|May 2008 Post-vote Action Campaign|
SOA Watch secured an amazing victory in Congress with a win for the McGovern-Sestak-Bishop (GA) amendment, but there is some unfinished business to attend to!
In the House...
Not everyone in the House was supportive, in fact, many members of Congress ignored the wishes of their constituents and others succumbed to Pentagon pressure by rejecting the recommendation of the Chairman of the House Armed Services committee, Representative Ike Skelton, to vote YES on the amendment.
These members of Congress should be held accountable for their votes as they represent YOU in Washington D.C. and with an election approaching in November, you can make your voice heard AND let them know you're watching how they vote.
These 8 Democrats broke rank and sided with WHINSEC, rather than their constituents:
These cosponsors of HR 1707 (all Republicans) cast a "no" vote:
And it should be noted that 31 members of the House failed to show up and cast a vote on the amendment! Your representatives in the House are elected to come to Washington D.C. and participate in the policital process and represent YOUR views in Congress and how can that happen if they don't cast a vote? These are the 31:
In the Senate...
We may won the vote in the House, but it’s not over yet! We need your help with the Senate!
The language that passed the House has been sent to the Senate and we need to flood Senate offices with calls urging them to support the decisive statement that operations at the SOA/ WHINSEC should be transparent!
There are two action items for this effort:
1] Click here to send an automatic email and fax to your Senator asking them to support the release of the names
2] Make the calls!!! Please take the time to contact your two Senators using the suggested call script below. You can reach your Senators by contacting the Senate Congressional Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and the operator will connect you to the Senate office you request. If you don’t know the names of your Senators, check out the Senate webpage and search for your state.
After you are connected with your Senator’s office, ask for the military affairs legislative aide and here is a suggested message to convey:
“Hello my name is ______ and I am a resident of the state of ______. As your constituent, I urge you to support the public release of names, rank, country of origin, dates and courses attended for graduates and instructors of the SOA/ WHINSEC. As you may know, on Thursday, May 22nd the House overwhelmingly passed the McGovern- Sestak-Bishop (GA) amendment that would require the release of this information. In a decisive statement in favor of transparency and human rights, the amendment was agreed to with a wide margin of victory in a 220 – 189 vote.
As you may know the School of the Americas, renamed WHINSEC, has a notorious history linked to serious crimes and human rights abuses throughout Latin America. In the past few years under WHINSEC, known human rights abusers have attended the school and WHINSEC instructors have been arrested in Colombia for returning home and aiding the drug cartels. None of this information would be known if the basic information about enrollment at WHINSEC were not disclosed. This information is vital to the work of Congress and human rights organizations who seek protection of human rights and promoting transparency, however all FOIA requests for this information are now being denied.
I urge you to advocate, at any opportunity in committee, on the Senate floor, or in conference committee, the immediate release of this information to the public. Thank you.”
For more information about the SOA Watch legislative campaign, contact the SOA Watch Legislative Coordinator Pam Bowman at (202) 234-3440 or pbowman(@)soaw.org and visit the Legislative Action Index.
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