Friday, December 12, 2014


A take on interrogation.  There is much news about enhanced interrogation and the Senate committee investigation has taken five years.  I am not familiar with torture but I have conducted a few interrogations.  Interrogation is the strong word for an interview.  Police officers do this all the time and during an interview it can rapidly change to a custodial interrogation.  When it becomes accusatory we are obligated to remind the person of their right to an attorney before they divulge information.

This has little to do with terrorist interrogation except for the fact of the psychology behind the questioning and what makes a terrorist submit to the truth.  In criminal work it is very simple the culprit is an opportunist or has low intelligence.  They calculate the benefit of  cooperation with what the police already know versus the consequences.  They have either been caught “red handed” or are escaping the inevitable.  Often because of their intelligence the police manipulate them into confession or collusion giving up information.

This really has little to do with a zealot ideologue willing to give their life for their cause.  This is why terrorist interrogators need to be specially trained and given latitude if information is to be gained.  I understand that in water-boarding the method is to ask a series of three questions, two of which the interrogator already knows the answer.  If the interrogatee does not answer the two correctly he is deprived of oxygen with a towel over their face being soaked with water.  Terrorists are declined on a board and have the sensation of drowning.  The terrorist is prepared by several days of sleep  deprivation, changes in diet and their usual atmosphere of stability.    The effects are dramatic and regardless of what anyone says it could be very effective.  The human body wards off further threats and adapts to what prevents the harm.  In this case the truth, and there is great fear of lies rooted in survival.  It can be associated with the “Stockholm  Syndrome” collaboration through hopelessness.  Long after water-boarding the interrogatee will tell the truth knowing it can be gained anyway.  This is deemed by some to be tortuous and most Marines would call it boot camp.  A system of disorientation.

This procedure is applied to many aspects of military training to prepare people for the possibility of capture by the enemy.  It does not have any lasting physical effects if applied correctly.  The mental aspects probably are lifelong, I really don’t care about a terrorist and a lifetime of therapy if it saves American lives.

To exacerbate the subject is to throw American lives under the bus, apparently the politicians do not care?  Nor are they interested in preventing further terrorism.  They will tout that the information gained is incorrect, my response would be the system was not applied correctly.  They will say the information can be gained in another manner, lots of luck.   Police can lie and deceive, playing good cop and bad cop and still usually it is not enough. We have to offer an incentive or disparity to gain confession.   If we are dealing with someone willing to give their life for the cause it is silly to believe we can convert them to our ideology.  It is very unintelligent to think otherwise and I would not stake the fate of thousands of Americans on a whim or theory. 

This has even gone further and it is not discussed.  Under this administration terrorism has been criminalized.  We take terrorists into custody and advise them of their right to an attorney.  This is true of foreign nationals taken into custody on foreign soil as I understand it.  Yet, we kill Americans on foreign soil using drone strikes without a trial verdict.  That is another opinion in the future, our media gives us many convoluted theories that are expressed without the benefit of knowledge or experience.

Peter Risatti

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