Hope you are well. Please email ideas for this Newsletter to email@example.com. In this issue:
1. Statement from GPUSA's Green National Committee on NEW DATES for GPUSA's Congress and GNC meeting in Chicago.
a. Brief statement by Wes Wagar, GPUSA member from Chicago.
2. Paul Gilman, GPUSA member from New York, informs us about the School of the Americas (America's School for Torture), as he takes us lobbying the US House of Representatives and US Senate to close SOA.
3. New information just out re torture manuals of CIA used by SOA and military today.
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Joining GPUSA gives you a vote at our annual CONGRESS – this year in Chicago on Monday & Tuesday, June 21-22. Hope to see you there.
- Nancy Oden, Editor
1. Letter from GPUSA's GNC, followed by Wes Wagar's note.
The date of the next Congress/GNC meeting of the Greens/Green Party USA
(GPUSA) has been changed by two days. It will be June 21-22 at the
Arlington House in Chicago, Illinois.
After the original date was set, several people indicated a strong desire
to attend both the GPUSA Congress/GNC meeting and the GPUS nominating
convention, which is June 23-28 in Milwaukee. This could be accomplished
by a slight schedule change in the date of the GPUSA Congress/GNC meeting. A
majority of the GNC decided to make this change.
The date and location of the meeting of the Green Congress and Green
National Committee (GNC) was discussed during the November 2003 Green
Congress in New York and three subsequent GNC phone meetings. Selection
of the June Congress/GNC meeting was one of the most extensively discussed
and democratically reached decisions in the history of GPUSA.
The November 2003 Green Congress decided that the next Congress/GNC
meeting should be in Milwaukee, Chicago or St. Louis. It agreed that it should be
at the beginning of the GPUS nominating convention and left it to the GNC
meetings to finalize plans.
The February 22, 2004 phone meeting of the GNC confirmed that the June
Congress/GNC meeting would be in either Chicago or Milwaukee about the
same time as the GPUS nominating convention and encouraged Greens to attend
events in Boston and Savannah.
The March 21, 2004 phone meeting of the GNC further discussed pros and
cons of having the June Congress/GNC meeting in Chicago or Milwaukee, asked
people to look into options for lodging, and agreed to finalize plans on
The April 10, 2004 phone meeting of the GNC included GNC members from New
York, Pennsylvania, Maine, Illinois, Missouri, Arizona and California.
The first vote selected the part of the country the Congress/GNC meeting would
be in. Most (6) wanted the Chicago/Milwaukee area, with fewer preferring
San Francisco (2) or Savannah (1). The next choice selected between
Chicago and Milwaukee, with a consensus for Chicago. People suggested two
possible dates for beginning the Congress/GNC: either June 23 (beginning of the
GPUS nominating convention); or, June 25 (major events of GPUS convention).
There were 7 votes for beginning on June 23, 1 vote for beginning on June
25 and 2 abstentions. The GNC voted for the Congress/GNC meeting to be June 23-24 in Chicago.
Moving the date of the Congress/GNC meeting is a minor modification made
to accommodate multiple requests. Attempting to make major changes
concerning when the Congress or GNC meets would be a violation of decisions of the
November 2003 Congress and the three subsequent GNC meetings. An attempt
to schedule a different location for a GNC meeting would undermine the
ability of future Congresses and GNCs to make decisions. People would have little
motivation to participate in national Green decision-making bodies if they
knew that decisions could be sabotaged by a minority who disagreed with them.
People have adjusted their summer schedules and made plans for travel and
lodging in order to be in Chicago during the fourth week of June for the
Congress/GNC meeting. Few (if any) can afford the time and money to
attend multiple GNC meetings a few weeks from each other.
We affirm that the next GNC meeting of GPUSA will be the Congress/GNC
meeting of June 21-22, 2004 in Chicago and that there will not be a
Congress or GNC meeting between now and June 21-22.
Please note that this message is signed by a majority of the 11 person GNC
of GPUSA, as well as Alternates.
Nancy Oden, member of the Green National Committee (GNC)
Elizabeth Fattah, member of the Green National Committee (GNC)
Barbara Chicherio, member of the Green National Committee (GNC)
Ed Shacklett, member of the Green National Committee (GNC)
Alva D'Orgeix, member of the Green National Committee (GNC)
Wes Wagar, replacing former GNC member Lionel Trepenier
Don Fitz, replacing former GNC member Richard Evanoff
Mary Jo Maroney, Alternate GNC member
Jason Murphy, Alternate GNC member
The following is a note from Chicago GPUSA member, Wes Wagar:
I support the meetings being held in Chicago June 21-22. I believe this is
the most workable time and place for the various groups and individuals in
GPUSA to work out and dialogue on our mutual concerns and differences.
Both this meeting and the one in Milwaukee are possibly historic junctures in
the Green Movement.We need to have the possibility of participating in both
happenings in this somewhat crucial time.I think this is the best way to go
at this point.
Wes Wagar, GNC
2. SPECIAL - School of the Americas
by Paul Gilman
Don't think the kind of training that teaches coercion and dehumanization is only limited to US policy in Latin America: witness the torture of Iraqi prisoners of war and the inmates at Guantanamo Bay.
After 911, besides right-wing Homeland Security types, liberal lawyers like Allen Dershowitz were calling for easing the restrictions on torture. For some there never were any restrictions.
Despite the 'few bad apples' claim, SOA Watch and other human rights activists have shown that torture and murder is the common, not-so-hidden side of US foreign policy.
Paul Gilman Reports from Washington D.C. - Lobbying to Shut Down SOA
HR 1258, called "The Latin American Military Training Review Act of 2003", is a Bill to close what was formerly called School of the Americas (SOA). Attempting to make it sound "nicer," the military now calls it the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISEC). The SOA/WHISEC is a United States Army school that trains Latin American army personnel, and its graduates have committed some of the worst human rights violations, including genocide, in the Americas.
HR 1258 was introduced into Congress by Rep. James McGovern (D-Ma), and has 118 sponsors. It calls for the closure of the SOA/WHISEC and a full assessment of all military training of Latin Americans. The Bill would also limit new military training facilities for at least ten months after enactment.
On April 5th & 6th, I joined the SOA Watch's efforts to lobby Congress to pass HR1258. SOA WATCH had made appointments with a number of Congresspersons' staffs. I personally lobbied five from New York State. Two (including my own) were already sponsors, so our meetings were for "acknowledgement" and to urge them to take leadership roles in getting HR 1258 passed.
My group (five of us) also lobbied staff in Senator Hilary Clinton's (D-NY) office, asking that she sponsor a similar bill in the Senate. Senator Clinton's "advisor on military affairs" took notes, but refused to give his opinion, or even a hint as to what Senator Clinton's position might be.
The day before the lobbying appointments, SOA Watch's Eric LeCompt held seminars on lobbying techniques, as well as training for pre-lobbying demonstrations. For example, we held a die-in/leafleting at a busy metro-stop during the morning rush hour to help inform the public about SOA.
SOA Watch had made up packets for Members of Congress listing some of the worst human rights abuses by graduates of SOA. Our efforts resulted in five new co-sponsors for the Bill, HR 1258.
In the lobbying sessions I was in, the most effective pieces of information were these:
A. "Brownsville Herald" article from October 22, 2003 by Angeles Negrete Lares which documented that "31 ex-soldiers, once part of an elite division of the Mexican army..." have deserted the Mexican army and now work
for the Zetas, the hit squads of the Mexican Gulf drug cartel. At least one third of these guys are SOA grads. " 'They have high-powered weapons, training and intelligence capabilities', said Francisco Catillio Zaragoza,
brigadier general of the 8th military zone in Reynosa, Tamaulipas." In other words, this kind of training does backfire, that is, the world is a less safe place because of SOA's training.
B. "In a media interview Georgia Senator and SOA supporter, the late Paul Coverdell, characterized the Department of Defense proposal (to change the SOA into the WHISEC) as a 'cosmetic' change that would
ensure that the SOA will continue its mission and operation." SOA Watch agrees with the late pro-SOA Senator's assessment, new name, same shame.
One of the women in my lobbying group, Alice Gerard was a friend of Sister Dianna Ortiz who was raped and tortured by the Guatemalan military.
Alice Gerard (along with 23 other people), at the time we were in Washington, was preparing to spend six months in the Danbury (Connecticut) Federal Penitentiary for committing an act of non-violent civil disobedience - trespassing onto Ft. Benning in Columbus, Georgia where the SOA/WHISEC is located - at last November's annual SOA vigils.
Please go to the web site and write SOA Watch prisoners on conscience.
Urge your Congress-people and Senators to pass HR 1258
CLOSE THE SOA!
That's it for today, People. Meanwhile, thanks for your efforts working towards a Better World. Find some joy in Nature, renew yourselves so you will stay strong. Hope to see you in Chicago next month.
- Nancy Oden, Maine