chapter  4
21 Pages

The interrogation of terrorist suspects: the banality of torture

WithJohn J. Pearse

It would be difficult to discuss the interrogation of terrorist suspects at this period in time without reference to the allegations of torture at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and at the American detention centre in Guantánamo Bay that have made headline news across the world. These revelations dominate the field and deserve particular attention and comment. In this chapter, therefore, I propose to explore a number of key areas of interest to psychologists and practitioners working in law enforcement that I believe are relevant to the events unfolding across the world. To start with, and in an attempt to provide a credible baseline to develop matters, I will draw on psychological research to challenge the pervasive myth that all terrorists are crazed psychopaths and that only a psycho-pathological condition can account for their actions.