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The Scummiest Guys in the Room [VIDEO]

<i>Taxi to the Dark Side</i> documents America's top-down torture ethos...
 
 
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From Alex Gibney, the maker of "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room," and Sidney Blumenthal, comes Taxi to the Dark Side, an exploration of American torture since 9/11.

The gist, from today's Blumenthal column:

Through the film runs the story of an Afghan taxi driver, known only as Dilawar, completely innocent of any ties to terrorism, who was tortured to death by interrogators in the U.S. prison at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. "Taxi to the Dark Side" traces the evolution of the Bush policy from Bagram (Dilawar's interrogators speak in the film) to Guantánamo (we filmed the official happy tour) to Abu Ghraib; its roots in sensory deprivation experiments decades ago that guided the CIA in understanding torture; the opposition within the administration from the military and other significant figures (the former general counsel of the Navy, Alberto Mora, and former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell, Lawrence Wilkerson, explain how that internal debate went, while John Yoo, one of its architects, defends it); the congressional battle to restore the standard of the Geneva Convention that forbids torture (centered on John McCain's tragic compromise); and the sudden popularity of the Fox TV show "24" in translating torture into entertainment by means of repetitious formulations of the bogus ticking-time-bomb scenario.

Yet "Taxi to the Dark Side" is more than an exposé of policy. Its irrefutable images are the counterpoint to the peculiar aesthetics propagated in the age of George W. Bush, in which, through the contradictory styles of softening nostalgia and hardening cruelty, the president and his followers seek to justify their actions not only to the public but also to themselves.

Evan Derkacz is an AlterNet editor. He writes and edits PEEK, the blog of blogs.

 
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