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Operation Atropos

In July 2005, Coco Fusco took a course to learn techniques about extracting information from captured prisoners. Fusco worked with retired U.S. Army interrogators who subjected her group of female students to immersive simulations of Prisoner of War (POW) experiences in order to show them what hostile interrogations can be like and how members of the U.S. military are taught to resist them. Operation Atropos is a documentary about the interrogation and POW resistance training which Fusco and six other women underwent.

The video shows the process of being a Prisoner of War—being ambushed, captured, strip searched, thrown in a pen and subjected to several interrogations. The documentary includes interviews with the interrogators that shed light on how they read personalities, evaluate interrogatee’s reliability, and use the imposition of physical and mental stress strategically. More fundamentally, the film shows how interrogators rationalise what they do and how they imagine both themselves and their enemies.