Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter
  1
Share on Facebook
  6
Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend 7 Shares     
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Article Stats
3 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

The Dark Side of "Zero Dark Thirty"

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 2 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 1   Well Said 1   Supported 1  
View Ratings | Rate It

Headlined to H4 1/11/13

opednews.com

Cross-posted from Consortium News


On Jan. 11, eleven years to the day after George W. Bush sent the first detainees to Guantanamo, the Oscar-nominated film Zero Dark Thirty makes its national debut. Zero Dark Thirty is disturbing for two reasons.

First and foremost, it leaves the viewer with the erroneous impression that torture helped the CIA find bin Laden's hiding place in Pakistan. Second, it ignores both the illegality and immorality of using torture as an interrogation tool.

The thriller opens with the words "Based on first-hand accounts of actual events." After showing footage of the horrific 9/11 attacks, it moves into a graphic and lengthy depiction of torture. The detainee "Ammar" is subjected to waterboarding, stress positions, sleep deprivation, and confined in a small box.

Responding to the torture, he divulges the name of the courier who ultimately leads the CIA to bin Laden's location and assassination. It may be good theater, but it is inaccurate and misleading.

The statement "based on first-hand accounts of actual events" is deceptive because it causes the viewer to think the story is accurate. All it really means, however, is that the CIA provided Hollywood with information about events depicted in the movie.

Acting CIA Director Michael Morell wrote a letter to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence in which he admitted the CIA engaged extensively with the filmmakers. After receiving his letter, Sens. John McCain, Dianne Feinstein and Carl Levin requested information and documents related to the CIA's cooperation.

The senators sent a letter to Morell saying they were "concerned by the film's clear implication that information obtained during or after the use of the CIA's coercive interrogation techniques played a critical role in locating Usama Bin Laden (UBL)."

They noted, "the film depicts CIA officers repeatedly torturing detainees. The film then credits CIA detainees subjected to coercive interrogation techniques as providing critical lead information on the courier that led to the UBL compound." They state categorically: "this information is incorrect."

The letter explains that after a review of more than six million pages of CIA records, Feinstein and Levin made the following determination:

"The CIA did not first learn about the existence of the UBL courier from CIA detainees subjected to coercive interrogation techniques. Nor did the CIA discover the courier's identity from CIA detainees subjected to coercive techniques.

"No CIA detainee reported on the courier's full name or specific whereabouts, and no detainee identified the compound in which UBL was hidden. Instead, the CIA learned of the existence of the courier, his true name, and location through means unrelated to the CIA detention and interrogation program."

In a speech on the Senate floor, McCain declared, "It was not torture, or cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of detainees that got us the major leads that ultimately enabled our intelligence community to find Osama bin Laden."

McCain added: "In fact, not only did the use of 'enhanced interrogation techniques' on Khalid Sheik Mohammed not provide us with the key leads on bin Laden's courier, Abu Ahmed; it actually produced false and misleading information."

Many high-level interrogators, including Glenn L. Carle, Ali Soufan and Matthew Alexander, report that torture is actually ineffective and often interferes with the securing of actual intelligence. A 2006 study by the National Defense Intelligence College concluded that traditional, rapport-building interrogation techniques are very effective even with the most recalcitrant detainees, but coercive tactics create resistance.

Moreover, torture is counter-productive. An interrogator serving in Afghanistan told Forbes...

"I cannot even count the amount of times that I personally have come face to face with detainees, who told me they were primarily motivated to do what they did, because of hearing that we committed torture. ... Torture committed by Americans in the past continues to kill Americans today."

Torture is also illegal and immoral -- important points that are ignored in Zero Dark Thirty. After witnessing the savage beating of a detainee at the beginning of the film, the beautiful heroine "Maya" says "I'm fine."

As he's leaving Pakistan, Maya's colleague Dan tells her, "You gotta be real careful with the detainees now. Politics are changing and you don't want to be the last one holding the dog collar when the oversight committee comes."

Next Page  1  |  2

 

http://www.marjoriecohn.com

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and immediate past president of the National Lawyers Guild. She is author of  'The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse, and 
Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law and co-author of Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent. Her anthology, The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse. Her articles are archived at www.marjoriecohn.com.

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Stanford Antiwar Alums Call for War Crimes Investigation of Condoleezza Rice

Bradley Manning Treatment Reveals Continued Government Complicity in Torture

Obama's Af-Pak War is Illegal

"Big Brother is Watching You" -- Beyond Orwell's Worst Nightmare

Obama Spells New Hope for Human Rights

Arizona Law Recalls Past US Racism

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
3 people are discussing this page, with 3 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)
I saw it. What a waste of my time. Total pure prop... by Davey Jones on Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 1:32:58 PM
George W Bush - Chief of TortureCommander of Aggre... by Lance Ciepiela on Friday, Jan 11, 2013 at 6:58:55 PM
I talk about movies pre and post 9/11 here. The st... by Steven G. Erickson on Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 at 3:32:44 PM