December 14, 2014

HAD SENATE DEMOCRATS WANTED TO DO SOMETHING USEFUL...:

Rapport-building interrogation is more effective than torture (British Psychological Society Research Journal)

Past research (pdf) suggests that using torture as a way to extract information or confessions from terror suspects isn't just unethical, it's also ineffective. The advantage of rapport-building interrogation strategies (including respect, friendliness and empathy towards suspects) over more coercive techniques is highlighted once again in a new study that involved interviews with law enforcement interrogators and detainees.

The research involved 34 interrogators (1 woman) from several international jurisdictions including Australia, Indonesia and Norway. And there were 30 international detainees (1 woman), most of whom had been held on suspicion of terrorism, including people suspected of involvement with the Tamil Tigers or the Islamist group Ansar al Ismal based in Norway. One in five of the detainees reported being subjected to practices that constitute torture. Note, these were separate groups - the interrogators had not dealt professionally with the participating detainees.

The research team led by Jane Goodman-Delahunty asked the interrogators and detainees to recall a specific interrogation session, to describe the interrogation practices used, and the outcomes in terms of information shared, cooperation and confessions. The results were striking - 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.


...they could have studied whether it is quicker to breakdown terrorists using torture and then rapport-building or only rapport-building.  


In the terrific Vice interview of "The Architect" of the interrogation program, James Mitchell suggests that he put in place a structure that asumes the former and scoffs at the very notion that the information sought would be revealed during the torture.  Meanwhile, the video of the journalist being water-boarded shows that he couldn't very well say much then, but he expresses his strong desire not to undergo the experience again.  If water-boarding makes them pliant more quickly then we should use it.  If it simply prolongs the process we shouldn't.  The point, after all, is to obtain actionable intelligence in the most timely fashion.  Mr. Mitchell would support whichever works fastest.



Posted by at December 14, 2014 9:14 AM
  

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