The U.S. School That Trains Dictators & Death Squads
December 9, 2015 9:24 PM   Subscribe

The dictators and death squad leaders, who committed acts of genocide, were trained within the gates of Fort Benning, at the School of the Americas – otherwise known as the “School Of Assassins.” Abby Martin investigates this notorious school that is largely hidden from the American public; it’s crimes around the world, its star graduates, why it exists and the movement to shut it down.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar (21 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
 
Abby Martin has gone from hawking propaganda for Putin to hawking propaganda for Chávez, I see.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:43 PM on December 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


That may be true (about Abby, I mean), but that's a bad place, with a bad track record, a place that should be shut down. In a perfect world, it would have already been closed. Alas, this is not that perfect world...
posted by ivanthenotsoterrible at 9:55 PM on December 9, 2015 [11 favorites]


> Abby Martin has gone from hawking propaganda for Putin to hawking propaganda for Chávez, I see.

What's propaganda about how utterly terrible the School of the Americas is? About how much havoc we trained its graduates to wreak upon their own people? How much money we, American citizens, have poured into it over the decades?
posted by rtha at 9:58 PM on December 9, 2015 [17 favorites]


I don't find this film objectionable so much as redundant. There is, in fact, an organization dedicated to closing the school, which has been in operation for twenty-five years, and a number of documentaries, including one that was nominated for an Oscar.

Also, while it's good that Martin is no longer with RT and broke with them over Crimea, I tend not to trust people who were ever 9/11 truthers, even if they eventually gave it up.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:22 PM on December 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


The School of Americas was closed and reopened as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. Its curriculum now includes required courses on human rights. Since 2001 it has trained 19,000 people. A handful of these individuals have committed serious crimes. An overwhelming number have not and have instead contributed to the positive direction of improved human rights throughout the western hemisphere.
If you want to find tomorrows villans look at the people going through American ivy league law and business schools.
posted by humanfont at 10:57 PM on December 9, 2015 [16 favorites]


The School of Americas was closed and reopened as the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. Its curriculum now includes required courses on human rights. Since 2001 it has trained 19,000 people. A handful of these individuals have committed serious crimes. An overwhelming number have not and have instead contributed to the positive direction of improved human rights throughout the western hemisphere.

So a 9/11 truther is telling me that the same so a that was being protested against by students at my university in the late 90's is still in existence today...

And then someone from the internet tells me that they are more of a human rights place.

Can someone just tell me what's real?
posted by hal_c_on at 2:57 AM on December 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


I don't find this film objectionable so much as redundant.

Yeah, I just can't turn on the TV without hearing about SOA Watch and the crimes of American-trained Latin American officers! CNN, MSNBC, Fox, NPR... on the tip of everyone's tongue! Ugh, I'm so sick of it!
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 3:52 AM on December 10, 2015 [9 favorites]


My wife has been involved in the protests against the SOA for years and years, she has been arrested at the gates of Fort Benning. She's banned from entering any military bases (we believe that is still in effect). When her son graduated from the Marines she had to get some sort of special dispensation to attend the ceremony.

"Can someone just tell me what's real?"

We could, but then we would have to make you disappear.
posted by HuronBob at 3:58 AM on December 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm always a little surprised by the passion around this topic. There is nothing particularly special about the School of the Americas/WHINSEC or its curriculum. The crimes it is accused of perpetuating were a matter of national policy during the Cold War. If we weren't going to train would-be anti-communist junta leaders there, we would have trained them somewhere else, just as we did in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Crusading against this single institution may be effective as a symbol, but I don't see it leading to substantial changes in U.S. policy, which have already been substantially affected by geopolitical realities.
posted by AndrewInDC at 5:06 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm always a little surprised by the passion around this topic. There is nothing particularly special about the School of the Americas/WHINSEC or its curriculum. The crimes it is accused of perpetuating were a matter of national policy during the Cold War.

I doubt that people who protest the existence of the School of the Americas are ignorant of American foreign policy during the Cold War. That it was a mundane part of that policy is cause for even more anger, as far as I'm concerned.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:26 AM on December 10, 2015 [8 favorites]


I doubt that people who protest the existence of the School of the Americas are ignorant of American foreign policy during the Cold War. That it was a mundane part of that policy is cause for even more anger, as far as I'm concerned.

True. But to my mind, the object of their protest has already run its course. The horse has left the barn, the barn has burned down, and now we're arguing about what an eyesore that barn was.
posted by AndrewInDC at 5:30 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you want to find tomorrows villans look at the people going through American ivy league law and business schools.

If recent history is anything to go by tomorrow's villains will be exactly the same people as yesterday's villains (the villains of the last 5 decades or so actually).

Villains are living way to long.
posted by srboisvert at 5:52 AM on December 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


And don't get me wrong, I sympathize with the viewpoint of SoA Watch and the rest. I just think, in light of Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, execution-by-drone etc., there is something frustratingly anachronistic about protesting a time when the U.S. government trained someone else to do its dirty work. Like any adversary, the Defense Department would prefer that you keep re-fighting the previous war.
posted by AndrewInDC at 6:15 AM on December 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also, while it's good that Martin is no longer with RT and broke with them over Crimea, I tend not to trust people who were ever 9/11 truthers, even if they eventually gave it up.

What is to trust? Their sources are provided and they check out or they don't. Abby Martin is no different from Wolf Blitzer. Well she may have three quarters of a functioning brain and he doesn't have a half of one, but other than that there is no difference. I actually thought her interview with Chris Hedges was great. The interview with Joe Rogan? Would not know because I could not last past the two minute mark on that one.

Although I absolutely hate that video production technique where they stuff static in there at random intervals because it adds for a variety of stimulation to the zombies watching it or something. I have no idea why they do it but it's fucking stupid.
posted by bukvich at 6:27 AM on December 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Villains are living way to long.

Yeah, we gotta fix that. If only there were some way to train folks to get rid of villains. Like some kind of school.
posted by leotrotsky at 6:29 AM on December 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


maybe stab them with an icepick ?
posted by Pendragon at 7:31 AM on December 10, 2015 [2 favorites]




maybe stab them with an icepick ?

ಠ_< ----|==
posted by leotrotsky at 10:02 AM on December 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Abby Martin is no different from Wolf Blitzer.

That's not exactly a point in her favor.
posted by Halloween Jack at 10:59 AM on December 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


hal_c_on: Can someone just tell me what's real?

Yes, but why would you believe me?
posted by nfalkner at 5:13 PM on December 10, 2015


I read the title, "The U.S. School That Trains Dictators & Death Squads", though oh - the school of the americas, moved my eyes down just a fraction and congratulated myself on my prescience.
posted by djeo at 11:31 AM on December 11, 2015


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