School Of Assassins

Due to the incredible amounts of human rights violations committed by graduates
of the School of the Americas as a direct effect of their training funded by

U.S. tax dollars, the School of the Americas must be closed down. The school is
a cold war dinosaur that needs to be brought to the attention of the American
taxpaying public. The people of our nation need to be aware that every time they
get a paycheck, they are contributing to the oppression and killing of the
indigenous peoples of Latin America by their own leaders. The School of Americas
was formed in 1946 in Panama. It was originally formed so that the United States
would have ties in Central America to keep Castro under control in Cuba. In

1984, the school moved to Fort Benning, Georgia. The students at the school are
taught counterinsurgency tactics such as combat skills, sniper fire, military
intelligence, commando tactics, and psychological operations. Recent revelations
have shown that the school also actively teaches torture tactics. In September
of 1996, the Pentagon, under intense social pressure, released SOA training
manuals that were previously unavailable to the public. A group called the Latin

America Working Group issued a translated copy of the manuals. The manuals
recommended interrogation techniques like torture, execution, blackmail, and
arresting the relatives of parties involved. They suggested the use of truth
serums on prisoners to get them to answer questions. The manuals recommend the
infiltration of work unions, political parties, youth groups, religious groups,
and all other organizations subversive to the national government (Fact Sheet).

The governments of these nations recognize anyone who promotes social change and
betterment as a terrorist threat. "One manual describes 60\'s activist Tom

Hayden, currently a California State Senator, as ‘one of the masters of
terrorist planning.\' It is precisely this identification of activist for social
change as terrorists that led death squads to kill thousands of religious
leaders, students, union members and human rights activists" (Haugaard 15)

These manuals and recommendations hardly seem to be in line with the democratic
seed that the U.S. government is supposedly trying to sow in Latin America. In
the 70\'s when Nixon spyed on and infiltrated an opposing political party, he
came up under impeachment chrges. This was a very serious ordeal, but the United

States is promoting this behavior in other countries (Latin America Working

Group). Our country that we believe is the noble protecter of the world is
involved in some of the greatest massacres in the history of Latin America. The
soldiers are trained to fight insurgents, but what insurgents are left in the
poverty-stricken culture of Latin America? The only insurgents now are the
religious leaders and the poor people who want to take a stand for what should
be theirs. The rich and powerful in Latin American nations want to keep their
wealth and status. They don\'t want to give the poor citizens of their nation
anything. When the poor rise up to try and alter the position they\'re in, the
military rulers are ready to squash their efforts by any means necessary. There
have been many cases in the last twenty years of massacres and assassinations of
religious leaders whose only threat was that of the empowerment of the poor. The
military accused the leaders as heads of guerilla movements and executed them. A
prime example of a religious leader who fought for the betterment of his people
was Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador. He spoke out against the violence
against and oppression of the poor. He had and seen enough and was taking a
stand. He made a plea over a radio station which broadcast throughout Latin

America asking the governments to stop the killing and oppression. The very next
day, while performing mass, he was assassinated by a graduate of the SOA
("School of Assassins." 2) Another example of martyrs slain by
graduates of the SOA were three nuns and a layworker who were abducted, raped,
and murdered in El Salvador on December 2, 1980. They were Ita Ford, Dorothy

Kazel, Maura Clarke, and Jean Donovan. They were in El Salvador to work with the
poor. These were four women. They were not a threat to the government except
that they were attempting to elevate the poor. Recently the four soldiers who
were imprisoned for the murders indicated that they were following orders from
above. This means that the actual perpetrators were the upper echelon commanders
that ordered the attack. It has come to the light that General Jose Guillermo

Garcia and Colonel Carlos Eugenio Vides Cassanova, both graduates of the School
of Americas,