chapter  5
48 Pages

The Surprise of Sousveillance at Abu Ghraib and the Struggle to Contain it

WithVian Bakir

This chapter explores agenda-building struggles across 2004-12 following revelations of detainee torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, these evidenced through sousveillant photographs taken by several American Military Police (MP) members. The photographs, the first time-stamped on 17 October 2003 with most taken in early November 2003, initially drew extensive media attention to torture in Spring 2004, but also encountered long-standing and new SPC as the Bush Administration fought to protect its torture-for-intelligence programme. MP Soldiers involved in preparing security detainees for interrogation at Abu Ghraib captured their activities in photographs and films taken with their personal digital cameras. The US Army CIDs investigation into Abu Ghraib charged the soldiers with taking these photographs for their own amusement this further reinforcing an image of depraved soldiers, out-of-control. The Army very publicly re-wrote its Field Manual, publishing Human Intelligence Collector Operations in September 2006, to bar any repetition of Abu Ghraib.