<em>Taxi to the Dark Side</em> — Screening Wednesday, 5 December


The Washington Note is sponsoring a Washington, DC preview screening of Alex Gibney’s powerful new film, Taxi to the Dark Side.
The film already has a Gotham Award Nomination as best documentary and won the Best Documentary Prize at the Chicago Film Festival, the Newport International Film Festival, and the Tribeca Film Festival.
I’ve seen it — and it’s a devastating chronicle of the Bush administration’s Darkness at Noon-style kidnapping, detainment, and torture practices that have been less part of a so-called ‘war on terror’ than a ‘war on America’s own democratic principles.’
Film critic Roger Ebert agrees and said, “Highly recommended. A devastating documentary laying out in precise detail the Bush administration’s use of illegal detainment, torture and death in prison camps that exist outside the U.S. Constitution.”
That Wednesday evening (December 5th), Oscar-nominated film director and occasional reader of this blog, Alex Gibney, will join the event — as will former State Department Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson, journalist and Taxi to the Dark Side executive producer Sidney Blumenthal, FBI Special Agent Jack Cloonan, and Bagram prison guard Damien Corsetti.
This event is NOT open to the public — but I will make available a certain number of tickets to TWN and TPM Cafe readers — but folks have to email me directly with appropriate affiliation if any, and I can only provide two tickets per request. I have an allotment set aside — and when we max out, please understand that I can’t exceed the limit.
I need all guests’ contact information, preferably phone and email address — and if people fail to show to the event without notifying me, they will not be welcome at any similar functions in the future. You will be blocking someone from attending if you go, and it’s just really bad form not to show up after committing.
My email address is steve@thewashingtonnote.com.
The event is Wednesday, 5 December 2007 at 7:00 pm. Discussion at 8:45 pm.
The venue will be disclosed at a later time. Guests will be expected to stay for the discussion.
— Steve Clemons


19 comments on “<em>Taxi to the Dark Side</em> — Screening Wednesday, 5 December

  1. TokyoTom says:

    “dollars” should be “yen”, of course.


  2. TokyoTom says:

    The Moriya scandal in Japan is nothing new, either in Tokyo or the US, but merely the same thing we see over and over.
    The politically powerful use government to take easy money from taxpayers, and politicians often consider it in their personal and patriotic interest to grease the flow in some way – in exchange for bribes, campaign support or direct benefit by shareholdings – by legislative, regulatory or government contracting policies/procedures.
    What is happening in Japan now is peanuts compared to how grossly things have gone wrong in the US. Our whole invasion of Iraq was grounded in anticipation of partisan and personal financial gain. The pork spigots are wide open and trillions committed, in a war that still is too vitally important to ever merit paying for it through taxes and in the ordinary budgetary practice.
    Trillions, and off-budget. This is theft on a scale that puts Japanese defense porkers to shame (though you have had quite the LDP vote-buying machine, with dollars shipped through the Post Office savings into gneral construction cos).


  3. Robert Morrow says:

    I am a very active Ron Paul volunteer. The reason so many people support him is because we know we will not get screwed on our issues if he is elected. Ron Paul will do exactly as he says he will.


  4. ... says:

    kudos steve for getting behind something like this.. it is shocking and i am glad that someone has made a movie about it… if it was showing in the vancouver area, i would like to go..


  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Florida GOP Official Threatens Ron Paul Straw Poll Voter with Violence
    The Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee planned to hold a straw poll on the night of the CNN-sponsored Youtube Republican debate in St. Petersburg. In October the REC Board announced the straw poll and advised its members that only 1,200 tickets would be available and sold for the straw poll. Anyone would be allowed to vote in the straw poll as long as they were over 18 years of age and held a Florida driver’s license. They were also told that they should snap up the tickets quickly if they were interested in participating in the poll since the committee anticipated a large voter turnout.
    Ron Paul supporter and Pinellas County REC member Sophie (last name withheld for privacy) of Clearwater, Florida was concerned about the limited number of tickets available and was considering purchasing a block of tickets that she could then individually resell to other Paul supporters. She telephoned the local REC office and spoke with a Marilyn. She asked about the possibility of buying tickets in bulk. The woman advised her that she could purchase a block of 50 tickets. Later Marilyn contacted Sophie and informed her that she would be able to purchase as many tickets as she would like. Sophie then purchased several hundred tickets and resold the prepaid tickets to fellow Paul supporters. In the end she managed to resell about 2/3 of the tickets she had bought.
    Once at the straw poll, Sophie and others noticed that Mitt Romney supporters were voting for their candidate dozens of times each. The St. Petersburg Times would later document this in an article. Sophie was upset that the rules she had been told were not the rules after all. On Thursday, the day after the debate, she called chairman of the Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee, Tonoy DiMatteo to inform him of the misdeeds that had occurred at the straw poll. She was shocked when he answered: “It’s too bad for you, and if you start any trouble you will be hurt.” (Watch Sophie’s account of the incident here.)
    Obviously upset by the incident, Sophie called her local Meetup group organizer, Paul Bourgeois, who said that Romney even had 5-year-old kids voting in the straw poll. Paul had, at an earlier time, discussed the rule changes with Tony. Mr. DiMatteo made it very clear to Paul that he and Sophie had not better take this any further or else.
    If you would like to call or write Tony DiMatteo (who is, perhaps not surprisingly, a Giuliani supporter) and let him know that you will not stand for this criminal activity, have at it:
    Pinellas County Republican Executive Committee
    Tony DiMatteo (Chairman)
    Phone number 727-539-6009


  6. karenk says:

    RON PAUL for President!
    I tell everyone I know about him-and if you’re sick and tired of politicians who are bought and paid for by rich corporations and special interest groups, you just might listen. Everything in the US lately seems designed to separate you from your dollar while providing inferior goods/services/quality of life. It’s all about MONEY…PURE UNADULTERATED GREED. ME…ME…MINE…MINE. It’s all about the super rich getting even richer while everyone else’s (and their kids) future looks more and more bleak. These politicians have forgotten the middle class, the backbone of this country, and will pay the price for this eventually, since it’s hard to hold together without a backbone. The middle class can’t afford healthcare or college, can’t take vacation, raises are 1 or 2% (if that) while cost of living increases 4% each year and healthcare costs rise about 15% and housing, well you know that crisis. Where is the American dream that my parents lived and that they told me I could have if I was willing to work for it??? I’m a college educated professional who makes twice the equivalent of what my parents made, but I can’t afford a house-they could. They could retire and send their kids to college without paying a dime and without their kids shouldering huge college loans. I’ve already decided, 20 years in advance, that there is very little chance I will retire in this country-old and poor is not a good combo for an enjoyable life in America. And if you’re sick on top of it, well, they’ll help you out by letting you die! Sorry for the rant, but it just gets to ya sometimes. I have friends in Ireland, France and Switzerland and their life quality is soo much better than what I see around me here.


  7. Sandy says:

    Wow! I learn more in five minutes on this blog….than I ever do anywhere else. Thanks!


  8. Carroll says:

    A few post ago I posted and quoted the US CFR statement to Israel that Iran was not a threat to the US.
    To add more to my own “facts on the ground” concerning Iran and that Israel and their supporters inside and outside of congress are fully aware this is true and are in fact asking the US to start a war strictly for the interest of Israel….I add this to the record.
    Last update – 13:26 02/12/2007
    Study: U.S., Israel should begin planning strike on Iran nuclear sites
    By Aluf Benn, Haaretz Correspondent
    Tags: Iran, U.S., Israel, nuclear
    Israel and the United States should begin an intense dialogue on ways to deal with Iran’s nuclear plans and should examine ways to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, according to a new study published by an influential Washington think tank.
    The report, by a former deputy head of the National Security Council, Chuck Freilich, says Israel and the U.S. should discuss nuclear-crisis scenarios between Israel and Iran. The report, entitled “Speaking About the Unspeakable,” was released over the weekend by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
    F reilich assumes that detailed talks between the U.S. and Israel on Iran do not extend beyond exchanges of intelligence, coordination of diplomatic moves and the supply of sophisticated weapons to Israel.
    According to Freilich, a lack of symmetry exists between the U.S. and Israel on the Iranian threat, although both use similar rhetoric toward it. From Israel’s perspective, Iran presents a potential existential threat, so its nuclear plans must be stopped at almost any price. In contrast, the U.S. is disturbed by the implications of nuclear weapons in Iran but does not see it as an existential threat
    Freilich says Israel would prefer that the U.S. attack Iran. He notes that if Israel believes it can successfully attack Iran, Israel fears that the U.S. would veto the plan, so Israel would not unveil the scheme ahead of time. The U.S. would also keep secret from Israel any intention of attacking Iran.”


  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Political Power and the Rule of Law
    by Ron Paul
    With the elections over and the 110th Congress settling in, the media have been reporting ad nauseam about who has assumed new political power in Washington. We’re subjected to breathless reports about emerging power brokers in Congress; how so-and-so is now the powerful chair of an important committee; how certain candidates are amassing power for the 2008 elections, and so on. Nobody questions this use of the word “power,” or considers its connotations. It’s simply assumed, in Washington and the mainstream media, that political power is proper and inevitable.
    The problem is that politicians are not supposed to have power over us – we’re supposed to be free. We seem to have forgotten that freedom means the absence of government coercion. So when politicians and the media celebrate political power, they really are celebrating the power of certain individuals to use coercive state force.
    Remember that one’s relationship with the state is never voluntary. Every government edict, policy, regulation, court decision, and law ultimately is backed up by force, in the form of police, guns, and jails. That is why political power must be fiercely constrained by the American people.
    The desire for power over other human beings is not something to celebrate, but something to condemn! The 20th century’s worst tyrants were political figures, men who fanatically sought power over others through the apparatus of the state. They wielded that power absolutely, without regard for the rule of law.
    Our constitutional system, by contrast, was designed to restrain political power and place limits on the size and scope of government. It is this system, the rule of law, which we should celebrate – not political victories.
    Political power is not like the power possessed by those who otherwise obtain fame and fortune. After all, even the wealthiest individual cannot force anyone to buy a particular good or service; even the most famous celebrities cannot force anyone to pay attention to them. It is only when elites become politically connected that they begin to impose their views on all of us.
    In a free society, government is restrained – and therefore political power is less important. I believe the proper role for government in America is to provide national defense, a court system for civil disputes, a criminal justice system for acts of force and fraud, and little else. In other words, the state as referee rather than an active participant in our society.
    Those who hold political power, however, would lose their status in a society with truly limited government. It simply would not matter much who occupied various political posts, since their ability to tax, spend, and regulate would be severely curtailed. This is why champions of political power promote an activist government that involves itself in every area of our lives from cradle to grave. They gain popular support by promising voters that government will take care of everyone, while the media shower them with praise for their bold vision.
    Political power is inherently dangerous in a free society: it threatens the rule of law, and thus threatens our fundamental freedoms. Those who understand this should object whenever political power is glorified.
    February 6, 2007


  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    The Israel Resolution
    by Ron Paul
    Before the U.S. House of Representatives, July 20, 2006
    I rise in opposition to this resolution, which I sincerely believe will do more harm than good.
    I do agree with the resolution’s condemnation of violence. But I am convinced that when we get involved in foreign conflicts and send strong messages, such as this resolution will, it ends up expanding the war rather than diminishing the conflict, and that ultimately comes back to haunt us.
    Mr. Speaker, I follow a policy in foreign affairs called non-interventionism. I do not believe we are making the United States more secure when we involve ourselves in conflicts overseas. The Constitution really doesn’t authorize us to be the policemen of the world, much less to favor one side over another in foreign conflicts. It is very clear, reading this resolution objectively, that all the terrorists are on one side and all the victims and the innocents are on the other side. I find this unfair, particularly considering the significantly higher number of civilian casualties among Lebanese civilians. I would rather advocate neutrality rather than picking sides, which is what this resolution does.
    Some would say that there is no room to talk about neutrality, as if neutrality were a crime. I would suggest there should be room for an open mind to consider another type of policy that may save American lives.
    I was in Congress in the early 1980s when the US Marines were sent in to Lebanon, and I came to the Floor before they went, when they went, and before they were killed, arguing my case against getting involved in that conflict.
    Ronald Reagan, when he sent the troops in, said he would never turn tail and run. Then, after the Marines were killed, he had a reassessment of the policy. When he wrote his autobiography a few years later after leaving the Presidency, he wrote this.
    Perhaps we didn’t appreciate fully enough the depth of the hatred and the complexity of the problems that made the Middle East such a jungle. Perhaps the idea of a suicide car bomber committing mass murder to gain instant entry to Paradise was so foreign to our own values and consciousness that it did not create in us the concern for the marines’ safety that it should have.
    In the weeks immediately after the bombing, I believe the last thing that we should do was turn tail and leave. Yet the irrationality of Middle Eastern politics forced us to rethink our policy there. If there would be some rethinking of policy before our men die, we would be a lot better off. If that policy had changed towards more of a neutral position and neutrality, those 241 marines would be alive today.
    It is very easy to criticize the Government of Lebanon for not doing more about Hezbollah. I object to terrorism committed by Hezbollah because I am a strong opponent to all violence on all sides. But I also object to the unreasonable accusations that the Government of Lebanon has not done enough, when we realize that Israel occupied southern Lebanon for 18 years and was not able to neutralize Hezbollah.
    Mr. Speaker, There is nothing wrong with considering the fact that we don’t have to be involved in every single fight. That was the conclusion that Ronald Reagan came to, and he was not an enemy of Israel. He was a friend of Israel. But he concluded that that is a mess over there. Let me just repeat those words that he used. He said, he came to the conclusion, “The irrationality of Middle Eastern politics forced us to rethink our policy there.” I believe these words are probably more valid now even than when they were written.
    July 21, 2006


  11. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Quite different than Hillary or Barack’s neo-con lite musings, eh?
    Silence the War Drums
    by Ron Paul
    Before the US House of Representatives, February 16, 2006
    Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this very dangerous legislation. My colleagues would do well to understand that this legislation is leading us toward war against Iran.
    Those reading this bill may find themselves feeling a sense of déjà vu. In many cases one can just substitute “Iraq” for “Iran” in this bill and we could be back in the pre-2003 run up to war with Iraq. And the logic of this current push for war is much the same as was the logic used in the argument for war on Iraq. As earlier with Iraq, this resolution demands that Iran perform the impossible task of proving a negative – in this case that Iran does not have plans to build a nuclear weapon.
    There are a few things we need to remember when thinking about Iran and this legislation. First, Iran has never been ruled in violation of its international nuclear non-proliferation obligations.
    Second, Iran concluded a Safeguards Agreement more than 30 years ago that provides for the verification of Iran’s fulfillment of its obligation to not divert nuclear energy programs to nuclear weapons development. Since this agreement was reached, the International Atomic Energy Agency has never found any indication that Iran has diverted or attempted to divert source or special nuclear materials from a peaceful purpose to a military purpose.
    But, this does not stop those eager for conflict with Iran from stating otherwise. As the Washington Post reported last year, “U.S. officials, eager to move the Iran issue to the U.N. Security Council – which has the authority to impose sanctions – have begun a new round of briefings for allies designed to convince them that Iran’s real intention is to use its energy program as a cover for bomb building. The briefings will focus on the White House’s belief that a country with as much oil as Iran would not need an energy program on the scale it is planning, according to two officials.”
    This reminds us of the quick move to justify the invasion of Iraq by citing Iraq’s “intentions” when actual weapons of mass destruction could not be found.
    The resolution’s second resolved clause is a real misrepresentation of the Iran/EU3 talks. The “efforts of France, Germany, and the United Kingdom” were not “to seek…suspension of enrichment and reprocessing related activities…” As the EU3-Iran Paris Agreement makes very clear, the suspension of enrichment is a purely voluntary measure taken by Iran and is “not a legal obligation.”
    This is similar to the situation with Iran’s voluntarily observation of the Additional Protocols (allowing unannounced inspections) without legally being bound to do so. Suspending voluntary observance of the Additional Protocols is not a violation of the NPT. But, those seeking to push us toward war with Iran are purposely trying to connect the two – to confuse voluntary “confidence building” measures taken by Iran with the legally-binding Treaty itself.
    Resolved clause four of this legislation is the most inflammatory and objectionable part of the legislation. It lowers the bar to initiating war on Iran. This clause anticipates that the US may not be successful in getting the Security Council to pass a Resolution because of the potential of a Russian or Chinese veto, so it “calls upon” Russia and China to “take action” in response to “any report” of “Iran’s noncompliance. That is right: any report.
    Mr. Speaker, this resolution is a drumbeat for war with Iran. Its logic is faulty, its premises are flawed, and its conclusions are dangerous. I urge my colleagues to stop for a moment and ponder the wisdom of starting yet another war in the Middle East.


  12. PissedOffAmerican says:

    CNN Attempts to Fix Its Own Poll Against Ron Paul
    Kurt Nimmo
    November 30, 2007
    Desperation. It stinks of desperation. During the Republican debate, CNN once again attempted to derail the Ron Paul campaign. This time they ran the following lower third under Paul as he spoke:
    “Will Ron Paul let America down by not running as an independent?”
    Say what?
    Obviously, CNN wants Paul to run as an independent because he is blowing the other candidates off the stage and basically over-turning the political establishment apple cart. People are sick and tired of the “conservatives,” who are really establishment bootlickers and neocons, and want a sincere candidate, one that represents change and traditional constitutional values.
    This scares the dickens out of the corporate media — and that is why they have dedicated so little coverage to Ron Paul.
    But it not going to work, as CNN’s own poll demonstrates (see the video).


  13. Frank says:

    What hath Truman wroth? He opened the fabled Pandora’s box. Since then, we have been greasing the hinges for easier access.
    When Pelosi uttered those now infamous words, “impeachment is off the table”, she gave her imprimateur to Bush’s comment about the constitution being “only a god damned piece of paper”.
    And yes Carroll, I’am already there with Ron Paul.


  14. Carroll says:

    Is it going to be in theaters nationwide or just certain areas I wonder? I would like to see it although I already dread seeing it since we are still living it…and probably will live with it for a long, long time…maybe forever.
    And while we are wallowing in our US depravity here is another one I saw in my news alerts:
    Elon touts plan in Congress
    E-mail News Brief
    Tell the Editors
    Published: 11/30/2007
    Benny Elon, the Israeli lawmaker touting a plan that would extend Israeli sovereignty to the West Bank and encourage Palestinian emigration, met with U.S. lawmakers.
    An e-mail sent this week to supporters of the “Israeli Initiative” reported that Elon toured Washington and met with Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), and U.S. Reps. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), Mike Pence (R-Ind.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the minority whip in the U.S. House of Representatives.
    Brownback had endorsed the initiative during his run for the U.S. presidency, which he abandoned last month, and the e-mail says the senator is now ready to tout it in the region during a tour early next year. In addition to Israeli sovereignty in the West Bank, the plan calls for the dismantling of refugee camps and encouraging their residents to move to other countries. Palestinians who remained would become citizens of Jordan.
    The plan does not address how Jordan would administer its responsibility for citizens living in another country, nor does it mention that Jordan has for decades adamantly rejected such a solution.
    This is the web site of the Israel Inititive. It is the same blueprint the nazis used to rid themselves of the Jews. The news blip doesn’t really do justice to the entire plan and like me you will probably hurl at the stupidy in the transparency of their “reasoning.
    From 1933 to 1941 the Germans “encouraged” the jews to emigrate out of Germany. To speed up the process they took their resources, ghettorized them and starved them and finally killed the leftovers. Sound familiar?
    If the UTTER DEPRAVITY of our politicans hasn’t fully struck you yet…it probably never will.
    An Israeli Nazi has fellow US Congressional Nazis who want to forcefully ‘transfer” a population from their country and turn it into “Greater Israel”…in the guise of “peace”.
    Does anyone out there understand what UTTER DEPRAVITY we have going on right here?
    US c.o.n.g.r.e.s.s.m.e.n are ‘supporting” the f.o.r.c.e.d t.r.a.n.s.f.e.r of a population out of their own country for the purpose of giving that country to another country.
    This is SICK…it’s beyond sick. It’s Orwellian insane. And NOT ONE US congressperson has called these new US and Israeli Nazis on their evil depravity.
    Just look at what they have turned us into. Burn them to the ground, just burn them down and plow them under. Every day I get closer and closer to Ron Paul…he said there is a revolution and he is representing it…well, sign me up.


  15. pinochet says:

    Is it a trap Steven? You are too close to the enemy. Common communist tactic, invite the dissent and infiltrate into the group for iformation. The US only a step away from military dictatorship.


  16. Linda says:

    The film’s web site says that it will be in theaters in January.


  17. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Where and how will this film be aired beyond your event, Steve?


  18. Orwell says:

    I call your attention to the dark side of political scandals and corruption involving defense officials and military complexes in Japan and the US. Several decades ago, there was a case of Lockheed scandal and the precedence can be repeated over again? Vice Minister for Defense in Tokyo is now arrested and a official of a arms trade company was also arrested because of possible bribery case. It is not only related to Japan but also the military business in the United States. I again call your attention to the dark side of the recent currution and scandals in Tokyo, and if Americans could shed some lights on the Washington DC side, it can bring out the devils under the sun.


Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *