Posted by Thomas Nephew on February 24th, 2008
An occasional review of further developments in stuff I’ve written about before.
Discovery is more than the name of their company…, 02/12/08 — “Taxi to the Dark Side” is an Oscar-nominated documentary about torture and other human rights violations by the United States in the wake of 9/11. After acquiring the rights to the movie, the Discovery Channel got cold feet and announced it might not air the documentary, saying the “film’s controversial content might damage Discovery’s public offering.”
Now ThinkProgress reports that one day before the Oscars, Discovery has sold the movie to HBO, which has said it will be airing it on pay TV in September, and on basic cable in 2009. I suppose it’s better than nothing, but I don’t see pay TV as a particularly promising mass release method for this movie… unless, of course, that’s organized in September. McCain gets mixed reviews in the movie, as well he might — against torture, but for throwing away the key — so I could imagine this being a campaign/cultural event after all.
Kiriakou: apologist or whistleblower?, 12/23/07 — When ex-CIA man John Kiriakou showed up on ABC confirming that the U.S. had engaged in waterboarding, it was a revelation quickly followed by a criminal investigation into whether he had revealed state secrets. But at the time I wondered whether the investigation was serious — Kiriakou’s statements fit comfortably within the “24″ scenario, since he claimed valuable intelligence had been gained.
As is well known, CIA chief Michael Hayden subsequently also confirmed that three men — Khalid Sheik Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim Nashiri — have been waterboarded. In Google searches since then, the dog that hasn’t barked is any further development in the criminal investigation. Kiriakou is slated to appear at the University of Pittsburgh on the topic of “Ethics in Intelligence.” The notice is subheadlined with what seems like the intended takeaway from the affair: Controversial waterboarding technique “probably saved lives, but was a form of torture.”
Some good news, anyway: …. Adel Hamad released, 12/14/07 — Adel Hamad, the Guantanamo detainee from Sudan who regained his freedom late last year, is continuing to press his legal case against the United States, suing for compensation for his 5 year detention — during which one of his daughters died for lack of medicine his wife couldn’t afford any more. The Christian Science Monitor’s Scott Beldauf reports that Hamad nevertheless isn’t just suing for the money:
We don’t want animosity, we just want to respect America again,” says Hamad, speaking in English phrases he learned while in prison. “The American conscience and the American people need to return to the great concepts established by the Founding Fathers, of freedom, democracy, equality, and justice. All these values and even the justice system are being shaken, played with.”
Released Sudanese detainee Salid Mahmud Adam was also interviewed:
Asked about the nature of his treatment by Pakistani police, and by Americans at Bagram and Guantánamo, Adam becomes vague. When pressed, he recalls the constant light and noise that deprived him of sleep, beatings, tear gas, pepper spray, attack dogs, the desecration of the Koran, and the “degrading” personal searches in which he was forced to expose himself in front of other men.
“Most of the soldiers there, I doubted they could be from a great nation,” Adam says. But sometimes he would meet an educated soldier, who would “deal with us quietly, kindly,” until that soldier would be ordered to “change his style of treatment.”
NOTES: “film’s controversial content” — ThinkProgress; Christian Science Monitor item on Adel Hamad via Project Hamad