Christopher Dickey, Newsweek
You can get a fine, nuanced and ultimately very disturbing sense of the durable and deeply ingrained anger among the Iraqis from an extraordinary documentary film by Michael Tucker and Petra Epperlein due for release later this month: "The Prisoner: or: How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair."
The earlier non-fiction feature by this husband and wife team, "Gunner Palace," was a vivid depiction of the occupation in Baghdad during the early days of the war, told mainly from the American soldiers' point of view. This powerful sequel tells the story of one of the men they took captive.
On the basis of very vague intelligence that was never confirmed, much less presented in court, journalist Yunis Khatayer Abbas and three of his brothers were pulled from their beds one night in September 2003. The allegation made by an unnamed source was that they'd somehow plotted to murder the British prime minister during one of his grip-and-grin visits to Iraq.
After lengthy interrogations about everything from their attitudes toward movie star Harrison Ford to their sexual preferences and favorite songs, Abbas and his brothers were transferred to a tent compound at Abu Ghraib prison reserved for prisoners who have not been charged, much less convicted, and have also been classified as having no intelligence value whatsoever. They were held there for eight months, exposed not only to the lousy conditions, but to occasional mortar attacks by insurgents. While their guards had flak jackets and holes to hide in, the prisoners were defenseless.
Abbas speaks good English in measured phrases, and the extended interviews with him in "The Prisoner" are sometimes quite funny. But the irony does not disguise the anger that will likely endure as long as Abbas and his brothers live, or their descendants remember them, "I am not a terrorist or monster," he says. "I am not Dracula. I am not a monkey or a cow. I am a man."