Tuesday, March 01, 2005

"Fear Up" Interrogation Technique 101

I was doing research on Interrogation techniques and came across this message on another blog.

Couple of things I find absolutely abhorrent with this. The writer rejects humiliation as used in Abu Ghraib not on ethical grounds but efficiency grounds. And he regards the following technique as AMUSING. Wonder if he tells his kids about it, probably.... with some pride.

"Years ago, when I was being trained in interrogation techniques, I remember the "Mutt and Jeff", the "Fear Up", the "Fear Down", the "We Know All", and the "We Know Nothing", but I don't recall ever being told about a "Humiliation Up" technique. Prisoners don't "break" when they're humiliated, they just fold up and get even more silent. Shame has a silencing effect on people, and silence isn't golden during interrogation, obviously.

One thing which is legal and works, though, and is somewhat amusing, is, you have several prisoners in a room, bound hand and foot, and gagged but not blindfolded. You keep an extra gag in your sleeve and create a veiled partition where you can see the shadow/silhouette of people on the other side, but not the detail.

You take one random prisoner into the veiled area making sure the others see this. In the veiled area, you make it look like you're removing the prisoner's gag, pulling the extra one out of your sleeve. You aim a pistol parallel to a line of fire toward their head but such that it will miss the head when fired, demand that they talk, and when they don't (because obviously they can't), fire. When you do, push that prisoner to the ground, tripping him, making it look like he fell from being shot in the head.

Because he's gagged and bound, any struggling or what-not will appear to be the writhing of a dead man from a head shot. Quickly drag the first prisoner away, and bring the second one into the veiled area, being sure to pick out the one prisoner who looks the MOST frightened by the bluff-shot event. (A check of urine stains often helps in this selection.) You then repeat the pantomime process, but instead of pretending you really do remove his gag. He might or might not talk--if he does, you leverage the information as quickly as possible to get more information in further interrogations, passing what you learn up to analysts as quickly as possible.

If he doesn't talk, you say "this time you will be spared but you will be asked this question later, and next time you might or might not be spared." Go on down the line of prisoners, tending to bluff with the ones that look tougher, and "spare" the ones that look weaker or more scared. That would be an example of the "Fear Up" approach; not 100% textbook, but a field expedient application of what's textbook. Some troops used to call it the "haunted house" technique. Clever illusions used to produce fear.


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