Tuesday, January 6, 2009


As I mentioned in my "Dear Friends" letter in early 2008:

In 1996 the Pentagon admitted publicly that torture manuals had been used at the SOA, which since 1946 has trained many thousands of soldiers and officers from Latin American armies ("U.S. INSTRUCTED LATINS ON EXECUTIONS, TORTURE MANUALS USED 1982- 91, PENTAGON REVEALS," Dana Priest, Washington Post Staff Writer, September 21, 1996 http://newsmine.org/archive/coldwar-imperialism/soa/wp-soa-torture/soa-torture.htm ). Officials say that such training has not continued. However, in recent years the U.S. Army has taught, and the Bush administration has sought to justify, torture by the power of bad example -- e.g., in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and in Guantanamo on a U.S.-occupied part of Cuba.

Furthermore, U.S. training of cadets from Latin America logically serves the long-term goals of U.S. military policy, which in turn is naturally at the service of U.S. foreign policy. That policy is characterized by American intervention, overt or covert, in foreign countries to promote, defend, and protect U.S. corporate interests under the guise of "free-market democracy," with the accent on the first part of that expression.

In Chile that U.S. intervention took the form of opposition to Allende’s socialist program – first trying to prevent his inauguration in 1970, then applying economic warfare, and finally encouraging and supporting the extremely bloody coup in 1973 and supporting the ensuing Pinochet dictatorship. Much can be learned about this from the film, "Missing."

Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke often of promoting "free-market democracy," as do present political leaders. And chiefs of the U.S. Southern Command have cited "radical populism" as a growing threat to U.S. interests in Latin America.

In order to avoid being used as instruments and servants of this U.S. imperial policy, four Latin American governments have decided not to send their troops or police to SOA/WHINSEC: Argentina, Bolivia, Venezuela, and Uruguay.