Emotional Love interrogation techniques

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Emotional Love interrogation techniques are based on the premise that if a prisoner provides information to his interrogators, it will be beneficial, in the Guantanamo guidance, to individuals or groups that the captive loves.[1]

Mackey distinguishes Love of Comrades from Love of Family interrogation techniques. Specifically, the former will improve the situation of his comrades. He cites both a localized benefit such as visiting his wounded fellow prisoners in the camp hospital, or a more generalized one such as being able to negotiate with his comrades at large, if their position is known, rather than bombing their entire area. In the context of terrorist suspects in Afghanistan, he found Love of Comrades of limited use, because the prisoners were not apt to be from units. [2]

Love of Family, in tactical situations, builds on information, such as photographs or letters, found at the time of capture. For this reason, many combatant organization forbid their members to carry personal memorabilia into the area of operations, balancing countermeasures to interrogation against the morale-building value of such personal treasures. Alternatively, a prisoner might be trained not to consider his family; "The jihadists would tell you, 'I've divorced this life, I don't care about my family,'" recalls an interrogator at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.[3] World War II Japanese captives often preferred that their families would believe the prisoner was already dead, as their cultural conditioning was that knowing a loved one was in captivity was shameful to the clan.

Nevertheless, Article 70 of the Third Geneva Convention guarantees "every prisoner of war shall be enabled to write direct to his family." [4] This is complex even with recognized prisoners of war, since the POW has no guarantee of privacy of that correspondence, and interrogators can use material learned from correspondence in their questions.

Love-based methods are usually noncoercive.


  1. Jerald Phifer (October 11, 2002), Memorandum for Commander, Joint Task Force 170: Request for Counter-Resistance Strategies, Joint Task Force 170, Department of Defense
  2. Chris Mackey & Greg Miller (2004), The Interrogators: inside the secret war against al Qaeda, Little, Brown & Co., ISBN 0-316-87112-5, pp. 479-480
  3. Heather MacDonald (January 6, 2005), "Too Nice for Our Own Good", Wall Street Journal
  4. Diplomatic Conference for the Establishment of International Conventions for the Protection of Victims of War, held in Geneva from 21 April to 12 August, 1949 (12 August 1949), Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights