"For the Party's sake you can and MUST, at 24 hours notice, change all your convictions and force yourself to believe that white is black."

A Catholic cardinal was asked how he would reply if the Pope told him to believe that two plus two is five. The cardinal replied, "I would ask him, "Your Holiness, would you prefer that it be SIX?"

Alexander Solzhenitsyn had plenty of personal experience with KGB "interrogations". They lasted for hours every day for days on end. Solzhenitsyn knew hundreds of others who had been through what the KGB called interrogations.

It takes a cold-blooded bastard like me to think of an obvious question:

Why did the KGB BOTHER with "interrogations"? Why didn't it just make up whatever it wanted the person to have said and put it down in the records? The reason was that what the KGB was doing had nothing to do with interrogation. They were not seeking information.

KGB actually did these things precisely so that Solzhenitsyn and his fellow Gulag residents and all potential stoolies would hear about them...They would literally step on a man's testicles and crush them.

John McCain openly admits he was a stoolie in the Vietnam "interrogations".

But stoolies weren't there to give real information. They were there to give out information that could be used against other prisoners in order to get what the "interrogation" WANTED to get.

In America, the police get rough only when they are no longer looking for information. In the real world, a cop does not get paid to find out the truth. In the real world, a cop gets paid for closing cases.

Over and over and over big-time lawyers shock law students by laughing and telling them that being a lawyer has absolutely nothing to do with justice. You win cases. Period.

Lawyers and cops get rough when they need their victim to say what they need said. These are NOT interrogations.

I have a major problem with the fact that the points I most desperately want you to absorb sound like jokes. So let me tell you why there are so few interrogators like me. I will start by reminding you how to get into "intelligence" work. In order to get into intelligence work you needed an Ivy League degree. You also needed to get along with the other Ivy Leaguers.

These were people who saw no difference between Communism and the West except that the Communists were more idealistic.

So how did I get into any of this crap? Once again, the truth sounds like an old joke.

A con man taught his son all about how to lie, cheat, and steal. One day the kid asked him, "Papa, is there ever a time when you just tell the TRUTH?" His old man was shocked, but he gave it some thought. Finally he replied, "Well, son, in a real pinch ANY gimmick will do."

So how did I get into ANY of this stuff? Very rarely and ONLY in a pinch. Not only did I not make it into the big time, my intelligence work COST me money.

When was I called in as an interrogator? ONLY on the rare occasions when someone needed a real interrogation. Sometimes things get desperate and someone higher up is in a position where they cannot afford to turn things over to the intelligence bureaucracy.

There ARE cases when you need a real interrogation. At some point, admittedly in rare cases, you need to go beyond the general questioning and get deadly serious. You need INFORMATION, not confessions.

Let me give ONE quick example. When police are looking for a confession, they try to keep the suspects separate so they cannot concoct a story to get around what the police are looking for and what the suspects know the police are looking for. After all, this is a game. Remember, nobody is looking for INFORMATION. The so-called interrogation is to make suspects say what you need them to say to close the case.

If you are not looking to do anything to the people you are questioning, when you need INFORMATION, you normally give them plenty of time together. This is precisely because people are used to the idea that an interrogation is NOT an interrogation. So they will discuss what it is that you are trying to get them to say, what it is they are "in" for, and it will never occur to them that you have no interest in that whatsoever.

If you're good at this, it is hilarious to listen to them try desperately to avoid certain subjects. You know EXACTLY what they have decided the whole thing is about. You watch them dodge subjects so obviously that it is funny while they try desperately to be Shrewd.

On Capitol Hill, I always thanked God for the fact that everyone thought anybody with a Southern accent was a dolt. In a serious interrogation, where lives depended on getting it RIGHT, I thanked God for the general impression of what an "interrogation" is. The person you are questioning is almost tearfully relieved when he gets to talk about something besides whatever he think he needs to be Shrewd about. You can play him like a violin: you make his strings taut by hovering around whatever it is he thinks he's in there about.

So when it seems like you are just talking about things in general, he is so relieved he talks freely.

It never occurs to these people that you have not the slightest interest in THEM at all. What you are looking for is those bursts of relieved frankness where he tells you everything he can think of. He is trying desperately to keep this terrible Interrogator off of The Subject, which he assumes is him.

I have never bullied ANYBODY since before I reached age thirteen. I have never even forced someone to say what he does not want to say.

I am not Shrewd. The only way I can SOUND honest is by BEING honest. People can see through me when I make a pathetic attempt to be tricky, and I have known that since grade school. But I am AWFULLY good at LISTENING. The only way I know to find out the TRUTH is to listen carefully.

This is what real interrogation, the pursuit of genuine INFORMATION, is all about. Only in very rare cases is it necessary.

Maybe I am wrong to call myself a PROFESSIONAL interrogator. You can't make a living off this alone. But you can make yourself irreplaceable in several areas, and the living follows.

But when there is a desperate need for INFORMATION, someone like me is absolutely essential.