Sites of Pain and Telling

The Expressive Work of Spaces of Torture in Videogames At the 2014 MLA conference in Chicago I appeared on a panel called "Torture and Popular Culture." I used the occasion to revisit a topic I had written about several years earlier—representations of torture-interrogation in videogames. My comments are suggestive more than conclusive, and I am… Continue reading Sites of Pain and Telling

Gamifying Gamification by Making It Less Gamely

In a recent post on the group blog Play the Past, I wrote about the way torture-interrogation is often described by its proponents as a kind of game. I wrestled for a long time with the title of that post: "The Gamification of Interrogation." Why? Because I oppose the general trend toward "gamifying" real world… Continue reading Gamifying Gamification by Making It Less Gamely

The CIA, Interrogation, and Mortimer Snerd

I've written before about the creepy interrogation manual the CIA issued in 1983 on "Human Resource Exploitation." The precursor to this manual is the infamous Kubark report, written in 1963. This CIA document outlines various coercive and non-coercive methods of gathering "counterintelligence information" from uncooperative sources. Over forty years later, some of the coercive techniques… Continue reading The CIA, Interrogation, and Mortimer Snerd

KUBARK on 24

Jane Mayer, an uncompromising journalist who's become a thorn in the side of the Bush administration (for her reporting on current U.S. torture tactics and the method of "extraordinary rendition"), has written a New Yorker profile of Joel Surnow, one of the creators of the hit television show 24. Her profile focuses on Surnow's support… Continue reading KUBARK on 24

The CIA on Effective Arrests

My current research project revolves around the use of torture in the so-called "War on Terror"---and I'm uncovering a wealth of astonishing, depressing material, much of it compliments of the U.S. government. Here is a page from a top secret CIA manual on "Human Resource Exploitation," distributed by CIA trainers in Latin America in the… Continue reading The CIA on Effective Arrests