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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


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