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Old 12-17-2012, 07:12 AM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Zero Dark Thirty

We need a thread committed to this subject, because I'm hearing it has a lot of stuff in it about the torture committed at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo.

This is not in the Media Center because, as always, there will be a distinctly political angle.

If you get a chance to see this movie, you should report back to us and let us know how you felt the movie depicted the techniques used by the CIA, and how it had an impact (if any) on your views on the subject.

Some people have claimed this thread is apologia for torture, others have suggested it exposes it as the heinous war crime that it was. The director has dodged the question as much as possible.

What have you heard about it? I am totally seeing this flick.
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:19 AM   #2
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Im going to see the Hobbit on Tuesday. Any reviews on it? Thanks Op we needed a movie thread to get away from these dreadful real life threads thAt bring out so much angst
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:22 AM   #3
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I think there actually is a Zero Dark Thirty thread in DC
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:25 AM   #4
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What Gitmo torture are you talking about?
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:26 AM   #5
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Review posted by the author of The Dark Side:

http://www.newyorker.com/online/blog...rk-thirty.html

Zero Conscience in “Zero Dark Thirty”
Posted by Jane Mayer
December 14, 2012

At the same time that the European Court of Human Rights has issued a historic ruling condemning the C.I.A.’s treatment of a terror suspect during the Bush years as “torture,” a Hollywood movie about the agency’s hunt for Osama bin Laden, “Zero Dark Thirty”—whose creators say that they didn’t want to “judge” the interrogation program—appears headed for Oscar nominations. Can torture really be turned into morally neutral entertainment?

“Zero Dark Thirty,” which opens across the country next month, is a pulse-quickening film that spends its first half hour or so depicting a fictionalized version of the Bush Administration’s secret U.S. interrogation program. In reality, the C.I.A.’s program of calibrated cruelty was deemed so illegal, and so immoral, that the director of the F.B.I. withdrew his personnel rather than have them collaborate with it, and the top lawyer at the Pentagon laid his career on the line in an effort to stop a version of the program from spreading to the armed forces. The C.I.A.’s actions convulsed the national-security community, leading to a crisis of conscience inside the top ranks of the U.S. government. The debate echoed the moral seriousness of the political dilemma once posed by slavery, a subject that is brilliantly evoked in Steven Spielberg’s new film, “Lincoln”; by contrast, the director of “Zero Dark Thirty,” Kathryn Bigelow, milks the U.S. torture program for drama while sidestepping the political and ethical debate that it provoked. In her hands, the hunt for bin Laden is essentially a police procedural, devoid of moral context. If she were making a film about slavery in antebellum America, it seems, the story would focus on whether the cotton crops were successful.

After some critics called Bigelow a torture apologist, she defended the fairness and historical accuracy of her movie. “The film doesn’t have an agenda, and it doesn’t judge. I wanted a boots-on-the-ground experience,” she told my New Yorker colleague Dexter Filkins, who interviewed her for a Talk of the Town piece. At a Los Angeles press junket, the film’s screenwriter, Mark Boal, complained that critics were “mischaracterizing” the torture sequences: “I understand that those scenes are graphic and unsparing and unsentimental. But I think that what the film does over the course of two hours is show the complexity of the debate.” His point was that because the film shows multiple approaches to intelligence gathering, of which torture is only one tactic, and because the torture isn’t shown as always producing correct or instant leads, it offers a nuanced answer to the question of whether torture works.

But whether torture “worked” was far from the most important question about its use. I’ve seen the film and, as much as I admired Bigelow’s Oscar-winning picture “The Hurt Locker,” I think that this time, by ignoring the full weight of the dark history of torture, her work falls disturbingly short. To begin with, despite Boal’s contentions, “Zero Dark Thirty” does not capture the complexity of the debate about America’s brutal detention program. It doesn’t include a single scene in which torture is questioned, even though the Bush years were racked by internal strife over just that issue—again, not just among human-rights and civil-liberties lawyers, but inside the F.B.I., the military, the Justice Department, and the C.I.A. itself, which eventually abandoned waterboarding because it feared, correctly, that the act constituted a war crime. None of this ethical drama seems to interest Bigelow.

To establish a baseline of moral awareness, she shows her heroine—a C.I.A. counterterrorism officer called Maya, played by Jessica Chastain—delicately wincing as she hands the more muscled interrogators a pitcher of water with which to waterboard a detainee. Maya is also shown standing mutely by when the detainee is strung up by ropes, stripped naked, and forced to crawl in a dog collar. In reality, when the C.I.A. first subjected a detainee to incarceration in a coffin-size “confinement box,” as is shown in the movie, an F.B.I. agent present at the scene threw a fit, warned the C.I.A. contractor proposing the plan that it was illegal, counterproductive, and reprehensible. The fight went all the way to the top of the Bush Administration. Bigelow airbrushes out this showdown, as she does virtually the entire debate during the Bush years about the treatment of detainees.

The lone anti-torture voice shown in the film is a split-second news clip of President Barack Obama, taken from a “60 Minutes” interview, in which he condemns torture. It flashes on a television screen that’s in the background of a scene set in Pakistan; the movie’s terrorist-hunters, who are holding a meeting, barely look up, letting Obama’s pronouncement pass without comment. “By this point in the film,” as the CNN national-security analyst Peter Bergen wrote recently, “the audience has already seen that the C.I.A. has employed coercive interrogation techniques on an al Qaeda detainee that produced a key lead in the hunt for bin Laden. In the film, Obama’s opposition to torture comes off as wrongheaded and prissy.”

Bigelow has portrayed herself as a reluctant truth-teller. She recently described the film’s torture scenes as “difficult to shoot.” She said, “I wish it was not part of our history. But it was.”

Yet what is so unsettling about “Zero Dark Thirty” is not that it tells this difficult history but, rather, that it distorts it. In addition to excising the moral debate that raged over the interrogation program during the Bush years, the film also seems to accept almost without question that the C.I.A.’s “enhanced interrogation techniques” played a key role in enabling the agency to identify the courier who unwittingly led them to bin Laden. But this claim has been debunked, repeatedly, by reliable sources with access to the facts. As the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent first reported, shortly after bin Laden was killed, Leon Panetta, then the director of the C.I.A., sent a letter to Arizona Senator John McCain, clearly stating that “we first learned about ‘the facilitator / courier’s nom de guerre’ from a detainee not in the C.I.A.’s custody.” Panetta wrote that “no detainee in C.I.A. custody revealed the facilitator / courier’s full true name or specific whereabouts.”

The Senators Dianne Feinstein, a California Democrat and the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Carl Levin, a Michigan Democrat and the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, have undermined the film’s version of events further still. “The original lead information had no connection to C.I.A. detainees,” they wrote in their own letter, revealed by the Post last year. Feinstein and Levin noted that a third detainee in C.I.A. custody did provide information on the courier, but, importantly, they stressed that “he did so the day before he was interrogated by the C.I.A. using their coercive interrogation techniques.” In other words, contrary to the plotline of “Zero Dark Thirty,” and contrary to self-serving accounts of C.I.A. officers implicated in the interrogation program, senators with access to the record say that torture did not produce the leads that led to finding and killing bin Laden.

Top senators on the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee have amplified that position in additional interviews this week. Speaking with the Huffington Post, Feinstein said of the movie’s narrative, “Based on what I know, I don’t believe it is true.” Republicans, too, criticized the movie’s plot. “It’s wrong. It’s wrong. I know for a fact, not because of this report—my own knowledge—that waterboarding, torture, does not lead to reliable information … in any case—not this specific case—in any case,” said John McCain, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, who was himself tortured during the Vietnam War. The Huffington Post also quoted South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, another Republican member of the Armed Services Committee, saying, “I would argue that it’s not waterboarding that led to bin Laden’s demise. It was a lot of good intelligence-gathering from the Obama and Bush administrations, continuity of effort, holding people at Gitmo, putting the puzzle together over a long period of time—not torture.”

As Scott Shane wrote in the Times on Thursday, so little is publicly known about the C.I.A.’s erstwhile interrogation program that it is nearly impossible for outsiders to assess the facts with total confidence. But for the past three years, Democratic staffers at the Senate Intelligence Committee have been compiling six thousand pages of records related to the secret program, and in doing so they have found little to celebrate. It is hard to understand, then, why the creators of “Zero Dark Thirty” so confidently credit the program.

In addition to providing false advertising for waterboarding, “Zero Dark Thirty” endorses torture in several other subtle ways. At one point, the film’s chief C.I.A. interrogator claims, without being challenged, that “everyone breaks in the end,” adding, “it’s biology.” Maybe that’s what they think in Hollywood, but experts on the history of torture disagree. Indeed, many prisoners have been tortured to death without ever revealing secrets, while many others—including some of those who were brutalized during the Bush years—have fabricated disinformation while being tortured. Some of the disinformation provided under duress during those years, in fact, helped to lead the U.S. into the war in Iraq under false premises.

At another point in the film, an elderly detainee explains that he wants to coöperate with the U.S. because he “doesn’t want to be tortured again.” The clear implication is that brutalization brings breakthroughs. Other ways of getting intelligence, such as bribing sources with expensive race cars, are shown to work, too. But while those scenes last only a few minutes, the torture scenes seem to go on and on.

The filmmakers subtly put their thumb on the pro-torture scale, as Emily Bazelon put it, in another scene, too. A C.I.A. officer complains that there is no way for him to corroborate a lead on bin Laden’s whereabouts now that the detainees in Guantánamo all have lawyers. The suggestion is that if they are given due process rather than black eyes, there will be no way to get the necessary evidence. This is a canard, given that virtually all suspects in the American criminal-justice system have lawyers, yet their cases proceed smoothly and fairly every day.

Bigelow has stressed that she had “no agenda” when she made “Zero Dark Thirty.” Unsurprisingly, though, those who have defended the brutalization of detainees have already begun embracing the film as evidence that they are right. Joe Scarborough, the conservative host of MSNBC’s show “Morning Joe,” said recently that the film’s narrative, “whether you find it repugnant or not,” shows that the C.I.A. program was effective and “led to the couriers, that led, eventually, years later, to the killing of Osama bin Laden.” My guess is that this is just the beginning, and that by the time millions of Americans have seen this movie, they will believe that, as Frank Bruni put it in a recent Times column, “No waterboarding, no bin Laden.”

Perhaps it’s unfair to expect the entertainment industry to convey history accurately. Clearly, the creators of “Zero Dark Thirty” are storytellers who really know how to make a thriller. And it’s true that there are no rules when it comes to fiction. As Boal, the screenwriter, has protested in recent interviews, “It’s a movie, not a documentary.” But in the very first minutes of “Zero Dark Thirty,” before its narrative begins to unspool, the audience is told that the story it is about to see is “based on first-hand accounts of actual events.” If there is an expectation of accuracy, it is set up by the filmmakers themselves. It seems they want it both ways: they want the thrill that comes from revealing what happened behind the scenes as history was being made and the creative license of fiction, which frees them from the responsibility to stick to the truth.

Knowing the real facts—the ones that led the European Court of Human Rights to condemn America for torture this week—I had trouble enjoying the movie. I’ve interviewed Khaled El-Masri, the German citizen whose suit the E.C.H.R. adjudicated. He turned out to be a case of mistaken identity, an innocent car salesman whom the C.I.A. kidnapped and held in a black-site prison for four months, and who was “severely beaten, sodomized, shackled, and hooded.” What Masri lived through was so harrowing that, when I had a cup of coffee with him, a few years ago, he couldn’t describe it to me without crying. Maybe I care too much about all of this to enjoy it with popcorn. But maybe the creators of “Zero Dark Thirty” should care a little bit more.
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:33 AM   #6
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Peter Bergen wrote a great book on the hunt for Bin Laden.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/10/opinio...rty/index.html

'Zero Dark Thirty': Did torture really net bin Laden?
By Peter Bergen, CNN National Security Analyst
updated 6:47 PM EST, Tue December 11, 2012

(CNN) -- "Zero Dark Thirty" is a likely shoo-in, deservedly, for Oscar nominations for best director (Kathryn Bigelow) and best screenplay (Mark Boal) and perhaps a slew of other categories.

Jessica Chastain, who plays Maya, a CIA analyst who in the film is the key player in finding Osama bin Laden, is reminiscent of Cate Blanchett in both looks and talent. The movie is beautifully filmed, and the propulsive score moves the action forward effectively.

Leaving aside its obvious merits as a film, how well does Zero Dark Thirty tell the complex tale of the decade-long hunt for bin Laden after 9/11? It's a valid question to ask since, after all, Bigelow told The New Yorker's Dexter Filkins, "What we were attempting is almost a journalistic approach to film," and Boal told the Los Angeles Times, "I wanted to approach the story as a screenwriter but do the homework as a reporter."

The compelling story told in the film captures a lot that is true about the search for al Qaeda's leader but also distorts the story in ways that could give its likely audience of millions of Americans the misleading picture that coercive interrogation techniques used by the CIA on al Qaeda detainees -- such as waterboarding, physical abuse and sleep deprivation -- were essential to finding bin Laden.

This week, the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee plans to vote on whether to approve the as-yet unreleased findings of a 6,000-page report about its three-year investigation into the secret CIA interrogation program that is depicted in "Zero Dark Thirty."

This report promises to be the definitive assessment of the intelligence value of the CIA's coercive interrogation techniques. After the examination of millions of pages of evidence, the chairmen of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee have publicly stated that coercive interrogation techniques such as waterboarding did not provide the information that led to bin Laden.

Endorsing the view that waterboarding was key to finding bin Laden does not seem to have been the intention of "Zero Dark Thirty's" filmmakers. Boal said that, in reality, a "whole array of tools" were used to find bin Laden and that the film "tried to be balanced." And certainly, "Zero Dark Thirty" shows some of the Agatha Christie-like sleuthing at the CIA and high-tech surveillance techniques that were instrumental in tracking down al Qaeda's leader.

But the fact is that about half an hour of the beginning of "Zero Dark Thirty" consists of scenes of an exhausted, bloodied al Qaeda detainee named Ammar who is strung to the ceiling with ropes; beaten; forced to wear a dog collar while crawling around attached to a leash; stripped naked in the presence of Maya, the female CIA analyst; blasted with heavy metal music so he is deprived of sleep; forced to endure crude waterboardings; and locked into a coffin-like wooden crate.

These visceral scenes are, of course, far more dramatic than the scene where a CIA analyst says she has dug up some information in an old file that will prove to be a key to finding bin Laden.

(Full disclosure: Along with other national security experts, as an unpaid adviser I screened an early cut of "Zero Dark Thirty." We advised that the torture scenes were overwrought. Al Qaeda detainees held at secret CIA prison sites overseas were certainly abused, but they were not beaten to a pulp, as was presented in this early cut. Boal said that as a result of this critique, some of the bloodier scenes were "toned down" in the final cut of the film. I also saw this final version of the film. Finally, HBO is making a theatrical release documentary which will be out in 2013 based on my book about the hunt for bin Laden entitled "Manhunt.")

Tricked into talking

After the detainee Ammar is systematically abused by his CIA captors in "Zero Dark Thirty," he is tricked into believing that he has already inadvertently given up key information about al Qaeda as a result of all the abuse and sleep deprivation that he has undergone. At this point, Ammar starts cooperating with his CIA interrogators and tells them about a man known as "Abu Ahmed al Kuwaiti" who played some kind of important role in al Qaeda.

It is Abu Ahmed al Kuwaiti -- which in Arabic means "the father of Ahmed from Kuwait" -- who ultimately proves to be bin Laden's courier and whose trail leads CIA officials to the compound in Abbottabad in northern Pakistan where they eventually come to believe that bin Laden himself is hiding.

How much does this correspond to what is now known about how the Kuwaiti was, in fact, found? In real life, the character known as Ammar in the film is quite similar to Mohammed al-Qahtani, a Saudi whom al Qaeda was grooming to be the 20th hijacker in the months before the 9/11 attacks. It was al-Qahtani who supplied the CIA with what may have been the first clue that Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti had some importance inside al Qaeda.

Between November 23, 2002, and January 11, 2003, al-Qahtani was interrogated for 48 days at Guantanamo more or less continuously, kept awake for much of that time by loud music being blasted when he was falling asleep, doused with water and subjected to cold temperatures, kept naked and forced to perform tricks as if he were a dog. However, he wasn't waterboarded or beaten.

From the secret summaries of al-Qahtani's Guantanamo interrogations made public by WikiLeaks, at some point, it's not exactly clear when, he told interrogators about a man known as Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti who was part of the inner circle of al Qaeda's leaders.

Another al Qaeda member named Hassan Ghul who was also subjected to coercive interrogation techniques in a CIA secret prison told his interrogators at some point -- when, it is also not clear -- that the mysterious Abu Ahmed al-Kuwaiti was one of bin Laden's couriers.

Balanced against this, harsh techniques including waterboarding were also used by the CIA on two of the most significant leaders of al Qaeda: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who was the operational commander of the 9/11 attacks, as well as his successor as No. 3 in al Qaeda, Abu Faraj al-Libi. Both these al Qaeda leaders gave up disinformation about the Kuwaiti to their interrogators. ("Zero Dark Thirty" shows al-Libi lying to his interrogators about the Kuwaiti.)

For the defenders of coercive interrogation techniques, the example of al-Qahtani and Ghul might seem to prove that these kinds of approaches actually worked, while for critics of such techniques, the cases of Mohammed and al-Libi show that coercion also produced false information.

The FBI's role

Of course, "Zero Dark Thirty" can't address in 2½ hours the whole complex tale of the CIA interrogation program, but an important strand of that tale is missing from the film.

FBI officials were adamantly opposed to the use of coercive techniques by the CIA on al Qaeda detainees because they deemed them both unethical and counterproductive. An FBI official noted that after his abusive interrogations by the CIA, al-Qahtani began "evidencing behavior consistent with extreme psychological trauma (talking to non-existent people, reporting hearing voices, crouching in a cell covered with a sheet for hours on end.)"

And the story of Abu Zubaydah, the first prisoner to be placed in a secret overseas CIA prison, is an instructive counterargument to the idea that coercive interrogations are the best way to get useful information out of terrorists and is a tale that does not appear in "Zero Dark Thirty."

Abu Zubaydah was first interrogated by Ali Soufan, one of the few Arabic-speaking FBI agents. Soufan softened up Abu Zubaydah by calling him "Hani," the childhood nickname his mother had used for him, a fact that the FBI agent had gathered from intelligence files. The approach started yielding quick results.

When Abu Zubaydah was shown a series of photos of al Qaeda members by Soufan, he identified one of them as the operational commander of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. Abu Zubaydah's confirmation of Mohammed's role in 9/11 was the single most important piece of information uncovered about al Qaeda after the attacks on the Trade Center and Pentagon, and it was discovered during the course of a standard interrogation, without recourse to any form of coercion. Soufan recalled that Abu Zubaydah gave up the information about a week or so into his interrogation.

Abu Zubaydah was later waterboarded 83 times by the CIA. This form of simulated drowning is generally considered torture, but none of it produced much in the way of useful information. In the end, the multiple waterboardings of Abu Zubaydah provided no specific leads on any plots, although clearly his role as an al Qaeda logistician did give him insights into the organization and its personnel.

Eight years more

And were interrogations of al Qaeda detainees anyway really the key to how bin Laden was ultimately found? After all, it still took another eight years after the interrogation of the 20th hijacker, al-Qahtani, to find bin Laden.

Indeed, there were a number of key breaks during those eight years that had nothing to do with the interrogations of al Qaeda detainees. A large break, according to U.S. counterterrorism officials, came in 2007, when a foreign intelligence service that they won't identify told the CIA that the Kuwaiti's real name was Ibrahim Saeed Ahmed.

This lead seems very likely to have come from the Pakistanis given the fact that "the Kuwaiti" was, in fact, a Pakistani whose family had settled in Kuwait and who from 2002 onward was back living in Pakistan. (In "Zero Dark Thirty," the break about identifying the Kuwaiti's real name is explained as coming from Morocco's intelligence service.)

It would still take three more years for the CIA to find Ibrahim Saeed Ahmed in Pakistan, a country with a population of 180 million people. This involved painstaking work going through reams of phone conversations to try to locate him through his family and circle of associates.

In June 2010, the Kuwaiti and his brother both made changes in the way they communicated on cell phones that suddenly opened up the possibility of the "geolocation" of both their phones, according to U.S. counterterrorism officials.

Finally, sometime in the late summer of 2010, the Kuwaiti received a call from an old friend in the Gulf, a man whom U.S. intelligence officials were monitoring. "We've missed you. Where have you been?" asked the friend. The Kuwaiti responded elliptically. "I'm back with the people I was with before." There was a tense pause in the conversation as the friend mulled over that response. Likely realizing that the Kuwaiti was back in bin Laden's inner circle, the caller replied after some hesitation, "May God facilitate."

The CIA took this call as a confirmation that the Kuwaiti was still working with al Qaeda, a matter that officials were still not entirely sure about.

The National Security Agency was listening to this exchange and through geolocation technologies was able to zero in on the Kuwaiti's cell phone in northwestern Pakistan. But the Kuwaiti practiced rigorous operational security and was always careful to insert the battery in his phone and turn it on only when he was at least an hour's drive away from the Abbottabad compound where he and bin Laden were living. To find out where the Kuwaiti lived by monitoring his cell phone would only go so far.

In August 2010, a Pakistani "asset" working for the CIA tracked the Kuwaiti to the crowded city of Peshawar, where bin Laden had founded al Qaeda more than two decades earlier. In the years when bin Laden was residing in the Abbottabad compound, the Kuwaiti would regularly transit though Peshawar, as it is the gateway to the Pakistani tribal regions where al Qaeda had regrouped in the years after 9/11.

Once the CIA asset had identified the Kuwaiti's distinctive white Suzuki SUV with a spare tire on its back in Peshawar, the CIA was able to follow him as he drove home to Abbottabad, more than two hours drive to the east.

The large compound where the Kuwaiti finally alighted immediately drew interest at the agency because it didn't have phone or Internet service, which implied its owners wanted to stay off the grid. Soon, some CIA officials would come to believe that bin Laden himself was living there.

Every form of intelligence-gathering

The sequence of events that led the CIA to bin Laden involved first interrogations that surfaced the alias of bin Laden's courier. That was then followed by key information coming from a "liaison" relationship with a foreign intelligence service that supplied the real name of the courier, which was then followed by U.S. signals intelligence (known as SIGINT) that tracked the courier's phone to a particular city in Pakistan and finally human intelligence ("HUMINT," CIA spies on the ground) who tracked the courier to Abbottabad.

In short, the hunt for bin Laden could not have been accomplished without every form of American intelligence-gathering. And certainly, "Zero Dark Thirty" tries to make that point clear with gripping scenes of CIA officers using direction-finding technology to zero in on the courier's cell phone in a crowded Pakistani city. But there is little doubt that the torture scenes in the movie will be the ones that linger with filmgoers.

"Zero Dark Thirty" will be released at a time when Americans are becoming more likely to embrace the idea that torturing prisoners suspected of terrorism is justified. In September, a YouGov poll indicated that 41% of Americans endorse this view. That is up 14% from a similar poll taken in 2007.

While "Zero Dark Thirty" was in production, some Republican politicians were harshly critical of the manner in which the Obama administration was granting access to its director and screenwriter. Rep. Peter King, R-New York, warned that the filmmakers had engaged in an "extremely close, unprecedented, and potentially dangerous collaboration with top officials at the CIA, DoD (the Pentagon), and the White House."

In fact, the film, which will be released on December 19, barely mentions Obama, even though he did, after all, make the politically perilous decision to send the Navy SEALs deep into Pakistan to hunt down bin Laden.

The one time the president does appear in "Zero Dark Thirty" is in a clip from a "60 Minutes" interview in which he criticizes the use of "torture." By this point in the film, the audience has already seen that the CIA has employed coercive interrogation techniques on an al Qaeda detainee that produced a key lead in the hunt for bin Laden. In the film, Obama's opposition to torture comes off as wrongheaded and prissy.

Ironically, one of the most vocal supporters of the CIA's use of coercive interrogation techniques is the same Republican politician who was the most critical of the way that the Obama administration granted access to the filmmakers of "Zero Dark Thirty." King told Fox News shortly after bin Laden was killed, "for those who say that waterboarding doesn't work, who say it should be stopped and never used again, we got vital information which directly led us to bin Laden."

That is certainly not the considered view of the chairmen of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee, who have spent the past three years investigating the CIA interrogation program. Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, and Carl Levin, D-Michigan, released a statement in April that is completely at odds with the claims of King:

"CIA did not first learn about the existence of the UBL (bin Laden) courier from detainees subjected to coercive interrogation techniques. ... 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. ... The CIA detainee who provided the most significant information about the courier provided the information prior to being subjected to coercive interrogation techniques."

Let's hope that the Senate Intelligence Committee report is largely declassified and made public. The American public has a right to know whether the coercive techniques that were used in its name actually worked or not.

"Zero Dark Thirty" is a great piece of filmmaking and does a valuable public service by raising difficult questions most Hollywood movies shy away from, but as of this writing, it seems that one of its central themes -- that torture was instrumental to tracking down bin Laden -- is not supported by the facts.
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Old 12-17-2012, 07:41 AM   #7
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Obama comes off as "wrongheaded and prissy".... Sounds like the movie is pretty accurate.
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Old 12-17-2012, 09:30 AM   #8
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Obama's opposition to torture in the movie, according to Peter Bergen comes off as "wrongheaded and prissy".... Sounds like the movie is pretty accurate.
Fixed. If accuracy matters, might as well go for it each time.
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Old 12-17-2012, 09:46 AM   #9
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Direckshun is torturing all of us
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Old 12-17-2012, 09:55 AM   #10
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Fixed. If accuracy matters, might as well go for it each time.
What I posted was entirely accurate, but if we're going for a more complete story, let's not blend someone's editorial aside into it:

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Originally Posted by patteeu View Post
Obama's opposition to the enhanced interrogation program comes off as "wrongheaded and prissy".... Sounds like the movie is pretty accurate.
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Old 12-17-2012, 10:24 AM   #11
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What I posted was entirely accurate, but if we're going for a more complete story, let's not blend someone's editorial aside into it:
"Enhanced interrogation" and the legal opinion supporting their use is an editorial, albeit stamped with official approval.

Does it bother you that the discussion surrounding this movie is "Did torture help lead to bin Laden?" and not "Did enhanced interrogation help lead to bin Laden?"
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Old 12-17-2012, 10:31 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Literature View Post
"Enhanced interrogation" and the legal opinion supporting their use is an editorial, albeit stamped with official approval.

Does it bother you that the discussion surrounding this movie is "Did torture help lead to bin Laden?" and not "Did enhanced interrogation help lead to bin Laden?"
No, I'm not bothered by it. I just correct it when it comes up.
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Old 12-17-2012, 11:15 AM   #13
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This movie..0D30 is totally inappropriate, but what do you expect from a morally bankrupt movie business.
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Old 12-17-2012, 11:16 AM   #14
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This movie..0D30 is totally inappropriate, but what do you expect from a morally bankrupt movie business.
Why is it inappropriate?
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Old 12-17-2012, 11:38 AM   #15
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Why is it inappropriate?
Because it details the killing of the AQ leader, which happened within the past year. It has the potential to incite the terrorist enemy. 5-10 years from now...sure...but right now...it's ill timed. I get that it's based on a true story and will be a great deal of fiction, however, crazy religious nuts won't view it that way.
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