Torture - UAW - Prisoners - SOAW Regions - Speaking Tour Print
SOA Watch Update
May 12, 2004

1. Torture and the SOA in the News
2. United Auto Workers Call for Closure of SOA/WHINSEC
3. Prisoner Update
4. Bring a dynamic speaker to your community this fall!
5. Reminder about regions, conference call


1. TORTURE AND THE SOA IN THE NEWS

Activists, journalists and people around the world are continuing to make the connections between the torture of Iraqi detainees and the torture taught at the US Army?s School of the Americas. SOA Watch activists around the US have been writing letters to the editor, doing interviews and contacting their Representatives to ask them to take a stand against torture by supporting HR 1258.

The Detroit Free Press ran an editorial calling for the closure of the SOA/WHINSEC: http://www.freep.com/voices/editorials/eclose11_20040511.htm.

Some local Chicago SOA Watch activists met with a reporter from the Chicago Tribune this week. They ran this article on Tuesday:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/chicago/chi-0405110230may11,1,5740645.story?coll=chi-newslocalchicago-hed

The Progressive ran an editorial this week questioning Bush?s ?shock? at torture:
http://www.progressive.org/webex04/wx0510a04.html

Consider writing in to your local paper. Your voice is so important! Click here for a sample letter to the editor.

The Latin American Working Group has an excellent analysis of the content of the training manuals used at the SOA, along with key excerpts of the manuals here: http://www.lawg.org/Misc/Publications-manuals.htm.

Visit the SOA Watch Newsroom for more coverage.


2. UNITED AUTO WORKERS CALL FOR CLOSURE OF THE SOA/WHINSEC

The United Auto Workers, one of the largest and most diverse unions in North America, released a strong letter last week calling for the closure of the SOA/WHINSEC and asking representatives to sign on to co-sponsor HR 1258. Consider using this letter as a tool in your legislative work. Read the whole letter here.

For more information on HR 1258 and the legislative campaign, visit the
Legislative Action Center.


3. PRISON UPDATES

Seventeen human rights activists are currently serving time in federal prisons across the United States for their nonviolent actions to close the SOA last November at Ft. Benning. Click here to learn more about and to write these prisoners of conscience.

Eric Robison, a POC who went into custody immediately following his sentencing in January, is finally out of transit. You can find his current address at Sheridan FPC at the above link.

Alice Gerard, currently serving a three-month sentence at Danbury FCI in Connecticut, just wrote an update from prison.


4. BRING A DYNAMIC SPEAKER TO YOUR COMMUNITY THIS FALL!

An exciting speaking tour could be coming to your city! The Mexico Solidarity Network and SOA Watch are co-sponsoring an educational and mobilizing speaking tour featuring Mexican speakers with firsthand experience in Chiapas. The tour, called ?The Chiapas Case Study: Globalization, Militarization and Human Rights,? could build excitement in your community and help your outreach efforts for November. The tour will travel:

September 21 ? October 5: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio
November 8 ? 22: Tennessee, Alabama, the Carolinas, Florida and Georgia

Please consider scheduling a tour stop in your town or city by contacting the Mexico Solidarity Network at msn at mexicosolidarity.org or 415-621-8100. You can also contact Christy Pardew in the SOA Watch office at cpardew at soaw.org or 202-234-3440.

Click here to read more about the tour and speakers.


5. LOCAL GROUPS AND REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT OF THE MOVEMENT TO CLOSE THE SOA

The backbone of this movement is made up of small groups of people in many different places working locally. These groups organize carpools and caravans to Fort Benning and DC for mobilizations, coordinate local legislative work, conduct outreach campaigns to educate their local communities about the issue and more. If you are looking for a way to deepen your involvement in this struggle, connecting with or starting a local group in your area is a good way to begin.

Are you part of a local SOA Watch group? If not, click here to check out our local group listings. If no one is listed in your area, consider starting your own local group. For more information, contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or at 202-234-3440.

If you are part of a local group, is your group listed on the SOA Watch website? If not, please click here to add
your contact information
.

Local groups currently fall under 12 regions in the US. Each of these regions, created at the 2004 Strategy Meeting, should be meeting by conference call or in person to select a regional representative for the ?grassroots council,? the new national decision-making body for SOA Watch. This council will hold its first national conference call on June 5th. Please contact us with any questions or for more info on this new body at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or at 202-234-3440.

To read more about this process:

Report Back from the SOA Watch 2004 Strategy Meeting
Timeline for "Grassroots Council" Formation
Building the Movement from the bottom up