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masamune1
topic
08:29:36 AM Sep 15th 2010
I disagree with the idea that this is "the single worst interrogattion technique".

Firstly the victim isn't neccesarily going to be in a rational mood if someone is danging him 500 feet above the ground.

Secondly the trope says that they probably won't kill the victim if they don't give them the info, since that means they don't get the info anyway. But it forgets that if they are'nt going to give them the info anyway, then there is no reason to keep them alive. The victim might worry that they are going to die anyway, but on the other hand they might think that spilling their guts is the only way to survive.

Then there is the fact that the victim might not be alone- he might be with a partner or a group of mooks. If that's the case he has to consider that if he does'nt spill, the interrogator has a bunchof other victims who might, meaning he has less incentive to let him live.

Basically, I think that bit needs to change. If you threaten someones life then many, or most of them will talk.
SeanMurrayI
09:58:18 AM Dec 3rd 2010
edited by SeanMurrayI
An interrogator should never threaten a suspect with death, and that's ALL a High-Altitude Interrogation technique is—a death threat.

If a suspect with malicious intentions is truly dedicated to a cause and is more than willing to die for it, a death threat from an interrogator is a welcome invitation to never reveal any helpful information and just let things be done with.

Other times, a suspect threatened with death from his interrogator might just not see a point to revealing what he knows, rationalizing that no matter what he says his interrogator might just go ahead and kill him, anyway.

Also, to outright follow through on such a threat if a suspect refuses to cooperate means you lose your opportunity to catch a new lead on your case.

Having multiple mooks on hand to interrogate and kill or threaten to kill would have the same drawbacks as just having one.

There are much easier ways to get information from suspects that don't involve threatening to kill anybody.
CounterBlitzkrieg
05:04:38 PM Aug 30th 2011
edited by CounterBlitzkrieg
The morality of it is beside the point, it could still be an effective method. While there are some cons to it, doesn't really make it (to paraphrase the article) the worst interrogation techniques ever!!!!!.
SeanMurrayI
09:25:35 AM Oct 10th 2011
edited by SeanMurrayI
I never even brought up morality, and I don't even have to. This just can't be an effective method. Even if a suspect does give up information when dangled from a high place and threatened to be dropped, there generally isn't much chance that the information is actually reliable or truthful and not just what the interrogator wants to hear.

All in all, there are several good reasons law enforcement or intelligence agencies don't rely solely on information gained through torture or threats of death and why courts of law in nearly all western democracies around the world find such confessions and testimonies inadmissible, and such reasons don't have to boil down to morality.

And, again, there are many much more reliable ways to interrogate a suspect and acquire information from them without ever having to threaten to kill them. In Real Life, an interrogator would never be in a situation where this would be his only way of interrogating somebody, and it's never a completely reliable method in any realistic context.
AaronAAardvark
01:09:11 PM Oct 28th 2011
If you have a suspect in custody that you need answers from, putting him in a situation where you essentially threaten to kill him if he refuses to tell you what you need is just plain ridiculous. If he still refuses to cooperate, how else are you going to get what you need from him? Even if you have no intentions of following through with the death threat inherent to this trope, then why use it as a threat? If the suspect knows that you need his information, then he knows that he's too valuable to be killed. The empty death threat only makes you, as the interrogator, look ridiculous; you'll lose control of the interrogation and the suspect will simply refuse cooperate further.

Realistically, a death threat in an interrogation scenario, such as this one being troped, will most likely lead to the suspect rationalizing that the interrogator dangling him over a ledge would drop him no matter what he says, anyway. That would diminish the suspect's incentive to cooperate or provide truthful information.
masamune1
06:45:30 AM Apr 7th 2012
edited by masamune1
If a suspect knows you need his information, then he knows you won't kill him.

Except that if he refuses to give it to you, then you don't really need him alive. That is the flaw in thinking that this method does not work- the idea isn't that "if you kill me, I can't tell you what I know", its "if you won't tell me what I know, there is no reason to keep you alive". It doesn't really matter if there are more effective means out there- it doesn't mean that this won't or never will work.

And there are too many assumptions that the victim (or for that matter, the interrogator) is going to be rational in such a situation, as well as what being rational means. And there seems to be an underlying assumption in these counter-arguments that the interrogator and the interogatee in these scenarios is always a professional and one who is following through some sort of training (since you are both talking about holdind them in custody or making refernces to intelligence agencies), and has experience. Both could be utter idiots, but it doesn't mean that it won't work. Or either or both could be intelligent educated people, but are desperate and irrational in this scenario.

And yes, multiple people would make a difference, because it addresses the issue of whether or not you can afford to go through with it. You can, because there are always other people to try it on, and going through with it is an incentive for the others to co-operate, plus there is the `Nam method of faking the deaths. And it is counter-productive of me to kill you afterwards, since I might have more questions, I might need to confirm your story, and most importantly if you are alive any future victims will know that I won't kill them if they talk.

And I don't see why I would have to anyway, and if the victim is rational enough to consider that I might kill them anyway, they can be rational enough to consider that it isn't necessarily in my interest to do so.

In point of fact, the whole idea behind this technique is that you don't want them to be rational; you are trying to terrify the rationality out of them. Its about scaring them so bad they aren't thinking straight and they will tell you whatever they know, regardless of whether or not its an idle threat- the point is, if you find yourself in that situation, you don't want to take that chance, and you won't (or shouldn't be) thinking cleary enough to weigh those options up.

As a death threat, its the same principal behind armed robberies- give me what I want, or I'll kill you. And since armed robberies do work- and in point of fact, some stores and companies will fire you if you refused to co-operate-, I don't see why this wouldn't.
SeanMurrayI
06:10:44 AM Apr 25th 2012
edited by SeanMurrayI
"Except that if he refuses to give it to you, then you don't really need him alive."

Except, as you've already outlined in this scenario, you need his information. So, yes, you DO need him alive, or else you've just committed yourself to a lost opportunity to get a lead in a case. Threatening to kill an uncooperative suspect under any realistic circumstances only cements the suspect's will to be uncooperative and gets you nowhere, and following through with the threat when the suspect remains uncooperative still doesn't get you anywhere.

"And I don't see why I would have to anyway, and if the victim is rational enough to consider that I might kill them anyway, they can be rational enough to consider that it isn't necessarily in my interest to do so."

If it isn't in your interest to do so, then why even make a death threat in the first place? Threatening an uncooperative suspect with death, and then not following through with it when the suspect remains uncooperative makes you look even weaker in the suspect's eyes than the death threat would do already.

"In point of fact, the whole idea behind this technique is that you don't want them to be rational; you are trying to terrify the rationality out of them. Its about scaring them so bad they aren't thinking straight and they will tell you whatever they know, regardless of whether or not its an idle threat..."

And if your suspect isn't afraid of death or dying for his cause, then what?
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