It is not unusual for filmmakers to try to inject authenticity into a movie's first frames by flashing onscreen words such as "based on real events." Yet the language chosen by the makers of Zero Dark Thirty to preface their film about events leading to the death of Osama bin Laden is distinctively journalistic: "Based on Firsthand Accounts of Actual Events." As those words fade, "September 11, 2001" appears against a black screen and we hear genuine emergency calls ...
As of early November 2012, the upcoming gathering of Syrian opposition members in Doha, Qatar--under the auspices of the Arab League but at the urging of the United States--is both a logical result of a reassessment of current efforts to force the current Syrian regime from power as well as an invaluable opportunity to implement practical creativity in future efforts. From this point of view, the realization that the current make-up of the Syrian National Council (SNC) is neither adequately effective nor marginally representative of those currently fighting in Syria can be seen as a belated appreciation for the value of understanding and utilizing the principles of white-space design--normally only thought of in terms of marketing and visual design--when crafting conflict resolution tools...
Athens - "I'm very sorry sir, but I can confirm that your hotel in Athens no longer exists." We were due to fly to Athens in a few hours, and the manager of our hotel on the Greek island of Santorini was apologetic. "It's not uncommon these days," he continued, shaking his head; "between high debts and the bleak economic future, many hotels are just shutting down. This is Greece today..."
The defense of Abd Al-Rahim Al-Nashiri -- the mastermind in the bombing of the U.S. Navy destroyer Cole in 2000 -- has received a boost from a surprising source: Jose Rodriguez, a former high-ranking CIA official. Thankfully, the prosecution has voluminous evidence -- confessions from al-Qaeda members and even interviews with Nashiri himself -- that contradict Rodriguez's version of history. In a new book, Rodriguez takes responsibility for initiating the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists including Nashiri, and says that waterboarding saved lives. He also downplays Nashiri's importance, writing that "'mastermind' was not an apt description of Nashiri and endorsing a colleague's characterization of Nashiri as the dumbest terrorist I have ever met. Such talk is, of course, music to Nashiri's ears: How can he be prosecuted as the planner of a complicated plot causing the death of 17 U.S. sailors if he's a fool.
May marks a year since Seal Team Six dropped out of the night sky on a darkened compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Two bullets ended Osama bin Laden's life, but not the discussion about how he was found...