This article will show you the tricks
that federal, state and local investigators use to encourage you to give
up your right to remain silent. It is intended to prepare you for their
underhanded ways while stressing the importance of not talking or trying
to deceive them.
Do not communicate with any agents.
To begin with, it is a federal crime to make a false statement to an FBI
agent or other federal investigator. By talking, you may be digging your
own grave as a violation could be charged on the basis of two inconsistent
statements spoken out of fear or forgetfulness.
It is also very dangerous to try
and outsmart them. They are trained on how to extract information out
of people, and in tripping people up who are lying to them. They have
learned how to get people to talk by making them feel scared, guilty or
impolite. They exploit our trust, honesty and sensitive nature to get
information and further harass us. They would prefer you lied to them
than not talk, so stay strong and stay silent!
Below, is a list of the arsenal
of dirty tricks investigators use against activists to get them to talk:
"Your friends have told
us everything; why don't you just come clean." They will act as
if your friends have already snitched on you, making you want to snitch
on them in return. It's generally a lie -- besides, even if that did
happen, how does it benefit you to be a witness against yourself?
"If you don't talk now,
we will come back with a subpoena." Most of the time this is an
empty threat. They approach you without a subpoena because they don't
have enough evidence against you to justify getting a subpoena from
the courts. If you talk, they might get that needed evidence, so its
best to stay quiet. Make them get a subpoena. At least ninety percent
of the time, they simply won't do it. But if they do, there are legal
and political ways to challenge the subpoena.
"If you talk, we will go
easy on you." Agents will promise you the world to get you to talk.
However, when they have people sign statements of guilt, notice they
never sign anything saying they will stay true to their promises. They
lie. Don't believe their promises.
"We know everything you've
done and have all the evidence we need to convict you." If this
was the case, they would go ahead and charge you with a crime and convict
you. Most of the time it's a lie, but sometimes they will show or tell
you the "evidence" they have against you. This "evidence"
will often have been obtained illegally -- meaning it cannot be used
in court -- or be lies like "we found your prints on the glass"
that they hope are correct enough to scare you. They show and tell you
about this "evidence" in the hopes that you will break down
and confess everything. Because – although their lies and illegally
obtained "evidence" cannot be used in court -- your confession
can. And they will use that as the main evidence to convict you. The
moral of the story is say nothing.
"You seem to be an intelligent
kid with a promising future. You don't want to destroy your life over
this, do you?" They act as if they are really concerned about your
welfare and are just trying to help. But, for some reason, they can't
help you unless you help them by talking. The truth is, they don't care.
This is just another way to manipulate you to talk.
"These extremists hurt your
movement. They alienate people and make them angry. Help your cause
by telling us who they are." These "extremists" are winning
so many victories that the repressive, status-quo loving government
can't handle it and have sent their agents in to crush the "extremists"
-- be they illegal or legal. They are trying to use your own desire
to help the cause against your fellow comrades. This line rarely works
among grassroots militants who know how effective we are, but it is
another trick we should be aware of.
"I support your goals, just
not your (friends') tactics" or "my daughter's a left-winger."
Again, they will try to act as if they support your cause, but that
they have to uphold the law -- and can't you help a fellow traveler?
If they really supported us, they wouldn't harass those activists who
work legally to change the system. Turning in fellow warriors helps
"If you are not guilty,
then why don't you talk?" This is one of their most used tactics.
We all have the desire to defend ourselves, especially when we know
we are innocent. However, they will attack and dissect everything you
say, continually prying to get more and more information -- and if you
stop answering their questions because they get out of line, they will
say, "A ha! So now you don't want to talk? It seems we have found
the flaw in your story!" and again try to make you feel guilty
and rekindle your desire to vindicate yourself. But even if you are
innocent, don't talk! An activist's innocence has never stopped the
authorities from convicting or jailing them. Furthermore, the more you
talk, the more likely you are to mention other people's names, leading
the police to more people who they can harass and question.
"Your supposed friends are
laughing at you. They manipulated you into doing these things and now
you're taking the fall for it while they get off scott free. They used
you and now they are laughing at you." Investigators will try to
pit you against the real or imagined "others" who they think
you conspired with. They will say your alleged "coconspirators"
used you, manipulated you, and deserted you. And then they will ask
you why you are willing to protect such worthless people who have been
so abusive to you and don't care that you were caught and face years
of prison. They are trying to create doubts in your mind about the other
members of your affinity group while giving you reasons to justify informing
on them. Again, this is pure manipulation, so don't talk. However, it
is good to make sure your affinity group is made up of people who you
fully trust and respect, so that you could never believe such lies by
Repeatedly asking the same question.
Agents will ask the same question in different ways numerous times.
This is how they can usually trip up those people who are trying to
outsmart them. It also helps them weed out more information from those
who are telling the truth, but being stingy with their answers. And
sometimes it just simply wears down those people who are not telling
the truth, so that finally they come clean. Don't ever think that investigators
are going to just ask you a few questions and let you go. The more you
give, the more they take, and once you start talking they will do whatever
it takes to keep you talking.
Good cop/bad cop. This is their
oldest trick in the book. It allows one officer to use all of the above
listed plays that are negative (like threats), while the other one uses
the positive scams (like promises). It allows them to use their full
arsenal on you. Sometimes the Bad Cop acts so angry and unstable that
you fear they will use physical violence against you. The Good Cop then
ushers the Bad Cop out of the room to "cool off." Then the
Good Cop warms up to you, and promises you a light sentence if you talk,
however if you don't talk, the Good Cop fears that the Bad Cop will
come back and make good on her/his threats of violence -- so just admit
your guilt so you can avoid that. Again these are usually empty threats,
but just be prepared for the Good Cop/Bad Cop ruse.