Join Date: Jan 2007
Private Educator:US Military Elite Taught Torture
From Below the Fold.
Does the American Military University (AMU) teach torture to its students or has it taught torture in the past? Wikileaks
Written by Danny Weil Education, World News Mar 29, 2010
Before I can actually broach the question I pose above head on and submit to you the facts I have that will allow you to draw your own conclusions based on proffered evidence, authenticated documentation and testimonial correspondence, I must digress and as briefly and yet as thoroughly as possible, seat this story within the historical context that gave rise to the necessity of my interrogatories, investigations, questions and subsequent answers to the question at issue expressed in the title of this piece. This, by necessity, must include a brief overview of my initial investigative work that then led to an understanding of the rise of the American Military University, its sources of revenue, its current student population, college curriculum and its financial business model, for it is a for-profit corporation and as such is driven by one main fiduciary and insatiable duty: profits and profit maximization.
Does the American Military University (AMU) teach torture to its students or has it taught torture in the past?
So we now come full circle to the heart of this story and we ask the question as I pose above: Does the American Military University (AMU) teach torture to its students or has it taught torture in the past.
To answer this question, I am providing the website link that has the entire lecture by Dr. Forness so you can read it and make up your own mind. I was told by Wikileaks that:
“…the doc is certainly legit and almost certainly a military distance education lecture” (private e-mail with Wikileaks editor).
You can find what is entitled: American Military University Torture Guide, by Sean McBride at: [political-research], Thu, 20 Dec 2007 08:56:00 -0800
Here is a brief summary of the documentation:
“Summary Lecture on torture techniques by Dr. Larry Forness of the American Military University.
The document explains the rationale behind torturing prisoners, torture methods, and a justification for ignoring international law. Forness advocates the injection of truth serums, threatening to inject Muslim prisoners with pigs’ blood, and torturing detainees’ friends and family” (ibid).
The document then continues with Forness’ online ‘lecture’:
“TORTURE, INTERROGATION AND INTELLIGENCE
What I want you to keep in mind as you read this is that we are to assume the following situation: We have somebody in our custody, who we believe has knowledge of an impending terrorist attack, and we think that attack could be VERY serious, but we have less than five days to find out what this person knows about the impending attack. In this piece, I’m going to specifically address using drugs known as “truth serums” as the means by which we get the intelligence that we need. Some would call this a form of torture. I want you to know that I don’t glorify torture for its own sake. I accept it as a means to survival.
We are supposed to be a nation of laws. If you are not a United States citizen, don’t expect protection of our laws. Therefore, no terrorist — whether running free or in custody – is entitled to any protection under any international law to which we are a signatory or law of the United States.
Most of what follows is what I have learned from Israelis, South Koreans, Russians, as well as Americans. I want to address several fallacies of interrogation.
Fallacy #1. Torture never works, because a prisoner will tell the interrogators whatever they want to hear just to stop the torture. That’s based on a faulty assumption.
Fallacy #2. Any prisoner can outwit his or her interrogators. This doesn’t work with interrogators who are members of a free society, and have very good to excellent intelligence sources to confirm and verify what a prisoner says.
Fallacy #3. Torture as a means of interrogation is generally not accepted throughout the world. In point of fact, within the last three years, more than three-quarters of all countries in the world have practiced torture as a means of interrogation.
Fallacy #4. These things called “truths serums” don’t really work. They do work to varying degrees of success” (ibid).
Forness rebuts what he calls the ‘four’ fallacies, one by one in the document and then ads:
“What you don’t want to do is “stack” scopolamine with sodium pentathol and sodium amythal. Stacking” means adding one drug on top of another before the previous drug(s) has/have washed out of the system. You stack on somebody, you’ll kill them.
When time is not a consideration, and when used in conjunction with skilled interrogators on a prisoner who has not been trained to resist the effects, sodium pentathol and sodium amythal will get you the truth in approximately 10% to one third of the cases. When the truth absolutely positively has to be there within five days, forget them – use scopolamine injected into the spine.
I don’t honestly know if we have used any of these truth serums on Saddam Hussein. Too bad if we didn’t. My clearance doesn’t extend that high. For those of you who don’t know — and to oversimplify it — there are four different levels of security clearances. They are: secret; top-secret; top-secret/code word; beyond top-secret/code word. The words “code word” could be something like UMBRA. So if I had that level, I would be cleared top-secret/UMBRA, which means I would be allowed to see or hear anything that is secret, top-secret, and — separately — anything that a classified under the code word UMBRA (ibid).
Finally, waxing nostalgic, Forness recalls General Pershing:
“In 1909, before World War I, there were a number of terrorist attacks on the United States forces in the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, by Muslim extremists. General “Black Jack” Pershing was the appointed military governor of the Moro Province. He captured 50 terrorists and ordered them to be tied to posts for execution. Since all the prisoners were Muslim, he asked his men to bring two pigs and slaughter them in front of the prisoners. He then proceeded by dipping bullets into the pig’s blood. In the process he executed 49 of the terrorists by firing squad. Then, the soldiers dug a big hole in the ground and dumped in the terrorists’ bodies and covered them in pig’s blood and viscera. The last man was set free.
For 42 years there was not a single Muslim attack anywhere in the world. His rationale was quite simple and effective. Since a radical Muslim is willing to give his life for his religion in a Jihad war, killing him would not make much difference.
He would be seen as a martyr (shahada). But the General knew that all Muslims believe in eternal life after death with 72 virgins waiting for them in paradise. He also knew that those that embrace Jihad usually prepare themselves physically and spiritually in case they die in combat. Since the pig is considered forbidden food (haram) in Islam, Pershing introduced this variable to thwart their hopes to enter Allah’s kingdom. The pig’s blood automatically nullified any prior purification by contaminating their bodies.
My interrogation technique is quite simple. I follow General Pershing’s example and order a pig to be slaughtered near the prisoner. The blood of the animal run’s freely toward the prisoner’s feet. He will immediately lift his knees to avoid making contact with it. I fill a syringe with the pig’s blood and threaten to inject him in the arm. The prisoner will talk — and quickly. Fair? Depends on your perspective. Effective? Extremely.
What I say here are my own opinions, based upon fact. They are not to be construed as the policy or official position of APUS. As always, you are free to accept or reject anything I say, and verify it by any means you wish.
Thank you” (ibid).
I wrote Larry Forness on two occasions. Once last year and once again this year, asking him if he would confirm the online lecture that was uncovered by Wikileaks. I never heard from Mr. Forness. I was not surprised; I never thought I would.
I then wrote Beth LaGuardia who had been kind enough to speak with me on two occasions about APUS. Here is my e-mail to her from January 2010:
“Hello, Beth my name is Danny Weil and we spoke a few months ago. I have e-mailed Larry Forness, a faculty member at AMU with a request for an interview. Twice I e-mailed by (sic) both times he has failed to reply.
My concern is below. Can you tell me if Mr. Forness is still using this curriculum or if this report is not true? It appears on Wikileaks as well as in other spots on the Internet and I wish to get some clarification as to the veracity of the report and if this is still part of the curriculum” (e-mail January 2010).
I waited but did not hear from Beth so I wrote Wally Boston, the president of APUS, by e-mail on January 13th, 2010 and sent him a copy of the ‘online lecture’. I informed him I had written on two occasions to Larry Forness and to Ms. LaGuardia and wished to confirm the veracity of the document as well as to inquire if this type of instruction was still going on at the American Military University.
Mr. Boston responded immediately and put me in touch with Ms. LaGuardia. She sent me the following e-mail on January 15, 2010:
“Regarding the report from Dr. Forness, I have some feedback for you. The information from Wikileaks was taken out of context from a discussion posted several years ago in his classroom. Dr. Forness shares his personal opinions about current articles on a weekly basis to challenge ideas and stimulate intellectual discussion in the classroom. He notifies students that they are welcome to read/not read these opinions, as they are not opinions of the University or material that will be used or tested in the course. Dr. Forness doesn’t use this content in the classes today (nor has he for years). As an academic institution, APUS is fully supportive of the freedom of faculty to express their opinions in the classroom regardless of their political persuasion” (e-mail, January 15, 2010, Beth LaGuardia).
Please contact me if you need anything further.”
I did contact her, by phone. I wanted to see if I understood her position. She confirmed the documentation from Wikileaks once again. So, I asked her, if this was an online lecture or an interpretation of an article? I was confused. And it was given to students in the classroom but only as an ‘opinion’ and not part of the curriculum? And how was the ‘lecture’ out of context? Somehow this didn’t make sense.
When I spoke with Ms. LaGuardia by phone, on January 22, 2010 over the concerns that I had and the ambiguity inherent in her e-mail, she told me that the lecture was a ‘prompt’ in an effort to engage debate and opinion among students. She also confirmed once again it was posted online but said it was a matter of academic freedom and continued to argue that it was an opinion paper by Dr. Forness as a concept to engage class discussion. So how was it out of context?
She also stated that it was no longer used in classes and she mentioned that she thought that “we’ve gone beyond this”, indicating to me that we were well beyond the initial phases of the war in Iraq and the controversies surrounding Guantanamo, torture and the treatment of detainees. In other words, this was the past; we don’t do this any more.
On February 15th, 2009, Scott Horton, a reporter for Harper’s Magazine reported:
“Army Private Brandon Neely served as a prison guard at Guantánamo in the first years the facility was in operation. With the Bush Administration, and thus the threat of retaliation against him, now gone, Neely decided to step forward and tell his story. “The stuff I did and the stuff I saw was just wrong,” he told the Associated Press. Neely describes the arrival of detainees in full sensory-deprivation garb, he details their sexual abuse by medical personnel, torture by other medical personnel, brutal beatings out of frustration, fear, and retribution, the first hunger strike and its causes, torturous shackling, positional torture, interference with religious practices and beliefs, verbal abuse, restriction of recreation, the behavior of mentally ill detainees, an isolation regime that was put in place for child-detainees, and his conversations with prisoners David Hicks and Rhuhel Ahmed. It makes for fascinating reading” (Gitmo Guard Tells All, February 15, 2009, Harpers Magazine, http://www.harpers.org/archive/2009/02/hbc-90004409).
Early this year, the same Scott Horton, writing in Harper’s spoke about the three detainee deaths that miraculously were reported as suicides.
No, Ms. LaGuardia is either doing poor public relations or she doesn’t know the facts. With the Obama administration protecting Bush era politics of detainment and torture, there is no telling how many screams are not being heard as you read this.
As to Mr. Forness, he has never contacted me. When I shared Ms. LaGuardia’s e-mail, above with the Wikileaks editor, he simply wrote me this:
“….in no way an acceptable response” (e-mail, Wikileaks).
I think he is right. You’ll have to make up your own minds and perhaps do your own inquiries. The document circulated does ominously say this, though:
“Although the document was likely intended for Forness’ students, it was subsequently circulated within the US military, where it came to the attention of the Wikileaks whistleblower Peryton, who also disclosed Guantanamo Bay’s main manual Camp Delta Standard Operating Procedure (2004), which was authenticated publicly by Joint Task Force Guantanamo” (http://www.mail-archive.com/politica.../msg10357.html).
Mr. Forness, could you please come forward? We have some questions we would like to ask you.
According to Ken Silverstein, writing for Harper’s Magazine, April 2010:
“For companies whose livelihood depends on military spending, the United States would seem to have entered a Golden Age. Annual defense expenditures have reached $640 billion, almost double (adjusting for inflation) the post-Cold War low in 1998. Over the next eight years, the ‘realists’ of the Obama administration plan to increase outlays by 5 percent over the already bountiful sums provided by George W. Bush” (Silverstein, K. Mad Men, April 2010, Harper’s Magazine).
That’s a lot of money being drained out of public coffers. One can only wonder how much of the pie the for-profit military proprietary colleges and universities like the American Public University System and American Military University will get as military spending balloons to heights unheard of in the history of the world, decimating civilian life and laying wake to massive federal and state deficits.
I received the following from Wikileaks sometime in March of this year.
FYI: US Intelligence planned to destroy WikiLeaks
I can no longer have fair and intelligent conversation with people here, without them resorting to the use of personal attacks. I have been targeted as a scapegoat for my defensive actions. I cannot discuss new topics and stop the rampant amounts of misinformation when it happens, where it applies. If it can happen to me it can happen to you.