February 24, 2013 |
KABUL, Afghanistan - Afghan President Hamid Karzai on Sunday ordered U.S. special forces troops to cease operations in a strategic eastern province, accusing the Americans and Afghans working for them of torturing and abducting civilians. Karzai's office charged that a university student who was detained during a U.S. operation in Wardak province, southwest of Kabul, was later found with his head and fingers cut off. In another case, U.S. forces are accused of detaining nine villagers, who are still missing.
February 21, 2013
Re "Road to Oscars a minefield for 'Zero,'" Feb. 19 I was disgusted by the opening scenes in "Zero Dark Thirty" portraying torture. Contrary to actual events, the prolonged scenes failed to portray any significant awareness of the current moral and legal controversies, which swirled around and through the brutality that government agents were perpetrating in violation of international law. Perhaps this incredible omission served the film's...
February 19, 2013
Re "School murder plot allegation stuns a small town," Feb. 15 Almost as disturbing as the murder plot allegation against two Washington fifth-graders is the level of ignorance revealed by prosecuting attorney Timothy Rasmussen's comments about children lighting cats on fire being just one of those "things that children do. " Torturing animals is not normal childhood behavior. It is a symptom of a severe psychological disturbance that must be addressed to prevent the child's violence from continuing and being transferred to human victims.
February 19, 2013 |
After a screening of "Zero Dark Thirty" for Sony Pictures executives in September, studio co-chair Amy Pascal gathered the filmmakers in her office on the Culver City lot and uncorked bottles of Champagne. Elation and confidence filled the air, recalled William Goldenberg, an editor on the film who was there to share a toast with a group that included director Kathryn Bigelow, screenwriter Mark Boal, financier Megan Ellison and line producer Colin Wilson. "The [executives] were really high on the movie," Goldenberg said.
February 15, 2013 |
Years after she first saw "The Passion of the Christ," Lori Pearson still feels queasy when she recalls the brutally graphic movie about the final hours of Jesus' life. "After I left the theater I remember feeling physically uncomfortable," said Pearson, a Dublin, Ohio, mother of two teenagers who writes movie reviews for the website Kids in Mind . "It was gruesome torture sequence after gruesome torture sequence. That kind of thing has a tendency to stay with me. " Pearson and her husband, Aris Christofides, started writing highly descriptive online reviews in 1992 to help parents navigate the sometimes confusing nature of movie ratings, but over the years their audience has evolved to include an unexpected group: adults looking to avoid certain types of screen violence themselves.
February 14, 2013 |
BERLIN -- Bullying, school violence, and police torture drama -- or quirky coming-of-age picture? Emir Baigazin's “Harmony Lessons” is both. It's also the first Kazakh film to make it into the Berlinale's competition section, and marks the feature film debut of Baigazin, who wrote, directed and edited. Set in a rural village on the plains of Kazakhstan, the film explores some very wrong rites of passage. Stoic 13-year-old Aslan (Timur Aidarbekov) is the butt of a crude practical joke that sullies both his reputation and state of mind.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 14, 2013 |
A stifling bureaucracy and inept workforce have crippled Los Angeles County's child protective agency, resulting in a system that allowed children to remain in unsafe homes, sometimes to die at the hands of their caretakers, according to a confidential county report . The investigation, conducted by an independent counsel for the Board of Supervisors, looked at 15 recent child deaths and a torture case. In all but two instances, investigators found that casework errors began with the agency's first contact with the children and contributed to their deaths.
February 9, 2013
Re "Obama agrees to release files on drone strike," Feb. 7 The recently leaked Justice Department memo that outlined the overly broad and vague legal boundaries used to justify drone strikes should shake the American people to the core. While I applaud President Obama for releasing more information to the Senate and House intelligence committees, the root of the problem remains: The administration is using the Authorization for the Use of Military Force passed by the House on Sept.
February 6, 2013 |
In some of his most expansive comments since his movie touched off a Washington firestorm, the screenwriter of "Zero Dark Thirty" defended his film as depicting torture accurately and said that a pending Senate investigation brought him "a chill. " "We've been accused of defending torture because there are disagreements in some quarters as to exactly which detainee undergoing exactly which form of interrogation first produced the lead that led to [Osama] Bin Laden and thus ... we shouldn't have included it," Mark Boal said.
February 4, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - President Obama's choice to be the next CIA director will face tough questions at his Senate confirmation hearing Thursday, but it appears unlikely that lawmakers' concerns will derail his nomination. Some Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, including Mark Udall of Colorado and Ron Wyden of Oregon, were miffed that John Brennan had not read the 300-page executive summary of a Senate report on the CIA's interrogation program before meeting with them recently.