Tuesday, February 26, 2008

And the Academy Award goes to...

...a documentary that a lot of folks will never get to see.

At the Academy Awards on Sunday night, Taxi to the Dark Side won the award for best documentary. The film tells the story of an innocent Afghani taxi driver who was tortured to death in 2002. It examines recent U.S. policy concerning "interrogation" techniques used in Gitmo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

The award-winning film has been effectively censored for a large portion of American audiences. Taxi was originally slated to be aired on the Discovery Channel, a standard offering with most cable television packages. However, Discovery deemed the film "too controversial" and canceled plans to air the show to the mass market. They might air the film next year. Never mind that there is a little election this November 4.

The good news is that HBO has announced that they will air the documentary uncut in September. Unlike Discovery, HBO is a premium channel. There are quite a lot of cable customers who will not, or cannot, pay for HBO (myself included). The practical upshot is that a large portion of the American public will not see this important film because it will be airing on a premium channel instead of regular cable.

This situation might not be actual censorship, but it does not pass the smell test.

Here's a link to the trailer:

While I don't have a problem with legitimate interrogations of these buffoons who would like nothing better than to see a much bigger 9/11, we better make damn sure that the person being "interrogated" is a legitimate terror suspect and not an innocent taxi driver. Also, this country has no business torturing anybody anyway. Torture did not work during the Spanish Inquisition. All it did then was produce a lot of false confessions of witchcraft. Human reaction to inhuman torture has not changed in 500 years, so one has to wonder how many false confessions of terror plots we have obtained at Gitmo.


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