Another Word for Propaganda
2013 01 21

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

Roswell, UFOs and Project Pandora
2014 07 23
Well, now, this is interesting. In fact, it’s very interesting. Over at the Department of Defense’s website you can find a file that has been declassified via the Freedom of Information Act on the subject of Project Pandora (which, to a significant degree, was focused on Cold War secrets, and how microwaves can affect the mind and body). It’s a fascinating ...
Men of Europe, Put Down the Eckhart Tolle Book and Pick up Your Sword
2014 07 23
Remember who you really are... The New Age Tactical Spiritual Military Industrial Complex supports murder and genocide. What is happening in Gaza today will eventually take place in London, Dublin, New York, Lisbon, Barcelona, Oslo, Glasgow, Melbourne, Stockholm, Auckland and Cape Town and wherever you are reading this article. Notice is being served upon all humanity. Not just the people of ...
Study Challenges Hypothesis that Birds Evolved from Dinosaurs
2014 07 23
The re-examination of Scansoriopteryx – a sparrow-sized, pre-Archaeopteryx, bird-like creature that lived in what is today China during the Jurassic period, about 154 million years ago – challenges the widely accepted hypothesis that birds are derived from land-dwelling dinosaurs that gained the ability to fly. Unearthed in Inner Mongolia in 2002, Scansoriopteryx was previously classified as a theropod dinosaur, from which ...
Israeli Professor: Rape Hamas Militants’ Mothers and Sisters to Deter Terrorist Attacks
2014 07 23
An Israeli academic has claimed that raping wives and mothers of Palestinian Hamas militants is the only thing that could deter further terrorist attacks. The remarks by renowned Middle East scholar Mordechai Kedar of Bar-Ilan University were made three weeks ago after the grim discovery of the bodies of the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers, but the recording was published online (in ...
’Mysterious plane’ with no callsign spotted circling London for two hours
2014 07 23
Scotland Yard has declined to comment on reports of a mysterious eavesdropping spyplane circling London. A radar tracking website showed an aircraft orbiting London at 10,000 feet for more than two hours. The plane had no recognisable callsign but was identified as a twin-engine Cessna F406 with the registration G-BVJT. The aircraft has been linked in the past to a shadowy fleet of ...
More News »