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Friday, February 22, 2013

Torture Expert Calls 'Zero Dark Thirty' Bunk

UPDATE:  And now, more criticism--this time from family of heroic stewardess on 9/11 whose voice is used at start of film.  Family raise several demands--including one that is torture-related.

Earlier: The NYT has posted, early, a few pieces from its Sunday Review section, including two related to Zero Dark Thirty, which probably will NOT win the Oscar for Best Picture on Sunday.   Regular contributor Tim Egan says the film does not deserve to win because it tried to have things "both ways."  He loved the film when he first saw then changed his mind on a second viewing, and now writes: "It’s obvious, now, why the C.I.A. was cooperative with the filmmakers: they couldn’t have asked for better product placement....the C.I.A. has shown just how adept it is at spinning Hollywood."

But the key piece is an op-ed by Ali Soufan, the well-known former FBI special agent  who interrogated suspected al-Qaeda operatives.  He says simply:  "As a movie, I enjoyed it. As history, it’s bunk."  The headline on his piece outlines it this way:  "Torture, Lies and Hollywood." Just one point:
Portraying torture as effective risks misleading the next generation of Americans that one of our government’s greatest successes came about because of the efficacy of torture. It’s a disservice both to our history and our national security.
While filmmakers have the right to say what they want, government officials don’t have the right to covertly provide filmmakers with false information to promote their own interests. Providing selective information about a classified program means there is no free market of ideas, but a controlled market subject to manipulation. That’s an abuse of power.

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