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Taxi to the Dark Side (2007)

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Alex Gibney exposes the haunting details of the USA's torture and interrogation practices during the War in Afghanistan.

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Credited cast:
...
Narrator (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
...
Soldier - New York studio shoot reenactment
Moazzam Begg ...
Himself - Torture Victim (as Moazzam Beg)
Christopher Beiring ...
Himself - Captain
Willie Brand ...
Himself - Military Police
...
Himself (archive footage)
Jack Cafferty ...
Himself (archive footage)
Brian Cammack ...
Himself - Military Police
William Cassara ...
Himself - Attorney
Doug Cassel ...
Himself - Professor
Dick Cheney ...
Himself (archive footage)
Jack Cloonan ...
Himself - Former FBI Agent
Damien Corsetti ...
Himself - Military Interrogator
Thomas Curtis ...
Himself - Sergeant: Military Police
...
Soldier - New York studio shoot reenactment
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Storyline

Using the torture and death in 2002 of an innocent Afghan taxi driver as the touchstone, this film examines changes after 9/11 in U.S. policy toward suspects in the war on terror. Soldiers, their attorneys, one released detainee, U.S. Attorney John Yoo, news footage and photos tell a story of abuse at Bagram Air Base, Abu Ghraib, and Guantanamo Bay. From Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Gonzalez came unwritten orders to use any means necessary. The CIA and soldiers with little training used sleep deprivation, sexual assault, stress positions, waterboarding, dogs and other terror tactics to seek information from detainees. Many speakers lament the loss of American ideals in pursuit of security. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

In 2002, a young cab driver picked up a few passengers near his home in Afghanistan... He never returned.

Genres:

Documentary | Crime | War

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for disturbing images, and content involving torture and graphic nudity | See all certifications »

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Details

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Language:

Release Date:

23 January 2009 (Brazil)  »

Also Known As:

Kurs do Krainy Cienia  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$13,656 (USA) (18 January 2008)

Gross:

$274,661 (USA) (30 May 2008)
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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Quotes

Himself - Military Interrogator: You put people into a crazy situation, people will do crazy things.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The 80th Annual Academy Awards (2008) See more »

Soundtracks

In My Little Corner of the World
Words by Bob Hilliard Music by Lee Pockriss
Published by Better Half Music (Division of Bourne Co.)
and Emily Music Corporation
Performed by Yo La Tengo
Courtesy of Matador Records
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User Reviews

 
To All Negative "Reviews".... Truth Hurts!!
5 October 2009 | by (London) – See all my reviews

There is ample evidence of torture at Guantanamo, Abu Ghirab and Bargam Airforce Base. This is undisputed. It embarrassed the Bush administration when evidence of their secret was finally leaked to the public in the form of photographs. Would it have been better if these photographs of American soldiers committing torture had never come to light?

This documentary is substantiated with facts. Yet some still find the truth too much to bear.

On IMDb a "reviewer" wrote:

"Stupid biased Anti-American and unbalanced.... Those who hate the USA, Israel and are sympathisers with the Taliban, and Muslim extremists will love this film."

So to document American "War Crimes" is anti-American? Can this opinion really be held?

Another "reviewer" wrote:

"Where were the American suicide bombers - did I miss them? I was also waiting to see how the evil Americans use suicide bombers to kill innocent men, women and children in markets, on buses, in schools, and any and every other public place. Oh wait, silly me. Americans don't use suicide bombers."

In fact, there is documented evidence that British SAS working for British Intelligence, dressed in local Arab clothing, tried to explode a car bomb in Basra in 2005. (BBC) The British Government apologised to Iraq over the incident. Also in 2005, American Soldiers disguised in Arab dress were captured in the act of setting off a car bomb in a Bagdad residential area. (Mirror World). I am sure these "soldiers" had no intention of killing themselves in the blasts but the objective is clear, cause chaos and bloodshed then blame your enemy.

Another "reviewer" that states he served in Iraq had this to say:

"It's War The liberals will have you believe that America is and always will be the cause of so much unrest in the world today. We aren't. Rogue nuclear nations and terrorists without borders are as much to blame.

I am sure some detainees at Guantanamo were in the "wrong place at the wrong time" and I am sure that some were members of Al Queda. Again, consider the events of 9/11 and consider how difficult it is for the foot soldier to identify friends and foes in the "fog of war." Let them do their jobs as best as they can, or else there may be another 9/11."

He continues:

"The documentary ignored the yield of interrogations. Did they save American lives on the battlefield or at home? Did they make a difference? I personally served in Iraq and I consider myself well-versed in modern media trickery. Had the documentary given any attention to what resulted on the battlefield from any intelligence obtained, then HBO's anti-war meaning would have been lost."

So America is not "the cause of so much unrest in the world today?" Then who is?

With the preemptive and some would say illegal invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, millions have died, mostly civilians and as a result, the credibility of America has suffered considerably. With the American use of torture, the Bush administration legitimised "rogue" states to use the same methods with impunity. What is made clear in this documentary is that torture almost assures that prisoners once released will seek revenge. What effect carpet bombing, phosphorous bombs, daisy-cutters, napalm and tons of incendiary bombs will have on recruiting more terrorists is uncertain.

"I am sure some detainees at Guantanamo were in the "wrong place at the wrong time" and I am sure that some were members of Al Queda."

So that is 50/50? Half are terrorists and half are not. Not really a sure thing is it? This equates to gamble rather than a concerted effort to find real suspects.

Brigadier Roger Lane, Commander of British forces in Afghanistan stated that his troops had yet to find, capture or kill one member of Al Qaeda. "We haven't captured any Al Qaeda. We haven't killed any." he said to the BBC. Top US commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal said that he sees no indication of any large Al Qaeda presence in Afghanistan. So the existence of this "phantom enemy" popularised as Al Queda is itself in question.

"Let them (the Soldiers..) do their jobs as best as they can, or else there may be another 9/11."

So, soldiers should be "unhindered" by media scrutiny because it will affect their "performance" and so result in another attack of the magnitude of September 11th 2001? I don't think so. What is needed is sound intelligence, military leadership and considered plans of operations. Requirements that seem to have had been of little consequence for Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld.

"The documentary ignored the yield of interrogations. Did they save American lives on the battlefield or at home?"

The documentary did in fact show the yield of torturous interrogations. That prisoners undergoing torture will say anything to stop the suffering. As was shown by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed admitting a link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden when clearly there was none, simply to stop induced drowning by "water-boarding". Colin Powell later admitted the information taken from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was "incorrect". As a side note Khalid Sheikh Mohammed interrogations are mentioned as a source in the 9/11 Commission report 211 times.

Saving "American lives" is no more important than saving anyone else's and history has proved that information taken under torture is totally unreliable.

I find it hard to understand how anyone would not want their armed forces to perform with the highest principles of bravery and honour. To apologise for the use of torture is inexcusable and if these "tortures" become institutionalised then it will only be a matter of time before they will be used on citizens at home.


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