a citizen’s journal by Thomas Nephew

Department of followups — Taxi to the Dark Side edition

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 thefilm’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

9 Responses to “Department of followups — Taxi to the Dark Side edition”

  1. eRobin Says:

    I was only able to skim this post right now – I did not know that Hamad’s daughter died while we had him in captivity.

  2. Thomas Nephew Says:

    I hadn’t known that, either. It turns out Project Hamad did mention it once on their site in a February 2007 post citing an Amnesty International case sheet. (I say once on the strength of Googling the site for “daughter” and finding only this reference to the death. Her name was Fida.) All this simply because I was sort of shocked I didn’t know this and worried I was so overloaded/jaded/numbed I’d forgotten it — no recriminations with the great people at Project Hamad are intended.

  3. Nell Says:

    Thanks for the update on the fate of the Taxi film.
    Re: Kirakou and all related developments — The lowering of the bar continues relentlessly. “Controversial” waterboarding technique???
    I need a drink.
    P.S. Thanks for trying to reach Mona at UO. I can’t stay calm enough to be effective given her evident assumption of her own righteousness.

  4. Thomas Nephew Says:

    Mona at UO
    Yeah well. I saw your followup comments; thanks for trying, too. I was tempted to go into the Oppenheimer angle in a 2d post, but I think she’s pretty dug in. Might anyway, it’s really a bit odd for someone with Mona’s evident passion for civil liberties to even seem to condone what happened to Oppenheimer. But it would be better if it served as an exercise for another reader, I think I annoy Mona. (Yet I mean so well!)
    (For others, this is all re Hillary’s past admiration of [gasp] Saul Alinsky, supposed Stalinist tool. In the interests of bloggy world peace, I won’t link there. Mona’s original point was that (1) Saul Alinsky was Hillary’s glass house, so (2) she shouldn’t throw stones about Obama’s extremely tenuous connection to a Weatherman type. I agree with (2), but not with (1), Alinsky was a good guy.)

  5. eRobin Says:

    Mona? What did I miss? Gotta link?

  6. Thomas Nephew Says:

    Oh, what the hell, who needs bloggy world peace. Unqualified Offerings — “Hillary’s History of Extolling Stalinist-loving Radicals.” The title is not ironic; call it Exhibit #592 in the “not just unpersuasive but antipersuasive” Hillary-bashing sweepstakes.
    I think Mona mainly conceived of it as a “fight fire with fire” type of effort, but in the process she passes off a lot of stuff as fact that is just innuendo — primarily that the American left itself was merely the tip of Stalin’s boot as soon as it sat down with a CPUSA member, or nodded at something that member said.
    And the bit about Oppenheimer really deserves response; she got some, but not enough. I happen to have read the new Oppenheimer biography last summer, or I wouldn’t care (or know) as much about it as I do.

  7. eRobin Says:

    Good acceptance speech by the Taxi to the Dark Side makers last night.

  8. Thomas Nephew Says:

    Just got caught up with that news this morning. Yay! I’m assured that “Sicko” was good, too, but I’m glad this movie won. I wonder if all the votes were in when news got out that Discovery had pulled the plug on airing it.

  9. eRobin Says:

    Sicko was very good. Very sad at parts, as you would imagine.

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