Anti-military training school activist to speak at University, Jan. 20
Rev. Roy Bourgeois, M.M., an outspoken critic of U.S. foreign policy in
Central America over the past 15 years, will speak at 7 p.m. Monday,
Jan. 20 in the Buckley Center Auditorium on the University of Portland
campus, 5000 N. Willamette Blvd. His talk is free and open to the
For more than a decade, Bourgeois has opposed the U.S. Army School of
the Americas, a training school for Latin American soldiers. He founded
the School of the Americas Watch in 1990 to educate people about the
human rights abuses of the school's graduates and to encourage its
Bourgeois became a Catholic priest after a four-year career in the
U.S. Navy, where he received the Purple Heart. He has been imprisoned
numerous times for non-violently protesting U.S. policy in Central
America. In addition to working on documentary films, he has traveled
on fact-finding missions to Latin America, Vietnam and Iraq. He also
testified in the extradition trial of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.
taken from the SOA Watch Newsroom....
Columbus, GA - The first two of 80 human rights advocates facing federal charges for civil disobedience to close the School of the Americas will start trial next Tuesday, January 21, in Columbus, Georgia. The 80 were among 10,000 who gathered in November to call for the closure of the SOA, renamed Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. The defendants peacefully crossed onto Ft. Benning, site of the school. They are charged with trespass and face up to six months in federal prison and $5,000 in fines.
Two defendants' trials are scheduled to begin on January 21 before Judge Clay Lands in Columbus. These two face additional charges and up to 18 months in prison. Approximately half of the remaining defendants are scheduled for trial starting January 27, and the other half are scheduled for February 10. These defendants will appear before Judge G. Mallon Faircloth.
Judge Faircloth is known for giving the maximum of six months to opponents of the SOA/WHISC. Nearly one hundred people have served a total of over fifty years in prison for engaging in nonviolent resistance in a broad-based campaign to close the school.
"Those who speak out for justice are facing prison time while SOA-trained torturers and assassins are operating with impunity," said SOA Watch founder Fr. Roy Bourgeois.
The SOA/WHISC is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers. Its graduates are consistently involved in human rights abuses and atrocities. In 1996 the Pentagon was forced to release training manuals used at the school that advocated the use of torture, extortion and execution.
Amnesty International calls for a suspension of training at the SOA/WHISC, and an independent commission of inquiry to investigate the school. Amnesty refutes the claim that the WHISC is a new institution, stating that WHISC "is essentially the same school as SOA, with the same primary mission... "
"The SOA is out of alignment with both the interests and values of the American people," said Dan Fortson, a veteran from Redway, CA, one of the 80, "We're here to say 'Not in our name!'"
SOA Watch works to stand in solidarity with people of Latin America, to change oppressive US foreign policy, and to close the SOA/WHISC.