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donsu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 11:44 AM
Original message
Congress quietly keeps School of the Americas alive (teaches torture)

http://www.laweekly.com/ink/04/35/news-ireland.php

Remember how congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle deplored the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib as un-American? Last Thursday, however, the House quietly passed a renewed appropriation that keeps open the U.S.s most infamous torture-teaching institution, known as the School of the Americas (SOA), where the illegal physical and psychological abuse of prisoners of the kind the world condemned at Abu Ghraib and worse has been routinely taught for years.

-snip-

The interrogation manuals long used at the SOA were made public in May by the National Security Archive, an independent research group, and posted on its Web site after they were declassified following Freedom of Information Act requests by, among others, the Baltimore Sun. In releasing the manuals, the NSA noted that they describe coercive techniques such as those used to mistreat the detainees at Abu Ghraib.

The Abu Ghraib torture techniques have been field-tested by SOA graduates seven of the U.S. Army interrogation manuals that were translated into Spanish, used at the SOAs trainings and distributed to our allies, offered instruction on torture, beatings and assassination. As Dr. Miles Schuman, a physician with the Canadian Centre for Victims of Torture who has documented torture cases and counseled their victims, graphically wrote in the May 14 Toronto Globe and Mail under the headline Abu Ghraib: The Rule, Not the Exception:

The black hood covering the faces of naked prisoners in Abu Ghraib was known as la capuchi in Guatemalan and Salvadoran torture chambers. The metal bed frame to which the naked and hooded detainee was bound in a crucifix position in Abu Ghraib was la cama, named for a former Chilean prisoner who survived the U.S.-installed regime of General Augusto Pinochet. In her case, electrodes were attached to her arms, legs and genitalia, just as they were attached to the Iraqi detainee poised on a box, threatened with electrocution if he fell off. The Iraqi man bound naked on the ground with a leash attached to his neck, held by a smiling young American recruit, reminds me of the son of peasant organizers who recounted his agonizing torture at the hands of the Tonton Macoutes, U.S.-backed dictator John-Claude (Baby Doc) Duvaliers right-hand thugs, in Port-au-Prince in 1984. The very act of photographing those tortured in Abu Ghraib to humiliate and silence parallels the experience of an American missionary, Sister Diana Ortiz, who was tortured and gang-raped repeatedly under supervision by an American in 1989, according to her testimony before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus.
-snip-
-------------------------------------

the article ends by saying:

SOA Watch has called a mass vigil/protest for November 19 through 21 at the schools home in Fort Benning, Georgia, expected to be led by Academy Award winner Susan Sarandon and Dead Man Walking author Sister Helen Prejean.
---------------

as long as we let the school of the americas stay open the world will look at us as criminals.

are we proud of ourselves yet?

I want to know who voted for this. did Kerry?
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 11:50 AM
Response to Original message
1. Yes, I'd like to see who voted for it too.
Teaching torture is soooo patriotic.
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0007 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 11:57 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. I'm surpised that this thread isn't getting many hits
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G_j Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:02 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. usually there are a few who come on
to defend the SOA :puke:


this is a good article btw!
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0007 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:40 PM
Response to Reply #3
7. It is a good article, I agree.
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ElsewheresDaughter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:07 PM
Response to Original message
4. SOA name change "Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation "
Edited on Sun Jul-25-04 12:13 PM by ElsewheresDaughter
same evil different name


http://www.ciponline.org/facts/soa.htm
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Program description Law
The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), located at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia, is the U.S. Armys principal Spanish-language training facility for Latin American military personnel. It is the successor to the School of the Americas (SOA), a facility established in 1946 and legally closed in 2001. The WHINSEC is located in the same building, and offers many of the same courses, as the school it replaces. Along with the U.S. Air Force's Inter-American Air Forces Academy (IAAFA), WHINSEC attracts the largest number of Latin American military students.

The Armys operations and maintenance account pays the institutes fixed costs. Student tuition costs are covered mainly by grants through the International Military Education and Training (IMET) and International Narcotics Control (INC) programs, or purchases of training through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program.

The School of the Americas had been questioned for years, as it trained many military personnel before and during the years of the "national security doctrine" -- the dirty war years in the Southern Cone and the civil war years in Central America -- in which Latin American militaries ruled or had disproportionate government influence and committed serious human rights violations. Training manuals used at the SOA and elsewhere from the early 1980s through 1991 promoted techniques that violated human rights and democratic standards. SOA graduates continue to surface in news reports regarding both current human rights cases and new reports on past cases.

The "Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation" is authorized by section 2166 of Title 10, U.S. Code.
Section 4415 of Title 10, which formerly authorized the School of the Americas, was repealed by section 911 of the 2001 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 5408).

The changes the new law makes to the school are enumerated in the bulleted list to the left.

H.R. 5408, http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c106:H.R.5408 : the 2001 National Defense Authorization Act (link to the "Thomas" website of the Library of Congress). The changes to the School of the Americas can be found in section 911.





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donsu Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. under any name they are still the school that teaches torture & crime

ask Central America

ask NarcoNews

ask anybody in the world
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ElsewheresDaughter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:23 PM
Response to Reply #5
6. i agree...and it is an evil evil place and needs to be shutdown forever
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:45 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Let's Also Shut Down The Supreme Court, The Presidency, Congress
Edited on Sun Jul-25-04 12:47 PM by cryingshame
the entire Army and also the Press.

After all, all these Oranizations and Institutions can do awful things if NeoCons manage to seize control.

Yes, let's shut down EVERYTHING and live in Anarchy.

Edit: and I suppose my pointing out Reality means I support SOA and killing little babies and raping women and torturing fathers.

Commence with the highly emotionally charged photos of the victims.

Same tactics as the Far Right Anti-Choice who use photos of dismembered fetuses to whip people into a frenzy.

Just on the other side of the spectrum.
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:47 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. erm...the SOA has taught people how to commit
Edited on Sun Jul-25-04 12:50 PM by ulysses
severe human rights abuses for decades. It has nothing to do with the neocons.

And the implied idea that civil government depends on this one program at Ft. Benning is more than a little ridiculous.

And no, no highly charged photos. I would like to know more about your jump from the SOA to basic governmental institutions, though.
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:49 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. EVERY Institution Acts According To Directorate Of Its Head
during Reagan/Bush and now Bush Jr... the Institution committed atrocities... just as the Supreme Court and Congress and Media are now committing fraud and all manner of injustice on American citizens and the world today.
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:54 PM
Response to Reply #13
15. the SOA was established in 1946
and hasn't exactly taken a breather from its activities in Latin America during Democratic administrations.

And the idea that we might as well shut down the whole government if we shut down the SOA is still complete bunk.
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:59 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. Theh Concept Is Shutting Down Anyhing Controlled & Abused GOP/NeoCons
if we shut down everything that the GOP seized control of and used to evil ends... what would we be left with?

This is the same argument around NED.

An organization which has done great good AND great mischief- mainly based on WHO was allotting the funds.
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 01:09 PM
Response to Reply #16
20. you've got the wrong concept, then.
It's not about shutting down any institution that can be used for bad purposes by bad people - it's about shutting down an institution whose primary purpose is to control, and often quash, popular movements in Latin America through the use of kidnapping, torture and murder in the name of US interests...no matter who is in the White House.
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 01:11 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. Not quite
The purpose of the SOA is to provide military training to Latin America. It was abused in the 1980s, just like much of the United States military infrastructure was abused in the 1980s.
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 01:17 PM
Response to Reply #21
22. can you give me any real reason to believe
that what happened in the 80s was a fluke? The El Mozote massacre occurred in December, 1981 - had the Reagan administration corrupted the institution so quickly that the fine gentlement of the Atacatl Battalion had learned their techniques starting no earlier than January of that year?
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 01:23 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. There were also torture manuals produced in the 1960s
I said "1980s" because that is when the worst of the abuses happened, what with the dirty wars and all.

If you look at the Archive mentioned in the story above, you will see that the manuals did not go through the proper channels to be created, and were destroyed for failing to meet the Southern Command's priority of teaching human rights.
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 01:27 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. "manuals", "proper channels". feh.
"Priority of teaching human rights"? You have got to be kidding.

No, I'm talking about what they're actually doing down there. The SOA has a fairly distinguished history of human rights violations, and I see no reason at all to believe that anything has fundamentally changed.
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #24
26. Oh no, I'm not demagoging the issue!
I'm dealing with facts! How evil of me.

How about, instead of reading someone else's account of the documents, you actually go to the National Security Archive's website and read the damned documents yourself?

Oh wait... that would take too much effort. It's far easier to attack something when you don't actually look at the evidence.

:eyes:
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 01:32 PM
Response to Reply #26
27. I asked you if you had any reason
Edited on Sun Jul-25-04 01:33 PM by ulysses
for me to believe that what happened in the 80s at the SOA was a fluke. You responded by pointing out that torture manuals had also been produced in the 60s (edit: and had not been approved through the proper channels) - which is not a reason to believe that the 80s were a fluke. Perhaps you'd like to try again?
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 01:39 PM
Response to Reply #27
29. I never said it was a fluke
I said that it's stated purpose had been perverted by training materials that should have never been created, let alone used, and that those materials were destroyed in 1991.
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 01:49 PM
Response to Reply #29
31. perhaps I misunderstood your initial post to me, then.
The purpose of the SOA is to provide military training to Latin America. It was abused in the 1980s, just like much of the United States military infrastructure was abused in the 1980s.

If the SOA is simply a military training campus, abused under Reagan, afflicted during the same time by rogues who created unauthorized training manuals (since destroyed) on the torture of dissidents and harried by accounts of the abuses committed by its graduates, are we supposed to assume that sufficient reform and oversight has been put in place to ensure that these abuses do not happen again and are not, in fact, happening now?

Sorry, but lacking hard and copious evidence to that end, I'm not buying it.
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 01:51 PM
Response to Reply #31
32. We do have evidence
We have the documents that were just released, which indicate that the manuals were destroyed in 1991, and that the military leadership was not pleased to find out that this was going on.
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 01:58 PM
Response to Reply #32
33. nope. sorry.
The displeasure of a few higher-ups and the destruction of some manuals doesn't even begin to satisfy the level of proof of reform that is required by events like El Mozote.
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 02:30 PM
Response to Reply #33
34. a kick in the hopes
that you have further evidence to present.
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wuushew Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 01:28 PM
Response to Reply #16
25. What great good has the SOA done?
Edited on Sun Jul-25-04 01:41 PM by wuushew
All its' fruits produced were bloody wars between corrupt pro-American governments and leftist opponents. Look at all the good things going on Central/South America today they sure ain't products of pro-capitalist/pro-facist governments. The boogey man of communism has now been replaced by prepetual wars against drugs. Why should we have any School of the Americas? Why not a School of the World? Do you accept Monroe doctrine as legitmate tool of U.S. foreign policy?
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Tierra_y_Libertad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 01:37 PM
Response to Reply #25
28. Aww, c'mon. Death squads are good for democracy.
The Contras were just a lovable bunch of fratboys having a little innocent fun. And, let us not forget those swell graduates in Honduras and Guatamala who helped rid the civilized world of all those naughty Indians who had the temerity to complain about all the wonderful "stability" being provided. How about those purveyers of Democracy in Chiapas when they shot down the Zapatistas? Or, the SOA trained military in Chile that saved us from that awful Commie Allende who the Chileans elected?

We should be grateful for having the SOA. Too bad Himmler isn't still around to really make it efficient.
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JohnKleeb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:47 PM
Response to Original message
9. I believe Kerry promised to shut it down if elected president
I also know that a key early supporter of his, Rep Jim McGovern of Massachuetts who represents the Worchester area has been leading fights in the house to close it down.
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:48 PM
Response to Reply #9
12. do you have a cite, John?
I'm not challenging you, I'd just really like to see that.
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JohnKleeb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:53 PM
Response to Reply #12
14. yeah lemme look
Cant find it but I remember something. I am not a good research type.
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ulysses Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 02:38 PM
Response to Reply #14
35. probably not exactly it, but to the good anyway.
US Representative James P. McGovern, a Democrat of Worcester, introduced a bill last March to shut down the school, cosponsored by 102 representatives, including Dennis J. Kucinich of Ohio and Richard A. Gephardt of Missouri -- both candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination this year. Senator John F. Kerry, another candidate, signed on to a Senate bill to shut down the school, introduced in 1998, according to McGovern's staff.

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0117-01.htm

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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:48 PM
Response to Original message
11. Are these the manuals being referenced?
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KittyWampus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 01:02 PM
Response to Reply #11
18. You Mean The Manuals From The 80's?
or are there new contemporary manuals promoting illegal torture?
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 01:03 PM
Response to Reply #18
19. It would seem that they are talking about the manuals from the 1980s
That were destroyed. But I guess the fact that torture was taught there 20 years ago is reason enough to attack whoever voted to continue funding recently.
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kiahzero Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 01:00 PM
Response to Original message
17. Actually, I think this is the release they are referring to:
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB122 /

Of note:
This "report of investigation" was sent to then Secretary of Defense Richard Cheney in March 1992, nine months after the Defense Department began an internal investigation into how seven counterintelligence and interrogation manuals used for years by the Southern Command throughout Latin America had come to contain "objectionable" and prohibited material. Army investigators traced the origins of the instructions on use of beatings, false imprisonment, executions and truth serums back to "Project X"-a program run by the Army Foreign Intelligence unit in the 1960s. The report to Cheney found that the "offensive and objectionable material in the manuals" contradicted the Southern Command's priority of teaching respect for human rights, and therefore "undermines U.S. credibility, and could result in significant embarrassment." Cheney concurred with the recommendations for "corrective action" and recall and destruction of as many of the offending manuals as possible.
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB122/920310%20...
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wuushew Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 01:49 PM
Response to Original message
30. Annual budget could fund a soup kitchen for 30+ years
Wayside Evening Soup Kitchen (Portland, ME)
Quick Facts
Size of facility: 1501 to 5000 sq/ft
Annual budget: $80,000 to $250,000
Total # paid staff: 1800
Total # volunteer hours/month: More than 1,000 hours



School of the Americas

Source 1995<2> 1996<3> 1999<1> 2000<11> 2002 <9> 2003<10>
Army operations and maintenance funds $ 2.6 million 2701000 $2.8 million $3.2 million n/a $6.3 million
Security assistance funds $ 1.2 million 1214700 $1.2 million $1.2 million $1.2 million
- IMET 640500 n/a $1.2 million
- FMS 140900 n/a
- International Narcotics Control (INC) funds 433300 n/a
Section 1004-DoD Drug Interdiction
JCS funds for exercise support 27800
Total $ 3.8 million $3.9 million $4 million $4.4 million $5.6 million $7.5 million


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Courses:
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LWolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 02:39 PM
Response to Original message
36. Kerry couldn't have,
since he's not a member of the house. If you can identify the bill they are talking about, you can look it up and see how the house voted.
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ElsewheresDaughter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 05:12 PM
Response to Original message
37. TIA kick
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