Ending Torture School: Tens of Thousands Turn Out at School of Americas

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Nov. 22: Thousands are calling for the closure of the SOA and for justice in the Americas
by SOA Watch
Sunday, November 22:Thousands are gathered at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia, standing up against oppressive U.S. foreign policy and speaking out in defense of real and direct democracy, for life, justice, liberty, dignity and peace.

Photo by Linda Panetta

Four veteran human rights defenders crossed the line this morning to carry their witness against the School of Assassins towards where it is located inside Ft. Benning, GA: Nancy Gwin of Syracuse, NY; Ken Hayes of Austin, TX; Fr. Louis Vitale of Oakland, CA; and Michael Walli of Washington, DC.

Walli is continuing his protest by refusing to post bail and will remain locked up until their trial in January 2010. None of those responsible for SOA crimes have ever been investigated or held accountable, while now 290 peace and justice activists will have served prison and probation sentences of up to two years for their acts of nonviolent civil disobedience.
[For complete article links and photos, please source at SOAW.org here.]
Nobel Peace Prize Nomination Announcement

Fr. Roy Bourgeois and SOA Watch were nominated this morning by the American Friends Service Committee for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize for our sustained faithful nonviolent witness against the disappearances, torture and murder of hundreds of thousands of civilians (peasants, community and union organizers, clerics, missionaries, educators, and health workers) by foreign military personnel trained by the U.S. military at U.S. taxpayer expense at the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia.

This nomination is a recognition of the work of the thousands of human rights defenders like you struggling against militarism across the Americas. Congratulations!

Watch local coverage of Friday's Stewart Detention Center Protest in Lumpkin, GA: Shut Down the School of the Americas (SOA/ WHINSEC)!
The military coup by SOA graduates in Honduras has once again exposed the destabilizing and deadly effects that the School of the Americas has on Latin America. The actions of the school’s graduates are unmasking the Pentagon rhetoric and reveal the anti-democratic results of U.S. policies. It is time for a change towards justice.

This weekend, thousands will vigil at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia, to stand up for justice, to shut down the School of the Americas and to end the oppressive U.S. foreign policy that the school represents.
The puppetista pageant

The campaign to close the SOA is in a crucial phase right now. Despite promising comments from President Obama during his election campaign, the SOA/ WHINSEC is still in operation and the Pentagon is moving forward with plans for new U.S. military bases in Colombia. With a Democratic administration in the White House, it appears that some Democrats in Congress are becoming timid when it comes to opposing the Pentagon.

It is up to us to keep up the pressure and to hold them accountable. People power is going to overcome Pentagon lobbying!

By having a strong showing at the gates of Fort Benning for the annual vigil and nonviolent direct action, we are demonstrating that we won’t go away until the SOA is shut down and the U.S. government has stopped turning to “military solutions” (or political-economic interventions) to enforce its oppressive foreign policy in Latin America. Too many people have suffered and died at the hands of SOA graduates.

You can take a stand for solidarity and justice now! Join hundreds of organizers around the country and participate in or support the November vigil. Contact your local unions, universities, workers centers, social justice organizations and faith communities and ask them to re-commit to the struggle to close the School of the Americas.

To download the SOA Watch November organizing packet, for a travel guide and a hotel listing, as well as information about accessibility and information for people without U.S. citizenship and more, visit www.SOAW.org/november

100 days since the coup d'etat that ousted Manuel Zelaya, Fault Lines travels to Honduras to look at polarization and power in the Americas, and finds resistance and repression in the streets. The program includes interviews with Bertha Oliva of the Committee of the Families of the Disappeared-Detained in Honduras and with School of the Americas graduate and military coup leader General Romero Vásquez. It also looks at the elites behind the military coup, the coup plotters connections in the United States and the struggle for real democracy in Honduras. Click here to watch the 23 min. documentary. 

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