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Home / Press Release / Military Brass Urge Zero Dark Thirty Makers to Talk Torture as Academy Awards Approach
February 21, 2013

Military Brass Urge Zero Dark Thirty Makers to Talk Torture as Academy Awards Approach

Washington, DC – Twenty-eight of the nation’s most respected retired generals and admirals today urged the filmmakers, actors and engineers behind the Oscar-nominated film Zero Dark Thirty to use their public appearances, including opportunities related to this weekend’s Academy Awards, to call for the release of the Senate intelligence committee’s (SSCI) CIA torture report – a document that will be the most extensive study of CIA interrogation and detention post-9/11.

“The Academy Awards are fast approaching. You will all be in the spotlight with an opportunity to make the case for transparency on this issue of vital importance to our nation,” said the retired military leaders in a letter. “From the red carpet to acceptance speeches to interviews, we urge you to continue calling on President Obama and members of the Senate intelligence committee to release the SSCI study on CIA interrogation and detention.”

The letter urges the film’s director, writer, actors, producers, and editors to continue their calls for the public release of the 6,000+ page CIA torture report. Director Kathryn Bigelow has previously noted that declassification of the torture report will complete the picture of the CIA’s post-9/11 enhanced interrogation program. Though the Senate intelligence committee report was adopted with bipartisan support in December 2012, reports have indicated that the CIA is lobbying against having the report released to the public.

“Embarrassment is not an excuse to keep a document classified.  As a nation, we cannot move forward unless we honestly take stock of the past and learn from our mistakes,” noted the retired generals and admirals.

Today’s signatories are members of a larger nonpartisan group of retired generals and admirals who work with Human Rights First to speak out against torture and to ensure that U.S. policy reflects a single standard of prisoner treatment consistent with the Geneva Conventions.  The group worked closely with Senator John McCain in 2005 to pass the Detainee Treatment Act which reinforced the ban on torture and other cruel and degrading treatment, and established the Army Field Manual as the single standard of interrogation for all prisoners in DOD custody.  In 2008 they shared their insights with eight presidential candidates from both parties that torture does immense harm to the reputation of the United States, and undermines efforts to combat terrorism.