US: Zero Dark Thirty and the Truth About Torture

January 11, 2013 - Human Rights Watch

The movie Zero Dark Thirty, which depicts the hunt for Osama bin Laden, 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. As the film-makers note, it is a fictionalized account, not a documentary. The use of torture violates US law and the country's international legal obligations – even when "authorized" 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....

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