The Uncertain Interrogation Subject
This chapter explores how the United States' detention center at Guantanamo Bay (GBDC) has created a situation in which over one hundred fifty remaining detainees, most held for more than a decade without being charged or tried, become a new source of paralyzing uncertainty. Prisoners' dossiers and data-sets stack up as the result of ongoing interrogations—circulating online via Wikileaks and other projects—even as their sources' status as legal, political, and human subjects is constantly in tension; through these dynamics, an intellectual, geopolitical and moral double-bind is created. Turning to the history of coercive interrogation in the second half of the paper, the double-bind comes further into focus: although there has been a demonstrable continuity in interrogation technique from the Cold War to the War on Terror, there has been an immense change in how the subject of interrogation is viewed and in a sense produced. Once conceived as a unified “self” made the target of manipulative incentives and brainwashing attempts — and therefore the repository of a valuable ideological orientation to be fought over and potentially converted—he is now seen as a source of actionable intelligence and data-extraction even as his status reveals the changing contours of agnotology, or systematic ignorance.
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