Support the SOA 16 & Other Updates Print

SOA Watch Update
January 24, 2007

In this email, you'll find:

  • Support the SOA 16
  • Updates from Latin America
  • Upcoming SOA Watch Events & Campaigns

  • Support the SOA 16

    January 28-30, 2007 ? SOA 16 Trial and Festival of Hope

    On January 29, 2007 sixteen human rights activists will appear in federal court in Columbus, Georgia to put the SOA/WHINSEC on trial. The 16 were arrested on November 19, 2006, after carrying the protest to close the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC) onto the Fort Benning Military Reservation, publicly defying the laws which prevent political speech on military bases and making a bold call for justice and accountability.

    We invite all human rights activists and SOA Watch supporters to join the SOA 16 in Columbus, Georgia on January 28-30, 2007 for the trials and Festival of Hope.

    On Sunday, January 28th we will honor our prisoners of conscience and those who will be testifying against the SOA/WHINSEC with a Festival of Hope. The festival begins at 7pm and will take place at the Howard Johnson Presidential Ball Room (1011 Veterans Pkwy).

    There are several options for housing in Columbus. Most of the pre-trial events will take place at the Howard Johnson and often people choose to stay there. Less expensive options are the Days Inn and Motel 6. You can ask for the SOA Watch group rate at the HoJo or the Days Inn.

    Howard Johnson's
    Ph: 706-322-6641
    1011 Veterans Pkwy
    Columbus, GA

    Days Inn
    Ph: 706-689-6181
    3170 Victory Drive
    Columbus, GA

    Motel 6
    Ph: 706-687-7214
    3050 Victory Drive
    Columbus, GA

    Read more about the SOA 16

    Read about the SOA 16 in the news

    Make a donation to Support SOA 16 and SOA Watch

    Updates from Latin America

    - La Lucha Continua en Oaxaca -

    While Oaxaca has disappeared from the mainstream news, the struggle to oust governor Ulises Ruis Ortiz, to remove the Federal Preventative Police (PFP) from the State of Oaxaca, and to obtain freedom for all ?political prisoners and prisoners of conscience? continues.

    With the new year Oaxaca continues to be under a state of siege. The brutal repression on behalf of the PFP and government sponsored paramilitaries has not stopped and the violence directed towards social organizers and protestors is widespread. This year has already seen the murder of a teacher, Enriqueta Santiago Santiago was abducted and then slain by members of a death squad on January 12. Resistance in the shape of street and prison demos has also continued. A "megamarch" has been called for February 3rd in Oaxaca City.

    An article in Indymedia Chiapas reports that 10,000 people marched on Oaxaca City on January 10, aiming at breaking the siege imposed by the Federal Police occupation. The demonstration was led by the families of the political prisoners. Those jailed include 16 women in the Tlacolula prison, and 19 men in the Miahuatl?n jail.

    Click here to read a short report in spanish and view a video clip

    Click here to read more about the situation in Oaxaca

    - An SOA Graduate Speaks Out -

    In his article ?Smoke and Mirrors: SOA Graduate Speaks Out? (The Signal - January 14, 2007 ) freelance reporter Willy E. Gutman sits down with Honduran Lt. Col. Roberto Nu?ez, an SOA graduate who stands accused of organizing a raid on the household of an alternate Honduran congressional deputy in 1987. Lt. Col. Nu?ez statements? give some insight on the frame of mind under which many SOA graduates justify their actions against the civilian population of Latin America.

    ?It took six months of secret negotiations to locate an alumnus of the U.S. Army School of the Americas willing to talk. It took nearly as long to finalize the rules of engagement.

    Because he denies receiving anything but "classic war college instruction," and as the more sinister exploits of SOA graduates have been copiously rendered by the media, I reluctantly agreed not to focus on his wartime military activities. It was that or nothing.?

    Continue reading ?Smoke and Mirrors: SOA Graduate Speaks Out?

    Upcoming SOA Watch Events & Campaigns

    - SOA Watch Strategy Meeting -

    9 am - 7 pm; February 18, 2007; Washington, DC
    The strategy meeting is an opportunity for members of the SOA Watch movement to come together for a conversation about goals, tactics and strategy. It?s a time for all of us to share our work both regionally and nationally and to coordinate our efforts as we work for a world where all can live in dignity.

    Grassroots activists and partners from national organizations will gather in Washington DC to evaluate the work of the past year and look down the road ahead.

    This year we are focusing on our upcoming Congressional vote to close the SOA/WHINSEC, and we will continue to look at building a movement beyond the School of the Americas. We will evaluate and strategize around the November Vigil, media and direct action strategies and our new Latin American organizing initiatives.

    We invite all our partners and supporters to register as soon as possible for this year's Strategy Meeting, scheduled to take place from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM on Sunday, February 18th. We ask you to share this information with members of your group or organization and together select representatives to attend this important meeting on February 18th. We will e-mail a detailed schedule to all registered participants in early February after we have tabulated your agenda suggestions.

    We also encourage you to schedule a meeting with your group or organization between February 9 and 16 in order to gather input before you come to the strategy meeting. A limited amount of sleeping bag or hostel space will be available for the weekend so please contact SOA Watch if you plan on assisting.
    To register or receive more information contact SOA Watch's Program Associate Emily Nelson at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 202-234-3440 (9am-5pm EST).

    - SOA Watch Lobby Days -

    Lobby Training: 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm; February 19, 2007; Washington, DC

    Office Visits: 9 am - 5 pm; February 20, 2007; Washington, DC

    Join us for two days of lobby and action on Capitol Hill as we flood the halls of Congress with supporters and call for the immediate closure of the SOA/WHINSEC once and for all!

    Come on Monday, February 19th, and attend our Lobby Training, facilitated by SOA Watch Legislative Coordinator, Pam Bowman. Familiarize yourself with the issue and develop strong talking points for your meeting with your representative. Learn about effective follow up and more ways to ensure accountability on the part of your Congressperson.

    Come on Tuesday, February 20th, for our Lobby Day in Congress. Meet with the office of your Congressional Representative and speak with them personally about the SOA issue. Join other activists as they demonstrate outside Congressional offices and educate the general public about the atrocities committed as a result of training provided by the SOA/WHINSEC.

    Read more about the SOA Watch Strategy Meeting and Lobby Days

    - 1000 Grandmothers Campaign: Booties For Peace and Closing the SOA/ WHINSEC -

    As the legislative campaign of SOA Watch gets ready to kick off with the new Congress, the 1000 Grandmothers campaign in conjunction with the Chico Peace and Justice Center is organizing a ?Booties for Peace? project. They ask that anyone and everyone sew, knit, or crochet baby booties representing the children that continue to suffer from violence being taught at the notorious SOA/ WHINSEC. After 535 booties are collected, one or more will be sent to each Senator and Representative in Congress.

    For more information, visit the 1000 Grandmothers website and learn how to plug into this creative expression in support of peace and justice.

    - Christian Peace Witness for Iraq -

    On Friday March 16 at 7 pm, thousands of Christians will share in an ecumenical worship service at the Washington National Cathedral, followed by a candlelight procession to the White House, and a late night peace vigil, during which some participants may engage in peaceful civil disobedience. Let us commit to the fullness of the Gospel vision of justice, peace, inclusive community and wholeness.

    Friday March 16, 7 p.m., Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.

    For more information, contact the This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , (202) 832-1780; or visit the Christian Peace Witness website.

    - No Bases Conference in Ecuador -

    Join Cindy Sheehan, Medea Benjamin, SOA Watch and others in Ecuador this March and attend the No U.S. Bases Conference in Manta and Quito!

    School of the Americas Watch, Global Exchange, the Marin InterFaith Task Force (MITF) and the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) will lead a delegation to Ecuador that will offer participants a unique opportunity to learn more about environmental and social issues in Ecuador before attending the the International Conference to Abolish Foreign Military Bases, March 5-9 in Quito and Manta, Ecuador. The conference features a caravan march to Manta on March 8, International Women?s Day, and highlights the political, social, environmental and economic impacts of foreign military bases and the grassroots movements that oppose them. Participants will also work to formally construct a network of activists opposed to foreign military bases.

    Manta is the only U.S. military base in South America, and 400 U.S. troops are stationed there. Newly-elected President Rafael Correa pledged to shut the base down when its lease expires in 2009.

    Prior to the "No-Bases" Conference participants will visit, the Intag community, Otavalo, the Cayambe Valle flower plantations, radio station "La Luna" and more.

    Read more about the No Bases Conference