Republican National Convention - Prisoners - Council Update - News Print
SOA Watch Update
August 12, 2004

1. Two weeks until the Republican National Convention!
2. Prisoner Updates
3. Accessibility and Anti-Oppression Call for Submissions
4. The SOA Watch Council
5. SOA in the News
6. Make Your Plans Now for November 19-21!
7. DC Office Comings and Goings


The Republicans are descending on New York City in two weeks in a shameless effort to exploit the tragedy of 9-11. Be among the hundreds of thousands who will stand together in the streets of New York City to demand an end to empire, the closure of the SOA/WHINSEC and a world of true security! This is an exciting time as SOA Watch continues to take part in the global resistance to the Bush administration?s policies and to highlight closing the School of Assassins as an issue of national security.

On Saturday, August 28th, SOA Watch activists will gather at St. Vincent Ferrer?s Parish in Brooklyn for a community day of planning and preparation. There, we?ll offer brief ?know your rights,? media and civil disobedience trainings, along with sign making, strategizing for the week and community sharing time.

As the administration and the New York police continue to issue politically-motivated terror alerts related to the upcoming protests, we are hearing from a broad spectrum of SOA Watch activists ? including families, students, veterans and nuns ? who are committed to raising a cry of resistance in the streets of New York City!

-- Saturday, August 28, 12-6 pm: SOA Watch Planning and Preparation at St. Vincent Ferrer?s Parish in Brooklyn, NY.
-- Sunday, August 29: The World Says No the Bush Agenda massive march and rally.
-- Monday, August 30: Still We Rise Coalition March and Rally.
-- Tuesday, August 31: March and Civil Disobedience from Ground Zero to Madison Square Garden.

Click here for more information about these and other events during the Republican convention.


A big WELCOME OUT to SOA Watch POC?s Eric Robison and Ozone O?Leary, both of whom were released from federal prison in late July! Eric was released from Sheridan FPC in Oregon after serving a six-month sentence; Ozone was released from Duluth FPC in Minnesota after serving four months.

Eight SOA Watch activists remain incarcerated at federal prisons around the country for their courageous nonviolent acts of resistance to the SOA/WHINSEC at Fort Benning last November. Click here for more information about all of the POC?s, including their prison addresses, and info about how you can support them.


The Accessibility and Anti-Oppression Working Group is in the process of a major revision to its anti-oppression resource booklet, and we need your help! We are looking for new and existing articles (500-1500 words), graphics, cartoons, poetry, artwork, etc that fit into the four (loose) sections below. If you know of any articles/pieces or are interested in writing/creating one, please let us know. Our deadline for new material is September 10, 2004. Please send submissions or any questions to Laurel Paget-Seekins at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call (678) 665-0100. Or see our website, for more information. Please forward this to anyone you think might be interested.

SECTION ONE: Making the Connections: The SOA as a tool for systemic oppression
Topics might include: the history of political and economic involvement of Europe/United States in the Western Hemisphere, the ?war on drugs? at home and abroad, immigration and struggles for immigrant rights in the US, prisons and the movement against the racist/classist prison-industrial complex, repression of unions in Colombia and the US.

SECTION TWO: School of the Americas Watch
This section will have pieces about how oppression unfortunately plays out in SOA Watch organizing and how SOA Watch relates to and uses power. We hope these articles will provide some SOA Watch specific examples to highlight the large issues of white supremacy, classism, homophobia/transphobia, sexism, etc in ?progressive? movements in the United States.

SECTION THREE: Goals and Vision
We are looking for visionary articles on the future of the SOA Watch movement and anti-oppression work that put forth a long-term vision as well as short term steps and goals. For example, what role could SOA Watch play in a larger movement for social, racial and economic justice? What transformations would need to take place in the movement for that to happen? What successful or not successful experiences can we learn from? What are ideas/strategy on how we could make SOA Watch accountable? What is solidarity?

SECTION FOUR: Tools and Resources
What tools, exercises, books, movies, organizations, websites, etc have helped you and/or your group?

For more information, contact Laurel Paget-Seekins at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call (678) 665-0100, and visit


In February of this year at the annual strategy meeting, the foundation was laid for the formation of a new national decision-making body for SOA Watch. This body, temporarily called the ?Council,? is made up of representatives of regionally-organized local SOA Watch groups. These local groups currently fall under 12 regions in the US. Click here to read more about regions and to find out who your regional representative is.

The Council?s first conference call happened in early June, and their next scheduled meeting will take place from September 17-19 in Chicago, Illinois. Now is the time to get in touch with your local group and your regional representative so that your voice can be part of the national decision-making process of SOA Watch.

Are you part of a local SOA Watch group? If not, check out local group listings. If no one is listed in your area, consider starting your own local group and connecting regionally with other SOA Watch activists. Click here to order a resource guide on how to start a local group and other organizing tips. For more information, contact us at info at or at 202-234-3440.

If you are part of a local group, is your group listed on the SOA Watch website? If not, < a href="/groupadd.php">click here to add your contact information.

To read more about this process:

Report Back from the SOA Watch 2004 Strategy Meeting
Building the Movement from the bottom up


The LA Weekly ran an article about the SOA/WHINSEC in late July entitled "Teaching Torture: Congress quietly keeps School of the Americas alive." Written by Doug Ireland, the piece begins,

"Remember how congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle deplored the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib as ?un-American?? Last Thursday, however, the House quietly passed a renewed appropriation that keeps open the U.S.?s most infamous torture-teaching institution, known as the School of the Americas (SOA), where the illegal physical and psychological abuse of prisoners of the kind the world condemned at Abu Ghraib and worse has been routinely taught for years..."
Read the entire article.

For all news coverage, visit the SOA Watch newsroom at

To receive bi-weekly email updates of all SOA/WHINSEC news updates, send a blank email to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


Plans are well underway for this November?s vigil and nonviolent direct action at the gates of Fort Benning! Now is the time to mobilize and to spread the word about the SOA/WHINSEC. Organize nonviolence trainings and/or teach-ins in preparation for the November vigil action. Click here for logistical information.

Click here for more information and to download a November organizing packet and Vigil flyer.


We?re happy to welcome Josh Raisler Cohn to the office. He?ll be working with us through the November vigil. Josh has been active with SOA Watch since 1998, is a former Advisory Group member and received a six-month prison sentence in 2000. He will be working to strengthen the outreach and organizing for the November Vigil this year, and is available to assist with local and regional trainings, outreach planning and events. Contact him at the SOA Watch office or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

We?re delighted to welcome to our new Brethren Volunteer, Sarah Mertz. Sarah, a recent graduate of Creighton University, will be working with SOA Watch as a program associate for the next year.

We?re sad to say goodbye to our summer legislative intern, Lindsay Mathews. Lindsay was an excellent addition to our legislative team--working on dozens of DC lobbying visits this summer--and to the office collective during the past two months. We wish her the best as she completes her final year at the University of Kansas!