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Human Rights & Civil Liberties

Call to Action: The Repression Continues so the Resistance can't Stop!

Saturday, November 19, 2016: Converge in your community and at the gates of Fort Benning, Georgia.

SOA Watch Journalism with real independence and integrity is a rare thing. All reader supported Evergreene Digest relies - exclusively!- on reader donations. Click on the donation button above to make a contribution and support our work. Watch has organized protests against the training of repressive militaries at Fort Benning since 1983, when three activists - Father Roy Bourgeois, Linda Ventimiglia and Father Larry Rosenbaugh - scaled a tree next to the El Salvadoran troop barracks and blasted Archbishop Oscar Romero’s last homily with a portable sound system into the night. Starting in 1990, on the one-year anniversary of the killing of 16-year-old Celina Ramos, her mother Elba Ramos, and six Jesuit priests at the University of Central America (UCA) in San Salvador, El Salvador, SOA Watch has stood vigil at the gates of Fort Benning to demand the closure of the SOA-WHINSEC and remember the victims of US militarization in the Americas.

This year, we moved our annual mobilization to the US/Mexico border, to take a stand against the militarization of the border, to shine a light on the connection between US militarization abroad and the forced migration of thousands who are fleeing North, as well as racist immigration laws. The Convergence at the border took place in October to commemorate the 4th Anniversary of the killing of 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez by a US Border Patrol agent in Nogales. Over 1,000 people came together, raised their voices for justice, and the convergence at the border was big success for our movement. Click here for videos and photos, check out the media coverage, and see the list of participating groups, speakers and musicians

As we approach the weekend in November where we have traditionally gathered at Ft Benning, members of SOA Watch will once again bear witness.  The gates of Fort Benning remain sacred ground for our movement, where we have shed tears, celebrated the successes of movements for justice, mourned the dead, spread the ashes of our friends, crossed the line, been arrested, booked, tried, and sentenced, and taken a stand for justice the past 26 years. A small group will gather this year at the main gates of Fort Benning on Saturday, November 19 at 12noon. We won't build the big stage that we had in past years, and there won't be workshops or concerts at the Columbus Convention Center, just a presence at the gates with a speak out and vigil, where we will hold banners and the posters with the faces of the victims of US militarization. This year we will especially call out Presente for those who have been murdered this year in Honduras and demand an end to US military funding and training in Honduras. There will also be a presence at the Stewart Detention Center at 6pm on Saturday, November 19, which going to be organized by our friends from the Interreligious Task Force (IRTF). IRTF is organizing a Caravan for Justice from November 17-20.

Help us make that demand heard loud and clear -- and you do not need to travel across the country to do so.  We are asking communities across the country to hold your own actions to speak out against US military training and funding in Honduras.  Here are a few action ideas:

• Hold a Vigil in your community on Saturday, November 19th, to remember those murdered as a result of US-sponsored violence in Honduras and throughout Latin America.  Find posters here with the faces and stories of some of the countless people who have been killed as a result of the US sponsored violence in Honduras and beyond to use in the vigil or paste in public spaces.

• Organize a visit to your House Member or Senator's office the week before or after November 19th and ask them to do everything in their power to cut US security aid to Honduras.  (To find out who your Representative is, click here. To find out if your House member has already sponsored HR 5474, the Berta Caceres Human Rights in Honduras Act, click hereIf so, visit their office to thank them).

• If your Representative refuses to cosponsor HR 5474, believes a bigger border wall is the solution, or is otherwise hostile to U.S. accountability in Latin America, perhaps it it is time for a Vigil outside of their offices. Please contact us at if you are interested in helping to organize a local action on or around 11/19

Despite international condemnation of the murder of visionary Indigenous leader Berta Caceres, the military, paramilitaries, and hitmen continue to target land activists, Indigenous leaders, journalists, lawyers, and many more.  Thousands more flee the country every day, headed north to escape the widespread violence.  Following the US State Department's bogus certification that Honduras was making progress just a month ago, Jose Angel Flores and Silmer George of the Unified Campesino Movement of the Aguan were assassinated and this week the son of a prominent activist in the Aguan Valley was also killed.  Not to mention, state security forces aggressively repressed a protest full of children and even babies, and other activists have been shot at.  We need to take direct action to demand the US stop sponsoring bloodshed and murders in Honduras.  Let us know if you can organize a Vigil or an action on November 19th!

Thank you for your ongoing work for justice. peace and struggle,

SOA Watch


To the 4 White Male Policemen Who Beat Me for Checking the Health of a Sick Black Man in Their Custody …

  • Because pick on schizophrenics, you are picking on me.
  • Related: Police Shootings Won't Stop Unless We Also Stop Shaking Down Black People.

Ali Afshar, Human Development Project / Portside 14, 2016 | You may or may not know that the incidence and relapse rates of schizophrenia in African-Caribbean males in Western countries has been reported as being much higher than equivalent white male cohorts. E.g.

We found remarkably high IRRs for both schizophrenia and manic psychosis in both African-Caribbeans (schizophrenia 9.1, manic psychosis 8.0) and Black Africans (schizophrenia 5.8, manic psychosis 6.2) in men and women. Fearon et al, 2006 

This knowledge was forefront in my mind when I saw a man in his twenties muttering to himself, handcuffed and surrounded by 4 white male police officers on El Camino, in Northern California. As a physician, I have a duty (shit, I swore an actual oath) to preserve the health of all humans. There was no way I was going to drive past this situation without making sure that guy was going to be fine.

Ali Afsha: Google Developer Platform. Advanced Trauma Life Support. Open Source. Abominator Class. 

Full story … 


Related: Police Shootings Won't Stop Unless We Also Stop Shaking Down Black People, Jack Hitt, Mother Jones

  • It is probably no coincidence that when you examine the recent rash of police killings, you find that the offenses the victims were initially stopped for were preposterously minor.
  • The dangers of turning police officers into revenue generators.
  • Related: To the 4 White Male Policemen Who Beat Me for Checking the Health of a Sick Black Man in Their Custody … 

Health Care Is A Right, Not A Business

  • Government’s first obligation is to protect rights, not profits. When the Declaration of Independence proclaimed our “unalienable rights” to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” it even put “life” first.
  • Related: Bullying executives won't result in lower prescription drug costs

Richard (RJ) Eskow, Huffington Post

Jim Young / Reuters

08/30/2016 | Financial columnist Megan McArdle recently wrote a column entitled Healthcare Is a Business, Not a Right.” She was responding to a tweet from financial writer Helaine Olen, which she quotes as:

“The health of Americans should not be a profit center. Health care is a right. Full stop.”

Health care is a business, says McArdle, but most of us aren’t tough-minded enough to admit it. Even if you ask a conservative, she writes, “there is a good chance you’ll get a rant about greedy insurers nickel-and-diming hardworking consumers when they’re sick.”

Richard (RJ) Eskow: Host, The Zero Hour; Sr. Fellow, Campaign for America’s Future

Full story … 

Related: Now you can follow Evergreene Digest on Twitter.



Bullying executives won't result in lower prescription drug costs, From an Editorial in the New York (NY) Times  / Minneapolis (MN) StarTribune  

  • Congress should adopt reforms.
  • Congress needs to allow Medicare to negotiate prices, among other steps. 
  • Related: It’s Way Past Time We Stopped Deluding Ourselves About Private Health Insurers

SOA Watch | Live from the #ConverganceattheBorder, October 7-10

  • Couldn’t make it to the first ever Border Encuentro in Arizona and Mexico? Or are you with us at the Border and looking for ways to share with your community?
  • Join us here at or on our Facebook page to see live streaming of all the weekend's events in Eloy, Tucson, and Nogales, Arizona. You can join in, wherever you are in the world, and help spread the word! #ConvergenceAtTheBorder
  • Part 1: #ConverganceattheBorder, Friday, October 7
  • Part 2: #ConverganceattheBorder, Saturday, October 8
  • Part 3: Thank you! The Convergence on the US-Mexico Border was a Success

SOA Watch

Part 1: #ConverganceattheBorder, Friday, October 7

At the heart of the 2016 School of the Americas Watch Encuentro is increasing awareness of the militarization of the US-Mexico border and Latin America, as well as the criminalization of immigrants, asylum seekers, refugees and people of color.

This is the first time SOA Watch is turning all eyes onto the borderlands and the way this country has responded to the mass migration coming from our neighbors to the south.

Full story …

Part 2: #ConverganceattheBorder, Saturday, October 8

Yesterday's vigil at Eloy and kickoff in Sonora was amazing, and today is just getting started!

Right now there is a veteran-led march to the border wall happening on each side in the US and in Mexico, coming together for a joint rally. You can watch it and lots of events today here.

We will have all the weekend's events in Eloy, Tucson, and Nogales, Arizona. You can join in, wherever you are in the world, and help spread the word! #ConvergenceAtTheBorder

In the first event last night, hundreds of migrants and activists gathered outside of the Eloy Detention Center in Arizona, to call for the release of the incarcerated migrants, for an end to profiteering of human suffering, and for justice for all.

Full story … 

Part 3: Thank you! The Convergence on the US-Mexico Border was a Success

We converged from October 7-10 in Nogales, Sonora/ Arizona, at the Stewart Detention Center & in Tucson to demand a fundamental shift in US foreign policy. The Convergence began on Friday evening, October 7, with a vigil at the Eloy Detention Center. Click here for the full schedule of events. The livestream is accessible below, as well as photos and videos.

Full story … 

SOA Watch, founded by Fr. Roy Bourgeois in 1990,  is an independent organization that seeks to close the U.S. Army School of the Americas, under whatever name it is called, through vigils and fasts, demonstrations and nonviolent protest, as well as media and legislative work.

Voter Suppression and Unfair Voting Rules

  • Voting-rights groups are asking a federal court to block the law before the November election.
  • One in 40 Americans can't vote because of a criminal conviction. But the rules aren't exactly fair.
  • Part 1: A 90-Year-Old Woman Who’s Voted Since 1948 Was Disenfranchised by Wisconsin’s Voter-ID Law
  • Part 2: Six Million Adults Who Won't Influence This Presidential Race

Compiled by David Culver , Ed., Evergreene Digest stay on top of important articles like these, sign up here to receive the latest updates from all reader supported Evergreene Digest.


Part 1:  A 90-Year-Old Woman Who’s Voted Since 1948 Was Disenfranchised by Wisconsin’s Voter-ID Law


“Taken together, this evidence makes clear that the State does not have—and is incapable of implementing—a functioning safety net for its strict voter ID law. … the voter ID law must be enjoined. --voting-rights group One Wisconsin Now

Ari Berman, the Nation native Christine Krucki. (Sharon Erickson)

October 5, 2016 | Christine Krucki was born in Lublin, Wisconsin, in 1925. She first voted in the 1948 presidential election and has voted ever since. She’s an independent who has voted for John F. Kennedy but also Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. But after Wisconsin passed its strict voter-ID law in 2011, Krucki lost her right to vote. She made three trips to the DMV, bringing an Illinois photo ID, proof of residence in Wisconsin, a birth certificate and her marriage certificate but could not get a Wisconsin photo ID for voting.

Krucki first traveled to the DMV in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in June 2013 with her daughter. “My mother does not have an unexpired passport, Wisconsin-issued photo ID, or any other kind of photo acceptable for voting,” her daughter, Sharon Erickson, said in a court declaration filed by the ACLU. Krucki lived in Illinois most of her life, before moving to Wisconsin five years ago, and no longer drives. She brought her Illinois photo ID, a bank statement and an insurance statement to the DMV. But DMV workers said she needed a birth certificate to get a Wisconsin ID for voting.

Ari Berman is a senior contributing writer for the Nation magazine and a Fellow at The Nation Institute. His new book, Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America, was published in August 2015 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. He has written extensively about American politics, civil rights, and the intersection of money and politics.

Full story … 

Part 2: Six Million Adults Who Won't Influence This Presidential Race

One in 40 Americans can't vote because of a criminal conviction. But the rules aren't exactly fair.

Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone The United States is one of just four countries in the world that enforces post-release restrictions on voting. Spencer Platt/Getty

October 6, 2016 | On July 7th in Staten Island a few months back, Ramsey Orta, the man who filmed the death of Eric Garner, sat in court conferring with his family. He was about to agree to plea deal on drug and weapons charges that would send him to prison for a while.

The term – four years – had already been settled. But some specifics were left up to him. In particular, he was given a choice as to which of his many drug charges he could swallow.

Matt Taibbi is a contributing editor for Rolling Stone. He’s the author of five books and a winner of the National Magazine Award for commentary.

Full story …