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Sun

28

Oct

2007

Rumsfeld and The Taxi to the Darkside
Sunday, 28 October 2007 12:46

by Larry C. Johnson

News today that Donald Rumsfeld is the target of a legal complaint filed in France accusing him of masterminding the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo gives Rummy a chance to walk in the shoes of Saddam Hussein. Like Saddam, Rummy insists he did nothing wrong and that he was simply pursuing the best interest of the American people.

How you going to make an omelet without breaking some eggs? Right? I doubt if Rummy will wind up on the gallows in France, but the charges against him are real and are serious. And if karma and justice are linked, Rummy will be tried and convicted.One thing is certain, Rummy is now part of an exclusive but growing club of Amcits who face legal peril in foreign lands because they participated (allegedly) in some kind of torture, disappearance, or other violation of international human rights. That means he won’t be going on any foreign junkets.

Once outside the safe confines of the United States he can be snatched up and hauled off to France to face questioning.

Rummy’s role in promoting violations of the Geneva Conventions and encouraging the use of torture on prisoners captured in Afghanistan and Iraq will receive more attention in the coming months. Especially when the movie, Taxi to the Darkside, is finally released to the general public in the theaters. This amazing and disturbing film tells the story of how some of our soldiers, with the full encouragement of civilian leaders, tortured prisoners. They tortured innocent men. And in the process of torturing these souls some of our soldiers beat helpless prisoners into a bloody pulp. The account of an Afghan taxi driver, wrongfully accused of terrorism and imprisoned at Bagram, will haunt you after you see this powerful work. He was beaten to death by young men you would be proud, at least before they engaged in torture, to have as a son.Some U.S. soldiers were sadists and torturers.

Why Democracy - Taxi to the Dark Side

Over one hundred prisoners have died in suspicious circumstances in U.S. custody during the "war on terror". Taxi to the Dark Side takes an ... all » in-depth look at one case: an Afghan taxi driver called Dilawar who was considered an honest and kind man by the people of his rustic village. So when he was detained by the U.S military one afternoon, after picking up three passengers, denizens wondered why this man was randomly chosen to be held in prison, and, especially, without trial?
Five days after his arrest Dilawar died in his Bagram prison cell. His death came within a week of another death of a detainee at Bagram. The conclusion, with autopsy evidence, was that the former taxi driver and the detainee who passed away before him, had died due to sustained injuries inflicted at the prison by U.S. soldiers.
The documentary, by award-winning producer Alex Gibney, carefully develops the last weeks of Dilawar’s life and shows how decisions taken at the pinnacle of power in the Bush Administration led directly to Dilawar’s brutal death. The film documents how Rumsfeld, together with the White House legal team, were able to convince Congress to approve the use of torture against prisoners of war. Taxi to the Dark Side is the definitive exploration of the introduction of torture as an interrogation technique in U.S. facilities, and the role played by key figures of the Bush Administration in the process.

Some were and are heroes. The movie is not your typical diatribe indicting guys in uniform for beastly acts. The movie also reminds us that the military, by culture and tradition, is inhabited by men and women of honor, who condemn the unspeakable acts of colleagues and insist on accountability. But those held accountable are of little import. It is the failure to hold their political and military leaders responsible that sticks in your craw.The movie documents that the so-called “abuses” in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo are in fact a deliberate policy born in the squalid jail at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan.


The United States of America, which led the way in the aftermath of World War II in punishing the Nazis and the Japanese for war crimes, for human rights abuses, for torture, and for murder, has now itself descended into depravity and barbarism. We now excuse torture, justifying it in the name of securing the homeland.Hitler’s Germany, also used the siren call of protecting the homeland, to justify exterminating Jews because the very salvation of the German people and their racial purity was at stake. As long as the issue can be cast as one of survival, anything goes. Not so with Alex Gibney. Gibney, the director of Taxi to the Darkside, offers a jarring indictment of America’s fall from grace and embrace of evil. But he was raised right. His father was an interrogator in World War II and instilled in his son the understanding that humans, even in the filth of war, must retain their humanity and treat enemies with respect, regardless of their misdeeds.

When this movie gets out most thinking people will be unable to excuse Donald Rumsfeld’s crimes or pretend he was a doddering fool, oblivious of naked male pyramids and waterboarding, who just did not know what was going on. He knew. He helped set the table. He justified his actions as necessary evils in pursuing and stopping the terrorists. But in the end, he was the evil doer.
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