"I have no experience in any kind of interrogation whatsoever."
Military.com spoke to Marine Sgt. Klay South (Ret) about his experience on Erich "Mancow" Muller's radio program and got his side of the story.
Earlier today, we posted a story about Gawker's allegations that Mancow's waterboarding was a hoax. The truth seems to be a bit more complicated.
South says he was contacted by publicist David Kupcinet, who presented the appearance on the radio program as an opportunity to raise money and awareness for South's Veterans of Valor organization. South knows Kupcinet from his Kup's Purple Heart Cruise, a revival of a charity event originally run from 1945-1995 by his grandfather, Chicago Sun-Times columnist Irv Kupcinet.
South also says he had no experience with waterboarding, so Mancow's producers pointed him to the website waterboarding.org to learn something about what they wanted him to do on the program.
In the video, no one from the show ever claims that South has experience in waterboarding or any other interrogation techniques, although they do address him as "Sergeant." At the end of the video, when asked how Mancow held up, South replies, "Not too bad. Well, I'm not a professional, so I really can't say."
South doesn't believe he misrepresented himself and says, "I did it to raise money for the wounded troops."
Did Mancow plan his "waterboarding" as a radio stunt and find the experience far more traumatic than he anticipated or was his reaction planned from the beginning? Why did he go on "Countdown" a few days later and why did Keith Olbermann have Mancow on if his producers knew about the emails?
There are more quotes from South, Mancow and the Olbermann program in a follow-up story at Gawker.
Here's an official statement from Veterans of Valor:
Sgt. South received his training as 0311 Infantry at Camp Pendleton's Schoolof Infantry in 2003 before being assigned to 3rd Bn, 5th Marines, 1stDivision as Infantry Marine. During his time in Iraq, Sgt. South served asa fire team leader in an infantry platoon. At no time during his MarineCorps career did Sgt. South receive training in, perform or observeinterrogations of enemy combatants.
Sgt. South has founded VETERANS of VALOR which assist combat woundedreintegrate into their local communities. His zeal was spurred by his ownexperience when he was critically wounded. Sgt. South is passionate abouthis mission of helping combat wounded who serve in the United Statesmilitary.
What about the funds South hoped to raise through his radio appearance? As of today, Veterans of Valor has not received the promised $10,000 from Keith Olbermann nor any funds from Mancow.
UPDATE: Mancow goes off again at Gawker and says comparing his "wanterboarding" stunt to military interrogation is like comparing "apples to hand grenades."