Knowing what I know now, I wonder if it wasn’t my friendship with them — and Quentin Tarantino and George Clooney — that saved me from being raped.
.. The range of his persuasion tactics went from sweet-talking me to that one time when, in an attack of fury, he said the terrifying words, “I will kill you, don’t think I can’t.”
When he was finally convinced that I was not going to earn the movie the way he had expected, he told me he had offered my role and my script with my years of research to another actress.
.. he gave me a list of impossible tasks with a tight deadline:
1. Get a rewrite of the script, with no additional payment.
2. Raise $10 million to finance the film.
3. Attach an A-list director.
4. Cast four of the smaller roles with prominent actors.
Much to everyone’s amazement, not least my own, I delivered, thanks to a phalanx of angels who came to my rescue, including Edward Norton, who beautifully rewrote the script several times and appallingly never got credit, and my friend Margaret Perenchio, a first-time producer, who put up the money. The brilliant Julie Taymor agreed to direct, and from then on she became my rock. For the other roles, I recruited my friends Antonio Banderas, Edward Norton and my dear Ashley Judd. To this day, I don’t know how I convinced Geoffrey Rush, whom I barely knew at the time.
.. Now Harvey Weinstein was not only rejected but also about to do a movie he did not want to do.
Ironically, once we started filming, the sexual harassment stopped but the rage escalated. We paid the price for standing up to him nearly every day of shooting.
.. So he told me he was going to shut down the film because no one would want to see me in that role.
It was soul crushing because, I confess, lost in the fog of a sort of Stockholm syndrome, I wanted him to see me as an artist: not only as a capable actress but also as somebody who could identify a compelling story and had the vision to tell it in an original way.
.. I was hoping he would acknowledge me as a producer, who on top of delivering his list of demands shepherded the script and obtained the permits to use the paintings.
.. But all of this seemed to have no value. The only thing he noticed was that I was not sexy in the movie.
.. He offered me one option to continue. He would let me finish the film if I agreed to do a sex scene with another woman. And he demanded full-frontal nudity.
He had been constantly asking for more skin, for more sex. Once before, Julie Taymor got him to settle for a tango ending in a kiss instead of the lovemaking scene he wanted us to shoot between the character Tina Modotti, played by Ashley Judd, and Frida.
.. When Harvey saw the cut film, he said it was not good enough for a theatrical release and that he would send it straight to video.
This time Julie had to fight him without me and got him to agree to release the film in one movie theater in New York if we tested it to an audience and we scored at least an 80.
Less than 10 percent of films achieve that score on a first screening.
I didn’t go to the test. I anxiously awaited to receive the news. The film scored 85... the film industry stopped making an effort to find out what female audiences wanted to see and what stories we wanted to tell... between 2007 and 2016, only 4 percent of directors were female and 80 percent of those got the chance to make only one film. In 2016, another study found, only 27 percent of words spoken in the biggest movies were spoken by women.
Beginning in August 2002, Abu Zubaydah was the first prisoner to undergo “enhanced interrogation techniques.” Since the Spanish Inquisition, these practices have been characterized as torture. There is disagreement among government sources as to how effective these techniques were; some officials contend that Abu Zubaydah gave his most valuable information before they were used; CIA lawyer John Rizzo said he gave more material afterward.
.. Although President George W. Bush claimed in 2006 three examples of intelligence derived from the torture of Abu Zubaydah by the CIA, which he said showed that it was justified, later reporting has established that the prisoner gave two of the names under conventional interrogation by the FBI, and intelligence analysts already had leads from other sources to the third person.
.. Ali Soufan stated that “[w]e kept him alive. It wasn’t easy, he couldn’t drink, he had a fever. I was holding ice to his lips.” The agents attempted to convince Abu Zubaydah that they knew of his activities in languages he understood: English and Arabic. Both agents believed they were making good progress in gathering intelligence from Abu Zubaydah... During these sessions, Abu Zubaydah revealed that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, known as “Mukhtar” to Abu Zubaydah, was the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and that American José Padilla had wanted to use a “dirty bomb” in a terror attack... When the CIA interrogation team arrived a week or two later than the FBI team, they concluded that Abu Zubaydah was holding back information and that harsher techniques were necessary. The CIA team was led by CIA contractor and former Air Force psychologist James Elmer Mitchell. Mitchell ordered that Abu Zubaydah answer questions or face a gradual increase in aggressive techniques.[6.. In 2009 Soufan testified before Congress that his FBI team was removed from Abu Zubaydah’s interrogation multiple times, only to be asked to return when the harsher interrogation tactics of the CIA proved unsuccessful.Ali Soufan was alarmed by the early CIA tactics, such as enforced nudity, cold temperatures, and blaring loud rock music in Zubaydah’s cell. Soufan reported to his FBI superiors that the CIA’s interrogation constituted “borderline torture.” He was particularly concerned about a coffin-like box he discovered that had been built by the CIA interrogation team. He was so angry he called the FBI assistant director for counterterrorism, Pasquale D’Amaro, and shouted, “I swear to God, I’m going to arrest these guys!” Afterward, both FBI agents were ordered to leave the facility by FBI Director Robert Mueller. Ali Soufan left, but Steve Gaudin stayed an additional few weeks and continued to participate in the interrogation... “We were able to get the information about Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in a couple of days. We didn’t have to do any of this [torture]. We could have done this the right way.”.. Rohan Gunaratna, an al-Qaida expert and a government witness in the José Padilla case, said that “most of the information that was exceptionally useful to the fight against al-Qaida came from Abu Zubaydah, and it came before the U.S. government decided to use enhanced techniques.. Dan Coleman, a retired FBI official and al Qaida expert, commented that after the CIA’s use of coercive methods, “I don’t have confidence in anything he says, because once you go down that road, everything you say is tainted. He was talking before they did that to him, but they didn’t believe him. The problem is they didn’t realize he didn’t know all that much.”.. Defenders of these techniques have claimed that they got Abu Zubaydah to give up information leading to the capture of Ramzi bin al-Shibh, a top aide to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, and Mr. Padilla. This is false. The information that led to Mr. Shibh’s capture came primarily from a different terrorist operative who was interviewed using traditional methods. As for Mr. Padilla, the dates just don’t add up: the harsh techniques were approved in the memo of August 2002, Mr. Padilla had been arrested that May... The SERE program was originally designed as defensive in nature and was used to train American pilots and other soldiers how to resist harsh interrogation techniques and torture if they fell into enemy hands. The program subjected U.S. military trainees to techniques such as “waterboarding . . . sleep deprivation, isolation, exposure to extreme temperatures, enclosure in tiny spaces, bombardment with agonizing sounds at extremely damaging decibel levels, and religious and sexual humiliation.” For the CIA, Mitchell and Jessen adapted SERE into an offensive program designed to train CIA agents and contractors on how to use the harsh interrogation techniques or torture to get information from prisoners.. All of the tactics listed above were later reported by the International Committee of the Red Cross as having been used on Abu Zubaydah.. Mitchell and Jessen relied heavily on experiments done by the American psychologist Martin Seligman in the 1970s known as “learned helplessness... Mitchell believed that Zubaydah must be treated “like a dog in a cage.” He said the interrogation “was like an experiment, when you apply electric shocks to a caged dog, after a while, he’s so diminished, he can’t resist.”.. the Washington Post reported in 2009 that “not a single significant plot was foiled as a result of Abu Zubaida’s tortured confessions.. A former intelligence official stated “[w]e spent millions of dollars chasing false alarms.” Ron Suskind said, “we tortured an insane man and ran screaming at every word he uttered.”.. Abu Zubaydah claims he lied under interrogation to prevent further torture.
Some of the various false leads he provided are the following:
- Al Qaeda planned on blowing up “soft targets” such as apartment buildings, supermarkets, and shopping malls.
- Attacks could occur against the Statue of Liberty and the Brooklyn Bridge.
- There were plots against banks in the Northeastern United States.
- There was going to be a nerve gas attack on a major U.S. subway system sometime around July 4.
- Al Qaeda plotted to detonate a jacket full of explosives on a civilian airliner and that the planners had used their own metal and explosive detectors to figure out how to successfully accomplish the mission.
- Al Qaeda knew how to build and smuggle a dirty bomb into the United States. Abu Zubaydah later retracted this allegation.
.. George Tennet who was so impressed that he initially ordered us to be congratulated. That was apparently quickly withdrawn as soon as Mr. Tennet was told that it was FBI agents, who were responsible.
.. Immediately, on the instructions of the contractor, harsh techniques were introduced, starting with nudity. (The harsher techniques mentioned in the memos were not introduced or even discussed at this point.) The new techniques did not produce results as Abu Zubaydah shut down and stopped talking. At that time nudity and low-level sleep deprivation (between 24 and 48 hours) was being used.
.. After a few days of getting no information, and after repeated inquiries from DC asking why all of sudden no information was being transmitted (when before there had been a steady stream), we again were given control of the interrogation. We then returned to using the Informed Interrogation Approach. Within a few hours, Abu Zubaydah again started talking and gave us important actionable intelligence. This included the details of Jose Padilla, the so-called “dirty bomber.”
.. The tapes were destroyed on November 9, 2005. When this became public in 2007, the CIA Director at that time, Michael Hayden, asserted that the continued existence of the tapes had represented a risk to the CIA personnel involved. He asserted that if the tapes had been leaked, they might cause the CIA personnel to be identified and targeted for retaliation.