The Humane Interrogation Technique That Actually Works

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The Humane Interrogation Technique That Actually Works Empty The Humane Interrogation Technique That Actually Works

Post by Guest on Tue Dec 16, 2014 6:03 am

The Senate Intelligence Committee report released this week found that the CIA tortured terror suspects by, among other things, putting hummus in a man's anus, forcing suspects to stand on broken feet, and blasting detainees with songs such as "Rawhide" at loud volumes on repeat.

Many of the interrogators' actions were shocking and cruel, but some might argue (and some have argued) that torture is a necessary tool for extracting information. This, too, is dubious. The Senate investigation revealed that the CIA learned most of the valuable intelligence it gathered during this period through other means.

Military leaders have known about the pointlessness of torture for centuries. A quote by Napoleon, which was widely shared after the report's release, reads, "The barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile. The poor wretches say anything that comes into their mind and what they think the interrogator wishes to know." The French leader wrote that in a letter in 1798.*

Still, there will always be terrorists in the world, and we will always need to pump them for information. So if we don't torture, what should we do instead?

Pretend to be their friends.

A study published this year by Jane Goodman-Delahunty, of Australia's Charles Sturt University, interviewed 34 interrogators from Australia, Indonesia, and Norway who had handled 30 international terrorism suspects, including potential members of the Sri Lankan extremist group Tamil Tigers and the Norwegian-based Islamist group Ansar al Ismal. Delahunty asked the interrogators what strategies they used to gain information and what the outcomes of each interrogation session were.

The winning technique, as BPS Research Digest notes, was immediately clear:

Disclosure was 14 times more likely to occur early in an interrogation when a rapport-building approach was used. Confessions were four times more likely when interrogators struck a neutral and respectful stance. Rates of detainee disclosure were also higher when they were interrogated in comfortable physical settings.
This isn't just theoretical, either. One former U.S. Army interrogator told PRI this week that he was able to break through to an Iraqi insurgent over a shared love of watching the TV show 24 on bootleg DVDs.


http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/12/the-humane-interrogation-technique-that-works-much-better-than-torture/383698/

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The Humane Interrogation Technique That Actually Works Empty Re: The Humane Interrogation Technique That Actually Works

Post by Ben Reilly on Tue Dec 16, 2014 6:13 am

I read about a terrorist interrogator who got actually useful information from a detainee by starting with the things he also didn't like about Western society. Once the detainee was met halfway and realized that Westerners don't think our society is perfect either, they got to talking about how it would be better if conflicts could be settled without resorting to violence. And that got the detainee, who was, of course, still very much imprisoned in a foreign country, to start giving details that (apparently) led to fending off some attacks.

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Post by Original Quill on Tue Dec 16, 2014 4:28 pm

Ben_Reilly wrote:I read about a terrorist interrogator who got actually useful information from a detainee by starting with the things he also didn't like about Western society. Once the detainee was met halfway and realized that Westerners don't think our society is perfect either, they got to talking about how it would be better if conflicts could be settled without resorting to violence. And that got the detainee, who was, of course, still very much imprisoned in a foreign country, to start giving details that (apparently) led to fending off some attacks.

The overwhelming conclusion by intelligence experts is that to gain information from an adversary you have to build a bridge.  Like physical mobility, you can't trade (ideas or otherwise) without a passage by which to pass things back and forth.  It's so simple that it is applicable in a variety of ways, including information.

Your idea, Ben, is known as 'common ground'.  And you don't get to common ground until you cross a bridge.  So you see the importance of the bridge.

Torture is precisely the opposite.  It doesn't build bridges, it destroys them.  But in most cases--present day as well as historically--torture is really revenge, under cover of trying to gain intelligence.  The minions may think they are accomplishing something, but the administrators know very well (or with introspection, they could find out) why they set up a torture system.

Revenge is a much understudied human motive.  It is a lot more important to the psyche than we might think.  It is not for nothing that in ancient days they had people drawn and quartered; in fact, the ancients might have understood this better than do we.  They, at least, understood the public effect of posting amputated heads on spears and displaying them on London Bridge, or elsewhere.  A dead person answers no questions.  So far from intelligence gathering, those people knew that such displays generated feelings of patriotism and passions for the (whatever) cause.  Such things were valuable for advertising a political cause (strength or perhaps, god marches with us), and recruitment as well as devotion of armies.

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Post by Ben Reilly on Tue Dec 16, 2014 5:16 pm

Absolutely true, you have to get both parties past that barrier where they dehumanize the other; most people have a hard time with political violence if they can't think of the enemy as sub-human.

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