SOA Watchers Report to Prison Today -- Come to DC! Print

SOA Watch Action Alert
April 11, 2006

29 SOA Watch activists report to federal prisons today
Those Headed to Prison, including 81-year-old WWII Veteran, Will Serve Time for Opposition to School of the Americas

Take action in support!

Twenty nine SOA Watch human rights advocates from around the United States will report to federal prisons today to begin serving sentences of one to six months for their acts of nonviolent civil disobedience opposing the controversial U.S. Army?s School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC). The 29 ? ranging in age from 19 to 81 ? are among 37 people arrested at Fort Benning last November and later sentenced in a federal court. They join four others already serving prison time for the same action.

?People speaking out for justice and accountability go to prison this week,? said Fr. Roy Bourgeois, founder of SOA Watch, ?while the SOA and its graduates continue to commit human rights abuses with impunity.?

The exciting news from Argentina and Uruguay last month harsh prison sentences handed down to those arrested last November come at a critical time and give momentum to the campaign to close the SOA/ WHINSEC. A Congressional vote on the SOA will happen as early as May!

Thanks to your hard work, the legislation introduced last year by Rep. McGovern (D-MA) that would suspend activities at the SOA/ WHINSEC and call for a review of foreign military training in Latin America, HR 1217, currently has 128 bi-partisan co-sponsors!

Last November 19,000 people ? many of you among them ? gathered at the gates of Ft. Benning, home of the SOA/ WHINSEC, to call for the closure of the school. The annual Vigil has grown from a dozen people in November of 1990 to last year?s record numbers. The gathering culminated in a symbolic funeral procession commemorating those who have died at the hands of graduates of the school. The 29 reporting to prison today ? including Delmar Schwaller, an 81-year-old World War II veteran ? peacefully crossed onto the Fort Benning military base and were arrested. Read a final list of defendants and their sentences.

Take action today to support these prisoners and to continue their work of closing the School of the Americas!

1. Come to Washington, DC to tell Congress to close the SOA: April 23-25

The tide is turning in the Americas! All across Central and South America, governments and citizens are rejecting SOA-style military ?solutions? to social problems ? here in the United States, hundreds of thousands of immigrants and allies have been mobilizing for a more just world ? and in the halls of Congress the message to close the SOA is louder than ever. ACROSS THE AMERICAS, SUPPORT FOR THE SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS IS ERODING EVERY DAY. Add *your* voice to this movement for justice! March, rally and lobby to close the SOA in Washington, DC April 23-25! Now is the time to take our message to Capitol Hill.

Join us in DC from April 23-25 as we tell Congress to close the School of the Americas once and for all! Let?s ride this tide and flood the halls of Congress with justice.

On SUNDAY, April 23, we?ll gather for a day of legislative trainings, workshops and a talk from Father Roy. On MONDAY, April 24, we?ll process to Capitol Hill, hold a brief rally and meet with Members of Congress. We?ll continue to hold Congressional meetings on TUESDAY, April 25.

2. Write the prisoners & learn more about political prisoners in the U.S.

See prison addresses and find out more about these defendants

Read other actions to take in solidarity with those in prison.

Learn more about political prisoners and the prison industrial complex in the United States. Visit Critical Resistance, Prison Activist Resource Center and the Nuclear Resister.

3. Support SOA Watch

Organizing work costs money! Please donate to SOA Watch.

History is made by movements ? mass movements of people who organize themselves to struggle collectively for a better world. The movement to close the School of the Americas/WHINSEC is a nonviolent force to change oppressive US foreign policy as represented by institutions like the SOA/WHINSEC. It is made up of people from many backgrounds and represents a positive and fundamentally different alternative to the system of violence and oppression.

See you in Washington, DC!

The SOA Watch Staff