9/11 victims group blast critics of Zero Dark Thirty, praise filmmakers

The director and screenwriter Mark Boal have come under fire for showing scenes of waterboarding and prisoner humiliation during fictitious interrogations in the acclaimed new film and they have spent the weeks since its release defending the footage from politicians, family groups and celebrity pacifists.

And now they have support from an organisation representing the relatives of 9/11 victims.

Officials at 9/11 Parents and Families of Firefighters and WTC Victims have released a statement denouncing what they call critics’ “censorship” of the scenes in Zero Dark Thirty, which chronicles the fictitious manhunt for the man behind the 2001 terror attacks, Osama bin Laden.

Taking aim at Senators John McCain, Dianne Feinstein and Carl Levin, who are planning to launch an investigation into suggestions the CIA leaked documents to Bigelow and Boal to help them perfect the torture scenes, the group writes, “As a group of 9/11 families sharing a rare moment of justice and elation in the viewing of a film chronicling the search for and ultimate death of Osama Bin Laden, we find it deeply disturbing that some of our elected officials want to discourage other 9/11 families and the public from seeing this outstanding film.

“Politicians who have criticized the movie and made misleading claims about it, stand in the way of engaging a public dialogue for a stirring film which invokes feelings of patriotism and perseverance and honors our military, our country, and the victims of 9/11.

“We are greatly concerned that a few pundits, film critics and elected officials are badmouthing this movie because of the water boarding scenes and because this film directly confronts the enduring terrorist threat.

“We feel this is history – like it or not – and no effort should be made to rewrite or censor it for political correctness. Certainly there should be no organized boycott or suppression of films based on political differences. The word for that is censorship…”

The statement continues: “We applaud Mark Boal and Katherine (sic) Bigelow for presenting a film that honors history, our military, our country, and the victims of 9/11 – through the excellent portrayal of how the US government and Navy Seals worked to apprehend OBL… All citizens should see this film and make their own decisions about its value. This is what democracy is about.”