I want to tell you about The School of the Americas. I’m sure many of you have never heard of it, nor know what goes on there- on our own soil and the atrocities committed as a result of this school.
What is SOA?
The School of the Americas (SOA) is a U.S. Army military training school for Latin American militaries, located in Fort Benning, Georgia. Renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) in 2001, the school has been producing death squads and human rights abusers since 1946.
Since its inception, the institution has instructed more than 60,000 Latin American soldiers in military and law-enforcement tactics. The Pentagon itself has acknowledged that in the past the School of the Americas utilized training manuals advocating coercive interrogation techniques and extrajudicial executions. After receiving their training at the institution, officers went on to commit countless human rights atrocities in countries like El Salvador, Guatemala and Colombia.
Among those targeted by SOA graduates are educators, union organizers, people of faith, and others who work for the rights of the poor. Hundreds of thousands have been tortured, assassinated, raped, “disappeared”, massacred, or forced in to refuge by those trained at the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC).
According to the Washington Post, “U.S. Army training manuals from the SOA/WHINSEC, released by the Pentagon, show the school advocates executions, torture, blackmail and other forms of coercion against insurgents…”
“Used in courses at the U.S. Army’s School of the Americas, the manual says that to recruit and control informants, counterintelligence agents could use fear, payment of bounties for enemy dead, beatings, false imprisonment, executions and the use of truth serum, according to a secret Defense Department summary of the manuals compiled during a 1992 investigation of the instructional material…”
YOUR tax paying dollars are funding the operation of this school; to train assassins and provide them with weapons and strategic military intelligence, in order to commit horrible atrocities and human rights violations across the Americas. The SOA/WHINSEC operates solely for the purpose of the destabilization of Latin America in an attempt to protect the interests of multinational corporations and maintain the economic status quo for the few rich and powerful in the US and their cohorts in Latin America.
With 35 Representatives who voted to continue funding the SOA/WHINSEC losing their seats in Congress on November 4th, we are in a great position to pressure the new Congress to permanently shut down the school in 2009. The last vote to defund the SOA/WHINSEC, in 2007, lost by a margin of only six votes.
Please take some time to sign the petition to President-Elect Barack Obama to shut down SOA/WHINSEC by filling out the short form HERE.
You can also take action by clicking HERE for other ways to close the SOA/WHINSEC. While you’re on the site, please take some time to read about the victims of SOA/WHINSEC including the San Jose Massacre, Guatemala, Haiti and Colombia.
(Most of the content of this entry was taken from SOA’s website.)