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    Posted by dlt on November 16, 2009

    More than 150 people rallied against torture on Sunday, November 15,
    at Len Roberts Park in Sierra Vista, Arizona. After listening to
    speakers and music, the group carried signs and candles remembering
    the victims of torture in a one mile procession to the main gate of
    Ft. Huachuca, home of the U.S. Army Intelligence Center where
    interrogators are trained.  Along the way, names of people killed as a
    result of torture were called out, and the group responded with
    ³Presente!².  The procession stopped at the office of CACI, a private
    military contractor implicated in the abuse of Iraqi detainees.

    Soon after the protesters arrived at the gate, five people, including
    two Roman Catholic priests, crossed the street and entered the base
    with a message for military personnel and civilian employees.  They
    carried a statement (below) opposing the cruel treatment and abuse of
    detainees from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and calling for the
    civilian oversight of all military interrogation practices.  The
    statement also condemned the use of armed drones in warfare.

    Arrested were Joshua Harris, 33, Santa Barbara, California; Mariah
    Klusmire, 20, Albuquerque, New Mexico; John Heid, 54, Fr. Jerry
    Zawada, 72, and Fr. Bob Carney, 66, all of Tucson, Arizona.  The five
    received a formal letter barring them from entering the base for one
    year.  Four were released within an hour.  Joshua Harris initially
    refused to identify himself, instead saying he was there representing
    a victim of torture.  He was released that evening and charged under
    Arizona law with trespass and refusing to provide a truthful name.

    Three people arrested at last year¹s Ft. Huachuca protest were given
    ban and bar letters but never prosecuted, because ³the Ft. Huachuca
    Commander does not want the potential negative publicity², according
    to a May 15, 2009 letter to the FBI from Robert Fellrath, Assistant
    U.S. Attorney for Arizona.

    Thousands of people will gather at Ft. Benning this coming weekend,
    November 20-22, for the annual vigil to close the School of the
    Americas. Human rights abuses in Latin America, including torture and
    murder, have been carried out by graduates of the school. The torture
    manual that was used at the School of the Americas came from Ft.

    Photos may be viewed at

    Photo credit:

    An extensive report featuring audio and video from the protest can be
    found at

    For background information see, and



    We return to Fort Huachuca to call for an end to torture.

    We are here because we desire dialogue with soldiers and commanders
    engaged in interrogation training.

    We are here because we still question whether soldiers are provided
    with adequate training about international human rights law so they
    would know to refuse illegal orders and other pressure to torture
    captives (including a guarantee that speaking out would not lead to
    retaliation or punishment).

    We are here in the hope that healing can take place – healing for the
    victims of torture, as well as the men and women who have been
    involved in carrying out torture.

    Because the Obama administration has failed to close Guantanamo and
    the U.S. continues to imprison and interrogate thousands of captives
    at military prisons in Afghanistan, Iraq and places unknown, we renew
    our call for civilian, human-rights centered oversight of all
    interrogation training and practice.

    Ft. Huachuca is also implicated in the rapidly expanding, legally
    questionable and morally reprehensible use of remotely-piloted
    aircraft, or drones, as a weapon of war.  We¹re told that currently
    the Army only trains for the operation and maintenance of
    reconnaissance and surveillance drones at Ft. Huachuca.  But we also
    know that the Army plans to weaponize some of these same drones.

    Drone attacks have killed many more innocent civilians in Iraq,
    Afghanistan, Pakistan and elsewhere, than alleged terrorists.  The
    U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Executions has asked whether
    the use of drones in targeting terrorists to be killed constitutes
    ³arbitrary extrajudicial executions², or rogue assassinations in
    violation of international law.

    We are here today to call for an end to the use of armed drones in
    warfare.  We believe this terrorizing and killing generates deep
    resentment in the region that incites hatred for the U.S., boosts
    recruitment for Taliban, Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups, and may
    spawn decades of retaliation.

    We act in solidarity with the campaign to close the School of the
    Americas/Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Cooperation at Ft.
    Benning, Georgia, where the testimony of torture survivors has
    informed our outrage and moved us to action.  We also act in
    solidarity with people in New York protesting the presence of Reaper
    drones at a NY Air National Guard base outside of Syracuse today.

    Rogue assassinations and torture have damaged the soul of our nation
    and tarnished our image around the world. We know that a world without
    torture, without violence and without war is possible.  We invite you
    to help us create that world.

    Contact in Tucson: Jack or Felice Cohen-Joppa, 520-323-8697


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