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Pentagon Public Relations Offensive PDF Print E-mail
As closure of the School of the Americas seems imminent, WHINSEC officials step up their counter-efforts on Capitol Hill.

PentagonFunded by taxpayer money, public relations teams from the Pentagon and the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC) have been consistently lobbying Congress this year to prevent the defunding of their prize institution.

Keeping the notorious military training school in operation is important to them literally and symbolically. The school offers a pipeline of influence and information from the U.S. to friendly militaries in Latin America and serves as a way to control people and resources in the region.

It’s not only Members of Congress who are on the radar screen of these PR hacks. The Pentagon also has its sights on anyone identified as a critic of the SOA/WHINSE..

About once a week, the SOA Watch office receives information from local activists who, after having written a letter to the editor or an article about the SOA/WHINSEC, have been approached by the WHINSEC public relations department with charges of libel and slander.

This new, more aggressive approach shows us that the Pentagon is getting desperate, WHINSEC Strategic Communications Plan cover and is in line with a strategy laid out in the “WHINSEC Strategic Communications Plan.”

In 2003, an SOA Watch organizer received a copy of this Army plan for WHINSEC from Lee Rials, a public relations official at the school. With a total budget of $246,000, including $9,000 for “media monitoring software” and $50,000 for Internet work, the plan calls for flooding the media with letters to the editor in an effort to balance the negative press the school has received with a “desired ‘end state’” that the “congressional audience will not support legislation to close the WHINSEC” because “the number of letters from constituents to Congress criticizing the WHINSEC is decreased.”

To see a copy of WHINSEC’s Strategic Communications Plan, visit: www.SOAW.org/whinsec

The fact that the Army perceives letters from constituents as a threat to the future of this school confirms that we are making a difference every time we encourage a neighbor to study  the history of U.S. state support for torture and “military solutions,” and to take action against it.

Support for WHINSEC, formerly called the School of the Americas, has been eroding in Congress since it became public in 2004 that the school continued to train known human rights abusers. The broad-based call for the school’s closure and an independent investigation into its connections to human rights abuses is getting louder and growing every day. Join us!

 

Published in the Fall 2007 issue 

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Fort Benning Censors Wikipedia Entry on the SOA/WHINSEC
written by Hendrik, March 11, 2008
In line with the SOA/WHINSEC public relations offensive is also what a new scanning program has revealed: Wikipedia entries on the School of the Americas, renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (SOA/WHINSEC) have been edited from an IP address from Fort Benning to omit all references to human rights abuses connected to the school.

WikiScanner, developed by CalTech graduate student Virgil Griffith, has traced the editorial changes made to the online encyclopedia to Fort Benning computers. The IP address used was 150.226.95.18. Any IP address that begins with 150.226 belongs to Fort Benning. That IP address has the name of doim1-358.benning.army.mil, which is via the Directorate of Information Management at Fort Benning.

The program also revealed that an entry about Fort Benning was altered to delete all mention of SOA Watch. Graduates of the School of the Americas have a documented track record of using the skills they were taught at the SOA/WHINSEC against union organizers, social justice activists, faith leaders and everyone who speaks out for social change and the rights of the poor.

The School of the Americas is also active against human rights groups within our borders. The school has not only monitored civilian groups and individuals who are working for a just U.S. foreign policy and the closure of the SOA/WHINSEC, but they are also using our tax dollars to actively interfere in the political process. Military officials at the SOA/WHINSEC are spreading misinformation to Congress, flooding the media with letters to the editor, and approaching student groups who are planning events on the SOA/WHINSEC to demand access to the campus.

The SOA/WHINSEC is propagating a mindset that is not in line with the role of the military in a democratic society. In this light, it does not come as a surprise that SOA/WHINSEC instructors who taught "democratic sustainment" at the school from 2003-2004 were arrested earlier this month in Colombia for their involvement in one of Colombia's most notorious drug cartels.
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Utilizar los millones de Dòlares en Bienestar para los màs Pobres.
written by Gerardo Brenes, December 01, 2008
Esos millones de Dòlares que malgastan en entrenamiento militar,guerras de Petròleo y otros.Sugiero que los gasten en los màs pobres , con alimentos,vivienda,salud,educaciòn ,etc.En Estados Unidos hay mucha necesidad aprovechen y esos recursos los utilizan en dar ayuda a los que menos tienen.Soy egresado de la Escuela de las Amèricas y estoy totalmente de acuerdo en que deben cerrarla inmediatamente y no continuar con el gasto inecesario con esta Escuela que aunque le cambien el nombre continùa siendo lo mismo.GraciasGerardo Brenes de COSTA RICA.
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Download the Spring 2016 issue of Presente

The Spring issue contains mobilizing information for the SOA Watch Border Convergence, which is taking place from October 7-10, 2016 at the US/Mexico border in Nogales, and also focuses on recent developments in Latin America and within the SOA Watch movement.

Click here to download a PDF version of the Spring 2016 issue.

As this issue of Presente went to print, our hearts were heavy. The assassination of our dear friend and comrade Berta Cáceres, and the increased repression against social movement groups, have left us shocked and saddened. SOA Watch Latin America liaison Brigitte Gynther traveled to Honduras the morning after she learned about the assassination and has been coordinating SOA Watch’s response together with our partner groups on the ground. If you do not already receive Urgent Action emails from us, please click here to sign up now.

The recent decision by the U.S. judge in North Carolina to extradite one of the perpetrators of the 1989 massacre at the University of San Salvador gives us hope that justice will prevail in the end. It will take all of us to create change! Please join us as we mobilize to the U.S./Mexico border from October 7-10, 2016!

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