Alex Gibney's very important movie premieres on television tonight on HBO at 9pm eastern. If you can't see it there, it will be released on DVD tomorrow - Tuesday, September 30. Taxi to the Dark Side won a Peabody Award and this year's Oscar for Best Documentary Feature. Since it's getting new life on TV and DVD, we decided to re-run our January interview with Gibney and finish the hour with a fresh conversation with the filmmaker about what's changed for him and for torture policy. The movie examines the larger issue of interrogation and torture as it pertains to the US-led "Global War on Terror" but Gibney frames the story with the specific death of an innocent Afghan taxi driver named Dilawar. He and his three passengers were turned over to US troops by crooked Afghan militia members for alleged involvement in a rocket attack on a US base. Actually, the Afghan militia fired the rocket, then turned over these innocent men to curry favor with the US troops. Dilawar died after five days of interrogation and torture at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Almost as tragically, his three passengers spent 18 months in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for riding in the cab of an innocent man. Taxi to the Dark Side spreads plenty of blame up and down the whole chain of command - from Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld - to administration lawyers like David Addington, John Yoo and Alberto Gonzales who twisted the law for legal cover - to military leaders in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo - to the guards and interrogators who followed orders and the tougher, authorized interrogation techniques. Those guards and interrogators at the bottom were of course the only ones punished so far. Those at the top tried to convince us that a few bad apples were responsible for the deaths of detainees and the prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, but Alex Gibney sets out to prove that it was actually the whole barrel that was rotten.
I'm a big fan of Gibney's work, as evidenced by this blog entry about his documentary on Hunter S. Thompson. I have now had the pleasure of producing four of his five appearances on our show, missing out only on his first, the Academy-Award nominated Smartest Guys in the Room about the collapse of Enron.
Taxi to the Dark Side premieres on HBO tonight at 9pm eastern. Click here for the full schedule.
Click here for a link to filmmaker Alex Gibney's production website.