Letters to the Editor

Training abuse

December 2, 2011


To the editor:

WHINSEC, previously named the “School of the Americas,” is a shameful scar upon the American ideals of freedom and democracy. This training facility in Georgia trains foreign militants on the U.S. taxpayer dime. According to a U.N. Truth Commission report, some of the most notorious human rights abusers in Latin America have been SOA graduates or attendees, including the officers responsible for the 1980 assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador in front of his congregation while he was giving Mass. His crime? The previous day he had publicly criticized the repression and killings being carried out by the right-wing militant government.

Now graduates and attendees are using their new SOA skills to become some of the most notorious criminals in the drug war. Rene Sanabria, who attended SOA in 1993, was sentenced to 32 years for cocaine trafficking this past September. Currently, the country of Colombia, which has been cited in recent years for having the highest number of human rights abuses in South America by its own military, also has the highest number of SOA graduates, and the numbers are increasing.

Why are our tax dollars paying for this?


Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 3 months ago

"Why are our tax dollars paying for this?"

Nothing will ever become an issue unless enough people are aware of it, and not enough people are paying enough attention in order to vote wisely.

pace 6 years, 3 months ago

Great letter. We train them, sell them arms and take no responsibility. Ugly business.

BusseS 6 years, 3 months ago

Thousands of people traveled from all over the country to hold a vigil outside the WHINSEC/SOA campus this November 20th, 2011. Martin Sheen showed up.

Occupy Lawrence occupied the corner of 9th and Mass for 24 hours in support of the people in Georgia.

Did anyone hear the news coverage of this event? Anyone? Hel LO?

Gotalife 6 years, 3 months ago

It's the particular messengers (OL) themselves that prevent anyone from listening locally Busse dear. Think about it.

BusseS 6 years, 3 months ago

"in 1989, when a Salvadoran army patrol burst into the Central American University and murdered six Jesuit priests, their cook and her daughter. Some of the victims were executed lying face down on the ground. Human rights groups were quick to accuse the US of aiding and abetting El Salvador's military regime. This was not an idle allegation. Nineteen of the 27 Salvadoran officers who took part in the massacre by a UN Truth Commission report were graduates of the SOA. In fact, almost three-quarters of the Salvadoran officers implicated in seven other bloodbaths during El Salvador's civil war (including the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero 15 years ago this month) were trained by the SOA. The elite institution has left its mark everywhere in Latin America: Of the 246 officers cited for various crimes in Colombia by a 1992 international human rights tribunal, 105 are SOA graduates. "

We are paying for this.

yet people are too narrow minded to hear these truths because they don't like the haircuts of the messengers. So sad. : (

Gotalife 6 years, 3 months ago

See this is exactly what I am talking about....it has nothing to do with hair, bathing, or anything related to appearance. The fact that it has to be explained to you...is in fact the problem. Focus on reaching out through intellect, through an ability to reason with those in authority, through serious commitment and not through weekend sign holding and ranting. Use contacts who are actually viewed by the public as having expertise in the areas of concern. In otherwords my dear...your dedication to standing up for others is commendable, but according to your numbers...it seems to stop there.

BusseS 6 years, 3 months ago

Hmmm....thank you for the feedback. I'm not sure what you mean by "according to your numbers" , but I would like to point out that there is a lot more going on than sign holding in Occupy Lawrence and the other occupy groups around the country.

We in the occupy movement have all been "talking to those with expertise in the areas of concern" for years and years. Unless there is enough public awareness it is futile. We have all been seriously committed for years to various causes. Many people who have expertise in the area of the School of the Americas, for example, have dedicated literally decades of their lives to getting this heinous, hypocritical largely unknown-about-by the American public institution closed.

I'm sorry, I don't want to be snarky, but the fact that it has to be explained to you that "reaching out through intellect, the ability to reason, and serious commitment" didn't work for Ghandi, Alice Paul, Martin Luther King, and the countless others who have sacrificed themselves standing up for the voiceless. Nothing worked until they bypassed the people in authority, and started demanding, marching, and ranting.

"Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor, it must be demanded by the oppressed".

Gotalife 6 years, 3 months ago

Wow...I am sorry, but I doubt seriously if anyone locally would put the OL protesters in the same category as Ghandi, Martin Luther King, etc..That's another problem, the arrogance. I have to say, you asked why no one is listening, and I am trying to give you some reasons why. The refusal to listen to those reasons is most likely contributing to the group's own self-destruction. The movement has become a focus on how to protest, how to act, who to embarrass, who to harass, what signs should be brought, methods of disobedience to law, tent placement, and on and on. And "THAT" is what the community sees. Good luck.

BusseS 6 years, 3 months ago

I didn't ask why no one is listening. I merely commented on how sad it is. You prove my point by focusing on the occupiers and how you don't agree with their methods rather than having anything worthwhile to say about the content of the message.

And no one in the occupy movement is attempting to equate themselves with the heroes of civil rights movements past. We are inspired by them and learned from them that going through the "proper channels" as you proposed, doesn't work.

It's interesting that you are more interested in denigrating the people in the occupy movement, than on commenting about the content of the letter.

The ideas and principles are what matter most.

Gotalife 6 years, 3 months ago

Much of Lawrence is full of very highly educated persons who are very aware of local, national and world issues, thus...do not need protesters to educate them on things already known. The focus on the protesters should not be a surprise...The movement has managed to displace any interest in discussion and listening through their own methods of interaction (or should I say, dysfunctional methods of interaction). As mentioned earlier, the movement is the major contributor to its own demise. You are correct, it is sad.

BusseS 6 years, 3 months ago

Okay you don't like the occupy movement's methods. I disagree with much of what you have said, but oh well. It's good feedback none-the-less.

So still no comment on the School of the Americas? Did you know about it before this letter and do you agree it should be closed? If not why not? If yes, are you going to do anything about it? Are you going to "functionally interact" with your government representatives to support efforts to shut it down and save taxpayer dollars from being spent on it?

If you do agree that the SOA should be closed, and yet are not doing anything about it then you are part of the problem.

Just sayin'.

Oh and here is a link to the bill before Congress to stop taxpayer dollars from paying to train foreign militants. I'm sure you are highly educated enough to know which reps to send your correspondence to:


Gotalife 6 years, 3 months ago

My involvement in conversation here is limited to helping you understand ways to make changes if you are to move forward in educating anyone about anything. My original attention to this thread came when I noticed your sadness and acknowledgment that others aren't listening. My own political works and beliefs about SOA and other issues are shared with those I feel have some kind of authority or legitimacy in making changes and raising awareness. I am quite aware of the bill before Congress and appreciate all the cutting and pasting that you have done busse. Time has now run out and I have not been persuaded into thinking OL or any other protester will "change the world" with their methods. Have a fantastic and beautiful day...peace.

Gotalife 6 years, 3 months ago

And before you now jump in to say that large movements and honorable men such as MLK protested and made major changes in our country, (which everyone already knows) please remember that you should not now or ever compare "today's" local protesters with such wonderful and historic figures. Signing off....take care...

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

Reading between the lines, my guess is that you like the status quo just fine, gotalife, and that's your real beef with OL.

The reason OW/OL has become such a phenomenon is that millions are fed up with the fact that "reasoned debate" is a myth in our current political culture-- you only get political access and influence with hard cold cash, and lots of it.

And I suspect that OL/OW will be out there on the streets irritating people like you until that changes.

Gotalife 6 years, 3 months ago

Oh Bozo...I see where you get your profile name...LOL. Thanks for the chuckle.

BusseS 6 years, 3 months ago

My belief is that the authority and legitimacy lies with the people, of the people and for the people. It is our money after all.

Apparently you do not agree, since "My own political works and beliefs about SOA and other issues are shared with those I feel have some kind of authority or legitimacy in making changes and raising awareness"

which implies that you do not believe regular people in the street and their thoughts matter. This is the main reason that I do support the occupy movement, because the attitude that "people in authority" are the only "legitimate" people in decision making is exactly the problem. I think MLK would agree : )

BusseS 6 years, 3 months ago

And how dare you try to tell me I can't compare "today's" protesters to the the civil rights giants upon whose shoulders we stand.

They are our inspiration and our spiritual mentors, and by comparing ourselves to them we lift ourselves up to their standards as well as we are able. We may fall far short, but like I said many times...and the point repeatedly seems to be lost on you...it's the IDEAS and PRINCIPLES that matter. Not who or where they came from, or whether the person espousing them is on a street corner or in the Supreme Court.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 3 months ago

Well, gotalife didn't have much of anything of substance in his posts, but you gotta admit he has that "patronizing tone" thing down pat.

BusseS 6 years, 3 months ago

Oh yeah, gotalife, sure has gotasuperioritycomplex. LOL!

It's a defense mechanism, and I try not to let it get to me...which is difficult, but I'm learning.

Gotalife 6 years, 3 months ago

You let me know when there are hundreds if not thousands of folks standing by your side in downtown Lawrence and I will come down to witness it. I have already been to the old encampment in South Park only to find a tiny group huddled together, cigs in hand, ignoring the opportunity to educate myself or anyone else nearby. Well, its been fun folks, I better let you get back to your Sharpies and poster board, you never know when they might help to resolve a world crisis.

Gotalife 6 years, 3 months ago

While locally...it's a very different story

BusseS 6 years, 3 months ago

Congressman James McGovern (MA) reintroduced the Latin America Military Training Review Act, HR 3368 on November 4, 2011. He was joined by 21 other original co-sponsors.Contact your Representative and ask that s/he join as a co-sponsor of this important legislation.


danelb 6 years, 3 months ago

Thanks for this information. It is unfortunate that the media doesn't seem inclined to tell us about things that we are collectively responsible for.

danelb 6 years, 3 months ago

Thanks for this information. It is unfortunate that the media doesn't seem inclined to tell us about things that we are collectively responsible for.

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