How To: Survive Interrogation

ramboOkay, so most of us are not in any imminent danger of being lifted at home or work and then taken to a remote location to be tortured for information. That being said, you may be looking to take a job in the Middle East or perhaps you’re worried about the husband of the woman you were sleeping with while he was serving with the SAS in Iraq! Either way, it doesn’t hurt to know what may happen to you if you get captured and how you can survive interrogation.

Why would you be targeted for interrogation?

There are a number of reasons why you could be picked out as an interrogation target. If you work in a high profile job or have access to sensitive top level information, you could become a target. If you work, or are about to take work, in the Middle East, you may be lifted for ransom or – worse still – execution! Whatever the reason, if you feel you may be at risk of being taken, you need to know the procedures and steps that you can take to maximise the chances of your survival!

Now, there are a number of things that you need to plan for and be aware of if you do find yourself in an interrogation situation.

  1. Accepting your situation

  2. Always be the ‘grey’ man

  3. Psychological torture

  4. Stress positions

  5. Stay strong

  6. Always plan to escape

Accepting your situation

The first point to make is that if you do get kidnapped by a terrorist group or your mistress’ husband, you need to accept your fate. In his books, Andy McNab (former SAS commander who survived 6 weeks of torture in Iraq) often talks about the character accepting the fact that he is ‘in the shit’! Once you can come to terms with being in the situation you are in, you will be able to calm down and think more clearly to create a plan for survival. Panicking is not an option. If you panic, all logic goes out of the window and you won’t survive. End of story. You’ve been captured and your captors have physical control of you. You need to keep a focused mind and accept that you are in the shit. You will be beaten and possibly tortured, but for the time being there is nothing you can do about it!

Always be the ‘grey’ man

According to McNab, one of the worst things you can do in this kind of situation is puff out your chest and be aggressive with your captors. What will happen is they will beat you relentlessly, which damages your fitness and impedes any chance you may have of escaping. Worse still, they may mistake you for Special Forces and transfer you to another location which is more secure where you may receive a full physical interrogation. You need to appear at all times to be calm, placid and submissive. McNab also advises to overplay your injuries. Every time they touch you, moan, groan, scream, yell and even cry. This not only buys you time to escape if the opportunity presents itself, but they may provide you with more food and drink if they think you are badly injured.

Psychological torture

Interrogators are smart people and are very good at finding ways to make you talk. They will use a psychological approach in which they will assess your body language, how you react to their methods and your eyes can be a dead giveaway! They are looking to see what you are like and what factors scare you. If they find anything they think can be used to turn you, they will. They may also use the ‘Fear Down’ approach by bringing you a hot drink and food. They’ll tell you that it’s okay and you’re not going to be hurt. Nothing will happen to you and they will help you and your captured friends if you tell them what they need to know. Making you feel comfortable is a very good way of breaking you to get the information. You must always, always remain the grey man. You know nothing.

Stress positions

Stress positions are used throughout the world to interrogate prisoners. They put stress on muscle groups which over a long period of time can be very painful and dangerous for your health. A common stress position is to stand you a meter away from a wall with your legs spread apart and force you to lean forward with your hands above your head on the wall. Very quickly you will start to get pins and needles in your hands and after about half an hour your hands will start to swell and the position will be extremely painful to maintain. As soon as you move out of the position, you will be kicked and punched and then put right back into the stress position again! Quite often it’s not just the stress position that you fear, but the punishment you will receive if you move!

Stay strong

You will, at some point, be subjected to physical interrogation. If you are a soldier, it is very important that you maintain operational security. People that you consider friends could die as a result of you giving your interrogator information. You need to stay mentally strong and have the will power and resolve to not give up no matter what they do to you. You may come out with cuts and bruises or you may have more severe, life-threatening injuries – it doesn’t matter! You are in the situation and you need to hold out. As mentioned earlier, you should overplay your injuries. Look to make eye contact with your guards and try to get them to see you as a weak human being. This might get you more food and drink to keep your mind alert so that you don’t ever submit to your captors.

Always plan to escape

From the moment you are captured you need to be thinking about escape. You will have plenty of time to create “What if?” strategies for every eventuality. What if the guards forget to lock the doors? What if there is an air attack? What are you going to do? You should always be planning your escape. It will keep your mind fresh and focused despite the physical abuse you may receive and if you miss that one split second window of opportunity to get out, you may never escape! It is imperative that you always try to get out!

Now it’s worth mentioning that I’m not in the military and I have never been interrogated by mercenaries of any kind. Seek professional advice before going to Iraq, folks! Also please don’t go out and kidnap a friend, put him in the stress position and make him wet himself! That’s just not cool!

Comments are closed.