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Schoen, S. (2017). The Culture of Interrogation: Evaluating Detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Int. J. Appl. Psychoanal. Stud., 14(2):133-142.

(2017). International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, 14(2):133-142

The Culture of Interrogation: Evaluating Detainees at Guantanamo Bay1

Sarah Schoen, Ph.D.

1. Introduction

Picture this:

It is early October of 2009 and I am in an interview room at Camp Echo, the detention camp in Guantanamo Bay where detainees meet with their lawyers. To get here, I have passed through several guarded checkpoints and locked gates. I am standing at a picnic table under a tent and surrounded by a razor wire fence cloaked in opaque green mesh. After being wand-ed, and having each piece of my blank paper checked, I am ushered into one of the concrete buildings used both for solitary confinement and for detainees' meetings with their attorneys. They are about 8 feet by 10 feet, divided in two by a mesh grate. On one side is a cell, more accurately described as a cage, with a toilet and a cot. On the other is a table with some chairs.

I am sitting at the table, wearing dark clothes and a black headscarf, to signal respect for the detainee's cultural norms-a magnet for the Cuban heat. I am eight months pregnant and cannot stop sweating despite the wheezing air-conditioner. Across from me is a tall, slender Arab man with one foot shackled to the floor. He's wearing an oversized white uniform that hangs loosely on his frame. He has long black curls and a wide smile that does not reach his eyes. He is close to 40, but looks both older and younger.

Introductions have been made, the purpose of the evaluation reviewed, and I have asked my first questions, trying to lay groundwork for an interview in which I am charged with asking this man, suspected of Al Quaeda membership, about being tortured.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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