Re-Branded and Expanded: Visual Politics and the Implications of Guantanamo’s Make-Over

Kandida Iris Purnell

Research output: Other contribution


There is a certain theatre to the Global War on Terror. From the opening sequence of 9/11 to the shock and awe campaign’s projection of American sovereign power through the broadcast of the initial ariel bombardment of Iraq, to the dramatic headline declarations that ‘we got him!’ after an elderly and disheveled Saddam Hussein was ‘caught like a rat…in the bottom of a hole’ in Iraq in December 2003, the GWoT has played out as a highly dramatic production. As a part of the GWoT, Guantanamo Bay’s Camp Delta has featured too – making both dramatic appearances and disappearances from the frame since its 2002 inception. The most recent of these is the big reveal of the Camp’s make-over under the Trump Administration. Having canceled Obama’s 2009 Executive Order to close the Camp in January, a selection of journalists were provided new ‘Media Ground Rules for JTF-GTMO‘ re-admitted to the Camp, and given a tour of detainee areas and quarters this month for the first time since a media black out was enforced in 2014 during powerful hunger strikes written about by both myself and Lauren Wilcox. In this short post I provide an overview of the Camp’s visual politics and some very initial analysis of reports and images emerging from Camp Delta this week. I argue that updated Camp policy and practices, and photographs emerging reveal dominant American bodies (Government and military in kind) becoming increasingly un-concerned with the maintenance and projection of a Liberal, biopolitical (life-centred and affirming) image into the eyes of the international community and therefore in the process of re-making America’s identity on the world stage.
Original languageEnglish
Media of outputBlog post
PublisherDuck of Minerva
Publication statusPublished - 25 Feb 2018


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