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A word of caution: If the debility-dependency-dread state is unduly prolonged, the subject may sink
into a defensive apathy from which it is hard to arouse him. It is advisable to have a psychologist
available whenever regression is induced. This illustrates why this coercive techniques may produce
Objections to Coercion
A. There is a profound moral objection to applying duress beyond the point of irreversible
psychological damage such as occurs during brainwashing. Brainwashing involves the conditioning
of a subject's "stimulus-response bond" through the use of these same techniques, but the objective
of brainwashing is directed primarily towards the subject's acceptance and adoption of beliefs,
behavior, or doctrine alien to his native cultural environment for propaganda rather than intelligence
collection purposes. Aside from this extreme, we will not judge the validity of other ethical
arguments. This technique is illegal and may not be used.
B. Moreover Some psychologists feel that the subject's ability to recall and communicate
information accurately is as impaired as his will to resist. This objection has some validity but the
use of coercive techniques will rarely confuse a resistant subject so completely that he does not
know whether his own confession is true or false. He does need mastery of all his mental and
physical powers to know whether he is a spy or not.
Once a confession is obtained, the classic cautions apply. The pressures are lifted enough so that the
subject can provide information as accurately as possible. In fact, the relief granted the subject at
this time fits neatly into the "questioning" plan. He is told that the changed treatment is a reward for
truthfulness and evidence that friendly handling will continue as long as he cooperates.
Justification for Coercive Techniques
These techniques should be reserved for those subjects who have been trained or who have
developed the ability to resist non-coercive techniques.
The manner and timing of arrest should be planned to achieve surprise and the maximum amount of
mental discomfort. He should therefore be arrested at a moment when he least expects it and his
mental and physical resistance is at its lowest, ideally in the early hours of the morning. When
arrested at this time, most subjects experience intense feelings of shock, insecurity, and
psychological stress and for the most part have great difficulty adjusting to the situation. It is also
important that the arresting party behave in such a manner as to impress the subject with their
A person's sense of identity depends upon a continuity in his surroundings, habits, appearance,
actions, relations with others, etc. Detention permits the "questioner" to cut through these links and
throw the subject back upon his own unaided internal resources. Detention should be planned to
enhance the subject's feelings of being cut off from anything known and reassuring.