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History professor part of Oscar-winning documentary

February 25, 2008 By Jenny Price

History professor Alfred McCoy plays a role in "Taxi to the Dark Side," a harrowing film about U.S. interrogation techniques that won the Academy Award Sunday for best documentary feature.

McCoy, author of "A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror," appears in part of the film to explain how the history of CIA torture research shaped the policy of President Bush’s administration.

McCoy got involved in the film after Jane Mayer, a writer for The New Yorker who reviewed "Question of Torture" for the magazine, recommended the book to filmmaker Alex Gibney, who was just beginning work on the documentary.

In his book, McCoy showed how the origins of the Abu Ghraib scandal and the Guantanamo controversy can be traced directly to the 1950s, when the CIA launched a massive mind-control project that discovered psychological torture.

The documentary opens Friday at Sundance 608 in Madison and is scheduled to air on HBO in September.