TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE, directed by Alex Gibney

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Re: TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE, directed by Alex Gibney

Postby admin » Sun Nov 22, 2015 7:23 am


[Narrator] The cruel ironies of the Dilawar story echoed an ongoing debate in the halls of Congress about detainee abuse, national security, and the rule of law.
For one senator, John McCain, a former prisoner of war,
the matter of detainee abuse was both political and personal.

[John McCain, North Vietnam, 1968] I would just like to tell my wife I'm going to get well, I love her, and I hope to see her soon. And I'd appreciate it if you'd tell her that. That's all.


[Jack Cloonan, FBI Special Agent 1977-2002] If this man, after 6-1/2 or 7 years of torture, says that it's not efficient, it's inhumane, and it breeds contempt for the United States, he can stand up and be a moral voice on this issue.

[Senator John McCain] We sent them to fight for us in Afghanistan and Iraq. We placed extraordinary pressure on them to extract intelligence from detainees. But then we threw out the rules that our soldiers had trained on, and replaced them with a confusing and constantly changing array of standards.
And when things went wrong, we blamed them. And we punished them. I believe we have to do better than that.
I strongly urge you to do justice to your men and women in uniform.
Give them clear standards of conduct that reflect the ideals they risk their lives for.

[Narrator] On October 5, 2005, as increasing numbers of detainee abuse cases came to trial.
Senator John McCain proposed the Detainee Treatment Act.
The bill sought a total U.S. ban on torture.
As well as cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.
And it sparked a national debate. One in which the Devil was in the details.

[Senator John McCain] Is it still permissible to use a wet towel and dripping water to induce the misperception of suffocation?

[Lt. General Randall M. Schmidt, Author of "Schmidt Report"] The use of the wet towel, dripping water to induce the misperception of suffocation was one of the techniques requested by the JTF in their laundry list given up. It was never approved. It has never been a technique approved.

[Professor Alfred McCoy, author A Question of Torture] One of the techniques that made the transition from the regime of the physical to the psychological -- in fact the only one -- was waterboarding. Because in the medieval era, under the Inquisition, it was done because of its horrible, physical aspects.
It was done to purge and punish the heretic. You force water down the throat of the victim.
The victim thinks that he's drowning. It's horrible. Your body tells you that you're dying.


Right after 9/11, the CIA got approval from the White House for waterboarding.

[Narrator] An early test case involved the interrogation of Ibn Sheikh al Libi, a man suspected of being the Emir of an al Qaeda training camp.
Initially, the FBI was in charge of his interrogation. But the Administration was impatient with the slow results of the FBI's law enforcement techniques.
So they turned al Libi over to the CIA.

[Jack Cloonan, FBI Special Agent 1977-2002] He is secured. He was either duct-taped or hooded. And he was going to be put into a box -- a plywood box for his own protection [makes disbelief sound] -- for transfer to the airport.

[Professor Alfred McCoy, author A Question of Torture] They throw him on an aircraft,
and they rendered him through extraordinary rendition, to Egypt.
They later subjected him to two weeks of brutal torture,
involving all of these techniques, including waterboarding.
And they got information from al Libi stating that Saddam Hussein's regime ...
had trained al Qaeda in chemical and biological warfare.

[Scott Horton, Attorney] One of the things we know about torture is that someone who is tortured will tell his interrogator what he thinks the interrogator wants to hear.

[Khmer Rouge Waterboarding Slab]

[Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell] The moment al Libi was waterboarded, he started blurting things out.
Well, rather than questioning what he was saying, and going into it in detail to see if what he was saying could be corroborated,
they immediately stopped and ran off to report what al Libi had said. And ended the torture.
And bang -- it gets up to the highest decision-makers --
and all of a sudden Colin Powell is told, "Hey, you don't have to worry about your doubts anymore,
because we've just gotten confirmation that there were contacts between al Qaeda and Baghdad.

[Narrator] In February, 2003, then Secretary of State Colin Powell ...
went before the United Nations to make the case for the war in Iraq.

[Colin Powell, Secretary of State] I can trace the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training in these weapons to al Qaeda.
Fortunately, this operative is now detained, and he has told his story.

[Professor Alfred McCoy, author A Question of Torture] A year later, the CIA branded al Libi a fabricator, and rescinded all of the intelligence reports with that information in it. So, in other words, you will get information, but you'll get false information.

[Scott Horton, Attorney] I think Colin Powell said ...
that was the most embarrassing day of his entire life.

[Rear Admiral John Hutson (ret) Judge Advocate General] All the experts say that torturing people ...
is not the best way to get information.
Breaking down the barriers between you and them,
gaining their confidence is the best way to get it.
It takes some experience. It takes some talent. It takes some patience.
And then they might actually tell you something that is worthwhile. And then if you want to prosecute them and execute them, go ahead.

[Jack Cloonan, Counterterrorism Task Force] If you want to be able to build a rapport with somebody, you are their salvation, because their life as they know it is over.

[Jack Cloonan, Counterterrorism Task Force]

"Is there something I can do for your kids? You concerned about them? Do you want them educated? I'll get them educated. What do you want? Tell me what you want. Script for me your exit strategy." "How do you extricate yourself from this terrible situation that, by the way, you put yourself in?" "Now, you can't go back home, can you? No. So let's make peace with that. Let me help you find the strategy to give you a life."
And that's the way it worked! The amount of information that they were able to provide us, pre-9/11, to me it was extremely valuable. Who else was going to tell us about how you joined al Qaeda?

Even more notable are the support service which the CIA and it minions continue to provide Bin Laden. Here the evidence is fragmentary but persistent and finally overwhelming. According to CBS News, "the night before the September 11 terrorist attack, Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan. He was getting medical treatment with the support of the very military that days later pledged its backing for the U.S. war on terror in Afghanistan ... Bin Laden was spirited into a military hospital in Rawalpindi for kidney dialysis treatment. (Barry Peterson, "Hospital Worker: I Saw Osama," CBS News, January 29, 2002: ) Before we criticize Pakistan, though, we should realize that the ISI in this case was probably acting on U.S. instructions, as it generally does.


On October 31, 2001, Le Figaro, the leading French conservative newspaper, published a front page story about medical treatment received by Bin Laden in Dubai in the summer before 9/11. This remarkable revelation came in an article by Alexandra Richard entitled "La CIA a rencontre Ben Laden a Dubai. en juillet," (The CIA met Bin Laden in Dubai in July). At around the same time, similar facts were reported by Agence France Presse and Radio France International, the French external broadcasting service. The AFP dispatch read in part:

Bin Laden Underwent Treatment in July at Dubai American Hospital

Osama bin Laden underwent treatment in July at the American Hospital in Dubai where he met a U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) official, French daily Le Figaro and Radio France International reported. Quoting "a witness, a professional partner of the administrative management of the hospital," they said the man suspected by the United States of being behind the September 11 terrorist attacks had arrived in Dubai on July 4 by air from Quetta, Pakistan. He was immediately taken to the hospital for kidney treatment. He left the establishment on July 14, Le Figaro said.

During his stay, the daily said, the local CIA representative was seen going into bin Laden's room and "a few days later, the CIA man boasted to some friends of having visited the Saudi-born millionaire."

Quoting "an authoritative source," Le Figaro and the radio station said the CIA representative had been recalled to Washington on July 15. Bin Laden has been sought by the United States for terrorism since the bombing of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. But his CIA links go back before that to the fight against Soviet forces in Afghanistan.

Le Figaro said bin Laden was accompanied in Dubai by his personal physician and close collaborator, who could be the Egyptian Ayman al-Zawahiri, as well as bodyguards and an Algerian nurse. He was admitted to the urology department of Doctor Terry Callaway, who specializes in kidney stones and male infertility. Telephoned several times, the doctor declined to answer questions. Several sources had reported that bin Laden had a serious kidney infection. He had a mobile dialysis machine sent to his Kandahar hideout in Afghanistan in the first half of 2000, according to "authoritative sources" quoted by Le Figaro and RFI. (AFP, Wednesday October 31, 2001, 2:04 PM)

The CIA was quick to deny these embarrassing facts reported by real investigative journalists, who apparently still exist in France. A spokeswoman at CIA Langley, VA headquarters described the Le Figaro article as "complete and utter nonsense. It's nonsense, it's absurd, it's ridiculous, it's not true." The CIA said it intended to protest to Le Figaro. The American Hospital in Dubai denied that Bin Laden had been a patient. (The Scotsman, November 1, 2001) But the French author Richard LaBeviere countered that Osama Bin Laden had been working for the CIA since 1979, a fact which was generally accepted in Europe. (October 31, 2001) Radio France International stuck to its guns and followed up on its story with further details about Bin Laden's CIA handler and case officer, Larry Mitchell: "The local representative of the CIA who visited Osama Bin Laden last July 12 at the American Hospital in Dubai is called Larry Mitchell. If his visiting card specifies that he is a "consular agent," everyone in Dubai knows, especially in the small expatriate community, that he is working under cover. To say it openly, Larry Mitchell belongs to the 'big house', otherwise known as the CIA. He himself does not hide it." RFI went on: " An expert in the Arab world and especially in the Arabian peninsula, Larry Mitchell is a colorful personality who livens up the somewhat drab evenings of the expatriates of Dubai. One of his friends likes to say that his natural exuberance often gets into classified matters. That is perhaps one of the reasons why he was called back to the United States last July 15. About twenty days after the September 11 attacks, in a statement dated October 5, the CIA dismissed as baseless rumors the story that the agency had had contacts with Bin Laden and his group in the past, especially at the time of the war against the U.S.S.R. in Afghanistan. It happens that this communique of the CIA is in complete contradiction with the earlier official statements of several representatives of the U.S. administration itself." ( novembre 2001)

It is thus clear that the CIA was providing vital support services to Bin Laden long after he had allegedly turned into the world's leading anti-American monster. The reality is that Bin Laden and al Qaeda have never stopped serving the CIA strategic agenda, whatever that happened to be. As Thierry Meyssan writes, "In reality, the CIA continued to have recourse to Osama Bin Laden's services against Russian influence as it had done against the Soviets. You don't change a winning team. The 'Arab Legion' of Al Qaeda was used, in 1999, to support the Kosovar rebels against the dictatorship in Belgrade. It was also operational in Chechenya, at least until November 2001, as was attested to by the New York Times. (Michael Wines, December 9, 2001) The alleged hostility of Bin Laden against the United States permitted Washington to deny responsibility for these dirty operations." (Meyssan 2002 106-7)

In a discussion of the impact of the anonymous Imperial Hubris CIA tract during the summer of 2004, the Washington Post provided a succinct summary of al Qaeda's strategic services to the CIA: "Al Qaeda' s camps were staffed by veteran fighters who trained insurgents who fought and trained others to fight, not only against the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan, but also against national armies in Indian Kashmir, Chechnya, Uzbekistan, Eritrea, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Tajikistan, Egypt, Bosnia, western China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Macedonia, Kosovo, and the Philippines." (Review of Anonymous, Imperial Hubris, Washington Post, July 11, 2004) Notice that all these states were or are targets of U.S. destabilization. And even this list is far from complete; it leaves out Libya, for example.

The Iranian press also noted the strange affinities of al Qaeda for figures who were clearly still on the U.S. payroll. While panning the 9/11 commission report, the Teheran Times observed that none other than KSM, "Khalid Sheikh Muhammed, the reported mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, was a longtime associate of Abdul Rasul Sayyaf, a leader of the Afghan Northern Alliance and current ally of the U.S.-backed Afghans president, Hamid Karzai." (Teheran Times, July 27, 2004)

-- 9/11 Synthetic Terror Made in USA, by Webster Griffin Tarpley

What did buy-out mean? How did they communicate? Did they use Emaar-set satellite phones. Did Bin Laden use a body double?
So when we got all that information, we were able to do certain operations. Cumbersome though it may be, it still to me was the way to do it. And we don't have to apologize to anybody.
We don't know what revenge is coming down the road. And if I wanted to incite the faithful, I'd just take that one picture with the dog collar on, and just point to that. And look at the young brothers and say, "You're duty bound now to get revenge."
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Re: TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE, directed by Alex Gibney

Postby admin » Sun Nov 22, 2015 7:23 am


[Professor Alfred McCoy, author A Question of Torture] The advocates of torture generally focus on the hypothetical. They have this ticking bomb scenario they talk about ...

[Clive Stafford Smith, lawyer for Guantanamo detainees] which is, imagine that there's a ticking time bomb in Times Square. I's about to go off. We've got the guy in custody. He says he wants a lawyer. Do we respect his right to a lawyer? Or to save a million lives do we apply the electrodes to his testicles?

[Professor Alfred McCoy, author A Question of Torture] 24, week after week, has on-camera displays of brutal torture ...

[Kiefer Sutherland] Just tell me what your connection with the terrorists is?

designed to stop some terrorist with a ticking bomb from killing hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Americans.

[Superior] You're talking about torturing this man?

[Kiefer Sutherland] I'm talking about doing what is necessary to stop this warhead from being used against us.

Propaganda in the United States is propaganda spread by government and media entities within the United States. Propaganda is information, ideas, or rumors deliberately spread widely to influence opinions. Propaganda is not only in advertising; it is also in radio, newspaper, posters, books, television, and anything else that might be sent out to the widespread public.

-- Propaganda in the United States, by Wikipedia

[Clive Stafford Smith, Lawyer for Guantanamo detainees, including Moazzam Begg] It's just nonsense, though! Because then you ask, "Hey, name me one time in the last 500 years when we've had someone in custody with a ticking time bomb?"

[Jack Cloonan, Counterterrorism Task Force] The likelihood of that ever happening is soooo remote.
Even if you're in that situation, who is to say if you beat 'em up, that you're going to get that information? If a guy is that committed, I think he'll die before he gives it up.

[Professor Alfred McCoy, author A Question of Torture] Right after the release of the Abu Ghraib photos in mid-2004,
35% of Americans polled believed that torture was acceptable under some circumstances.

[Murdered detainee, Abu Ghraib]

Even after the Abu Ghraib photographs. And I think that shows the way that this kind of popular culture has built a constituency for torture,
which allows the Bush White House to get away with the way it twists laws and treaties,
and doesn't spark popular outrage.

[Captain] What do you think you're doing? There's no need for that!

-- Fahrenheit 451, directed by Francois Truffaut

[Narrator] On a conservative radio show, Vice-President Dick Cheney openly defended the practice of waterboarding.

[Scott Hennen, WDAY North Dakota] Would you agree, a dunk in water is a no-brainer if it can save lives?

[Dick Cheney, Vice President] Well, um, it's a no-brainer for me, but for a while there I was criticized as being the Vice President for torture.

["President" George W. Bush] We do not condone torture!

[Scott Horton, Attorney] "We do not torture"! Footnote: "As we define torture. Which means exactly what we wish it to mean, and nothing else."

[Narrator] In the elections of 2006,
the Bush Administration openly campaigned for harsh techniques the rest of the world defined as torture.
Bush and Cheney played on the fears of voters and politicians.
If Congress didn't give them the power to do whatever was necessary,
how could Americans be safe?

["President" George W. Bush] In addition to the terrorists held at Guantanamo, a small number of suspected terrorist leaders and operatives captured during the war have been held and questioned outside the United States in a separate program operated by the Central Intelligence Agency. Some ask, "Why you are acknowledging this program now?"


Some believe our Military and Intelligence personnel involved in capturing and questioning terrorists could now be at risk of prosecution under the War Crimes Act! Simply for doing their jobs in a thorough and professional way!
This is unacceptable!

[Narrator] The President was forced to disclose his secret CIA program ...
when the Supreme Court acted to limit his wartime powers.
In the historic Hamdan decision,
the Court ruled that interrogations and trials of terrorists ...
would be governed by the Geneva Conventions.

["President" George W. Bush] This debate is occurring because of the Supreme Court's ruling that said we must conduct ourselves under the Common Article III of the Geneva Convention. And that Common Article III says that there will be no outrages upon human dignity.
It's a, it's a, it's a, like -- it's very vague!
What does that mean?

[Senator Carl Levin, Senate Armed Services Committee] Do you believe that the use of testimony which is obtained through techniques such as waterboarding, stress positions, intimidating use of military dogs, sleep deprivation, sensory deprivation, forced nudity would be consistent with Common Article III?

[Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General] Well, sir, I think that most importantly, I can't imagine that such testimony would be reliable.

[Senator John McCain] Mr. Attorney General, do you believe that statements obtained through illegal, inhumane treatment should be admissible?

[Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General] Senator, well, again --
I'll say this:
the concern I would have about such a prohibition is, "What does it mean?" "How do you define it?"

[Narrator] And WHO would define it?
The Bush Administration introduced a new law that would elude the restrictions of the Supreme Court.

[Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell] In a legal sense, I think they wanted to discard the Constitution. And they wanted to write a new one. But you can't do that. So what you do is you throw a new interpretation on the old one.
And the new interpretation is the Executive in wartime -- and perhaps this war is going to last forever -- is all powerful.

Contrary to the Government’s assertion, even Quirin did not view that authorization as a sweeping mandate for the President to invoke military commissions whenever he deems them necessary. Rather, Quirin recognized that Congress had simply preserved what power, under the Constitution and the common law of war, the President already had to convene military commissions—with the express condition that he and those under his command comply with the law of war. See 317 U. S., at 28–29. Neither the AUMF nor the DTA can be read to provide specific, overriding authorization for the commission convened to try Hamdan. Assuming the AUMF activated the President’s war powers, see Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, 542 U. S. 507, and that those powers include authority to convene military commissions in appropriate circumstances, see, e.g., id., at 518, there is nothing in the AUMF’s text or legislative history even hinting that Congress intended to expand or alter the authorization set forth in UCMJ Art. 21. Cf. Ex parte Yerger, 8 Wall. 85, 105. Likewise, the DTA cannot be read to authorize this commission. Although the DTA, unlike either Art. 21 or the AUMF, was enacted after the President convened Hamdan’s commission, it contains no language authorizing that tribunal or any other at Guantanamo Bay. Together, the UCMJ, the AUMF, and the DTA at most acknowledge a general Presidential authority to convene military commissions in circumstances where justified under the Constitution and laws, including the law of war. Absent a more specific congressional authorization, this Court’s task is, as it was in Quirin, to decide whether Hamdan’s military commission is so justified.

-- Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, decided by the United States Supreme Court on June 29, 2006

[Narrator] Congress gave the President most of what he wanted. He would agree to abide by the Geneva Conventions so long as HE could define their meaning and application.
A few detainees at Guantanamo might be put on trial. But the rest would no longer have access to habeas corpus:
the fundamental legal right to challenge their detention.
Planning a run for President, even Senator McCain voted for the bill soon after the Bush Administration threatened to discredit him with Conservative voters.

[The Cafferty File -- Immunity from War Crimes?] Buried deep inside this legislation ...
is a provision that will pardon President Bush and all the members of his Administration of any possible crimes connected to the torture and mistreatment of detainees dated all the way back to September 11, 2001.
At least President Nixon had Gerald Ford to do his dirty work. President Bush is trying to pardon himself.

[Narrator] The pardon did not extend to frontline soldiers.

[Pfc. Willie Brand, Convicted: Assault, Maiming, Maltreatment] The trial was a very confusing time for me, because I've never been through a trial before. I didn't know what was really going on. I kind of just understood that, you know, I was facing a lot of time in jail. That's the only thing I really understood about the whole thing.

[Pfc. Willie Brand, Convicted: Assault, Maiming, Maltreatment]

[Sgt. Anthony Morden, Pled Guilty to: Assault, Dereliction of Duty] Well, I was sent to jail, to a Military Correctional facility. I've lost my full-time job. I have a bad-conduct discharge which has hindered me in getting a new job in the same field. I -- financially it's just devastated me.

[Pfc. Damien Corsetti, Acquitted: Assault, Maltreatment, Dereliction of Duty, Use of Hashish, Performing an Indecent Act] I'm just glad it's over. That's it. Glad I can get on with my life.

[Pfc. Damien Corsetti, Acquitted: Assault, Maltreatment, Dereliction of Duty, Use of Hashish, Performing an Indecent Act]

[Spc. Glendale Walls, Pled Guilty to: Assault, Dereliction of Duty] I had to plead guilty to assault, and two counts of dereliction of duty. In exchange, they would say that I could go to jail for no more than four months.

[John Galligan, Willie Brand's Attorney, Former U.S. Army Judge] Rather than spend the money that was being spent for that trial,
I think it could have been better spent in working on Army doctrine ...
to make sure that other people go into battle properly equipped, properly led, and with a full understanding as to what their new roles and responsibilities are.

[William Cassara, Damien Corsetti's Attorney] When a detainee is abused, or a detainee claims abuse, they want somebody to take the fall for it.
And it's not going to be the person with eagles or stars on their shoulder.

[Narrator] No officer was ever convicted in the Dilawar case. Following her service at Abu Ghraib, Capt. Carolyn Wood was given a staff position at the Army Interrogation School in Fort Huachuca, Arizona.

[Scott Horton, Attorney] What does that reflect in terms of Senior Leadership's intentions? Not to eradicate the abuse, but to perpetuate the abuse.

[Alberto Mora, former Navy General Counsel] I think the probabilities exist that there will be other terrorist attacks.
That more Americans will die. And the argument that we have to apply abuse to detainees in order to protect American lives,
I find to be violative of our deepest values,
and to the very safety of our country.
We fight not only to protect lives.
We fight to protect our principles.

[Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff to Colin Powell] If you say, over the course of Afghanistan,
GTMO and Iraq,
we've detained 50,000 people, I'd say that less than 1% were terrorists.

[* as of Sept. 11, 2006, the number detained reached over 83,000]

The only “realistic” prospect is to ground a new [politics] by opting for the impossible, fully assuming the place of the exception, with no taboos, no a priori norms (“human rights”, “democracy”), respect for which would prevent us from “resignifying” terror, the ruthless exercise of power, the spirit of sacrifice … if this radical choice is decried by some bleeding-heart liberals as Linksfaschismus, so be it!

-- Is Slavoj Zizek a Left-Fascist?, by Alan Johnson

[* none have been brought to trial]

Were some of them insurgents? Probably.
Were almost all of them in Iraq, in particular, going to become insurgents after their treatment?

[Moazzam Begg, Detained at Bagram and Guantanamo] I was kidnapped, abducted, forced into prison, tortured, and threatened with further torture, without charge. Without trial.

[Moazzam Begg, Released due to Pressure from British Government]
Even many soldiers had said to me afterward, "Wasn't it hell when you weren't a terrorist when you came in here, by the time you leave, I'm sure you would be because of the way you've been treated."

[Jack Cloonan, Counterterrorism Task Force] I think there's a certain level of prejudice ...
that this religion, and the people who have hijacked it,
have such a disregard for life,
that we turn around and say, "If they think so very little of life -- and clearly 9/11 exemplified that -- screw them!" Anything goes."

Counterterror was one way of co-opting uncommitted civilians. To facilitate their political awakening, according to Manzione, "We left our calling card nailed to the forehead of the corpses we left behind. They were playing card size with a light green skull with red eyes and red teeth dripping blood, set against a black background. We hammered them into the third eye, the pituitary gland, with our pistol butts. The third eye is the seat of consciousness for Buddhists, and this was a form of mutilation that had a powerful psychological effect."

Curiously, terror tactics often involve mutilating the third eye (the seat of insight and secret thoughts) and playing on fears of an "all-seeing" cosmic eye of God. Used by morale officers in World War I, the eye of God trick called for pilots in small aircraft to fly over enemy camps and call out the names of individual soldiers. Ed Lansdale applied the technique in the Philippines. "At night, when the town was asleep, a psywar team would creep into town and paint an eye (copied from the Egyptian eye that appears atop the pyramid in the Great Seal of the United States) on a wall facing the house of each suspect," Lansdale writes. "The mysterious presence of these malevolent eyes the next morning had a sharply sobering effect."

To appreciate the "sobering effects" of the "malevolent" and "mysterious" eye of God, it helps to know something of the archetype's mythological origins. In ancient Egypt, the eye of God was plucked from Horus, an anthropomorphic sun-god with a falcon's head. Pictured as the morning sun cresting a pyramid, the eye of God represents the dawn of self-awareness, when the ego emerged from the id and no longer required human sacrifice to overcome its primeval anxiety. Awed by the falcon's superlative sight, talons, and flight, the Egyptians endowed Horus with the bird's predatory prowess, so he could avenge the murder his father, Osiris, whose name means "seat of the eye." Set on high, scanning the earth for the forces of darkness, the falcon as sun-god -- as the manifestation of enlightenment -- carries out the work of organization and pacification, imposing moral order on earth.

The eye of God assumes its mysterious "counterespionage" qualities through this myth of the eternal cycle -- the battle between good and evil -- in which, if the perfidious gods of darkness can guess the sun-god's secret name, they can rob him of his powers and trap him forever in the underworld. Thus a falcon emblem was placed above the gates of all Egyptian temples, scanning for the sun-god's enemies, while the sun-god relied on code names to conceal his identity.

Oddly enough, the eye of God was the symbol of the Cao Dai sect, whose gallery of saints include Confucius, Buddha, Joan of Arc, Jesus, and Victor Hugo. Inside the Cao Dai cathedral in Tay Ninh City, the Cao Dai pope divined upon his planchette the secrets of the Great pyramid; over the temple door loomed a huge blue "all-seeing" eye surrounded by snakes and trees. For this reason, some people suggest that the Cao Dai eye of God endowed Phoenix, the all-seeing bird of prey that selectively snatched its prey, with its ubiquity.

In South Vietnam the eye of God trick took a ghastly twist. CIA officer Pat McGarvey recalled to Seymour Hersh that "some psychological warfare guy in Washington thought of a way to scare the hell out of villagers. When we killed a VC there, they wanted us to spread-eagle the guy, put out his eye, cut a hole in the back [of his head] and put his eye in there. The idea was that fear was a good weapon." Likewise, ears were cut off corpses and nailed to houses to let the people know that Big Brother was listening as well.

"Now everyone knows about the airborne interrogation -- taking three people up in a chopper, taking one guy and saying, 'Talk,' then throwing him out before he even gets the chance to open his mouth. Well, we wrapped det [detonator] cord around their necks and wired them to the detonator box. And basically what it did was blow their heads off. The interrogator would tell the translator, usually a South Vietnamese intelligence officer, 'Ask him this.' He'd ask him, 'Who gave you the gun?' And the guy would start to answer, or maybe he wouldn't -- maybe he'd resist -- but the general idea was to waste the first two. They planned the snatches that way. Pick up this guy because we're pretty sure he's VC cadre -- these other two guys just run errands for him. Or maybe they're nobody; Tran, the farmer, and his brother Nguyen. But bring in two. Put them in a row. By the time you get to your man, he's talking so fast you got to pop the weasel just to shut him up." After a moment's silence he added, "I guess you could say that we wrote the book on terror."

-- The Phoenix Program, by Douglas Valentine

[Afghani Man] We in the village come to Dilawar's grave to pray for his departed soul.
I pray for him and the others in the cemetery.

[Grave Marker: Dilawar the martyr. Yakubi village.]

[Shahpoor, Dilawar's brother] What should I say to the Americans?
My brother was innocent. He was barely more than a child and they killed him.
Since he died, I cannot taste my tea. I cannot taste my food. I cannot taste anything.
Imagine you leave here and someone along the road kills you.
In what state will your children and wife be? How would your father feel?

[Tim Golden, New York Times Reporter] It's not surprising that at the end of all this,
Dilawar, the victim, was really lost.
I mean, Dilawar was almost invisible in the trials.
I mean, you never saw pictures of him.
Nobody ever mentioned this man's wife and child who were left without a husband and father. He was not part of the picture at all.

[Afghani Man] Dilawar could not work in the fields, so he said, "I will take the taxi",
and bring the family meat and potatoes in the evenings."

[Tim Golden, New York Times Reporter] There's a lot of other people out there who are going to run into this system unless it's fixed. And you only need one to sort of remind yourself of what it's capable of.

[Alberto Mora, former Navy General Counsel] American values are premised upon the notion of human dignity, and the sanctity of the individual. To allow for cruelty to be applied as a matter of official policy, is to say that our forefathers were wrong about these inalienable rights.

[Spc. Tony Lagouranis, Military Intelligence, Iraq] Americans obviously want to believe that we're somehow more moral than the rest of the world. For some reason we have a real strong desire to feel that way. And I think that's eroding. I don't really know what effect that's going to have on us. And I think a lot of people have just decided, "Well, you know, it's different now after 9/11. We can't be good anymore. We have to get tough." And so we'll have to see what that does to us.

[Narrator] What do you say?

[Spc. Tony Lagouranis, Military Intelligence, Iraq] I think that's bullshit, frankly. I mean, I think that we still need to try and be as good as we can be.
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Re: TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE, directed by Alex Gibney

Postby admin » Sun Nov 22, 2015 8:12 am


[Dedicated to my father, Frank B. Gibney, 1924-2006, WWII Navy Interrogator]

[Frank B. Gibney] I find it utterly inconceivable that our highest officials -- Rumsfeld, Bush and Cheney -- would not only countenance torture but would actually advocate it. That really destroyed my faith in the American government. Because through World War II and the Korean War, where I also served, we had the sense that we were on the side of the good guys. You'd always get justice from the United States of America. People would get decent treatment. And there was a rule of law. We never forgot that. That behind the facade of wartime hatreds, there was a central rule of law which people abided by. It was something we believed. It was what made America different.

PRODUCED BY Alex Gibney, Eva Orner, Susannah Shipman
EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: Don Glascoff, Robert Johnson, Sidney Blumenthal
EDITOR: Sloane Klevin
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Maryse Alberti, Greg Andracke
CO-PRODUCERS: Marty Fisher, Blair Foster, Sloane Klevin
ORIGINAL MUSIC BY Ivor Guest, Robert Logan

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