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Perry Bans U.S. Training in Inhumane Techniques

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

Bariloche, Argentina, Oct. 9, 1996 – Manuals advocating torture and other inhumane treatment will never again be part of DoD training, said U.S. Defense Secretary William J. Perry.

In September, DoD officials released segments from Spanishlanguage training manuals used at the U.S. Army School of the Americas in the 1980s. The passages appeared to condone practices violating U.S. policy, officials said. These passages mentioned interrogation techniques, executions and use of truth serums.

Use of the offensive materials was wrong and is totally unacceptable, Perry said during a press conference Oct. 8. He along with 33 other defense leaders, was attending the second Defense Ministerial of the Americas.Perry said he was shocked when he found out about the manuals and was surprised they were used so long.

Instructors teaching intelligence courses at the school and at U.S. Southern Commands mobile training teams used the manuals from 1982 through 1991, DoD officials said. The school, now at Fort Benning, Ga., was in Panama and has trained 60,000 U.S. and Latin American officers, cadets, NCOs, police and civilians since 1946.

DoD officials discovered the objectionable materials in 1991 and pulled the manuals from circulation. A June Intelligence Oversight Board report on CIA activities in Latin America referred to the material, sparking current public interest.

Perry ordered DoDs inspector general to conduct a review to ensure new procedures prevent use of such material now and in the future.

"I want to be absolutely 100 percent sure that not only is there no such material in the course today, but that it never has the opportunity to slip in again," Perry said.

Former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney took appropriate action when DoD officials first discovered the passages, Perry said.

Cheney ordered the schools to immediately stop using the material. He further ordered all manuals found with the materials be destroyed. Cheney also adopted new review procedures to ensure it would not happen again.

Finally, he ordered a review of the training materials and reported results to Congress. The review found about two dozen isolated phrases, sentences or passages out of about 1,100 pages objectionable or dubious.

The U.S. Army and U.S. Southern Command also reviewed all intelligence and counterintelligence training and literature to ensure complete compliance with U.S. laws, regulations and policies, DoD officials said.

DoD has since taken further steps to ensure military officials do not violate U.S. policy. They added human rights instruction to the School of the Americas curriculum. A board of visitors, which includes human rights advocates, reviews the curriculum, course content and teching methods.

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