Preincident indices of criminality: Facecrime and project hostile intent

Joseph Pugliese*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this essay, I examine the contemporary deployment of somatechnologies concerned with screening and capturing subjects who are identified by these apparatuses in terms of prospective criminals who have not actually committed any offence but who intend to commit a crime. I focus, in the first instance, on the International Association of Chiefs of Police's Training Keys #581: Suicide (Homicide) Bombers: Part I as a document that purports, through a series of preincident indices, to enable law enforcement personnel to identify prospective suicide bombers. I discuss this deployment of biotypological regimes of criminal profiling in the context of the travesty of justice endured by Dr Mohamed Haneef. Drawing on George Orwell's Newspeak term facecrime, in which criminal intent is seen to be inscribed in the face of a suspect individual, I examine the criminalisation of racialised phenotypologies in the case of the wrongful arrest of Dr Haneef. I then proceed critically to examine the US Department of Homeland Security's development of Project Hostile Intent – a multimedia and multimodal somatechnological apparatus that is being developed in order to expose criminal intent in screened subjects. I frame my critical analysis of these technologies within biopolitical frameworks predicated on anatomies of deviance and disciplinary regimes of normativity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)314-330
Number of pages17
JournalGriffith Law Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


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