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Protesting the "School of the Assassins"

November 25, 2008

Torture, assassination, murder of innocent civilians–these practices are far from American values and ideals. However, the School of the Americas (now Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation or WHINSEC) has been teaching these practices to Latin American militaries and their leaders for years. This past weekend, Christine and I went to the 18th Annual School of the Americas Protest. Father Roy Bourgeois started the School of the Americas Watch in 1990 after the brutal murder of 6 Jesuit priests, their co-worker and her teenage daughter on November 16, 1989.

A U.S. Congressional Task Force reported that those responsible were trained at the School of the Americas at Ft. Benning in Columbus, GA. Father Roy and a small group protested outside the gates of the military base. And the protest has grown. This year, there were 20,000 people to remember the people that have been killed by School of the Americas graduates and to demand that the school be shut down!

The main event was a funeral procession where leaders sang the names of people killed by SOA graduates and after each name, the crowd would respond “presente” as we held up crosses with the names of the victims. Then we put the crosses in the fence in front of the gates of Ft. Benning. (Christine and I are standing in front of this fence in the picture.) After two hours of singing names, only a portion of the thousands killed were named.

Let’s tell Obama to shut the SOA down! Sign this petition. There is great hope that 2009 will be the year the School of the Assassins is shut down for good. Let’s make it happen!

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