posted on Jun, 25 2003 @ 03:47 PM
Check this out...
The US Army School of Americas (SOA), based in Fort Benning, Georgia, trains Latin American soldiers in combat, counter-insurgency, and
counter-narcotics. Graduates of the SOA are responsible for some of the worst human rights abuses in Latin America. Among the SOA's nearly 60,000
graduates are notorious dictators Manuel Noriega and Omar Torrijos of Panama, Leopoldo Galtieri and Roberto Viola of Argentina, Juan Velasco Alvarado
of Peru, Guillermo Rodriguez of Ecuador, and Hugo Banzer Suarez of Bolivia. Lower-level SOA graduates have participated in human rights abuses that
include the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero and the El Mozote Massacre of 900 civilians. (See Grads in the News.)
The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), located at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia, is the U.S. Army’s principal
Spanish-language training facility for Latin American military personnel. It is the successor to the School of the Americas (SOA), a facility
established in 1946 and legally closed in 2001. The WHINSEC is located in the same building, and offers many of the same courses, as the school it
replaces. Along with the U.S. Air Force's Inter-American Air Forces Academy (IAAFA), WHINSEC attracts the largest number of Latin American military
The Army’s operations and maintenance account pays the institute’s fixed costs. Student tuition costs are covered mainly by grants through the
International Military Education and Training (IMET) and International Narcotics Control (INC) programs, or purchases of training through the Foreign
Military Sales (FMS) program.
The School of the Americas had been questioned for years, as it trained many military personnel before and during the years of the "national security
doctrine" -- the dirty war years in the Southern Cone and the civil war years in Central America -- in which Latin American militaries ruled or had
disproportionate government influence and committed serious human rights violations. Training manuals used at the SOA and elsewhere from the early
1980s through 1991 promoted techniques that violated human rights and democratic standards. SOA graduates continue to surface in news reports
regarding both current human rights cases and new reports on past cases.