The GWS, GPW, GC, and US policy expressly
prohibit acts of violence or intimidation, including
physical or mental torture, threats, insults, or exposure
to inhumane treatment as a means of or aid to interrogation.
Such illegal acts are not authorized and will not be
condoned by the US Army. Acts in violation of these
prohibitions are criminal acts punishable under the
UCMJ. If there is doubt as to the legality of a proposed
form of interrogation not specifically authorized in this
manual, the advice of the command judge advocate
should be sought before using the method in question.
Experience indicates that the use of prohibited techniques
is not necessary to gain the cooperation of interrogation
sources. Use of torture and other illegal
methods is a poor technique that yields unreliable
results, may damage subsequent collection efforts, and
can induce the source to say what he thinks the interrogator
wants to hear.
Revelation of use of torture by US personnel will
bring discredit upon the US and its armed forces while
undermining domestic and international support for the
war effort. It also may place US and allied personnel in
enemy hands at a greater risk of abuse by their captors.
Conversely, knowing the enemy has abused US and allied
PWs does not justify using methods of interrogation
specifically prohibited by the GWS, GPW, or GC, and
Examples of physical torture
Infliction of pain through chemicals or bondage
(other than legitimate use of restraints to prevent
Forcing an individual to stand, sit, or kneel in abnormal
positions for prolonged periods of time.
Any form of beating.
Examples of mental torture include --
Coercion is defined as actions designed to unlawfully
induce another to compel an act against one's will. Examples
of coercion include --
Threatening or implying physical or mental torture
to the subject, his family, or others to whom he
Intentionally denying medical assistance or care in
exchange for the information sought or other
Threatening or implying that other rights guaranteed
by the GWS, GPW, or GC will not be
provided unless cooperation is forthcoming.
The fear-up approach is the exploitation of a source's
preexisting fear during the period of capture and interrogation.
The approach works best with young, inexperienced
sources, or sources who exhibit a greater than
normal amount of fear or nervousness. A source's fear
may be justified or unjustified. For example, a source
who has committed a war crime may justifiably fear
prosecution and punishment. By contrast, a source who
has been indoctrinated by enemy propaganda may unjustifiably
fear that he will suffer torture or death in our
hands if captured.
This approach has the greatest potential to violate
the law of war. Great care must be taken to avoid
threatening or coercing a source which is in violation of
the GPW, Article 17.
It is critical the interrogator distinguish what the
source fears in order to exploit that fear. The way in
which the interrogator exploits the source's fear depends on whether the
source's fear is justified or unjustified.
Fear-Up (Harsh). In this approach, the interrogator
behaves in an overpowering manner with a loud and
threatening voice. The interrogator may even feel the
need to throw objects across the room to heighten the
source's implanted feelings of fear. Great care must be
taken when doing this so any actions would not violate
the prohibition on coercion and threats contained in the GPW, Article 17.
This technique is to convince the source he does indeed
have something to fear; that he has no option but
to cooperate. A good interrogator will implant in the
source's mind that the interrogator himself is not the
object to be feared, but is a possible way out of the trap.
Use the confirmation of fear only on sources whose
fear is justified. During this approach, confirm to the
source that he does indeed have a legitimate fear. Then
convince the source that you are the source's best or
only hope in avoiding or mitigating the object of his
fear, such as punishment for his crimes.
You must take great care to avoid promising actions
that are not in your power to grant. For example, if the
source has committed a war crime, inform the source
that the crime has been reported to the appropriate
authorities and that action is pending. Next inform the
source that, if he cooperates and tells the truth, you will
report that he cooperated and told the truth to the appropriate
authorities. You may add that you will also
report his lack of cooperation. You may not promise
that the charges against him will be dismissed because
you have no authority to dismiss the charges.
Fear-Up (Mild). This approach is better suited to the
strong, confident type of interrogator; there is generally
no need to raise the voice or resort to heavy-handed,
For example, capture may be a
result of coincidence -- the soldier was caught on the wrong side of
the border before hostilities actually commenced (he
was armed, he could be a terrorist) -- or as a result of his
actions (he surrendered contrary to his military oath
and is now a traitor to his country, and his forces will
take care of the disciplinary action).
The fear-up (mild) approach must be credible. It
usually involves some logical incentive.
In most cases, a loud voice is not necessary. The actual
fear is increased by helping the source realize the
unpleasant consequences the facts may cause and by
presenting an alternative, which, of course, can be
brought about by answering some simple questions.
The fear-up (harsh) approach is usually a dead end,
and a wise interrogator may want to keep it in reserve as
a trump card. After working to increase the source's
fear, it would be difficult to convince him everything will
be all right if the approach is not successful.
34-52 INTELLIGENCE INTERROGATION -- SEPTEMBER 28, 1992