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Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique / Real Life

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  • Averted when Yvonne Ridley was captured by the Taliban. When she was captured by the Taliban, she was expecting to be tortured. Instead, she was treated well, fed adequately, referred to as "guest" and "sister," and even allowed to have a key to her cell. She converted to Islam after being freed. Then subverted as this only happened because she was a journalist and the Taliban wanted better publicity.
  • Whenever Police Brutality is present, this happens. One example is a number of incidents involving the Chicago Police Department in February of 1982 when three CPD police officers were killed within the course of a week in the first part of the month. According to this article about Jon Burge, a detective convicted for police brutality charges, "initial interrogation procedures allegedly included shooting pets, handcuffing questioning subjects to stationary objects for day-long time periods, and holding guns to the heads of minors."
    • That's not all. This comes from further down the article: The men "used methods of torture that left few marks. They were accused of slamming telephone books on top of suspect’s heads. There were also three separate electrical devices that Burge and his detectives were accused of using: a cattle prod, a hand cranked device, and a violet wand. They allegedly used an old-style hand cranked telephone which generated electricity, and attach wires to the suspect’s genitals or face. According to veteran sergeant D. J. Lewis, this was a method of torture common in the Korean War, and usually results in a confession." "The violet wand was said to be regularly placed either on the anus, into the rectum or against the victim's exposed genitals. They also used stun guns and adapted hair dryers. Burge and officers under his command also allegedly engaged in mock executions, by putting plastic bags over heads, cigarette burnings and severe beatings.
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  • According the David Simon in Homicide: A Year On The Killing Streets (inspiration for the TV show), this is almost always the case for suspected cop-killers, who will at the very least be beaten if they give themselves up. He even notes that some of the older detectives consider this too lenient; in the olden days, they would simply be executed out of hand if caught on the street. One even says that, after a cop-killing suspect confessed, he was beaten so badly he had to go to hospital. When the local NAACP chapter sent a photographer to picture his injuries, the BPD had the man arrested on a trespassing charge.
  • For many personnel in the British Army, a dreaded component of training is the Escape And Evasion exercise, where the trainee is expected to attempt to evade detection for as long as possible while others - up to and including Ghurka riflemen - seek to locate and capture him. When inevitably captured, the trainee is hooded, handcuffed, thrown into a lorry, and trucked to an interrogation centre where he is subjected to intense interrogation - sleep deprivation, un-natural bodily positions, low-level violence and psychological torture are all used, over a period of no less than forty-eight hours and often seventy-two. Giving away anything but your name, rank and serial number is a fail, and the hapless subject has to do it all over again. This is routine for SAS/SBS prospective recruits, as well as officer candidates, key personnel in Intelligence, RAF pilots, and others. Many SAS memoirs dwell on this part of the training process, which is truly horrible but at least gives a taste of what may happen if captured. What is very carefully not said is that the British Army must by default also be training others in giving low-level torture. This may substantiate allegations made by Irish republican prisoners, and latterly by detainees in Iraq and Afghanistan.
  • Averted regarding various forms of "enhanced interrogation" techniques on detainees between 2001 and 2006 following the September 11 attacks. Unclassified portions of The Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency's Detention and Interrogation Program, commonly known as "the CIA Torture Report", detailed actions by CIA officials, and shortcomings of the detention project (amounting to systemic mistreatment of prisoners). These portions, including key findings and an executive summary of the full report, were released on December 9, 2014.
    • The first key finding? "The CIA's use of its enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees."
      • However, this hasn't stopped Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia from invoking this trope when a Canadian judge remarked "Thankfully, security agencies in all our countries do not subscribe to the mantra ‘What would Jack Bauer do?’"
  • During the Republican presidential primary of 2008, the only candidate not to endorse this (and some actually name-dropped Jack Bauer) was John McCain, who actually had been subjected to it during The Vietnam War. As evidence, he gave the story that, when tortured to give up the names of his fellow squadron members, McCain named players of the Green Bay Packers until his tormenters stopped, never knowing they had been played.
  • In cryptography, this is euphemistically called "rubber-hose cryptanalysis". The human user is invariably the weakest link in any security system, so someone who wants your secrets bad enough to break the law in the first place may find it simplest to just beat you with a rubber hose until you tell them what they want to hear.
    • Russians have a more colorful term for it, reflecting the country's equally colorful past: thermorectal cryptanalysis, which was coined because criminals of the Rough Nineties occasionally extracted information with a soldering iron. Though to be fair, mostly they didn't bother and used an ordinary clothesiron applied to a bare stomach. Torture marks were not an issue during that time, especially since that method allegedly gave results long before the iron got warm.


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