SOAW in the news - Pax Christi Resolution - Prison Updates - Working Groups Print
SOA Watch Update
May 26, 2004

1. SOA Watch in the News
2. Pax Christi International Resolution
3. Bush on Abu Ghraib ? What About the SOA?
4. Prison Updates
5. Working Assets
6. SOA Watch Working Groups Need You!
7. November organizing packets


1. SOA WATCH IN THE NEWS

People around the world have continued to make connections between torture in Iraq and torture taught at the SOA:

Fr. Joe Mulligan, SJ, recently released from three months in jail for walking onto Ft. Benning last November, had an op-ed published in the
Miami Herald called "Abu Ghraib Scandal is Really No Surprise."

**Continue to write op-eds and letters to the editor! Your voice is so important. Click here for media tips.

The National Security Archive posted an excellent piece by Peter Kornbluh and Tony Blanton that explains the history of the CIA and US Army training manuals. You can read it here:
http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB122/index.htm.

Ted Gup?s article, "Behind Abu Ghraib, an Even Darker Question,? published in The Village Voice, raises the question of how many Abu Ghraibs the US helped found by training tens of thousands of strongmen, colonels and contractors at the SOA.

**To see all recent coverage, visit the SOA Watch newsroom.


2. PAX CHRISTI INTERNATIONAL RESOLUTION

165 representatives from over 50 countries adopted a resolution calling for the closure of the SOA/WHINSEC at Pax Christi International?s council
meetings that took place this past weekend in New Jersey, noting that torture manuals used at the SOA are similar to policies guiding the Abu
Ghraib prison scandal. Because of the resolution, there will be international actions calling for the closure of the SOA/WHINSEC this November.

?It was this school that taught torture and killing to the Salvadoran troops during the conflict in our country in the 1980s and early 90s,? said Maria Julia Hernandez, the director of Tutela Legal, the human rights office in the Archdiocese of San Salvador. ?Many peasants, pastoral workers, innocent people and prisoners were exterminated by military personnel trained at this school to violate human dignity.?

Click here to read the resolution.


3. BUSH SAYS HISTORY OF ABU GHRAIB WARRANTS ITS CLOSURE ? WHAT ABOUT THE SOA?

In Monday?s speech on future plans in Iraq, President Bush emphatically announced that, ?Under the dictator [Saddam Hussein], prisons like Abu
Ghraib were symbols of death and torture
a symbol of disgraceful conduct we will demolish the Abu Ghraib prison, as a fitting symbol of
Iraq?s new beginning.?

The SOA/WHINSEC too is a symbol of death and torture, committed by former students of a training school that has graduated no fewer that 11 Latin American dictators and countless other human rights violators. The people of this hemisphere deserve a new beginning, not the thinly veiled re-packaging that occurred when the SOA ?closed? and WHINSEC ?opened? three short weeks later. Without full accountability and a complete break from the past, the U.S. continues to send a mixed message about its commitment to justice, democracy, and respect for human rights.

There are only a few days left when Congress will actually be in DC working on legislation, so we have no time to waste. Please call your Representatives TODAY to ask them to support HR 1258 to close the SOA/WHINSEC and to investigate all Defense Department training in Latin
America. For many of the same reasons Abu Ghraib must close, so too must the SOA/WHINSEC. Together we can forge a new beginning.

Congressional Switchboard: (202) 224-3121.
~~~~~~~
Is your Representative already on a co-sponsor of HR 1258, or are you eager to make a call to your Senators? Check out www.lawg.org to read
about the ongoing troop/contractor cap issue in Colombia and what you can do to put the brakes on US escalation in Colombia. Calls are needed before
June 2, so act now to voice your opposition to increased military involvement.


4. PRISON UPDATES

Gary Ashbeck was released from prison on Friday, May 21st after serving six months for his act of nonviolent civil disobedience at Ft. Benning
last November. Welcome out, Gary!

Kathy Kelly?s story, "Change Agents," about being visited in prison by FBI agents, was published this week on Common Dreams. Kathy is currently incarcerated at FCI Pekin.

Faith Fippinger, currently serving three months at FCI Coleman in Florida, was written about in her local paper. Read the article here.

Mike O?Grady, an SOA Watch prisoner of conscience released in February, was recently interviewed in Cincinnati. Read the interview here.


5. WORKING ASSETS

If you are a customer of Working Assets Long Distance, you have a unique way to help build the SOA Watch movement. Please take a minute to write a letter nominating SOA Watch for the 2005 Working Assets donation program!

Every year Working Assets chooses a group of 50 organizations and gathers donations for them from their subscribers. Let's inform Working Assets
customers about the movement to close the SOA!

To assist in this application, write a letter of support, in your own words, and address it to the Working Assets Donation Manager. Then mail your letter to SOA Watch, PO Box 4566, Washington, DC 20017. We will bundle these letters so that one of our activists can submit all your letters in nomination of SOA Watch.


6. SOA WATCH WORKING GROUPS NEED YOU
Have you wondered how you can get more involved with SOA Watch? Check out our working groups! Click here to read more about all of them.

The Translation and Interpretation and the Spanish Language Media Working Groups especially are seeking new members. For more information, contact
Christy at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


7. START YOUR ORGANIZING NOW FOR THIS NOVEMBER 19-21

Call the office today at (202) 234-3440 or email us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to order your November organizing packet! It?s also available for download here.