Podcast: Remembering and honoring aid worker Warren Weinstein

For this week’s podcast, we’re going to re-post our interview a year ago with Alisa Weinstein – the daughter of Warren Weinstein, an aid worker who we learned today was killed, along with another Al Qaeda captive, Italian Giovanni Lo Porto, in a U.S. counter-terrorism attack on the terrorist group.

As most media are reporting, Weinstein and Lo Porto appear to have been killed in January in a U.S.-directed drone strike targeting Al Qaeda in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Reuters:

The United States is conducting a review to understand how the operation killed the unintended targets, Obama said in an appearance at the White House. He added: “I profoundly regret what happened. On behalf of the United States government, I offer our deepest apologies to the families.”

Warren Weinstein had been in Pakistan for seven years, working with a contractor on local-scale economic development. Then four days before he was due to leave, in August 2011, gunmen barged into his house in Lahore and took him prisoner. Weinstein had been in captivity for nearly three years now, his health deteriorating.

His wife, Elaine, is quoted in Reuters criticizing the Obama Administration for its ‘inconsistent and disappointing’ approach to dealing with such situations.

Like other American families whose relatives have been killed over the past year after being held hostage by militants in the Middle East, she called for a better U.S. government policy for relaying information to hostages’ families.

“We hope that my husband’s death and the others who have faced similar tragedies in recent months will finally prompt the U.S. Government to take its responsibilities seriously and establish a coordinated and consistent approach to supporting hostages and their families,” she said in a statement.

Happier times for the family of Warren Weinstein, who is seated at far right. Alisa Weinstein is at far left.

Happier times for the family of Warren Weinstein, who is seated at far right. Alisa Weinstein is at far left.

Below is our podcast from last June talking with Alisa about her father, the terrible ordeal her family has gone through – back when she still had hope he would someday return home. Gabe Spitzer, my KPLU collaborator and Humanosphere podcast producer, is a friend of Alisa Weinstein. If you want to get beyond the now-dated news highlights discussion we have, go to minute 10:45 where Gabe begins his chat with Alisa:

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About Author

Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at]humanosphere.org or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.