“This goes against the values of the global community it professes to uphold. Moreover, it defeats the purpose of a liberal arts education: the free and public exchange of ideas and knowledge.” By Fernando Andrés Torres.-
Yale University plans to train Army Special Forces in interrogation techniques using immigrants as guinea pigs is causing great controversy among students and academia. The program is called United States Special Operations Command Center of Excellence for Operational Neuroscience
According to the internet site Yale Herald, these interrogation techniques based on psychiatric studies have attracted the interest of the the Special Operations Command of the U.S. Department of Defense that has recently awarded Associate Professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, Charles Morgan, a 1.8 million dollar grant to teach the Green Berets his methods.
Morgan, who calls his tactics “people skills” plans to use New Haven’s immigrant communities including Colombians, Moroccans, Nepalese, Ecuadorians, “for a team of 10 Special Forces members that he’ll train each week… They’ll go meet someone in their shop or in their food stand, or at Blue State or Willoughby’s,” the article says.
With the grant’s public monies the program will hire notorious snatcher and thieve Apollo Robbins who “will teach the Special Forces how to guide a person’s attention advantageously and how to make them feel at ease. Morgan explains the reasoning from the psychiatrist’s point of view: ‘In pickpocketing, you want to make people feel comfortable so you can steal their money,’ he says. ‘In psych, we want to make people comfortable so they’ll open up’.”
Writing for the Yale Daily News, columnists Nathalie Batraville and Alex Lew said that “Morgan hopes that by having soldiers practice their newly acquired techniques on ‘someone they can’t necessarily identify with’ (read: someone who is not white), they’ll be better prepared to do ‘the real thing’ abroad.”
Intelligence “is gathered to support a particular foreign policy agenda, the morality of which is not beyond question. It seems evident that Yale would not train foreign military operatives to interrogate informants. Yale as an institution does not – cannot – align itself blindly with the goals of other militaries.
“But who is to say we should align ourselves with U.S. foreign policy? Though its goals are at times morally defensible, they can also be appalling. The techniques soldiers learn at Yale might be used, for example, to identify candidates for President Obama’s ‘kill list,’ which is itself unethical and likely illegal. If someone lies to protect their friend from ending up on that kill list, is that a lie it is moral to detect? By training soldiers to perform these interrogations, Yale would be complicit in achieving these goals. As a university, Yale purpose’s is to forge a global community of scholars working together to produce, share, debate, question, challenge and reformulate knowledge. Its purpose is not to promote the agenda of the U.S. political elite,” said Batraville and Lew.
A petition drive to stop the program, which is starting on April, is demanding that “Yale University should not partner with the Department of Defense to open a training center that uses New Haven’s immigrant community as test subjects. With no input from the community it represents, the administration has committed itself to training special forces in intelligence gathering techniques. This goes against the values of the global community it professes to uphold. Moreover, it defeats the purpose of a liberal arts education: the free and public exchange of ideas and knowledge.”