Taxi to the Dark Side

Synopsis: 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.
Director(s): Alex Gibney
Production: ThinkFilm
  Won 1 Oscar. Another 10 wins & 4 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
106 min

According to the medical examiner, the first detainee to die, Habibullah,

had a preexisting pulmonary condition.

But it was the beatings he sustained at Bagram that led to the cause of his death:

A bloodclot that traveled to his lungs.

[PFC. Damien Corsetti, Mil-Intel, Bagram & Abu Ghraib] When the second one died a week later,

That's when it was like, "Oh, crap! Something's going to happen now."

That's two prisoners dying within a week of each other. That's bad.

A preliminary investigation into Dilawar's death, revealed deep bruises all over his body.

But it did not conclude that his treatment at Bagram was to blame.

[SGT. Thomas Curtis, Mil-Pol, Bagram] The next day, they said, "Draw out how he was shackled up here."

And I made that crude drawing.

The ceiling of these isolation rooms was just a simple metal grate,

And it was thick enough you could put handcuffs, you know, through the wires of that ...

[Military Investigation Reenactment] And you just kind of chain them up like that, out to the sides, like this.

Forced standing for long periods had inflamed tissue damage from blows to Dilawar's legs.

But the initial Bagram press release failed to mention overhead shackling and beatings.

It declared that both detainees had died of natural causes.

[SGT. Anthony Morden, Mil-Pol, Bagram] My opinion is that the military wanted to get this over,

and get this done quickly, before it really got noticed.

Soon after Dilawar's death, the officer in charge of interrogation at Bagram,

Captain Carolyn Wood, was awarded the bronze star for valor.

Following the Iraq invasion, Wood and her intelligence unit,

were given a new assignment:

Abu Ghraib.


[Eric Lahammer, Mil-Intel, Bagram & Abu Ghraib] The only thing I can really remember about Abu Ghraib was the heat.

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Alex Gibney

Philip Alexander "Alex" Gibney (born October 23, 1953) is an American documentary film director and producer. In 2010, Esquire magazine said Gibney "is becoming the most important documentarian of our time".His works as director include Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief (winner of three Emmys in 2015), We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks, Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (the winner of three primetime Emmy awards), Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (nominated in 2005 for Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature); Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer (short-listed in 2011 for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature); Casino Jack and the United States of Money; and Taxi to the Dark Side (winner of the 2007 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature), focusing on a taxi driver in Afghanistan who was tortured and killed at Bagram Air Force Base in 2002. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018


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"Taxi to the Dark Side" STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 6 Aug. 2020. <>.

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