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Wounded Ronin
Recently, I found an article on the internet written by a journalist who volunteered to be waterboarded so he could write about it. I suppose this might be Captain Obvious territory, but torture is really hard to resist.

In the SR3 BBB it's mentioned somewhere that Willpower is used by player characters to resist torture. Seeing as torture is super hard to resist, though, what kind of TNs would you use?

The problem, as I see it, is that someone who is easily intimidated would have WIL 1, whereas someone who is super determined has WIL 6. Maybe is someone is exceptionally fanatical they might have, say, WIL 12. The thing is, once the TNs start getting up there, it actually doesn't make very much of a difference whether you have 2 dice or 6 dice or 12 dice. The question is, should characters with a high WIL be able to generally resist torture? Should it just be a matter of time requiring more complex rules? Also, is all torture created equal? In the article waterboarding actually sounds very fierce, and I'd expect that it would probably make someone divulge information faster than, say, lashings. Would resisting lashings have a TN of 8, whereas waterboarding might have a TN of 20? I think this is one of those issues that's pretty hard to come up with abstract measures for. I mean, it's a no brainer that having someone hold you up while someone else repeatedly punches you in the stomach is a whole lot easier to resist than something like waterboarding, but what if we had to make seperate TNs for being in an iron maiden, for being waterboarded, for being tased, for being broken on the rack, for being broken on the wheel, etc.?

I guess the other side of the coin is if player characters torture a NPC, how does the GM figure out how much info, if any, the NPC divulges?



Original article follows:

http://www.sociocide.com/forums/showthread.php?t=50294

QUOTE
Here is the most chilling way I can find of stating the matter. Until recently, “waterboarding? was something that Americans did to other Americans. It was inflicted, and endured, by those members of the Special Forces who underwent the advanced form of training known as sere (Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape). In these harsh exercises, brave men and women were introduced to the sorts of barbarism that they might expect to meet at the hands of a lawless foe who disregarded the Geneva Conventions. But it was something that Americans were being trained to resist, not to inflict.

Exploring this narrow but deep distinction, on a gorgeous day last May I found myself deep in the hill country of western North Carolina, preparing to be surprised by a team of extremely hardened veterans who had confronted their country’s enemies in highly arduous terrain all over the world. They knew about everything from unarmed combat to enhanced interrogation and, in exchange for anonymity, were going to show me as nearly as possible what real waterboarding might be like.

View a video of Hitchens’s waterboarding experience.

It goes without saying that I knew I could stop the process at any time, and that when it was all over I would be released into happy daylight rather than returned to a darkened cell. But it’s been well said that cowards die many times before their deaths, and it was difficult for me to completely forget the clause in the contract of indemnification that I had signed. This document (written by one who knew) stated revealingly:

“Water boarding? is a potentially dangerous activity in which the participant can receive serious and permanent (physical, emotional and psychological) injuries and even death, including injuries and death due to the respiratory and neurological systems of the body.

As the agreement went on to say, there would be safeguards provided “during the ‘water boarding’ process, however, these measures may fail and even if they work properly they may not prevent Hitchens from experiencing serious injury or death.?

On the night before the encounter I got to sleep with what I thought was creditable ease, but woke early and knew at once that I wasn’t going back to any sort of doze or snooze. The first specialist I had approached with the scheme had asked my age on the telephone and when told what it was (I am 59) had laughed out loud and told me to forget it. Waterboarding is for Green Berets in training, or wiry young jihadists whose teeth can bite through the gristle of an old goat. It’s not for wheezing, paunchy scribblers. For my current “handlers? I had had to produce a doctor’s certificate assuring them that I did not have asthma, but I wondered whether I should tell them about the 15,000 cigarettes I had inhaled every year for the last several decades. I was feeling apprehensive, in other words, and beginning to wish I hadn’t given myself so long to think about it.

I have to be opaque about exactly where I was later that day, but there came a moment when, sitting on a porch outside a remote house at the end of a winding country road, I was very gently yet firmly grabbed from behind, pulled to my feet, pinioned by my wrists (which were then cuffed to a belt), and cut off from the sunlight by having a black hood pulled over my face. I was then turned around a few times, I presume to assist in disorienting me, and led over some crunchy gravel into a darkened room. Well, mainly darkened: there were some oddly spaced bright lights that came as pinpoints through my hood. And some weird music assaulted my ears. (I’m no judge of these things, but I wouldn’t have expected former Special Forces types to be so fond of New Age techno-disco.) The outside world seemed very suddenly very distant indeed.

Arms already lost to me, I wasn’t able to flail as I was pushed onto a sloping board and positioned with my head lower than my heart. (That’s the main point: the angle can be slight or steep.) Then my legs were lashed together so that the board and I were one single and trussed unit. Not to bore you with my phobias, but if I don’t have at least two pillows I wake up with acid reflux and mild sleep apnea, so even a merely supine position makes me uneasy. And, to tell you something I had been keeping from myself as well as from my new experimental friends, I do have a fear of drowning that comes from a bad childhood moment on the Isle of Wight, when I got out of my depth. As a boy reading the climactic torture scene of 1984, where what is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world, I realize that somewhere in my version of that hideous chamber comes the moment when the wave washes over me. Not that that makes me special: I don’t know anyone who likes the idea of drowning. As mammals we may have originated in the ocean, but water has many ways of reminding us that when we are in it we are out of our element. In brief, when it comes to breathing, give me good old air every time.

You may have read by now the official lie about this treatment, which is that it “simulates? the feeling of drowning. This is not the case. You feel that you are drowning because you are drowning—or, rather, being drowned, albeit slowly and under controlled conditions and at the mercy (or otherwise) of those who are applying the pressure. The “board? is the instrument, not the method. You are not being boarded. You are being watered. This was very rapidly brought home to me when, on top of the hood, which still admitted a few flashes of random and worrying strobe light to my vision, three layers of enveloping towel were added. In this pregnant darkness, head downward, I waited for a while until I abruptly felt a slow cascade of water going up my nose. Determined to resist if only for the honor of my navy ancestors who had so often been in peril on the sea, I held my breath for a while and then had to exhale and—as you might expect—inhale in turn. The inhalation brought the damp cloths tight against my nostrils, as if a huge, wet paw had been suddenly and annihilatingly clamped over my face. Unable to determine whether I was breathing in or out, and flooded more with sheer panic than with mere water, I triggered the pre-arranged signal and felt the unbelievable relief of being pulled upright and having the soaking and stifling layers pulled off me. I find I don’t want to tell you how little time I lasted.

This is because I had read that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, invariably referred to as the “mastermind? of the atrocities of September 11, 2001, had impressed his interrogators by holding out for upwards of two minutes before cracking. (By the way, this story is not confirmed. My North Carolina friends jeered at it. “Hell,? said one, “from what I heard they only washed his damn face before he babbled.?) But, hell, I thought in my turn, no Hitchens is going to do worse than that. Well, O.K., I admit I didn’t outdo him. And so then I said, with slightly more bravado than was justified, that I’d like to try it one more time. There was a paramedic present who checked my racing pulse and warned me about adrenaline rush. An interval was ordered, and then I felt the mask come down again. Steeling myself to remember what it had been like last time, and to learn from the previous panic attack, I fought down the first, and some of the second, wave of nausea and terror but soon found that I was an abject prisoner of my gag reflex. The interrogators would hardly have had time to ask me any questions, and I knew that I would quite readily have agreed to supply any answer. I still feel ashamed when I think about it. Also, in case it’s of interest, I have since woken up trying to push the bedcovers off my face, and if I do anything that makes me short of breath I find myself clawing at the air with a horrible sensation of smothering and claustrophobia. No doubt this will pass. As if detecting my misery and shame, one of my interrogators comfortingly said, “Any time is a long time when you’re breathing water.? I could have hugged him for saying so, and just then I was hit with a ghastly sense of the sadomasochistic dimension that underlies the relationship between the torturer and the tortured. I apply the Abraham Lincoln test for moral casuistry: “If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong.? Well, then, if waterboarding does not constitute torture, then there is no such thing as torture.
Fix-it
opposed test. torturee's willpower vs torturee's body.
Wounded Ronin
QUOTE (Fix-it @ Jul 7 2008, 06:36 PM) *
opposed test. torturee's willpower vs torturee's body.


The obvious problem is that it makes trolls very easy to torture.
Fix-it
no, it makes trolls with low willpower, and people who min/max easy to torture.

and I don't see how that's a problem, really.
Stahlseele
in SR3, there was a table for social combat & modifiers and torture was resolved as a social tests . . which meant, that people with high charisma were better at torturing and better at rsisting torture some times, as far as i remember . . but you got bonus for being large and obviously cybered and toting guns and the such, so trolls actually made the best torturers around . . and that's not even taking into account psychological warfare like troll-goatse or something like that *shudders*
Carny
In SR4 there is also a Social Modifiers table (p. 122 BBB) where you get +2 to intimidation contests by torturing someone. In my own case, if you had somebody tied down and had some nasty torture implements, I'd probably give you a +3 for being comparatively physically imposing, and +2 more for being armed. Torture is also a listed specialty of intimidation.



Aaron
If it was me behind the Big Black Screen, I'd make it an Opposed Intimidation + Charisma Test against the target's Charisma + Willpower (a Composure Test, if I remember correctly). Bonuses, of course, for scary implements of pain, and penalties to the target if (or when) he is wounded, of course.

Also, success would mean the target would tell you what he thinks you want to hear, not necessarily the truth.
Dr Funfrock
I'm with Aaron on this one.
If you want your game to be a little grittier, add in a composure test for the torturer first, threshold of about 3 should do it. If they fail, they don't have the stomach to actually torture someone, and can't go through with it. If they have a Torture specialisation, let them add that. If they pass the roll, they can make the intimidation test, opposed by the target's composure check as usual, with massive bonuses for inflicting torture.
Glyph
Strictly by RAW, it is an opposed test pitting Intimidation plus Charisma vs. Intimidation plus Willpower, with the torturer getting a +2 bonus from the infliction of pain.
hyzmarca
The best way to resist torture is to like it. Asphyxiation fetishists would have a particularly easy time withstanding suffocation tortures, and those who sufficiently eroticize drowning to enjoy it would be immune to waterboarding.

Pain assisted interrogation, like any form of interrogation, can't easily be represented by a simple test. It is a complex battle of wits and endurance between interrogator and interragatee. There are many ways to avoid divulging the truth. Lying through one's teeth doesn't require great willpower or great body and it is a perfect way to avoid divulging useful information if done well and believably. How can an interrogator sort lie from truth? This takes skill, not skill in the infliction of pain but skill to find holes in elaborate webs of deceit.

A skilled interrogator knows the difference between what he wants to hear and the truth and knows only to seek easily verifiable information when he can't be sure.


A torture session should be just an opposed roll. It should be a whole role playing session with many opposed roles as the interrogator and subject play a cat-and-mouse game of mutual lie-building and long-term endurance with chemicals and pain and drowsiness and just plain being bored of hurting the guy give modifiers.
Glyph
QUOTE (hyzmarca @ Jul 7 2008, 07:06 PM) *
A torture session should be just an opposed roll. It should be a whole role playing session with many opposed roles as the interrogator and subject play a cat-and-mouse game of mutual lie-building and long-term endurance with chemicals and pain and drowsiness and jst plain being bored of hurting the guy give modifiers.


GM: "We're calling this session 'Intersections in Real Time'."

PC: frown.gif
VagabondStar
I think we should try and analyze what Torture actually is and how it is different from Interrogation.

First, we shall define our terms using a dictionary (because I'm lazy)

Torture - 1. the act of inflicting excruciating pain, as punishment or revenge, as a means of getting a confession or information, or for sheer cruelty.
2. to bring great physical or mental pain upon (another)

Interrogation - 1. formal systematic questioning
2. the application of psychological pressure coupled with in depth questioning for the purpose of eliciting true information


An interrogation may contain some torture

But torture can also occur for its own sake

To treat a torture situation as an opposed test is missing the point, I think. Torture can involve water boarding, or it can involve beating the shit out of someone, it can also include sleep deprivation, food deprivation, being exposed to the elements for a long period of time, being forced to stand up for days (try it if you don't think that it would suck), being constantly degraded, being raped, and any other conceivable method of inflicting physical or mental anguish. You can't resist something like that. There's nothing to resist. It will only hurt you.



Some worthy reading here on the subject: The CIA KUBARK manual which can be found in PDF Form here: http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB27/01-01.htm,
as well as FM34-52 the army field manual on Interrogation, here http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/pdf...n_sept-1992.pdf
Flatliner
QUOTE
To treat a torture situation as an opposed test is missing the point, I think. Torture can involve water boarding, or it can involve beating the shit out of someone, it can also include sleep deprivation, food deprivation, being exposed to the elements for a long period of time, being forced to stand up for days (try it if you don't think that it would suck), being constantly degraded, being raped, and any other conceivable method of inflicting physical or mental anguish. You can't resist something like that. There's nothing to resist. It will only hurt you.


It gets worse in the Sixth World. Even ignoring magic (which changes everything), there's no resisting the possibilities of "medical" torture in 2050+

A doc could install 'ware in a victim and just force feelings, memories, even just forcing a victim to think by sparking up the right parts of the brain. It could be done without surgery (or trodes wouldn't work for anything). Of course, this isn't interrogation. It's really only useful for psychologically destroying a person.

There isn't "resisting" something like that. A test (probably something like a Composure test) would only determine how long until a victim broke down. Whether a few hours or a few weeks, the result is the same.

A somewhat similar technique could be possible for interrogation, but the mountain of junk and "real" but useless data would have to analyzed and sorted. There's no resisting that either. It's on the docs and the analysts to find the right thing.
Dumori
I'm think that the force slotting of extrem BLTs good be a good form of torture, even more so if the victim thinks its real life. The plus no obvious signs that this guy has been think that hes been stabbed burnt and such. It does have weaknesses such as the fact the victim upon learning this would be harder to tortue again as he'd think its still make believe.
Blade
In SR4, I think I'd use an extended test for torture, with a threshold equals to the target's Charisma+Willpower. This tells you when the target breaks but even if successful, it doesn't mean he'll tell the truth.
Stahlseele
torture should be between the torturer and the GM . .
Player1:*takes GM to the side*"let's just say the NPC tells me exactly what i want to know, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, with everything he thinks might be important . . and i won't tell you what i intent to do to him okay?"
yes, i did that once . . yes, i got less karma that run, but it was well worth the look on the GM's face *g*
of course this only works if you are just the biggest ass in the whole group and the GM has one heck of an imagination ^^
Aaron
QUOTE (hyzmarca @ Jul 7 2008, 08:06 PM) *
The best way to resist torture is to like it. Asphyxiation fetishists would have a particularly easy time withstanding suffocation tortures, and those who sufficiently eroticize drowning to enjoy it would be immune to waterboarding.

Er ... I'm not so sure about that. Fetishists don't get off because they're having pain inflicted upon them, they get off because they're having pain inflicted upon them by someone they trust. They'd still have to frame it properly in their minds in order "be immune" to the torture, so we're back to a Willpower Test of some sort.
Drogos
There are some fetishests who are that extreme. They are exceedingly rare and have serious mental disorders associated with their fetish, but they do exist. However, with enough skill one can push any fetishist past their comfort zone and thus break them.

Sam - "No one can hold out indefinately. I spent some time in interrogation, once."
Larry - "Did they make it hard?"
Sam - "They don't make it easy."
Larry - "How did they finally get to you?"
Sam - "They gave me a Grasshopper."
Larry - "What's a Grasshopper?"
Sam - "Lessee, two parts gin, one part brandy, one part Creme de Menthe..."
Irian
Torture isn't that easy... Imho, there are many aspects:

1. Beating someone is easy - killing him, too. One trick of torture is to prevent that the victim dies or goes unconcious.

2. How do you know the other person tells the truth? The most obvious way to escape torture is to lie...

3. Success also depends on the topic... A fanatical christ can perhaps resist torture very long before commiting an act of blasphemy - but will not wait long to admit something he's proud of.

4. Torture normaly is a part of interrogation, so I would still roll Intimidation (Interrogation), but modify the roll for the torture used.

So, I would probably....

- let the interrogator describe the torture, eventually rolling for success if needed (beating someone with a stick doesn't need a roll - trying to hit specific nerves does)

- if the torture is risky, the roll will also decide if the victim survives and/or stays awake.

- roll contest of skills interrogation vs. will + something to decide if it was a success. The roll is modified by the torture. Of course the victim can try to bluff instead.
nezumi
As an aside, I believe SERE training is open to far more than just 'special forces'. My uncle, a Navy Officer, underwent it during his training (I believe also SERE). I'm fairly sure if he saw the article above he'd call the reporter a wus, but he generally doesn't seem to have a lot of respect for reporters.
Chrysalis
You awake in a dark room, your head is covered in a heavy black bag. Hands hold you down as they fasten your hands and feet to the chair. Finally the black bag is removed from your head. Men in balaclavas apply trodes to your body wiping down parts of it in rubbing alcohol.

In front of you is a card table with three buttons and a polygraph. There is a men with a clipboard and pen sitting next to you. He is wearing a suit and a black balaclava.

There are three men in business suits and balaclavas sitting across the tent from you infront of a table. You can hear music filtering in from somewhere.

"You have been detained in accordance to this extraordinary tribunal. You will hear these instructions once. You will answer a question promptly and truthfully. If you do not comply you will be shocked. Each shock will increase in length and duration. You will..."

"Fuc... Ah fuck!" You feel as your body is on fire as your chest muscles contract.

"You will comply to these instructions. The basis of your release is based on your compliance in answering the following..."

"Fuck... Ahhh!" You feel as your body is on fire as your abdomen muscles contract all at once yoru face jarring against your knees.

"The following 60 questions. Let us begin."

The man looks at the clipboard dispassionately. "Name."
Chrysalis
QUOTE (Chrysalis @ Jul 8 2008, 05:04 PM) *
You awake in a dark room, your head is covered in a heavy black bag. Hands hold you down as they fasten your hands and feet to the chair. Finally the black bag is removed from your head. Men in balaclavas apply trodes to your body wiping down parts of it in rubbing alcohol.

In front of you is a card table with three buttons and a polygraph. There is a men with a clipboard and pen sitting next to you. He is wearing a suit and a black balaclava.

There are three men in business suits and balaclavas sitting across the tent from you infront of a table. You can hear music filtering in from somewhere.

"You have been detained in accordance to this extraordinary tribunal. You will hear these instructions once. You will answer a question promptly and truthfully. If you do not comply you will be shocked. Each shock will increase in length and duration. You will..."

"Fuc... Ah fuck!" You feel as your body is on fire as your chest muscles contract.

"You will comply to these instructions. The basis of your release is based on your compliance in answering the following..."

"Fuck... Ahhh!" You feel as your body is on fire as your abdomen muscles contract all at once your face jarring against your knees.

"The following 60 questions. Let us begin."

The man looks at the clipboard dispassionately. "Name."


Analysis

One must first differentiate between inducing pain for its own sake (torture) and that of using pain or its threat to extract information (interrogation).

The above scene is an example of an interrogation. In this case the subject, you, has been abducted and is now under interrogation.

The subject is bound without clothes with the ears, nipples, and genitalia wired to an electrical device. The device on the table has three switches and a knob in clear sight to express duration and strength of the electrical shocks.

The instructions are written down simple sentences to safeguard that the subject, you, have a full understanding. The questionnaire is composed of 79 individual questions of which 20-25 questions are control questions. All questions should be expressed in an even tone without emotion. All non-compliance must be answered with a consistent response.

The interrogator should take breaks when necessary or when the control group (consisting of senior interrogator, physician and polygraphist) monitoring the interrogation deem it necessary. Breaks should be between 1 minute and 7 minutes. It is important that the time if breaks is varied. It is also recommended that interrogators alternate.

The polygraph serves two purposes one is that it is an instrument of control and secondly it should be used in conjunction with the initial 15 questions to confirm whether the subject is lying or not. It also serves as an indicator of control the interrogator has over the subject.

There should be no identifying features to the room and near darkness is recommended. A recommendation for making the room featureless is the use of a large tent. Foreign or pop music playing at a near audible level is recommended in removing any ambient sounds.

The problematics of interrogation is the prevention of the subject from regressing too far. Certain subjects will break under the example above, others through more severe punishment or rewards. Thus it is important that an interrogator makes a psychological evaluation and conducts an interrogation with the appropriate methodology.

Again it is important that an interrogator retain a dispassionate eye towards the subject and that the interrogator himself is monitored by an external party. It is important for thruthful information to be forthcoming in an interrogation that the interrogator is both fair and consistent with both punishments and rewards.
Wounded Ronin
That music bit is awesome. For some reason I have the feeling that if I were being tortured I couldn't resist commenting on the music as I often use humor in situations where I'm very nervous, especially if it were foreign music or pop music. Of course they'd probably zap me for my trouble, but I guess that would be part of the ironic cosmic humor.

"My 8th grade school bus driver used to listen to that every day so it's actually causing me more pain than the electricity."

I can imagine myself saying that very quickly so as to be able to reach the punchline before being shocked again.
ornot
My personal take on it would be to make the willpower (+charisma if necessary) be the threshold for the torturer or interrogator. Of course, using that method the victim will break sooner or later, but that seems fairly appropriate.

The answer? Don't get caught.

If it's the PCs torturing an NPC I'd throw in some misinformation, and require some hefty sense motive checks to realise where he is lying.
nezumi
QUOTE (Chrysalis @ Jul 8 2008, 10:41 AM) *
The problematics of interrogation is the prevention of the subject from regressing too far. Certain subjects will break under the example above, others through more severe punishment or rewards. Thus it is important that an interrogator makes a psychological evaluation and conducts an interrogation with the appropriate methodology.


What do you mean 'regressing'? What happens if he regresses?

Also, if you don't mind my asking, what's your background in the subject? Does it relate to your professional work? Have you read a lot about it? Are you a big brother?
Blade
The real problem with physical torture is that if you want an information, that's because you don't know it. And if you don't know it, you won't be able to tell if the victim is telling the truth, even when he is.
The victim knows that. When he breaks his aim isn't to tell you the truth but to make the torture stop. According to that, he won't tell you the truth if it's too hard to believe.

Mental torture (as shown in 1984) is much more efficient, but it takes longer.

Anyway, in Shadowrun, torture isn't very useful. You've got mind manipulation spells, drugs, BTLs, Pornomancers...
Faelan
Orbital Mind Control Lasers... grinbig.gif
Blade
Well... we all love mind control rocket.
Irian
QUOTE (Chrysalis @ Jul 8 2008, 04:04 PM) *
In front of you is a card table with three buttons and a polygraph. There is a men with a clipboard and pen sitting next to you. He is wearing a suit and a black balaclava.

There are three men in business suits and balaclavas sitting across the tent from you infront of a table. You can hear music filtering in from somewhere.

"You have been detained in accordance to this extraordinary tribunal. You will hear these instructions once. You will answer a question promptly and truthfully. If you do not comply you will be shocked. Each shock will increase in length and duration. You will..."


Repeatedly shocking someone seems to be a good way to make the Polygraph even more unreliable. But why use a polygraph? Use a mage. The spells are so powerfull, that you don't need "Sense Truth", just mind probe him.
Chrysalis
QUOTE (nezumi @ Jul 8 2008, 06:43 PM) *
What do you mean 'regressing'? What happens if he regresses?

Also, if you don't mind my asking, what's your background in the subject? Does it relate to your professional work? Have you read a lot about it? Are you a big brother?


All coercive techniques are designed to induce regression. As Hinkle notes in "The Physiological State of the Interrogation Subject as it Affects Brain Function"(7), the result of external pressures of sufficient intensity is the loss of those defenses most recently acquired by civilized man: "... the capacity to carry out the highest creative activities, to meet new, challenging, and complex situations, to deal with trying interpersonal relations, and to cope with repeated frustrations. Relatively small degrees of homeostatic derangement, fatigue, pain, sleep loss, or anxiety may impair these functions." As a result, "most people who are exposed to coercive procedures will talk and usually reveal some information that they might not have revealed otherwise."

One subjective reaction often evoked by coercion is a feeling of guilt. Meltzer observes, "In some lengthy interrogations, the interrogator may, by virtue of his role as the sole supplier of satisfaction and punishment, assume the stature and importance of a parental figure in the prisoner's feeling and thinking. Although there may be intense hatred for the interrogator, it is not unusual for warm feelings also to develop. This ambivalence is the basis for guilt reactions, and if the interrogator nourishes these feelings, the guilt may be strong enough to influence the prisoner's behavior.... Guilt makes compliance more likely...."(7).

Farber says that the response to coercion typically contains "... at least three important elements: debility, dependency, and dread." Prisoners "... have reduced viability, are helplessly dependent on their captors for the satisfaction of their many basic needs, and experience the emotional and motivational reactions of intense fear and anxiety.... Among the [American] POW's pressured by the Chinese Communists, the DDD syndrome in its full-blown form constituted a state of discomfort that was well-nigh intolerable." (11). If the debility-dependency-dread state is unduly prolonged, however, the arrestee may sink into a defensive apathy from which it is hard to arouse him.

Psychologists and others who write about physical or psychological duress frequently object that under sufficient pressure subjects usually yield but that their ability to recall and communicate information accurately is as impaired as the will to resist. This pragmatic objection has somewhat the same validity for a counterintelligence interrogation as for any other. But there is one significant difference. Confession is a necessary prelude to the CI interrogation of a hitherto unresponsive or concealing source.

And the use of coercive techniques will rarely or never confuse an interrogatee so completely that he does not know whether his own confession is true or false. He does not need full mastery of all his powers of resistance and discrimination to know whether he is a spy or not. Only subjects who have reached a point where they are under delusions are likely to make false confessions that they believe.

Once a true confession is obtained, the classic cautions apply. The pressures are lifted, at least enough so that the subject can provide counterintelligence information as accurately as possible. In fact, the relief granted the subject at this time fits neatly into the interrogation plan. He is told that the changed treatment is a reward for truthfulness and an evidence that friendly handling will continue as long as he cooperates.

The profound moral objection to applying duress past the point of irreversible psychological damage has been stated. Judging the validity of other ethical arguments about coercion exceeds the scope of this paper. What is fully clear, however, is that controlled coercive manipulation of an interrogatee may impair his ability to make fine distinctions but will not alter his ability to answer correctly such gross questions as "Are you a Soviet agent? What is your assignment now? Who is your present case officer?"

When an interrogator senses that the subject's resistance is wavering, that his desire to yield is growing stronger than his wish to continue his resistance, the time has come to provide him with the acceptable rationalization: a face-saving reason or excuse for compliance. Novice interrogators may be tempted to seize upon the initial yielding triumphantly and to personalize the victory. Such a temptation must be rejected immediately. An interrogation is not a game played by two people, one to become the winner and the other the loser.

It is simply a method of obtaining correct and useful information. Therefore the interrogator should intensify the subject's desire to cease struggling by showing him how he can do so without seeming to abandon principle, self-protection, or other initial causes of resistance. If, instead of providing the right rationalization at the right time, the interrogator seizes gloatingly upon the subject's wavering, opposition will stiffen again.

The following are the principal coercive techniques of interrogation: arrest, detention, deprivation of sensory stimuli through solitary confinement or similar methods, threats and fear, debility, pain, heightened suggestibility and hypnosis, narcosis, and induced regression. This section also discusses the detection of malingering by interrogatees and the provision of appropriate rationalizations for capitulating and cooperating.

KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation Document, Chapter IX, The Coercive Counterintelligence Interrogation Of Resistant Sources


nezumi
Fascinating. So from the other side, what do you do to resist interrogation? It sounds like you can only rely on your willpower for so long, and so for long term resistance your goal is to somehow codify and make permanent your resolve in something you can't be easily swayed from (I note the bit about saving face and such at the end - as long as you remember why you're resisting, it will at minimum increase your resistance and reduce the validity of any data) or intentionally pursue that repression to get to the 'defensive apathy' stage as quickly as possible.
Stahlseele
switch off pain-receptors through cyber/bio, breath through internal air from bio/cyber . . switch off any sensory input that you do not specifically need to be active and that content gets filtered as much as possible throgh internal barriers?
imagine how frustrating it would be for someone who has to torture the 90% steel Troll who can simply shut off anything remotely uncomfortable to him O.o
Chrysalis
The best defence in anti-interrogation techniques is to understand the techniques as practised by the interrogator. The best anti-interrogation is to SAY NOTHING. This cannot be over stressed: when interrogated SAY NOTHING.

However, we all have our breaking point. Interrogators have the ability to stay refreshed and alert while the subject, you, will not be given these advantages. Furthermore counter-interrogation techniques give the subject expectations to the type of coercion expected.

The IRA green handbook II from 1977 gives us the following excerpt: "the first batch of interrogators will enter the cell usually insulting, shouting and beating the prisoner. Volunteers should understand that this first batch of interrogators usually fingerprint, ask name, address etc. At this stage a little is known about the prisoner and therefore the task of the interrogator is to identify him positively. Again the prisoner must bear in mind that everything he says will be recorded and compared with existing information in the possession of the police. The purpose of abusing the prisoner at this stage is called the `softening up period`, usually one or more will act in a particularly nasty manner. This interrogation may last not more than one hour and is only a preliminary investigation. The purpose of using heavy-handed techniques and sheer hostility is an opening for the following batch of interrogators, whom we have seen act in a particularly sympathetic manner."


With this knowledge the interrogator can change the situation, again the initial purpose is not to be violent but to disorient the subject in such a way that they become more forthcoming with their knowledge. A good example of this was recounted by a colleague of mine involving U.S. Army P.O.W.s in Vietnam in 1967 by North Vietnamese Intelligence. After an initial interview several soldiers were invited to round table talks about the reasons behind the Vietnam war. Their interrogator who followed the conversation expressed his initial curiosity in the reasons why the United States was involved in Vietnam. Through these discussions that became ever more open and frank the Vietnamese were able to glean important information on domestic policy in the United States as well as attitudes and perceptions of soldiers stationed in Vietnam.

Wounded Ronin
QUOTE (Chrysalis @ Jul 8 2008, 03:01 PM) *
With this knowledge the interrogator can change the situation, again the initial purpose is not to be violent but to disorient the subject in such a way that they become more forthcoming with their knowledge. A good example of this was recounted by a colleague of mine involving U.S. Army P.O.W.s in Vietnam in 1967 by North Vietnamese Intelligence. After an initial interview several soldiers were invited to round table talks about the reasons behind the Vietnam war. Their interrogator who followed the conversation expressed his initial curiosity in the reasons why the United States was involved in Vietnam. Through these discussions that became ever more open and frank the Vietnamese were able to glean important information on domestic policy in the United States as well as attitudes and perceptions of soldiers stationed in Vietnam.


That sounds pretty clever, but not all North Vietnamese interrogators were so slick. I remember John McCain's story about giving the names of some football players as the names of his commanding officers, which since there was no internet the North Vietnamese had no way to confirm or deny.
hyzmarca
This is why you should never ask questions that you can't easily confirm.
nezumi
Let me aks something else;

How does the success rate of interrogation change over time? Assumedly there is a portion of the population who will provide any requested information at the first threat of danger (which is why you beat them up first, THEN ask questions, otherwise you might miss out on your fun). Past that, what percentage of people will talk within the first hour? The first day? How long should the 'average' interrogation take, and is there a huge difference between trained versus just very willful people? What is the 'peak', the point of the interrogation where most people break down?
Moon-Hawk
QUOTE (nezumi @ Jul 9 2008, 02:03 PM) *
Let me aks something else;

How does the success rate of interrogation change over time? Assumedly there is a portion of the population who will provide any requested information at the first threat of danger (which is why you beat them up first, THEN ask questions, otherwise you might miss out on your fun). Past that, what percentage of people will talk within the first hour? The first day? How long should the 'average' interrogation take, and is there a huge difference between trained versus just very willful people? What is the 'peak', the point of the interrogation where most people break down?

You know, something tells me my Institutional Review Board wouldn't approve that experiment.
hyzmarca
QUOTE (Moon-Hawk @ Jul 9 2008, 03:05 PM) *
You know, something tells me my Institutional Review Board wouldn't approve that experiment.



The guys in suits with no creativity or vision always mock and scoff at real science. That's why real scientists build their torture devices in the basements of secluded cabins and put spikes on the road so that travelers whom no one will miss will be forced to stop. Mwa ha ha ha ha.
nezumi
After how many years of police, militaries, militias, terrorists and wives being assholes to those under their control, I simply assumed we had, at minimum, some anecdotal information on what time frame we're talking about with a proper interrogation.
Apathy
From what I've heard, there might actually be multiple different sorts of 'breaking points' each with different effects.
  • The first being where the subject loses focus and resolve so that he is more easily 'tricked' into revealing information.
  • The second where the subject will say anything (i.e. whatever he thinks the interogators want to hear, regardless of whether it's the truth or not) just to make it stop.
  • The third where the subject begins to lose their sense of identity and priorities, and begins to curry favor with their captors (modified Stockholm syndrome).

I don't know if it's true or not, but it makes sense to me that it might be. I might model this as a series of extended tests using the interrogator's skill + charisma with a threshhold equal to the subject's willpower, modified by injuries. The three tests would have intervals of hours, days, and weeks, respectively.

Seem reasonable?
Stahlseele
i'd asvise against that . . if you ever get a character to go the whole nine yards . . in this case, the three steps up there, he'd effectively have his very own double agent suicide bomber . .
Apathy
I think it only continues to work while you continue the treatment, though. Once out from under direct control of his or her captors, your former captor would start getting saving throws to re-assert their own values.

In a way, it also could add to the general paranoia of the team.
"Joe is my long-time buddy (Level 4 contact) - I trust him implicitly. But Lonestar caught him two weeks ago, and just now released him. Can I trust him, or has he been comprimised? If he stayed tough, and is still loyal, I can't look suspicious or he might feel betrayed and turn against me. But if he was turned, he might be wearing a wire. Better to play it safe and shoot him while his back is turned..."
nezumi
The other thing to keep in mind is, as Chrysalis mentioned before, you need multiple people to control the environment and deny the person sleep while you yourself get regular rest. It sounds like, at MINIMUM, you'd want a team of 6 (one handler and one interrogator for each 8-hour shift) for this to be reasonably successful. Below that, the odds of being able to make a proper double agent drop precipitously.

In other words, it would be a tool for NPC groups, but denied to most PC groups.

However, the first two criteria can be relatively easily met by a smaller group, even though they will ONLY provide information, not loyalty.
hyzmarca
QUOTE (Apathy @ Jul 9 2008, 05:16 PM) *
I think it only continues to work while you continue the treatment, though. Once out from under direct control of his or her captors, your former captor would start getting saving throws to re-assert their own values.

In a way, it also could add to the general paranoia of the team.
"Joe is my long-time buddy (Level 4 contact) - I trust him implicitly. But Lonestar caught him two weeks ago, and just now released him. Can I trust him, or has he been comprimised? If he stayed tough, and is still loyal, I can't look suspicious or he might feel betrayed and turn against me. But if he was turned, he might be wearing a wire. Better to play it safe and shoot him while his back is turned..."


Screw torture to create paranoia. LS could just PAB the guy into believing that he's always been an undercover cop. Always assume that someone who has been captured has been reprogramed. Also, watch out for him in case he suddenly gets an irresistible urge to knit in the middle of combat.
Wounded Ronin
I guess that a lot of this torture stuff goes out the window when we see how magical mind control and BTL chips are so much more efficacious. Maybe the next time I GM Shadowrun I'll get rid of all the mind control spells as I've long felt that they were too powerful anyway...
nezumi
I know it's strange to quote Red Dwarf on a Shadowrun board, but one thing they did that was very interesting is, during a trial of the main characters, they basically knocked them out with a hugely powerful sedative in the glue on envelopes, then wired them into VR tanks and 'released' them to gather information in preparation for their legal defense. This let the prosecution watch as they 'hid the loot' or blamed each other for stuff.

I wonder how hard it would be to make a BTL chip like that.
Heath Robinson
QUOTE (nezumi @ Jul 10 2008, 06:04 PM) *
wired them into VR tanks and 'released' them to gather information in preparation for their legal defense. This let the prosecution watch as they 'hid the loot' or blamed each other for stuff.

I wonder how hard it would be to make a BTL chip like that.

This is mentioned in passing in the Lone Star sourcebook, from what I recall. It's not a BTL, though. BTLs are just recordings played back with a higher gain, the system has to react to the choices of the suspect.
masterofm
I just thought in SR if you are captured you will be cracked open like an egg, maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow but soon.

That or just mind probed. I am thinking that most people will just bore into your head and find out what they want to know weather you like it or not.
Chrysalis
Let me try to asnwer your questions point by point.

QUOTE (nezumi @ Jul 9 2008, 10:03 PM) *
Let me aks something else;

How does the success rate of interrogation change over time?


Like in all social interactions, the first ten seconds are the most important. At this point the subject has made a decision how to react to the interrogator. Five minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour and so on is a good rule of thumb. However it will take time to gain the trust of the subject and build a rapport before interrogation may start. This is why it is important that the interrogator know as much about the subject beforehand.

The majority of subjects break within the first two hours.

Often enough the subject needs to validate why to tell the interrogator what he wants to do. While the interrogator is interested in the what, the subject needs to first tell the why.

QUOTE
Assumedly there is a portion of the population who will provide any requested information at the first threat of danger (which is why you beat them up first, THEN ask questions, otherwise you might miss out on your fun). Past that, what percentage of people will talk within the first hour? The first day?


To continue on from my previous sentence. I should warn that every interrogation should be approached as if you have the entire time in the world. Agitation and impatience will otherwise be transmitted to the subject and the subject will become non-compliant. Bruce Willis' types of wringing out a confession in five minutes do not work, will damage any trust there maybe between subject and interrogator and the information gained branded as intelligence is not only worthless but often dangerously false. That taint is brought into any further investigations.

Furthermore if legality is an issue then confessions such as these the defence can brand as being given under duress or coerced which means that any information given in such an interrogation is invalid and often leads to an acquittal. CSI Miami's Horatio Cane is a good example of poor interrogation procedure.

QUOTE
How long should the 'average' interrogation take, and is there a huge difference between trained versus just very willful people? What is the 'peak', the point of the interrogation where most people break down?


Four hours is the longest an interrogation should take without breaks. If the purpose is to wear down the subject then it can obviously continue longer with changes of interrogators every two hours. An interrogation should last as long as the interrogator can remain alert.

Ideology actually gives a greater advantage than training. Training prepares the subject to the mental and physical ordeal of interrogation. Ideology gives the fuel to withstand. While I cannot say if intelligence has much to do with interrogation, I find that the more intelligent the individual the more likely it is to get them to talk.

Peak period for an interrogation to break is an hour, by then the interrogator and senior interrogator will have a psychological evaluation of the subject and his willingness.

Also a rule of thumb is that the use of an interpreter will double the time of an interrogation.
nezumi
Wow, this is great stuff.

If I can ask, what needs to happen in the first 10 seconds?
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