Thursday, June 7, 2007

Entry #10 - Dec 20, 2006

Went back to the Police Training Center for the Graduation Ceremony of Class #35. A total of 1750 cadets graduated. I recorded the ceremony but the best part was after the ceremony. I captured laughter, joy, tears, hugging and kissing. It moved me to watch these recruits getting their personal belongings, being searched, signing to get the $120 American dollars for 8 weeks of training and getting on their bus heading back to Iraq as Policemen.

I have learned so much and have documented over 20 hours of HDV Video to share. Many things I will not talk about until I return to the United States. But rest assure it will enlighten you and make you better informed.

What is happening in this part of the world effects each of us and we need to make it our business to be informed to effect positive change. For Iraq, for the Middle East, for America and the for world in which we all live in.

Signing off for now.

Entry #9 - Dec 19, 2006

Finally got clearance from Bagdad and Washington to videotape the activities of JIPTC: Jordan International Police Training Center. The clearance process delayed the shooting by one day, which meant I had to wake up at dawn and work until sunset.

Today I covered all of the tactacle operations including the shooting range, IED: Internal Explosive Devices and many others. Attached are a few pictures of the Cadets in action.

Tomorrow I will cover the Graduation of Class #35 and will interview several officers in the afternoon.

At 4:30PM on the base which incidently is 330km (270 miles) from the Iraqi Boarder, and an hour's drive from Amman. We witnessed this awesome sunset which I am honored to share with you.

Entry #8 - Dec 17, 2006

Scuba Jeff
Took a two day holiday with Tom to Aqaba where we went driving in the Red Sea. Aqaba is awesome, a valley surrounded by huge desert mountains converging with Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia. Attached are a few of the 150 pictures we took during our dives. You will see a Lion Fish, a Puffer Fish, Moray Eels, and a Skate (like a manta Ray).

We also drove to Wadi Rum to look at awesome desert mountains and rounded our trip in Petra an incredible(Pre-Roman)archeological site where they filmed the Indiana Jones Movie.

Enjoy all the pics.

I'll be back at work in Amman tomorrow.

Moray Eels at Kiwi Reef in the Red Sea Aqaba, Jordan Pictures of Petra

Entry #7 - Dec 15, 2006

Had my first experience in a Cafe and smoked apple flavored tobacco out of a hubbly bubbly. As you can tell I enjoyed it.

Today I covered an event sponsored by JIPTC at King Hussein's National Park. There is a picture of Tom Barclay and me enjoying the festivities.

Tonight is short because I am in Aqba the Southern part of Jordan which borders Israel, Eygpt and Saudi Arabia. We are getting ready to scubadive in the Red Sea.

Taking a break from the documentary for some R&R.

Jeff In the Coffee Shop

Jeff and Tom at King Hussen Park

Entry #6 - Dec 14, 2006

We interviewed an Iraqi Refugee family in Hisban about 30 minutes outside of Amman. The family of 4 lives on 100 Dinars a month and spends 75 Dinars for the kids to go to school. 1 Dinar or JD is equivalent to $1.40 US which means they live on about $35 per month. Jordan will not allow refugee children to go to public schools, so the parents have to send their kids to a private one. Even though they had no money they wanted us to stay for dinner. Here is a picture of me and the family.

We also interviewed Ahamed Radey, the former President of the Iraqi Sports League who is stationed in Amman and travels frequently to Bagdad. He is very active in the Al-Maleky Government. His comments during the interview were more political then personal. Pictured is my Mid-East Correspondent Hashem wearing a suit.

Some additional cultural trivia:

When men in this part of the world greet each other and they are friends, it is the custom to give a kiss on each cheek and the more you know the person the more times and with intensity you kiss that person. I only had to do this once, so far anyway.

People here drive like maniacs and yet I have not seen an accident even though they occur. The rule of the road is: If I get there first---Move Out of my way.

You get a break from my entries for the next two nights because I am traveling to Aqba for a scuba diving excursion. I finally get a break from all this work.

Also next week pending final approval, I get to go to JIPTC: Jordan International Police Training Center to tape the training of Iraqi Police Cadets.

I will keep you posted.

Entry #5 - Dec 12, 2006

The Journey in Jordan continues. Today our task was to document Iraqi Athletes and Coaches who fled to Jordan because of terrorist kidnapping and murder activities. Our first stop was the Jordian Newspaper: Al Dustor. We met with reporters who provided us with a list of coaches and athletes in the country and arranged for us to met Fadi Zureikat, the Director of the King Hussen Sports City. He works directly under Prince Ali Ben Al Hussen. He agreed to be interviewed as a Jordian Official and explain their role in helping Iraqi athletes and the refugees.

We met another Olympic and World Cup Iraqi Soccer Coach Adnan Hamadan. He fled to Iraq in 2004 and now coaches the Jordian Soccer team called Al-Faysaley. We went to his afternoon practice and where I shot the practice and interviewed two Soccer Players who play for the team.

One of the highlights of the day included visiting the Al-Faysaley Club house and meeting Baker Aladwan who ran the club. We got the grand tour and he insisted that I hold the first World Cup they won in 1944 and take a picture with it and then Hashem got to don a uniform and hold the latest trophy from the Asian Games.

Some trivia:

Where ever you go, it is the custom to offer, coffee and tea and it is an insult if you do not accept it. We went to over 10 different locations today, its 11:00PM Jordanian time and I'm WIRED.

Everybody and I mean everybody in this country smokes cigarettes. Yesterday I got sick from an interview in a small room with three people smoking at once.

So between the coffee, tea and ciggarettes I'm coming back wired and stinky.

Entry #4 - Dec 12, 2006

Hashem, my Mid-East Correspondent and I continue to meet and interview Iraqi refugees. Today we met Talit Mahomed who was the Iraqi coach of the Olympic Ping Pong Team and had to flee Iraq two months ago for fear of his life. He left his wife and 3 small children behind because he could not afford to take them. We also met Naseir Kardauh who recently lost his brother in a bombing and had no family left in Iraq. These stories are compelling a we all get emotional hearing about them. Everyone we have interviewed is grateful for the opportunity to talk to Americans. This leaves me with a tremendous responsibility to get the program air time. That is my task ahead.

Attached are a couple of pictures of Hashem interviewing Talit and me with Talit and Naseir.

After the interviews, we needed a change of pace. We had been working too hard without any relaxation. Hashem and I drove to Mt. Nebo which overlooks the Dead Sea and Israel. We saw one of the most breathtaking sunsets I have ever witnessed in my life. It is definitely where heaven and earth connect. Here I am in the hotest spot on earth feeling totally at peace. The attached pic from Mt Nebo does not do justice to what I was blessed to see. After it got dark, we saw the lights of Jerusalem, Jerico, Amman and a panaramic view of the Jordan Valley. It is a breathtaking view.

After Nebo we met up with my friend Tom and drove to Madaba, to experience the most unusal and some of the best chiken I have ever eaten. My hand is still orange from it.

For those of you wondering about JIPTC, I got word yesterday that I was a "reporter in good standing" and allowed to film the Cadets. I am waiting for them to tell me what days I am allowed on base. I'll keep you posted.

Tomorrow, we are scheduled to meet the Iraqi Coach of the Countries Soccer Team.

Stay tuned.....