Abu Zubaida has been a prisoner of the US government since 2002. He was subjected to “enhanced interrogation techniques” at a black spot in Thailand and ended up in the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison camp.
Although the latter seems untrue, the United States considers him a confidant of Osama bin Laden and a key figure in planning the 9/11 attacks. Records show he was sentenced without trial for “communicating for the rest of his life,” and was never got charged with the crime, nor was he allowed to appeal his detention.
That doesn’t sound very American.
That’s how it is, and I’m going to save myself the insane amount of exciting detail Gibney gives us in this film. He interviewed critical figures from Senate Investigator Daniel J. Jones (played by Adam Driver in Report/Biography 2019) to “Advanced Interrogation Techniques” creator James Mitchell to writer and former FBI agent Ali Sufan. Some of the commentators have said that the United States “did stupid things” in the September 11 emotional response.
And one of them was to deviate from the FBI’s techniques to understand the CIA’s covert use of torture. Water bans, sleep deprivation, imprisonment, isolation, stressful situations. There is more cruelty than that. If you have become a semi-conscious adult in the last two decades, then this list can complete the list.
Gibney explores the intricacies of how boys like W. Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, and George Tenet are so determined to prevent future terrorist attacks. That they allow the use of torture tactics. For example, if you need a new roof for your home. Do you know how to contact several contractors to find an affordable, accredited, and knowledgeable supplier? Well, forget it. Tenet had just left with the first person he spoke to.
Mitchell, a psychologist who had developed “advanced interrogation techniques” used in “resistance training” for soldiers. He had never interrogated a prisoner before, but that didn’t stop him from making Zubaida. It feels like he had drowned 83 times.
Which was just one of the many horrific things the prisoner went through. It’s crazy that Gibney has Mitchell talking about this stuff on camera. Even though the director, damn it, contextualizes everything he’s doing here to condemn barbarism. To see how the definition of “patriotism” denotes one of the many ways America has run out of morals.
Gibney is one of the most prolific and experienced makers of political documentaries.
It matches the weed with The Forever Prisoner, but don’t let that put you off; it only strengthens the belief in the story. He tacitly justified further study of this established but worthy subject by giving in-depth interviews to Mitchell and Sufan.
Whose books Black Flags: The Internal History of 9/11 and the Al Qaeda War were heavily edited when Gibney sued the government. And released an uncensored version. Your comments seem scary and blunt. Gibney wouldn’t have gotten anything like that for Taxi to the Dark Side 14 years ago.
The film contains several exciting moments, including hints.
That Catherine Bigelow’s Oscar-nominated film Zero Dark Thirty is essentially CIA propaganda like Zubaida. Who is tortured with the much-released Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Gibney provokes many exciting ideas: about absolutism and idealism (obviously not everyone is “innocent until proven guilty”); how mental health continues to decline in today’s world (Mitchell insists the technique is physically harmless while others testify to Zubaida’s PTSD); and our need to put aside the fact that Zubaida is a public enemy who is anti-American and potentially dangerous, but deserves a fair trial and human rights. Nobody has ever said that it was easy to stand up for high morals.
The Forever Prisoner is a rich and haunting documentary in which Gibney transcends a potentially derived subject to find a new purpose.