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bear by san

March 2017



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bear by san

hey mister give me two give me two cos any two can play

Via links chased from criminalxminds, a really interesting interview with TV producer Adam Fierro (The Shield), intelligence expert Col. Stuart Herrington, and human rights advocate David Danzig, as they discuss interrogation techniques, the popular media, and what really works and what doesn't when it comes to information-gathering.

This is in relation to a new media award presented for the first time this year, the Human Rights First Award for Excellence in Television, which is to be given to a show that "depicts torture and interrogation in a nuanced, realistic fashion."

Col. Herrington's comments are particularly revealing:

Terri Gross: You keep saying that professionals know better than to use these kinds of torture techniques. Are you implying that amateurs who really didn't know better who were responsible for putting these techniques into play?

Col. Herrington: I'll do better than implying. I'll say it.

Also, there's a certain amount of discussion, re The Shield, in acknowledging that harsh interrogation techniques are excellent at getting people to tell you what they think you want to hear.

(Yes, I found out about this because Criminal Minds is among the nominees for the first award*. Others nominees include Lost, The Closer, and The Shield.)

I have a bad draft of "Knock on Coffins." Woo.

Today is devoted to cleaning the apartment, doing laundry, and eventually going for a hike somewhere in Simsbury.

*If you are curious as to why, you might check out the s2 episodes "Lessons Learned" (which is at its base a parody of 24, and as such does include the ticking-time-bomb fallacy (also discussed in the above interview)) and "Revelations" (in which we get to experience realistic (as opposed to glamorized) torture and interrogation from the point of view of a sympathetic victim.)

ETA: The Criminal Minds ep won the award, BTW.


what's the link to the actual interview? (I assume it's NPR, because it's Terri Gross)

My bad.

Fixed now.
I'll say it too. (and yes, I have some background with which to say it.) Pros don't use torture. That's amateur hour stuff.

The problem is, of course, that if you hurt somebody, they will tell you what they think you want to hear to make you stop hurting them.

Anybody who has ever *been* tortured can tell you that. :-P
Interesting stuff re: torture. I had this discussion on another message board (the topic was "if a terrorist has knowledge of a bomb, would you torture them to get it") and even though there is a lot of research evidence to show that torture is a useless method of extracting information, there was still an overwhelming desire to see it used.

That sadistic desire to inflict pain on the "deserving" is scarily prevalent and it was interesting how, despite being presented with the evidence AGAINST torture as an interrogation method, people still clung to it as an option.

Zimbardo's new book The Lucifer Effect sounds like an interesting exploration of this.

(hope you have/had a good hike)
I can say I won't use torture in that (inane) hypothetical.

The plain fact is, even were there a "buried baby/ticking bomb/imminent diaster of your choosing" about to happen, torture won't get the info.

> Col. Herrington: I'll do better than implying. I'll say it.

Rock *on*. Note that pecuniam, who is a professional interrogator in the armed forces, has been saying this ever since Abu Ghraib.
Yes, Terry has.

And so has every other military professional and/or interrogator or translator I know, including sksperry and ginmar, who qualify as People Who Ought To Know.
Can't listen to the audio at work, so my observations are probably redundant, but I'm sharing them anyway.

My first thought on this was that it strikes me as a very limited and confused view of how the mind works that people think information is like a drug-filled condom or secret pill that the enemy has swallowed and has lodged inside of them, and you can use force to get it back out of them, as if torture were a form of Heimlich maneuver or a laxative or beating the dust out of a rug to see the pattern.

Then I wondered at what point the dust becomes part of the rug anyway, and wanted to talk to someone in art conservation about it.
Yeah. I think you are exactly right.
The recent revelations about what a young child was willing to put with in the form of torture just to stay alive was chilling to me. I guess you do say and do anything that it takes to not die.
Oh, and I was thrilled that my favorite writer, after you of course, Andrew Wilder accepted the award for CM.
Bweeee. I love that episode the best -- it cracked me right the hell up when I figured out what they were doing. (I used to watch a lot of House and as such have been subjected to more trailers for 24 than I really needed to see. Hate. Haaaaaate.)
*g* the X-Files parody ep also makes me incredibly happy, though there's five terrible minutes at the end of it....

One of the reasons I love CM, because they solve things without using violence.

I wish more TV shows would focus on that...
And when they do resort to violence, it has *consequences.*
Here's the problem with the ticking time bomb scenario: trust. If you are torturing me to get me to "vital information" I have to trust you that you will stop after I give it to you--otherwise I have no motivation to tell you the truth.

So, as the person being tortured I want to "break" and give you false information. Either you stop long enough to verify its false--or you keep on torturing breaking trust and showing that no matter what I do the pain doesn't stop.

Either way I have "won" because of the time limit.

And personally I think its vile and reprehensible that we are even having these conversations in the context of the US government.

Which is why professional interrogators do things like build relationships.

Also, ticking time bombs only happen on TV.

Re: on hiking in Simsboring

I have! We were just up there in September!
Col. Herrington: I'll do better than implying. I'll say it.

*stands up and cheers*

Now if only more people listened to Terry Gross than watched 24.

Colonel Herrington? You just became one of my heroes.
Thanks for the links, that's really interesting.

Also, I've started to get hooked on Criminal Minds since reading your posts on the show. I tried it when it first aired and something didn't click with me, but gave it another try when it came back a couple of months ago, and now I can follow what's going on. So now there are only two 'cop shows' that I'll watch--City Homicide, because it's local, and Criminal Minds.

We're very behind here in Australia--they just aired, I think it was 'No Way Out' on Monday night. But I don't mind spoilers at all...

Yeah, it's--one has to hit the right ep, and see the patterns. They're getting more obvious about it now they have an established audience.

It's better the second time, anyway, and I swear I have never seen a TV show that made me say that before.