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

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters More

Competing Goals Could Frustrate Efforts to Fight Islamic State

As alliances shift and countries re-define themselves, analysts say long-standing goals of some key players in Middle East may soon compete with Western goals More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Border Crossings

Matthew Wade sits down with "Border Crossings" host Larry London to talk about his new CD, “Diamond from Coal,” his fourth album with his band, My Silent Bravery.