The Washington Times - February 8, 2008, 06:23PM

\ But that makes little difference to Alex Gibney, director of “Taxi to the Dark Side,” an Oscar-nominated documentary that chronicles the interrogation practices of the U.S. military; the film opened this weekend in select theaters around the country. Eight months ago, Discovery acquired rights to broadcast the film once its theatrical cycle is complete — but abruptly abandoned plans to air it, according to its maker.\

\ “I am very disappointed and angry,” Mr. Gibney said today.\

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\ He has described the film as a “searing indictment of the Bush administration’s policy of detention and interrogation.”\

\ Perhaps it was too searing for Discovery to stomach. The film contains graphic images and darkly implies, according to Washington Times film critic Scott Galupo, that the American public might one day be subject to such treatment.\

\ “You too might meet the same fate,” Mr. Galupo wrote in his review.\

\ Mr. Gibney, however, insists that the broadcast group is at fault.\

\ “Despite initial misgivings, I sold U.S. TV rights to the film to Discovery because executives there convinced me that they cared about the film and my work and would give the film a prominent broadcast. Now, I am told that ‘it doesn’t fit into Discovery’s plans,’ and that the film’s controversial content might damage Discovery’s public offering,” he continued.\

\ “I am surprised that a network that touts itself as a supporter of documentaries would be so shamelessly craven. This is a film that, in an election year, is of critical interest to the viewing public. What Discovery is doing is tantamount to political censorship,” Mr. Gibney continued. “This film takes a critical, yet even-handed look at our policies of interrogation in the global war on terror. In refusing to air the film, Discovery is perpetuating what has become the policy of this government: It is OK to employ torture, just not to show it.”\

\ Nonsense, says a source close to the situation.\

\ “These statements are both premature and unfounded. A final decision on airing this film by Discovery Communications has not been reached yet,” the source said.\

\ — Jennifer Harper, national desk reporter, The Washington Times