There have been several attempts by Democrats to shut down the School of Americas since 2000. On May 21st 2009, US Representative James McGovern (D) introduced a bill to suspend operations of what has been called the School of Assassins and to investigate the association of torture and human rights abuses connected with the school. The bill known as HR 256 7 has 42 cosponsors. The school, which trains military officers from Latin American countries, has been the site of years of protest by activists. It has been criticized for training some of the most notorious military criminals of Latin America. For years retired General Wesley Clark vigorously defended the controversial academy while not denying that graduates of the school have committed atrocities in their home countries. Allegations against the school intensified after 1996, when the Pentagon declassified a report that said manuals used at the school advocated fighting insurgents with execution, blackmail, kidnapping and torture. General Clark said in 1997 that the school was the best means available to ensure that the armed forces in Latin America understand US values and adopt those values as their own. Some of Latin Americas most notorious criminals have been graduates. Nineteen graduates were involved with the killing of seven Jesuit priests and two of their co-works in El Salvador in 1989.  Opponents of the school say it should be shut down, and they continue in their thousands to attend annual protests at Fort Benning, Georgia. In an attempt to deflect public criticism SOA was renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC). A Georgia Senator, Paul Cloverdale, called the DOD proposal name change measure a ‘cosmetic’ change that would ensure SOA could continue its mission and operation.

 

Most of this information was gleaned from an article on Comondreams.org written in 2004,’Facing Questions, Clark Backs Army School by Joanna Weiss':

 

http://www.commondreams.org/headlines04/0117-01.htm

 

You can read about HR 2567 by going to the SOA Watch:

 

http://www.soaw.org/article.php?id=96

 

-Bill Gibbons

“I’m a truth addict, aw shit, I got a head rush!” –Rage Against the Machine