SOA Watch in Colombia & Panama Print

SOA Watch Update
February 8, 2007



  • SOA FOIA Appeal Denied
  • Winter 2007 SOA Watch Newsletter Out Now!
  • Updates & News from Latin America
  • SOA Watch Events & Campaign

  • SOA Watch FOIA Appeal Denied

    For several years, SOA Watch has submitted Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to acquire the full names, rank, and country of origin, and dates with names of the classes of the students that have attended at the SOA/WHINSEC.

    Until our request for fiscal year (FY) 2005, all of our requests were granted.

    In October 2005, SOA Watch submitted a FOIA request for SOA/WHINSEC attendees of FY 2005. The request was denied in July 2006 and was then appealed by SOA Watch in September. After 5 months, the Department of Defense (DoD) has notified SOA Watch that our appeal has been denied on one of the five exemptions in the FOIA legislation:

    ?(6) personnel and medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy;?

    None of the information SOA Watch requested for the 2005 request differed from the previous requests we have made. In addition, the name, rank, country of origin, and classes attended are not medical information nor address/phone number (i.e. personal contact information) that this exemption implies are prohibited disclosures.

    By denying a FOIA request of SOA/WHINSEC attendees, the DoD is placing yet another barrier for the transparency and accountability that we demand of institutions that are funded with U.S. tax dollars.

    Because the SOA/WHINSEC refuses to monitor its graduates, evaluate the results of its training and disclose the name of its instructors and attendees, human rights organizations such as SOA Watch, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and many others have relied on the FOIA to obtain the necessary information to bring human rights violators to justice.

    Read more about the FOIA denial


    Winter 2007 SOA Watch Newsletter Out Now!



    The latest issue of "Presente! - the Newsletter of the Movement to Close the SOA" is now available for bulk orders. The Newsletter has 12 pages and is union printed on recycled paper with soy based ink. This issue includes a bilingual broadsheet with general information about the School of the Americas and the campaign to shut it down, articles about Oaxaca, Bolivia, Colombia and more.


    Order a batch of 100 copies for $12 (incl. shipping/handling) and distribute them in your community.

    This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it us your address and make a $12 payment through PayPal or at the SOA Watch website.


    You can also send a check or money order to:

    SOA Watch
    PO Box 4566
    Washington, DC 20017




    Latin America Updates

    SOA Watch in Colombia and Panama

    January 8-27, 2007

    Lisa Sullivan of the SOA Watch Latin America office, Fr. Roy Bourgeois (SOA Watch) Pablo Ruiz (Observadores de la Escuela de las Americas ? Chile) and Linda Panetta (SOAW NE) have returned from a very successful, and educational, trip to Colombia and Panama where they met with human rights activists, community organizers and former Panamanian president Jorge Illueca, - who in 1984 ousted the School of the Americas from Panama, forcing it to relocate to Ft. Benning, Georgia.

    ?The visit to the small jungle military outpost wasn?t really in our plans. Our small group of four ? Roy Bourgeois, Linda Panetta, Pablo Ruiz and I- were in Colombia as part of the Latin America initiative of the SOA Watch to visit the countries that send students to the School of Americas. We had already visited 7 countries of South America where we met with several government leaders who agreed both to the immediate removal of their troops from the SOA (Venezuela, Argentina and Uruguay) and to a gradual withdrawal (Bolivia)...?

    Continue reading the complete article

    Read more about the SOA Watch Latin America Office

    Make a contribution to maintain the SOAW Latin America Office


    Guatemalan SOA Graduate to run for Congress

    On January 19 - 2007, former Guatemalan dictator General Jose Efrain Rios Montt announced that he plans to run for Congress in September, which would provide him with immunity from prosecution on the charges of violating human rights during the country's 36-year civil war. The former dictator, who attended the SOA in the 1950?s for a ?Special course?, has been charged with genocide, torture, terrorism and illegal detention by the Spanish national court.

    R?os Montt ruled Guatemala between March 1982 and August 1983, one of the bloodiest periods in Guatemala?s 36-year civil war. During his reign, Rios Montt led a brutal campaign to wipe out large portions of the country's indigenous populations which, according to the United Nations truth commission, resulted in the annihilation of nearly 600 villages.

    Continue reading about General Efrain Rios Montt

    TAKE ACTION! to bring Rios Montt to Justice!


    SOA Watch Events & Campaigns

    SOA Watch Lobby Days

    February 19, 2007 - Lobby Training: 1:30 pm - 4:30 pm - Washington, D.C.

    SOA Watch invites all of our supporters and friends to 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.

    February 20, 2007 - Office Visits: 9 am - 5 pm - Washington, D.C.

    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!
    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 Lobby Days

    Even if you aren't able to travel to Washington D.C. to be with us for our lobby days, you can still get involved in the legislative campaign from home!

    Be a part of our nationwide call-in day on Tuesday, February 20! Flood the offices of Congress with phone calls supporting Rep. McGovern's new legislation to suspend operations at the SOA/ WHINSEC. Visit the Local Lobby Day section of our website and get a sample call script for February 20, as well as tips on scheduling a meeting in the district office near you during the February district work period.

    For more information, contact our legislative coordinator This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or at (202) 234-3440.


    April 1: Nevada Desert Experience Mobilization

    Nevada Desert Experience, a long-time partner of SOA Watch in the struggle for justice, is an interfaith nonprofit that has campaigned for an end to nuclear weapons testing since 1982.

    In response to the urgent threats of nuclear war and nuclear terrorism, the Nevada Desert Experience is calling all concerned people to gather in the desert near the Nevada Test Site, site of nearly 1,000 nuclear weapons tests since 1951. We will be speaking out against nuclear proliferation at home and abroad and building momentum for nuclear abolition, which includes transforming the Test Site into a facility that serves human and environmental needs.

    The Nevada Desert Experience "Many Faiths, One Heart" mobilization will take place on Sunday, April 1st, 2007. This rally will be the culmination of the annual 65-mile Sacred Peace Walk from Las Vegas to the Nevada Test Site, March 27 to April 1. From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the rally will feature speakers and musicians from many faiths as well as our secular allies and will end with an optional, nonviolent direct action at the gates of the Test Site.

    Click here for more information on the April 1, 2007 mobilization or send e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .