Shorter Question Everything
That would never happen! *Shocked gasp*. It happens all the time. Why there’s a surprise when the military industrial ENTERTAINMENT complex does this, I’ll never know.
US Senate Intelligence Committee to investigate whether film-makers Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal had access to classified material.
The controversy surrounding the fact-based terrorist drama Zero Dark Thirty looks set to continue as the US senate intelligence committee launched an investigation into the relationship between the film’s makers and CIA officials. The committee will probe whether Zero Dark Thirty’s director and writer were granted “inappropriate access” to classified material.
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow and scripted by Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty charts the nine-year hunt for al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and climaxes in the successful raid on Bin Laden’s compound in May 2011. CIA officials have admitted briefing the film-makers on the project but insist that the finished picture is “a dramatisation” as opposed to a historical record.
Reuters reports that internal documents, released in response to a freedom-of-information request, already show that Michael Morell – the CIA’s then deputy director and now acting chief – met with the film-makers. A Pentagon email also claims that Mark Boal was briefed by the CIA “with the full knowledge and full approval/support” of Leon Panetta, the former CIA director and subsequently US secretary of defence.
The senate investigation will be headed by Democrat senator Dianne Feinstein who last month joined two other senators in lambasting Zero Dark Thirty’s depiction of torture. Feinstein, Carl Levin and John McCain claim that the film is “grossly inaccurate” in its suggestion that coercive interrogation tactics were instrumental in gathering information about Bin Laden’s whereabouts.
The CIA has yet to comment on the senate investigation. In a statement released last month, Morell insisted that Zero Dark Thirty was “a dramatisation, not a realistic portrayal of the facts”.
• The United States and New Zealand conducted secret tests during the 1940s of a “tsunami bomb” designed to destroy coastal cities by using underwater explosions to trigger tidal waves. The tests were carried out in waters around New Caledonia and Auckland during the Second World War and showed that the weapon was feasible. A series of 10 large offshore blasts could potentially create a 33ft tsunami capable of inundating a small city. The top-secret operation, codenamed “Project Seal,” tested the doomsday device as a possible rival to the nuclear bomb. About 3,700 bombs were exploded during the tests, first in New Caledonia and later at Whangaparaoa Peninsula, near Auckland. Mr. Waru said initial tests were positive but the project was shelved in early 1945. Experts concluded that a successful tsunami bomb would require about two million kilograms of explosive arrayed in a line about five miles from shore.
• Most Canadians think Justin Trudeau is the odds-on favourite to win the Liberal leadership race in April and also think he offers the best chance among the contenders to beat Stephen Harper’s governing Conservatives in the next election, a new poll has found. The nationwide survey by Ipsos Reid conducted exclusively for Postmedia News and Global TV also revealed that a majority of Canadians still believe the Liberals, out of power since 2006, will one day return to govern the country. The poll found that 69 per cent of Canadians feel Trudeau will win the Liberal leadership contest, as compared to 19 per cent who felt astronaut-turned-MP Marc Garneau would eventually prevail.
• The 112th Congress gaveled to a close on Thursday afternoon without passing a relief package for victims of Hurricane Sandy or reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, but Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) isn’t too concerned about finishing what Republicans had left undone. Instead, at 12:00 PM she introduced the very first piece of legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which states are now busily implementing. House Republicans have unsuccessfully voted 33 times in the last two years to eliminate health care reform and wasted at least 88 hours and $50 million, while failing to pass a single piece of job creation legislation in the last session of Congress.
• Fighting rages for control of Syrian air base. Rebels have stormed parts of Taftanaz military airport in Syria’s northwest Idlib province, but state media reported on Thursday that the fighters had been repelled by troops. A rebel speaking from near the Taftanaz base overnight said the base’s main sections were still in loyalist hands but fighters had managed to infiltrate and destroy a helicopter and a warplane on the ground.
• The former chief of Shin Bet, the Israeli security agency, has censured Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s stance on Iran. “My colleagues and I were very unsure of whether Netanyahu and [Minister for Military Affairs Ehud] Barak can lead an Iranian campaign. We didn’t trust their motives,” Yuval Diskin said in an interview with Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth. “We were worried that they might pursue various moves that would compromise Israel based on irrelevant considerations or via underhanded ways. We had a feeling that they were trying to sneak something under the radar,” he added. Following the interview, Netanyahu’s office issued a statement, rejecting Diskin’s remarks as “ridiculous”, “for political reasons” and motivated by his personal frustration.