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:
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.
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.
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
for the animals and the earth 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
animals 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
- "I support your goals, just not your (friends') tactics"
or "my daughter's a vegetarian." 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 animal lover? 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.
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 "co-conspirators" 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 the authorities.
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.
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.
an Agent Knocks on-line for more in-depth information on your legal rights
and the authorities. And for further reading on COINTELPRO and how it is used
to destroy progressive movements, link to Brian Glick's essay COINTELPRO