[Marxism] "Hurt Locker" director to serve up propaganda for Obama's re-election

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Aug 11 07:36:19 MDT 2011


Film on Bin Laden causes stir over Washington access
Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) wants the CIA and Pentagon to 
investigate whether the White House gave filmmakers access to 
confidential information regarding the raid that killed Osama bin 

By Rebecca Keegan, Los Angeles Times

August 11, 2011

Director Kathryn Bigelow hasn't yet called "action" on her movie 
about the capture of Osama bin Laden, but the project is already 
stirring up controversy.

Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.), chairman of the House Committee on 
Homeland Security, sent a letter to the CIA and the Defense 
Department on Tuesday asking for an investigation into whether the 
White House has granted Bigelow and Sony Pictures access to 
confidential information for the project.

"I'm very concerned that any sensitive information could be 
disclosed in a movie," King said in a phone interview. "The 
procedures and operations that we used in this raid are very 
likely what we'll use in other raids. There's no way a director 
would know what could be tipping off the enemy."

King also seems to be concerned about the possible political 
ramifications of the film, which is scheduled to arrive in 
theaters in October 2012.

"The fact that the movie is going to be released three weeks 
before election day, the people at the CIA told me they had no 
idea that this was the plan," he said. "They were never told it 
was gonna come out so close to election day."

King said he had spoken to members of the CIA who confirmed that 
the agency is working with the filmmakers. "There's a division in 
the agency," he said. "Some wanted to cooperate, some didn't."

In a news briefing Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Jay 
Carney acknowledged the filmmakers have been in touch with the 
administration but called King's claims that Bigelow and 
screenwriter Mark Boal had been given access to confidential 
information "ridiculous."

"When people, including you in this room, are working on articles, 
books, documentaries or movies that involve the president, ask to 
speak to administration officials, we do our best to accommodate 
them to make sure the facts are correct," Carney said.

"That is hardly a novel approach to the media," he added. "We do 
not discuss classified information. And I would hope that as we 
face the continued threat from terrorism, the House Committee on 
Homeland Security would have more important topics to discuss than 
a movie."

King, in his letter to the CIA and Pentagon, asked the inspectors 
general of both agencies to investigate issues including:

— "What consultations, if any, occurred between members of the 
executive office of the president, and Department of Defense 
and/or CIA officials, regarding the advisability of providing 
Hollywood executives with access to covert military operations and 
clandestine CIA officers to discuss the [Bin Laden] raid."

— Whether a copy of the film would be "submitted to the military 
and CIA for pre-publication review, to determine if special 
operations tactics … would be revealed by its release."

— How filmmakers' attendance at a meeting with special operators 
and agency officers at CIA headquarters was "balanced against 
those officers' duties to maintain their covers."

Bigelow and Boal, who both won Oscars in 2009 for their Iraq war 
movie "The Hurt Locker," responded to King in a statement issued 
through Sony Pictures.

"Our upcoming film project about the decade-long pursuit of Bin 
Laden has been in the works for many years and integrates the 
collective efforts of three administrations, including those of 
Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama, as well as the cooperative 
strategies and implementation by the Department of Defense and the 
Central Intelligence Agency. Indeed, the dangerous work of finding 
the world's most wanted man was carried out by individuals in the 
military and intelligence communities who put their lives at risk 
for the greater good without regard for political affiliation. 
This was an American triumph, both heroic and nonpartisan, and 
there is no basis to suggest that our film will represent this 
enormous victory otherwise."

Bigelow's movie, once known as "Kill Bin Laden," is currently 



I doubt that I could improve on the proper trashing of “Hurt 
Locker” by Jay Rothermel that appeared today on Marxmail 
It includes the following observations that I could not agree more 
strongly with:

	The Hollywood combat movie is a genre notorious for hoary 
clichés. We all know them: at least one solider is on the verge of 
going home. Another loves war a little too much. A third, from the 
rear echelon, wants to see some real action. Around camp a G.I. 
might befriend a local boy, a Samuel Fuller war orphan with a name 
like Short Round. If Fuller or Robert Aldrich made the movie, most 
of the officers would be useless tyros or dangerous martinets. The 
Black soldier would come off hard-as-nails, but reveal himself 
late in the movie as the heart of the unit. The youngest 
baby-faced grunt would have a meltdown. There would be some 
lighter escapades, too, to break-up the bigger combat scenes: men 
carousing and “getting down” to the soundtrack’s rock and roll music.

	“The Hurt Locker” is sold as a vigorously up-to-date hand-held 
no-stars kitchen-sink realist combat movie with none of these 
trite and ancient plot points. On this the TV commercials, stellar 
reviews, and print ads all agree. But the movie has them. Indeed, 
it seems like an encyclopedia of such clichés. So many are used 
that the viewer starts to feel like the victim of a practical 
joke, lured to the theater with the old bait-and-switch.

I would only add a couple of my own complaints. In one scene the 
American bomb defusing expert, one Sergeant James, scours an 
abandoned bomb factory, where he discovers a dead Iraqi boy who 
has been booby-trapped. In keeping with the sensationalist 
approach of director Kathryn Bigelow, James uses his knife to 
surgically remove the bomb. To add to the melodrama, the boy is 
assumed to be a street kid that Sergeant James has befriended, a 
DVD peddler who calls himself Beckham after the soccer superstar.

Now there have been few reports of booby-trapped corpses in Iraq, 
but those have exclusively involved occupation forces, either 
military or civilian like truck drivers. The idea that Sunni 
insurgents would defile the corpse of a Muslim, even if it 
belonged to a Shi’ite is unbelievable. As deeply religious rebels, 
they were and are obviously constrained by their beliefs. The 
Muslim religion dictates a rapid burial and not the use of a dead 
believer’s body for a weapon. Suicide bombing, of course, is an 
entirely different matter that while not exactly sanctioned by the 
religion is not in open defiance of its strictures, at least as 
interpreted by its Imams, which is all that matters in the final 

In some ways, this lack of verisimilitude reminded me of “The Deer 
Hunter”, another war movie that also aspired to transcend the 
genre’s conventions. In one of the most heralded scenes in the 
movie, the Vietnamese force an American captive to play Russian 
roulette. As it turns out, the only record of such a gruesome form 
of mental and physical torture taking place during the war was 
imposed by Americans on their Vietnamese captives. That’s par for 
the course in Hollywood, where demonization of the Empire’s 
enemies is a requirement for career advancement.

In another scene that is directly related to the scene described 
above, Sergeant James forces another Arab DVD peddler to drive him 
to the house where Beckham was booby-trapped, or where he lived. 
Like much of this movie, it is rather murky what his goal is. When 
he gets there, pistol in hand, he discovers that it is a 
middle-class home with an older man preparing dinner in the 
kitchen. The man, a college professor who speaks English, is not 
intimidated by the gun and invites him to share tea with him. We 
are finally on the verge, it would appear, of having some serious 
dramatic interaction and revelations about how the Arab perceives 
the occupying powers. But just as soon as the professor makes his 
invitation, his wife bursts into the kitchen and beats Sergeant 
James over the head with a metal pot. Our intrepid GI, unafraid of 
the deadliest bombs, goes running off into the night and no 
further words are exchanged with the Iraqi man and woman. I 
imagine that the screenwriter was incapable of writing dialog 
appropriate to the scene. He was much better suited obviously for 
having his principals say things like “Haji at 2:00″.

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