chapter  4
27 Pages

The Sousveillance Failure of John Walker Lindh

WithVian Bakir

This chapter explores reasons for this sousveillance failure, alongside the failure of other modes of resistance to SPC in the period between 9/11 and the publication of the sousveillant Abu Ghraib photographs. It shows the success of Bush Administration SPC that vilified, discredited and silenced detainees; tested public reactions to torture and extraordinary rendition; and then defined or redefined these terms while normalizing their practice. John Walker Lindh, a young man from a liberal, upper-middle class family from California, had been in Afghanistan since summer 2001, fighting with the then ruling Taliban to create a pure Muslim state. The Taliban were fighting the military-political umbrella organization, the Afghan Northern Alliance a disparate group of rebel movements supported by America. Before America's 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, few journalists were in situ from international broadcasters and news agencies, given the Taliban governments licence restrictions, including a religious ban on photography.