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Jerry Wharton - on
Teaching Torture at Fort Huachuca, AZ

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School of the Americas WatchSouthwest Weekend of Witness

Jerry Wharton
of Tucson SOA Watch on

Teaching Torture
at Fort Huachuca & the School of the Assassins (by any other name)

On 19 November 2006, over 120 protesters from Arizona and New Mexico - along with about 50 counter protesters - gathered at the gates of Fort Huachuca, AZ in solidarity with over 20,000 protesters at Fort Benning, GA to condemn the Bush administration's policies of torture, revocation of habeus corpus, extraordinary rendition, secret prisons, the Patriot Act and other attacks on American's most fundamental rights, and its failure to adhere to many elements of US and international law, including the Geneva Conventions and other binding treaties.

Jerry Wharton discusses this disastrous series of policies, the long battle waged by School of the Americas Watch, the formation of Tucson SOA Watch, and the state of activism in Tucson, AZ.

Click here to watch or here to listen.

Fort Huachuca, AZ is home to the US Army Intelligence Center under the command of Major General Barbara Fast.  Fast was in charge of interrogators at Abu Ghraib, where prisoners were beaten, sodomized, and photographed in sexually degrading positions but escaped censure or responsibility.  

From Center for Constitutional Rights...
Fast routinely denied the Detainee Release Authority’s recommendations to release detainees who were no longer deemed a threat. She was made aware of an interrogation policy memo authorizing the use of dogs, stress positions, sleep management, sensory deprivation, yelling, loud music and light control, etc and yet, failing in her responsibility as a military commander, did not take any action to prevent the policies contained in the memo from being implemented, while she was aware of on-going abuses.

A criminal complaint has been filed with the German Federal Prosecutor against Barbara Fast and more than a dozen Pentagon, Intelligence, and Bush administration figures including Donald Rumsfeld, George Tenet, and Alberto Gonzales.

From the School of the Americas Watch Website...

What is the SOA?

The School of the Americas (SOA), in 2001 renamed the “Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation,” is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers, located at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Initially established in Panama in 1946, it was kicked out of that country in 1984 under the terms of the Panama Canal Treaty. Former Panamanian President, Jorge Illueca, stated that the School of the Americas was the “biggest base for destabilization in Latin America.” The SOA, frequently dubbed the “School of Assassins,” has left a trail of blood and suffering in every country where its graduates have returned.

Over its 59 years, the SOA has trained over 60,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics. These graduates have consistently used their skills to wage a war against their own people. Among those targeted by SOA graduates are educators, union organizers, religious workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor. Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, “disappeared,” massacred, and forced into refugee by those trained at the School of Assassins.

This is the text of the letter written by Fathers Louie Vitale and Steve Kelly which they read at the rally and subsequently tried to deliver at the gates of Fort Huachuca - resulting in their arrest.  They were processed and released later that evening.

To: Maj. Gen. Barbara Fast -

We are here today as concerned U.S. people, veterans and clergy, to speak with enlisted personnel about the illegality and immorality of torture according to international humanitarian law, including the Geneva Conventions.

We condemn torture as a dehumanization of both prisoners and interrogators, resulting in humiliation, disability and even death. In addition to the hundreds of detainees who have died, we are also concerned about U.S. military personnel. Alyssa Peterson committed suicide after participating in the torture of Iraqi prisoners. Lynndie England and others have been imprisoned for their illegal activities.

We are here today at Ft. Huachuca in solidarity with tens of thousands of people at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation at Ft. Benning, Georgia (formerly known as the School of the Americas) to say that the training of torturers must immediately stop. Nothing justifies the inhumane treatment of our fellow brothers and sisters.

Torture by U.S. military personnel has reached alarming proportions and has horrified people around the world. We are convinced that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 is unconstitutional. We totally reject its conclusions. Torture is a useless and unreliable tool that leads to an accepted practice of terrorization and the rationalization of wrongdoing.

We are here today to repent and clearly state that because of our sense of moral and human decency we condemn torture.


Signed this 19th day of November, 2006 -

Louis Vitale,OFM Steve Kelly, SJ 

Click here for the Fort Huachuca Torture Protest
web page
Click here for
School of the Americas Watch
Click here for
School of the Assassins
by any other name
Click here for
Fort Huachuca
and here for
ICON - Army Intel Online Network
Click here for a  trip with Maj General Barbara Fast down the rabbit hole of Orwellian Doublespeak
Click here for Center for Constitutinal Rights info on the Criminal Complaint filed with the German Federal Prosecutor against
  • Donald Rumsfeld
  • George Tenet
  • Dr. Stephen Cambone
  • Lt Gen Ricardo Sanchez
  • Maj Gen Geoffrey Miller
  • Maj Gen Walter Wojdakowski
  • Colonel Thomas Pappas
  • Maj Gen Barbara Fast
  • Colonel Marc Warren
  • Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales
  • William James Haynes, II
  • David S. Addington
  • John Yoo
  • Jay Bybee