Zero Dark Thirty movie misleads on torture

By staff writers
January 11, 2013

The popular movie Zero Dark Thirty, which depicts the hunt for Osama bin Laden, has been criticised for its legitimising of torture.

The comments come on the eleventh anniversary of the Guantanamo Bay detention centre established by the USA on an occupied part of Cuba, which has attracted demonstrations across the world.

An article on the website of Human Rights Watch says the film "wrongly suggests that torture was an ugly but useful tactic in the fight against terrorism. It also falsely implies that information obtained through torture was critical to finding bin Laden."

It continues: "As the film-makers note, it is a fictionalised account, not a documentary. The use of torture violates US law and the country’s international legal obligations – even when 'authorised' by the US government. Its use damaged the reputation of the United States and its ability to promote human rights, while giving cover to abusers worldwide who use such techniques against political opponents and activists.

"Torture was counter-productive to the fight against terrorism, producing false and misleading information that may in fact have slowed the search for bin Laden and diverted attention from genuine security threats."

The HRW blog contains a detailed rebuttal of misleading information and implications in the movie.

Human Rights Watch is one of the world’s leading independent organisations dedicated to defending and protecting human rights.

* 'US: Zero Dark Thirty and the Truth About Torture' -

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