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A Victory for Transparency!
After persistent effort, SOA Watch has won its lawsuit against the Pentagon for its refusal to disclose the names of graduates and instructors of WHINSEC (formerly known as the SOA). Yesterday, Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton of California's Northern District Court, ruled that the Pentagon and SOA/WHINSEC had no grounds for secrecy when it comes to who is being trained at the multi-million dollar facility.
Read the press release here.
Up until 2004, SOA Watch requests for the names of SOA/WHINSEC attendees were granted, but following a report showing several human rights abusers were training and teaching at the "new school" (WHINSEC), the Pentagon decided to classify the names. In 2010, though the Obama administration tried to claim that its continued secrecy around the SOA/WHINSEC was in the "national interest", our grassroots movement pushed back.
Now: Contact your Member of Congress to let them know on which side of history they should stand.
As social movements in Latin America push back against against impunity, the historical records reflect the high degree of involvement of SOA graduates in the crimes of the past. Right now, in countries like Honduras and Mexico, death squads linked to the police and military are attacking social movements. It took years for activists and researchers to finally establish ties between SOA graduates and criminal activity during the civil wars in Central America. Our victory today is a victory for generations to come.
Pending a possible appeal by the Pentagon, we are looking for skilled researchers to help us sift through the thousands of names from nearly a decade of secrecy. If you are interested in helping, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
And remember: our beautiful struggle for justice cannot continue without all of our support. Donate today to ensure that we will continue summing all our efforts against empire!
To the Pentagon: You're a square!
Another world is possible!
The SOA Watch "Rock Your Courtroom" Crew
P.S. See you November 22-24, 2013, in Fort Benning!
Two Leaders of Honduran Campesino Organizations Murdered in the Aguan
On April 13th, the body of Julián Hernández (president of campesino organization MARCA - Authentic Movement for the Re-vindication of Aguán Peasants) was found murdered in Trujillo. Following the murder of MARCA's lawyer Antonio Trejo last fall, this murder is interpreted as sign of more death squad terror to come.
Then, on April 21, the general secretary of the National Association of Campesinos of Honduras (ANACH), Alfonso Bonilla, was murdered by assassins in his home.
These assassinations and death squad activity continue to occur in the Aguan amidst the heavy militarization of the area by troops and police of Operation Xatruch III, led by SOA graduate Germán Alfaro Escalante. Over 80 campesinos have been killed in the Aguan since the SOA graduate-led coup in 2009.
Contrary to what is often suggested in the press, the violence is not just random or drug- or gang-related; some of the most vulnerable sectors in society are frequent targets — those whose rights the US Department of State tells us it considers to be a high priority — women, the LGBT community, journalists, opposition party politicians and Hondurans who opposed the coup.
Read more Stories from Honduras.