More on Zero Dark Thirty

by Deborah Pearlstein

For those following the ongoing public controversy surrounding the film’s depiction of the hunt for bin Laden, two notes. First, the conservative thinktank the American Enterprise Institute hosted a forum on the film featuring three of the former CIA officials centrally involved at the policy level in the “enhanced interrogation” program: former General Counsel John Rizzo, former CIA director Michael Hayden, and former head of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, Jose Rodriguez. Will Saletan has a summary of the proceedings (and a link to the video) over at Slate. Second, for the New Yorkers among you, Cardozo Law School is hosting a panel discussion of the film on Feb. 11 at 6pm. PBS NewsHour co-anchor Jeff Brown will moderate. The evening will begin with an interview with John Rizzo, followed by a discussion with Mark Bowden, National Correspondent for The Atlantic and author of a new book on the killing of bin Laden; Glenn Carle, retired career CIA officer assigned to conduct black site interrogations; Ann Hornaday, film critic for The Washington Post; and yours truly. RSVP: floersheimercenter [at] gmail [dot] com. Should be an interesting conversation.

6 Responses

  1. I saw some of it on C-Span and was surprized re: the many admissions of guilt with respect to complicity, conspiracy, joint criminal enterprise type criminal responsibility as well as direct participant type liability.  Now we can add these admissions to those of Bush, Cheney, Rice, Yoo and others. We all know that ignorance of the law is no excuse, that superior orders are not an excuse when the orders or authorizations are clearly unlawful.
    I hope that the “conversation” focuses on Rizzo’s admitted participation in waterboarding, stripping people naked, putting people in “the box,” use of the “cold cell,” and so forth — at least with respect to the test for criminal complicity (intentially engaged in conduct while knowing or being aware that that conduct can or will (or probably will) facilitate the conduct of a direct perpetrator, such as the person who actually engages in waterboarding).  I hope that the “conversation” involves recognition that no one is above the law, that alleged necessity is not a defense with respect to violations of the CAT, Geneva law, the ICCPR art. 7, and CIL reflected therein.  With respect to alleged “necessity,” I was struck by the stetement of Hayden to the effect that “we knew” the answers beforehand re: the person to be waterboarded, etc., but wanted to soften the person up or to verify.
    Perhaps someone could address the consequences of serial criminality.

  2. Your panel is distinguished and diverse in its perspectives Deborah, it should provide an invigorating and enlightening exchange–will it be streamed or taped and posted?  And good luck!

  3. Yes, I’m told there will be video available on the Cardozo website at some point in the days following the event.

  4. great — we can track the admissions and see what is said, for example, about the patent human rights violations.

  5. Just back from the Gitmo military commissions. Our national security apparatus clearly has a problem addressing high level lawlessness – or may be we Americans just have a problem. Some American Enterprise.

    Rizzo, Hayden and Rodriguez should be defendants in a criminal trial.

  6. Response…”consequences of serial criminality”
    Nothing apparently.  I guess they might not want to travel to certain nations, but doubt much will come out of that either. 

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