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View Diary: The Assassination Bureau: the CIA and Zero Dark Thirty (14 comments)

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  •  A bit of a whiplash to read this at the same (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burlydee, Simplify, PhilJD

    time I'm watching Brennan's confirmation hearing, Code Pink demonstrators, and lies. When we saw Zero Dark 30, some in the audience cheered when Bin Laden was shot. What they were really cheering for, in the film's context, was the triumph of torture, because the script does not, as Bigelow has said in interviews, "show the complexity of the debate" around torture. There is no complexity: harsh interrogation leads to actionable info, QED. Dan doesn't leave because he's ethically troubled; he got another job. When a TV camera shows Obama saying the US does not torture, Maya and others don't even wince, righteous in their convictions. Which were wrong! Sen. Levin just said so again at Brennan's hearing, and Brennan did not disagree. Great diary.

    stay together / learn the flowers / go light - Gary Snyder

    by Mother Mags on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 01:22:31 PM PST

    •  Torture -- Cheney's Folly -- delayed killing UBL (0+ / 0-)

      by some 7 years.

      The film and Mark Boal's original script make that clear. Reviews of this movie are another thing altogether. Ignorance and inattention have combined to produce written commentary that conflicts with the primary story line.

      In real life as in the movie, torture brought the Hunt For bin Laden team to a dead end.
      They had the nom de guerre of bin Laden's prime courier in 2001. Abu Ahmed. Then they got copies of Moroccan intelligence that identified him by nom de guerre and full family name by 2003 at latest.

      Cheney's Folly delayed identifying "Abu Ahmed" by 7 years. Maybe 8 years. Only in 2010 did they make progress.

      In ZDT all the torture is for nothing in terms of finding UBL and for stopping major attacks. This is repeated over and over in the movie. After the Camp Chapman suicide-bombing killed 7 team members, a new project manager ordered review of the banker's boxes with foreign intel. That shows up in Act 3 of the movie.

      The movie goes off in five acts:

      – 1. Torture. ZDT goes from one torture scene to the next. They bleed, they puke, they do through sleep deprivation. You know that some of them die. A few names are gotten but no major operations are prevented. Khobar Towers is displayed as an example of their failures.

      – 2. Blowback. Al Q counterattacks the CIA team. The main “Maya” character — coming out of her apartment in the morning — is attacked with machine guns. The head psychologist/torturer bails out. Then her best friend and the project leader is one of 7 CIA people assassinated at Camp Chapman, December 30, 2009.

      “Maya” goes into mourning and depression. This gets several scenes.

      – 3. Research. 2010 arrives with no more torture. Standard research occurs off-camera that digs through the banker's boxes. Then and only then we get to a “Legally Blonde”-clone (sans chihuahua) popping in for what is the most critical scene of the movie. “Look what I found!” as she presents the Moroccan info from 2002/2003 that gives them "Abu Ahmed." Then a team goes out and finds him by a bribe and then driving around Pakistan, followed by finding UBL's house.

      - 4. Salesmanship. The "Maya" character goes back to CIA HQ and chews on their balls till they give her what she wants. "And you're going to kill him for me" is her command to Seal Team 6.

      – 5. Kill. The attack is recreated including wasting Usama bin Laden and taking a ton of papers, computers, hard drives, rolodex from his office. That trove of intel is what motivated President Obama to override everyone -- including the "Maya" character -- and not bomb out UBL's house. Huge risk, priceless reward.

      Also, off camera and before the movie timeline starts rolling, there's no way the audience is going to know what support services at Langley would have offered for a competently run Hunt For UBL team back in 2002/2003. Cheney's Folly led the team to cut itself off from ordinary CIA resources.

      The UBL team never had data entry done for the banker's boxes of foreign intel. You also need hands-on experience using Oracle Text to understand without assistance just what could have been done with the contents of the banker's box pages.

      "Abu Ahmed" would have been tagged within the hour, 24/7/365, any time that box had been entered to the CIA computers. They had his name in 2001 from non-torture sources. The latest the Moroccan intel on him came in was 2003, based on the Mark Boal script.

      A lot of people died to get UBL. You'd think a few dozen on the Al Q side were tortured to death. And all of it was in service to Cheney's Folly -- torture -- that set back identifying "Abu Ahmed" from 2003 to 2010.

      Megan Ellison made this movie. Larry Ellison paid for it out of pocket. He is CEO and the largest stock holder of Oracle Corporation, the maker of Oracle Text.

      Leon Panetta ??? The top people at CIA? Other than letting the Ellisons make this movie, as it is, they had no other legal means to let Americans know what torture did to the Hunt For bin Laden project.

      Bitching that Bigelow showed the horror of torture ??? That it was done to get crumbs of information. Mostly useless. That's the whole goddamn motherfucking point.

      Torture had nothing to do with identifying "Abu Ahmed." Nothing.

      "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army Attorney to Sen. McCarthy, 1954. "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012.

      by bontemps2012 on Thu Feb 07, 2013 at 05:16:12 PM PST

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