Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Criminology and the War on Terror

Scott Shane reports in today's New York Times, that harsh interrogation techniques used by the US at Guantanamo and elsewhere during the war on terror, may have been derived from a 1957 article analyzing Chinese methods of inducing false confessions by US POWs in North Korea.

The link raises troubling questions. Why were techniques considered examples of Communist perfidy adopted by America? Why were methods associated with "false confessions" used in an effort to produce true intelligence?

Less salient but intriguing to your jurisprude is the fact that the author of the original article was Albert Biderman, a sociologist and criminologist whose extensive published work on crime rates, policing techniques, and victimization during the 1960s remains widely known to contemporary scholars of criminology and socio-legal studies. (To read the original 1957 article click here).


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