Retired generals to lead FSU forum on U.S. torture policy

A panel of retired military leaders are gathering at Florida State University on Jan. 23 to discuss U.S. interrogation policies and the importance of the commander-in-chief setting the highest standards for the treatment of prisoners.

Lt. Gen. Harry E. Soyster, Maj. Gen. Fred E. Haynes and Brig. Gen. David R. Irvine will discuss the importance of using interrogation methods that are effective, lawful and humane. The generals will emphasize the need to ensure that interrogation and prisoner treatment policies enhance national security, protect U.S. troops on active duty and are consistent with American laws, values and long-term interests.

“Interrogation and Torture in U.S. Military Policy: A Forum with Retired U.S. Generals,” set for 11:30 a.m. at the Claude Pepper Center, is sponsored by the FSU Center for the Advancement of Human Rights and Human Rights First, a nonpartisan international human rights organization. This is the second event in the Human Rights and National Security in the 21st Century Lecture Series, sponsored by the Center for the Advancement of Human Rights.

“It is a privilege for FSU to welcome retired military leaders of this stature to Florida,” said Terry Coonan, executive director of the Center for the Advancement of Human Rights. “Their positions on human rights and national security issues are uniquely credible, given both their combat experiences and the military leadership posts in which they have served for decades. It is also a privilege for us at Florida State University to co-sponsor an event like this with Human Rights First—a leading U.S. voice for many years on human rights events that impact U.S. policy and the American public.”

Soyster, who served as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency during Operation Desert Shield/Storm; Haynes, a combat veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam; and Irvine, who taught prisoner of war interrogation and military law at the Sixth U.S. Army Intelligence School for 18 years, are part of a larger group of retired generals and admirals who are working to ensure that U.S. policy reflects a single standard of prisoner treatment consistent with the Geneva Conventions. Members of the group have traveled to New Hampshire, Iowa and South Carolina, meeting with presidential candidates of both parties on the campaign trail.

The retired generals’ appearance at FSU is timed to precede the Jan. 29 Florida primary election. Among the issues to be addressed will be the use and legality of waterboarding—a topic that continues to be prominent in the presidential campaign—and the importance of the Geneva Conventions to the U.S. military.

Lt. Gen. Harry E. Soyster, USA (Ret.)
Lieutenant General Soyster served as Director, Defense Intelligence Agency during DESERT SHIELD/STORM. He also served as Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence, Department of the Army, Commanding General, U.S. Army, Commanding General, U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command and in the Joint Reconnaissance Center, Joint Chiefs of Staff. In Vietnam he was an operations officer in a field artillery battalion. Upon retirement he was VP for International Operations with Military Professional Resources Incorporated and returned to government as a Special Assistant to the SEC ARMY for WWII 60th Anniversary Commemorations completed in 2006.

Maj. Gen. Fred E. Haynes, USMC (Ret.)
General Haynes is a combat veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He was a captain in the regiment that seized Mt Suribachi, Iwo Jima and raised the American flag there on Feb. 23, 1945. In Korea, he was Executive Officer of the 2nd Bn, 1st Marines. During Vietnam, he commanded the Fifth Marines, and was G-3 of the Third Marine Amphibious Force. During the Kennedy and Johnson eras, he served as Pentagon Director, Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs. As a general officer he commanded the Second and Third Marine Divisions. He was the Senior Member of the United Nations Military Armistice Commission in Korea, and was Deputy Chief of Staff for Marine Corps Research and Development. He is chairman of the Combat Veterans of Iwo Jima, Chairman Emeritus of the American Turkish Council and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Haynes lives in New York and is currently writing a book, “We Walk By Faith,” the story of Combat Team Twenty-eight and the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Brig. Gen. David R. Irvine, USA (Ret.)
Brigadier General Irvine enlisted in the 96th Infantry Division, United States Army Reserve, in 1962. He received a direct commission in 1967 as a strategic intelligence officer. He maintained a faculty assignment for 18 years with the Sixth U.S. Army Intelligence School, and taught prisoner of war interrogation and military law for several hundred soldiers, Marines, and airmen. He retired in 2002, and his last assignment was Deputy Commander for the 96th Regional Readiness Command. General Irvine is an attorney, and practices law in Salt Lake City, Utah. He served four terms as a Republican legislator in the Utah House of Representatives, has served as a congressional chief of staff, and served as a commissioner on the Utah Public Utilities Commission.