December 04, 2007

Language Materials Forbidden at Guantanamo Bay

I recently discussed what the leaked Standard Operating Procedures manual for Guantanamo Bay revealed about linguistic operations. A more recent version of the manual, from 2004, is now available, along with a systematic comparison of the two versions and summary of the differences. The one difference I noted of linguistic interest is in the list of materials to be excluded from the Detainee Library. In the earlier version of the manual, the forbidden categories are unsurprising : works promoting jihad, anti-Americanism, etc. or dealing with sex. The new manual adds "Technology/Medical Updates" and "Geography", which seem a bit odd, and "Dictionaries" and "Language Instruction". Why are language materials considered dangerous?

Posted by Bill Poser at December 4, 2007 02:09 PM