In a picturesque Spanish-style structure resembling a mission or cathedral and located in historic Fort Benning, Georgia, is housed what is called “The School of the Americas” (SOA). Its benign sounding name, however, belies the malignancy of its curriculum. …
The School of the Americas was founded for the purpose of training foreign counterintelligence forces to operate in Latin America. In the training of these forces the “U.S. Army…used training materials that condoned ‘executions of guerillas, extortion, physical abuse [a sanitized term for torture], coercion, and false imprisonment”, according to the U.S. Intelligence Oversight Board (IOB) in a report issued June 28, 1996. The IOB is a four-person committee created three years ago by order of President Clinton for the purpose of independent investigations of alleged abuses by the United States intelligence community.
Representative Joseph P. Kennedy (D. Mass.) has called for legislation to dismantle the SOA. “Our country,” Kennedy says, “has taught those soldiers how to create suffering amongst the poorest people of Latin America….[The SOA training] manuals taught tactics that come right out of a Soviet gulag and have no place in civilized society.”
Kennedy’s opening statement in the Executive Summary of his office’s review of SOA states: