News / Arts & Entertainment

US Officials Criticize Film's Torture Scenes

US Officials Criticize 'Zero Dark Thirty' Torture Scenesi
X
January 18, 2013 4:03 PM
Despite five Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture, Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, has generated controversy due to its depiction of harsh interrogation methods. VOA's Penelope Poulou reports.
US Officials Criticize 'Zero Dark Thirty' Torture Scenes
Penelope Poulou
Despite five Oscar nominations, including one for Best Picture, Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, about the hunt for Osama bin Laden, has generated controversy due to its depiction of harsh interrogation methods.

Zero Dark Thirty tells the behind-the-scenes story of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden. It shows intelligence techniques used to find the Al Qaida leader, including the enhanced interrogations which many call torture.

Bigelow says those scenes are based on true accounts and were necessary to the narrative.

“What was important is to be accurate and to be authentic," she says. "Granted, it’s not an easy subject, but it’s also pretty irrefutable that that was part of this 10-year long hunt.”
 
The film has come under fire from some lawmakers who say it portrays harsh interrogations - like waterboarding, which similates the sensation of drowning - as an effective means of gathering intelligence. 

Several senators, including Republican John McCain, have called the film "grossly inaccurate and misleading."

“You believe when watching this movie that waterboarding and torture leads to information that leads then to [the] elimination of Osama bin Laden," McCain said. "That’s not the case.”

Yet, two days after the killing of bin Laden in May 2011, Republican Congressman Peter King, who chaired the House Committee on Homeland Security, said waterboarding played a major role leading to the attack on bin Laden.

“I have spoken to people who are very close to the situation who said initial information came from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed after he was waterboarded," King said.   

Later, King requested an investigation of CIA and the Department of Defense officials for allegedly leaking sensitive information to the filmmakers.

Zero Dark Thirty screenwriter Mark Boal dimisses the criticism

“A movie that takes you behind the scenes in a world that, quite frankly, is cloaked from public view and that's all pretty good things," Boal says.
 
Zero Dark Thirty is not the first film to show enhanced interrogation in detention centers outside the U.S.

Alex Gibney’s Oscar-winning documentary, Taxi to the Dark Side, includes real footage of interrogations at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
 
Another director, Laura Poitras, shed light on enhanced interrogations at the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center in her 2010 documentary The Oath.   

“I don’t think Americans have really grappled with the last nine years of our history," Poitras said. "That we’ve legalized torture, that we’ve created illegal prisons.”

Some critics disapprove of the interrogation scenes in Zero Dark Thirty because, they say, they condone torture as a means to an end.  

Kathryn Bigelow says her film reflects the truth.

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ivan from: chicago
January 18, 2013 2:45 PM
I was tortured for almost 3 years by the FBI and their friends only
because 85 years old man, Roland Sibens(chicago) convinced them that I
am a terrorist. I was tortured for working on my prosthetic legs in
the basement. I done absolutely nothing illegal or wrong. They thought
that in theory it is possible to hide bomb in them. They saw an
opportunity to get famous, so they were trying to torture me till I
sign their insane story. They tortured me using more than 100
different torturing methods and trust to me waterboarding is not how
they torture nowadays. I dont know where to find justice.

I think that after 9/11 things got out of control. Freedom fighters
became tyrants. In 1945, most Germans had an opportunity to learn about Nazis death
camps. I hope that one day American citizens will get chance to learn about people
like me, who were tortured with no reason for years.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

"Soul Lounge" host Shawna Renee catches up with soul singer and songwriter Russell Taylor to hear what he’s been up to since winning the VH1 "You Oughta Know" title in 2013. She also convinces him to share a few songs from his album "War of Hearts."