January 15, 2013 |
For a long time, measuring more years than I care to count, I thought the movie that became "Zero Dark Thirty" would never happen. The goal, to make a modern, rigorous film about counter-terrorism, centered on one of the most important and classified missions in American history, was exciting and worthy enough, or so it seemed. But there were too many obstacles, too many secrets, and politicians standing in the way of an easy path. Somehow, though, thanks to the great persistence of my filmmaking team and an enormous dose of luck, we got the movie made and found studio partners with the courage to release it. Then came the controversy.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 12, 2001
It is the height of irresponsibility for a commentator of professor Alan Dershowitz's prominence to assert (Commentary, Nov. 8) that "any interrogation technique, including the use of truth serum or even torture, is not prohibited" under the Constitution. The Constitution prohibits "cruel and unusual punishment," that is, torture. Furthermore, torture--a form of aggravated battery--violates the criminal law in every jurisdiction in the U.S., and the police are not exempt from these laws.
November 11, 2001
Re "Is There a Torturous Road to Justice?" Commentary, Nov. 8: I'm surprised law professor Alan Dershowitz thinks that extracting information by torture could be legal under U.S. law. He has evidently forgotten that we signed, ratified and executed the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. It provides: "No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability, or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture."
January 19, 2010
Now that "Avatar" has been named the best motion picture drama by the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., making it a front-runner in the Oscar sweepstakes, does it mean the terrorists have won? Judging from the anger the movie has generated in some conservative circles, one might think so. Filmmaker James Cameron's science-fiction epic, which is on track to be the highest-grossing movie ever, has been widely derided as anti-American,liberal propaganda. That's funny, we thought it was just formulaic -- if incredibly artful -- escapist fantasy.
September 10, 2010
Of all the excesses of the post-9/11 war on terror, none was as outrageous as the practice of "extraordinary rendition" — transferring suspects abroad for interrogation and, it's alleged, torture. Compounding the injustice, five victims of rendition were denied the opportunity to challenge their treatment in court this week when the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals blocked their lawsuit against a San Jose airline-services company accused of assisting in their transportation to foreign countries.
March 21, 2012
Human rights activists rallied in downtown L.A. on Tuesday to call for intervention by the United Nations to stop the torture of prisoners by an amoral regime. But they weren't talking about Syria, Cuba or some African dictatorship; the rogue state in question is the state of California. The Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law, along with a handful of prison-advocacy groups, submitted a petition to the U.N. requesting an on-site investigation of conditions in California's Security Housing Units, the segregated cells where prisoners suspected of gang involvement are placed.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 18, 2013 |
SACRAMENTO -- The United Nations' lead torture investigator says he is worried about increased use of solitary confinement in U.S. prisons and wants access to California lockups to ensure that prisoners' rights are being protected. "We should have more justification" for putting prisoners in isolation, Juan Mendez, the UN's special rapporteur (reporter) on torture told The Times' editorial board Friday. He called for greater scrutiny of prison systems that routinely put inmates in solitary confinement.
October 9, 2010 |
It has been clear for years that the Bush administration's decision to torture captured Al Qaeda terrorists leaves the United States in a wretched position when it comes to determining the prisoners' ultimate fate. No American court ever is going to allow the admission of confessions or evidence obtained by torture. Thus, despite the federal judiciary's flawless record of dealing firmly and equitably with cases of domestic and foreign terrorism, the Bush/Cheney White House made sure that trying these criminals would be hideously difficult.