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Torture, Interrogation, and Intelligence

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In a summary that appears on the now virtually non-existent Wikileaks

Lecture on torture techniques by Dr. Larry Forness of the American Military University (Dec 2005). 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.

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"Dr. Larry Forness is a professor at American Military University. He has earned nine degrees, including three doctorates and two law degrees, with over half the degrees obtained via distance education. He completed his undergraduate training at Notre Dame and his advanced degree and training from prestigious universities such as Duke University and UCLA. He also earned two Law degrees (JD and LL.M.). A former Marine, Dr. Forness provides classified consulting to U.S. Military Special Operations units. Specialties include unconventional warfare and intelligence." (AMU biography)

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.
In a posted document that can be downloaded from the link posted above, Dr. Forness describes an effective means for acquiring intelligence by using pig's blood. He also explores a few "fallacies" we anti-torture people might have.  

 

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.

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I want you to know that I don't glory torture for its own sake. I accept it as a means to survival.

To digress for a moment, and to add a little humor to it, I don't get any pleasure inflicting pain on anybody, unless you're a quarterback. I hate quarterbacks.  I was a linebacker.  Quarterbacks live a charmed life.  Think about it.  A quarterback never had zits as a kid. He never sweat.  He always got the best looking cheerleader. He or his parents always had the best car. The teachers and coaches would let him get away with murder, and yet call him a saint. He always had his picture on the front cover of the football guide and the game-day program. He was the class valedictorian. He never had to dig ditches in 100-degree heat in the summer to make money. Even during practice, he got to wear a different color jersey from anybody else. He could sit down, kneel down, slide down, fall down, lie down, down the damn ball or throw it away, and if you even breathed on him you got penalized 15 yards for roughing the quarterback. I ask you, when was the last time you ever saw any official at any football game -- peewee through the pros -- ever throw flag on anybody for roughing the linebacker?  I rest my case.

When Israel suffers a terrorist attack, almost invariably they retaliate within 24 hours. The reason that they can do this is that they have the world's best human intelligence (humint), and they know how to interrogate people.  Their intelligence is so good and they keep it so current that they know who has attacked them, and they already have plans in existence for retaliation. Their humint sources are not just Israelis, but actual members of the society on which they are spying.  They use humint and supplement it by signal intelligence (sigint). We do it just ass-backwards, because we CAN'T do it the way the Israeli's do it -- we simply do not have enough people on the ground.

It takes $500,000-1,000,000 and 3-5 years to train and put in place a good humint source (assume this is an American hired by, say, the CIA, to try and infiltrate some terrorist group). NOTHING that is going on at present can quickly change this equation or situation. Forget the hearings, the posturing, the proposals, the realignments, the debate. It's all based on the INCORRECT assumption that we already have the tools, they just need to be rearranged. We do NOT have all the tools and no flow chart or organization chart can change that.

The Geneva Convention was not signed by any terrorist group. No terrorist should be provided any protection whatsoever under the Geneva Convention.

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.

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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.

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Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure." He was an editor for OpEdNews.com

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