(2007 Academy Award Winner: Best Documentary)
See also: A ride through America’s Dark Side
Review: Taxi to the Dark Side centers on the murder of Afghan taxi driver “Dilawar,” who was tortured to death by US prison guards at “Bagram Collection Point” detention center in December of 2002.
I was leery of watching this harsh, gritty film for a long time. Now, having done so, I am astounded that the “Academy” gave it their highest award, as they had previously not been so daring and outright political in their choices. Taxi to the Dark Side is unflinching, for the most part, in its indictment of Rumsfeld’s and Cheney’s tyrannical rule and war crimes. They did get away with command responsibility for torture, murder and other atrocities. This is not glossed over, and it prompts the viewer to demand justice now.
It is hard to watch what US torturers engaged in, although most of the “torture porn” photos and video have been released and exposed elsewhere. As citizens we must hold the government accountable for war crimes. Simply put: if they can torture and murder Dilawar, they can torture and murder anyone of us.
Dilawar was, of course, innocent of any wrongdoing. Because he cried out to “Allah,” and for his mother, after prolonged sleep deprivation, terrorism, “stress positions,” and torture, his captors made a sport of attacking him with knee strikes to his thighs. This was as he hung from the ceiling, his two wrists bound by handcuffs to a metal grate above his torture cell.
The knee strikes eventually caused blood clotting and killed him.
Several low-level guards were prosecuted for the murders. None of the higher-ups were. One of the key officers was promoted to teach her “dark side” methodologies at a US military school in Arizona.
Some changes were implemented. The system as a whole remains intact, today.