May 21 2010

New Film By Laura Poitras Focuses on Al Qaeda’s Abu Jandal

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the oathThe war in Afghanistan reached a grim milestone on Tuesday. A roadside bomb in Kabul brought the toll of American dead to over 1,000. After taking seven years to reach 500 deaths, the war claimed the second 500 American lives in less than two years. Now, award-winning film maker Laura Poitras, has made a new documentary, The Oath. The film details the lives of two brothers-in-law who served as Osama bin Laden’s trusted aides in Afghanistan before the September 11 attacks. The first is a man whose name is well known to most Americans – Salim Hamdan, bin Laden’s personal driver who was captured shortly after the U.S. invasion in 2001 and imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. As Hamdan’s military lawyers navigate the tribunal system in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, Hamdan’s brother-in-law who goes by the name, Abu Jandal, becomes the narrative focus of the film. Jandal, once known as Al Qaeda’s Emir of Hospitality for his role in Afghanistan, screening new jihadis for bin Laden, now regales young Muslim men in his living room with stories of his days in Al Qaeda. Living in his homeland of Yemen, Abu Jandal is a “graduate” of The Dialogue, the Yemeni government’s re-education camp for imprisoned jihadis. Abu Jandal is man caught between two oaths: the oath to Al Qaeda and the oath he pledged to the Yemeni government not to wage jihad after his release from jail. Abu Jandal walks a balancing act between his new life as a father and taxi driver, and a practiced vetter of young Muslims willing to wage jihad. The Oath, by Laura Poitras opens tonight at Laemmle’s Sunset 5 Theatre at 8000 Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood. Laura Poitras is the acclaimed director of My Country My Country which was nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary and called by the Village Voice as “the definitive non-fiction film about the occupation of Iraq.”

Laura Poitas will be present for a Q&A at the 7 p.m. showing of “The Oath,” tonight at the Laemmle’s Sunset 5 Theatre at 8000 Sunset Blvd in West Hollywood.

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