You are hereBlogs / War Criminals Watch's blog / Zero Dark Thirty Reflection

Zero Dark Thirty Reflection

By War Criminals Watch - Posted on 23 December 2012

by Debra Sweet, Driector World Can't Wait

Next month, many organizations are coming together to protest in Washington and nationwide against indefinite detention and drone strikes, and for the closure of Guantanamo. We had not anticipated the relevance — and outrageous content — of the new film Zero Dark Thirty entering the public sphere at the same time.  But, it's here... what are we going to do about it?

Zero Dark Thirty



Above, protesting at the opening of Zero Dark Thirty in NYC Wednesday

**Listen to me discuss the film on Flashpoints, KPFA (at 42:00 into the show).

The film, which opened today in NYC and LA, and opens nationally on Friday January 11, the anniversary of Guantanamo, could bamboozle and confuse millions who see it. On short notice, a few of us were outside the first showing, talking to people about what's wrong with the CIA's view of the world. 

It's critical to challenge such a slick production, likely to win many awards. On Friday, January 11, we're calling on everyone to be at theaters in direct, creative, substantive ways to expose and challenge the core message of this film: torture may be bad, but it "protects" "us." People have to know this is almost literally a propaganda film from the CIA. Here is the message we took today:

ZERO DARK THIRTY depicts the world through the CIA's eyes & falsely depicts torture as necessary to find Osama Bin Laden.

What happened on 9/11 was a horror. The forces that attacked the World Trade Center are totally reactionary. BUT ­ what has been done by the U.S. in the name of 9/11 has been far worse:

More than a million people have been killed ­ and millions more turned into refugees ­ in the American war against Iraq (a country which was not even connected to 9/11). Tens of thousands have been killed in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and other countries.

Drones used to kill suspected militants and thousands of innocents, including children, with the U.S. military now justifying targeting even children as young as 6 years old as "enemies" fit to be killed.

• A worldwide network of CIA torture sites run by the U.S., including Guantanamo was built, and a system of indefinite detention without trial put in place through law and executive orders by Bush and Obama.

Stripping of fundamental rights within the U.S., giving the state unlimited power to spy on people¹s personal communications and lives, to hold people without trial based merely on an accusation or suspicion that they might do something bad, and kill people without trial in targeted assassinations directed by the President meeting in secret session.

We as a people are further brutalized and degraded by the celebration and justification of torture ­ as in this film. Torture produced no useful intelligence in the pursuit of Bin Laden. Even the government has admitted this. Yet this film claims the opposite.

There were people in the wake of 9/11 ­ including some who had lost loved ones at the WTC ­ who declared "NOT IN OUR NAME." That captures our sentiment now. We do not share the CIA¹s view of the world. End these wars now, and stop torture.

Further reading:

Zero Dark Thirty: the Veneration of Torture and the C.I.A.
by Glenn Greenwald

Zero Conscience in “Zero Dark Thirty”
by Jane Mayer

Speaking Events



March 24, Boone, NC.


March 25, Asheville, NC
Battery Park Apartments, 1 Battle Square, rooftop room, noon - 2 p.m.
Sign up on FB.


War Is A Lie: Second Edition
Published April 5, 2016
Tour begins here:

April 11, Washington, DC, 6:30-8:00 p.m. at Busboys and Poets at 5th and K Streets.
Sign up on FB.


April 12, Baltimore, MD, 7:30 p.m. at Red Emma's.
Sign up on FB.


April 14, Bellingham, WA, 7:00-9:00 p.m. at Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship.
Sign up on FB.


April 15, Seattle, WA
Town Hall Seattle
1119 Eighth Ave (8th and Seneca) 
Seattle, WA 98101
Sign up on FB.


April 16 Portland, OR


April 24, Oneonta, NY at Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta.
5:30 discussion with students.
7:00 talk and Q&A with everyone.
Sign up on FB.


May 28, San Francisco, CA
11 a.m. to 1 p.m., David Swanson interviewed by Daniel Ellsberg, at San Francisco Main Public Library, 100 Larkin Street.
Sign up on FB.

May 28, Marin County, CA
4 to 6 p.m., David Swanson in conversation with Norman Solomon, at Book Passage, 51 Tamal Vista Blvd., Corte Madera, CA
Sign up on FB.

May 29, Oakland, CA
3 to 4 p.m., David Swanson interviewed by Cindy Sheehan, at Diesel: A Bookstore, 5433 College Avenue at Kales (near Manila), Oakland, CA
Sign up on FB.

May 29, Berkeley, CA
7:30 to 9 p.m., David Swanson and Cindy Sheehan at Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists, sponsored by the Social Justice Committee and Cynthia Papermaster, 1606 Bonita Ave. (at Cedar), Berkeley, CA
Sign up on FB.

May 30, Fresno, CA
2 to 4 p.m., David Swanson and Cindy Sheehan at a Peace Fresno event


June 11 St. Paul, MN, 6 p.m. at Macalester Plymouth Church Social Hall 1658 Lincoln, St. Paul, MN.
Sign up on FB.


June 12 Minneapolis, MN, 9 and 11 a.m. at St. Joan's 4533 3rd Ave So, Minneapolis, MN, plus peace pole dedication at 2 p.m.
Sign up on FB.


Other Events Here.


Support This Site


Get free books and gear when you become a supporter.



Speaking Truth to Empire


Families United


Ray McGovern


Financial supporters of this site can choose to be listed here.

Buy Books

Get Gear

The log-in box below is only for bloggers. Nobody else will be able to log in because we have not figured out how to stop voluminous spam ruining the site. If you would like us to have the resources to figure that out please donate. If you would like to receive occasional emails please sign up. If you would like to be a blogger here please send your resume.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.