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Press Release - We Can Make You Talk




 Show Features Team Delta Taking Volunteers through the Gruelling Experience of Actual Interrogation To Illustrate Some Historical Interrogation Methods

Sunday, November 9 at 8 pm ET/PT
on The History Channel®

New York, N.Y., October 31, 2003 — In any war, captured soldiers and spies are subject to interrogation and faced with physical and psychological techniques designed to break them down to reveal vital information they don’t want to reveal. The evolution of interrogation techniques and how they have been deployed from World War II to the war against terror is examined on WE CAN MAKE YOU TALK, premiering Sunday, November 9 at 8 pm ET/PT on The History Channel.

WE CAN MAKE YOU TALK puts a unique “reality” spin on the history of interrogation by subjecting civilian volunteers to some of the same types of interrogation techniques that have been honed by the military over the years. This group of volunteers, which includes a secretary, an executive, and a student, will be given the details of a hypothetical mission. They will then be captured by interrogators who will know nothing about the mission and have 24 hours to put the pieces together.

The interrogators featured are from Team Delta, a professional independent organization of highly trained former Special Forces and other elite military personnel from all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces.  Team Delta demonstrates classic interrogation approaches and techniques; such as Fear-Up Harsh, Good Cop/Bad Cop, We Know All and many others. Led by Senior Interrogator Mike Ritz, a former U.S. Army military interrogator, Team Delta subjects the volunteers to “white noise” in the form of a baby crying and static; separating the volunteers who are blindfolded and depriving them of food and rest. Exhausted and with stress levels rising, some break quickly and some hold out longer. In the end, all participants and viewers gain a much better understanding of the trials and ordeals a soldier may experience at the hand of his captors.

While the reality experiment is being conducted, WE CAN MAKE YOU TALK looks at some of the most notorious techniques practiced in wars hot and cold. The documentary takes viewers into the Lubjanka, where the Soviet secret police used both physical and psychological means of extracting confessions out of those ensnared in Stalin’s purges. It documents how the British trained their secret agents with cover identities. It reveals Nazi torture techniques, from the removal of fingernails to cold water immersions. It takes viewers into communist prison camps of Korea where the Chinese attempted to “reeducate” American prisoners, and into the North Vietnamese POW jails, where captured U.S. soldiers deployed a variety of techniques to prevent giving out accurate information.

WE CAN MAKE YOU TALK describes the methods the CIA and the U.S. military have developed over the years, and how they now rely on numerous psychological techniques that they hope will not only yield them short term information, but help build long-term strategic relationships with spies.

The documentary includes interviews with men who have done the interrogating and those who have been subjected to interrogation as prisoners of war.  Interrogators include British World War II Secret Agent John Debenham Taylor; Hans Scharff, Jr., whose German interrogator father developed “soft interrogation” techniques to earn prisoners’ trust that were later adopted by the U.S. military; Vietnam interrogator Frank Snepp, who deployed a psychological approach based upon his knowledge of Vietnam culture to extract information from the Viet Cong; and former KGB officer Major Alexander Zagvozdin, who help to crack Oleg Penkovsky, the most important spy working for the West at the height of the Cold War in the early 1960s.

Former POW’s include Allied spy Jean Holley and Bud Mahurin, a pilot in Korea, who recalls how his Chinese interrogators tried to make him confess that American pilots were involved in germ warfare.

In the post September 11-world, interrogation has become a vital factor in the war on terrorism. WE CAN MAKE YOU TALK describes the techniques that are being used in the camps at Guantamano Bay, and why Taliban and Al Qaeda prisoners are well prepared to resist any means of interrogation. Faced with a new set of challenges in the 21st century, the debate continues about how far interrogators should go, while the search continues for getting the most effective way to get people to talk who don’t want to.

Executive Producer for The History Channel is Susan Werbe. WE CAN MAKE YOU TALK was produced for The History Channel by Tiger/Tigress Productions.

Now reaching 84.6 million Nielsen subscribers, The History Channel brings history to life in a powerful manner and provides an inviting place where people experience history personally and connect their own lives to the great lives and events of the past.  The History Channel is the only place “Where the Past Comes Alive®.”  The History Channel received the prestigious Governor’s award from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for the network’s “Save Our History®” campaign dedicated to historic preservation and history education.  The History Channel web site is located at

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