The primary thought you must have firmly in your mind, keep in your minds forefront, when questioned by police is if they, your police interrogators, possessed a solid, airtight, open and shut case against you they would not be bothering to question you at all. When you are approached refuse to be question and immediately demand an attorney be present to advise you of your constitutional rights before any questioning takes place. In an ideal world, and by well, established law, at this point all questioning is supposed to stop but that does not always happen as "clever" ploys are used by police to get you to volunteer for questioning or be forthcoming with information that rarely benefits you, a suspect but furthers the goal of their investigation. Never answer any questions, no matter how innocent they sound, after you have invoked your right to an attorney. Do not respond to any question no matter how fucking tempted or how harmless you think it to be! When read the Miranda rights you were told anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law and that is precisely what it means. Anything you might say of even a microscopic incriminating nature will be interpreted as a major admission by creative minds which can and will be used against you. You can take that fact to the bank.
Police interrogators aren't your friends! Don't provide them with anything to use against you, only provide your basic statistical personal information such as name, age, address, birthday and social security! [Different states have different laws about what information one is required to give, check out you local laws.] They're your enemy if questioning you! Volunteer nothing! Either you are a suspect, friends or comrades are suspects or they are attempting to gather information to be used against you or your associates in the future. Your best interests, for you as a person, is the last thing on their minds. They're merely performing their government job. Don't allow yourself to become frightened or worse still to be lulled into a false sense of security. If they assault you, you can practice the popular American martial art of "I Sue!" Politely listen to their games. Remain silent no matter how long questioning lasts and don't allow yourself to be wore down with time, a favorite tactic employed by skilled questioners. Recognize their games and realize their societal job function is to lock you up, to clear a case file that may result in the destruction of your life, making you, your family and loved ones suffer, sometimes for months and in the worse scenario for years! Remain silent. Sooner or later they will give up questioning you altogether. They will move on to a weak willed person to manipulate into prolonged imprisonment.
There are two logical outcomes to interrogations. When questioning is done you are free to leave to join family, friends or comrades within the movement, a wiser, stronger willed soldier tested by fire, or you are locked up. If locked up, and you kept your mouth shut, as soon as possible as the opportunity presents itself after you request your one allowed phone call then call a bail bonding company or your lawyer. Your attorney will be pleased he/she has a client who remained silent and did not give a statement! Because of your wise silence your attorney may be able to perform the magic taught in law universities and colleges of law. Your attorney may be able to have the case dismissed in court later due to the lack of evidence at preliminary hearing if you are charged with a crime! If you have felt the need of confession other than to a priest then forget about lack of evidence dismissals. You volunteered so endeavor to enjoy your unique incarceration experience, dummy! Should there be other evidence against you ("Opps! Forgot my gloves! Fingerprints are Hollywood bull shit, right?!") by choosing to remain silent you have expanded your lawyer's defense strategy choices which may win your case in court in front of a jury made up of people of average ignorance. Those of you who immediately thought of the O.J. jury, shame on you!
Give up nothing! Give up nobody! Don't let your mouth put your ass in jail! Retain your rights! Remember you have the right not to incriminate yourself! Say nothing you or your friends will regret later in court while facing a stern faced judge and anal retentive, irate government prosecutor!
If you stayed with me to this point, the following will be some shallow, laughable mind games they may try to play on you with all the intensity of a child examining the first insect they encounter! Remember the cops talking to you, cajoling you to bear your soul, clear your conscience, "make yourself feel better" by telling them what happened because they "understand" after you do will laugh in your face, later in their locker room howl with laughter with each other about how utterly naive and gullible you are, call you an ignoramus and various other things, pat each other and themselves on the back and then pleased with their day's work go home to screw their wife, boyfriend or girlfriend and kick their dog, or vice versa.
After the interrogation is over as a just reward for your cooperation with these hardworking public servants who serve and protect the public, you will be led away to a filthy barren cell reeking with combined odors of sweat, body waste in liquid and solid form, stale tobacco smoke and hopelessness with dubious characters as your cell mates. You may have to fight to keep a food tray, a place to sit or sleep if you aren't immediately bailed out, you may discover yourself in a struggle to retain your shoes, shirt or jacket from predatory social prisoners. Remember how you felt your privacy was violated when a bathroom door was accidentally opened by another person on you at home, office, workplace, or elsewhere? Well, prepare yourself to forfeit all privacy expectation when Nature calls and you must answer the call in the sight, presence or within arm's reach of other hapless people! You may be forced to learn what it means to literally and figuratively stand your ground for the first time in your life in a jail or in prison. You may be forced to defend your sexuality, defend yourself against sexual predators or some people are forced to temporarily switch their sexual preferences becoming bisexual by circumstance to survive incarceration intact. Yell for help? None is forthcoming except in cases of extreme brutality or mutually combative situations as those who swore to serve and protect usually turn a blind eye to prisoners. If you confessed to police interrogators, aided with the crime investigation efforts, in an ill-fated effort to prove yourself intellectually superior to those questioning you stuck your foot in your mouth, you have condemned yourself with your own words, then you will in all likelihood, not pay the slightest attention to the following word of caution. Once booked, fingerprinted and slammed in a cell you should not talk about your case with those around you who may express interest in why you are locked up! Each prisoner willing to listen to your tale of woe is a potential threat of showing up in court to testify against you as a jailhouse informant or a cop put in the cell with you whose sole purpose was to gain confidence and solicit a confession! You may be a target so realize this fact and shut the fuck up! A classic example of this is years ago in the early 1980's, a State prisoner in Tennessee named Gary Hartman confided to a cell partner, Raymond Frazier, about a murder in which he was involved. Frazier got with another prisoner, Kenneth King, and they, with the aid of prison officials, contacted the attorney general's office and law enforcement, collected a $1,000 reward and Hartman was convicted and sentenced to death. After a decade plus on death row Hartman's death sentence was overturned on appeal and he was sentenced to life in prison. Just like during W.W. I and W.W. II, loose lips sink ships!
If you made a statement you may as well be pleased with your lousy career, life and health choices since you have volunteered for a stint, however prolonged or brief, in your chosen hell by "cooperating" with police? Not exactly a Norman Rockwell picture, is it? I refuse to "sugarcoat" this description of a potential first confinement experience horror to save your sensitivity or cater to your squeamishness. I would rather shock you to serious thought by speaking truth motivated by love for my sincere activist brothers and sisters engaged in struggle against the monsters of the earth guided by their hearts and knowledge of what is right rather than let you find out the painful hard way and begin a nightmare which will rob you of your life, of your productive years, and the progress you could have made during those forever lost years to the struggle.
STYLE INTERROGATION, 101
Subject Credit: Remaining Free
Following are some of the mind games the police play on the unwary to extract "voluntary" confessions. Know your enemy well, recognize their games and the many variations of them, as many and as varied as personalities of the accused and their interrogators. Your ability to remain free may someday well depend on your strength of character and knowledge of the tactics used, techniques employed and psychological pressures. Each one is designed to elicit a response from the person on whom they are employed.
1. The interrogator displays confidence in the guilt of the suspect with an air of "Convince me otherwise?"
2. The questioner points out some, but by no means all, of the circumstantial evidence indicative of a subject's guilt. This is a variation of I know more than I am saying and you are fucked if your story does not match what I know." More often than not they know zip, nothing, and so capitalize on any information you may provide, turn it around and throw it back at you to extract additional information.
3. The interrogator often calls attention to a subject's physical or psychological manifestations that may predict guilt, pulsation of the carotid artery, excessive activity of the Adam's Apple; avoidance of eye contact, foot wiggling, wringing of hands, finger tapping, picking at fingernails, other individualized nervous mannerisms or gestures evidencing themselves when a person is under stress/pressure. These are common "tells" high roller gamblers are aware of when exhibited by players. If a suspect is emotional then the questioner calls attention to the "peculiar feeling inside," playing on the concept of moral guilt attempting to extract a confession.
4. Interrogators often sympathize with subjects being questioned by commenting to the person something to the general effect of "...I might have done the same thing myself." or "...Anybody else under similar conditions (circumstances) might have done the same thing". This is to portray themselves as an "ally" or "friendly" in a hostile environment who can be trusted to help the subject ... but only If the targeted subject accepts the offered "common ground of friendship and understanding" deception bonding and confesses, opens up, to incriminate themselves or others.
5. An interrogator often will attempt to extract a confession during a questioning session by using phrases to reduce a subject's guilt feelings by minimizing the seriousness of the offense/crime, especially with charges of murder or violence. Examples: "Lots of other people would have done the same thing under the circumstances of your situation." "If somebody done me the way he/she/they done you, I would have done the same thing myself!"
6. A skillful questioner may suggest a less revolting, more morally acceptable motivation or reason for the offense you are charged with than that which is presumed.
7. In order to break an accused will to extract a confession a skilled interrogator will often sympathize with the suspect by (a) Condemning the victim; (b) Condemning any possible, or charged, accomplice suspects; or (c) Condemning anybody that any degree of moral responsibility might conceivably be bestowed on for commission of the offense in question or already charged.
8. Interrogators fake understanding and sympathy to urge a subject to confess while making some physical contact, pat on a hand or shoulder, grip of a hand often followed by proclamations by the interrogator that if his mother, father, brother, sister, wife, child, girlfriend, gay lover, etc., was charged with the subject's crime he would "...advise them to confess...", "...speak (tell) the truth..." Interrogators will often invoke moral concepts with phrases like "Confessing is the only decent and honorable thing to do." or "You should relieve your conscience and get it over with so you feel better..." in low, sympathetic tones to attempt to establish an emotional link with a subject, particularly with a person who has been subjected to several lengthy periods of intensive questioning and underwent an emotional battering from continuous questioning most often with interrogators performing in "shifts". The infamous "Good Cop-Bad Cop" or friendly/unfriendly routine is most often used after other tried techniques and ploys utilizing mock sympathy and understanding have proven ineffective to the dismay of Chief Inspector Impotent, Officer Orifice or Detective Dinky Winky. Whoever hasn't seen this Mutt & Jeff routine used to death on television and in movies, please raise your hand? However, believe it or not, as sad as it is, these theatrics often work after a dullard is subjected to a prolonged period of psychological battering. Falling for this merits a groaned Duh!
9. A skilled interrogator often uses a ploy of pointing out the possibility of exaggeration on the part of the accuser or victim or exaggerates the nature or seriousness of the offense charged in order to frighten a subject into making a "justification statement" wherein they attempt to explain away "what really happened" and thereby hopelessly incriminate themselves! This merits a double "Duh!"!
10. An interrogator will attempt to have a questioned person hypothetically place themselves at the scene of the crime, in some sort of contact with the victim or the occurrence giving rise to the crime or crimes they are subjected to questioning about to gather information or attempt to have the person inadvertently make an admission of guilt through a slip of the tongue.
11. If a person is naive enough to admit to being at the scene of a crime the interrogator will watch for inconsistencies in the subject's version of what happened by requesting repetitious telling of the subjects story then point out discovered inconsistencies to seek admissions of lying about some incidental aspect of the occurrence or crime. Each such admission elicited from a subject makes the subject more psychologically susceptible to coughing up the "whole story".
12. An interrogator will often appeal to the subject's ego and pride through well selected flattery or a direct challenge to honor thereby using against a subject, and capitalizing on, the basic human trait to seek and enjoy the approval of others as if predator and prey are in a normal societal environment or setting.
13. The futility of resistance to telling the truth or confessing will be repeatedly pointed out during questioning.
14. A skillful interrogator will repeatedly point out to the subject the grave consequences of a continuation of his/her "criminal behavior". This is an argument which falls flat on its' face, is a guaranteed failure with politically motivated suspects who are motivated out of a sense of righteousness. This ploy quite often works with social crime suspects because during the course of their ill chosen criminal careers many repeat offenders experience a fleeting desire, or possess intentions, to rehabilitate or reform themselves.
15. Sometimes interrogators rather than seek a general admission of guilt will first ask the suspect a question about some aspect or detail of the crime or make inquiries as to the "reason" for its commission as if puzzled as to why it happened? This is nothing more than a play on the impulse to confess which becomes more intensified the longer most people are grilled and especially with the young and inexperienced.
16. When suspects are questioned after previously listed grilling techniques have met with failure or it is surmised they will fail if employed, interrogators will often take pleasure in pitting suspects against another. They are separated during questioning and each told the other, or others, gave statements placing primary blame on the subject each interrogator is questioning. The person is asked to "Set the record straight before he/she/they make you the fall guy!" or "You are stupid for not making a statement! Your buddy gave you up so you may as well tell us what happened!" Revelations such as these are accompanied by angry gestures and bullying. If a suspect shows weakness he or she is then displayed mock sympathy. Know the people you are with when you do a direct action! Have your stories straight before you go on any action! Keep your mouth shut! Depend on them as they are depending on you. Don't fall for transparent games. This most successful of questioning techniques requires no further explanation as it has been portrayed ad nauseam in cheap B-Grade gangster movies for decades. This is a tried and true, timeworn, method of obtaining confessions which few accused should logically fall for but many do in the criminal world due to distrust of their associates. With politically motivated suspects divide and conquer ploys have much smaller success rate but still sometimes succeed.
17. Interrogators will seek admissions of knowledge of a crime being investigated by asking if a suspect knows "why" they are being questioned. A grievous error is committed when a suspect volunteers information or any knowledge of a crime providing details which he/she could only possess if that person committed the crime or was present when it was committed. Admission of such knowledge aids investigation efforts as the interrogator is aware the subject of questioning is either the perpetrator of the crime, was complicit in the commission of the crime or is a witness. The best advice is volunteer nothing and remain mute except for required personal identity information. Protestations of innocence only serve to open a dialogue with questioners, often proving counterproductive to the interest of the accused.
18. The interrogator begins a questioning session by asking a subject to relate all he/she knows about the victim and other possible suspects leading up to questions about the actual incident/offense/crime. It often proves difficult for most subjects of questioning to stop talking once they have started than to never start talking in the first place. People enjoy talking and trying to impress others with what they know on any subject.
19. Skilled interrogators will attempt to obtain detailed information from the subject about their activities before, at the time of and after the crime. Some subjects will attempt to place themselves at the scene either before or after a crime has been committed or in close proximity to where the crime occurred thereby driving nails into their own coffin at future prosecution.
20. When facts of a crime are already known by police interrogators they will often ask about these known facts in a casual manner as though the facts was not already known by the authorities to rattle a suspect's nerves and make them more vulnerable to aggressive interrogation techniques. This is done in order to create suspicion in a suspect others involved have already made a confession. The volatile emotional mixture of fear, distrust and suspicion has turned friends, lovers, partners and family members against each other. If interrogators can pit one against another to achieve a confession they will do it with immense pleasure, wrecking friendships, causing betrayed trust and destroying families! Your family, friends and you are about as important to them as discarded toilet tissue! If you realize this you are light-years ahead of falling for pressure tactic mind games!
At demonstrations where there is even the slightest chance of a cop riot try to always stay close to trusted friends in case you get swooped up by the cops! Trust them if you are arrested or if you all are nicked! If you are arrested in the chaos and confusion of a cop riot, they will know what happened and can get you a bail bondsman or attorney while you are trucked off to jail. If you are all busted then there is morale strength in numbers, you can pool resources and all get out of the can. The old concept of all for one and one for all! Go to demonstrations and other direct action activities with your trusted friends. Take only those tried and true friends you trust on all direct action operations! When your ass is on the line then it is the wrong time to test their loyalty. Realize the strength of your comrades during questioning, shut the fuck up, stifle any urge to talk, and definitely don't confess to anything to effectively volunteer to become a jail or prison population statistic.
21. An interrogator during a questioning session will sometimes at intervals ask a suspect questions about other people in a manner implying correct answers are already known. One such question would be asking how long you have known John Smith rather than if you knew John Smith. Another ploy consists of prefacing a question that does not bear directly on guilt or innocence with an admonishment to think carefully before you answer the next question. It is most commonly used while the interrogator shuffles through papers or while holding papers, a question is posed and followed by an expression of doubt after you give an answer to whatever question was asked. This type of questioning is a probe for a justification response from you. Offer nothing whether you think it is already known or not and ignore this category of question entirely.
22. An interrogator might refer to some nonexistent piece of incriminating "evidence" to see if the suspect will attempt to explain it away. If a suspect does it suggests guilt as the guilty are concerned about covering their tracks and worry about the police discovering incriminating evidence inadvertently overlooked at the crime scene. An innocent suspect has no tracks to cover so obviously does not have to speculate about the discovery of incriminating evidence.
23. A skilled questioner may ask if a person being questioned has ever "thought" about committing the offense being investigated or one similar to it. If you are clueless enough to answer such an inquiry your questioner is likely to show up in court to testify about how you bragged or boasted about thinking of committing the crime! A resounding reply of "No!" is a characteristic response of innocent people. If you allowed yourself to slip and answer in the affirmative the next logical question will be something like "Thinking like that finally got to the point where during one of your weakest moments, when you were under the extreme pressure, you gave in? I can understand that so tell me about it?" Duh!
24. With vandalism, property destruction or theft cases the interrogator will attempt to coerce a suspect into an offer of restitution which is a dear indicator of guilt. The normal response of an innocent suspect when restitution is mentioned is a loud and clear statement from them they are not going to pay for something they did not do or steal. The response being fished for from a guilty person is agreement the aggrieved individual, party or business should be reimbursed for their loss followed by a proclamation the suspect did not have anything to do with whatever it was defaced, destroyed or stolen. The suspect has placed himself in the position of appearing to be a guilty dunce!
25. A suspect is often asked if they are willing to take a polygraph test? Innocent people almost always agree to take practically any test immediately to prove their innocence. A guilty person is prone to refuse a lie detector test immediately or find excuses to back out of taking it after agreeing. The truth is few communities have this service available as an investigative tool and are using the only resource available, a skilled, common sense interrogation without aid of electronic instrument assistance in their quest to pin the tail on the donkey. Should you agree to take a polygraph examination 99.9% of the time the offer to provide the test proves nothing but a smoke screen, a bluff or ploy to determine your willingness to prove your innocence. A savvy person will press the issue and demand such a test in these circumstances. The back pedaling of the authority figure might even prove amusing to watch for comic relief in a stressful situation?
26. Police investigators know, beyond any doubt, the suspect who states something like "All right, I will tell you what you want but I didn't do It!" is, in all probability, guilty.
THERE ARE AS MANY VARIATIONS OF INTERROGATION TECHNIQUES AS THERE ARE COPS! THOSE PREVIOUSLY LISTED ARE MERELY A FEW OF THE MOST POPULAR, THE MOST OFTEN USED ONES.
THE BEST ADVICE I CAN GIVE REGARDING POLICE INTERROGATION, IF THE ENEMY PERSIST IN QUESTIONING YOU IN SPITE OF YOUR REQUEST FOR AN ATTORNEY, IS TO REMAIN SILENT DURING ALL QUESTIONING AND ANSWER NOTHING ASKED!
DO NOT OFFER INFORMATION NO MATTER HOW UNIMPORTANT OR TRIVIAL YOU DEEM IT TO BE, BECAUSE YOU MAY UNBEKNOWNST BE OFFERING UP THE TIDBIT OF INFORMATION WHICH IS THE PIECE THAT COMPLETES THE PUZZLE FOR THEM TO PROSECUTE YOU OR OTHERS!
NEVER TRY TO FISH FOR INFORMATION AS POLICE WILL ALWAYS OBTAIN MORE INFORMATION THAN THEY GIVE! ALWAYS! NEVER FORGET IT!
PLAIN AND SIMPLE, STAY QUIET, MUTE, AND FREE AND GIVE YOURSELF THE BEST CHANCE TO WIN YOUR CASE IF BROUGHT TO TRIAL BY USING YOUR RIGHT TO REMAIN SILENT!
I APOLOGIZE TO ALL PIGS EVERYWHERE FOR DEFAMING YOUR SPECIES BUT I AM A PRODUCT OF THE SIXTIES WHEN JACK. BOOTED GESTAPO SNOUTS WITH BADGES WAS CALLED "PIGS"!
I WISH ALL MY BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN STRUGGLE THE BEST OF LUCK! I HOPE I NEVER SEE YOU IN HERE WITH ME! CONFUSION TO OUR ENEMIES! STAY SILENT, STAY FREE! THEY WILL NEVER GET US ALL!
Harold H. Thompson is a 58 year old Irish-American anarchist serving life plus sentences in the State of Tennessee. He is a poet, his articles have been published in anarchist newspapers and newsletters over the years plus has published a booklet of prison writings and struggle poetry by Huddersfield ABC In England titled "They Will Never Get Us All!" He works within prison as a jailhouse lawyer aiding other prisoners with legal matters, filing of intenal grievances, post-conviction and lawsuits against prison officials when warranted. At the present time he is engaged in fighting a pro se civil rights complaint against State employee defendants who were complicit in an assault on him by white racist inmates at Turney Center Industrial Prison during 1999.
Harold states the reason he put together this pamphlet is it saddens him when he hears stories of animal rights activists, environmentalists and anarchists being arrested and put through the Judicial mill by the monsters of the earth. Harold is a strict vegetarian, supports those brave comrades struggling for animal rights and against those raping our earth for corporate greed. He will be imprisoned twenty five years in November, 2004. A support campaign has been formed in England to help Harold with living expenses, court filing fees, typing supplies, etc. Contributions can be sent to Friends Of Harold H. Thompson, P.O. Box 375, Knaphill, Woking, Surrey, GU21 2XL, England, or to Chirevnet, c/o Box-Holder, P.O. Box 578042, Chicago, Illinois 60657-8042. Harold welcomes mail. He can be reached at the following address: Harold H. Thompson, #93992, Northwest Correctional Complex, Route 1, Box 660, Tiptonville, Tennessee 38079. He is allowed to receive via mail US postal money orders, stamps and photos but only if commercially developed. Contributions can also be sent to the address below:
Anarchist Prisoners' Legal Aid Network
818 SW 3rd Avenue PMB #354 Portland, OR. 07204 USA