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Wolf writes: "By peddling the lie that CIA detentions led to Bin Laden's killing, you have become a Leni Riefenstahl-like propagandist of torture."

Portrait, author and activist Naomi Wolf, 10/19/11. (photo: Guardian UK)
Portrait, author and activist Naomi Wolf, 10/19/11. (photo: Guardian UK)


Zero Dark Thirty's Torture Lie

By Naomi Wolf, Guardian UK

05 January 13

 

By peddling the lie that CIA detentions led to Bin Laden's killing, you have become a Leni Riefenstahl-like propagandist of torture

he Hurt Locker was a beautiful, brave film; many young women in film were inspired as they watched you become the first woman ever to win an Oscar for directing. But with Zero Dark Thirty, you have attained a different kind of distinction.

Your film Zero Dark Thirty is a huge hit here. But in falsely justifying, in scene after scene, the torture of detainees in "the global war on terror", Zero Dark Thirty is a gorgeously-shot, two-hour ad for keeping intelligence agents who committed crimes against Guantánamo prisoners out of jail. It makes heroes and heroines out of people who committed violent crimes against other people based on their race - something that has historical precedent.

Your film claims, in many scenes, that CIA torture was redeemed by the "information" it "secured", information that, according to your script, led to Bin Laden's capture. This narrative is a form of manufacture of innocence to mask a great crime: what your script blithely calls "the detainee program".

What led to this amoral compromising of your film-making?

Could some of the seduction be financing? It is very hard to get a film without a pro-military message, such as The Hurt Locker, funded and financed. But according to sources in the film industry, the more pro-military your message is, the more kinds of help you currently can get: from personnel, to sets, to technology - a point I made in my argument about the recent militarized Katy Perry video.

It seems implausible that scenes such as those involving two top-secret, futuristic helicopters could be made without Pentagon help, for example. If the film received that kind of undisclosed, in-kind support from the defense department, then that would free up million of dollars for the gigantic ad campaign that a film like this needs to compete to win audience.

This also sets a dangerous precedent: we can be sure, with the "propaganda amendment" of the 2013 NDAA, just signed into law by the president, that the future will hold much more overt corruption of Hollywood and the rest of US pop culture. This amendment legalizes something that has been illegal for decades: the direct funding of pro-government or pro-military messaging in media, without disclosure, aimed at American citizens.

Then, there is the James Frey factor. You claim that your film is "based on real events", and in interviews, you insist that it is a mixture of fact and fiction, "part documentary". "Real", "true", and even "documentary", are big and important words. By claiming such terms, you generate media and sales traction - on a mendacious basis. There are filmmakers who work very hard to produce films that are actually "based on real events": they are called documentarians. Alex Gibney, in Taxi to the Dark Side, and Rory Kennedy, in Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, have both produced true and sourceable documentary films about what your script blithely calls "the detainee program" - that is, the regime of torture to generate false confessions at Guantánamo and Abu Ghraib - which your script claims led straight to Bin Laden.

Fine, fellow reporter: produce your sources. Provide your evidence that torture produced lifesaving - or any - worthwhile intelligence.

But you can't present evidence for this claim. Because it does not exist.

Five decades of research, cited in the 2008 documentary The End of America, confirm that torture does not work. Robert Fisk provides another summary of that categorical conclusion. And this 2011 account from Human Rights First rebuts the very premise of Zero Dark Thirty.

Your actors complain about detainees' representation by lawyers - suggesting that these do-gooders in suits endanger the rest of us. I have been to see your "detainee program" firsthand. The prisoners, whom your film describes as being "lawyered up", meet with those lawyers in rooms that are wired for sound; yet, those lawyers can't tell the world what happened to their clients - because the descriptions of the very torture these men endured are classified.

I have seen the room where the military tribunal takes the "testimony" from people swept up in a program that gave $5,000 bounties to desperately poor Afghanis to incentivize their turning-in innocent neighbors. The chairs have shackles to the floor, and are placed in twos, so that one prisoner can be threatened to make him falsely condemn the second.

I have seen the expensive video system in the courtroom where - though Guantánamo spokesmen have told the world's press since its opening that witnesses' accounts are brought in "whenever reasonable" - the monitor on the system has never been turned on once: a monitor that could actually let someone in Pakistan testify to say, "hey, that is the wrong guy". (By the way, you left out the scene where the CIA dude sodomizes the wrong guy: Khaled el-Masri, "the German citizen unfortunate enough to have a similar name to a militant named Khaled al-Masri.")

In a time of darkness in America, you are being feted by Hollywood, and hailed by major media. But to me, the path your career has now taken reminds of no one so much as that other female film pioneer who became, eventually, an apologist for evil: Leni Riefenstahl. Riefenstahl's 1935 Triumph of the Will, which glorified Nazi military power, was a massive hit in Germany. Riefenstahl was the first female film director to be hailed worldwide.

It may seem extreme to make comparison with this other great, but profoundly compromised film-maker, but there are real echoes. When Riefenstahl began to glamorize the National Socialists, in the early 1930s, the Nazis' worst atrocities had not yet begun; yet abusive detention camps had already been opened to house political dissidents beyond the rule of law - the equivalent of today's Guantánamo, Bagram base, and other unnameable CIA "black sites". And Riefenstahl was lionised by the German elites and acclaimed for her propaganda on behalf of Hitler's regime.

But the world changed. The ugliness of what she did could not, over time, be hidden. Americans, too, will wake up and see through Zero Dark Thirty's apologia for the regime's standard lies that this brutality is somehow necessary. When that happens, the same community that now applauds you will recoil.

Like Riefenstahl, you are a great artist. But now you will be remembered forever as torture's handmaiden.


 

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+91 # CharlieL 2013-01-05 15:50
By the way, the "You" that the author is referring to is director-produc er Kathryn Bigelow and writer-producer Mark Boal.

Somehow, that is missing from this wonderful piece.
 
 
+103 # Michael_K 2013-01-05 16:15
"Like Riefenstahl, you are a great artist. But now you will be remembered forever as torture's handmaiden."

This is exactly what went through my mind when I witnessed Bigelow's surrender to evil. The Riefenstahl analogy is inescapable.. except it's a lot worse, because Bigelow know all about Riefenstahl, of course.
 
 
+2 # Rita Walpole Ague 2013-01-08 09:52
And, Naomi Wolf, you are a great, 'fight by write' artist, and will be remembered forever as a journalist with the brains, courage and determination to constantly tell truth, that talent so hated by the karlroving, bushwhacking, kochsucking MSDers - manipulators, spinners, distracters.
 
 
+7 # dfvboulder 2013-01-05 23:25
wow.

savage.

as was called for.
 
 
+38 # artdavidii 2013-01-05 23:34
Thank you for your insightful rendering of the 'propaganda' of Zero Dark Thirty.
My question now is why ? It seems the director/produc er are brain washed like many who view the film will be too.
 
 
+50 # RLF 2013-01-06 08:24
I think she is working for someone to do this obvious manipulation and if she is just hungry for the consumer buck...let's disappoint her...I'm sure as hell not going.
 
 
+32 # in deo veritas 2013-01-06 10:02
Me neither! Too much pandering to the regime's propoganda already. There will be a backlash by the Muslim world over this film.
 
 
+42 # susienoodle 2013-01-06 00:09
excellent review; I will not see it, even when it eventually comes on cable. Gotta wonder what Kathryn's biases are that she would collude in this way. I'll bet she won't win this time. Academy voters don't like this type of behavior.
 
 
+58 # rjmcca22 2013-01-06 00:12
When the Obama administration failed to charge anyone for war crimes for torturing prisoners, and there were no consequences, it gave the guilty individuals a license to continue to argue and embellish the merits of torture. And this movie would never have been made if the worst offenders were sitting in prison. While they argue that what they did was right, its interesting that the CIA destroyed all evidence of the torture tapes. If they were right, why did they seek to conceal their actions? This is the long term price we will pay because Obama's policy is to look forward, not back, unless its to provide retroactive immunity to the telecom industry.
 
 
+31 # RLF 2013-01-06 08:26
And the lawyer at justice ( I forget his name...oriental guy) should be disbarred for his unconstitutiona l actions.
 
 
+39 # mozartssister 2013-01-06 09:08
John Yoo. Yes he should. He is the Eichmann of our time.

I wondered, as I read this wonderful anlysis, whether the "investigation" Congress has now undertaken into whether Bigelow had access to classified information is just an underhanded way to put a stamp of legitimacy on the movie's claims. To pretend that torture, indeed, does work.

But we have long since lost whatever soul we may have once had, in any case. Long live the republic.
 
 
+13 # Walter J Smith 2013-01-06 10:59
Please help me out here. How, regarding torture, does Eric Holder distinguish himself from John Yoo & the other "torture is God's work" mob?
 
 
+10 # Walter J Smith 2013-01-06 10:58
I'm glad you brought in this connection with the current regime's Cheney-Bush policy. It helps make the connections that the Democratic Party either refuses, or pretends to not notice. Obama has never been anything but totally and unquestioningly devoted to the Wall Street US Global Dominance theory. In their minds, only idiots believe in democracy and republics. Maybe they are right. For their true-believing followers.
 
 
+27 # Activista 2013-01-06 00:33
Very few reporters have the intellect, emotions (morals) and COURAGE as Naomi Klein has.
Glorifying of killing old sick UNARMED man in his bed - shooting his wives - what a heroic act macho Obama did.
We as students had to watch (compulsory) political propaganda. Here in USA people are paying for it?
 
 
-20 # RLF 2013-01-06 08:27
Yeah Osama actually deserves a much more unpleasant death like he caused for so many.
 
 
+25 # 4yourinformation 2013-01-06 11:12
So, how did bin Laden bring down Bldg 7?
 
 
+8 # Activista 2013-01-06 12:54
Quoting 4yourinformation:
So, how did bin Laden bring down Bldg 7?

I wonder - can you point me to the information how he did it? Thanks!
 
 
+13 # Activista 2013-01-06 21:04
Deboldt answered my question below:
Lie #2.Bin Laden was the mastermind behind 9/11. (This of course was the biggest lie of the operation and presumably the film. Bin Laden had no operational role in 9/11.)
 
 
+1 # NOMINAE 2013-01-15 22:01
Quoting Activista:
Very few reporters have the intellect, emotions (morals) and COURAGE as Naomi Klein has.
Glorifying of killing old sick UNARMED man in his bed - shooting his wives - what a heroic act macho Obama did.
We as students had to watch (compulsory) political propaganda. Here in USA people are paying for it?


That may all be true, except that, in this case, the author is Naomi Wolf, not Naomi Klein.
 
 
+42 # brux 2013-01-06 00:45
The military can always claim whatever it wants to claim, and the retrospective investigation and releasing of documents shows an awful lot of big lies .. so the credibility of the military these days should be very tenuous.

Now that capital has been built up by the military-indust rial-complex and applied toward media and energy consolidation - as well as influence buying in the government America has a real problem on its hands. The capital in capitalism is all owned and manipulated by a shadow government that uses the media to lie to us and distract us while this process proceeds to the stranglehold level.

The thing is that if the military had good "pure" intentions to "make the world safe for democracy" I think they would easily be able to explain and prove that to Americans and the world, so the fact that they have not is really something that Americans ... i.e. we are just not willing to look at or admit what it means, about America and our government.
 
 
+23 # imaginum 2013-01-06 00:55
You mean the Bin Laden whose body the Pres announced was "in our possession" just before it was dumped in the sea? You mean the raid where a chopper was shot down but we lied and reported no casualties? The raid where most everyone involved was tragically killed all at once a few days later by a lone "Taliban?"
Endorsing torture is the least of it.
Kathryn's dad is an elite's elite billionaire - MIC, aerospace, CIA, black projects out the ass, Bohemian Grover extraordinaire.
Naomi, don't cripple your brilliant mind by accepting one lie to decry another. Ditto 9/11.
 
 
+6 # Walter J Smith 2013-01-06 11:02
Well, you had me going for a breezy ride through truth-telling there until you suggested Naomi Klein was buying into a lie. But you didn't reveal in a way I could see it, what that lie is.

Can you help us dummies out a bit here?
 
 
+34 # fdawei 2013-01-06 00:57
Thank you, again, Naomi, for bringing the truth to witness.
Most Americans cannot distinguish right from wrong and are propagandized by these very amoral films that seek to glorify despicable and unprovable acts by so-called heroes and heroines who worked tirelessly against the war on terror.
The film critics should have been able to see through this maze of hypocrisy and double-speak. But NO. They are in the thrall of the military industrial defense complex and are themselves deluded by the grandeur and "selfless" acts of the CIA and their nefarious bedfellows-in-c rime.
 
 
+43 # Deboldt 2013-01-06 01:01
Lie #4. Torture is an effective way to extract accurate intelligence information.

Lie #5 Killing OBL without a shred of an attempt at capture was not a cowardly and a dastardly act.

Lie #6. The action was not by every standard of international law a heinous operation by a rouge state who long ago abandoned even the pretense of legitimacy.

Lie #7. The American people, by almost universally celebrating this barbaric act, have somehow avoided placing themselves morally beneath even the Germans who approved the rape of Poland and supported The Final Solution.

A quote from George Orwell will provide an appropriate bookend here. "He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past." We have highly paid, applauded and awarded “artists” like Kathryn Bigelow to assure us with moving images, convincing effects and perfect accuracy all the details of a past that never existed.
 
 
+38 # Deboldt 2013-01-06 01:03
Quite aside of the lack of any respect for the actuality of the events leading up to the dispatching of bin Laden, I think I can safely say (without having seen the movie) the errors and lies that find correspondence in both the movie and the popular culture are:

Lie #1.The Big Lie that so-called War on Terror is not a thinly veiled ruse to mask our imperial ambitions abroad and deprive Americans of their Constitutionall y guaranteed rights at home.

Lie #2.Bin Laden was the mastermind behind 9/11. (This of course was the biggest lie of the operation and presumably the film. Bin Laden had no operational role in 9/11.)

Lie #3. The American people must now accept extralegal killing and torturing as a necessary means of conducting the business of state, at home and abroad.
 
 
+4 # Deboldt 2013-01-06 01:12
I will finish my comments when I see if what I have already posted appears. There's never enough space provided to allow a detailed examination of the articles you present.
 
 
+16 # Holmes 2013-01-06 02:01
Amen.

Time to remember the outcomes of WW2 and the realization that for all of the effort put into forcibly extracting information from prisoners by all means, one just gets junk.

Likewise, one of the hallmarks of Stalin, et al, was the indiscriminate use of torture to impose terror on your opposition and population.

Where are the people of faith? Makes a mockery of "In God We Trust". Still aggressively discriminating against Gays and trying to stop abortion without proper sex education and encouraging the use of contraceptives? What about the recognition of universal human rights.

Just generating hatred, and then one hears the plaintive cry, "Why do they hate us so much?

The deep future looks not too good for the USA experiment. You can only keep building resentment for so long. In my part of the world, there is a saying 'The chooks come home to roost.'

As pointed out in WW2, better and humane interrogation systems worked better However if terror is all you want....do not expect safety.
 
 
+37 # Invisible Woman 2013-01-06 02:24
Why would any President, especially the current one, sign the "propaganda amendment" of the 2013 NDAA, just signed into law by the president, that the future will hold much more overt corruption of Hollywood and the rest of US pop culture. This amendment legalizes something that has been illegal for decades: the direct funding of pro-government or pro-military messaging in media, without disclosure, aimed at American citizens.?

Does this mean our tax dollars fund propaganda? Since when does the defense department invest in cinematic b.s. and not get called on the carpet for it? This is the scariest thing I've heard of all year. It makes me sick...Yes, shades of Leni come up all over again....is this what America has sunk to?
 
 
+11 # Walter J Smith 2013-01-06 11:09
Our tax dollars have been funding propaganda since before we were born.

What do you think it is when a reporter says or writes "reliable sources revealed today...."? It is propaganda. False propaganda. False information designed to make you believe what the powers that be want you to believe.

Remember the Buddha: Believe nothing you hear from anyone, not even from me, unless it feels true in you heart.

Remember Jesus: The kingdom of God is within you.

Obama, Inc., like GWB, Inc., like Fox, Inc., etc., ad nauseum, want you to believe only they are in possession of the kingdom God.
 
 
+30 # lorenbliss 2013-01-06 02:47
Though Ms. Wolf's denunciation of Bigelow as another Riefenstahl is undeniably true (all the more so given the present-day One Percent's direct connections to the Nazi past), her corollary assertion -- that "Americans too will wake up" -- is Polly Anna nonsense, an adult version of the sorts of lies with which one comforts frightened children.

True, the "thousand year" Third Reich lasted only a decade. But its reincarnation in the United States, the de facto Fourth Reich, will last a thousand years if not longer.

Moron Nation -- the state of neo-Nazified mindlessness to which the USian public has been reduced -- is inescapable. It is therefore forever. And this time there is no force on earth to save us from ourselves, nor will there ever be again. Thus, with 99 percent of us bound in abject slavery, will our species pass into extinction.

I am thankful I am old; I am even more thankful I brought no children into this concentration-c amp world to face its unspeakably savage future.
 
 
+8 # Walter J Smith 2013-01-06 11:12
We Americans will wake up. The way the Germans did in 1945. With strangers at our door. Or earlier, when strangers are tossing fire bombs or nukes at us, and we are defenseless because we believed all the right lies. Like the one from Alexander Hamilton about our government creating the greatest empire to have ever appeared on the planet.
 
 
+1 # lorenbliss 2013-01-06 17:03
From the perspective of the ruling USian, British and French capitalists, World War II was never about victory over fascism. It was instead a fight to determine which fascist cabal -- Berlin's, Rome's, Tokyo's or Wall Street's -- would rule the world.

That's why the U.S. was so generous to the losers, not only quickly restoring their economies but granting their most useful war criminals a safe haven in the postwar order

The only "strangers" (well said!) who truly brought the Germans the harsh justice they deserved were the men and women of the Red Army – the women who wore the Red Star including the deadliest snipers and some of the finest combat pilots in human history.

But we shall never see the Red Army's like again. Its revolutionary potential terrified the U.S. Ruling Class into an 80-year, multi-generatio nal, diabolically Machiavellian effort to replace constitutional governance with zero-tolerance tyranny.

Its unprecedented technological superiority guarantees capitalist ideology (infinite greed as maximum virtue) and capitalist governance (absolute power and unlimited profit for the Ruling Class, total subjugation for all the rest of us) can never again be successfully challenged.

Exactly as we are being taught -- whether by the crushing of Occupy or by post-election betrayals – resistance truly is futile. “Government of the people, by the people, for the people” has forever perished from the earth.
 
 
-3 # Mannstein 2013-01-06 21:45
The Red Army you blather on about was a horde of rappists. It's infantry consisted of three lines. The first was made up of criminal recruits from the Gulag. The second were regular recruits and behind them was the third line made up of Communist Commissars who would shoot anyone in the first two lines that did not advance fast enough. Some army that was. Had Patton had his way he would have reached Berlin first and kept on rolling East all the way to Moscow.
 
 
0 # lorenbliss 2013-01-07 16:56
My apology for the confusing phraseology; I was writing behind a fever of nearly 102F and through the haze of medications treating a severe upper respiratory infection (not an excuse, just an explanation).

Here is what my fourth and fifth grafs were intended to say:

"But we shall never see the Red Army's like again. Its revolutionary potential terrified the U.S. Ruling Class into an 80-year, multi-generatio nal, diabolically Machiavellian effort to replace constitutional governance with zero-tolerance tyranny."

"Now the Ruling Class has triumphed. Its technological superiority, without peer in human history, guarantees capitalist ideology (infinite greed as maximum virtue) and capitalist governance (absolute power and unlimited profit for the One Percent, total subjugation for all the rest of us) can never again be successfully challenged."

As to Mannstein's spurious claims about the Red Army, that's exactly what the Wehrmacht was told by Nazi propaganda. But there were all those contrary lessons, taught first by the defenders of Fortress Brest, next at Rostov and Moscow; then by the partizanska and the most successful guerilla warfare in military history; finally at Stalingrad, Leningrad, Kursk and ultimately Berlin itself.

Were it not for the Red Army and 35 million Soviet casualties, Hitler would have won.
 
 
0 # chickensroost 2013-01-07 23:39
stalin threw bodies in hitler's way, truly nothing heroic in that. the soldiers themselves, like any soldiers anywhere, no doubt covered the spectrum, courageous to cowardly, but, like soldiers everywhwere, were themselves cannon fodder for the State, Stalin's State...
 
 
+15 # Anarchist 23 2013-01-06 13:04
I'm old too; I too have no children to which I can pass this horror that was once(?) my country. But it won't last 1,000 years. The rate at which we are destroying the environment pretty much guarantees it will barely last out our lifetimes. There are many among us, suffering unspeakable violence and deprivation, who may feel like I and some of my friends do-indifferent to when Death claims us because our lives and hearts have been broken by the ugliness of what this country and the world have become.
 
 
+9 # lorenbliss 2013-01-06 17:29
Though the realities of being an unwanted child taught me cynicism long before I chose a career in newspaper journalism that elevated my cynicism to virtue, there were two traditional beliefs to which I nevertheless remained faithful.

One such belief was the commitment implicit in my enlistment oath -- "to defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies" -- which motivated not just my military service but my involvments in a number of other causes including the Civil Rights Movement and Occupy.

Another such belief was in the Boy Scout principle of always leaving the campsite in better shape than I found it, an ideal by which I tried to live my entire life.

But the Constitution I swore to defend has been nullified -- its Bill of Rights reduced to nothing more than a discarded scrap of paper -- and Campsite Earth has been trashed beyond any possibility of restoration.

Though surely not for lack of effort, I have failed the causes I most believed in. Indeed, in the face of such totality of failure, I find there is nothing left in which I take any significant pride at all.

And I cannot but wonder how many of my generational peers, in those silent solitary moments of brutally honest introspection that characterize our final years, feel exactly as I do.
 
 
-2 # Mannstein 2013-01-06 21:52
You failed to mention one other belief and that is justification of war crimes committed by the Red Army against German, Polish, Romanian, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Latvian, Estonian, and Fin civilians during and after the war. The East Prussian town of Nemmersdorf was a prime example what these sub humans were capable of.
 
 
-2 # Mannstein 2013-01-06 21:59
Ms Klein obviously has a hang up with Leni Riefenstahl but not with Judeo Bolshevists Beria nor Ilya Ehrenburg. To be expected from Communist fellow travellers. Where is the outrage about the Gulag or the Lubyanka? It's like they never existed in her world.
 
 
0 # dkonstruction 2013-01-08 12:28
Quoting Mannstein:
Ms Klein obviously has a hang up with Leni Riefenstahl but not with Judeo Bolshevists Beria nor Ilya Ehrenburg. To be expected from Communist fellow travellers. Where is the outrage about the Gulag or the Lubyanka? It's like they never existed in her world.


the article is about a filmmaker, hence the reference to and comparison with Leni Riefenstahl. I didn't realize Beria or Ehrenburg made films? Your pointing out that Beria and Ehrenburg were jews and not just "communists" (Bolsevists) is the same thing type of language the Nazis often used about those "jewish communists" (and, in fact, before he went after the Jews, Hitler first went after the German Communists) Interesting that you fail to note that "The Black Book" edited by him and Vassily Grossman, details what some have referred to as "the genocide" on Soviet citizens of Jewish ancestry or that his novel "The Thaw" is considered by many to be the firt "post-stalinist " novel published in the Soviet Union and for which he reveived much criticism by uncritical Stalinist.

So, to even suggest that Klein is defending either Beria or Ehrenburg (or Stalin for that matter) in a piece about Zero Dark Thirty is absurd on the face of it.
 
 
+35 # Western_Sage 2013-01-06 02:54
I suspect I will not be alone in never viewing this fictional film.
 
 
+27 # Glen 2013-01-06 08:01
Agreed, Western_Sage. This film was obvious propaganda from the first poster applied to the walls of theaters, and the criticism directed at Django Unchained should have been written up much more vehemently for this movie.

U.S. media aids and abets the obsession with war and glorifies it far more than any other country on the planet.
 
 
+16 # rpauli 2013-01-06 03:30
At first I agreed with you, but I am not sure the analogy fits. Reifenstahl was momentously innovative, outstanding. No one else could have done what she did. But Bigelow and Boal are just carrying on in a business filled with talented people each with increasing ethical lapses. There are hundreds of producers pre-corrupted and ready to do the same.
 
 
+6 # cordleycoit 2013-01-06 03:36
This dark film is showing that the real world has become a lot more dangerous with the arrival of American torturers. He some for neighbors work for the BOP and on call to the US Army. He marched bravely off to Gitmo did his thing and was reworded. They moved off following the BOP's pathway to success.What got me was the indifference to the job. It's just a job like blowing people up with drone strikes. I know I can expect torture if picked up for writing this.
 
 
+29 # wrodwell 2013-01-06 04:08
About two weeks ago, I saw a Charlie Rose interview featuring both director Kathryn Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal. Charlie also had problems with and questions about the graphic scenes of torture in "Zero Dark Thirty" that clearly suggest that the info gleaned from such activity was what led to locating and killing Osama Bin Laden. (Good riddance, by the way.) Boal's response was that the filmmakers made the decision that torture was crucial to getting Bin Laden because it was deemed to be more "cinematic". That fatal decision to give the overwhelming impression that torture is OK as long as it leads to the deaths of terrorists, is a gift "apologia" to the Bush Administration' s war criminals. (Somewhere, both Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld are celebrating and saying "I told you so".) Film critics are touting the film as worthy of an Oscar nomination -despite its deceptions masquerading as truth - no doubt in the name of art and freedom of speech. Naomi Wolf's comparison to Leni Riefenstahl may have even more resonance than she thinks, especially if our path towards surveillance fascism and the militarized Corporatocracy continues unabated. Perhaps "Zero Dark Thirty" will go down in history as America's version of Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will".
 
 
+13 # unitedwestand 2013-01-06 04:14
The main character Maya, became the villain once she took off her mask and assisted with the torture. The least simpatica
character I've ever seen in a movie. She is the monster under all our beds. We own her.
 
 
+7 # John Price 2013-01-06 08:08
I am proud of the FBI whose agents objected strenuously to the methods the CIA was using and noisily refused to participate but instead, reported them up their chain. The FBI uses utterly different results which are far more reliable.
 
 
+12 # ricardo 2013-01-06 09:22
Great article but as long as the huge ‘elephant in the room’ of the totally rigged false operation known as ‘911’ is continually danced around they’ll be boatloads of Nazi like nationalistic pride stories extolling the justifications for bludgeoning and blundering other nations while Naomi Wolf writes ‘safe’ articles.

I advise the readers to kindly reference an article by Veterans Today (4 May 2011) regarding an interview of Dr. Steve R. Pieczenik. Dr Pieczenik worked under at least three presidents and the Defense Dept as deputy assistant Secretary of State. He worked with Bin Laden during the Afghan war with the Soviets in the 80s. Pieczenik was told directly by a General that 911 was a false flag operation and was willing to go to a grand jury to attest to it and reveal the Generals name. According to Mr Pieczenik Bin Laden died shortly after 911 of Marfan Syndrome. Time to get real my fellow reader supported newsers.
 
 
+8 # in deo veritas 2013-01-06 10:17
If the contention that torture revealed valuable info then why was no attempt to take Bin Laden alive? If it worked he could have involved co-conspirators in 9/11 namely the Saudi ruling oligarchs and their bedfellows in the U.S. government ( Bush crime family?). The likelihood is that in step with this administration' s failure to prosecute war criminals or allow a REAL investigation into 9/11 the last thing that was desired was to get to the truth. No use taking chances that it would happen. I have no sympathy for anyone involved in attacking this country, whether they be foreign or domestic. May they all burn in hell.
 
 
+5 # Anarchist 23 2013-01-06 13:08
'Dead Men Tell No Tales' Osama meet Lee Harvey Oswald, another 'dead man' who told no tales of what really happened. And because of that-and the assassinations of other leaders like RFK and MLK Jr. we now live in a fascist state.
 
 
+8 # Peace Anonymous 2013-01-06 10:19
War and violence have been put up on a pedestal in our culture and we wonder how it finds its way into our homes and schools. But perhaps nobody puts it better than writer Megan Stack. Is this the world you want?
"Here is the truth: It matters, what you do at war. It matters more
than you ever want to know. Because countries, like people, have
collective consciences and memories and souls, and the violence
we deliver in the name of our nation is pooled like sickly tar
at the bottom of who we are. The soldiers who don’t die for us
come home again. They bring with them the killers they became
on our national behalf, and sit with their polluted memories
and broken emotions in our homes and schools and temples.
We may wish it were not so, but action amounts to identity.
We become what we do. You can tell yourself all the stories you
want, but you can’t leave your actions over there. You can’t build
a wall and expect to live on the other side of memory. All of that
poison seeps back into our soil."
-Every Man In This Village is a Liar
 
 
0 # Artemis 2013-01-08 17:30
Great quote that sums it all up.
 
 
+5 # mjnk 2013-01-06 10:44
Thank you so much for the wonderful article. The information about 'playing nice with the military' is spot on and common knowledge in the film-making community.

In addition, we do have courts and Bin Laden should have been tried here and put in a tiny room for the duration, instead of the rogue cowboy operation which allegedly took him out. Shamed again.....by the government and shame on the opportunistic film.
 
 
+9 # Rick Mason 2013-01-06 11:02
I can't fathom that anyone still believe any of the "official story" of 9/11 because that's all it is...a story! First, the laws of physics say it's absolutely impossible for the Twin Towers to 'collapse' from the damage and fires they endured. That was the result of either a controlled demolition or some kind of directed energy weapon we don't know about, period! Second, Osama Bin Ladin has been dead since December of 2001. Benizir Bhutto told David Frost on BBCTV that he had been assinated. Shortly after which she herself was murdered. Coincidence? Don't you believe it for one second!! Don't take my word, look it up on YouTube and learn about the impossibility of the collapse at ae911truth.com . Wake up, America, you have been lied to about the whole freaking story and made to allow your government to begin this never-ending so-called "War on Terror", an operation that will never end because it has no real 'enemy' and never did. This is the second biggest lie ever told to mankind and the sole reason this nation and the world are so messed up today. The movie, "Zero Dark Thirty" is another version of the FoxTV/Rupert Murdoch concocted hit show, "24" which brainwashed Americans into believing torture is neccessary to gain truthful intell. That show was dumped and this movie should be as well. Very few Americans today are able to look at all the evidence surrounding the lie that was and is "9/11" for fear of learning just how corrupt and evil U.S. government really is.
 
 
-3 # Sandmania 2013-01-06 23:31
The laws of physics actually mention the "twin towers"? Tens of thousands of people were there. They saw it happen. You were not there but somehow you know otherwise.
 
 
-4 # Sandmania 2013-01-06 23:49
I hope you don't mind my asking, but I really need to know. How old were you on 9/11/2001? Did you actually see what happened? It's on the Internet. You can watch it as it happened.

I know it must be hard for you to believe that hijacked airplanes were flown Kamikaze (do you know what that means ?) into buildings and that the resullting structural damage and fire led to collapse. The simplest answer always seems too complicated. But don't cite the laws of physics in your denials. Your assertions just prove you know nothing of physics.
 
 
-4 # Sandmania 2013-01-07 00:34
Airplanes crashed into each of the two World Trade Center towers on 9/11/2001. Each plane caused massive structural damage to more than 10 floors in each tower. At the same time, the impact knocked all of the fire proofing materials off of the steel skeleton of the structure. The result of the impact and fire caused the steel to buckle and collapse. The World Trade Center was built using prefabricated steel floors and lightweight trusses connected to load bearing walls. The impact of the airplanes didn't cause the collapse. It was a combination of the structural damage, the destruction of fire proofing materials, and the fires that caused the collapse. These are facts that you can easily verify. If you don't believe them, or you refuse to believe them, then you're a person who believes Two plus Two equals Five.
 
 
-1 # rhw007 2013-01-10 18:13
The what caused building 7 to fall? It was NEVER hit by airplane..it had the LEAST damage for the OTHER 4 buildings (3,4,5( a 22 story hotel top flooors severly damage) and 6) which DID NOT FALL !!! YOU learn some physics before opening your mouth to spout mis-information...please
Bob
 
 
+4 # Da Vid 2013-01-06 11:11
Amen To Ricardo's Comment Tens of millions of Americans and hundred of Millions abroad concur with Ricard's understanding.. . 9/11 was a false flag operation and Bin.n laden had died years before he was "killed" in this phoney enterprise..In time all will be revealed!
 
 
-13 # jacque31 2013-01-06 12:17
I saw Zero Dark Thirty. It is very well written, directed and acted. The torture scenes are graphic and awful. I draw a different conclusion from that of Ms. Wolf's. What I saw was torture that may have contributed a very small amount to the success of the mission, but it was good old fashioned detective work that got the job done. It seemed that all the characters in the movie were having a very hard time with the torture. And the movie does a service in forcing us to face the reality of the torture and the reality that it did in fact occur. As an aside, the Riefenstahl connection is insulting and ridiculous. Everyone should see this movie.
 
 
+4 # Anarchist 23 2013-01-06 13:11
Yes, one must sympathize with those who torture. What a humane outlook. I have a passport but no country as I am ashamed to be a citizen of this one-and yes-I have plans to leave if I must. We are a fascist totalitarian state and despite fine words 'free' elections-there is no turning back on this road to Hell 'paved with good intentions' (yeah right)
 
 
-2 # Activista 2013-01-06 21:10
I am leaving this country also - for at least 4-5 month a year. Can not stand this destruction on all levels. Back to nature.
 
 
-5 # brux 2013-01-06 13:19
I think that is a good point. Last night on the radio I heard a talk show host talk about "enhanced interrogation techniques" used by the French ... to justify the use of torture.

Her argument when something like this ...

- there had not been a case in US history of torture working, but there was on France.

There was a case where there were threats to fly a plane into the Eiffel Tower, and apparently somehow they found someon that was associated to the plot, and brought their family in and put a gun to their heads and said, "tell us what we need to know".

Supposedly this led to foiling the plot.

The problem with it is that we have no idea what really happened of if what they relate as the story was true.

Even had it been true, there is no broader understanding of whether it was needed or not, that is, how many other ways did or could have worked to solve this case. AND, when it comes down to something like threats to kill their families many Muslim terrorists who believe in martyrdom might not respond.

My problem is not so much with torture, per se, it's grabbing and torturing the wrong people. I could let torture pass if it actually did something that no other way would accomplish, and I think there might be one or two situations where it would, but torturing lots of other people in hopes of finding that one situation is counter-product ive and wrong.
 
 
+1 # flippancy 2013-01-07 01:07
The CIA itself admitted a few years ago that we got no useful information from torture and every bit of useful info came from skilled intelligence people finding common ground with and ereating suspects with respect and talking with them. Torture only gets you the answers you want, not reality.

And for the naysayers here, bin Laden was the head of al Qaeda and they showed some of the planning sessions with him running them. The Egyptian (forgot his name) was the actual planner, but bin Laden gavew the order to do it.
 
 
-2 # rhw007 2013-01-10 18:08
Bin LAden was A CIA STOOGE and ALWAYS was... He had LIVER discease and needed dialysis machine 24/7...see any dialysis machine in that "raid"? No because he died in a Miitary hospital in Saudia Arabia on 2001...the one Onama "killed" was right handed and the "stoog" look-alike" that Bish-Cheney used for porpoganda. READ and learn TRUTH...then judge.
Bob
 
 
+7 # Mike Duke 2013-01-06 14:37
Ms Klein, while on target as usual, is badly mistaken about “The Hurt Locker”.

Like “Zero Dark Thirty”, “The Hurt Locker” was also terror war porn, and apparently even more effectively insidious than “ZD30” in flying below the critical radar of so many thoughtful people.

Porn is propaganda designed to heat up a target audience to where it abandons critical thought and is lured into sacrificing crucial energy and resources on barren illusions.

Terror war porn like “The Hurt Locker” and “Zero Dark 30” is designed specifically to gin up and bamboozle the American people into swallowing the absurd notion of a war on terror and supporting American government use of terror tactics like torture and drone attacks. The lure that Ms Bigelow used in “The Hurt Locker” was the depiction our soldiers as heroic victims--wounde d, driven half-mad, and murdered by satanic foreigners, whose covert and cowardly tactics like IEDs leave us no choice but to fight terrorism with what-would-be-c ondemned-as-ter rorism if it were done to us.
 
 
-5 # Doc E 2013-01-06 14:46
I think a nice warm bath with fragrant oils, a nice session with a young 20 something girl would be better.
 
 
0 # flippancy 2013-01-07 01:02
Quoting Doc E:
I think a nice warm bath with fragrant oils, a nice session with a young 20 something girl would be better.


Yeah, that's as likely as Fox News telling the rtruth about anything political.
 
 
-11 # angelfish 2013-01-06 15:28
It seems we're ALL being taken BACK through the Looking Glass as the President prepares to honor "Hanoi Jane" Fonda as one of the Century"s 100 Remarkable Women. She's "remarkable" all right, for her calumnious behavior in betraying American Soldiers to their North Vietnamese Captors and Torturers! The Historical Revisionists are HARD at work trying to turn Sow's ears into Silk Purses. Thankfully, their are people Like Naomi Wolf who will call them out and remind us of the TRUTH, which, of course, will set you FREE!
 
 
-3 # angelfish 2013-01-07 01:10
Quoting angelfish:
It seems we're ALL being taken BACK through the Looking Glass as the President prepares to honor "Hanoi Jane" Fonda as one of the Century"s 100 Remarkable Women. She's "remarkable" all right, for her calumnious behavior in betraying American Soldiers to their North Vietnamese Captors and Torturers! The Historical Revisionists are HARD at work trying to turn Sow's ears into Silk Purses. Thankfully, their are people Like Naomi Wolf who will call them out and remind us of the TRUTH, which, of course, will set you FREE!

WHY the thumbs DOWN? She did what she DID and HARMED and had SOME of our Detainees Beaten To DEATH! WHY does she deserve ANY honor or recognition from this country? Just curious.
 
 
0 # rhw007 2013-01-10 18:05
Song Bird Mc Cain did more damage to America than ANYone else: Is John McCain a traitor? http://ow.ly/17aPO

He gave military intelligence to save his own asss when he forgot to tuck his legs and arms when he bailed out of FOURTH plane he lost...ONLY ONE in combat. He was drunk when flying the other threee in training.
Bob
 
 
+9 # oshman 2013-01-06 15:50
Could people read a little more carefully and give credit where credit is due. This review is by Naomi Wolf, not Naomi Klein as many have suggested.
 
 
+1 # Activista 2013-01-06 21:14
This review is by Naomi Wolf, not Naomi Klein as many have suggested.
I am one of those - name could be different - like both. Thanks for reminder.
 
 
+2 # Solomon Davidson 2013-01-06 16:13
Bigelow glorifies war. I hate her movies.
 
 
+4 # Jonathan Granoff 2013-01-06 22:53
The failure of the commercial press is as egregious as the failure of the film to portray truth. Here is a point that the public must grasp: What a US agent does to others makes it legitimate for others to engage in the same conduct against us. The reason for laws, like the Geneva Convention, is to prevent anyone from such conduct. When the most powerful say it is useful those with less power will surley say it is beneficial for them. Ms. Bigelow's praise of torture as useful is based on lies, will cause injury to innocent Americans and others the world over, and panders to the worst commercial interests in Hollywood -- crass commercialim that care neither for truth nor goodness. Shame on her.
 
 
-1 # Sandmania 2013-01-06 23:01
I didn't know the US government was rounding up Jews and systematically murdering them.
 
 
-1 # Sandmania 2013-01-06 23:24
This is a movie. Meant to entertain and, more importantly, make money. It's not propaganda. You have the freedom to research its content and draw your own conclusions. To compare it to Nazi propaganda shows your extreme ignorance about WWII. As far as I know, the United States' government is not systematically rounding up Jews and exterminating them. People using Nazi comparisons in reference to a film like this show a pride in ther ignorance.
 
 
+2 # Glen 2013-01-07 14:56
And the U.S. government takes pride in the ignorance of its citizens, and how easily citizens will accept the murder of an old man, rather than an arrest, and with absolutely no proof bin Laden was the culprit in anything related to 9/11. And then allow all involved to be claimed as heroes.

The movie is definitely propaganda in its effort to sell the lie to the world.
 
 
+1 # Sandmania 2013-01-07 20:38
Can't argue with stupidity.
 
 
0 # Artemis 2013-01-08 17:50
"Boal's response was that the filmmakers made the decision that torture was crucial to getting Bin Laden because it was deemed to be more "cinematic"."
How telling and how vacuous. I always thought cinematic meant the art or technique of making films (for me: innovative visual/structur al form and beauty), not box-office profits. It could have been a great moral tale like "Judgement at Nuremberg" and still have been cinematic.

I would recommend instead watching the interview on Tuesday's Democracy Now! - an exclusive interview with Sami al-Hajj, the only journalist held at Guantánamo, about his capture, detainment and torture - one would think he was captured by a group of vile, sadistic, perverse brutes rather than the US military. It made me weep and sickened me. But the knowledge of what Sami al-Hajj endured is absolutely vital. The perpetrators will hopefully one day sit in a court like Nuremberg.
 
 
+1 # Rdenne 2013-01-10 01:35
Letter from a combat veteran
I served in the 101st Airborne as a grunt in Vietnam in 1966 and as a Door Gunner in a Gun Ship with the 129th in 1967. I also served time in the stockade where I was tortured for speaking truth to power after I survived my tour across the pond. Just saw Zero Dark Thirty and thought you might enjoy the rant.

Zero Dark Thirty is the New Deer Hunter. What a country. Shame on us. War! What is it good for? Nutin! So if you see this flick keep in mind it is yet another Bright and shining LIE!!!
 
 
0 # rhw007 2013-01-10 18:02
Thank you for service. At the time you didn't know Gulf of tonkin was a FALSE FLAG...now that you DO ... what should to be done to Rumsefeld, Cheney and others who were with NIXON team and helped prolong war or John 'Song-Bird" Mccain who gave preciese military intelligence because he forgot to tuck his arms and legs before bailing out after flying lower than ordered? See:Is John McCain a traitor? http://ow.ly/17aPO
Bob
 
 
0 # rhw007 2013-01-10 17:58
Until the Penta'con' or spinless ZIONIST media DEMAND the 80+ perimeter tapes that will show there WAS NO PLANE that hit the Penta'con' September 11, 2001 then movies like this perpetuate the lie of the Poopy Bush, Cheney, Rumselfd, Wolfowitz, Mossad, Saudia Arabia, Haliburton, carlyle grp and Prog for New American Century called for "New Pearl Harbor". Both Bushie jr and Condolice Rice, along with Cheney, Rumsefeld and others LIED saying no one could have envisioned flying planes as weapons, ONLY thing the 911 "official" report got right was that there WERE several exercise that morning run by Cheney with EXACTLY that scenario. Everything else was a lie which did not have even a SINGLE sentence about building 7 and both Rumselfd and Joe Lieberman have DENIED on VIDEO that a thrid skycraper fell that day. Until averge soldiers realize that, like Iraq war, Afghanistan war was and 911 were LIES by the LEADERSHIP of Poltics, Economics, and Military. THESE leasder comitted TREASON..NOT.Br adley Manning...and sentence for TREASON is ....
Bob
Legal Gun Owners in New York Outed Like Sex Offenders http://ow.ly/gmZkL
 

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