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Close the SOA


Greetings!

 

On Friday night, over 250 Pax Christi USA members and friends gathered at the Columbus Convention Center in Georgia for Pax Christi USA's annual gathering at the SOA. This year's presentation was entitled, "Resisting the Militarization of our Youth-from Central America to Ferguson," with presentations from Honduran Jesuit Ismael Moreno (popularly known as Padre Melo) and Tony Neal, President/CEO of Educational Equity Consultants in St. Louis.

 

Our evening speakers, Padre Melo (left) and Tony Neal (right), with Sr. Patty after Friday's program. 


 The evening started with a welcome from Sr. Patty Chappell, SNDdeN, Executive Director of Pax Christi USA. Scott Wright, former member of the Pax Christi USA National Council, and Jean Stokan, Director of the Sisters of Mercy Institute Justice Team, provided context for the evening, recalling the 25th anniversary of the Jesuit martyrs and their co-workers in El Salvador. 


Pax Christi USA members from across the U.S. participated in Friday's program, Saturday's march to the Stewart Detention Center, and the solemn funeral procession and action before the gates of Ft. Benning on Sunday. 

 

Click here to read a short report from the weekend, see photos, a PDF of Friday evening's program and prayer service, and more!

 

In Christ's peace,

 

Johnny Zokovitch

Director of Communications, Pax Christi USA


P.S. To see more of the latest from Pax Christi USA, visit the website at http://www.paxchristiusa.org. You can also "subscribe" to our website by clicking on the "Subscribe to our website" link in the right-hand sidebar of the website. This will alert you every time a new item is posted on the website. And don't forget to check out our page on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.
 
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This email was sent to josephvolker@optonline.net by jzokovitch@paxchristiusa.org |  


Pax Christi USA | 1225 Otis Street NE | Washington | DC | 20017


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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Greetings!

On Friday night, 200 Pax Christi USA members and friends gathered at the Columbus Convention Center in Georgia for Pax Christi USA's annual gathering at the SOA. This year's presentation was entitled, "Gun Violence Has No Room in the Spirituality of Peacemaking," with presentations from Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace Kathy Kelly and Pax Christi USA Executive Director Sr. Patty Chappell, SNDdeN.

Friday's program, with Cathy Crosby, Carole Lacour, Kathy Kelly & Sr. Patty Chappell.

The evening started with a welcome from Cathy Crosby, former member of the Pax Christi USA National Council, and Carole Lacour of Pax Christi Atlanta, with both serving as the emcees for the evening.

"Pax Christi USA members have been coming to the vigil and action here at the School of the Americas from the very beginning, and for 13 years now, we've been gathering like this, on Friday evening, to deepen our witness to peace, to celebrate the gifts of our movement, and to encourage each other for the challenges that lie ahead," stated Lacour...

 

 

Click here to read the rest of this report, see photos, a PDF of Friday evening's program and prayer service, and more!

 

In Christ's peace,

 

Johnny Zokovitch

Director of Communications, Pax Christi USA

P.S. To see more of the latest from Pax Christi USA, visit the website at http://www.paxchristiusa.org. You can also "subscribe" to our website by clicking on the "Subscribe to our website" link in the right-hand sidebar of the website. This will alert you every time a new item is posted on the website. And don't forget to check out our page on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.
 
This email was sent to josephvolker@optonline.net by jzokovitch@paxchristiusa.org |
Pax Christi USA | 1225 Otis Street NE | Washington | DC | 20017

 

 
 
 
-------- Begin forwarded message --------
 
Subject: FW: Obama Administration Appeals SOA Watch Court Victory
 
Date: 07/17/13 10:27:11 AM
 
From: "joseph volker" <peacelongbeach@optonline.net>
 
To: josephvolker@optonline.net, shcroke@gmail.com, marybethmooresc@gmail.com, paxbob@mac.com, agnesckelly@aol.com, Njdwyer01@aol.com, wmcnult@verizon.net, paxchristili@aol.com, lifeinGodjpw@yahoo.com, chilepaz@msn.com, info@nypaxchristi.org, ptracy@sjcny.edu, missya2@aol.com, emb158@aol.com, mmelmc@yahoo.com, janenrob@att.net, annieappaul@msn.com, khgerardi@aol.com, asullivan@nycommunities.org, carven@csjbrentwood.org, johnnypcusa@yahoo.com, vtorti@st.doms.org, Devongiordano@gmail.com, info@nypaxchristi.org, coordinator@vfpli.com, donbeckmann@optonline.net, ahalasz.lijwj@gmail.com, annieappaul@msn.com, sedgewickeasley@me.com, khgerardi@aol.com, Executive_Director@aclu.org, moveon-help@list.moveon.org, serg.strong@gmail.com, occupycatholic@gmail.com, rkmicahli@gmail.com, lifeinGodjpw@yahoo.com, NYC@codepink.org, sojourners@sojo.net, janenrob@att.net
 
 
 
 
-------- Begin forwarded message --------
 
Subject: Obama Administration Appeals SOA Watch Court Victory
 
Date: 07/16/13 02:40:23 PM
 
From: "SOA Watch" <info@soaw.org>
 
To: peacelongbeach@optonline.net
 
 
 
 
"█████ ██ █ ████ everything ███ █████ is ████ ██ ████ fine ████ ███ █ █████ love. █████ █████ ███ your ████ ████ government."
 
 
 
The Pentagon is Fighting Hard to Keep SOA/ WHINSEC Secrecy
 
Obama Administration Continues to Refuse the Release of Names of SOA/WHINSEC Graduates:
 
Appeals SOA Watch Court Victory
 
 
Human rights activists and SOA Watch took the U.S. government to court over its refusal to release the names of the trainers at the SOA/WHINSEC - and WON! In a landmark case, United States District Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton from the Northern District of California ruled in April 2013, that the Pentagon had no grounds for refusing to release these names (click here to read the judgment).
 
 
Now, two months later, the U.S. government is appealing the ruling and fighting to keep information about the SOA/WHINSEC secret, because this school has been connected to the training of torturers, death squads and military dictators throughout the Americas. The decision to file an appeal and not accept the ruling of Judge Hamilton unmasks President Obama's claim that his administration would be the most transparent in history as just one more lie. SOA Watch and human rights defenders will continue to fight against the denial of access to information and against government secrecy surrounding the SOA/WHINSEC.
 
 
Background: The SOA made headlines in 1996 when the Pentagon released training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, extortion and execution. Hundreds of SOA alumni have been implicated in human rights abuses and the formation of death squads, 11 Latin American military dictators, including Jorge Videla of Argentina, Hugo Banzer of Bolivia, General Rios Montt of Guatemala, attended the school. SOA graduates led the 2002 coup in Venezuela, and the 2009 coup in Honduras, and continue to be involved in repression in Colombia, Honduras, Mexico and throughout Latin America.
 
 
By having public access to the records of the SOA/WHINSEC from 1946 to 2004, SOA Watch compiled the names, course, rank, country of origin, and dates attended for every soldier and instructor at the SOA, renamed WHINSEC in 2001. After researchers exposed cases of known human rights abusers attending WHINSEC (despite claims that the "new" school was committed to human rights), and shared this research with Congressional decision-makers, the Pentagon altered its approach to public access of information and refused to disclose any future information about students or teachers at WHINSEC.
 
 
“The Pentagon knows that releasing the names of who is being trained at the notorious school, would lead to more disclosures about the atrocities that they are committing. The Pentagon is fighting hard to keep that information secret.” said SOA Watch founder Father Roy Bourgeois. “The SOA/ WHINSEC is their flagship training school, and their way of controlling the militaries, and thus the people of the Americas. Justice will prevail and the school will be shut down.”
 
 
The case will go to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, a U.S. federal court with appellate jurisdiction over the Northern District of California. SOA Watch is going to ask the Ninth Circuit Court to uphold the value of transparency, and the public's right to know, over the Pentagon’s secrecy.
 
 
Meanwhile, Anonymous, the loosely associated network of hacktivists, who gained fame as digital Internet Freedom Fighters, issued a Video Call to Action against the School of the Americas. The 2 minute video, with the hashtag #OpSOA calls on the Anonymous Collective to "expose the graduates and instructors of the SOA/ WHINSEC, and others who are responsible for their atrocities." The movement to close the School of the Americas is made up of people from many backgrounds and represents a positive alternative to the system of violence and domination, and we are grateful for the support from the hacktivist community. With the increasing secrecy by the Obama administration, and their blatant disregard for the rare Congressional and Judicial calls for transparency, whistle-blowers like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, and hactivists like Anonymous have played an important role in uncovering the truth about government abuses that affect all of us.
 
 
SOA Watch will continue to take this fight for justice and transparency to the halls of Congress, through the judicial system (all the way up to the Supreme Court if we have to), to the media, and into the internet, but first and foremost into the streets. To win, we need to build a grassroots movement that is too powerful to be ignored. Take action against militarization on August 9, 2013 in your community, and join the November Vigil at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia from November 22-24, 2013. We need to change the culture of secrecy, violence and domination, and create a culture of justice and peace in order to make the existence of places like the School of the Americas impossible.
 
 
Venceremos!
 
 
 
We appreciate your interest! You are subscribed to the SOA Watch list as peacelongbeach@optonline.net.
 
We believe that emails are a vital way for SOA Watch to stay in direct contact with supporters.
 
Click here if you'd like to unsubscribe from these messages, or change your email address.
 
The movement to close the SOA is a community, and all ideas are welcome.
 
We appreciate any feedback you might have -- positive or negative.
 
Click here to contact SOA Watch with any questions or concerns.
 
SOA Watch, PO Box 4566, Washington, DC 20017
 
 

 

 
SOA Watch News &amp; Updates
Share this action alert on your Facebook page or your Twitter account!

Dear Joseph,

SOA Watch is approaching the 30th anniversary of the first act of resistance against the training of repressive foreign militaries at Fort Benning, Georgia. The birth of the SOA Watch direct action campaign.

This summer, August 9th will mark the thirtieth year since Father Roy Bourgeois and two close friends first crossed the line. After fasting in protest at the entrance of Fort Benning, Roy, Linda Ventimiglia, and the late Father Larry Rosebaugh disguised themselves in the uniforms of high-ranking army officials and walked onto the grounds of base. Watch Roy describe the action here. It was three years after the assassination of Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, and, with the arrival of 525 soldiers to Fort Benning from El Salvador for military training, Linda, Larry, and Roy had a special message to deliver. After the bugle was blown, and the lights turned out, the three made their way to the area near the Salvadoran barracks, remaining hidden within a small cluster of pine trees. Armed with a cassette player, and a tape of Bishop Romero's last homily, Roy climbed high into a tree and played the speech. "His voice boomed into the barracks," Roy recalls. As the speech thundered in the sky, dozens of Salvadoran troops ran from the barracks to figure out the source of the voice. Also arriving on the scene were several heavily armed officials ordering Roy to climb down from the tree. The three were arrested, charged with criminal trespassing and impersonating an army officer, and were sentenced to a year and a half in prison. One year later, the U.S. Army School of the Americas was opened in Fort Benning after being forced to leave Panama by President Jorge Illueca in 1984. The resistance to the school from within Panama was a part of that country's strides toward independence, and their rejection of U.S. imperialism.

The U.S. resistance to the SOA/WHINSEC and U.S. militarization in the Americas grew from this original act of resistance. SOA Watch was formally founded in 1990, and has continued to grow since then. In the past 23 years, the U.S. has continued to tighten its grasp on Latin America and the Caribbean. It does not always employ the guns and the tanks to oppress people: there are other means of "protecting democracy". This includes the World Bank checkbook, the free trade agreements, such as NAFTA, CAFTA, and the US-Colombia TPA, and deregulation of economic markets. But as empire has grown, so has the resistance. Much of this is due to the tireless work of social movements, who relentlessly identify attacks on community building, cultures of peace, and self-determination and try to thwart the tools of imperalism before they are set in motion. These social movements are strongest when they stand in solidarity with one another. The struggle to close the SOA is united to many different struggles: the struggle for immigrant rights, the right of communities to control their own destiny, the right of workers to unionize, the struggle against police brutality in our communities, and the work to end the attack on whistleblowers who promote democracy by revealing the truth behind the lies. This is why we are calling for a National Day of Action on August 9th.

Who can participate?

Anyone who stands on the side of justice, of liberation, is encouraged to organize an action on August 9th in solidarity with those who are victims of U.S. militarization. For Ebed Yanes, from Honduras, the unarmed 15 year old who was murdered by a military unit which then covered up the involvement of SOA-graduate Josue Sierra. For Johnny Silva, who was shot in the back at a peaceful protest by riot police at the Univeristy of Valle in Cali, Colombia. For the 11 million undocumented residents living in the United States, many of whom have been forced to leave their homes after their economies were ruined by US imperialism, or are victims of US-sponsored political violence, and who now struggle simply for their right to live free. For Kimani Gray, Trayvon Martin, and Ramarley Graham, all unarmed teenagers killed by the unchecked force of police vigilance, or self-appointed vigilance in the last two years. Stand up because to be silent is to be complicit.

What can we do?

To resist in any capacity is to commemorate those who can not as easily speak out. Hold a vigil, or a one-day, water-only fast to recognize those who suffer as a result of U.S. militarization. Host an event in your community, such as a teach-in or a screening of the SOA Watch movie, Somos Una America, which is now available for free online. Stand in support of an organization or group in your community who is standing up for their rights. Hit the streets! For more tips on organizing across communities, visit: Anti-Oppression Resources

Share your action with us! We want to see your community engaging in protest, civil disobedience, or acts of solidarity and resistance. Please share your ideas with us! This is also an opportunity to mobilize your gente for the November Vigil. Get in touch with Dominique by responding to this email with questions or to plan a local event on August 9th, 2013, our National Day of Action!

¡Venceremos!
-Dominique Diaddigo-Cash

 

 


 
SOA Watch News &amp; Updates
Share this action alert on your Facebook page or your Twitter account!

Justice for Honduras - End U.S. Military Aid and Training
SOA graduate involved in criminalization of Indigenous leader Berta Caceres

On Friday, May 24, Berta Caceres, the General Coordinator of the Indigenous Lenca organization COPINH, and Tomas Gomez of COPINH’s community radio station, were traveling on rural dirt roads to reach the Indigenous Lenca community of Rio Blanco when they were stopped by 15-20 soldiers. The whole area had been militarized just two weeks before in response to the area-wide mobilization against a hydroelectric dam being illegally built in the Indigenous Lenca community of Rio Blanco. The First Battalion of Engineers, commanded by an SOA graduate, occupied the area to protect the interests of the company and enable dam construction to continue in direct violation of ILO Convention 169 and the will of the communities in the area.

Despite the military’s presence, evictions, sabotage to COPINH’s vehicle, death threats against community leaders, and intimidation, the resistance to the dam continued to grow as the Rio Blanco community neared 2 months of blocking the dam entrance. When Berta and Tomas drove the winding dirt roads to Rio Blanco on May 24, as they had many times before in COPINH’s now well-recognized vehicle, the military was waiting for them. They were on an isolated dirt road, where anything that occurred would be the word of at least 15 soldiers against that of Berta and Tomas. The COPINH leaders were ordered to stop and get out of the car. The soldiers proceeded to search their vehicle in detail, even poking their fingers in the engine, and found nothing. However, that did not matter in their pre-planned operation to criminalize Berta and weaken the struggle against the Agua Zarca dam: they simply claimed to have found a gun and then called the police, who took Berta and Tomas to jail. Berta was arrested and kept in jail overnight, finally being conditionally released after dozens of international phone calls inquiring for her safety. But first, she was charged with “illegally carrying weapons,” a charge that can result in time in prison. Subsequently, she was also charged with attempting against the internal security of the state of Honduras.

Two-time SOA graduate Col. Milton Amaya, the Commander of the First Battalion of Engineers, made accusations about Berta Caceres to the press, resulting in several news articles that claim the well-known social movement leader was illegally armed. This is part of a broader strategy by the military and Honduran oligarchy to criminalize and defame social movements by painting them as armed or operating outside the law.

Click here to continue reading.



November 22-24, 2013 at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia
Mobilize your community for the November Vigil
Year after year, Honduras continues sending more and more soldiers to be trained at the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC) in Fort Benning, Georgia. As the ongoing repression by Honduran military forces against the Honduran people show, it is more important than ever to close the SOA/ WHINSEC and demand a change in US foreign policy. Click here for more information about the organizing for the November Vigil at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia!

Stay tuned for an email about local organizing to close the SOA and to resist U.S. militarization, that you can carry out in your community!

SOA Watch is looking to hire a Field Organizer to work on awesome stuff!

The full-time SOA Watch Field Organizer position is based in Washington, DC. A minimum commitment of two years is required. The start date is as soon as possible. Salary is $35,000/year with health benefits, paid vacation and holiday time. The job entails helping organize grassroots SOA Watch movements around the country, coordinating large and small movement events, including the annual vigil, communicating with SOA Watch staff across the Americas and assisting in all office functions. Women, people of color and differently-abled persons are encouraged to apply. The ideal candidate should have:

  • Excellent written and speaking skills
  • Fluency in Spanish and English
  • Knowledge of history of US-Latin America/Caribbean relations; familiarity with the SOA/WHINSEC and work of SOA Watch
  • Ability to engage with a variety of audiences
  • Ability to travel across the country
  • Experience in event planning
  • Basic computer skills; familiarity with HTML, webpages and social media

    Please send resume, a cover letter explaining what qualities you would bring to this job and 3 references by email to hvoss@soaw.org . If you have questions about applying, call Hendrik Voss at 202-234-3440 .

    Resumes will be reviewed as we receive them.

    To read more about the Field Organizer position, see here.





  • We appreciate your interest! You are subscribed to the SOA Watch list as peacelongbeach@optonline.net .
    We believe that emails are a vital way for SOA Watch to stay in direct contact with supporters.
    Click here if you'd like to unsubscribe from these messages, or change your email address.
    The movement to close the SOA is a community, and all ideas are welcome.
    We appreciate any feedback you might have -- positive or negative.
    Click here to contact SOA Watch with any questions or concerns.
    SOA Watch, PO Box 4566, Washington, DC 20017

    To make a donation to support the movement, please visit SOAW.org/donate.
    To make a tax deductible donation, please visit SOAW.org/educationalfund.

     

     

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    Call for an end to all US military aid to Honduras and justice for Ebed Yanes

    One year ago this week, 15-year old Ebed Yanes was returning home in Tegucigalpa by motorcycle when he was murdered by the Honduran military. Soldiers pursued him in a Ford 350 truck donated by the US government to a checkpoint staffed by the US-trained, vetted, and equipped special forces. A 2011 graduate of WHINSEC/SOA gave the order to start shooting at the unarmed 15-year old. Ebed died immediately, his life forever cut short. Join the Committee of Family Members of the Detained-Disappeared of Honduras (COFADEH) in calling for justice for Ebed by entering your zip code below.

    Ebed is just one of the hundreds of Hondurans murdered by military or police since the 2009 SOA-graduate led coup, often with funding or training from the United States.

    US Senator Cardin is circulating a Senate Sign-On letter to the State Department about the human rights situation in Honduras. Urge your Senator to sign-on to the letter, call on the White House and your representative to close the SOA, and tell the State Department and US Embassy to ensure no US aid goes to Honduran units that violate human rights, all by filling in your information below! Scroll down to the very bottom to enter your information.
    In order to address your message to the appropriate recipient, we need to identify where you are.
    Please look up and use your full nine-digit zip for the best results.
    Please enter your zip/postal code:

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    SOA Grads Database Online
    Who has graduated the School of the Americas? Find out on our online Grads Database.
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    Home About Us Equipo Sur Stories of Honduras
    Stories of Honduras
    Hear from our activantes in Honduras as they talk to people on the ground, and help bring to light the reality of the political and social turmoil in the post-coup nation that has come to be known as the "most violent in the world".
    Title Filter     Display # 5101520253050100All
    # Article Title
    1 Family Members of Ebed Yanes Hold Vigil Outside Court
    2 One Year Anniversary the Murder of 15-year old Ebed Yanes by the Honduran Military
    3 One year after the Ahuas attack, the victims are completely abandoned
    4 One Year Anniversary of DEA Raid Gone Wrong in Honduras
    5 Video: Exhumation at the Paso Aguan Plantation
    6 Exhumation of a Clandestine Grave in the Paso Aguan Plantation
    7 ANACH secretary murdered by assassins under the command of landowners, amid constant militarization
    8 Defending Rio Blanco: Three Weeks of the Lenca Community Roadblock
    9 Urge the Honduran government to respect the Rio Blanco Indigenous Community
    10 E-mail the Honduran Authorities to Protect the Life of Pedro Canales
    11 Action Alert: Threats against Zacate Grande Human Rights Defenders
    12 Campesino Organizations Condemn Media Campaign to Justify More Murders of Campesinos in the Aguan
    13 Call Congress: US Funding Honduran police with alleged death squad ties
    14 Plan to Assassinate Campesino Leaders in the Aguan Valley
    15 International Women's Day in Honduras
    16 Video of Walk for Dignity and Sovereignty
    17 Armed Security Guards Evict Campesinos
    18 Walk for Dignity and Sovereignty arrives at Honduran Congress
    19 Freedom and Justice for Chabelo Morales
    20 Walking for Dignity in Honduras, Step by Step
    21 COFADEH Response to Xatruch III
    22 Freedom for Honduran Campesino Leader and Political Prisoner Jose Isabel Morales
    23 Victims of the US Drug War in Honduras
     
     
     

    End the War on Drugs & the SOA will become obsolete.


     
    Dear Joseph,

    My life's energies for the past three decades have been defined by a man who stood up for justice in the face of terrible odds: Monseñor Oscar Romero of El Salvador. From Romero I learned about the grave injustices heaped upon Latin America by my country. Through Romero I found my voice; and learned that standing up for justice can bring serious consequences.

    This March 16-25 I will be traveling to El Salvador to honor the 33rd anniversary of the martyrdom of San Romero de las Americas. I go to El Salvador to renew my own commitment to justice and to carry forward Romero's legacy of speaking truth to power. I will ask the government of El Salvador to stop sending troops to the School of the Americas.

    I invite you to join me on a memorable journey that will break open your heart and place you in the center of our efforts of citizen diplomacy. Six countries have announced their withdrawal from the SOA. Now it's time for El Salvador to follow the dignified example of its neighbors. This tiny nation lost tens of thousands of lives - among them, Monseñor Romero - at the hands of graduates of this school. U.S. militarization is unfortunately not a thing of the past in Central America, as brazenly illustrated by the 2009 SOA graduate-led military coup in Honduras and the rise of several SOA graduates within the security apparatus in El Salvador.

    Thirty years ago I took voice of Romero's last homily to the top of a hundred- foot pine tree, located in the middle of Ft. Benning. With two friends, I scaled the pine tree with a tape player and speakers in my hand, right outside the barracks where troops from El Salvador were being trained by the US Army. As I reached the tree top, I hit the play button, and out of the skies came these words:

    I would like to make a special appeal to the members of the army ........ Brothers, each one of you is one of us.. The peasants you kill are your own brothers and sisters. ..In the name of God, in the name of our tormented people whose cries rise up to heaven, I beseech you, I beg you, I command you, stop the repression!

    What followed was a sacred moment. Soldiers poured out of the barracks, looking into the night, unable to see us, but hearing the words of a prophet coming from the heavens. Soon we were found, beaten, stripped, searched and sent to jail. But Romero had the final word. This action shined a light on this future site of the SOA and sowed a seed that later blossomed into the SOA Watch movement.

    I hope that you will consider joining me on this Romero Legacy Delegation. In addition to participating in commemoration events for Monseñor Romero and meeting with officials of the Salvadoran government, we will be learning about new initiatives and challenges of the FMLN-led government. We'll also be visiting communities who are standing up for justice against the environmental ravages of corporate mining and hearing from groups who are building creative alternatives to gangs. We will visit many sacred sites, such as the home of Romero, the four US churchwomen, the six Jesuit priests all murdered by SOA graduates in the 1980's.

    If you would like to apply for the delegation you may click here for an application form. If you have further questions, feel free to contact our Latin America Liaison Lisa Sullivan by email at lsullivan@soaw.org , or Delegation co-coordinator Mary Anne Perrone by phone at 734-996-9390

    It would be a privilege to share this sacred journey with you.

    Abrazos,

    Father Roy Bourgeois
    SOA Watch
    (202) 234-3440


    We appreciate your interest! You are subscribed to the SOA Watch list as peacelongbeach@optonline.net .
    We believe that emails are a vital way for SOA Watch to stay in direct contact with supporters.
    Click here if you'd like to unsubscribe from these messages, or change your email address.
    The movement to close the SOA is a community, and all ideas are welcome.
    We appreciate any feedback you might have -- positive or negative.
    Click here to contact SOA Watch with any questions or concerns.
    SOA Watch, PO Box 4566, Washington, DC 20017

    To make a donation to support the movement, please visit SOAW.org/donate.
    To make a tax deductible, year-end donation, please visit SOAW.org/educationalfund.


    SOA Watch News &amp; Updates

    Delegations to El Salvador, Paraguay, Chile and the border

    Feliz Año Nuevo from the South! We send saludos y felicidades and hopes that we may continue to work together South and North to resist the culture of violence and militarization, and create a new culture of peace.

    Peace becomes a greater possibility when we connect with others working for justice in different corners of our globe. Last year, SOA Watch delegations brought important victories to the SOA Watch movement, with two more country withdrawals from the SOA. Delegations also formed new friendships, laid groundwork for further victories, sparked creative ideas that help peace-making efforts of both sides of the border.

    This year we invite you to participate in SOA Watch's efforts of citizen diplomacy by joining one of our 2013 delegations. We will be traveling to El Salvador to honor Monsenor Romero's martrydom and ask the government to withdraw from the SOA. We will go to Paraguay to observe presidential elections and visit areas of land conflict that were used to justify last year's "express coup". We will stand at the southern border of the US in solidarity with immigrants and those affected by border violence and militarization. We will journey to Chile for the 40th anniversary of Pinochet's coup and express solidarity with students and Mapuche peoples struggling to shape a just society.

    Join us! Together, North and South, we can make a difference!

    If you are interested in any of these delegations, please contact Lisa Sullivan at LSullivan@soaw.org for more information.

    Abrazos from Chile and Venezuela,

    Pablo Ruiz and Lisa Sullivan


    Join SOA Watch on one of our 2013 delegations
    For more information, contact Lisa Sullivan at LSullivan@soaw.org

    EL SALVADOR: March 17-26, 2013

    Join Father Roy Bourgeois and SOA Watch Latin America Liaison Lisa Sullivan in meeting with high government officials to ask that they join six other Latin American countries in withdrawing their troops from the SOA. The delegation will participate in activities commemorating the 33rd anniversary of the assassination of Monsenor Romero, one of 70,000 victims of the civil war, and one of thousands of which were killed at the hands of SOA graduates. The group will also meet with communities protesting the destruction of mining projects, meet with groups working with creative solutions to gangs, and overlap with the colorful first days of Easter Week.

    The delegation fee of $1,450 includes all meals, lodging, transportation, and materials within the country. It does not include travel to and from San Salvador.

    For more information, contact Lisa Sullivan at LSullivan@soaw.org


    PARAGUAY: April 17-23, 2013

    This delegation will play the very important role of observing presidential elections. Last June the right-wing congress used a bloody confrontation between landless peasants and police forces as a pretext for removing President Fernando Lugo, an ex-bishop inspired by liberation theology who ran on a platform of agrarian reform and whose victory ended the 61-year rule of the Stroessner’s Colorado Party. The “express coup” was condemned throughout the region, andParaguay was removed from UNASUR and Mercosur by fellow Latin American governments. The delegation will look at issues of violations of human rights, criminalization of social protest and the militarization of the north.

    The delegation fee of $1,250 includes all meals, lodging, transportation, and materials within the country. It does not include travel to and from Paraguay.

    For more information, contact Lisa Sullivan at LSullivan@soaw.org


    U.S./Mexico Border: May 19-27

    Join SOA Watch Founder Father Roy Bourgeois and SOA Watch Latin America Liason Lisa Sullivan on a delegation to the U.S./Mexico border at Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora. Since the 1994 passage of the free-trade agreement, NAFTA, the U.S. has increased their southern Border Patrol by 500%. The US spends over $90 billion a year to "secure" the southern border and arm a para-military force that spends 80% of its time confronting maids and gardeners. Over the past decade the "Drug War" has left 100,000 dead and a had a zero impact on the availability of illegal drugs in the US. Human rights organizations have documented the use of torture and enforced disappearances and executions by Mexican military and police, many trained in the US. The delegation will visit Tucson and both of the towns of Nogales on either side of the border. Delegates will have the opportunity to experience programs that directly serve migrants at the border, and meet with organizations that directly aid migrants in the desert. We will also meet with human rights organizations, immigrant advocates, and faith-based groups.Together we will explore ways in which we can help change this untenable and deadly US immigration policy.

    The delegation fee of $1,300 includes all meals, lodging, transportation, and materials within the country. It does not include travel to and from Tucson.

    For more information, contact Lisa Sullivan at LSullivan@soaw.org


    Chile: September 6-14, 2013.

    For Chile, September 11th has a very different meaning. On that date in 1973, General Augusto Pinochet orchestrated a coup against socialist president Salvador Allende, with ample help from the United States. Join SOA WATCH Latin America coordinator and torture survivor Pablo Ruiz, along with tens of thousands of Chileans, in commemorating the 40th anniversary of the martyrs whose lives were lost by this dictatorship, including that of singer/songwriter Victor Jara whose death was caused by SOA graduates. From these ashes of the past, a new Chile is arising, thanks to the valiant efforts of Chilean students and Mapuche people who refuse to accept the the neo-liberal model imposed by Pinochet and designed by US economists. Join us in showing concrete solidarity for their struggle. The delegation fee of $1,350 includes all meals, lodging, transportation, and materials within the country. It does not include travel to and from Santiago, Chile.

    For more information, contact Lisa Sullivan at LSullivan@soaw.org

    Join our partner organizations on their delegations to Panama, the US Border at El Paso, and Honduras.
     

    Jon Fromer Presente!



    Descansa en Musica - Jon Fromer
    hermano nuestro
    porque la musica es el universo:
    una serie de vibraciones
    a las cuales siempre te supiste sintonizar
    trayendonos paz y esperanza
    en una lucha para defender la dignidad
    de la clase trabajadora;
    de nuestra humanidad

    Jon - Te queremos Tanto

    Rest in Music Jon Fromer
    our brother
    because music is the universe:
    a series of vibrations
    with which you were always in relationship
    bringing us peace and hope
    in our daily struggle to defend
    the dignity the working class
    that is: of Humanity

    We love you Jon

    _________________

    SOA Watch

    @SOAWatch

    SOAW YouTube




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    SOA Watch News &amp; Updates
    Grassroots Pressure Works - You Did It!
    US Withholds Funds to Honduran Police
    Over the last few weeks, thousands of you around the country have sent messages to your Members of Congress, urging them to ask US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to suspend US assistance to the Honduran military and police, given the widespread, serious human rights violations by the U.S.-trained Honduran security forces.

    Now, the US government is responding to the grassroots pressure by withholding funds to Honduran law enforcement units directly supervised by Juan Carlos "El Tigre" Bonilla, the SOA graduate who became the new national police chief. Funding will be withheld until the U.S. can investigate allegations that he ran a death squad a decade ago. The strategy of using death squads for the military's dirty work is certainly nothing new for SOA students: Roberto D'Aubuisson established the Death Squads that were responsible for much of the violence in El Salvador in the 1980's, and Benedicto Lucas Garcia masterminded the creation of the Civil Defense Patrols in Guatemala. Mexico's José Ruben Rivas Peña , who took the SOA's elite Command and Staff Course, called for the "training and support for self-defense forces or other paramilitary organizations in Chiapas," and many of the Colombian officers cited in reports about collaboration with paramilitary groups graduated from the School of the Americas (SOA). A report, released by the State Department says that it "is aware of allegations of human rights violations related to Police Chief Juan Carlos Bonilla's service" and that the U.S. government has established a working group to investigate.

    This is a good step in the right direction that only happened because you were pushing for change. However, we need to push further. We don't yet know how much of the U.S. funding for the repressive Honduran state forces is affected. What we do know is that graduates of the SOA, who head state security forces under the illegitimate post-coup regime of Porfirio Lobo, continue to work in complicity with private security forces to repress small farmers and cooperatives from defending the lands that provide their sustenance. We also know that political repression is among the worst in the hemisphere: journalists, opposition activists, and LGBT activists have been murdered with impunity.

    Call the Honduras Desk in the State Department at 202-647-3482 and let them know that while we appreciate that some of the funding is being withheld, their report and the investigation; it is absolutely urgent that ALL U.S. military and police training and aid to the repressive Honduran security forces be cut immediately. Afterwards, call the Capitol Switchboard at 202- 224-3121 and talk to the office of your Member of Congress. Let them know that we need them to amplify our voices at the State Department, that we need them to also work for the end to all U.S. military and police training and aid to Honduras as well as for the closing of the notorious School of the Americas, where many of the people responsible for the coup and the ongoing repression in Honduras were trained.

    Stand in solidarity with our compañerxs in the South and mobilize your community for the November Vigil at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia (November 16-18, 2012) to speak out for justice and against oppressive U.S. foreign policy. Join your voice with thousands of human rights activists, torture survivors, anti-war veterans, students, families, union workers, and artists from across the Americas, at the largest grassroots anti-militarization mobilization in North America. Click here for more information.


    Educate your community
    Map of US Interventions in Latin America and the Caribbean
    Map of U.S. Interventions in Latin America and the Caribbean The design team of ILC.iNK created an extraordinary map of U.S. interventions in Latin America and the Caribbean. It lists the Republicans and Democrats who were U.S. presidents at the time of the interventions, which makes it a great educational tool and reminder for the election year; to create real change in the bi-partisan U.S. foreign policy towards Latin America, it'll take more than a change in the White House but the kind of hard and persistent grassroots organizing that has brought the victories that we are seeing in Latin America.

    To order a copy of the U.S. interventions map, click here.

    Other Resources:
    Romney’s Death Squad Ties:
    Bain Launched With Millions From Oligarchs Behind Salvadoran Atrocities
    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is facing new scrutiny over revelations he founded the private equity firm Bain Capital with investments from Central American elites linked to death squads in El Salvador. After initially struggling to find investors, Romney traveled to Miami in 1983 to win pledges of $9 million, 40 percent of Bain’s start-up money. Some investors had extensive ties to the death squads responsible for the vast majority of the tens of thousands of deaths in El Salvador during the 1980s. Democracy Now! interviewed Huffington Post reporter Ryan Grim, who connects the dots in his latest story, "Mitt Romney Started Bain Capital With Money From Families Tied To Death Squads." "There’s no possible way that anybody in 1984 could check out these families — which was the term that [Romney’s campaign] used — and come away convinced that this money was clean," Grim says.

    To watch the Democracy Now! interview, click here.



    Why We Mobilize
    Ka Rodríguez, Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana:

    "During the past three years I got involved with the SOA Watch Movement on campus either by helping organize the 10 hour ride to the vigil, distributing “¡Presente!” or screening documentaries. I am part of this movement and participate at the vigil because I believe that too much money and resources have been and still are invested in militarization, violation of Human Rights and setting up military bases in Latin America. In this, the School of the Americas has a crucial role. TOGETHER at the vigil we can say NO! to this and shut down the School of the Americas."

    Click here for more voices about why we mobilize to Fort Benning.

    We appreciate your interest! You are subscribed to the SOA Watch list as peacelongbeach@optonline.net .

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    Contact us.

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    Our telephone: (202) 234 3440

    Click here to fund the campaign to close the SOA.


     
    SOA Watch News &amp; Updates
    Honduras: The Struggle for Democracy, Independence and Self-Determination Continues

    The coup organized by SOA graduates that toppled President Manuel Zelaya in 2009 not only brought an end to a democratic government, but it has also turned Honduras into a nightmare, with the highest homicide rate in the world. Political repression is among the worst in the hemisphere: journalists, opposition activists, and LGBT activists have been murdered with impunity. Graduates of the SOA, who head state security forces under the illegitimate post-coup regime of Porfirio Lobo, work in complicity with private security forces to repress small farmers and cooperatives from defending the lands that provide their sustenance. Click here to ask your Members of Congress to urge US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to suspend US assistance to the Honduran military and police, given the widespread, serious human rights violations by the U.S.-trained Honduran security forces.

    Solidarity in Action: Mary Anne Perrone is currently on the ground in Honduras as an SOA Watch observer, on the invitation of the Committee of Relatives of the Detained and Disappeared (COFADEH). Starting on July 14, SOA Watch will have another full time human rights accompanier on the ground. Brigitte just completed her accompaniment training in Canada and is currently en route to Honduras, where she will join the Honduras Accompaniment Project in providing international human rights accompaniment for individuals and communities at risk because of their efforts to defend human rights, land and the environment. This was made possible because of your donations to SOA Watch. Thank you! Stay tuned for updates from Brigitte and Mary Anne!

    June 28, 2012 marked the three-year anniversary of the military coup in Honduras; it also marked the birth of the Honduran Resistance, one of the most important social and political movements of contemporary history of Honduras and Latin America. Watch the video essay Honduran Resistance Lives On by Jihan Hafiz (music by Simon Rios). The US has lost a lot of its influence in the Americas over the past decade. Last week, Ecuador joined Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay and Venezuela in pulling its troops out of the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC).Just as it is only a matter of time before the SOA/ WHINSEC is being forced to close its doors for good; countries like Honduras will free themselves and gain their rights to democracy and self-determination.

    Stand in solidarity with our compañerxs in the South and mobilize your community for the November Vigil at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia (November 16-18, 2012) to speak out for justice and against oppressive U.S. foreign policy. Join your voice with thousands of human rights activists, torture survivors, anti-war veterans, students, families, union workers, and artists from across the Americas, at the largest grassroots anti-militarization mobilization in North America. Click here for more information.


    Like the work SOA Watch is doing? Please support us today.
    WHINSEC Board of Visitors Meeting
    On June 27 and 28, 2012, the news that Ecuador had pulled out of the SOA made shock waves in Columbus, Georgia. During those two days, SOA Watch activists – including Fellowship of Reconciliation’s John Lindsay-Poland, former SOA Watch Prisoner of Conscience Luis Wolf and members of SOA Watch-Columbus – spoke out at the SOA/WHINSEC Board of Visitors’ meeting.

    The activists inquired about the transparency of the school that neither releases the names of the graduates and instructors, nor knows how to track them after they leave. Ecuador’s decision to leave the school left a cloud of doubt over the meeting. Click here to read a report back.

    The Board of Visitors meets annually, supposedly to “oversee” what happens at the SOA/WHINSEC. However, it appears to be more of a rubber stamp board for PR purposes.

    Send letters to the Ecuadoran embassy – as well as to those of Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia and Venezuela – supporting them for their just and courageous actions. The Americas are rising up!



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    Contact us.

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    SOA Watch News &amp; Updates
    "We who in engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
    SOA Watch Activists to Stand Trial in DC in September, Theresa in prison in Texas

    Our sister Theresa Cusimano is serving a six month prison sentence for her nonviolent action of crossing onto Fort Benning. History will prove that actions like Theresa's were - and still are - necessary to show that the true path to justice and peace will never come through the barrel of a gun. Click here to read a letter from Theresa.

    Theresa was held for almost four months in deplorable conditions at a county Jail in Alabama, before being transferred last month to a federal prison in Texas. Please continue sending her messages of hope, love and solidarity. She will be released in July. If you are able to visit Theresa before then, please contact Nico@soaw.org. We appreciate your solidarity with our courageous sister, Theresa.


    Trial Date Set for Five SOA Watch Activists

    A court in Washington, DC has set a September 17, 2012 trial date for five of the 13 SOA Watch activists, who were arrested as they demonstrated their opposition to the School of the Americas and U.S. militarization in the streets in front of the office buildings of the House of Representatives on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC in April 2012. The activists -from all across the country- were held for over six hours by Capitol Hill police and were charged with "Blocking Passage".

    Click here to see a set of great photos of the action on Capitol Hill by David Cea!

    Who are the SOA 13?

    Kevin MasonKevin Mason (29; Washington, DC): "The reasons for my actions had a lot to do with my faith, and my conscience. I believe we are all one family in the human race. We need to get to a place where we do for others as we would want them to do for us. I believe then that justice would flow like a mighty river. Dorothy Day put it this way: 'Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy rotten system', and this is part of my motivation."

    Ken CrowleyKen Crowley (Chicago, Illinois) "Our arrest for "blocking passage" in front of the House of Representatives Office Building showed those in position of illegitimate authority, who were watching from the windows above, that we understand that the power of the rulers comes from the obedience of the governed, and that we are willing to pay the price of disobedience. Body politics is still a powerful tactic in our efforts to close the SOA/ WHINSEC. I refuse to be a silent witness to the past present and future lynchings of our latin american sisters and brothers."

    Derrlyn TomDerrlyn Tom (high school teacher; San Francisco, CA): "I constantly tell my students to believe in what is right and what needs to change. Closing the School of the Americas is what's right and taking a stand by arrest is how we demand this change. My motivation is all my students who are directly impacted by this school. Close the SOA!!"

    Amber MasonAmber Mason (26; Washington, DC): "I refuse to be complicit in war and injustice committed by my government in my name and I believe you can not claim to be for peace and justice unless you are publicly actively against war and injustice. For these reasons, I chose to risk arrest, and stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers in Latin America, and all around the world calling for end to all militarization. As Dr Martin Luther King Jr said, 'injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere'."

    Kathlee DeSautelsKathleen DeSautels (73; Chicago, IL): "The reason for my action today was to carry on the SOA Watch resistance to US policies - especially to close the SOA."

    Liz DeligioLiz Deligio (8th Day Center; Chicago, IL): "The time for change is long past. For our 20 years, people have been calling for the close of the SOA, change in policy, end to militarization - we took it to the street today to say to our leaders the time is now."


    Maia Rodr&iacute;guez SullivanMaia Rodríguez Sullivan (24; Arlington, VA): "En memoria de Rutilio, las hermanas violadas y asesinads. En memoria de todxs mis hermanos y hermanas que han sido víctimas de represión militar por parte de un país (los Estados Unidos) que está sometiendo el resto de América Latina. Está violando los derechos de mi gente, usando nuestros recursos y explotándolos. Hoy, mañana y ayer... sin olvido por todos los desaparecidos y asesinados por la Escuela de Asesinos."

    Becca PolkBecca Polk (27; Bloomfield Hills, MI): "During the march around The Capitol, I was once again reminded of the false reality of democracy and safety that so many people in the US live behind. Walking around as a tourist and being proud of the "freedoms that they buy with their tax dollars," many have no idea that their tax dollars are going towards suppressing and controlling the voices of the people. As we were protesting the increased militarization of Latin America, it was evident that demilitarization struggles are connected all across the world. We are seeing the enhancement of military technology that Eisenhower could have never imagined when he first warned us about the military industrial complex. This also means that equipment typically designated for the military is being passed onto the police that are patrolling are streets.

    The amount of police surrounding us on the march and directing our every move, including how we walked along the side walk, showed that our first amendment rights are being pushed further and further into a tightly control parameter. This was evident as we turned the corner towards the buildings of the House of Representatives where many of our people were inside lobbying. The police blocked our march not allowing us to continue down the designated route. To block our voices from being heard, is blocking democracy. In one vote, I cannot express my deep indignation at the system's violent repression and greed that enable those in power to use force and control in an attempt to quell any form of resistance.

    I felt compelled to join my other compañerxs to take back the streets, and bring the real voices of democracy. By disobeying unjust orders, I was taking a stand against the injustices, but also making the connection of people all across the globe that we are in one struggle, together in the fight against corporate greed, politicians' allegiance to the money and the militarization of our society to continue business as usual."

    Peg MortonPeg Morton (81; Eugene, OR): "I combine a visit with a daughter and her family with SOA Watch actions. I think it is hugely important to keep pumping energy into this movement. We are in the hub of our gigantic empire. Children, women and men in many parts of the world are still suffering and dying because of our policies. We need to keep trying, to keep telling our brothers and sisters in Latin America and elsewhere that we care."

    Sandra Sunshine WilliamsSandra Sunshine Williams (Los Angeles, CA): "Being a part of the direct action today gave me the chance to more clearly demonstrate my resistance to the SOA and oppressive US foreign policy. Venceremos! "

    Tony Udu-gamaTony Udu-gama (70; Washington, DC): "It's a small price and a little inconvenience for us to pay in memory of the victims of oppression, repression, torture, disappearance, dispossession, genocide and other atrocities committed by the 'Evil Empire' in the name of the American people. Living in the den of the headquarters of these thieves, we must not let this go unchallenged.''

    Fr. Roy BourgeoisFr. Roy Bourgeois (73; Columbus, GA): "Militarization in the Americas has increased during the Obama administration, as evidenced by the military coup and the ongoing violence in Honduras, the ever-expanding 'War on Drugs,' the continuing murders of unionists in Colombia and the construction of new U.S. military bases throughout the hemisphere. It's time for us to step it up, to get anti-militarization on the national agenda in 2012, and to create alliances to stop 'teaching democracy' through the barrel of a gun!"

    Jason McGaugheyJason McGaughey (26; Washington, DC): "When I first learned about the School of the Assassins a few years back I honestly didn't really believe it. Since then from reading more about the horrors and destruction that the SOA causes, I have come to understand that the school must be closed forever. I have been down to the action at Ft Benning the last two years and have been truly moved by the whole experience. Each year, I have wept as the names of those who have been murdered by SOA graduates are rembered and called out as all who are gathered say Presente, recognizing their spirit with us in the struggle. It is one of the most powerful experiences of my life. Over the course of the training camp and conference I thought of what I could do to help draw attention to the crimes of US militarism and imperialism in Latin America. I hope that in whatever small way the arrest that I was a part of will help further the cause of closing the SOA. I am honored and privileged to have been a part of the struggle. One day the empire will fall."


    What's behind Obama's new military base in Chile?
    The construction of a new US military base in Chile has some locals worrying - and wondering what it's for. Click here to read an article by Nikolas Kozloff


    Evo Morales speaks out against the SOA
    Bolivia President Evo Morales called for the closure of the School of the Americas during an assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Cochabamba, Bolivia on Sunday.


    U.S. participation in massacre in Honduras
    A delegation of U.S. human rights activists traveled to Honduras and inquired into the May 11, 2012 massacre of indigenous Miskito people by gunfire from U.S. State Department - titled helicopters that the US government confirms carried U.S. DEA agents and security contractors. Click here for the media advisory.


    U.S.-Sponsored Crimes In Colombia Referred to International Criminal Court
    This week, an international human rights group went to The Hague to request that key Colombian officials be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for their participation in what has come to be known as the "false positive" (in Spanish, "falsos positivos") scandal. Click here to read an article about it by Dan Kovalik.



    Job Opening at SOA Watch
    SOA Watch has an opening for a full-time Operations and Development Coordinator in our Washington, DC office. We are looking for someone with a background dealing with finances, and with a strong commitment to the grassroots movement to close the SOA. People of color and women are encouraged to apply. If you are interested or if you can think of someone who would be great for this position, please see http://SOAW.org/work for the job description, requirements and for information on how to apply.







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    Contact us.

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    SOA Watch News &amp; Updates
    13 arrested for taking the demand for the closure of SOA into the streets on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC
    We Won't Stop Until They Do!

    Yesterday, human rights activists took to the streets around Capitol Hill in a spirited parade, culminating a week of trainings, workshops, music and lobbying to close the School of the Americas. Police on foot, bicycle, motorcycle and in vehicles prohibited free passage of the march, limiting SOA Watch activists abilities to be heard and seen by Congressional staff. Thirteen were arrested as they tried to lead the march down Independence Avenue in front of the Congressional buildings, but were impeded by dozens of police who blockaded their passage and expression of free speech.

    The 13 were released over 6 hours later and ironically charged with "blocking passage". Read their statements here.

    Inside Congress, students, teachers, labor leaders and activists pressed their Representatives to cosponsor HR3368, the bill to suspend and investigate the SOA/WHINSEC. Amplify the voices of those who are meeting with their Members of Congress today, by calling your Representative's office in Washington, DC. Just call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard (the phone number is (202) 224-3121), provide the zip code of the place where you live, and the operator will connect you to your Representatives' office. Click here for a call script.

    The weekend's conference, strategy sessions and concert brought organizers together around issues of de-militarization, joining the thousands in Cartagena, Colombia, who attended the People's Summit of the Americas.

    We will not be silenced. Despite police censorship of our message, the movement to close the SOA/WHINSEC will continue to demand a closure of the School of Assassins and an end to militarization. Our efforts are fueled with the knowledge that we will prevail!

    Check out more photos of the march and action!

    In solidarity,

    SOA Watch

    PS: Don't forget to send a message to SOA Watch Prisoner of Conscience Theresa Cusimano!


    La lucha sigue... con alegría!
    Pablo Ruíz en Cartagena: "We Need to De-Militarize Our Way of Life"
    SOA Watch Latin America Coordinator Pablo Ruíz was in Cartagena this week for the People's Summit of the Americas. In the lead up to the official Summit of the Americas, where US 'big brother' policies were rejected and Latin American unity was strengthened, the city of Cartagena was militarized though activist organizers had called for nonviolent demonstrations and meetings.

    "Today [April 14] is the opening assembly of the People's Summit, in Cartagena, and the opportunity to hear the voice of the people who want to speak. In the declaration that we are preparing from the Summit, special attention has been given to the theme of militarization that affects all the people of the South, and within this concern, the training at the School of the Americas... I think that Gandhi states this well: 'there is no path without peace, peace is the path'."

    Read more from Pablo here and see video greetings from People's Summit attendees!







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    We appreciate your interest! You are subscribed to the SOA Watch list as peacelongbeach@optonline.net.

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    Dear activist friend:
     SOA Watch LI invites you to join the 99% marching on May 1st. 
     
    On May 1st there is going to be a rally which has been called a “United May Day Rally”, on behalf of workers right, immigrant rights, and the demands of the 99%. Labor represented by many locals of SEIU, CWA, UTW, AFSCME, NYC Central Labor Council and several others, organizations in defense of immigrant rights, Occupy Wall Street, and peace and community organizations, have come together to organize a Rally at Union Square on May 1st at 4PM followed by a march on Broadway.
    There are two separate event that will take place:
     from 12.00 noon to 4pm in Union Square the May 1st Coalition will hold a rally that will include space for art, skillshares, workshops, lectures, free food and more. There is a permit for this site.
    Starting at 8am in Bryant Park other groups will hold a gathering with similar activities, coffee, water and food. There is no permit for this gathering but most likely there will not be any problem with the police. At 4pm people in Bryant Park will march to join the gathering at Union Square, where a Unity Rally will be held until 6pm, followed by a Unity March on Broadway toward the Financial district.
    A group from Suffolk County plans to go by train:   Leave Huntington at 10:04 am ... Arrive Penn at  11:12 am  (first off-peak, no transfer train) Please arrive by 9:45, buy your tickets & Metrocards and head to the 1st Car. Call Charlotte at 631-261-8590, for more info.
    Leave Ronkonkoma 8:40am, arrive Penn 9:59 am.
     
    You may obtain more information about the events and march by contacting one of the following:
    Sonia Ivany, President, NYCity Labor Council for Latin American Advancement at soniaivany@aol.com or            917-428-7477      
     Larry Moskowitz, Coordinator LLP at Lcmwf2@aol.com or             917-488-2515      ;
    Annabelle Heckler at AHeckler@UnitedNY.org or             212-603-1715      ;
    or Katie Franger at Katie@theadvancegroup.com or            212-239-7323      .

     

     
     
    Dear Joseph,

    I am looking out of the window of my apartment onto the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia, the home of the School of the Americas. It is a place that has stolen the dreams and the lives so many people throughout the Americas, such as Walter Trochez, a good friend of young Honduran activist Jimena Paz who marched to these gates at my side just a few weeks ago.

    Many of you joined Jimena and I at the gates, others joined us from afar in solidarity, and one friend – Theresa - chose to scale right over the gate in the face of armed soldiers who promptly dragged her to be arrested. Her trial on January 5 will be an opportunity to put the SOA on trial for its complicity in the death and disappearance of thousands of our Latin American neighbors.

    I write today to invite you to join me at another line that is a concrete expression of the suffering caused by our nation’s policies: the southern border of the United States. So many of our neighbors have also tried to cross, climb or swim across this line, fleeing economies broken by U.S. free trade agreements, violence armed and funded from this side of the border, and atrocities caused by the booming U.S. drug market. Many of these line crossers have reached the other side, some have been criminalized and returned, while others have died trying.

    The most vicious perpetrators of the violence that is jolting Mexico are none other than graduates of the SOA who comprised two-thirds of the original ranks of the Zetas, the most brutal hired assassins of the drug cartels. These deserters from the elite Special Air Mobile Force Group of the Mexican army acquired specialized knowledge of arms and techniques at the SOA that have brought the brutality of the drug violence to unprecedented levels.

    For years the SOA Watch movement has cried "No más, no more" at the gates of School of the Americas. Now it is time to take this message to the US-Mexico border. We go to stand in solidarity with the 50,000 victims of Mexico's so-called "war on drugs." We go to stand at our southern border - every day more militarized - and demand that policies such as the Merida Initiative cease. We go because we believe that justice in Latin America can only exist if we close the SOA, bury the failed military policies of the past, and replace them with policies based on the needs of real people on both sides of the border. As the Obama Administration continues to deport record numbers of immigrants and states pass xenophobic immigration laws, NOW is the time to say "No más, no more."

    Please consider joining me on a delegation to the US/Mexico border in El Paso/Ciudad Juarez from February 12-19, 2012 to experience the realities of both sides of the border, and to understand the border itself. For more information, write Lisa Sullivan at LSullivan@soaw.org.

    Thank you so much for your support and solidarity,
    abrazos,

    Father Roy Bourgeois, MM
    SOA Watch founder


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    SOA Watch News &amp; Updates
    Report Back from November Vigil

    Solemn voices lifted up the spirits of those killed by graduates of the School of the Americas and filled the air as the music team sang out their names from the stage during this morning's funeral procession in front of the entrance to Fort Benning. The crowd of thousands responded, "PRESENTE!"

    Joining actor Martin Sheen on stage this weekend was Georgia NAACP State President Edward DuBose, who told the crowd many had asked him why he'd come here.

    “I made a promise to Troy Anthony Davis that I would continue to speak out against any system that takes any innocent life,” DuBose told the crowd. “However long it takes, we'll be here. We're on this road until justice is served!”

    United Auto Workers President Bob King also addressed the gathering, lifting up the voice of organized labor standing in solidarity with workers all across the Americas.

    Social movement leaders from Colombia, Haiti, Honduras and Costa Rica joined the thousands of activists who made the trek to this year's vigil. Jimena Paz, who helped organize the SOA Watch Encuentro in Venezuela, and who, as a young member of the Honduran Resistance, has lost friends to the SOA-led repression campaign, shared her compelling story from the stage.

    Dr. Luther Castillo, a young, Afro-indigenous Garifuna doctor and community organizer, directs the foundation For the Health of Our People ("Luagu Hatuadi Waduheñu" in the Garifuna language), and is the founder and director of the First Popular Garifuna Hospital of Honduras. Exposing the effects of SOA training of Honduran soldiers since the 2009 graduate-led military coup, Luther shared that he and the hospital have been subject to many threats of closure and other attacks by the military and coup government.

    Jani Silva, a community organizer from La Perla Amazonica, Putumayo, Colombia, addressed the reality of US foreign policy in her country, which has sent more than 10,000 soldiers to be trained at the SOA with chilling results. Mario Joseph, a prominent Haitian human rights lawyer, is representing political prisoners and victims of political violence in Haiti. He spoke from the stage, urging solidarity with Haitian struggle to keep the army from being brought back.

    Also present among those giving testimony to SOA violence was Nelly del Cid, one of the Feminists in Resistance in Honduras. She shared her deep concerns about the huge number of femicides since the coup. Costa Rican lawyer and peace advocate Luis Roberto Zamora also gave updates about the lawsuit he filed against the Costa Rican government for sending police to the School of the Americas/WHINSEC.

    Theresa Cusimano, 43, of Denver, Colorado, crossed the line for the second time following the morning's solemn funeral procession. She was arrested by military police and faces up to six months in prison. Stay tuned for a message from Theresa!
    See Photos from the November Vigil

    Tom Bottolene of MN SOA Watch shared these images from the weekend, including the pictures of the massive procession (left), Jimena Paz from the Honduran Resistance (below), the puppet pageant (below) and Tami Ramirez, Father Roy and Maia Rodriguez on stage (below).



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    }
     
    for immediate release
    November 8, 2011
    Contact: Hendrik Voss, 202-234-3440

    OCCUPY FORT BENNING
    Shut Down the School of the Americas

    November 18-20, 2011: Thousands of social justice activists from across the Americas will occupy the main gates of Fort Benning, Georgia to call for an end to U.S. militarization and for the closure of the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly the School of Americas,

    The three day convergence will include a massive rally, where thousands will occupy the main gates of the Fort Benning military base in order to transform it from a place that trains assassins to a place of initiation into political awareness. On Sunday, November 20, the chain-linked barbed wire fence will be transformed with images of the martyrs, crosses, stars and flowers into a memorial for the victims of SOA violence and U.S. intervention. Human rights activists will carry their protest onto the grounds of the military base, risking arrest and up to six month in federal prison. The mobilization will include speakers from the NAACP, the Sisters of Mercy, the Georgia Undocumented Youth Alliance (GUYA), torture survivors and human rights activists from Latin America as well as plenaries, workshops, concerts, strategy sessions and more.

    “The SOA provides the military muscle to protect the greed of the 1% at the expense of the 99% throughout the Americas.” said Father Roy Bourgeois, the founder of SOA Watch. “The surge of social justice activism in the U.S. is fueling the call for the closure of this notorious institution.”

    The SOA/WHINSEC is a U.S. taxpayer-funded military training school for Latin American soldiers, located at Fort Benning, Georgia. The school made headlines in 1996 when the Pentagon released training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, extortion and execution. Despite this shocking admission and hundreds of documented human rights abuses connected to soldiers trained at the school, no independent investigation into the training facility has ever taken place. SOA violence continues in Mexico, where 1/3 of the original members of the Zetas drug cartel were trained at the SOA, and where the U.S. is promoting military solutions to the drug problem. SOA violence continues in Colombia, which has sent more than 10,000 soldiers to train at the SOA, and where SOA graduates are involved with extrajudicial killings and other serious human rights violations. SOA violence continues in Honduras, where SOA graduates overthrew the democratically elected government in 2009. SOA violence continues in Guatemala, where SOA graduate Otto Pérez Molina just won the presidential elections, and throughout the Americas. In October 2011, Time Magazine published the article “Is It Time to Shutter the Americas' 'Coup Academy'?:” http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2097124,00.html#ixzz1b9Rvmcbu

    In August 2011, 69 Members of the House of Representatives delivered a letter to President Obama, calling on the President to shut down the Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), formerly the School of Americas (SOA) by executive order. The 69 Representatives including Representative John Lewis from Georgia, Representative Ron Paul from Texas and Representative James McGovern from Massachusetts. To read the letter, visit http://soaw.org/docs/ObamaLetter.pdf

    On November 4, Representative McGovern introduced H.R. 3368, the Latin America Military Training Review Act, in the House of Representatives. The bill calls for the suspension of the SOA/ WHINSEC and an investigation into the connection between U.S. military training and human rights abuses in Latin America.

    SOA Watch is a nonviolent grassroots movement that works for the closing the School of the Americas and a change in U.S. foreign policy - www.SOAW.org

    ###



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    SOA Watch News &amp; Updates
    Standing in Solidarity with the Resistance!
    SOA Watch in Honduras
    Click Here to Send a Message to Your Representative


    An SOA Watch delegation, including SOA Watch Latin America Coordinator Lisa Sullivan and SOA Watch founder Father Roy Bourgeois, is currently in Honduras to see firsthand the numerous and serious human rights abuses carried out against the people of Honduras. The human rights activists are meeting with members of the resistance, human rights groups, teachers, union leaders, religious leaders, and members of the administration of deposed President Manuel Zelaya.

    They are currently visiting the Bajo Aguán where horrendous human rights violations have been occurring since the School of the Americas graduate-led coup d’état in June of 2009. Less than a month ago, the bodies of two campesino leaders were found decapitated in Bajo Aguán. The delegation will also visit the U.S military base in Palmerola, involved in the military coup.

    The two men orchestrating the military coup in Honduras in June of 2009, the former Chief of the Armed Forces, Romeo Vasquez Velasquez, and the Chief of the Air Force, General Luis Prince Suazo are both graduates of the School of the Americas.

    The violence and human rights violations that are currently happening in Honduras are being funded with Honduran money as well US tax dollars. Including US aid to Honduras are gas bombs priced from $160 to $220 used by Honduran security personnel to terrorize and even kill people. Teacher and co-founder of a leading human rights organization, Ilse Ivania Velásquez was killed after a tear gas canister fired at her head. A two-month old is in critical condition after Honduran security personnel fired a gas bomb inside a family’s home, informed Bertha Oliva, a leading Honduran activist. Live bullets and toxic chemicals are also being used against unarmed demonstrator.

    Visit www.SOAW.org to stay tuned for updates from the SOA Watch Honduras delegation and take action now: Ask your representative to join Reps. McGovern, Schakowsky and Farr and sign on to the Congressional sign-on letter to Secretary Clinton calling for the U.S. to pressure the Honduran government “to end abuses by official security forces by suspending, investigating and prosecuting those implicated in human rights violations.” The letter also calls for a suspension of all military and police aid among other proposals.
    Urge your Representative to also pressure President Obama to shut down the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC) by executive order.

    Click Here to Send a Message to Your Representative
    New Video Documentary About the April Days of Action (30min)
    Watch the documentary and share it with your family and friends!

     


    SOA Watch Latin America just produced and released this amazing 30 minute documentary about the Days of Action to Close the SOA and Resist Militarization, which took place from April 4-11, 2011 in Washington, DC.

    More videos of the SOA Watch Days of Action:

    Click here to watch a 5 min. video by Tamar Sharabi

    Click here to watch a 15 min. video by Eddie Becker

    Click here to watch the 30 min. video by Gabriela Uassouf


    _________________


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    A Weekend with SOA Watch founder Father Roy Bourgeois

    Witness for Peace Mid Atlantic Retreat ‘11

    April 2-3

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    This will be your last chance to register for Witness For Peace’s 2011 Mid-Atlantic Retreat on April 2-3, in Wernersville, Pennsylvania (near Reading) with School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch) founder Father Roy Bourgeois. Friday, March 26 is the deadline for registration.

     

    Father Roy comes to us between two significant and international events concerning SOA Watch and their work. First, the retreat will happen right before Father Roy heads to Washington D.C. where he will fast for more than a week on the White House steps to push to close the School of the Americas (now known as WHINSEC) and stall U.S. militarization in Latin America.  This is a part of SOA Watch’s Days of Action  which will cumulate with activities on the weekend of  April 9-10.

     

    Second, his presence with us comes right on the heels of the release of U.S. government cables by the group Wikileaks, which show attempts to disrupt SOA Watch campaigns to close the counter-insurgency training school. It is again an exciting time for change in Latin America. Please join us and let us build off of Father Roy’s relentless energy and inspirational example to really begin to transform U.S. policy in Latin America and the Caribbean.

     

    Thanks,

     

    Todd

     

    You can register by submitting the registration form electronically or through the mail. The registration deadline is March 26.

    The retreat begins at noon on Saturday, April 2 and ends after lunch on Sunday, April 3. For a tentative schedule, click here.  

    The South Mountain YMCA is located outside Wernersville, Pennsylvania, 7 miles west of Reading. For directions, click here.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    empowered by Salsa

    Dear Joseph,
    Hope this email finds you well. We just received the letter below from prison from Father Louis Vitale. Fr. Louis was arrested together with David Omondi, Nancy Smith and Chris Spicer by the Fort Benning military police during the November Vigil when they carried the call to close the SOA onto the military base. Father Louis and David were sentenced immediately to six months in federal prison. Nancy and Chris are currently preparing for their federal trials on January 5, 2011. They will use the courtroom to put the SOA itself on trial. Several others are also still facing charges after having been arrested by the Columbus police following the rally on November 20, 2010. Support the SOA Watch Legal Defense Fund with a contribution today. You'll find addresses to write to the prisoners below.


    Letter from Father Louis Vitale, SOA Watch Prisoner of Conscience:

    Two weeks have passed since David Omondi and I began our sojourn here at Irwin County Detention Center in southern Georgia. Some may say, "Vitale has protested himself back into the pokey below the Mason-Dixon line" and "He has been jailed again in an effort to bring peace and social justice." SF Chronicle 11/28

    LouieMany ask, "Why do you keep doing this?" We try to respond: "Because the oppression goes on and our nation is a major participant in that oppression of the poor and of all creation." Specifically this manifestation of mourning focuses on the School of the Americas (WHINSEC) at Ft. Benning, Georgia, where U.S. military have taught counter-insurgency techniques, including torture and disappearance, to Latin American military. It still goes on, as recently observed with the outrageous coup in Honduras carried out by graduates of the School of the Americas. In fact, our involvement in oppressive militarism extends throughout the world!

    But why so many times at Ft. Benning (my fourth arrest and incarceration, and so far from my home base)? The School of the Americas is an icon of our intrusion into developing countries over many years and the source of horrific massacres including religious leaders and thousands of peasants. Also Ft. Benning is a major military base feeding vast numbers into the war machine. Thousands gather annually to mourn the victims and to call for an end to our war machine that continues to grow into more bases, nuclear weapons manufacturing facilities, even into space war (and the new X-37B militarized version of the space shuttle).

    Are we ready to declare peace and act in its presence? Let's call - with all our energy - for nonviolent solutions now, transforming many peoples' lives and our world. Our work is cut out for us as we must be vigilant and active with nonviolent resistance. May we move towards peace in the new year.

    [Louie, serving a 6 month sentence for trespass at Ft. Benning, was moved from the Irwin County Detention Center on December 15, and is currently in transit. We will let you know as soon as he reaches his final destination.]


    Write the the Prisoners of Conscience

    To write to Louis, please direct correspondence to: Fr. Louis Vitale, c/o The Nuclear Resister, P.O. Box 43383, Tucson, AZ 85733

    To write to Michael David Omondi, also sentenced to six months for trespass at Ft. Benning, please direct your correspondence to: David Omondi, c/o The Los Angeles Catholic Worker, 632 N. Brittania St., Los Angeles, CA 90033


    If you'd like to make a tax-deductible donation of $100 or more, please write a check to "SOA Watch Educational Fund" and mail it to: SOA Watch, PO Box 4566, Washington, DC 20017.
    We appreciate your interest! You are subscribed to the SOA Watch list as peacelongbeach@optonline.net.

    Click here to unsubscribe or change your subscription.

    Contact us.

    Our mailing address is:
    SOA Watch, PO Box 4566, Washington, D.C. 20017, USA

    Our telephone: (202) 234 3440

    Click here to fund the campaign to close the SOA.

    Dear SOA Watch Partner,

    My name is Liz Albanese and I am the Vigil Coordinator in the SOA Watch office in Washington, DC. I had the pleasure of working with some of you during the 2009 vigil at Fort Benning, and look forward to working with many of you again!

    I am contacting you today because now is the time to submit requests for workshop, table, and ad space at the November 19-21 vigil at the gates.

    The SOA Watch staff and our many working groups are hard at work putting together a great schedule for this November's convergence, and it's filling up fast! Reserve your workshop, table, and ad space today - and don't miss the opportunity to be a part of this historic moment.

    Below is information on how to reserve space. Please consider our requested donations for space, without your financial support this large event would not be possible.

    I am handling all requests for workshop space, and Tom Bottolene is handling table requests. You can get in touch with Tom by emailing him at tom@circlevision.org. If you are interested in tabling, please read the Tabling Information and make sure to send Tom your completed table registration form by October 20th.

    If your organization would like to host a workshop, please fill out the workshop registration form as soon as possible. We have a limited number of spaces available and they will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis. Forms may be emailed to Liz at liz@soaw.org or sent to the SOA Watch office. Payment must be received prior to the vigil. Call SOA Watch at 202.234.3440 with any questions. The deadline to reserve workshop space is October 6th.

    For the past several years, SOA Watch has offered our partner organizations the opportunity to purchase ad space in the November Vigil Program. This program will be distributed to thousands of people who travel to Columbus from all parts of the world and share our common desire for just policies in Latin America. Donating money for an ad is a great way to raise awareness about your particular organization and its campaign while simultaneously helping SOA Watch cover the cost of this year's vigil. The donation scale for space in the program is as follows:

    Full-page ad: $600
    Half-page ad: $425
    1/4-page ad: $300
    1/8-page ad: $225
    1/16-page ad: $150

    We hope that you will seriously consider placing an ad in this year's program. For a copy of this year's rates and sizes, click here. Ad designs and payments are due by Wednesday, October 6th - please make sure to indicate what size ad you are purchasing when you respond. Contact Liz with any questions.

    Thank you for your time and solidarity. See you at the gates!

    In peace, Liz Albanese

    Please mail all workshop and ad forms & payments (remember, table info goes to Tom) to:

    SOA Watch
    Attn: Liz
    PO Box 4566
    Washington, D.C. 20017

     **********************************************************

    Dear Joseph,
    This November 19-21, we return to Fort Benning because we must.

    The martyrs demand it.

    Twenty-six years ago, the graduates of the School of Assassins killed my good friend Maura and the other three Church women in El Salvador. It has been 20 years since 14-year-old Celina, her mother Elba and the six Jesuits were killed by SOA grads. It's been five years since it was revealed that instructors at the school worked with the paramilitaries in Colombia. One year has passed since SOA graduates overthrew democracy in Honduras.

    The school is still open and the violence continues.

    There has been no accountability. The martyrs made the ultimate sacrifice for their resistance. We will not forget the goals they fought for. We must return to Fort Benning to remember them and to recommit ourselves to those same goals. We must return to Fort Benning until this school is closed once and for all. Justice will prevail!

    See you at the gates,


    Father Roy Bourgeois, M.M.


    P.S. Please click here to forward the November 2010 call to action to your family and friends. Mobilize your community to take a stand for justice at the gates of Fort Benning. Following the November Vigil, we will carry our resistance to Washington, DC in April 2011. Please click here to make a donation to support the work of SOA Watch.

     

       THIS MESSAGE FROM SOA WATCH IS A
    ----- Original Message -----
    From: SOA Watch
    Sent: Thursday, June 17, 2010 6:55 PM
    Subject: Michael Walli Released from Jail!


    Free ALL Prisoners of Conscience - Click here for the prison addresses
    SOA Watch News &amp; Updates
    Judge Faircloth Change of Heart?
    Michael Walli Released from Jail!
    Today, only three days after he was sentenced to six months of federal prison for carrying the protest against the School of the Americas onto Fort Benning, Michael Walli was released from jail.

    Early Thursday, Michael was ordered to pack up his belongings from his jail cell. He expected that he would be transferred to a federal facility but was then told by the wardens that he is free to go, without any further explanation.

    From the jail, Michael managed to get to Father Roy Bourgeois' apartment at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia. The two celebrated his release and Michael is now on a bus headed to his home in Washington, DC.

    According to the Columbus Ledger Enquirer, U.S. Magistrate G. Mallon Faircloth, who had only days ago handed down the maximum sentence to Michael, reduced Michael's sentence to time served.

    We are full of joy that Michael is out and that he will soon be reunited with the great folks at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House in DC. At the same time, the human rights defenders Ken Hayes, Father Louis Vitale and Nancy Gwin, all of whom were arrested with Michael during the 2009 vigil at the SOA/WHINSEC, remain in federal prison where they serve their harsh prison sentences.

    Please contact Judge G. Mallon Faircloth to commend him for doing the right thing in Michael Walli's case and to also demand the release of ALL Prisoners of Conscience that he incarcerated. There is no justification that our friends Nancy, Ken, and Louis are spending their days and nights in prison for speaking out against the SOA, while those responsible for the training of human rights abusers and for the use of torture manuals at the SOA have never even been investigated:

    G. Mallon Faircloth
    U.S. Magistrate Judge
    Post Office Box 117
    Columbus, GA 31902-0117

    Courtroom Clerk:
    Terrie Smith - (706) 653-2942

    Please also send messages of support to the Prisoners of Conscience who are still incarcerated in federal prisons across the United States and let them know that you are keeping up the work to close the School of the Americas and to change U.S. foreign policy! You can find their prison addresses here: http://soaw.org/about-us/pocs/150-articles/3421-write-to-the-soa-watch-prisoners-of-conscience

    Consider engaging in nonviolent direct action:
    Keep the pressure on! People who put their bodies on the line to speak in solidarity with the people of Latin America are crucial in the struggle to close the SOA/ WHINSEC.

    Stand up for justice at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia in November:
    http://SOAW.org/take-action/november-vigil
    We appreciate your interest! You are subscribed to the SOA Watch list as scroke@verizon.net.

    Click here to unsubscribe.

    Contact us.

    Our mailing address is:
    SOA Watch, PO Box 4566, Washington, D.C. 20017, USA

    Our telephone: (202) 234 3440

    Click here to fund the campaign to close the SOA.

    June 14, 2010
    for immediate release

    Human rights advocate sentenced to six months in federal prison for civil disobedience at the School of the Americas

    Washington, DC resident Michael Walli was one of four human rights advocates who were arrested during the annual November Vigil to close the School of the Americas / Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (SOA/ WHINSEC). Michael Walli was sentenced on Monday, June 14, 2010 to six months in federal prison.

    During his November arraignment, Michael told judge Malon Faircloth that he would not pay any bail and that he would not voluntarily return for the trial. Michael Walli made good on his promise and Faircloth issued a warrant for Michael's arrest. Federal marshals arrested Michael in March 2010 at the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House in Washington, DC.

    Ken Hayes, Father Louis Vitale and Nancy Gwin, the three human rights advocates who were arrested together with Michael Walli, were each sentenced in January 2010 to six months in prison as well - the maximum allowed for the charge of tresspass. The extremely harsh sentences are intended to deter others from following the example of the 'SOAW 4.'

    "Those who speak out for justice are facing prison time while SOA-trained torturers and assassins are operating with impunity," said SOA Watch founder Father Roy Bourgeois.

    The SOA/WHINSEC is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers. Its graduates are consistently involved in human rights atrocities and coups, including the El Mozote Massacre in El Salvador and last year's military coup in Honduras. In 1996 the Pentagon was forced to release training manuals used at the school that advocated the use of torture, extortion and execution.

    SOA Watch works to stand in solidarity with people of Latin America, to change oppressive US foreign policy, and to close the SOA/WHINSEC. In November 2010, thousands will return to the gates of Fort Benning to call for justice and accountability.

    Send a message of solidarity to the prisoners:
    www.SOAW.org/about-us/pocs/150-articles/3421-write-to-the-soa-watch-prisoners-of-conscience

    Make plans to join the November Vigil at the gates of Fort Benning:
    oaw.org/take-action/november-vigil



    School of the Americas Watch, www.SOAW.org

    # # #


    To stop all emails from SOA Watch, unsubscribe here.

    Please, distribute widely

    Shelter Rock Forum with

    Long Island Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives, Great Neck Sane/PeaceAction,

    Pax Christi Long Island and LI School of Americas Watch invites to hear

    , M. MROY BOURGEOIS, M. M.

    Founder of the School of Americas Watch

    will speak on Obama’s Latin American Policy

    Father Bourgeois will report on his recent trip

     to El Salvador and the surrounding regions

    In 1980, Fr. Roy became involved in issues surrounding US policy in El Salvador after four US churchwomen--two of them his friends--were raped and killed by Salvadoran soldiers. He became an outspoken critic of US foreign policy in Latin America . Since then, he has spent over four years in US federal prisons for nonviolent protests against the training of Latin American soldiers at Ft. Benning , Georgia . In 1990, Fr. Roy founded the School of Americas Watch , an office that does research on the US Army School of the Americas (SOA). Each year the school trains hundreds of soldiers from Latin America in combat skills - all paid for by U.S. taxpayers.

    Thursday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m.

    Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock

    48 Shelter Rock Road, Manhasset

    in the Social Hall

    $5 suggested donation

    Directions: UUCSR, 48 Shelter Rock Road, Manhasset

    From LIE, exit 35 north (from east) or 36 (from west). North 1 ½ miles on Shelter Rock Rd. Entrance on left by white fence. From Northern Blvd. Go South 1/2 mile on Shelter Rock Rd. Entrance on right.

    For more information, please contact Shelter Rock Forum, 516-6560, ext. 122

    Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock, www.uucsr.org

    LI Alliance for Peaceful Alternatives, 516-741-4360,

    Email: longislandpeace@gmail.com www.longislandpeace.org

    LI SOA Watch, Email: marabard@yahoo.com


     


    ******************************************************************

     

    Maryknoll priest Father Roy Bourgeois, who founded School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) in 1990, speaks at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset on May 13 at 7:30 p.m. on "President Obama's Latin American Policy."

    Father Bourgeois, 72, has been arrested six times, once for entering Fort Benning, Ga. in a disguise and for sitting in outside the base, which is home to the School of the Americas, now known as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. Bourgeois' nonprofit group claims that thousands of Latin American soldiers and policemen have been trained in torture techniques in SOA's counterinsurgency programs. SOAW has demanded a meeting with Obama to urge him to close the school. Due to SOAW's activism, four South American countries have stopped sending troops and policemen to the school -- Venezuela, Argentina, Uruguay and Bolivia.

    "Our foreign policy is about exploiting the cheap labor and the vast natural resources of these countries," Bourgeois said, "and this school has provided the muscle needed to protect the oligarchs that protect our interests. The 'insurgents' are always the poor."

    Bourgeois, a Navy veteran of Vietnam, was ordained in 1972 and spent five years early in his career as a priest living in a La Paz, Bolivia slum. He was moved to found SOAW after discovering that SOA graduates were responsible for three atrocities in El Salvador: the March 24, 1980 assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero; the rape and murder of three nuns and a civilian worker on Dec. 2, 1980; and the slaying of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter on Nov. 16, 1989. He recently revisited El Salvador and urged its president to pull his troops out of SOA.

    Bourgeois said Obama's Latin American policy "is a disaster. Latin America isn't even on his radar screen. In Honduras, a military coup took place on Jan. 27. He said that President Manuel Zelaya was democratically elected and must be returned to office. But he took no action to back it up. Zelaya is in exile in the Dominican Republic."

    "We want him [Obama] to close the school by executive order," Bourgeois said. "I'll be asking those at the congregation [on May 13] to write the president and ask him to do that. The school is a symbol of America's foreign policy in the past decades and brings shame to our country."

    Bourgeois in 2008 concelebrated a Mass at which a female priest was "ordained," contradicting Roman Catholic Church policy. He was given 30 days to "recant" his participation or automatically be excommunicated from the church. He refused and continues to receive Communion and celebrate Masses. "More than 5,000 priests abused more than 12,000 people while many bishops were silent and covered it up," he said. "These priests and bishops weren't excommunicated. It show the priorities of the Vatican. Women are not seen as equals; they're seen as a threat to their power. Many Catholics are asking, 'What's going on?'"

    The UU Congregation at Shelter Rock (uucsr.org) is at 48 Shelter Rock Rd. The suggested donation on May 13 is $5. The event is sponsored by the Shelter Rock Forum. Light refreshments follow.


    ---
    Travel to Latin America 2010 Delegations.
    SOA Watch News &amp; Updates
    2010 Delegations
    Travel with Father Roy Bourgeois to El Salvador, Learn about ALBA in Venezuela, and Stand in Solidarity with the People of Honduras and Colombia.

    El Salvador
    Travel to El Salvador - land of martyrs, with Father Roy Bourgeois on an Oscar Romero Legacy Delegation, from March 19 to 26, 2010. Join Fr. Roy in events commemorating the 30th anniversary of Monseñor Romero´s assassination at the hands of SOA graduates. Walk in the footsteps of martyrs Ita Ford, Maura Clark, Fr. Ignacio Ellacuria, Celia Ramos and others. Accompany SOA Watch's Partnership America Latina (PAL) Coordinator Lisa Sullivan in visiting high level Salvadoran government officials in asking that El Salvador send no more soldiers to this school of assassins. For more information and to apply, write Lisa Sullivan at LSullivan@soaw.org
    Click here to download the delegation flyer (pdf).


    Venezuela
    Come to Venezuela from April 9-18 on the anniversary of a people's victory in overturning a coup d'etat and learn about how the 8 member countries of ALBA are forging a new and exciting new economic model of cooperation and solidarity. Join SOA Watch's Lisa Sullivan in getting a different view from within of this country where she has lived for 25 years. Meet with Colombians in exile in Venezuela and hear from them and from Venezuelans about their concerns for US militarization along the Colombian border of Venezuela. For more information and to apply, write Lisa Sullivan at LSullivan@soaw.org
    Click here to download the delegation flyer (pdf).


    Honduras
    Respond to the request of human rights leaders in Honduras to come to their country to help prevent further atrocities from taking place. World attention towards Honduras has diminished after US-approved November elections legitimized the June coup, while assassinations of resistance members has increased.

    Click here to listen to a soon to be aired "Making Contact" radio program on the SOA graduate-led military coup in Honduras. Also, hear an excellent one hour unedited web interview with Lisa Sullivan (scroll to center of page for interview).

    Leaders of the human rights community have requested a constant presence of international visitors to bring attention to this situation and help protect the lives of Hondurans. We are urging SOA Watch activists to join the Task Force on the Americas delegation to Honduras from March 13-20, 2010 (for more information write Dale Sorensen, geodale1@earthlink.net), a Quixote Center delegation (contact Jenny Atlee, jennya@quixote.org) or the January 24-31, 2010 Rights Action delegation (contact Grahame Russell, info@rightsaction.org)


    Colombia
    With over 10,000 troops trained at the school, Colombia is the SOA's largest customer and has the worst human rights record in Latin America. N.ree.KThe 8th Day Center for Justice and Witness for Peace are organizing a delegation to Magdelena, Colombia from August 7-17, 2010. The delegation will focus on human rights, corporate abuse, military repression and internal displacement. Delegation participants will meet with community leaders, displaced persons, and human rights defenders.
    For more information: Contact Erin Cox, Erin@8thdaycenter.org, 312 641 5151 or Ashley Valchek, Ashley@8thdaycenter.org or email wfpmagdelena@gmail.com.



    SOA Watch is a nonviolent grassroots movement that works through creative protest and resistance, legislative and media work to stand in solidarity with the people of Latin America, to close the SOA/WHINSEC and to change oppressive U.S. foreign policy that institutions like the SOA represent. We are grateful to our sisters and brothers throughout Latin America and the the Caribbean for their inspiration and the invitation to join them in their struggle for economic and social justice.
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     "War destroys. And we must cry out for peace.
    Peace sometimes gives the idea of stillness, but it is never stillness.
    It is always an active peace.
    I think that everyone must be committed in the matter of peace,
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    Peace is the language we must speak."
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