weinstein, then hit the contractor and his driver with the butts of their pistols before tying up the guards meant to protect Weinstein. It was then believed that he was taken to the tribal region along the Pakistani/Afghanistan border, where the new leader of al Qaeda, Ayman Al Zawahiri, made oblique references to holding him captive.
Al Qaeda’s terms for the release of Weinstein include an immediate cease to U.S. airstrikes against Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan as well as the release of all Taliban and al Qaeda suspects being held around the globe. In this video, Weinstein also states that his captors will allow his family to visit him if Obama allows the same for other al Qaeda members being held by the U.S.
Despite Weinstien’s pleas, the White House has reiterated its commitment to not negotiate with terrorists. Though Warren Weinstein is still alive after being kidnapped and held in an ordeal stretching over two years, he seems to have little hope of being rescued from al Qaeda by the United States, regardless of his appeals to Obama as a family man.
By Marisa Corley