Saturday, December 20, 2014

Zero Dark Thirty’s Maya: in real life she is apparently an Alfreda Frances Bikowsky

If anyone has seen that complete farce of a film Zero Dark Thirty in which a tenacious female CIA analyst more or less works out singlehandedly where Osama Bin Laden was, they will have read the film’s legend that the analyst, called Maya in the film, was based on one particular woman, although also partly on the work of others.

That woman has now been named, despite CIA pleas - I suppose they were pleas, though knowing the CIA’s penchant for torture perhaps their demand was a little more forceful than a regular ‘plea’ - not to. She is Alfreda Frances Bikowsky.

I got that name from The Intercept which ignored the CIA’s pleas. I came across the reference to The Intercept when I read a piece in today’s Telegraph outlining how Ms Bikowsky was not quite the bright young button the CIA made her out to be. Apparently, she chose to witness torture personally although as an analyst there was no reason for her to do so, she misinterpreted information to such an extent that the CIA launched a massive hunt for a spurious African-American Al Qaeda cell in Montana, and she lied to the US senate, claiming that ‘torture got result’.

Take a look at the Telegraph piece yourselves for further evidence that Ms Bikowsky was in many ways a disaster waiting to happen. I keep asking myself why the revelations about the fact that the CIA tortured a great many of its detainees rile me so much. After all, I am not an American, Muslim, they didn’t torture me and I’m not otherwise particularly principled.

But they have and they do. I think, as I pointed out in the last entry touching upon this, it is the ‘holier than thou’ attitude of some Americans which so gets up my nose (but once again I shall be at pains to point out that I am not about to indulge in a bout of gratuitous America bashing: there are as many in the country, both Republicans and Democrats, who are equally appalled at what one of their security services has been getting up to).

One thing that does irritate me a great deal is the insistence of many Americans not just that it is most certainly the best country in the world bar none but that the rest of the world us morally obliged to join in the self-adoration. I should imagine every country in the world likes to think it is up there with the best, but none goes on to insist - it seems almost at gunpoint - that everyone else should agree.

Well, might I point out that the U.S. is most certainly not the best country in the world if you are black and/or poor. Certainly, blacks get a raw deal in other countries and every country has its poor underclass. But those other countries don’t trumpet themselves as ‘the land of the free’ and the ‘land of opportunity’.

It is quite bizarre that proportionately more men and women are locked up in jail in the U.S. than in China. Bizarre, but unfortunately true. I doubt whether any of those locked up, whether white, black, hispanic or of any other hue and colour are inclined to join in a chorus in praise of ‘the land of the free’.

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