Film Shows 'Dark Side' of U.S. Military Interrogation

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/18216935/18227989" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">
  • Transcript
'Taxi to the Dark Side' explores links between abuses at Bagram Air Base and Abu Ghraib. i

The new documentary Taxi to the Dark Side explores the links between the death of an Afghan detainee at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan and later abuses at Abu Ghraib in Iraq. THINKFilm hide caption

itoggle caption THINKFilm
'Taxi to the Dark Side' explores links between abuses at Bagram Air Base and Abu Ghraib.

The new documentary Taxi to the Dark Side explores the links between the death of an Afghan detainee at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan and later abuses at Abu Ghraib in Iraq.

THINKFilm

More from the Interview

Writer and director Alex Gibney has a very personal connection to the film: His father, Frank Gibney, was a U.S. military interrogator during World War II.

  • Playlist
  • Embed
    Embed <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/18216935/18217552" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no">

In December 2002, a 22-year-old Afghan taxi driver named Dilawar was detained and sent to Bagram Air Base for interrogation by U.S. soldiers.

Dilawar was suspected of involvement in a rocket attack against U.S. troops.

Five days after his interrogation began, he was dead.

A new documentary, Taxi to the Dark Side, tells the story of Dilawar and his death, and links the abuses at Bagram with techniques used at Guantanamo and later, at Abu Ghraib in Iraq.

The film was written and directed by Alex Gibney, who also made the 2005 documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room — a portrait of another culture that ran amok.

The U.S. Army said Dilawar died of natural causes. Gibney tells Melissa Block that his death might have gone unnoticed if it weren't for one clue: a note, written in English, clipped to the man's death certificate and discovered by New York Times reporter Carlotta Gall.

It said: "Cause of death: Homicide."

Gibney talks with Melissa Block about his film, how he was able to secure the cooperation of soldiers involved in the case, determining which images were too graphic to include and what he hoped to achieve with Taxi to the Dark Side.

"I worried about the worldwide reaction, yet at the same time, I felt that in some way, making the film was a kind of patriotic act. I think after this abuse has taken place, one of the things we as a nation have to do is show the rest of the world that we're capable of investigating ourselves," the filmmaker says.

Related NPR Stories

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and Terms of Use. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.