Survivors Of 9/11 Victims Slam Senators For Trashing ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Here is an unexpected vote of support for Best Picture nominee Zero Dark Thirty, a film that probably lost an Oscar nomination for director Kathryn Bigelow because of the cage rattling by three U.S. Senators over what they said was a false impression that the torture depicted in the film led somehow to 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden. Here is a release issued by 9/11 Parents & Families of Firefighters and WTC Victims, which was forwarded to me by Sony Pictures. As a New Yorker, I can see their point. While I was having my house built in a new community a dozen years ago, we met a firefighter who right up the block was building his dream house. Construction got delayed and by the time these houses were done, he had perished on 9/11. His family has long since moved away, but each time I drive past that house, I think of him. I also thought of him while I watched Zero Dark Thirty, and while I found the depiction of torture to be upsetting–it seemed to me that Bigelow and Mark Boal presented it in a way that leaves it up to the viewer to decide whether or not it was worthwhile or reprehensible–but the most surprising thing about the way that movie has played is how the heroism of the CIA operatives and the Navy SEALs has gotten little to no recognition because of the Senate scrutiny. The perspective below comes from a group that every day wakes up reminded they lost loved ones and that everything depicted in Zero Dark Thirty came as the result of an unforgivable terrorist attack on innocent people perpetrated in our backyard.

9/11 Parents & Families of Firefighters and WTC Victims
Statement of Support re “Zero Dark Thirty” Film

January 31, 2013
Contact:
Chief Jim Riches – 917-692-1199
Sally Regenhard – 646-266-1987
Rosemary Cain – 516-798-0109

9/11 Family Group Says: “NO” to censorship of Zero Dark Thirty film re Bin Laden

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.” How bizarre that members of an industry that suffered so much during the McCarthy era would even consider doing this to their own members!

The use of the term “torture” by elected officials in hopes of dissuading people to endorse or view this film is antithetical to what our government should be all about.

As 9/11 family members whose loved ones were massacred at Ground Zero on September 11, 2001, we applaud Mark Boal and Katherine 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. There is still a constitutional right to freedom of speech in our country, and censoring a film is totally un American and against the tenets of our founding fathers. This film inspires dialogue and no elected official can censor any film. We do not want to allow Senators Feinstein, Levin, and McCain or actors David Clennon and9/11 Truthers Ed Asner and Martin Sheen – to inhibit our fellow Americans from seeing ” Zero Dark Thirty.” Our loved ones died for these freedoms on 9/11 – and no one should ever try to abridge them. All citizens should see this film and make their own decisions about its value. This is what democracy is about.

Rita & Chief Jim Riches, FDNY(ret.) Chairperson,
9/11 Parents & Families of Firefighters & WTC Victims
Parents of FF Jimmy Riches 9/11, E4

Sally & Sgt. Al Regenhard, NYPD(ret.) USMC Vet.
Parents of FF Christian Regenhard 9/11, L131, Sgt.USMC

Maureen & Chief Al Santora, FDNY(ret.) & Family
Parents of FF Christopher Santora 9/11, E54

Rosemary Cain
Mother of FF George Cain 9/11, L7

Eileen Walsh, Mother
Matthew & Mary Walsh, Siblings
of FF Michael Brennan 9/11 E54/L4

Michael Burke
Brother of Capt. William Burke 9/11, E21

Sgt. Wilton Sekzer, NYPD(ret.) Proud Vietnam Vet.
Father of Jason Sekzer 9/11,Tower 1, 105Flr/WTC

Christina Regenhard & Donal Flynn
Sister & Brother-In-Law of FF Christian Regenhard
Carol Maire Watters

FF Robert Mahon FDNY(ret.)
Cousins of FF Christian Regenhard

Glenn Corbett, Technical Advisor
9/11 Parents & Families of Firefighters & WTC Victims

Related: Michael Moore Weighs In On ‘Zero Dark Thirty’

Comments (39)

  • Zero Dark Thirty is the most propagandistic possible portrayal of the total U.S. effort in the “war on terror.” It simplifies the experiences of thousands of people in the grips of terror, fear, both victims and assailants, attempting futilely to reconcile the invasion of sovereign nations with the double-edged coups of surprise attacks that BOTH entities employed. It is no more a history of the event that the pamphlets handed out near Ground Zero claiming the plot was a conspiracy by third-parties.

    Comment by slim_whitman — Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 10:09am PST  
  • So now Zero Dark Thirty is all about honoring the families of 9/11? We are supposed to watched the film and cheer along in vengeance? So Sony is not going to profit from the movie sales? This is low and shameful. Both from Sony and whoever heads the 9/11 families org that sent out this letter. Really shameful. This does not honor your dead. It’s a hollywood film sent up to make money and win awards. Playing the 911 card just like playing the race card or the gender card always loses.

    Comment by Kennith — Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 10:12am PST  
    • I was cheering for vengeance watching it. I felt the film did honor the 9/11 victims well.

      Comment by Uhh yeah. — Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 11:03am PST  
      • Well I guess you have something in common with the terrorists now :)

        Comment by Just some asshole — Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 11:17am PST  
        • I doubt “um yeah” was cheering for the death of innocent women and children, just those who were responsible for the attack themselves. Sort of a huge difference that should be pretty clear, unless you equate murderers with innocent bystanders.

          Comment by NervisRex — Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 2:46pm PST  
        • Easy for you to say something sitting in the safety of your home. Easy for any one to say anything about the war on Terror when they are nice and combfortable and only care about anything when their way of life is endangered.

          This is why I DO NOT SERVE my Country for 95% of the ungrateful, spoiled brats of America nor my crappy government. I SERVE MY COUNTRY for My Wife and those that SERVE Next to me, not the 95% TRASH that is what was once a great Nation.

          Comment by Jim — Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 3:10pm PST  
  • Thank you 9/11 families for speaking out about Zero Dark Thirty and the politicizing of this film.

    Lately, our government is seriously crossing the line of free speech. Our government compelled a witch hunt and ‘lynching’ of the producer of the film (granted a really bad film) as the cause for the Benghazi uprising. It was wrong and not accurate, but used to take the focus off what really did happen. Unfortunately, our government chooses to not explore the details. “They are dead. What does it matter?”, Hillary Clinton, Sec of State, USA.

    And, now, the government has decided to thrash Zero Dark Thirty over water boarding and other ‘secrets’ which may have been exposed. Again, this is all political theater.

    This is a film, not a documentary. The government has no business getting involved whatsoever. And, that applies to positive government support for a film like Lincoln. It is almost as offensive to see the Senate screening of Lincoln along with Bill Clinton’s Globe appearance presenting Lincoln for best picture as watching this process about Zero Dark Thirty.

    Again, my deepest appreciation to the 9/11 families for taking a public stand on behalf of free speech and filmmaking.

    Please, never lose your voice.

    Comment by FTCS — Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 10:15am PST  
    • One of the best posts I’ve ever read on here. Thank you.

      Professor

      Comment by Professor Falken — Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 10:39am PST  
    • + 1.

      Comment by Nice. — Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 11:05am PST  
    • Thank you.

      Comment by +1 — Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 12:47pm PST  
  • I wish this had come sooner.

    Comment by Lenny Feder — Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 10:21am PST  
  • While I don’t agree with any attempts or even discussion of censoring this or any other movie, calling this movie “history” or even an “outstanding film” is pure drivel.

    Comment by Tripjack — Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 10:22am PST  
  • I HAD BEEN INTERESTED IN EXACTLY WHAT WATER BOARDING IS AND AFTER SEEING ZERO DARK THIRTY HAVE AN UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT TOURTURE ACTUALLY IS AND IT IS WELL DESERVED TO THOSE WHO HAVE NO REGARD FOR LIFE.

    WHAT OUR MILITARY DOES IN ORDER TO GET INFORMATION TO KEEP US AND OUR COUNTRY SAFE IS ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING TO GET ANSWERS AND UNDER NO CONDITIONS SHOULD IT BE LESSENED…THE FILM DESERVES CREDIT AND I APPLAUD KATHRYN BIGLOW FOR HELPING US NOT ONLY UNDERSTAND, BUT SHOWING US AND THE FAMILIES WHO HAVE LOST LOVED ONES THAT SOME JUSTICE IS DONE TO A SMALL EXTENT – ANY OF OUR POLITICIANS WHO OBJECT TO THIS FILM, SHOULD NOT BE IN OFFICE!

    Comment by LYNNE — Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 10:24am PST  
    • There is no need to write your entire post in capital letters.

      Comment by Caps lock off please — Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 12:11pm PST  
  • 2,996 tragic reasons to see this film.

    Comment by 2996 deaths — Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 10:30am PST  
  • Why is everyone talking about the torture scenes in Zero Dark Thirty?

    Is everyone missing the REAL problem here? The movie was BORING! It only got exciting in the last act. Everything else was a torture to watch! That’s what we shall all be talking about…

    (I love Chastain though…)

    Comment by bobbyp — Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 10:41am PST  
  • Of all the people to talk about the film, it’s the families of the victims. More power to them.

    Comment by steve — Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 10:45am PST  
    • What you mean is more power to the victims’ families who agree with you. There are many, MANY families of 9/11 victims who strenuously opposed the Iraq war and have strenuously opposed the rendition and torture policies.

      Comment by HW — Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 12:00pm PST  
      • +1

        Comment by +1 — Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 3:13pm PST  
  • I am Australian, and as a nation we also lost our countrymen in the 9/11 attacks. We have followed America into every battle you’ve fought. A lot of Americans are unaware of this. Your military saved our asses in WW2, so I don’t have an issue with our troops helping you fight your wars.
    Like another poster, I didn’t know what waterboarding was, and so I watched one scene (I closed my eyes for the other torture scenes). I don’t need those images in my head.
    ZD30 is a movie…inspired by actual events. It is not a documentary although it has a certain fly on the wall feel to it. It strikes me as more than a little ironic that certain politicians feel they have the right to interfere in freedom of speech, or an art form that America does better than any other country in the world (on the whole). Isn’t that one of the reasons used to go fight in the first place? To help bring democracy and freedom of speech to lands run by dictators?
    I support the letter written above by people who lost their loved ones in a tragedy they will never recover from. They, too have the right to freely speak out. Who better to recognize and honor the thousands of people who give their lives every single day to help keep this country (and many others) safe?

    Comment by Red — Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 10:53am PST  
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