Shut Down the "School of the Assassins!"
October 29, 2004
During the weekend of November 19-21, thousands of people will travel to Fort Benning, Georgia to demand that the U.S. army close down its "School of the Americas" (SOA), renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC).
The SOA/WHINSEC is a combat school run by the U.S. military to train Latin American soldiers in such courses as counter-insurgency warfare, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence, interrogation techniques, etc. Since its establishment in Panama in 1946, the SOA has trained tens of thousands of military personnel including many who became U.S.-sponsored military dictators (e.g. Manuel Noreiga in Panama and Efrain Rios Montt of Guatemala) and organizers of death squads and paramilitary groups.
For many years, peace activists and people from many walks of life have been travelling to Georgia in November to demonstrate against this "School of the Assassins." During the weekend, activists will organize a wide array of workshops and rallies. In addition, the SOA Watch, one of the main sponsoring groups, will organize nonviolent direct action.
The struggle to shut down the SOA has become an important school for many Americans to learn about U.S. intervention and about the struggles of the Latin American peoples for national independence and social and economic progress.