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Film Analysis: Taxi to the Dark Side

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The documentary film titled “Taxi to the Dark Side” underscores the U.S. government’s employment of psychological torture or “soft” torture in Guantanomo, Bay, Cuba as a tool to fight the War on Terror. As vicious as physical torture, soft torture was first practiced by the former Soviet Union and was adopted by the CIA. As depicted in the film, the former taxi driver and the detainee who passed away before him had died due to sustained injuries inflicted at the prison by U.S. soldiers.

Sullivan (2006) reported that, while claiming the contrary, the Bush administration was not only aware of but also endorsed the inhumane treatment of detainees, most of which were innocent, to attain information. The treatment of detainees explains why the prison is in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba as opposed to the United States; Cuban law would not apply, neither would U.S. law. This suggests the intention of torture prior to establishment of the prison itself.

U.S. soldiers who were interviewed expressed regret over the torture of the detainees. Soft forms of torture inflicted on detainees include called sensory deprivation, which involve sitting in a dark, silent room void of human contact or touching anyone including oneself. Other forms include sleep deprivation, forced standing for several hours in one position with arms outstretched across, and extreme heat or cool conditions. However, quite the contrary, the film denotes that torture of any kind, physical or psychological, does not serve as an effective method of interrogation. When confronted abuse, a subject’s instinct would be to blurt out any claim, regardless of its authenticity.

Frequent use of naked images of tortured detainees at Abu Ghraib performing the degrading acts as demanded by the soldiers, although highly disturbing, enforces the film’s message of the U.S. endorsement and practice of inhumanity and torture. The film invites a revolutionary and transformative reflection on the essence of human rights as well as the true intention of the forces behind the War on Terror.


Sullivan, Andrew (2006). Torture by any other name is just as vile. Times Online. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/andrew_sullivan/article648370.ece

Taxi to the Dark Side Official Website (2007).  http://www.taxitothedarkside.com/ 

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