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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  Guest on Tue Dec 16, 2014 7:48 am

A study finds that confessions are four times more likely when interrogators adopt a respectful stance toward detainees and build rapport, instead of torturing.

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.


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