Saturday, August 1, 2009

Taxi to the Dark Side

With this extraordinary film director Alex Gibney makes a convincing and well researched case against the acts of torture, abuse and humiliation committed by the U.S. military against political prisoners in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay.

A major sub-plot is the story of Dilawar, an Afghan taxi driver who ended up dying from injuries suffered while he was held in Bagram, a former Soviet prison coverted into a U.S. detention center for suspected terroists. However, the film explains how Dilawar was actually an innocent man turned in by an actual terroist seeking to throw investigators off his trail. One expert explains how only about 1% of the detainees are actual terroists and that the vast majority were not even arrested by the U.S. military. But rather were turned in by Pakastani and Afghani bounty hunters seeking financial compensation.

The numerous forms of abuse inflicted on these foreign detainees is depicted in gruesome detail. The methods of torture included not only water boarding but various means of sexual humiliation such as having women's panties placed on their heads, forced masturbation and female military officers caressing them while whispering "your mother is a whore" into their ears. The ultimate goal was inflicting a complete mental, physical and emotional breakdown on the prisoners. Other tactics used were sleep depravation achieved by handcuffing detainees to the ceiling for days at a time and the sort of brutal physical assaults that led to the death of the innocent Dilawar.

Of course, it was the low ranking soldiers who ended up facing punishment when these acts of illegal abuse were discovered. But the film makes it very clear that they were simply following orders handed down from the highest levels of the Bush administration. Particularly at fault were chicken hawks Cheney and Rumsfield. In fact, it was Cheney himself who gave this doc its title when he referred to how the U.S. must go over to the "dark side" in its military and intelligence methods.

Click here to visit the official website.


Anonymous said...

Good doc, it's scary i know that was was watching the entire duration of that fall into darkness. There is a sense of personal failure when i watch these doc, and a reminder that we need to be more vigilant in the future.

Although the opening thing about NATO and Nazi, that was retarded. I mean how dumb do you have to be to even remotely consider that.

Scott said...


Good to see you back!

I agree with your assessment of the forced propoganda at the beginning of this film...sorry, I only find - not upload them!

I was going to put a warning in my post, but then I realised that the people that visit this site know how to "sort the chaff from the wheat".

I also hope we learn from the horrors humanity insists on continuing to perpetrate.