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Colombia: Shots fired at vehicle of SOA Watch Vigil Speaker Father Alberto PDF Print E-mail
Father Alberto Franco

On 13 February 2013, three pellets were fired at the vehicle of Father Alberto Franco, a prominent human rights defender and Executive Secretary of the Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz (Inter-Church Commission for Justice and Peace CIJP).

Father Alberto has been a partner of SOA Watch since 2006, when SOA Watch was invited to join the Ethics Commission of Justicia y Paz. Father Alberto traveled twice to Fort Benning, Georgia to join the November Vigil to close the SOA (click here to view his powerful speech from the stage in November 2010).

The CIJP is a church-based human rights organisation working to expose human rights violations committed by state security forces and paramilitary groups in conflict regions in Colombia.

The attack follows acts of surveillance and intimidation of Father Alberto Franco during recent weeks and coincides with the hearing of the case on “Operation Genesis”, a joint military and paramilitary operation which resulted in the killing and forced disappearance of many civilians; a case for which the CIJP has provided key evidence.

On 13 February 2013, at approximately 7:50 am, the front window of Father Alberto Franco's vehicle was hit with three pellets. It is reported that the attack was an attempt to test the level of protective plating in the armoured vehicle used by Father Alberto Franco, which he received as part of a government protection programme, as directed by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 February 2013 17:02
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SOA Watch vs. the Pentagon PDF Print E-mail
Written by Hendrik Voss   
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 17:07
SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS WATCH SAN FRANCISCO

For Immediate Release
....
Contact: Michael Bass
SOA Watch San Francisco
510.654.5355 or 510.432.2555
michaelbass84 [ at ] gmail.com

School of the Americas Watch vs. U.S. Department of Defense
Human rights activists petition court to have DOD release names of students of infamous U.S. military training school

Wednesday, February 13, 2013
9:00 AM Court Session with Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton
U.S. Courthouse, Courtroom 3, 1301 Clay Street (at 14th St.)
Oakland, California

The attorneys and plaintiffs will be available for interviews following the hearing.
....

San Francisco residents and School of the Americas Watch activists, Judith Liteky and Theresa Cameranesi, will appear in U.S. Federal Court on February 13 on a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit to compel the U.S. Department of Defense to disclose the names and military units of foreign students and instructors attending the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, a U.S. military training school located at Fort Benning, Georgia, at U.S. taxpayer expense.
Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 17:09
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The 15th Battalion of Honduras PDF Print E-mail

The following report was compiled using information from the forthcoming Rights Action report on the 15th Battalion by Annie Bird. For Right's Actions Executive Summary and full report, see below.

The Honduran Army's 15th Infantry Battalion has been widely accused of leading operations that have resulted in human rights abuses, which include the notorious attack against campesino protestors in a land dispute in August 2010 that resulted in the murder of a seventeen year-old boy, as well as the death of five security guards.  Raynel Funes Ponce, who graduated from the Basic Infantry Officials program at the SOA in 1984, was said to be commander of the 15th Battalion in a 2011 newspaper article.  In 2012 it was revealed on the Honduras armed forces website that Ponce had assumed command of the Special Forces 1st Battalion.  A squad representing the 1st Battalion, led by Josue Sierra, who took a Cadet Arms orientation at the SOA in 2011, murdered 15 year-old Ebed Yanes with a bullet in the back of his head.  Sierra was the first to fire of the squad.  Funes Ponce ordered a cover-up of the murder.

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Update: Nashua Chantal Goes to Court PDF Print E-mail

Nashua Chantal appeared in a Columbus courthouse on January 9 for his arraignment on charges of federal trespass, stemming from his nonviolent actions at Fort Benning on November 18, 2012. After entering a plea of not guilty, prosecutor Capitan West and Judge Stephen Hyles scheduled a trial date for March 13. Nashua is doing well and ready to put the SOA on trial! Please keep him in your thoughts as he faces 6 months in federal prison for his actions. Check here for more information on SOA Watch Prisoners of Conscience.

 
Delegations to El Salvador, Paraguay, Chile and the border PDF Print E-mail
Feliz Año Nuevo from the South! We send saludos y felicidades and hopes that we may continue to work together South and North to resist the culture of violence and militarization, and create a new culture of peace.

Peace becomes a greater possibility when we connect with others working for justice in different corners of our globe. Last year, SOA Watch delegations brought important victories to the SOA Watch movement, with two more country withdrawals from the SOA. Delegations also formed new friendships, laid groundwork for further victories, sparked creative ideas that help peace-making efforts of both sides of the border.

This year we invite you to participate in SOA Watch's efforts of citizen diplomacy by joining one of our 2013 delegations. We will be traveling to El Salvador to honor Monsenor Romero's martrydom and ask the government to withdraw from the SOA. We will go to Paraguay to observe presidential elections and visit areas of land conflict that were used to justify last year's "express coup". We will stand at the southern border of the US in solidarity with immigrants and those affected by border violence and militarization. We will journey to Chile for the 40th anniversary of Pinochet's coup and express solidarity with students and Mapuche peoples struggling to shape a just society.

Join us! Together, North and South, we can make a difference!

If you are interested in any of these delegations, please contact Lisa Sullivan for more information.

Abrazos from Chile and Venezuela,

Pablo Ruiz and Lisa Sullivan
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