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Taxi to the Dark Side 2007
Description: An in-depth look at the torture practices of the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, focusing on an innocent taxi driver in Afghanistan who was tortured and killed in 2002
Released: 23 Jan 2009 Director: Alex Gibney Writers: Alex Gibney Actors: Alex Gibney, Brian Keith Allen, Moazzam Begg, Christopher Beiring Genres: Documentary, Crime, War
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Taxi to the Dark Side Reviews:

This horrifying documentary won the Oscar for 2007. Using the situation of an innocent Afghan taxi driver who were tortured to death by American interrogators in Bagram prison as the starting point, the movie chronicles the atrocities committed by the Bush administration in the name of American folks and an ill-defined 'war on terror'.The movie is written, directed and narrated by Alex Gibney, son of a high-ranking naval officer who was an interrogator in Globe Fight II. A nice American and a real patriot, Frank Gibney's final disappointment of what became of the nice nation of the United States in the hands of a several liars is heart-wrenching.There is not a single frame in the movie that is not supported by difficult evidence. All of the investigation was conducted by Americans whose credentials of decency and patriotism are above suspicion. The movie is a chronicle of how paranoia, self-serving deceit and mere stupidity can threaten the very values a nice nation was built on. It could be impossible for anyone who watches this meticulous document to ever criticize the veracity of claims place forward by the newest films, Rendition, In the Valley of Elah, or Redacted - flawed as movies though that they were. Each person in the world, especially each American, that cares about the real nature of freedom and the sanctity of the individual (the primary tenets on which America was built) could see this film. How should anyone claim that it would be loved only by the supporters of Taliban is beyond me.


Too several have heard of Dilawar. Those who have will probably never forget him. Alex Gibney certainly will not. His recent movie begins and ends with this terrible innocent taxi driver who, in 2002, was taken to the Bagram airbase in Afghanistan. Five days later, he was dead.Dilawar's death was the spark which ultimately led to the international awareness of what the Bush administration was doing to its detainees in the fight on terror. Gibney's film, however, decides to look up the tree, not down, to explore who was really responsible for these unpleasant developments.Gibney's movie is bolstered by frank and interesting interviews with some of the units on the ground. Their remorse is clear, as is their disgust. And disgust is the right word. This is, by no means, an simple watch. The test of the appalling footage which has been generated by the newest conflicts is important because, if anyone is in any doubt about how morally reprehensible these strategies are, this movie will create it abundantly clear.However, this film's true strength is the structure of its attack on the strategies that are employed. Gibney demonstrates that the strategies used are hopelessly inadequate and never yield effective information. There is a cutting and brilliant comparison with the old techniques and the fresh where an interviewee, a former FBI interrogator, uses his old softwares of interrogation – words – and you can feel yourself being persuaded.This is not just a polemic. It is a human storyline and a strong and well-constructed argument. It could be essential viewing as what has happened at Guantanamo, Bagram and Abu Ghraib could never be forgotten. This is excellent, necessary film-making.4 Stars out of 5


There is something you need to know about this film: it is not about true insurgents or terrorists or about true soldiers, and it is certainly not an anti-American film.It is about how senior military and civilian officials demand effects from their subordinates, even if the effects are to be obtained by unconscionable, immoral, and illegal means, up to, and including, torture and murder. The fact that many of these effects - what the military like to call "the mission" - are faked or just wrong is of no particular concern to them. Naturally, you'll never search a document signed by any of those officials advocating torture and murder. The most you'll ever search is a reference to "enhanced interrogation techniques" (i.e., torture). And if a detainee dies, the senior officers and officials everytime benefit from "plausible deniability" and claim that it gotta be the fault of junior "bad apple" troops. If terrorists are murderers, some of our own units have certainly engaged in murder, too. To reveal this is not anti-American; it's just a easy fact. Because the units often do it in a group they think they're not murderers. Just as, I imagine, someone who participates in gang rape does not consider himself, individually, to be a rapist. While most Military Police (MP) units are fighting difficult on the ground each day in Iraq and Afghanistan, one group of units which this movie examines are those Military Police who are used as prison guards. The another units examined in the movie are some military intelligence ("MI") units employed as interrogators in prison camps.If you don't know already, Military Police are usually despised by their own troops. If you give a soldier unique power over his fellow troops he will often abuse it. I still recall an Australian mate of mine mentioning that many of the Aussie "Red Hats" (MPs) who sailed for home after WWII never made it back; their fellow units threw them overboard.The old saw about military intelligence being a contradiction in terms is never more apparent than in the situation of interrogators. When you hear the word intelligence here you gotta forget all about spies, codes, and the items of James Bond novels. The interrogators of MI are an example of troops who are ill prepared, in general, to carry out work that would normally take years to master. They are mostly low-ranking enlisted boys and women, privates and sergeants, almost none of whom speak with any proficiency the language of the detainees they're interrogating.So, imagine the scenario: senior officials demanding intelligence, no matter how it's obtained; unqualified interrogators using whatever means they can think of to satisfy their superiors' demands; and MP prison guards who have the power of life and death over their detainees, with almost no restrictions on what they can do to them. Behind all this is the unwritten understanding that if something goes wrong, the units will probably not be prosecuted. God support the innocent person swept up into this sadistic, bureaucratic system. But as we all know, if you've been arrested, you gotta be guilty. Right? The elephant in the closet in all this is the Central Intelligence Agency, an organization that regards itself as above law, morality, and civilized behavior. It gets away with much of what it does by having the military, foreigners, and contractors to do its dirty work for it. And when somebody has to take a fall, well, that's what privates and sergeants are for. If your children are MPs, interrogators, or just in the military, advise them everytime to watch their backs around those people.This may be a disturbing movie for civilians, but it won't contain many surprises if you've served in the armed forces, or on a police force, or in a prison. Those are the folks who know about this, but they're not about to say you. No wander the USA has pulled out of the Fight Crimes Treaty. But what officials do not wish to admit, even to themselves, is that fight crimes are fight crimes, no matter if you're a treaty signatory or not.



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