This video may contain images depicting the reality and horror of war and should only be viewed by a mature audience.
replaced video Aug. 3, 2014
DocsNStuff on Jan 20, 2013
Bill Moyers Journal
February 08, 2008
Enhanced interrogation. Black sites. Extraordinary rendition. Enemy combatant. These are just a few of the new terms making their way into the American vocabulary.
In 2003, the abuses at Abu Ghraib leaked to the press and the world. Since then, a steady stream of reports has suggested that some American agencies have used a network of secret prison, extraordinary renditions and brutal interrogation tactics on suspected terrorists. And, recently, the CIA has admitted that it has employed water-boarding, a tactic outlawed by U.S. Criminal, Military, and International law. The news has inspired a frank debate about torture. What is and isn’t torture? Is it ever okay? If so, when? And how do the interrogators know?
TAXI TO THE DARK SIDE, the new film from Alex Gibney (ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM), steps right into the middle of this debate. The film explores the death of an innocent taxi driver while in American custody at Bagram Airforce Base in Afghanistan, and, through interviews with interrogators, investigative reporters, and administration officials, a larger story of American detention and interrogation policies in the fight against terrorism. The film graphically portrays the realities on the ground and should complicate legal and moral responses at home and in the legislature.
Primetime Torture on TV on the Rise
HUMAN RIGHTS FIRST – Primetime Torture
Torture on TV Rising and Copied in the Field
The Problem: Torture on TV on the Rise
The number of scenes of torture on TV shows is significantly higher than it was five years ago and the characters who torture have changed. It used to be that only villains on television tortured. Today, “good guy” and heroic American characters torture — and this torture is depicted as necessary, effective and even patriotic.
The Impact: Soldiers Imitate What They See on TV
In interviews with former interrogators and retired military leaders, Human Rights First learned that the portrayal of torture in popular culture is having an undeniable impact on how interrogations are conducted in the field. U.S. soldiers are imitating the techniques they have seen on television — because they think such tactics work.
The Background: U.S. Policy Shifts Ushered in Abuse
Hollywood writers, of course, did not create the environment that led to the torture and abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere; the U.S. government created this environment by authorizing coercive interrogation techniques, departing from the long-held absolute ban on torture and cruel treatment, suspending the Geneva Conventions, and by assigning soldiers to tasks for which they were not trained.
What Can Be Done: The Primetime Torture Project
Human Rights First has launched a project that seeks to limit the impact TV has on the way interrogations are conducted in the field and also the way Americans view torture. Working with military educators and prominent Hollywood producers and writers, Human Rights First is developing a training film aimed at educating junior soldiers about the differences between what they see on TV and the way they ought to act in the field. Human Rights First is also working to encourage those with control over creative content in Hollywood to consider portraying torture in a more nuanced, more responsible fashion.
(video no longer available)
Updated: May 21, 2010
How Hollywood Gets It Wrong on Torture and Interrogation: P1
August 29, 2007 — Primetime Torture is a 14-minute film produced by Human Rights First that explores the way torture and interrogation are portrayed on TV. The film features scenes from some of TV’s most popular shows and interviews with seasoned interrogators, military educators and Hollywood screenwriters. http://www.primetimetorture.org