The National Religious Campaign Against Torture (NRCAT) created the Fact Not Fiction campaign to help people of faith share the message that torture is immoral, illegal, never justifiable, and counterproductive. The campaign seeks to empower people of faith to question the fictional account of history as seen in the movies, such as, Zero Dark Thirty, and to advocate for the public release of the facts of U.S.-sponsored torture. The Fact Not Fiction campaign aims to a) educate about the facts of torture and b) mobilize people of faith to advocate for the release to the public of the Senate Committee on Intelligence Torture Report.
With the Fact Not Fiction campaign, NRCAT is urging those who have seen Zero Dark Thirty, or who wish to learn more about torture, to watch between now and the end of Torture Awareness Month (June 2013) the film Ending U.S.-Sponsored Torture Forever, a 20 minute NRCAT produced film that describes the truth about torture.
All of NRCAT’s Fact Not Fiction campaign materials can be found atwww.nrcat.org/factnotfiction.
A Faithful Response to Zero Dark Thirty
The recent release of Zero Dark Thirty, a critically acclaimed and Academy Awards-nominated film presents us with both a unique challenge and opportunity. In Zero Dark Thirty the filmmakers chose to imply – inaccurately – that torture led to reliable intelligence in the hunt for Osama bin Laden. However, the film is not based on the facts about the U.S.’s use of torture. Zero Dark Thirty is fiction. As a result, the film implicitly justifies torture’s use. At no point do the film makers point out that torture is immoral and illegal. Neither did they choose to show the demonstrated ineffectiveness of “enhanced interrogation” techniques.
Millions of people will see the movie Zero Dark Thirty and many of them will walk out of the theater believing they saw a historically accurate account of the events leading to the capture of bin Laden. However, the film is not based on the facts about the U.S.’s use of torture. Zero Dark Thirty is fiction. It inaccurately suggests that the use of torture by U.S. authorities led directly to bin Laden’s capture. As a result, the film implicitly justifies torture’s use.
Moreover, at no point do the filmmakers point out that torture is immoral and illegal. Neither do they choose to show the demonstrated ineffectiveness of “enhanced interrogation” techniques – nor the effectiveness of rapport-building and other humane techniques.
The Senate Intelligence Committee Torture Report
In December 2012, the Senate Intelligence Committee adopted, with a bipartisan vote, a more than 6,000 page report on the CIA’s use of torture. The report is the result of the Committee’s more than three-year investigation of the CIA post-9/11 interrogation program. The Committee report is based on information contained in several million pages of documents detailing interrogations of detainees in CIA custody. Senator McCain, who was an ex officio member of the Intelligence Committee, said, “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.” Several other Senators, as well as former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, former Director of the CIA Michael Hayden and acting CIA Director Mike Morrell have echoed McCain’s statement.
Though Zero Dark Thirty is fiction, the report from the Senate Intelligence Committee contains the facts and should be made public. NRCAT is working vigorously for the release of the report. We have the right to know the facts about the CIA torture program in order to not only judge the fiction presented byZero Dark Thirty but, more importantly, to advocate that safeguards be put in place to prevent torture from ever happening again.
The National Religious Campaign Against Torture is urging those who have seen Zero Dark Thirty or who wish to learn more about torture to watch Ending U.S.-Sponsored Torture Forever, a film that describes the truth about torture. We have updated it with information about Zero Dark Thirty and the Senate Intelligence Committee report. An updated discussion guide is also available.
How you can help:
1. Urge congregations, campus ministries, people of faith to show the film Ending U.S.-Sponsored Torture Forever before June 30, 2013 (the end of Torture Awareness Month). Ordering information for the film is available at www.nrcat.org/factnotfiction-video.
The following resources are available at www.nrcat.org/fnf-promo-ntl to help you promote the film:
o Sample tweets
o Facebook posts
o Talking points that can be adapted for blog entries
2. Urge people to sign our statement “A Call for the Facts.” The statement is available online at http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/2162/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=12344. Denominations are urged to link to it from websites, newsletters, etc. A printed petition version is also available at http://www.nrcat.org/storage/documents/a-call-for-the-facts-petition.pdf. Congregations showing the film will be encouraged to have it available at the screening and will urge participants to sign it.
Once people join the Fact Not Fiction campaign they will be provided with a variety of tools: DVD and discussion guide for an education class, talking points to write Letters to the Editor, and a sample email to key Senators and/or the President.