Study: interrogative torture is unexpectedly harsh and ineffective

Anthony Freda Art

Madison Ruppert, Contributor
Activist Post

Despite the many arguments that so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” are justified and necessary in the quest to protect Americans from the terrorist bogeymen, a new study found that when torture is used in the quest to gain information from suspects it ends up being unexpectedly harsh and ineffective.

Interrogative torture is one of the many things which our government attempts to justify by claiming it is only done to keep us safe from the amorphous and ever-present threat of terrorism. They use similar justifications to claim that they have the authority to assassinate American citizens without charge or trial.

In reality, terrorism is not a threat in any sense of the word. Indeed our government would be keeping people much safer if they poured funds into automobile safety research or cancer research, as both cause many more deaths than terrorism does.

I would love to see how John C. Yoo, the author of the so-called “torture memos” for the George W. Bush administration, would attempt to debunk this study in order to give credence to his sadistic beliefs.

The author of the study, John W. Schiemann, is a political scientist at Farleigh Dickinson University and the title of the study is “Interrogational Torture : Or How Good Guys Get Bad Information with Ugly Methods,” which was originally published in Political Research Quarterly.

By employing game theory and creating a model to assess the effectiveness (or lack of effectiveness) of interrogational torture, Schiemann compared the outcomes created by his model to the standards of success as outlined by proponents of torture.

He compared the reliability of the information gathered and how frequent and severe the torture used to garner the intelligence was.

Schiemann pointed out that some people who advocate torture claim that sometimes it is the only way we can gain the information required to save lives. Meanwhile, many people like myself believe that torture cannot and should not be justified under any circumstances.

He found that under realistic circumstances, torture or “enhanced interrogation” tends to produce information which is either ambiguous or false far more often than it produces clear and reliable information.

Clear and reliable information is often referred to as “actionable intelligence” and many have pointed out that torture does not produce such information because people tend to say whatever they think their interrogator wants in order to get the pain to stop.

“The use of torture makes it possible to extract both real and false confessions and no ability by the state to distinguish the two,” Schiemann wrote.

The use of torture also requires the entity authorizing the torture to make some disturbing calculations.

Schiemann found that in order for torture to generate even the smallest amount of actionable intelligence the state must make the supposedly “rational” calculation to actually “torture innocent detainees for telling the truth in order to maintain torture as a threat against those who withhold information.”

In other words, if torture is deemed acceptable and will actually be used in practice, the government has to realize that they will be torturing innocent people for telling the truth.

Not only will they have to realize such a horrific reality, they will also have to accept it and consider it par for the course.

Any nation that can accept and legitimize torture, especially of completely innocent people who are telling the truth, is a nation plagued by a complete and total degradation of the most basic sense of morality and ethical action.

Hopefully the United States will not continue down this road, but it is hard to believe that such a thing is going to happen any time soon when we are just now realizing that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) taught their agents that they are allowed to bend or suspend the law.

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This article first appeared at End the Lie.

Madison Ruppert is the Editor and Owner-Operator of the alternative news and analysis database End The Lie and has no affiliation with any NGO, political party, economic school, or other organization/cause. He is available for podcast and radio interviews. Madison also now has his own radio show on Orion Talk Radio from 8 pm — 10 pm Pacific, which you can find HERE.  If you have questions, comments, or corrections feel free to contact him at
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