Source: SOA Watch
On Sunday August 5, 2007 the House of Representatives approved a report accompanying the FY 2008 Defense Appropriations bill that demands the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (SOA/WHINSEC) release to the public the names of all students and instructors who attended the school during the fiscal years of 2005 and 2006. The directive also requires that the same information be available to the public in all future fiscal years.
Just a few weeks ago, members of Congress expressed their outrage at the lack of transparency at the SOA/ WHINSEC and 203 members of the House of Representatives voted to prohibit continued funding for WHINSEC. In response to the widespread opposition to the denial of requests for the names of its instructors and graduates, Congress now formally demands that WHINSEC release these names to the public.
Due to the culture of secrecy and lack of transparency that have characterized the institution, this is an incredible victory for SOA Watch and human rights organizations around the world that for years have had to face countless obstacles to obtain information about the SOA/WHINSEC.
At the beginning of each fiscal year for the past several years, SOA Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to obtain WHINSEC attendance information as part of our commitment to human rights and oversight of military training programs. In 2005, SOA Watch filed a FOIA request for WHINSEC attendance figures and that request was denied.
Take Action – Keep up the Pressure!
SOA Watch demands that U.S. military training programs be transparent, that the SOA/WHINSEC be held accountable for training hundreds of human rights abusers and that it be shut down. We must seize the moment and keep up the pressure!
What You Can Do:
Key Legislative Action Items
1.- COSPONSORS OF HR 1707:
We need more cosponsors of HR 1707, legislation that would force Congress to suspend operations at the SOA/ WHINSEC and investigate the use of torture manuals and human rights abuses associated with the school! Check to see if your Representative is one of the 114 cosponsors and if not; please continue to urge your Representative to add their name as a cosponsor of HR 1707.
2.- SCHEDULE A DISTRICT WORK PERIOD MEETING:
Now is the perfect time to meet with your Representative!
August 6-31, 2007 is a district work period for the House of Representatives and members of Congress will travel back to your region for activities in their district.
3.- GET INVOLVED IN OUR NEW LEGISLATIVE MEDIA CAMPAIGN:
As part of the Take Action campaign following the extremely close June 2007 vote in the House of Representatives, activists nationwide are participating in a grassroots effort to hold Members of Congress accountable for their votes in Congress by submitting “Op-Eds” and “Letters to the Editor” to their local newspapers challenging Representatives who ignored their constituents requests.