Zero Dark Thirty: Polish city angered by portrayal in movie

Published: February 9, 2013
"The name 'Gdansk' is synonymous with freedom and Solidarity," Gdansk Mayor Pawel Adamowicz said.

"The name 'Gdansk' is synonymous with freedom and Solidarity," Gdansk Mayor Pawel Adamowicz said.

WARSAW: The Polish city of Gdansk said it was offended by Hollywood blockbuster “Zero Dark Thirty” for labelling the home town of the communist bloc’s first independent labour union as the location of a secret CIA detention centre.

The controversial movie has already sparked controversy by suggesting that the torture of al Qaeda suspects played an important role in tracking down al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who was killed by US special forces during a raid on a Pakistan compound in 2011.

Polish prosecutors are looking into the country’s role in helping US intelligence services transport suspected members of the al Qaeda group who carried out the September 11, 2001 suicide airliner attacks on New York and Washington to facilities outside the United States for interrogation.

The remote airfield in northern Poland where human rights groups accuse the CIA of flying al Qaeda suspects is located some 200 km (124 miles) from Gdansk, where electrician Lech Walesa co-founded the Solidarity trade union movement which toppled the communist government more than two decades ago.

The film offers a view from the sea of an industrial building, a red ship with a darkening sky in the background and the caption: “CIA BLACK SITE, Gdansk, Poland.”

“The name ‘Gdansk’ is synonymous with freedom and Solidarity,” Gdansk Mayor Pawel Adamowicz said.

“In the movie it has been turned to a gloomy place where secret services interrogate people accused of terrorism. We are simply offended,” he told Reuters.

Poland’s government has never publicly acknowledged the existence of CIA prison centres on its territory. The investigation into the country’s involvement in the CIA’s “rendition” programme is now in its fifth year and prosecutors asked earlier this week for another extension.

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Reader Comments (3)

  • John B
    Feb 9, 2013 - 1:19AM

    Abottabad is also offended.


  • Sigh
    Feb 9, 2013 - 1:30AM

    People get offended by the most little things, ego it seems touches the sky.


  • IZ
    Feb 9, 2013 - 11:54AM

    This is actually a sore point for many Poles. There was a furore in Poland over Polish director Jerzy Skolimowski’s movie ‘Essential Killing’ which is about a Taliban fighter who is captured tortured and ‘rendered’ to Poland, where he escapes after an accident while being transported in a snow storm. Apart from the fact that the ‘hero’ of the movie was a Taliban fighter, some Poles insisted that the director should not have implied that the Polish government had allowed the CIA to operate secret ‘torture’ sites in the country, calling it left-wing propaganda etc.


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