Another Word for Propaganda
2013-01-21 0:00

By Robert Scheer | TruthDig.com

Why aren’t film director Kathryn Bigelow’s claimed government sources, including employees of the CIA, in jail like Pfc. Bradley Manning? Or, at the very least, being investigated for their role in one of the most damaging leaks of national security information in U.S. history?

How did the Japanese-owned Sony Corporation that released Bigelow’s “Zero Dark Thirty” gain access to information on the 10-year hunt for Osama bin Laden, so highly classified that it was denied to the official 9/11 Commission that investigated the terrorist attacks? The opening frame of the movie states the crime, clearly claiming that “Zero” is “based on firsthand accounts of actual events.”

Those “actual events,” constituting the tenacious search for the country’s most- wanted terrorist, are matters of such carefully guarded secrecy that even the 10 members of the 9/11 Commission, all possessing the highest level of access, were forbidden to interview anyone with “firsthand” knowledge. The commission, which was created by President George W. Bush and Congress in 2002 and in 2004 released the only official public U.S. government examination of 9/11, was explicitly banned from any contact with the “key witnesses.”

That 585-page report concedes in a boxed disclaimer on page 146 that the commissioners were denied the access that Bigelow claims to have had to the torturers and the tortured in developing the narrative outlined in two key chapters of the report:

Chapters 5 and 7 rely heavily on information obtained from captured al Qaeda members. A number of these ‘detainees’ have firsthand knowledge of the 9/11 plot.

Assessing the truth of statements by these witnesses—sworn enemies of the United States—is challenging. Our access to them has been limited to the review of intelligence reports based on communications received from the locations where the actual interrogations take place. We submitted questions for use in the interrogations, but had no control over whether, when, or how questions of particular interest would be asked. Nor were we allowed to talk to the interrogators so that we could better judge the credibility of the detainees and clarify ambiguities in the reporting. We were told that our requests might disrupt the sensitive interrogation process.


That “sensitive interrogation process” is now on full display for all the world to see in this movie’s opening celebration of the American style of sadism. The purpose is a dehumanizing one, in which the tortured have no claim to a presumption of innocence. Nor is there any interest, as there was in the exemplary “Taxi to the Dark Side”—the 2007 Academy Award documentary winner—in the complex socio-political factors that have led the tortured to be in this position.

Even the 9/11 Commission report, which failed in its forced reliance on firsthand facts of secondhand accounts, acknowledges that some of these villains fought on the same side as the United States against the Soviets, benefited from Western education, and are responding to a myriad of religious and nationalist causes that are worthy of examination. Of course, a public trial for the accused would be the best way to educate ourselves as to why a terrorist band drawn almost entirely from, and financed by, a long-trusted U.S. ally, Saudi Arabia, would engage in such nefarious anti–American deeds.

But that is not about to happen, and instead, we are at the mercy of selective government leaks. In the case of “Zero Dark Thirty,” leading members of the Senate, experts on intelligence matters, and officials in the executive branch have condemned the film for getting it wrong, not sadly for the use of torture but rather its efficacy in the hunt for bin Laden. So it is the word of Bigelow’s sources against theirs, and the rest of us sourceless folks are at the mercy of the volume of their respective megaphones.

In short, all of us, the great U.S. citizenry, have been denied open access to the facts essential to understanding the great national trauma justifying a war on terror that has done more damage to U.S. standards of freedom than any foreign enemy.

The few brave whistle-blowers in our government who have attempted to warn us of this dangerous course, like Manning, who is accused of exposing the killing of innocent Iraqi civilians, have endured harsh punishment and been threatened with even greater penalties. Not so the eyewitnesses on whom Bigelow relied for her film’s knee-jerk acceptance of a U.S. torture policy.

For this sorry state of affairs, I do not primarily blame Bigelow, who has no expertise in investigative journalism and clearly will go with whatever account seems most riveting cinematically. “What we are attempting,” she has said in defense of her work, “is almost a journalistic approach to film.”

“Almost journalism” is a polite way of justifying propaganda.



Article from: truthdig.com








Related Articles
Zero Dark Thirty: Selling Extra Judicial Killings
Senate panel to investigate CIA contacts with "Zero Dark Thirty" filmmakers
Zero Dark Thirty: Bin Laden Revisted – Hollywood Style
The Osama bin Laden Myth
No Sailors Saw Osama Bin Laden’s Alleged Burial at Sea
National Geographic head defends debut of bin Laden raid film
What To Believe? : Bin Laden book ’contradicts official account’
U.S. Gov’t Claims – Just Like the Nazis – that the Truth Is Too Complicated and Dangerous to Disclose
Obama signs Pentagon bill maintaining Guantanamo and military detention
New Bill Would Make It Legal To Target Propaganda And “Psychological Operations” Directly At U.S. Citizens
Ray McGovern: The Humiliation of Bradley Manning - Punishing Morality
Quantico Psychiatrist: Military’s Mistreatment of Pfc. Manning ’Unprecedented’


Latest News from our Front Page

Gunman Storms Dutch TV Station Demanding Airtime
2015-01-30 23:32
Dutch authorities have released few details about the bizarre case of 19-year-old Tarik Zahzah’s attack on the main news studio of television station NOS on Thursday. To get the obvious question out of the way first, the police say there is no evidence that Zahzah, who is half-Egyptian, acted on behalf of organized terrorism. The authorities always say that on the ...
How Alan Dershowitz bullied rape victims to protect a serial child molester
2015-01-30 23:40
Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz always felt children were fair game for Israeli missiles. Now the question is whether he thinks they are fair game for the sexual exploits of his powerful associates and himself. Dershowitz and the UK’s Prince Andrew were accused in a recent court filing of raping a teenage girl who was forced into sexual slavery by ...
Alchemical Banksters
2015-01-30 22:39
This past week, the world's preeminent vultures, the economic power elite, met in Davos to discuss the maintenance of their global fiat hegemony. Highlights included furthering austerity, noting that the serf class can't have air conditioning and cars, as well as cheering on the death of privacy through the rise of technocracy. The degenerate elite, completely out of touch with ...
Men must prove a woman said ’Yes’ under tough new rape rules
2015-01-30 4:54
New guidance will be issued to all police forces and prosecutors as part of a ’toolkit’ to move rape investigations into the 21st century Men accused of date rape will need to convince police that a woman consented to sex as part of a major change in the way sex offences are investigated. The Director of Public Prosecutions said it was ...
4 beheaded in Saudi Arabia less than a week into King Salman's rule
2015-01-30 3:13
Comment: So when will the the "Human rights" promoting liberal west elite decide invade Saudi Arabia like they did Libya? Members of Magic Movement stage a mock execution scene in protest of Saudi Arabia beheading of eight Bangladeshi workers in October 2011. Four people have been executed in Saudi Arabia less than a week after 79-year-old King Salman assumed power following the ...
More News »