SOA 101: Shut Down The School of Assassins!

The School of the Americas (SOA) is a US military
training school established in Panama in 1946,
ostensibly "to bring stability to Latin
America." Currently located at Fort Benning,
GA, the SOA, often dubbed the "School of
Assassins," trains hundereds of soldiers each
year, at a cost to US tax payers of millions of
dollars annually. Graduates of the SOA training
program have done little to promote stability in
their countries.

2002.01.23

While the right-wing agenda of the Bush
administration becomes more obvious every day and
the U.S. policy towards Latin America is driven by
corporate interest, the repression against growing
dissent tightens.


No month passes by in which we don’t learn about
resistance actions and massive demonstrations by
compesinos, union workers, students and others in
Latin America. The people are standing up against
the sell out of their natural resources to U.S.
and multinational corporations.


Support for a fundamental social change is also
spreading throughout North America. From Seattle
to DC to Quebec City, activists have been
mobilizing to end socioeconomic oppression and
military repression, and to speak out for the
rights of those who are the victims of economic
greed.


The reaction of the elite to the threat against
the status quo is violence and oppression. The
School of the Americas (recently renamed the
Western Hemisphere Institute for Security
Cooperation) is playing a crucial part in this
project.


The School of the Americas (SOA) is a US military
training school established in Panama in 1946,
ostensibly "to bring stability to Latin
America." Currently located at Fort Benning,
GA, the SOA, often dubbed the "School of
Assassins," trains hundereds of soldiers each
year, at a cost to US tax payers of millions of
dollars annually. Graduates of the SOA training
program have done little to promote stability in
their countries.


In fact, hundreds have already been cited in the
rape, "disappearance," torture, and
massacre of thousands of Latin Americans. Their
primary targets have included educators, union
organizers, religious workers, student leaders,
indigenous communities and those who speak out on
behalf of the poor.


Soldiers at the SOA are trained to protect
corporate interests and to maintain a system in
which the few powerful and rich in the U.S. and
their cohorts in Latin America are profiteering
at the expense of the vast majority of the
people.


SOA graduates planned and executed the civilian
targeted warfare campaigns against indigenous
communities in Guatemala and Chiapas. As
demonstrators took to the streets in Chocobamba,
Bolivia to protest the privatization of the
public water system, SOA graduates in key
positions ordered the military to attack the
civilians. The war in Colombia is the latest
highpoint of SOA violence in Latin America.


More than 10,000 Colombian soldiers have been
trained at the school. They continue to be cited
in human rights reports for their involvement in
kidnappings, torture, murder and collaboration
with paramilitary groups.


A Resistance movement to challenge and change
corrupt and oppressive US foreign policy and
ultimately to close the School of the Americas
formed after the truth about the SOA came to
light. This movement, which began 10 years ago,
is deeply rooted in the spirit of nonviolence and
has been able to educate and empower broad
sectors of society.


As a result of uncompromising nonviolent Civil
Resistance Actions on the US Army base, Fort
Benning, 50 people have collectively been
sentenced to over 40 years in federal prisons.


In May 2001, an additional 26 SOA prisoners of
conscience received sentences ranging from two
years probation to one year in federal prison for
acts of nonviolent civil disobedience conducted in
November 2000. 21 accepted voluntary
self-surrender and are currently awaiting
notification to report to federal prison. Three
of the 26 did not accept voluntary self-surrender
and are already incarcerated.


The movement is strong but we are up against a
giant. The Pentagon is fighting hard to keep the
school alive; to use it as their ongoing means of
controlling Latin America. We need your help to
keep the pressure on.


For more info about the SOA, resources, to view
photos of previous protests and more contact:



School of the Americas Watch/NE
http://www.soaw-ne.org


email: SOAWatch@riseup.net


phone: 215.473.2162 / 215.477.5892


[ also see related items:


7,000 Protest S.O.A. “Terrorist Training Camp”
http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1574


26 to Stand Trial for Civil Disobedience Against “School of Assassins”
http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1346


Protest and Disempowerment – One Anarchist’s Experience at SOA
http://www.theexperiment.org/articles.php?news_id=1023
]

Author: Reclaim The Streets

News Service: S26-global Digest Number 395

URL: http://www.egroups.com/group/antiimf2000