Congress Supports Torture and Terror

As long as it happens to South Americans, its good for us, right?

Disgusting.

RickB has the dirt:

here is the report:

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.

What is the SOA (emphasis mine)?

If you don’t know what SOA/WHINSEC is, basically it’s where the empire trains aligned latin nations police and military on how to torture and kill enemies to maintain imperial order:

The School of the Americas (SOA), in 2001 renamed the “Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation,” is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers, located at Fort Benning, Georgia.

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.

This is brutal.  It is the politics of empire at any cost.

No party should support this, but especially not Democrats.  The DNC should withdraw all support for the traitors who voted for this.  Mask of Anarchy has a list of the Democrats who voted yes.  Why not write them a letter thanking them for doing their best to make torture a bipartisan issue.

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7 Responses

  1. I had little faith in the Democrats anyway, this story just confirms my worst fears. I hope that the Democrats responsible for the continuation of this funding are kicked out of office at the earliest opportunity.

  2. Good to see John Murtha’s true colors on display for the world to see. What a vile man.

  3. Just a simple question–does the truth matter? If so, you might start by telling the truth about the institute which Congress and President Clinton created in 2001–the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation is established in law, check it out. Nobody, including SOAW, is trying to close the SOA–they know it is long gone. So what do they have against the institute? Nothing. Ask any one to name one issue they have with WHINSEC–they can’t because they have never looked, despite the fact that it is open to visitors every workday. (Just a hint, all that garbage about the SOA libels the US citizens who worked there, because there is not one example of anyone using what he learned there to commit a crime. More SOAW misinformation.) Check out the facts, and maybe the good and sincere people who have been misled into supporting false activism can get back to something that contributes to the real needs of this world.

  4. korova,
    Only if we hold them to it.
    Chris,
    Allies on one issue can be enemies on another. American support for terror in South America has a long history.
    Lee,
    Could you link to, or otherwise provide those facts? Renaming a product doesn’t change its effect. (Clinton was still active in 2001?)

  5. I don’t have the link at home to my extract from the FY2001 Defense Authorization Bill; I’ll try to remember to post it Monday. As you know, these bills are signed in the year before they take effect, so President Clinton did so on Oct. 30, 2000. As to the facts, all I can offer is for you to come see for yourself. You are welcome any weekday to sit in classes, talk with students and faculty, and review our instructional materials. As the chairman of our Board of Visitors, Bishop Robert Morlino, said to a SOAW representative, this is about facts. The institute is either doing what it should or it isn’t, it’s a matter of fact, not ideology or belief. The most credible view of the institute may be in the reports of that board, which are posted each year to the Federal Committee database. My web site gives directions on how to access that, if you need them. On the matter of the SOA, again that was a real place doing real things. I submit that if you want to accuse the school of teaching illegal, immoral, or unethical things, you should be able to point to those teachings. And if you want to claim that someone who went there committed a crime BECAUSE of what he learned there, you should be able to prove it. Otherwise, it’s just a libel of the people who worked there.

  6. Lee,
    Good point on Clinton.
    On the question of the institute’s effects on South America:
    From wikipedia:

    The SOA has been accused of training members of governments guilty of serious human rights abuses. Graduates of the SOA include men such as Hugo Banzer Suárez, Leopoldo Galtieri, Manuel Noriega, Vladimiro Montesinos, Guillermo Rodríguez, Omar Torrijos, Roberto Viola, Roberto D’Aubuisson, Victor Escobar and Juan Velasco Alvarado. [12] Because many of its students have been associated with death squads, and coups in Latin American countries, the school’s acronym is reparsed by its detractors as the “School of the Assassins”.

    From SOA Watch:

    If Harvard, Yale, or Princeton taught their students combat skills that to be used against non-combatant civilians, we would justifiably call for their closure.

    If we teach violent techniques to countries that are known to abuse human rights, that is entirely wrong.
    It isn’t that the SOA forms the motive for the crimes, but rather that it affords the means.
    I believe strongly that we should not aid people who oppress and hurt others.

  7. OK, take a look at our course list and tell me which of these we should not be teaching. The Wikipedia entry was not posted by any friend of the institute, and I have a new entry ready to post, waiting for someone with some tech-smarts to help with the graphics. As to the SOAW comment, they create their own assumption, then try to support it. Even the human rights crimes of people who attended SOA at some time have no relation to the courses they took. I strongly disagree with your comment about ‘affords the means.’ There is no evidence to support your remark. As a lady from Elmira, NY, wrote once “I wonder how much training it takes to kill unarmed civilians?” If murder and such heinous crimes required training, we would never have to worry about street crime, would we? And when you talk about WHO we teach, that is a government to government issue. We don’t choose our students. Another thing–tell me how Leopoldo Galtieri taking an engineer operations course in 1949 when he was a 23-year-old lieutenant in the Argentine Army has any relevance at all to his acts 30 years later? Do you really suppose that two or three month course was the determining factor in all his later behavior? I didn’t mean to go on and on. We teach professionals what they need to know to do their jobs better, and to do those jobs legally, morally, and ethically. If you can find something in our current operation to object to, please do so, but please don’t quote from people who have never been here and have no clue. Best if you come yourself; we are open, you know.

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