Entries in Torture (5)


Mark Boal: Government Inquiry Into ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ ‘Crosses a Line’

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- During an interview for “This Week,” “Zero Dark Thirty” screenwriter and producer Mark Boal told Martha Raddatz that the current Senate inquiry into the Oscar-nominated movie could discourage the making of similar films in the future.

“I think that it could discourage other screenwriters or…writers of any kind from making topical movies, it could discourage studios from releasing them,” Boal said. “Criticism is fine, and we, I can take criticism onboard…but there is a difference between criticism and investigation. And I think that crosses a line that hasn’t been crossed really since the ’40s, when you talk about government investigating movies.”

In December, three members of the Senate Intelligence committee  — Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Carl Levin, D-Mich., and John McCain, R-Ariz. — asked the CIA to provide information about the details it gave Boal and “Zero Dark Thirty” director Kathryn Bigelow about the effort to find and later kill Osama bin Laden. The trio also sent a letter to Sony Pictures Entertainment – the studio that released the film – claiming that “Zero Dark Thirty” was “grossly inaccurate” in suggesting torture played a role in extracting information that would eventually lead to bin Laden.

On the criticism aimed at the film’s accuracy, Boal pushed back to a degree.

“These topics are controversial. I think the controversy in a lot of ways predates the film.  And I believe that we capture the essence of what happened and  so do many other people who have lived through it,” Boal said. “I approached the research the way I would’ve approached the research of any article or if I was writing a book.  But then there’s a second stage, which is you take that research and you compile it and transform it into a screenplay.  It’s dramatized.”

Joining Boal for the interview was Mark Bowden, best-selling author of “Blackhawk Down,” and the new book “The Finish” who said describing the film as journalism placed an “unfair burden” on it.

“I think it’s really an unfair burden of expectation to put on a feature film, to call it journalistic.  I mean, journalism is very detailed…you try to get down in the weeds and sort out exactly what happened, ” he said. “And I don’t think that a feature film is really a place where that happens.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Meghan McCain Blasts Rick Santorum for 'Torture' Remarks

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Meghan McCain, the daughter of Republican Sen. John McCain, may not agree with all of her father's political views, but one she shares is his belief that waterboarding is torture and that it didn't help track down Osama bin Laden.

Ms. McCain waded into the war of words over the value of so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" late Tuesday after her dad came under fire from some members of his own party.

Likely GOP presidential candidate and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum said this week that Sen. McCain, who was himself tortured during the Vietnam War, "doesn’t understand how enhanced interrogation works."

"I mean, you break somebody, and after they're broken, they become cooperative," Santorum said of the effort to glean intelligence from Khalid Sheik Mohammed on the name of bin Laden's courier. "And that's when we got this information."

The comments drew sharp rebuttal from Meghan McCain who tweeted, "Rick Santorum telling my father doesn't know about torture is like Carrot Top telling Lebron James he doesn't know about basketball."

Last week, Sen. McCain delivered an impassioned speech on the Senate floor and penned an op-ed in the Washington Post arguing, "It was not torture, or cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment of detainees that got us the major leads that ultimately enabled our intelligence community to find Osama bin Laden."

"In my personal experience," McCain said in his speech, "The abuse of prisoners sometimes produces good intelligence, but often produces bad intelligence because under torture a person will say anything he thinks his captors want to hear –- whether it is true or false –- if he believes it will relieve his suffering." Former Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey, however, fired back, claiming -- as Santorum did -- that CIA head Leon Panetta's own report details how the courier's name came about from a "mosaic" of data, including info gleaned from enhanced interrogation techniques.

Santorum issued a statement Wednesday clarifying that while he disagrees with McCain on the effectiveness of the techniques and whether they amount to torture, he never intended to question McCain's military service. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Supreme Court Declines to Step into Case of Alleged Torture

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Supreme Court on Monday refused to take up the case of five terrorism suspects who say that after 9/11, they were flown by a Boeing subsidiary to secret prisons run by the CIA.

The men sought to sue flight planning company Jeppesen Dataplan in 2007, accusing it of aiding the CIA in flying them to other countries and to secret CIA camps where the men claimed they were tortured.

At the lower court level, both the Bush and the Obama administrations had successfully argued that the case should be dismissed under the so-called "state secrets privilege," which is meant to protect national security information from being divulged in open court. The Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a final appeal from the men.

Critics of the lower court decision had hoped the high court would take up the case to narrow the use of the state secrets privilege.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


John McCain: Torture Did Not Help Hunt for Osama Bin Laden 

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Arizona Sen. John McCain, a former POW who was tortured for years at the hands of Vietnamese captors, delivered an impassioned argument Thursday that so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” did not produce intelligence leading to Osama bin Laden.

“It was not torture, or cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees that got us the major leads that ultimately enabled our intelligence community to find Osama bin Laden,” McCain said in a stirring 22-minute speech from the Senate floor.

McCain called the techniques -- implemented by CIA interrogators during the George W. Bush administration and later barred by President Obama -- “indisputably torture,” and said waterboarding amounted to a “mock execution.”

“I do not believe they are necessary to our success in our war against terrorists, as the advocates of these techniques claim they are,” he said.

McCain directly criticized former Attorney General Michael Mukasey for publicly suggesting recently that waterboarding of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed led investigators to the courier who ferried information to and from bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan.

Mukasey has said Mohammed “broke like a dam” during the 183 waterboardings performed on him.

“That is false,” McCain said, citing a report from CIA director Leon Panetta who said the courier’s identity was obtained elsewhere.

Waterboarding KSM “actually produced false and misleading information,” McCain said, explaining that Mohammed’s information on the courier was ultimately incorrect.

McCain argued the harsh interrogation techniques more fundamentally degrade “our national character and historical reputation” and put American soldiers at greater risk of torture in the future.

“We are America, and we hold ourselves to a higher standard,” he said.

McCain also wrote about his opposition to "enhanced interrogation techniques" in an op-ed in Thursday's Washington Post.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Risch: Harsh Interrogations Produced ‘Initial Thread’ that Led to Bin Laden

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The killing of Osama bin Laden has renewed the debate over the Bush-era “enhanced interrogation techniques” that were banned by President Obama, with voices inside the Republican Party -- including many former Bush administration officials -- arguing that critical intelligence came as a result of those special techniques.

In an interview Wednesday with ABC News, Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, cited reports that suspected terrorists in U.S. custody provided the “nom de guerre” of the bin Laden courier who ultimately led American officials to the compound to argue that “enhance interrogation techniques” -- a classification of tactics that includes waterboarding --worked.

“The initial thread that they started to pull on came from enhanced interrogation,” Risch said. “From that you can take it to a debate on where you go with that. But I don't think there's any doubt that it was enhanced interrogation that gave them the initial thread. It's been widely reported that that gave them the nickname, if you would, of an individual -- the proof to be absolutely critical in bringing the whole house of cards down.”

Risch, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, also said more details will emerge about the involvement of “every branch of the military” in the operation that killed bin Laden.

“It isn't surprising I guess but I'm awfully proud of the way that this was planned. I'm awfully proud of the way this was executed. The working together of the intelligence community and the military and obviously -- it hasn't come out yet, but there'll be more of it coming out that -- there wasn't just one military, one branch of the military involved in this.

“Every branch of the military was involved in this. Every branch of the military was involved in this. There'll be more of that coming out in days to come.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio