Campaign to close down School of The Americas

WARNING: This video is quite graphic and disturbing.

From the RealNews Network

Pablo Ruiz: US tax dollars are used to train Latin American soldiers how to oppress their own people

While the US commits 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan, in part to seek out terrorist training camps, many in the US and Latin America are demanding that President Obama shut down what they believe is a terrorist training camp run on US tax dollars, the School of the Americas. One such person is Pablo Ruiz, who spoke to The Real News during his first-ever trip to the US, where, as a survivor of torture carried out by SOA graduates, he is laying out his argument for the immediate closure of the school.

Watch out for Part Two of this interview later this week, addressing the school’s current focus and the movement to shut it down.

From Consortium News: “Former Chilean political prisoner Pablo Ruiz is among a group of Latin Americans who say they were tortured and otherwise abused by graduates of the school and who have traveled to Washington to demand that the new U.S. President shut down the school.”

Back in 2007 there was a vote to close the School of the Americas, but it failed. I don’t know if that was the last attempt, but apparently (according to one of the commenters at the RealNews page) there is a vote up to vote on the closer once again. Here’s that comment:

Latin America Military Training Review Act of 2009 (formerly HR 1707 in the 110th Congress) that closes the School of the Americas and starts an investigation into its practices. The Congressional switchboard number is 1-800-473-6711. The national call-in day was Feb 17th, but it’s never to late to call your rep’s office and tell them what you think (they may even be nice; one of mine was).

Here’s more on contacting your Senators and Representatives to close the SOA.

The last vote I could find on closing this place was in 2007 was 203 yes, 214 no, 1 voting “present” and 19 not voting. Here was an article posted on Common Dreams in 2007 concerning that vote on closing the SOA.

The School of the Americas has since changed its name.. Sound familiar? Now it is called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISC or WHINSEC). Does that suddenly take the spotlight off them? Sounds like Blackwater, and thinking that by changing their name to Xe (something nobody can even prounce..) they can avoid responsibility for their past history, actions and reputation..?

Naomi Klein (author of award winningThe Shock Doctrine” where she also discusses South America) writes about the School of the Americas here: `Never Before!´ The Amnesiac Torture Debate
This article was written by Klein in December of 2005, but is as pertinent today as it ever was.

As a nation, you just can’t preach “family values,” “valuing human life,” and still use our tax dollars to do what this school has been responsible for through all these years in order to promote and further your own interests. This is not about national security. This is about money and corporate interests, hegemony, greed and capitalism. I am just so ashamed (and still so naive about so much..).

Here is the link to SOA Watch, and here is a petition you can sign that goes to President Obama to close the School of the Americas. President Obama in his national address this week made clear that America will not torture, but he must not support the training of others to kill, infiltrate, torture, and ‘disappear others’ elsewhere, here in this country, because it suits our interests here at home. How can you separate that from who we purport to be as a nation..?

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