SOA Watch scored a major victory this week when we won our court case against the Pentagon! The judge ruled that the Pentagon has no grounds for its refusal to disclose the names of graduates and instructors of the SOA/WHINSEC.
Hendrik Voss, SOA Watch
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April 22, 2013 | In a rare reflection of judicial independence, United States District Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton from the Northern District of California ordered the Pentagon to release the names of who trains and teaches at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (SOA/WHINSEC), a U.S. military training school for Latin American soldiers that has been connected to torturers, death squads and military dictators throughout the Americas. Human rights activists had taken the U.S. government to court over its refusal to release the information, and won.
Read the court ruling here.
SOA Watch compiled the names, course, rank, country of origin, and dates attended for every soldier and instructor at the SOA/ WHINSEC from 1946 to 2003. After researchers exposed many cases of known human rights abusers attending the WHINSEC (despite claims that the "new" school was committed to human rights), and shared this research with Congressional decision-makers, the Department of Defense (DOD) refused to disclose any future information about students or teachers at the WHINSEC. The human rights community and the U.S. Congress did not agree with the decision. In 2008 and 2009, the House of Representatives passed an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill demanding that the DOD release this information.
A School by Any Other Name, Craig Wiesner, Reach and Teach
A Conversation With The Public Affairs Officer At WHINSEC