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

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.

The Roman emperor Justinian – who lived in the 6th century – said the same thing.  As former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clarke notes:

Justinian condemned torture as untrustworthy, perilous, and deceptive.

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.

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  • MCB

    The whole point of torture is to produce false confessions in a de facto Kangaroo Court, so that the powers that be can justify warmongering to control resources. Good post GW.

    • edwardrynearson

      and frighten “the many” into silence

  • The U.S Government Is Lying, Manipulating and Continuing Torture Dec 11, 2014

    In this video Luke Rudkowski details how the U.S government is still lying, manipulating, continuing torture and committing other human right violations.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvMhfGDwvhI

  • edwardrynearson

    For the few to control the many the many must be very frightened

  • Howard Treesong

    We have known it for millennia and we do it still. Millennia hence we’ll still be doing the same thing for the same reason with the same result because humans are obstinate and dumb. And they like to inflict pain on those in their power. That is our nature, that is who we are.

    • freedom74

      Correction, it is in the nature of those that wish to control other people. There is a large percentage of the population that does not want nor do they seek power, but merely want to be left alone to their own devices.

  • 5 dancing shlomos

    the u.s. and its master, yidstate, torture because both are sadists and hate others and the yids want to inflict suffering and death on the rightful owners of history and palestine and the u.s. is a deranged puppet.

    torture not necessary for confessions.
    confessions are made up.
    just need pen and paper.

  • Norbert

    George Santayana has been proven correct once again … and again … and again … and again …

  • If you are an American you need to know and understand this and share within your circles of friends!

    Police have no CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY to protect YOU!

    The gun-grabbers insist we should turn in our guns and rely on the police to protect us from crime. Yet the court continues to rule that the police are under no obligation to protect the public.
    The gun-grabbers insist we should turn in our guns and rely on the police to protect us from crime. Yet the court continue to rule that the police are under no obligation to protect the public.

    Bowers v. DeVito, 686 F.2d 616 (7th Cir. 1982) (no federal constitutional requirement that police provide protection)

    Calogrides v. Mobile, 475 So. 2d 560 (Ala. 1985); Cal Govt. Code 845 (no liability for failure to provide police protection)

    Calogrides v. Mobile, 846 (no liability for failure to arrest or to retain arrested person in custody)

    Davidson v. Westminster, 32 Cal.3d 197, 185, Cal. Rep. 252; 649 P.2d 894 (1982) (no liability for failure to provide police protection)

    Stone v. State 106 Cal.App.3d 924, 165 Cal Rep. 339 (1980) (no liability for failure to provide police protection)

    Morgan v. District of Columbia, 468 A.2d 1306 (D.C.App. 1983) (no liability for failure to provide police protection)

    Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C.App 1981) (no liability for failure to provide police protection)

    Sapp v. Tallahassee, 348 So.2d 363 (Fla. App. 1st Dist.), cert. denied 354 So.2d 985 (Fla. 1977); Ill. Rec. Stat. 4-102 (no liability for failure to provide police protection)

    Keane v. Chicago, 98 Ill. App.2d 460, 240 N.E.2d 321 (1st Dist. 1968) (no liability for failure to provide police protection)

    Jamison v. Chicago, 48 Ill. App. 3d 567 (1st Dist. 1977) (no liability for failure to provide police protection)

    Simpson’s Food Fair v. Evansville, 272 N.E.2d 871 (Ind. App.) (no liability for failure to provide police protection)

    Silver v. Minneapolis, 170 N.W.2d 206 (Minn. 1969) (no liability for failure to provide police protection)

    Wuetrich V. Delia, 155 N.J. Super. 324, 326, 382, A.2d 929, 930 cert. denied 77 N.J. 486, 391 A.2d 500 (1978) (no liability for failure to provide police protection)

    Chapman v. Philadelphia, 290 Pa. Super. 281, 434 A.2d 753 (Penn. 1981) (no liability for failure to provide police protection)

    Morris v. Musser, 84 Pa. Cmwth. 170, 478 A.2d 937 (1984) (no liability for failure to provide police protection)

    http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/courtrulingsonpoliceprotection.php#axzz3Lulh8Tph

    • disqus_3BrONUAJno

      Fortunately for us, resisting unlawful arrest is still lawful, as long as you can find an honest judge to hear the case…

      • Ned Weatherby

        In theory, perhaps. In reality, “resisting” arrest now often amounts to a death sentence. Doing nothing threatening can also amount to same. The definition of “resisting” can be putting you hands in front of your face, while on the ground, as you are having the crap being beaten out of you by the Blue Mob.

        If you hear of an honest judge, I’d truly like to hear about that. Judges give false jury instructions even in voir dire. We don’t have a justice system, we have a legal system.

        • disqus_3BrONUAJno

          The only way to solve our many societal problems is education.
          If the Oath Keepers ever get to be a substantial population in the public sphere, that would go a long way towards fixing the justice system, the legal system being beyond redemption.

  • Plinkleton

    what do you mean it “doesn’t work” ? it works just fine if you’re dik cheney and you need a false confession about having WMD’s in order to invade a country to take their resources. so don’t say torture “doesn’t work”