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The Insidious Interrogation Techniques Used by the Media to Hijack Your Loyalty

I don’t talk about my pre-technology career that much, not beyond the odd funny story. Mainly because, as a British person, we tend to shy away from military fetishism.

The kind of public support for service personnel that dominates America is very alien in the stoic British society.

In short, I was an Intelligence Operator for the British Army. I served in Afghanistan and Iraq and afterwards worked briefly with Palantir. It sounds more glamorous than it is. However, I have been given a fairly bespoke skill set, one of which is how to tactically question a source.

On 11 September, 2001, at 5.pm I was getting a bus home from community college. I remember clearly another student was shouting about Nostradamus and prophecies and an attack on the USA.

Internet-enabled phones were not widely-adopted at that point and WAP technology was intermittent (and expensive) so I did what everyone else did; I left the bus station, walked up to the nearest electronics store and looked at the TV’s in the window. There was a crowd.

Footage of the Twin Towers being struck was playing on a loop. Within weeks, conventional forces were heading to Afghanistan to join the Special Operations Forces already in theatre.

The War On Terror had begun.

A year and a bit later I was studying Political Science at University and Coalition Forces were advancing rapidly across Iraq. Out of interest I plotted the Brigade positions on a large map in my dormitory room. A room mate stuck his head in my room

“Why are you doing that?”

I shrugged in response. I didn’t know but I was interested in how fast they were advancing on Baghdad. I learned later that the victory in Iraq was completed so fast that we call it a catastrophic victory. The entire national administration collapses and has to be inherited by the advancing forces. It is hard to teach 19 year old Marines to bayonet people in one house and hand out bottles of water to the next house.

During a University mock-debate in 2004 I was asked to take the Government position on the invasion of Iraq. I argued strongly in favour until another student broke character and asked

“If you believe so strongly, why aren’t you over there fighting?”

I nodded and considered what they had said. That evening I handed my books back to my professor and walked out of University. I enlisted in the Army, took my the requisite entrance exams and was qualified to apply to join the Intelligence Corps as an Operator. The selection weekend was at a tree-lined camp in Bedfordshire. Further processing meant another delay but in August 2005 I entered basic military training before beginning intelligence trade training 3 months later.

I learned the fundamentals of operational and counter intelligence, data analysis, public speaking and psychological techniques for judgement and probability. There were additional classes in counter-sabotage, tactical questioning and physical and IT security.

In summer 2006 I left training, was posted to unit conducting Electronic Warfare and almost immediately deployed to Iraq. Upon my return I conducted various roles including counter intelligence in Western Europe and the United Kingdom and volunteered to deploy to Afghanistan in a misguided belief that I could investigate and counter Green on Blue attacks using data driven analysis. Hint: I couldn’t but I tried.

In 2013 I decided to call time on my career in the Army and the War on Terror and went to work briefly as a Palantir FSR before deciding I could not really be bothered going to sandy places to look at icons on a screen any more. I briefly tried Law School but it was not moving fast enough for my liking.

Instead, inspired by Silicon Valley and the ethos at Palantir, I entered Lean Startup London, won it and started a whole new career chapter. My uniform and a few medals are in a box in my attic.

I have a lot of personal opinions about the nature of intelligence, war-fighting and countering Qutbism-inspired Islamic terrorism. If you buy me a beer, I might share them.

For now — that is my credentials. That is my credibility.

I want to share with you the Interrogation Techniques used by the Media to Hijack your Loyalty. This includes fake news.

Interrogation (also called questioning) is interviewing as commonly employed by law enforcement officers, military personnel, and intelligence agencies with the goal of eliciting useful information. It is closely linked to Tactical Questioning and the exploitation of Human Intelligence (HUMINT) sometimes covertly.

It is, despite Hollywood glamour, the application of a series of patterns of behaviour. There is a playbook and as interrogators grow in experience, they develop instincts about how and when to deploy the patterns. A detainee can try and short circuit the feedback loop by responding in unexpected ways during pattern application but, in general, humans are predictable.

The Experiment-Learn-Pattern feedback loop exists in almost every industry. From engineering to medicine to technology. Military organisations have patterns for everything. Despite what you might think; militaries are on the cutting edge of almost all scientific breakthroughs, whether it be human psychology or information warfare.

There is a reason that the Snowden revelations were so shocking; it was completely unexpected that the National Security Agency were circumventing almost every security standard that the IT industry had invented. Really? Those stuffy guys in uniforms?

There is hardly a product in existence that does not owe it’s genesis to military research funding. There is almost no psychological construct that was not first tried on troops in warfare, either 5000 years ago or yesterday. The military has playbooks and step guides for everything. That is why military field hospitals in Afghanistan are the pinnacle of traumatic care in the world and why health organisations attempt to adopt their patterns.

Interrogation is no different. It is the application of patterns to shorten the time to a psychological target-state.

These are the common techniques and how the Media is using them against you. The patterns are organised in several approaches; we are going to focus on just a few pertinent examples.

  • Emotional Approach
  • Fear Approach
  • Pride and Ego Approach

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