Friday, February 08, 2008

'MUST SEE!!!': "Taxi to the Dark Side"

The Oscar-nominated "Taxi to the Dark Side" should be the film of the year.

This film blows to hell the maladministrations's prevarications and outright lies concerning the waterboa... -- umm, sorry, let's get real; "torture" -- than are cropping up like weeds all around (see here and here and here and here, just for starters).

As a review from the San Francisco Chronicle recounts:

Relying on reporting previously conducted by Carlotta Gall and Tim Golden of the New York Times - and through his interviews with military intelligence at Bagram - Gibney retraces how Diliwar suffered brutal physical treatment that was part of a de facto Army policy of torture: He was deprived of sleep for days, suspended from the ceiling by his wrists and beaten to the point where his legs were "pulpified," according to the Army coroner. The death of the taxi driver, who had no known connection to al Qaeda or the Taliban and was never charged with a crime, was even documented by the U.S. prison coroner as homicide.

Diliwar is the means by which Gibney traces a line of accountability from the abuses that took place at Bagram to Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib. As those who followed the controversy surrounding the Abu Ghraib photos will remember, the principals of the Bush administration claimed that a few "bad apples" were responsible for the horrific acts that happened there. But Gibney argues, in overwhelming detail, that the waterboarding, sleep deprivation, sexual humiliation, shackling, hooding and other Spanish Inquisition-era practices that Alberto Gonzales rationalized as "coercive interrogation techniques" were sanctioned by Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and probably George Bush himself.

If it weren't bad enough to be reminded that this crew of government officials found the Geneva Conventions "quaint" and "vague," Gibney presents rounds of interviews with conservative Republicans and intelligence officers who conclude that not only did the United States commit war crimes in Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, it did so without gleaning much intelligence. The film notes that of the hundreds of prisoners detained since September 2006 by U.S. forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, only 1 percent have been convicted. Meanwhile, of the more than 100 deaths in U.S. custody, 37 have been officially declared homicides by the U.S. military.

(sorry for "shouting", but this stuff makes me mad.....)

And as we're learning from recent admissions, yes indeed, this type of treatment was approved by the maladministration:
MR. FRATTO: I think I was very clear on it, in that the techniques that were discussed and that were used in this program. The Central Intelligence Agency went to the Department of Justice and asked for a specific legal review, as to the legality of those techniques, when they used it, at that time, and with the -- under the circumstances in which they would be used. And the Department of Justice made a legal determination at that time.
But as noted above (and here), waterboarding isn't the only thing, they've done, and as the movie indicates, it's all part and parcel of an extreme disdain for human rights.

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