Get ready for Nov 18-20 -- Two prisoners released -- Say no to torture & war Print
::: COME TO DC ::: Say no to war & torture on the weekend of September 24-26! (And let us know you?re coming: info(at)soaw.org.) :::

SOA WATCH UPDATE
September 15, 2005

1. Get ready for November 18-20!
2. Two prisoners of conscience released!
3. Say no to torture & war: September 24-26
4. Coming soon :: fancy new email format

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1. ::WE NEED YOU AT FORT BENNING THIS NOVEMBER 18-20!::

This year is different than other years when we have gathered at the gates of Fort Benning to call for an end to the violence. As soon as the early summer of 2006, Congress will vote on whether or not they should close the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC). When we gather this year, in numbers too big to be ignored, we will send a message to this government that they must close this school down when they vote in the months after our Vigil. This year is different, and it will take all of us, standing together and voting with our feet, outside the gates of Fort Benning on November 18-20, 2005!

Now?s the time to start your planning! Here are some resources for you as you organize to CLOSE THE SOA:

--> Hotels & Campgrounds --> http://www.soaw.org/index.php?option=com_content&id=1001. Contact the Columbus Visitor?s Bureau at 1-800-999-1613 for the latest info on hotel availability.

--> Travel Info --> http://www.soaw.org/index.php?option=com_content&id=1000

--> Schedule of events for the Vigil weekend --> http://www.soaw.org/index.php?option=com_content&id=1059

--> Flyers, Organizing tips, MORE --> http://www.soaw.org/index.php?option=com_content&id=999

--> What to expect at Fort Benning --> http://www.soaw.org/index.php?option=com_content&id=1095

--> Consider Crossing the Line - Engage in Civil Disobedience at Fort Benning this November. Read an ?Invitation to Cross the Line? --> http://www.soaw.org/index.php?option=com_content&id=1098 --> Then have lots of your questions answered in the ?Legal Briefing? --> http://www.soaw.org/index.php?option=com_content&id=845

--> Ride board --> http://www.soaw.org/ride.php

--> Order PALMCARDS today --> http://www.soaw.org/index.php?option=com_content&id=1178


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2. TWO PRISONERS OF CONSCIENCE RELEASED

On Monday, September 12, Alice Gerard and Sr. Lelia (Lil) Mattingly were released from Danbury Federal Prison after serving six-month sentences for their opposition to the School of the Americas/WHINSEC. Of all those arrested for civil disobedience at last year?s November Vigil to Close the SOA, Sr. Lil and Alice were the final two to be released. Two people remain on probation. We continue to remember the more than two million people behind bars in this country, the majority for nonviolent offenses, as we celebrate the release of our friends!

Sr. Lil and Alice are among the thousands of people who have made deliberate decisions to put their bodies and their freedom on the line to call attention to the School of the Americas. More than 180 of these people have been sentenced to federal prison for up to two years. Read more about these peacemakers: http://www.soaw.org/index.php?option=com_content&id=322


This year human rights activists will again take their message onto the base of Fort Benning. The Direct Action Working Group is working with people all over the country who have committed to ?crossing the line? this November 18-20. If you?re interested in finding out more about civil disobedience to close the SOA, contact SOA Watch Twin Ports at soawtwinports(at)riseup.net for more info!


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3. SAY NO TO TORTURE & WAR THIS SEPTEMBER 23-26

SOA Watch is working together with Jennifer Harbury, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, the Torture Survivors and Abolition Support Committee and an incredible collection of interfaith and human rights advocates to organize ?Call for Justice Weekend? in Washington, DC on September 24, 25 and 26. For more information on these exciting events, visit http://www.soaw.org/index.php?option=com_content&id=1134.

This event coincides with massive anti-war demonstrations organized by United for Peace and Justice and ANSWER, a protest against the policies of the IMF and the World Bank, the Operation Ceasefire Music Festival and more! For more information about logistics and events over the entire weekend, visit www.septemberACTION.org.

----> Don?t forget to bring your ?Close the SOA? banners and signs to the marches! If you?ll be in town, please let us know if you?re willing to help hand out small PALM CARDS advertising the November Vigil or if you would like to carry the ?CLOSE the SOA? banner in the march. Contact Asha at asha(at)soaw.org to find out where to pick up your shiny cards and to find out about other ways to volunteer with SOA Watch over the weekend. This massive demonstration will be an important time to get the word out about the Nov. 18-20 Vigil to Close the SOA!

Massive anti-war demonstrations organized by United for Peace and Justice and ANSWER, a protest against the policies of the IMF and the World Bank, the Operation Ceasefire Music Festival and more. SOA Watch is organizing as part of a coalition of interfaith and human rights advocates for the ?Call for Justice Weekend? in Washington, DC.

SCHEDULE of some of the weekend?s events:

For a complete schedule of events and location information for the Call to Justice Weekend, visit http://www.uusc.org/programs/STOP/cfjw_schedule.html.

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 23: The Latin America Solidarity Coalition will hold the first public session of the International Tribunal on Haiti. A Global Justice Antiwar Critical Mass Bike Ride will start at 6pm.

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24: This day will start with educational workshops and panel discussions on the SOA Torture Manuals, the applicability of the Geneva Conventions history, legal considerations, and security consequences of U.S. involvement in torture. There will also be a screening of the updated 2005 version of the documentary ?SOA: Hidden in Plain Sight.? Massive anti-war and global justice events start at 11am. The Operation Ceasefire Music Festival will take place in the evening at the Washington Monument.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25: Torture survivors from Latin America will speak out at a Citizens' Trial of Donald Rumsfeld, Alberto Gonzales and George Tenet for violations of international and U.S. laws prohibiting torture. The trial will be based on actual laws and evidence and will use real lawyers, as well as real testimonies given by Iraqi and Afghan survivors.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26: The day will open with an interfaith send-off ceremony, followed by a march to Capitol Hill. Grassroots activists from across the country will also address Congress and other government offices to lobby for an end to the war in Iraq, the closure of the SOA and to insist that all forms of torture be abolished. A mass nonviolent direct action at the White House will be coordinated by United for Peace and Justice.

For more information visit http://www.soaw.org/index.php?option=com_content&id=1134.


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4. FANCY NEW EMAIL FORMAT

Stay tuned: the SOA Watch Email Update will have a new look soon! While the appearance of the messages you received will be different, the emails will still be full of the great and timely information that you expect from us. And, as always, we will never share your email address or contact info with any other organization. Period.

And, by the way, we welcome your feedback at any time on our website, our emails, our materials or whatever else strikes a chord with you. Contact us at info(at)soaw.org or 202-234-3440.