Torture is the new...uh...torture
Human rights activists and torture-victims will be ramping up the pressure on the US Congress to close down the infamous "School of the Americas." This is an American-run military school that has been long suspected of including torture in its curriculum. Military spokesmen maintain that torture is not included. Maybe it's just "extra credit"? From the AP:
The demonstrations are held each November to mark the Nov. 16, 1989, slayings of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her teenage daughter in El Salvador. A congressional task force found that some of the soldiers responsible for the massacre had been trained at the School of Americas, which moved to Fort Benning from Panama in 1984.With the veritable flood of evidence of torture in Afghanistan, Gitmo and Iraq--never mind the rendition**--organizers of this year's anti-SOA protests are hoping for a big turnout:
Roy Bourgeois, a Catholic priest, founded the group in 1990 in an attempt to come to grips with the violence he had witnessed as a Naval officer in Vietnam and especially as a priest working with the poor in Bolivia in the 1980s. "What I and others hope to accomplish is that our efforts will somehow help relieve the suffering of other people," Bourgeois said. "We're here trying to love and support people of other countries who are victims of the training at this school we're trying to shut down and our country's foreign policy."**"Never Mind the Rendition" is not to be confused with the (unsuccessfully) pitched Bruce Willis TV-drama of the same name.
[...] "Torture is a hot issue now," he said. "It has been a common part of our foreign policy. When I was in Vietnam, it was common knowledge that torture was used. When I was in Bolivia ... a lot of political prisoners that I and others visited in these prisons were being tortured. This was coming from ... the Bolivian military that we supported and that dictatorship."
Citing the so-called torture manuals discovered in the 1990s, Bourgeois said torture was part of the School of Americas' curriculum. U.S. military officials, however, deny that the books were ever an official part of the training or that the school ever advocated human rights abuses. [...] A bill introduced this year by U.S. Rep. James McGovern, D-Mass., calls for the closing of the school, an evaluation of the training and an investigation to determine who created the torture manuals, how the manuals were used and how they might have influenced students.