PLEASE CONTACT THE CHILDREN'S DEFENSE FUND REGARDING THE SCHOOL OF SHOCK. TELL THEM THAT AS AN ORGANIZATION INTERESTED IN HELPING CHILDREN THIS IS AN ISSUE THAT MUST BE ATTENDED TO. ALL IT TAKES IS A REALLY QUICK PHONE CALL OR EMAIL. BEYOND THAT TALK TO YOUR NEIGHBORS, CONGRESS PEOPLE, SPIRITUAL FRIENDS, FAMILY MEMBERS, CO-WORKERS AND IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE ARTICLE YET GO TO MOTHER JONES ONLINE AND READ THE ARTICLE CALLED SCHOOL OF SHOCK OUTLINING THIS ATROCIOUS AND DIFFICULT TO BELIEVE THING THAT IS HAPPENING TO CHILDREN IN THIS COUNTRY. CHILDREN ARE BEING KILLED AND BECAUSE OF BIG MONEY AND PEOPLE NOT THINKING FOR THEMSELVES THIS SCHOOL IS GETTING AWAY WITH IT.
Children's Defense Fund 25 E Street N.W. Washington, DC 20001 Phone: 202-628-8787 800-CDF-1200 (800-233-1200) E-mail: email@example.com
"There's no turning back...We will win. We are winning because ours is a revolution of mind and heart..." - César Chávez
203:214 = SOA/WHINSEC Survives Vote in Congress by a 6 Vote Margin
On Thursday night at 11:52 PM, Congress defeated the McGovern/Lewis amendment to cut the funding for the SOA/WHINSEC by a margin of six votes.
The grassroots mobilizing effort was tremendous: Tens of thousands of emails, faxes and calls flooded the halls of Congress over the past three days. Students, clergy, union members and veterans travelled to DC and visited with hundreds of Congressional offices to communicate clearly that there is no room for institutions like the SOA/WHINSEC in our future. Despite this, 214 Members of Congress missed the chance to stand up for human rights, justice and democracy, and voted to keep the funding for the SOA/WHINSEC flowing.
The WHINSEC PR machine and high-ranking Pentagon officials used taxpayer money to put a lot of pressure on Members of Congress. However, this is no excuse for Representatives to not be accountable to their constituents. There were Representatives this week that committed to vote to cut funding for the SOA/WHINSEC, and then shifted their vote. Those people need hear from all of us, loudly and in public. If we can mobilize around the vote the way that we have, we can mobilize around targeted primary elections and make clear to constituents in those districts how their candidates feel about supporting the Pentagon policies and this school of shame.
Contact her/him with thanks if they voted to cut SOA/WHINSEC funding. Express your displeasure to those who sided with the SOA/WHINSEC and your extreme displeasure to those who said that they would vote with us but didn't.
WE WILL CLOSE THE SOA/WHINSEC/
While we did not get enough Members of Congress to vote with us, it was clear to us and to our supporters in the House that we have tremendous power when we mobilize together. We gained the support of new Republicans and new members of Congress, the margin of SOA/ WHINSEC survival is rapidly dwindling, and this week due to grassroots pressure, we added several new cosponsors to HR 1707 bringing our total to 111.
Your work these past weeks was remarkable. Because of your persistence, 209 Members of Congress voted with us, despite the pressure that was exerted by the Pentagon. Please take the time to thank your Representative if she/he stood up for human rights and voted with us. Together we educated hundreds of Representatives and staffers about the SOA/WHINSEC. We built new relationships and strengthened long-term ones. We have gained a lot of ground in Congress and our goal of closing this School of the Death is coming closer and closer.
We thank you for all your amazing work, sacrifice, commitment and support!
More updates soon!
Costa Rica to Cease Police Training at the SOA/WHINSEC!
Costa Rican President Oscar Arias announced on May 16, 2007 that Costa Rica will cease to send police to train at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the U.S. Army School of the Americas.
( Photo: From L to R - Rita Calvert (SOAW activist living in Costa Rica), Fr. Roy Bourgeois, President Oscar Arias, Lisa Sullivan, Fernando Berrocal Soto (Minister of Government, Police and Public Security), Isabel MacDonald (Director of the Peace Center in Costa Rica))
Arias, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, made the decision after talks with an SOA Watch delegation, including Julio Yao of SERPAJ Panama; the Rev. Roy Bourgeois, founder of SOA Watch; and Lisa Sullivan Rodriguez of the SOA Watch Latin America Project.
Costa Rica is the fourth country to announce a withdrawal from the SOA/WHINSEC. In 2006, the governments of Argentina and Uruguay announced that they would cease all training at the school, becoming the second and third countries to announce a cessation of training. In January of 2004, Hugo Chavez announced that Venezuela would no longer send troops to train at the school.
Continue Reading... Four Prisoners of Conscience Released! We are thrilled to announce that four of our friends who were serving 60-day sentences in federal prisons were released on June 14, 2007.
The four are among the sixteen human rights advocates who were arrested for "trespassing" while protesting the SOA/WHINSEC during the November 17-19,2007 Vigil to Close the SOA at Fort Benning, GA.
(Photos: Clockwise from top left - Tina Busch-Nema, Don Coleman, Martina Leforce, Nathan Slater.)
Five prisoners of conscience are still in prison and Katherine Whitney Ray is presently serving one year probation, please continue to show your support to the SOA 16 by writing to the prisoners and supporting the campaign to shut down the SOA/WHINSEC.
Your letters of support to prisoners and donations to SOA Watch keep this movement alive and energized. SOA Watch is not only a human rights organization but also an international community of human rights and social justice advocates from different walks of life who share a common cause in the defense of life, justice and freedom.
Today President Bush vetoed the $124 billion Iraq war funding bill, because it included a timid troop withdrawal plan.
Unfortunately, the Democrats in Congress now seem to think that they must compromise with the arrogant, incompetent administration that led us into war, rather than stand up for us, our troops and the Iraqis.
If we do not create a national outcry right now, Congress will capitulate and simply give Bush the money he wants to continue the war.
The Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is planning to build new nuclear weapons. These new warheads are being prepared under the so-called Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) Program. There is growing public and congressional opposition to this program. Your letter to Congress will help prevent a new generation of nuclear weapons.
Developing new nuclear weapons makes us less safe!
This costly ($150 billion), unnecessary, and dangerous program will further undermine US credibility with the international community and hurt US national security. Developing new nuclear weapons will hinder international non-proliferation initiatives and cripple international nuclear disarmament efforts. A new generation of nuclear weapons in the United States will make it more difficult to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear weapons program, Iran to halt uranium enrichment and the rest of the world to abstain from developing nuclear weapons. We should not be taking actions that encourage other countries to develop or expand their nuclear weapons capabilities. We should be dismantling our existing weapons, not developing new ones.
There is an alternative to new nuclear weapons! Curate! Don’t proliferate!
Under article VI of the nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty of which the US is a signatory, the United States is obligated to dismantle its nuclear stockpile. The NNSA should adopt a curatorship program in which nuclear weapons are maintained, not augmented, while they wait dismantlement.
We can stop RRW before it starts!
DOE has requested $89 million in the 2008 budget for RRW. Skepticism around building new nuclear weapons is building rapidly in Congress. Last month’s House and Senate hearings about RRW exposed fundamental flaws with the RRW program. Write Congress and tell them you don’t want new nuclear weapons!
Welcome to the southern Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, with its mountain vistas, sagebrush mesas, and verdant ribbons of forest. Home to the longest wildlife migration corridor in the lower 48, the Upper Green River Valley is quickly being consumed by gas drilling, resulting in hazy skies, heavy traffic, and greatly reduced populations of wildlife.
Even so, the Bush Administration hopes to drill 7,000 more gas rigs. But there's an alternative plan - one that promotes balance and sensible growth. Help us tell the Bureau of Land Management to choose a better plan before the June 18 public comment deadline http://www.action.wilderness.org/campaign/upper_green_lcv
Over its 59 years, the SOA has trained over 60,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics. These graduates have consistently used their skills to wage a war against their own people. Among those targeted by SOA graduates are educators, union organizers, religious workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor. Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, “disappeared,” massacred, and forced into refugee by those trained at the School of Assassins.
Even if you don't have time for a meeting, making a phone call to your Representative is a great way to let them know your views and how you want them to represent you in Washington!
Please take the time to call the D.C. office of your Representative by calling the Capitol Hill Switchboard (202-224-3121). Ask to speak with the foreign affairs legislative assistant and here is a suggested message for you to convey:
"As a constituent living in _________, I am calling Congressman/woman ________ to urge him/her to contact Rep. McGovern and ask to be a cosponsor of HR 1707, legislation that would suspend operations at the School of the Americas, renamed WHINSEC, and investigate the history of human rights abuses and failed policies of the institution.
New information indicates that WHINSEC has allowed known human rights abusers to instruct and receive training at the school. Argentina and Uruguay are two more countries that have made public announcements they will no longer send students to the school, citing the negative image and history of this institution. Despite demands by Congress to have oversight over the curriculum and promote human rights, the Pentagon is now denying all requests to provide information to human rights organizations and the public about students and graduates of the school.
I urge you to contact Cindy Buhl in Representative McGovern?s office and ask that your boss be added as a cosponsor of HR 1707. I hope you will represent my views and support this legislation."
Cosponsors of HR 1707 (as of 4/24/07) 80 + McGovern
Updated April 24, 2007
Update: Representative McGovern has introduced HR 1707, the Latin America Military Training Review Act! The legislation was introduced with 71 bipartisan cosponsors and has grown to over 80 cosponsors, listed at the bottom of this page. This legislation would suspend operations at the SOA/ WHINSEC and investigate the history of torture and human rights abuses associated with the school.
The February Lobby Days in Washington DC were a huge success with hundreds of offices visited and new cosponsors added to the bill, but we need YOUR support for adding additional cosponsors! There are several ways that you can get involved including sending a letter, making a call, or scheduling a meeting, and all the tools and resources you need are below!
One new resource that may assist you in your meetings or with your letter and phone calls is the Dear Colleague letter Rep. McGovern has circulated in Congress. This document gives details on HR 1707, the new legislation.
Please contact the SOA Watch Legislative Coordinator, Pam Bowman, at pbowman(@)soaw.org or (202) 234-3440 for more information.
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