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And, yes, I DO take it personally: Making peace with torture: Spiegel interviews the director of "Taxi to the Dark Side"
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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Making peace with torture: Spiegel interviews the director of "Taxi to the Dark Side"

more stuff we don't see in our domestic media...
SPIEGEL ONLINE: US President George W. Bush has stressed again and again that "the US does not torture." For your documentary "Taxi to the Dark Side" you did a lot of research within the US military and talked to interrogators. Do you agree with Bush?

Alex Gibney: Only when you redefine torture so that it no longer means anything you can look the American people in the eye and say that. That's the only explanation how Bush can sit there and say that. The US administration has worked overtime to redefine torture beyond any common notion. They keep tinkering with the definition.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: But hasn't torture been legally defined for decades?

Gibney: Sensory deprivation, psychological assault -- these are the kind of things we prosecuted the Germans for at the Nuremberg trials after World War II.


SPIEGEL ONLINE: So who is ultimately responsible?

Gibney: I think the individuals at ground level do have to take some responsibility for what they do. They have a responsibility to speak up. The far greater responsibility, however, is what's called command responsibility -- the commanding officers and the administration are responsible. And again, that's what we prosecuted in Nuremberg after World War II.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Why doesn't the American public seem to see this? Why isn't there more outrage?

Gibney: At some point the people who are responsible need to be legally held accountable. But that takes more than courage in Congress. We, the American people, have to make it absolutely clear that we understand what torture is and won't do it anymore.


SPIEGEL ONLINE: Didn't the Abu Ghraib scandal make people suspicious?

Gibney: There was initial outrage about Abu Ghraib. People were genuinely outraged. But the administration very successfully convinced them that that was an aberration, not a policy.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: The public can't be that foolish. Have the Americans privately made peace with the concept of torture?

Gibney: I agree. That is a huge problem. Americans have become comfortable with the idea. They see torture as a kind of footnote, as a few bad apples that occasionally crossed the line like in Abu Ghraib. But it is a fundamental aberration of what it used to mean to be an American.

you can visit the website for Gibney's film, Taxi to the Darkside...

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