THOUSANDS TO CONVERGE ON THE SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS AT FT. BENNING, GEORGIA -- ON NOV. 17 & 18 TO PROTEST U.S. ARMY TRAINING OF LATIN AMERICAN TERRORISTS Print
On Saturday and Sunday, November 17 & 18, thousands of U.S. citizens will gather in Columbus, Georgia. They will commemorate all victims of terrorism and demand the closing of the SOA. SOA graduates continue to be implicated in acts of terrorism -- civilian-targeted killings -- in Colombia and elsewhere in Latin America.

The October 30 London Guardian stated, "Until January this year WHISC [Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation] was called the ‘School of the Americas,’ or SOA. Since 1946, SOA has trained more than 60,000 Latin American soldiers and policemen. Among its graduates are many of the continent's most notorious torturers, mass murderers, dictators and state terrorists."

On Sunday morning, hundreds of demonstrators will take part in the annual solemn procession to Ft. Benning and the SOA/WHISC. Over 20 SOA Watch supporters are now serving six-month sentences in federal prison -- including nuns, students, teachers, veterans and a senior NASA scientist -- for their (nonviolent) role in last November's procession. They are among the 70 SOA Watch prisoners of conscience who over the last decade have served sentences totaling 40 years.

The weekend program will include an array of live music and speakers from Latin and North America: Hilcia Guadalupe, Joventud Unita de Vieques; Baldemar Velasquez, President, Farm Labor Organizing Committee; Teresa Gutierrez, ANSWER Coalition; Pedro Diaz, Colombian Human Rights attorney; Adriana Bartow, Where are the Children Campaign, Guatemala. Fr. Roy Bourgeois, MM, SOA Watch founder; Rev. Joseph Robertson, South Columbus United Methodist pastor; Rev. Graylan Hagler, Washington, DC Congregational pastor; Charlie Liteky, Congressional Medal of Honor winner and recently released SOAW prisoner of conscience; United Students Against Sweatshops; Sr. Dorothy Heidersheit, Sisters of St. Francis; Gail Phares, Witness for Peace; Fr. Steve Privet, S.J., President, University of San Francisco; Liz McAlister, Jonah House; Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, author of School of the Assassins; and Kathy Kelly, founder Voices in the Wilderness, Nobel Peace Prize nominee.