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2000-05-24

SOA Protest

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By only a ten vote margin on May 18, 2000, Congress voted down the Moakley (MA), Scarborough (FL), Campbell (CA), McGovern (MA) amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill (HR 4205). If passed, the measure would have closed the U.S. Army School of the Americas and set up a Congressional Task Force to assess the impact of U.S. military training on Latin American soldiers in the area of human rights. [includes rush transcript]

By rejecting the Moakley amendment, Congress approved a Clinton-Gore-Pentagon proposal to continue the SOA under a new name. The clone school — called the Defense Institute for Hemispheric Security Cooperation — will be located at Ft. Benning, Georgia to train Latin American soldiers in commando tactics, military intelligence, psychological operations, and advance combat techniques. New name, but same shame.

Guest:

  • Kate Berrigan, a student at Oberlin College in Ohio. She is one of many students from more than eight states who have gone to Georgia to commit civil disobedience at the School of the Americas.

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN:

This weekend, by only a ten-vote margin on May 18th 2000 Congress voted down the Moakley, Scarborough, Campbell, McGovern amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill. If passed, the measure would have closed the US Army School of the Americas and set up a Congressional Task Force to assess the impact of US military training on Latin American soldiers in the area of human rights.

By rejecting the Moakley amendment, Congress approved a Clinton-Gore-Pentagon proposal to continue the SOA under a new name. The clone school called the Defense Institute for Hemispheric Security Cooperation will be located at Fort Benning, Georgia to train Latin American soldiers in commando tactics, military intelligence, psychological operations and advanced combat techniques. New name, but same shame, many say.

Kate Berrigan is on the line with us, a student at Oberlin College in Ohio. She is one of many students from more than eight states who have gone to Georgia to commit civil disobedience at the School of the Americas today. Welcome to Democracy Now!

, Kate.

KATE BERRIGAN:

Thank you. It’s good to be on the air.

AMY GOODMAN:

Can you tell us why you are in Fort Benning right now.

KATE BERRIGAN:

Well, I think a lot of us have a perception that the School of the Americas represents everything that we’re against. The school teaches military oppression, which supports economic injustice perpetuated by the United States and many other industrial nations. And we see it as a coming together of several different issues, which are really galvanizing people right now and pulling them together.

AMY GOODMAN:

Kate, how many people are there?

KATE BERRIGAN:

How many people are here right now? We have about twenty involved in different roles in the protest.

AMY GOODMAN:

Well, I want to thank you very much for being with us, Kate Berrigan, student at Oberlin College in Ohio. Again, civil disobedience will be committed at Fort Benning, Georgia today, with protests around the country.

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