Welcome To Information Retrieval!


Here is a little factoid about me.  I used to be a Enemy Prisoner of War Interrogator.  
Although now I see that has been renamed Human Intelligence
Collector.  That sounds even cooler.  Kind of like Michael
Palin in Brazil

We’ve been getting some bad press lately.   The damn dirty
hippies (or heroic crusading journalists, depending on your point of
view) at Slate
have pulled out all the stops on writing a comprehensive screed on
current interrogation techniques.  It is as in-depth as anything
I’ve seen about this subject.

Here is the important thing to realize from this article.  The
young men and women who we (meaning the U.S. Army, and by extension,
you the taxpayer) have trained to perform this important and stressful
job are trained using Field Manual 34-52
Intelligence Interrogation.  That book is the interrogator’s
bible.  Everything you can and can’t do is outlined in its
pages.    If you read the Slate article, it is pretty
clear that all of the interrogation techniques contained therein are
perfectly legal and humane.  They do not violate anyone’s human
rights or the Geneva Convention. 

However, where we are getting into trouble are the techniques that the
interrogators aren’t trained on, but are implementing using DOD memos and CIA KUBARK
manuals.   These little documents skate on the thin ice of
effective information gathering, public perception and common decency.

Let me tell you how you have been through the same interrogation
techniques as many of these prisoners have endured, and you haven’t
even realized it.  Have you ever bought a new or used car from a
dealership?  Congrats, you are a victim of interrogation
techniques.  Yep, think about it.  They need to get
information (social security number, checking info) from you. 
They dangle the promise of something you want, usually at a price you
aren’t willing to pay.   How many times have you left the
dealership feeling like you got screwed?  You signed something you
really didn’twant to and now your new car purchase seems tainted
somehow.  Well did they offer you soft drinks, water or coffee to
soften you up?  Interrogation technique.  Did they place you
in a small room or cubicle while you dickered about price and
options?  You got it, interrogation technique.  Did they keep
you there for what seemed like forever?  In fact you started to
lose all perception of time after a while, didn’t
you?    Before you know it you are signing your life
away and writing a down payment check for all the money you have in
order to drive off in a vehicle that loses 25% of value as soon as you
leave the lot.  That is how an interrogation works, provide
someone with the incentive to do something or say something they
normally wouldn’t under normal circumstances.

Sure, it makes good TV when the cops on NYPD Blue or the classic Homicide  get
the perp in the box and play mind games with them until they
break.  Sure, that makes for better TV than six hours of watching
someone get financially sodomized  buying a car.  But the
psychological bag of tricks are about the same.

In my view, these sketchy interrogation techniques are
counter-productive.  Sure we get to vent a little frustration at
these stupid cocksuckers who blow up themselves and others in
skyscrapers and cafes.  But are we winning the war by
showing that brutality is the best idea we have for fighting
them?   Ask yourself this, if someone “tortured” or even
humiliated me,  just how helpful am I going to be to them? 
Or would I, in attempting to preserve some dignity, try to fuck them
over with bad info?  What would you do?

Our interrogation professionals need to get a little more creative in
dealing with  religously zealous, brutal terrorists.  
Maybe galvanizing their hatred for our ideals and actions isn’t the
best way to accomplish that mission.


8 Responses to “Welcome To Information Retrieval!”

  1. sgazzetti Says:

    There’s been a lot of attention on the interrogators and how they operate, or fail to, lately. The Atlantic Monthly has also been writing extensively on this topic, since well before Abu Ghraib broke. Your position is strongly supported in an interesting article entitled “Truth Extraction” (note the subtle difference between truth and intelligence…). This is about a marine major’s report that entirely corroborates your point vis a vis the used car technique. Check it out: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200506/budiansky Give me P&E Up over Mutt & Jeff any day.

  2. sgazzetti Says:

    Addendum to the above comment: the orginal marine report on how to get ’em to talk can be read or downloaded in PDF at:http://mysite.verizon.net/vze6kt7j/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/aamitcsm.pdfAnd I can’t help adding, “‘i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c’…”Snif.

  3. Sarcastro Says:

    My Beige Deity Defies Science.

  4. sgazzetti Says:

    Neither does my leisured foreign sheik. The ellipsis… represents exceptions to the rule.Snif.

  5. Perspiring Minds Says:

    “Our interrogation professionals need to get a little more creative in dealing with religously zealous, brutal terrorists. Maybe galvanizing their hatred for our ideals and actions isn’t the best way to accomplish that mission.”Ok, what would you suggest? How do you make a turncoat (assuming that there is information to be had) out of the zealot? I guess I am really asking how would you un-rot a watermelon effectively?

  6. Sarcastro Says:

    Good question. The argument could be made that some of these prisoners we have could be classified as “religious cult members”. They appear to act in a way that is more reminiscent of a follower of, say, Jim Jones, Aum Shinryko, or the Scientologists. Our current policy of having MPs act like high school bullies and pee on Korans while using their best Edward G. Robinson voice to say “Where’s your prophet Mohammed now.” doesn’t seem to be working. So if rather than using techniques that are geared towards soldiers, we could use some of the techniques used by cults and cult deprogrammers. Or we could dust off the old MKULTRA stuff and take a look at chemical interrogation. Dose some of these guys with Ecstasy for a day or two and see what happens.Read for further info:http://www.rotten.com/library/conspiracy/mind-control/

  7. Perspiring Minds Says:

    Well that kinda follows my suggestion for wholesale lots of Arab street. One fifty five gallon barrel of Dr. Hoffman’s mixture number 9 nebulized into a prevailing wind near an already frenzied crowd. After the munchies and the giggling gets over with, and the introspection begins, then the high powered lasers intersect in the clouds and form the 900 foot holographic film of Big Mo throwing away his sword and kissing Jesu and a buncha jews, and then kissing an American flag, and then telling everyone in Arabic that he was just joshing about all that other stuff. You will have to call Servipro after that one. Also,should anyone asks about it, the answer is,”Oh yeah, he already told us that.”

  8. Sarcastro Says:

    That sounds like an excellent idea. Get them high as the space station and run them through the “Hell House” type ordeal with Big Mo telling them that the whole 72 virgins promise is a steaming load of crap at the end. Go to http://www.religioustolerance.org/hallo_he.htm for some info on how the christians scare people into believing in Jesus.

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