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    What will you say when your children ask, "Why didn't you do something? You knew what was happening."
    Peace Vigils Around the U.S.

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    Peace Events Around the U.S.



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  • Archive for the ‘School of the Americas’ Category

    Father Roy Bourgeois and SOA Watch Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize

    Posted by dlt on November 28, 2009

    Father Roy Bourgeois and SOA Watch Nominated for the
    Nobel Peace Prize

    Father Roy Bourgeois, MM, and School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch) have been nominated for one of the most prestigious
    awards in the world – the Nobel Peace Prize – for their 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.

    The candidacy of Father Roy and SOA Watch for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize has been officially submitted to the Nobel Committee in Oslo,
    Norway by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. The official announcement was made by AFSC
    representative John Meyer on Sunday, November 22 at 9am at the gates of Fort Benning (home of the School of the Americas) during the annual
    November vigil to close the SOA.

    “We are deeply honored, and deeply humbled, to be nominated for this prize for peace,” commented Bourgeois, a Vietnam veteran,
    Purple Heart recipient and a Catholic priest, who helped found SOA Watch.  “This nomination is a recognition of the work of the thousands struggling against militarism across the Americas.”

    SOA Watch is a nonviolent grassroots movement that works through creative protest and resistance, legislative and grassroots media work
    to stand in solidarity with the people of Latin America, to close the School of the Americas (renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for
    Security Cooperation) and to change oppressive U.S. foreign policy that institutions like the SOA/ WHINSEC represent.

    This weekend, SOA Watch is gathering by the thousands at the gates of Ft. Benning to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the killings of
    14-year-old Celia Ramos, her mother Elba Ramos, and the six Jesuit priests she worked with at the Central American University in San
    Salvador in November 1989. Human rights defenders from Colombia and Bertha Oliva, founder of human rights organization COFADEH, Committee
    of Family Members of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras, which has been actively resisting the SOA graduate-led coup as part of the
    resistance front.

    Posted in anti-war, human rights, Latin America, military, peace, School of the Americas, torture, War | Leave a Comment »

    Greens join rally to close Georgia’s terrorist training camp at Ft. Benning

    Posted by dlt on November 21, 2009

    (Distributed by the Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org)

    Georgia Green Party
    http://www.greens.org/georgia

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    Thursday, November 19, 2009

    For further information, contact:
    Bruce Dixon, Press Secretary
    770-592-7295 * bdixon@georgiagreenparty.org
    Denice Traina, Former CoChair
    706-364-7810 * denice.traina@georgiagreenparty.org

    Georgia Greens Challenge Congressional Delegation To Shut Down Terrorist Training Camp in Georgia Give us some Change Worth Believing In

    This weekend, Greens from Georgia and far beyond will again gather with nearly 25,000 justice-loving individuals of all persuausions for an annual vigil at the gates of Ft. Benning. Led by School of the Americas Watch (http://www.soaw.org), the yearly ritual has become a centerpiece of the mass movement to close a terrorist training camp operated on Georgia soil that has led countries throughout the Americas to withdraw their students from its program.

    “Regardless of which corporate Party wins the election, it seems US foreign policy continues to serve investment interests over those of the American peaople,” said Denice Traina, former Co-Chair of the Georgia Green Party, a physical therapist from Augusta who has travelled with her kids to the annual vigil 13 of the last 14 years.

    The recent ouster of Manuel Zelaya as the legitimately elected leader of Honduras has been tied to the leadership of graduates of the Georgia terrorist training camp.  The military backed regime has suspended civil liberties, authorizing arrests without warrants in blatent violation of the Central American government’s constitution.

    “U.S. fingerprints are all over President Zelaya’s ouster, despite the Obama Administration’s attempt to maintain plausible deniability for the coup,” said Michael Canney, a Florida Green who recently represented the U.S.  Green Party in annual meeting of the Federation of Green Parties of the Americas in Santiago, Chile. Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in green party, Latin America, military, School of the Americas, torture | Leave a Comment »

    FIVE TORTURE PROTESTERS ARRESTED AT FORT HUACHUCA

    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. Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in ft. huachuca, human rights, Latin America, military, School of the Americas, torture | Leave a Comment »

    “SOA 6” Sentenced to Prison for Nonviolent Direct Action to Close the SOA/ WHINSEC

    Posted by dlt on January 28, 2009

    Today, on January 26, six human rights advocates appeared in a federal courthouse in Georgia. The “SOA 6,” ranging in age from 21 to 68, were found “guilty” of carrying the protest against the School of the Americas (SOA/WHINSEC) onto the Fort Benning military base. The six were among the thousands who gathered on November 22 and 23, 2008 outside the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia to demand a change in U.S. policy towards Latin America and the closure of the SOA/WHINSEC.

    The “SOA 6” spoke out clearly and powerful in court today. They made a compelling case for the closure of the school and creation of a culture of justice and peace, where there is no place for the SOA mindset that promotes military “solutions” to social and economic problems. The six spent the weekend preparing for their trials with a team of lawyers, legal workers and volunteers, and today they stood up for all of us working for a more just world.

    The “SOA 6”:
    Father Luis Barrios, 56, from North Bergen, NJ, was sentenced to 2 months in federal prison and a $250 fine
    Theresa Cusimano, 40, Denver, Colorado, found guilty and awaiting sentencing
    Kristin Holm, from Chicago, Illinois, was sentenced to 2 months in federal prison and a $250 fine
    Sr. Diane Pinchot, OSU, 63, from Cleveland, Ohio, was sentenced to 2 months in federal prison
    Al Simmons, 64, from Richmond, Virginia, was sentenced to 2 months in federal prison
    Louis Wolf, 68, from Washington, DC, found guilty and awaiting sentencing

    Support the “SOA 6”

    Posted in School of the Americas, torture | Leave a Comment »

    Torture on Trial

    Posted by dlt on November 30, 2008

    The Torture on Trial Protest at Ft. Huachuca in mid-November was held in tandem with the Close the School of the Americas Vigil.  Ft. Huachuca, located 70 miles southeast of Tucson, Arizona, houses the U.S. Army Intelligence Center and School (USAICS). Ft. Huachuca has a long history of complicity in U.S. crimes of torture.  Read the website for more info on Ft. Huachuca and the event itself.

    Three people were arrested (each is linked to their respective statements)
    Sr. Megan Rice, 78, from Las Vegas, Nevada
    Fr. Louie Vitale, 76, from Oakland, California
    Dennis Duvall, 66, from Prescott, Arizona

    IMG_0376.jpg

    See the photo gallery of the Ft. Huachuca Protest here.

    Posted in activism, anti-war, ft. huachuca, human rights, Latin America, military, peace, School of the Americas, torture | Leave a Comment »

    The Sanctuary of Presente

    Posted by dlt on November 30, 2008

    This poem was created by Kenneth Kennon in Arizona, organizer of the Ft. Huachuca event, sister action to the Close the School of the Americas vigil:

    The Sanctuary of Presente

    by Kenneth Kennon

    The fence was transformed

    Once again

    Into an unseasonable sacred space

    A sanctuary of nonviolence

    By the power of the spirit

    Festooned on chain-links and barbed wire

    White crosses and stars hung

    Carrying names of the disappeared

    Their holy images

    And banners with messages of hope

    This quiet metamorphosis

    Emerged from simple acts of many hands

    As tears welled

    Names rang through stately wood

    Of brillant and falling leaves of autumn

    In solemn preparation

    Of a joyous spring

    Presente

    Posted in activism, anti-war, ft. huachuca, human rights, Latin America, military, peace, School of the Americas, torture | Leave a Comment »

    SOA Vigil Update

    Posted by dlt on November 24, 2008


    People Power in Action! Sunday Vigil Update:

    2pm: The Puppetistas took a new turn following the procession this year. Several hundred activists with puppets, flags, stilts and high energy continued to march down the road and out of the protest area in front of the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia after the puppet pageant. They celebrated people power and resistance by taking the protests into the streets of Columbus, Georgia.

    Read more

    Posted in activism, anti-war, human rights, Latin America, peace, School of the Americas, torture, Uncategorized | Leave a Comment »

    Thousands Gather this Weekend at Fort Benning, Georgia to say: Yes We Can Stop Torture and Close the School of Assassins

    Posted by dlt on November 22, 2008

    Advocates for Justice in the Americas Look Forward with Hope

    Columbus, GA – Thousands will gather this weekend, November 21-23, at the gates of Fort Benning, GA for what organizers hope may be the last mass protest to close the controversial School of the Americas, renamed Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (SOA/WHINSEC). With 35 Representatives who voted to continue funding the SOA/WHINSEC losing their seats in Congress on November 4th, human rights advocates have their sights set on pressuring the new Congress to permanently shut down the school in 2009. The last vote to defund the SOA/WHINSEC, in 2007, lost by a margin of only six votes.

    Every November, the annual ‘Vigil to Close the SOA/WHINSEC’ draws thousands of people to the gates of Ft. Benning, the army base which houses the facility. Organizers hope to make the most out of the changing political climate that was revealed during this year’s elections. “We feel qualified optimism,” said SOA Watch founder Fr. Roy Bourgeois. “The American people have rejected the Bush Administration’s policies of aggression, war-mongering and torture. By closing this notorious school of assassins now, Obama and the new Congress can show the world that we genuinely honor human rights.” Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, “disappeared,” massacred, and forced into refugee by those trained at the SOA/WHINSEC.

    On Sunday, President-elect Barack Obama repeated on 60 Minutes his promise to close Guantánamo and to ensure that U.S. forces not use torture. However, he has yet to offer a clear position on the SOA/WHINSEC, despite the school’s long association with torture and human rights abuses. SOA Watch is circulating a petition to the president-elect, urging him to issue an executive order to close the SOA/WHINSEC. Five Latin American countries have already announced their withdrawal from the training facility, citing its history of human rights abuses. SOA Watch believes that closing the SOA/WHINSEC is a pivotal opportunity for the U.S. to improve its relationships in the Western Hemisphere, and to fulfill Obama’s stated goal of “regain[ing] America’s moral stature in the world.”

    The vigil will culminate on Sunday, November 23 with a funeral procession to the gates of Ft. Benning. Activists will enter the base in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience. The vigil commemorates the November 16, 1989 massacre in El Salvador of Julia Elba Ramos, her 14-year-old daughter Celina, and six Jesuit priests. They were brutally murdered by a Salvadoran army unit that was led by military officers trained at the SOA. Jon Sobrino, SJ, the Jesuit priest who survived the massacre, will attend this year’s vigil.

    The School of the Americas made headlines in 1996 when the Pentagon released training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, extortion and execution. The involvement of SOA/WHINSEC graduates in human rights abuses continues. This October, Colombian Army commander General Mario Montoya resigned in the wake of a scandal over army killings of civilians that a UN official called “systematic and widespread.” General Montoya not only received training at the SOA, but also taught soldiers as an instructor there. He has been replaced by General Oscar Gonzalez, also an SOA/WHINSEC graduate.

    After research revealed that the SOA/WHINSEC continues to train known human rights abusers, and that instructors have been involved in numerous crimes, the Pentagon reacted by classifying the names of all officers, soldiers, and instructors.

    Posted in activism, anti-war, human rights, Latin America, military, peace, School of the Americas, torture | Leave a Comment »

    Rev. Roy Bourgeois Facing Excommunication Over Support for Women Priests

    Posted by Green Party Peace Network on November 14, 2008

    Rev. Roy Bourgeois Facing Excommunication Over Support for Women Priests

    Bill Quigley
    November 11 2008
    PLEASE READ AND CIRCULATE

    Friends:

    Here is the latest communication, dated November 7, 2008, from Fr. Roy Bourgeois regarding the threat of excommunication by Rome for refusing to stop speaking out in favor of Women Priests in the Catholic Church.

    I have also enclosed some action items with addresses where people can write. Please take the time to read this and take action. Please feel free to send this to all the justice people you know.

    Bill Quigley

    Rev. Roy Bourgeois, M.M.
    PO Box 3330, Columbus, GA 31903
    November 7, 2008

    TO THE CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH, THE VATICAN

    I was very saddened by your letter dated October 21, 2008, giving me 30 days to recant my belief and public statements that support the ordination of women in our Church, or I will be excommunicated.

    I have been a Catholic priest for 36 years and have a deep love for my Church and ministry. (…)

    When I was a young man in the military, I felt God was calling me to the priesthood. I entered Maryknoll and was ordained in 1972.

    Over the years I have met a number of women in our Church who, like me, feel called by God to the priesthood. You, our Church leaders at the Vatican, tell us that women cannot be ordained.

    With all due respect, I believe our Catholic Church’s teaching on this issue is wrong and does not stand up to scrutiny. A 1976 report by the Pontifical Biblical Commission supports the research of Scripture scholars, canon lawyers and many faithful Catholics who have studied and pondered the Scriptures and have concluded that there is no justification in the Bible for excluding women from the priesthood. Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in activism, anti-war, peace, School of the Americas, women | Leave a Comment »

    Close the School of the Americas

    Posted by Green Party Peace Network on November 13, 2008

    Posted in activism, anti-war, human rights, Latin America, military, military recruiting, peace, School of the Americas, torture, US corporate interests, US world domination | Leave a Comment »