Craig Adams' Statement in Court Print
January 26, 2004

Your Honor, I choose to plead guilty. There is no doubt that I trespassed onto the grounds of Ft. Benning. I did this to protest the use of my tax dollars to support the U.S. Army School of the Americas / WHINSEC. I plead guilty out of respect for our county?s laws, Constitution, and Bill of Rights which give me the right to stand trial before you today. I plead guilty because I feel I am acting in the tradition of nonviolent civil disobedience?following the example of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, both of whom plead guilty for their acts of civil disobedience.

I protested at the School of the Americas because I believe the purpose of our military should be to protect and defend life?not to destroy it. Your honor, my wife and I were small dairy farmers for 20 years. In 1989 we traveled to Nicaragua in Central America with our three young children to help and become friends with small farmers on a rural cooperative. My wife, being a practical woman, made a short visit to check out the situation and meet the members of the cooperative 6 months before we arrived as a family. We arrived to find the cooperative traumatized because two members of the Board of peasant farmers had been kidnapped from their homes, taken into the hills and killed by the U. S. trained and funded Contras. We know now that some of these Contras were trained at the SOA and were given manuals that advocated torture and murder in order to achieve political objectives.

Our family also lived with the Hicho-Ramos family in Guatemala City for several months while we took Spanish language training. I have a daughter I love very much and I know, your honor, from our last appearance in court with you, that you also have a daughter [Judge Faircloth broke in to say that he has 3 daughters]. I cannot visit Ft. Benning without thinking about this Guatemalan family?s daughter. Their daughter, Irma, a student at the University of Guatemala, was kidnapped along with two other students. They were never seen again. Irma was trying to change the university?s admission policy in order that poor students might be able to attend. The license plates of the van that whisked her away were traced to a military intelligence unit. We know that the Guatemalan Army has received and is still receiving extensive training at the SOA / WHINSEC. I cannot think about the SOA without being reminded of Irma and this family?s grief.

Interestingly enough, my father joined the U.S. Army and took basic training at Ft. Benning in 1948. He is proud of his 20 years of service in the Army Reserve but is sad and angry knowing what is being taught at the SOA and has come down here to protest it. Three days ago I lost my mother when she died instantly in a car crash. I want to acknowledge and thank you, your honor, for offering to let me stand trial at a later date. I have chosen, with support from my family, to stand trial with those I was arrested with. As the Buddha said, ?Death comes suddenly and without warning???Death has a way of waking us up so that we realized what is important: to love and protect life! My mother loved and protected life and I am proud to say she ?crossed the line? onto Ft. Benning 3 years ago to protest the SOA. I know she is proud that I am standing trial here today.

The Buddha said, ?Violence is never ended by violence. Only by goodwill is violence ended.? I know my mother, if she could, would join me today in asking that goodwill, life and peace prevail and that we should start by closing the SOA.