Witches and Terrorists

I was recently reading this blog post about how they used to torture women suspected of being witches until they "confessed" as such. I thought there was an interesting similarity to some techniques used hundreds of years ago against witches and some of the techniques we heard about in the news used against terror suspects:

"Having taken the suspected Witch, shee is placed in the middle of a room upon a stool, or Table, crosse legg'd, or in some other uneasie posture, to which if she submits not, she is then bound with cords, there is she watcht & kept without meat or sleep for the space of 24. hours."

I thought it was interesting that if you substituted "witch" for "terrorist", you would have one of the techniques used to get terrorists to "confess" by putting them in uncomfortable positions for a long period of time.

"in the long run there perhaps nothing was so effective as the tormentum insomniae, the torture of artificial sleeplessness which has been revived in our day. Even those who were stout enough to resist the estrapade would yield to the resolute application of this slower but more certain form of torture, and confess themselves to be witches. (The Crisis of the Seventeenth Century, 121)"

Here again "confession" is obtained from the witch (or terrorist) through sleep deprivation, a technique reportedly used against suspected terrorists.

There is no place in our society for coercive interrogation techniques. Contemporary interrogation techniques are much more effective at obtaining the truth from people, eliciting information and extracting confessions, and they are of course, more ethical. 

Guilty Knowledge and fMRI Brain Scans

I just read an article regarding FMRI and guilty knowledge which claimed that in a research study they successfully had people "suppress" guilty knowledge about a mock crime they committed and it went undetected while undergoing a subsequent FMRI brain scan. They apparently were able to train some people to intentionally suppress some of their memory specific to the mock crime, and thus, they did not get detected during the FMRI. I don't know how this will translate into the "real world" with real crimes, real emotions and real memories, but it is interesting none the less.

I have posted information in the past and had many discussions withe people about how people are looking for the panacea of lie detection, and many thought it was in FMRI brain scans. Unfortunately some countries currently use these within their criminal justice systems, and I believe it was India that was the first country to convict someone based primarily on “failing” a brain scan. This research casts further doubt about their reliability.

The most interesting thing about this to me is that it really highlights the importance of the human factor; the face-to-face interview or interrogation by a skilled practitioner. Regardless of the technology, there will always be a need for competent interviewers and interrogators to not only detect possible deception, but to effectively interact with the individual, develop rapport, ask appropriately targeted questions, elicit information and evaluate responses, and ultimately arrive at the truth. Even if a machine may (or may NOT) be able to tell if someone is lying, but it is the skill of the interviewer that will finally extract the TRUTH.

S.A.I.D. Secure-Assess-Identify-Develop

Over the years as a Detective and as a Sergeant within the Major Crime Squad for the Connecticut State Police I have used techniques of investigative statement analysis to quickly and accurately reach the truth in the investigations I conducted, as well as assisting other investigators and agencies do the same. The techniques I used and also taught to other investigators morphed into my training program; "Investigative Statement Analysis; Truth Through what they S.A.I.D.

This program teaches the investigators the processes needed to accurately SECURE a written statement or oral narrative from an individual in the best manner to ensure accurate, reliable information as well as to set a proper foundation for further analysis and assessment of credibility. We then teach investigators to ASSESS the overall statement for key indicators that may be consistent with either truthfulness or possible deception. Our students are then taught to IDENTIFY specific and articulable indicators within the individuals language, whether it is written or spoken, which may be either indicative of credibility or deception, or areas within their account that are likely to contain missing information or suppressed knowledge, or activities that are sensitive or hot buttons for the individual to talk about. We then teach them specific interviewing strategies that will DEVELOP and enhance the initial information or written statement. This process identifies the areas in a persons account that are most likely to be deceptive, either through fabrication or omission, and increases the cognitive load of the individual through the focused interviewing process...on the very areas most sensitive to them! This process will also assist truthful individuals as well through the focused questioning process, and will help to develop additional detail and information. This process, seeking the Truth through what they S.A.I.D. is a highly effective method to reach the TRUTH from people.  

So, I finally took the time to register and get my process trademarked...S.A.I.D. Secure, Assess, Identify Develop! Now it is an official trademark/service mark process of LIES, LLC Linguistic Interrogation Expert Services.

If you or your agency are interested in training in this process, contact me through my website http://www.truthsleuth.com which has the contact information for me via email, phone, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.


Tactical Interviewing & Detecting Deception Training

Looking for a few more officers or detectives for the "Tactical Interviewing & Detecting Deception" training at the Paxton Police Department in Massachusetts. Here is a little more info on it:


If your department or agency wants to send people, they can do so without processing the payment...they can send officers for the training and I will bill them later with 30 days net for payment so they can defer the costs...I know how difficult it is to get good training for police officers and I hope this may help!  


Our primary purpose is to enhance the investigator's ability to develop rapport, facilitate communication, extract more accurate information, detect deception and obtain the TRUTH from every investigative inquiry.


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Phone: 860-628-1880
Fax: 814-284-3979
E-Mail: lies@truthsleuth.com