The question is still open: what is the purpose of Guantanamo Bay? Why torture people whom the government and the interrogators know are innocent? What kind of U.S. empire now extends its filaments throughout the global gulag of interrogation prisons, torture-ships and internment camps? The U.S. state, I argue, has entered the domain of paranoia, for it is only in paranoia that one finds simultaneously both deliriums of omnipotence and forebodings of perpetual threat. I trace the flashpoints of paranoid violence into the labyrinths of torture to explore three crises: the crisis of violence and the visible; the crisis of imperial legitimacy; and what I call ‘the enemy deficit. What is the relation between photography and forgetting? What accounts for the persistent presence of photography in the scene of torture? I critique the ‘pornography-made-them do-it” narrative and explore the torture photographs not for what they reveal, but for what they conceal and what they allow us to forget about the now established but concealed circuits of global imperial violence.