White House Meeting Print
SOA Watch is excited to announce that White House officials will be meeting a delegation of SOA Watch supporters on September 17, 2012 to discuss closing down the WHINSEC.

After years of petitioning, civil disobedience, and sending thousands of letters to the President and Congress, the Obama Administration has agreed to listen to us. Through help of Massachusetts Congressman James McGovern, Denis McDonough, Deputy National Security Advisor to President Obama, is meeting with our delegation.

In August 2011, sixty-nine Members of the House of Representatives led by Congressman James McGovern and Congressman John Lewis sent a letter to President Obama urging him to close the SOA/WHINSEC by executive order. This meeting is an opportunity to for us to speak directly to the Obama Administration about this institution and its devastating impact on the people of Latin America as well as its role in the increasing militarization of the region.

The SOA Watch delegation is composed of torture survivors as well as prominent religious, labor, and community leaders, and academics. Together they represent tens of thousands of people and demonstrate the depth and breadth of the SOA Watch movement. Members of the delegation who are not able to attend the meeting because of the short notice are sending statements to be included in the meeting. See below for a current list of delegation participants and brief bios.

We hope that this meeting will convince the Obama Administration to sign an executive order to shut down SOA/WHINSEC. Though we realize the challenges, we are incredibly excited for this opportunity and need your continued support! Consider sending a letter to Dennis McDonough to remind him of the massive grassroots effort behind our work and to thank him for meeting with us.

Denis McDonough, Deputy National Security Advisor
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20500

Participants in meeting with Denis McDonough*

Adriana Portillo-Bartow, lifelong advocate for human rights and survivor of the war in Guatemala.

Sr. Dianna Ortiz, torture survivor, Acting Director for the Center of Concerns, Education for Justice Project; founder, Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International.

Fr. Roy Bourgeois, SOA Watch founder

Rev. James E. Winkler, United Methodist Church, General Secretary General Board of Church and Society

Marie Dennis, Pax Christi

Adrienne Pine, Asst. Prof. of Anthropology, American University;

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, Assoc. Prof. of Justice and Peace, U. of St. Thomas; author of thirteen books including two focusing on the SOA one of the founders of the Minnesota Arms Spending Alternatives Project (www.mnasap.org) a grassroots initiative to build a state-wide movement to shift federal spending priorities from militarization and war to meeting essential needs.

Congressman James McGovern (D-MA), played a key role in the Congressional investigation of the 1989 murders of six Jesuit priests, their co-worker, and her daughter; longtime ally in the effort to close the SOA/WHINSEC

*Due to the short lead time given in scheduling the meeting, we are still confirming with several union leaders, religious organizations, and others. We will post information about additional participants as we receive confirmations.