NEWS & REVIEW: Taxi to the Dark Side

The power of authority: a dark tale

Frank Gibney was old and sick and a little more than a month away from dying. But he was filled with righteous anger, and he had some things to say. He told his son, the documentary filmmaker Alex Gibney, to unplug a noisy oxygen machine and to grab a video camera.

The older Mr. Gibney, a journalist and scholar who died in April, had served as a naval interrogator in World War II. In a moving statement that serves as a sort of coda to “Taxi to the Dark Side,” a new documentary about the Bush administration’s interrogation policies in the post-9/11 world, he said it had never occurred to him to use brutal techniques on the Japanese prisoners in his custody.

“We had the sense that we were on the side of the good guys,” Frank Gibney said, seething. “People would get decent treatment. And there was the rule of law.”

There would seem to be an enormous distance between the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, where the central events in “Taxi to the Dark Side” take place, and Enron’s headquarters in Houston, where the machinations of white-collar criminals brought down the giant energy company and became the backdrop for Mr. Gibney’s entertaining 2005 documentary, “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.” But Mr. Gibney said the two projects have common themes.

“The subject of corruption unites my films,” he said. “‘Enron’ was about economic corruption, and ‘Taxi’ is about the corruption of the rule of law.” [complete article]

Padilla sues John Yoo over detention

Jose Padilla, the American citizen who was held in military detention for more than three years as an enemy combatant, filed a lawsuit Friday against a former Justice Department lawyer who helped provide the legal justifications for what the suit says was Mr. Padilla’s unconstitutional confinement and “gross physical and psychological abuse.”

The lawyer, John C. Yoo, now a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley, wrote or helped prepare a series of legal memorandums on interrogations and the treatment of detainees after the Sept. 11 attacks. [complete article]

Foiling U.S. plan, prison expands in Afghanistan

As the Bush administration struggles for a way to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, a similar effort to scale down a larger and more secretive American detention center in Afghanistan has been beset by political, legal and security problems, officials say.

The American detention center, established at the Bagram military base as a temporary screening site after the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, is now teeming with some 630 prisoners — more than twice the 275 being held at Guantanamo. [complete article]

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