Tag Archives: Weicong Xia

VIDEO: ‘Reporting Vietnam’ a gritty look at reporting the war


Marking the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Vietnam War, a new exhibit allows visitors to take a retrospective look at the war’s legacy through the lens of American journalists.

It opened Friday at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

“With the exhibit,” said Curator Carrie Christoffersen, “we really hope that people will gain the better understanding of how and why journalists did what they did, how they brought coverage of the Vietnam War to a divided nation.”

The exhibit, called “Reporting Vietnam,” showcases historic photos, news footage, newspapers and magazines, evocative music and more than 90 artifacts that characterized the war era.

Challenging perceptions of America’s first televised war, it considers the question, “Did the press lose the war?”

The answer was “no” for Neil Lakdawala, a student at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

“The media was not always just trying to portrait what the government wants,” he said. “I think they did a good deal of work to bring the truth to the light.”

For both Lakdawala and Christoffersen, the highlight of the exhibit was the collection of Larry Burrows, an English photographer known for his pictures of the war.

On display is a helmet found at the site of the 1971 helicopter crash in Laos that killed Burrows and three counterparts.

There also are iconic Pulitzer Prize-winning pictures that symbolized the brutality of the war, such as “Napalm Girl,” which triggered worldwide controversy over the image of a nude, screaming South Vietnamese girl whose clothes and flesh were burned off by napalm.

“What’s a better way to learn about Vietnam and the war than by people who were actually in the war,” Lakdawala said.

The exhibit, accompanied by the screening of an original documentary chronicling the war’s key moments, continues through mid-September.

Published in conjunction with Military Times Logo

Defense Department shows off cutting-edge tech

WASHINGTON — More than 100 display booths popped up in the Pentagon courtyard for the first-ever Defense Department Lab Day. These innovations, most of which are still under development, were designed by about 38,000 scientists and engineers.

Published in conjunction with USA Today Logo

Supporters of imprisoned ‘Lady al Qaida’ want proof she’s alive

A national civil right group is requesting an independent medical investigation for a political prisoner Aafia Siddiqui. (Andersen Xia/Medill)

A national civil right group is requesting an independent medical investigation for a political prisoner Aafia Siddiqui. (Andersen Xia/Medill)

— The lawyer for a Pakistani woman who was the first female terrorist suspect after the 9/11 attacks is demanding evidence that she is still alive at a federal prison in Texas, despite prison officials’ assertion that she is.

Aafia Siddiqui, a U.S.-trained scientist known as “Lady al Qaida,” is serving 86 years in a Fort Worth, Texas, federal prison for shooting at U.S. Army officers and FBI agents who were interrogating her in 2010 in Pakistan for her alleged involvement in terrorist efforts against the U.S. A New York jury in 2010 found her guilty of attempted murder and assault.

“We believe only by having an independent medical evaluation can the world be assured that she is alive and well,” Siddiqui lawyer Stephen Downs said this week at a news conference in Washington.

Downs, executive director of the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms, said Siddiqui has not been seen or heard from by her family or friends in more than a year. Pakistani consulate staff who tried to visit her at the Federal Medical Center Carswell were only shown the back of a woman, which made it impossible to identify whether it was Siddiqui, the lawyer said.

The organization demanded that Siddiqui be examined by a medical team that would include her sister, a Harvard-trained neurologist living in Pakistan.

Federal Medical Center Carswell spokeswoman Patricia Comstock said Wednesday that Siddiqui is alive, and she has seen her recently. However, Comstock declined to reveal Siddiqui’s medical condition.

The FBI in 2003 declared Siddiqui the world’s most wanted woman until she was captured five years later in Ghazni, Afghanistan. Upon her arrest, she was found to be in possession of numerous documents describing the making of chemical weapons, dirty bombs and instructions to attack landmarks in the U.S.

During her American interrogation in Pakistan, Siddiqui allegedly picked up an unsecured M-4 rifleand fired twice, missing both. She was subdued after the officers returned fire with a pistol and hit her in the torso.

The U.S. government said Siddiqui was a jihadist who married a nephew of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged 9/11 mastermind, even though Siddiqui’s family denied the marriage. Both the Islamic State, known by various acronyms – including ISIS – and the Taliban had reportedly tried to swap American captives for her.

“ISIS is trying to get in on the popularity of Aafia,” Downs said. “She has nothing to do with ISIS. She was locked up before ISIS even got going.”

A petition was filed in July on whitehouse.gov with more than 100,000 signatures demanding Siddiqui’s repatriation to Pakistan. Supporters held a protest three weeks ago in front of the Federal Bureau of Prisons calling for her release.

Published in conjunction with McClatchy DC Logo

Congresswomen: Abducted Nigerian schoolgirls should not be forgotten

Rep. Federica Wilson, (D) - Florida, is giving a speech Wednesday at the Capitol to remind people of the Nigerian schoolgirls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram one year ago. (Andersen Xia/MEDILL)

Rep. Federica Wilson, (D) – Florida, is giving a speech Wednesday at the Capitol to remind people of the Nigerian schoolgirls who were kidnapped by Boko Haram one year ago. (Andersen Xia/MEDILL)

WASHINGTON — Marking the one-year anniversary of the abduction of 276 Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram, lawmakers spoke at the Capitol Wednesday. Two girls who escaped, along with some 50 others, attended the press conference. The House Foreign Affairs committee is considering funding to resettle some of the displaced people in the U.S., using some of millions of dollars seized by the United States from former Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha. The new Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said Tuesday in a statement that he cannot promise to find the remaining missing girls. Continue reading