Hold the Torturers Accountable! Print
Lack of Prosecution of U.S. Officials Paved the Way for New Abuses

Reports of US-sponsored torture by the CIA and in Brazil have put the issue back in the media spotlight. SOA Watch maintains that torture is nothing new within the US military, and that it didn't start with 9/11. The lack of accountability for the use of the SOA torture manuals at the School of the Americas, and other atrocities, contributed to the torture that was perpetrated by the CIA and publicized in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA torture.

Click here to read the SOA Watch media release Torture has a long History in U.S. Policy.

Click here to send a message to Congress and President Obama, to demand prosecutions of U.S. officials involved in torture and human rights abuses.

Brazil’s National Truth Commission Report Documents U.S. involvement in Torture in Brazil


The release of the Brazil’s National Truth Commission report on December 10, 2014, promoted a sense of justice to many Brazilians. Previously unpublished documents from the 21-year long dictatorship shed light on torture, and other human rights violations used before and during the 1964-1985 era.

President Dilma Rousseff, who was tortured and jailed for 3 years, stated that Brazil deserves the truth. The report not only goes into details on names of human rights violators and their victims, but it also depicts the roots of those violations: “The collaboration of the United States was also immense in the formation and specialization of agents.” (Pg.141) Volume II of this report explores specific facts about the U.S. involvement in the tortures tactics used in Brazil, including listing the names of graduates from the School of the Americas (SOA).

Among the SOA graduates are Lúcio Valle Barroso (1933-) and Abílio Correa de Souza (1923-2001) who were the kidnappers, torturers and killers of Stuart Edgard Angel Jones - one of the most atrocious cases of that era (Pg.160). Barroso, also known as “Dr. Celso”, studied military intelligence at SOA from January through April of 1971 and Souza, known as “Dr. Pascoal” studied Combat Intelligence and Counter Intelligence at the SOA (Pg.235). The SOA graduates were part of two Brazilian torture agencies, the Operation and Information Detachment (DOI) – Center of Operations and Internal Defense (CODI) and Center of Information of Security of the Aeronautics (CISA). Jones (1945-1971) son of Brazilian mother and U.S. born father and a member of the extreme left group MR-8, was moored to a car and taken around the CISA facilities in Rio de Janeiro. According to Alex Polari’s testimony, a friend who watched Jones’ torture through his cell window, he was forced to attach his mouth to the vehicle’s exhaust pipe inhaling its emitted toxics.   This and other brutal tortures tactics found on Brazil’s report are directly related to the tortures published in the CIA report. The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report depicts several torture methods  that were passed on into Brazilian military officials.).

The teachings of the SOA was passed along with the message that to preserve the life of militants was not something of concern during operations, neither police nor military members needed to justify their actions, if their counterparts were members of the regime’s opposition (Pg.142).  The The Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on CIA torture states facts about the numerous manuals of Counter Insurgency Operations, like the “KUBARK Counterintelligence Interrogation Manual” drawn by the CIA in 1963 (Pg.18), that would teach ways to deprive victims from sensory stimuli so that they would hallucinate, incorporating in anything that the offices would want them to be as a form of entertainment for them. These “torture manuals” of interrogation techniques, were provided by the CIA to at least seven Latin American countries in the 1980s (Pg.18)  – Brazil was one of them.

A last striking finding is the USAID (United States Agency for International Development) involvement with police militarization in Brazil even before the coup of 1964. The training of Brazilian police in 1960 by policeman Dan Mitriori was done under the supervision of USAID. Mitriori believed that torture was a form of science and used homeless to train policemen in Belo Horizonte and in Rio de Janeiro de most brutal techniques of torture by reaching “vulnerable points of the human body”.  Torture then was used to gather information, to dissuade and intimidate as well as to disseminate terror among the opposition groups. Later, with the coup and the establishment of the militarism, the system of repression was perfected and institutionalized (Pg.104).  That was not only established during the dictatorship, but it still prevails within the police military of Brazil and its endless cases of brutality and repression.

The role of the School of the Americas (renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation in 2001) and U.S. militarization in Latin America has always been to protect the status quo for the elites through military violence and repression.


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