to the Defense Authorization Act currently under consideration in congress would force the notorious School of the Americas
(currently known as "WHINSEC") to "release to the public the names, ranks, countries of origin, courses taken and dates of attendance of all the students and instructors at the institute."
Originally established in Panama in 1946, and now located at Fort Benning, Georgia, the school has variously been dubbed "School of Assassins" and "The Ultimate Union Buster"
by human rights watchers and labor organizations. According to the advocacy group School of Americas Watch
(SOA Watch), the training center "has trained over 60,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics." Putting it more pointedly, SOA Watch asserts: "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."
The school remains in operation today, under a new name, despite the lobbying efforts of organizations like SOA Watch to close the program, on the basis of human rights abuses stemming from the school's role in the so-called Argentinian Dirty War
and other internal Latin American conflicts.
In the US, the School of the Americas/WHINSEC has more recently come under renewed scrutiny for its possible role in shaping interrogation policies that led to the torture
of prisoners held at Abu Ghraib. In 1996, the US Defense Department acknowledged that between 1982 and 1991, the School taught torture techniques and other tactics such as blackmail, beatings and executions
determined to be inconsistent with US and international standards of human rights, making the school's training manuals
from that period available to the public for the first time.
[Related Previously: 1