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Taxi to the Dark Side (2008)


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Author Topic: Taxi to the Dark Side (2008)  (Read 643 times)
Zeynab
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« on: March 10, 2008, 12:23:25 am »

The brutal death of an innocent man
 
Make sure you don't miss this heart-wrenching soon-to-be-released movie, "Taxi to the Dark Side" directed by Alex Gibney.  It's about a young Afghan taxi driver, Dilawar, an innocent civilian and a poor man making a living by driving a cab.  He was arrested by the Americans at Bagram, Afghanistan, and falsely charged with carrying out acts of 'terror.'  Within five days of his incarceration, Dilawar was tortured to death .. his body being beaten into pulp.    This wasn't done by a "few bad apples."  It was carried out as an interrogation policy approved by those at the very top.  Thus, the cause of Dilawar's death was officially stated as "homicide."

The following are some moving and interesting reviews of this unique film exposing America's new and corrupted morals.


Taxi to the Dark Side
Movie Review

Time Out New York
The more testimonies you hear from guards, journalists and a former Gitmo detainee about what’s going on behind closed doors, the more a horrific bigger picture appears.
 
On December 5, 2002, a 22-year-old taxi driver named Dilawar was arrested in Afghanistan and sent to the Bagram military prison. Five days later, he was found dead in his cell, having been savagely beaten. That story is tragic enough, but it’s simply the starting point (and unfortunately, provides the basis for the cringeworthy title) for Alex Gibney’s devastating, damning documentary. Those who’ve never heard of Dilawar will certainly be familiar with Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo—two facilities using the “Bagram model”—and may also know that the interrogation techniques used in Afghanistan have now become the norm. Welcome to the war on terror’s ongoing moral free fall.
 
Like Gibney’s Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005), the real subject here is abuse of power. The more testimonies you hear from guards, journalists and a former Gitmo detainee about what’s going on behind closed doors, the more a horrific bigger picture appears: Our administration systematically underwrites war crimes and no one is being held accountable. Though the film adheres to a rather rigid Frontline-style of filmmaking, Taxi’s simplicity doesn’t end up tempering its outrage. The anger over how loopholes in the language have been exploited (so waterboarding isn’t torture? really?) and how those in charge show such contempt for basic human decency still comes through loud and clear.


Slant Magazine
From Bagram to Abu Ghraib to Guantanamo, Gibney cunningly traces links up and down the chain of command, exposing how the White House has given more than tacit support to inhuman methods of detention and interrogation.
 
The subject of Taxi to the Dark Side is torture and accountability in the War on Terror, and director Alex Gibney suggests a certain precedent was set for our country's systematic abuse of suspected terrorists when an innocent taxi driver named Dilawar died at the Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan after several days of severe beatings.  Gibney's rage is filtered through an intelligent and compassionate sensibility, as in his interviews with former soldiers responsible for the death of Dilawar. Riddled with remorse, these men elaborate on the extent of their violence, and though Gibney does not absolve them of culpability, he does delve into the manner in which highers-up, almost unconsciously, exploit the instincts of soldiers under their watch. Abuse is scarily sanctioned from an intangible psychological command center, and one notable talking head explains how sicking muzzle-less dogs on Abu Ghraib prisoners may not have been condoned but how the removal of muzzles is something almost innate for a soldier who realizes that a dog unable to bark or bite poses little danger to a prisoner. Gibney presents this scenario as only one example of how men and women convicted of torture are easily and cruelly made into scapegoats. As they say, the proof is in the pudding, and Taxi has plenty of it: Gibney's litany of how-did-he-land-them interviews (among them torture architect John Yoo), previously seen news clips that are scarier than ever given their new context, and previously unseen photos and video from Abu Ghraib, not to mention a recreation of how torture is conducted in Guantanamo staged as a stylish how-to manual of sorts, aims for—and successfully shoots at—snakes like Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, and exists to further catalog and expose the Bush administration's crimes against humanity.


New York Magazine
Alex Gibney’s Taxi to the Dark Side is the documentary that many of us have prayed for, the one that could break through even to people who relish the torture set pieces on 24 and will hear no evil about the War on Terror. It’s the equal of No End in Sight in its tight focus on the nuts and bolts of incompetence, and it surpasses any recent melodrama in the empathy it evokes for both its victims and—surprisingly—victimizers. More important, it leaves you brooding on the human capacity for cruelty in a way that transcends the gory details.


Reeling Reviews
...as one of the innocents, British citizen Moazzam Begg, quotes: If you weren't a terrorist when you came here [Quantanamo Bay] you sure would be when you leave.
 
An Afghani taxi driver makes the fateful decision one day in 2005 to take his fare into a battlefield where innocent people arrested as potential terrorists. His arrest, incarceration and torture ended in his death when he took his “Taxi to the Dark Side.”
 
Documentary writer-director Alex Gibney takes a subject matter – torture and dehumanization of prisoners by US personnel – that was played to death by the media a couple of years ago following the infamous Abu Ghraib Prison scandal in Iraq but gives it a fresh and thorough treatment.

Using the arrest and subsequent death of taxi driver Dilawar as its central focus, Gibney draws an indictment against sanctioned and unsanctioned torture by US forces upon detainees taken captive in the name of the “War on Terror.” Starting with Dilawar’s demise – by homicide according to the cause of death report – the docu expands to the chronicles of abuse at Abu Ghraib and Bagram Prison in Afghanistan. Forced standing, sleep deprivation, forced nudity, threatening attack dogs and water boarding – forcing water down the throat of a torture victim to induce the feeling of drowning – are all tools used by interrogators” in Iran, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Gibney shifts gears as he takes the tortures and brings forth documented information that the US government officially sanctioned – with former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld explicitly giving his OK - the human rights abuses by members of our military and CIA. One of the shocking manipulations by the president and his cronies was their introduction of a bill to Congress that would, essentially, pardon the Bush administration from any past, sanctioned use of torture and abuse. Richard Nixon, the filmmaker says, at least hired Gerald Ford to do the pardoning and not doing it himself.

”Taxi to the Dark Side” doesn’t inundate you with statistics but does give some sobering numbers: by 11 September 2006, 83000 have been incarcerated under the guise of stopping terrorism - none of these detainees have had their day in court. Only 7% of those detained at Guantanamo were captured by US personnel while over 90% were taken by Iraquis and Afghans and turned over to the United States. It is estimated that only a small percentage of the incarcerated are actually members of a terrorist group. But, as one of the innocents, British citizen Moazzam Begg, quotes: “If you weren’t a terrorist when you came here [Quantanamo Bay] you sure would be when you leave.”

This wealth of information as it comes full circle back to Dilawar’s sad story as the camera turns to his family and friends for their feelings and impressions. The film’s arc is nicely balanced with both intellectual and physical gut-wrenching. This is one of the Oscar noms for Best Documentary and deserves to be on the list.


Source: Rotten Tomatoes
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Heba E. Husseyn
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2008, 03:31:05 am »

This is a very very sad story - heartbreaking into pieces!  I can so well imagine what his parents and siblings must have gone thru after learning what happened to their son and brother.  OMG!  If something like this happened to one of my loved ones I would have lost my mind for sure.  His murderers, the American occupiers admitted to have murdered him.  They officially wrote his cause of death as "homicide" and yet no one was held accountable.  I can hardly believe this.  This would mean America has made it official that she has the right to torture prisoners to death.  Whether or not the person is innocent does not matter to them.  May the curse of God be upon the satanic super power!  No wonder that country is going into a recession.  It looks like a superb punishment.

Thank you so much for putting this up sister.  May the Almighty God bless the soul of Dilawar, this poor innocent man.  I hope he gets all the comfort in the next world.  I also hope that on the Day of Judgment he watches those people burn in Hellfire who tortured him to death at Bagram prison in Afghanistan.
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Zeynab
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« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2008, 04:17:55 am »

Many thanks for your heartfelt response, dear sister.  I totally agree with every word you uttered.  Allah bless.
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« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2008, 01:50:25 am »

I thank u for posting this sister.  I've read it before in other journals too.  You are absolutely right.  It's a real heartbreaking episode.  I can well imagine what his family must have gone through on knowing this.  Just look at his photo, looks such a simple and innocent poor guy.   However, the justice of Allah in the Hereafter is much too perfect to let go the culprits of this heinous incident.  InshAllah, on the Day of Judgment when this poor innocent man will be asked for what fault he was beaten to death, he will say he did nothing and point at those savage soldiers who will be dragged to Hellfire by the guards of Hell to endure that torture forever. InshAllah, ameen.
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« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2008, 02:09:19 am »

Ameen, ameen.  InshAllah the perpetrators of this crime will rot in Hell forever.  Sis zeyn, u did a good job posting this but it's too too disturbing ...  Cry
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