We’ve Known for 1,700 Years that Torture Produces False Confessions

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We’ve Known for 1,700 Years that Torture Produces False Confessions (Washingtons Blog, Dec 19, 2014):

We’ve Known for Thousands of Years that Torture Doesn’t Work

Mark Costanzo (Claremont McKenna professor of psychology) and Ellen Gerrity (Duke University professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences) note in a study published in the journal Social Issues and Policy Review:

As early as the third century A.D., the great Roman Jurist Ulpian noted that
information obtained through torture was not to be trusted because some people are “so susceptible to pain that they will tell any lie rather than suffer it” (Peters, 1996).  This warning about the unreliability of information extracted through the use of torture has echoed across the centuries.

Lawrence Davidson – history professor at West Chester University in Pennsylvania – points out today:

In 1764 Cesare Beccaria [an Italian criminologist, jurist, philosopher, and politician who had a profound effect on America’s Founding Fathers] published his groundbreaking work, On Crimes and Punishments. Beccaria had examined all the evidence available at that time and concluded that individuals under torture will tell their interrogators anything they want to hear, true or not, just to get the pain to stop.

The successful and ruthless general Napolean Bonaparte wrote in 1798:

The barbarous custom of having men beaten who are suspected of having important secrets to reveal must be abolished. It has always been recognized that this way of interrogating men, by putting them to torture, produces nothing worthwhile. The poor wretches say anything that comes into their mind and what they think the interrogator wishes to know.

This ancient wisdom has been verified by the top American interrogation experts over the last 100 years.

1 thought on “We’ve Known for 1,700 Years that Torture Produces False Confessions

  1. Since long before the Spanish Inquisition, it has been a known fact…..torture is only used by sick, sadistic creeps on people at their mercy.
    This is why I have always been law abiding, I would never want to be at the mercy of anyone. If I don’t have the freedom to tell them to get lost, I will stay by myself………..there are sick people who will take any treatment to be “in a relationship” but, I was lucky. I had a grandmother who taught me self respect is far more important than anything else in the world.

    Torture has destroyed the US credibility for all time. Invading countries that have done nothing militarily to deserve it is another crime against humanity.
    Right now, Obamination is sending “lethal support” to the US puppet government in the Ukraine, and US tanks are rolling towards Russia.

    All of these behaviors are crimes.

    Where is the world court? We need one to go after Japan for destroying our way of living forever, we face our own extinction right now, not in fifty years.
    We need one to go after the US for all its crimes.
    Where is it?????

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