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A police interrogation room in Switzerland.

Interrogation or questioning is interviewing as commonly employed by officers of the police, military, and Intelligence agencies with the goal of extracting a confession or obtaining information. Subjects of interrogation are often the suspects, victims, or witnesses of a crime. Interrogation may involve a diverse array of techniques, ranging from developing a rapport with the subject to outright torture.

Contents

Interrogation techniques

There are multiple techniques employed in interrogation including deception, torture, increasing suggestibility, and the use of mind-altering drugs.

Suggestibility

A person's suggestibility is how willing they are to accept and act on suggestions by others. Interrogators seek to increase a subject's suggestibility. Methods used to increase suggestibility may include moderate sleep deprivation, exposure to constant white noise, and using GABAergic drugs such as sodium amytal or sodium thiopental.

Deception

Deception can form an important part of effective interrogation. In the United States, there is no law or regulation that forbids the interrogator from lying, from making misleading statements or from implying that the interviewee has already been implicated in the crime by someone else.

Good cop/bad cop

Pride-and-ego down

Reid technique

The Reid technique is a trademarked interrogation technique widely used by law enforcement agencies in North America. The technique (which requires interrogators to watch the body language of suspects to detect deceit) has been criticized for being difficult to apply across cultures and eliciting false confessions from innocent persons.[1]

Torture

Interrogations may involve torture. When torture is employed in interrogation, the first thing the interrogator typically does is to speculate on the type of information s/he would like to extract from the subject. This assists the interrogator in creating a benchmark that the subject must meet in order to end the painful or uncomfortable conditions that occur in torture.

The process of using torture to extract this targeted information may have three possible outcomes. The first is that the subject knows nothing and provides made-up information or a false confession in order to cause the torture to stop; the second is that the subject has the information that the interrogator seeks but is able to "hold out" or divert the interrogators attention with false information (which can be misconstrued for the previous outcome mentioned); and the third is that the subject capitulates under torture and offers the interrogator truthful information. Interrogation has yielded all three results. However, much controversy surrounds the process of torture because of both its human rights implications and the fact that it remains possible that an innocent person can be tortured. When the subject of torture doesn't actually have information or is innocent, the subject may provide a false confession. If not, that individual must bear with the procedures with the knowledge that s/he cannot stop it. Many human rights organizations and political figures have spotlighted these facts. They have pointed out that torture carries the possibility of being ineffective in extracting accurate information. However, this is true of all interrogation techniques.

The debate over these advantages and disadvantages of torture continues to this day. Nonetheless, clarity has been made in the torture debate over the differences between instances of torture that are used in different contexts. To this end, Richard Posner, a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, has argued, "If torture is the only means of obtaining the information necessary to prevent the detonation of a nuclear bomb in Times Square, torture should be used—and will be used—to obtain the information. ... no one who doubts that this is the case should be in a position of responsibility."[2][3]

Interrogation around the world

United Kingdom

The term five techniques refers to certain interrogation practices adopted by the Northern Ireland and British governments during Operation Demetrius in the early 1970s. These methods were adopted by the Royal Ulster Constabulary with training and advice regarding their use coming from senior intelligence officials in the United Kingdom Government.

The five techniques were wall-standing, hooding, subjection to noise, deprivation of sleep, and deprivation of food and drink.[4] In 1978, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) trial "Ireland v. the United Kingdom" ruled that the five techniques "did not occasion suffering of the particular intensity and cruelty implied by the word torture ... [but] amounted to a practice of inhuman and degrading treatment", in breach of the European Convention on Human Rights.

USA

Cold War

War On Terror

Torture is now officially banned from use at Guantanamo Bay and all other U.S. camps for illegal combatants. Army regulations state that such treatment during interrogation crosses the boundary between acceptable methods of gaining information and torture.

U.S. Air Force General Jack L. Rives (Deputy Judge Advocate General) advised a U.S. government task force that many of the extreme methods of interrogation would leave service personnel open to legal sanction in the U.S. and foreign countries.

Nazi Germany

Inquisition

Japan

Resistance training

Resistance training is often a prerequisite for some military personnel since prisoners of war (POWs) routinely undergo interrogation.

Movement for increased recording of interrogations in the US

Currently, there is a movement for mandatory electronic recording of all custodial interrogations in the United States. [1] "Electronic Recording" describes the process of recording interrogations from start to finish. This is in contrast to a "taped" or "recorded confession," which typically only includes the final statement of the suspect. "Taped interrogation" is the traditional term for this process; however, as analog is becoming less and less common, statutes and scholars are referring to the process as "electronically recording" interviews or interrogations. Alaska, [2] Illinois, [3] Maine, [4], Minnesota, [5] and Wisconsin [6] are the only states to require taped interrogation. New Jersey’s taping requirement started on January 1, 2006. [7] [8] Massachusetts allows jury instructions that state that the courts prefer taped interrogations. See Commonwealth v. DiGiambattista, 813 N.E.2d 516, 533-34 (Mass. 2004). Commander Neil Nelson of the St. Paul Police Department, an expert in taped interrogation, [9] has described taped interrogation in Minnesota as the "best thing ever rammed down our throats." [10]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Kassin, Saul and Christina Fong: "'I'm Innocent!': Effects of Training on Judgments of Truth and Deception in the Interrogation room", Law and Human Behavior, Vol. 23 No. 5, 1999, page 499-516.
  2. ^ Slackman, Michael (16 May 2004). "What's Wrong With Torturing a Qaeda Higher-Up?". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/05/16/weekinreview/16slac.html. Retrieved 15 November 2009. 
  3. ^ Hensher, Philip (26 June 2007). "Hollywood is helping us learn to love torture". The Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/philip-hensher-hollywood-is-helping-us-learn-to-love-torture-454657.html. Retrieved 15 November 2009. 
  4. ^ Lauterpacht, Elihu; C. J. Greenwood (1980). International Law Reports. Cambridge UP. p. 198. ISBN 9780521464031. http://books.google.com/books?id=PqPo03h_FrIC&pg=PA198. 

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