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Home News Press Releases 1000 Grandmothers Gather November 17 to Say NO to Torture
1000 Grandmothers Gather November 17 to Say NO to Torture PDF Print E-mail
While our grandchildren fight the ?Global War on Terrorism?, terrorists are being trained at the School of the Americas/Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Cooperation (SOA/WHINSEC) which is funded by American tax dollars. Grandmothers are organizing in cities across the nation in preparation for the annual mobilization to close the School of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia on November 17-19, 2006. Grandmothers will gather to say NO to the teaching of torture.

"Despite a shocking human rights record, this school continues to operate with US taxpayer money," said Cathy Webster, organizer and grandmother. ?Closing the SOA/WHISEC would send a strong human rights message to Latin America and the world.? Inspired by the Holly Near song ?1,000 Grandmothers? that calls on the strength and wisdom of grandmothers to stop violence, we will focus grandmother courage on the school that teaches torture, extortion, and counterinsurgency techniques, among other un-American skills. Many grandmothers are planning to put their bodies on the line to stop this perpetuation of violence.

The SOA/WHINSEC made headlines in 1996 when the Pentagon released training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, extortion and execution. Despite this admission and hundreds of documented human rights abuses connected to soldiers trained at the school, no independent investigation into the facility has ever taken place.

New research confirms that the school continues to support known human rights abusers. Despite having been investigated by the United Nations for ordering the shooting of 16 indigenous peasants in El Salvador, Col. Francisco Del Cid Diaz returned to SOA/WHINSEC in 2003.

Support for the SOA/WHINSEC continues to erode. Earlier this year, 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.

This grandmother effort is completely grassroots and decentralized. State and local contacts can be found on our website that enables other grandmothers and grandmother supporters to plug into local efforts as well as the larger protest event at the School of Americas in Georgia this November.

For information about the ?1,000 Grandmothers? mobilization go to www.1000grandmothers.net. More information about the School of the Americans can be found on the School of the Americas Watch website at www.soaw.org.

 

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