School of the Americas (torture bushiban) to close soon?

I wonder how many of you are familiar with the School of the Americas? No, it’s not a bushiban in Taipei. Originally opened in Panama in 1946, it was moved to the USA in 1984. The “school” is run by the US Army. It has a notorious reputation for “teaching torture”, though this is officially denied. First, a little background:

[quote]School of the Americas
Cold War training camp remains focus of controversy

…More than 63,000 Central and South American soldiers from 22 nations have trained at SOA since its inception. According to the school’s Web site, instruction at SOA for its first several decades “focused on nation-building skills, then [was] altered in 1961 by President John F. Kennedy to provide instruction necessary to the nations in Latin America to thwart armed communist insurgencies.”

Opponents of the school, who maintain their own “School of the Americas Watch” Web site, claim SOA graduates “have been responsible for some of the worst human rights abuses in Latin America.”

Some of the more notorious individuals who have trained at SOA include:

Former Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega, now serving an extended sentence in a U.S. prison on drug charges.

El Salvador’s Roberto D’Aubuisson, who formed the death squads that killed Romero and thousands of others during the Salvadoran civil war.

Former Argentine President Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri, accused of making thousands of people “disappear” during Argentina’s “dirty war” of the 1970s.

SOA officials said that out of thousands of soldiers the school has trained, only about 300 have been accused of human rights violations.

Joe Leuer, a training specialist for course management who has worked at SOA since the early 1990s, said the connections that critics make between the school and the crimes allegedly committed by its graduates are tenuous at best.

Read the rest of the article: … spotlight/

And now, the case against:

[quote]Teaching Torture
Congress quietly keeps School of the Americas alive
By Doug Ireland
Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 12:00 am

Remember how congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle deplored the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib as “un-American”? Last Thursday, however, the House quietly passed a renewed appropriation that keeps open the U.S.’s most infamous torture-teaching institution, known as the School of the Americas (SOA), where the illegal physical and psychological abuse of prisoners of the kind the world condemned at Abu Ghraib and worse has been routinely taught for years.

A relic of the Cold War, the SOA was originally set up to train military, police and intelligence officers of U.S. allies south of the border in the fight against insurgencies Washington labeled “Communist.” In reality, the SOA’s graduates have been the shock troops of political repression, propping up a string of dictatorial and repressive regimes favored by the Pentagon.

Read the rest of the article: … ture/1495/

And now the (maybe) good news: There’s a chance that Congress will finally muster the courage to close the School of the Americas for good:

[quote]The End of the School of the Americas?
By Robin Lloyd

The annual protests against the School of the Americas—the U.S. Army’s training institute for Latin American military leaders—are unlike any in the United States. Choreographed by Catholic activists, they eschew the militant rhetoric, providing a moving experience for both religious and secular activists.

The protests began in 1990 with some 10 people, and grew to their largest in 2006. Now, with a Democratic Congress and a changing political climate in Latin America, they have an opportunity to close the School of the Americas for good.

On November 19, some 22,000 people took part in the 16th annual protest in front of the gates of Fort Benning in Georgia.

Read the rest of the article:

By the way, the most famous graduate of the School of the Americas is about to get an early release:

[quote]US to free Noriega but Panama lies in wait

* Jacqui Goddard, Miami
* January 26, 2007

MANUEL Noriega, the former military dictator in Panama, is preparing to return to his homeland to face the music for his murderous eight-year reign after being granted early release from an American prison.
The US Parole Commission has ruled he will be set free from the federal prison in Miami on September 9, having served almost two-thirds of a 30-year sentence for drug-trafficking and racketeering.

But his freedom is unlikely to last beyond his first steps outside the jail. Noriega, 70, who was forced from power after the US invasion of Panama in 1989, is wanted there and in France for crimes perpetrated during his de facto rule. … 03,00.html

“Soy el espiritu de La Escuela De Las Americas!”

Voy a luchar, siempre, contra comunismo y opresión en nuestro hemisferio.

Noriega like Saddam was used and his expiry date came.
I remember the lies spouted over that one as well.

The SOA. I am sure our resident pro-war and destruction poster Fred Smith said he paid that place a visit once. If I remember correctly he said something like there was nothing there really there.
i.e. the despots attending were taking knitting classes or learning how to cook.

If they close it down it won’t stop the CIA and their state sponsored terrorism throughout the world. Any open minded people should check out William Blum:

[url=]If you flip over the rock of American foreign
policy of the past century, this is what crawls out …

invasions … bombings … overthrowing
governments … suppressing movements
for social change … assassinating
political leaders … perverting
elections … manipulating labor unions …
manufacturing “news” … death squads …
torture … biological warfare …
depleted uranium … drug trafficking …
mercenaries …

It’s not a pretty picture.
It is enough to give imperialism a bad name.[/url]

I don’t think we need to CLOSE it. Just stop letting foreigners enroll. If they want our torture expertise, let them ask the CIA.