Lee Rials, Earning His Keep At SOA/WHINSEC

A gentleman called Lee Rials using a US military email account left this comment on my post- School Of The Americas Watch: Turncoats Edition.

How do you suppose a facility that is open to the public every work day, is overseen by not only the military but by members of Congress and non-governmental civilians is doing all those evil things you say? You quite happily slander and libel everyone who works at the institute, because every single negative you write is a lie, and I can prove it! Come on down and see for yourself.

While that is a generous offer Lee I am troubled that you didn’t announce yourself for what you are:-
Lee A. Rials
Public Affairs Officer
Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation
Ft. Benning, Geo.

You certainly do your job with enthusiasm and diligence, just what is the exchange rate on 30 pieces of silver these days?:

In mid-2002, “to counter negative political rhetoric that detracts from the mission of both WHINSEC and the Army,” the Defense Department approved a $246,000 “consistent, programmed, proactive public affairs effort in direct support of the Institute.” Dubbed WHINSEC’s “Strategic Communications Campaign Plan,” it was also ridiculed as “putting a new label on a bottle of poison” by SOA Watch communications coordinator Christy Pardew.

And I am sure you are earning your every cent, unfortunately I will not be taking up your offer because even if you paid the airfare to the US I am not traveling in US territories until habeas corpus is restored. Me and my silly insistence on human rights eh? So take these refutations from a previous response to your PR attacks-

• Salvadoran Lt. Francisco Del Cid Díaz, an SOA graduate who played an important role in the Las Hojas massacre of 1983, where he ordered the assassination of 16 civilians (United Nations Truth Commission Report on El Salvador, 1993) and was later invited to speak at WHINSEC in 2003.

• Chilean Col. Pablo Belmar, who was a guest instructor at the SOA in 1987 and who was directly implicated in the 1976 torture and murder of United Nations official Carmelo Soria (Americas Watch report, “Unfinished Business: Human Rights in Chile at the Start of the Frei Presidency,” 1994). According to former SOA instructor Maj. Joseph Blair, as a guest instructor in 1987, Belmar was responsible for teaching the human rights component.

• Colombian Gen. Farouk Yanine Díaz, a graduate and regular guest speaker at the SOA, was implicated in the massacre of 20 banana workers in Antoquia in March 1988; the assassination of the mayor of Sabana de Torres, Alvaro Garcés Parra; and in the massacre of 19 businessmen in 1987. According to the 1998 State Department report on Human Rights in Colombia, “Despite the government’s attempts to bring him to justice in the civilian court system, the military prevailed, continuing the tradition of impunity for all but the lowest-ranking members of the security forces.” According to former SOA instructor Blair, Yanine visited the SOA annually as a guest speaker from 1986-89 and was a close personal friend of U.S. Army Col. Miguel Garcia, then-commandant of the SOA.

They weren’t just students, they were lecturers! D’you think there might be just the teensy weensiest problem with the curriculum? And about the civilian staff, are they in a union? I ask because, well, some of your graduates seem to have a thing for killing union members. That could cause problems on base, oh and are there any priests or nuns on your staff, sadly again that could cause some difficulties. Perhaps you feel you are dong a good job, perhaps you have been told that your country faces terrible foes who you must do your utmost to defend against. I know the drill, got a lot of military history in my family, but you know what I learned about that mindset (regardless of debates about history or the position of your country globally, or who is in the wrong)-

Those who fight monsters should take care that they never become one. For when you stand and look long into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you.

Posted in Uncategorized. Tags: , , . 19 Comments »

19 Responses to “Lee Rials, Earning His Keep At SOA/WHINSEC”

  1. korova Says:

    Wow. And you say that I go around causing trouble. You’ve fucked with the School of the Americas!! How can I possibly out do you on that score now!!

    D’you think Lee will get a nice fat bonus for the comments he posted?? Perhaps he will get to lead the upcoming coup in Venezuela and be installed as their new US friendly dictator. I’ll be keeping those fingers crossed for you Lee.

  2. Rafael Says:

    Hows that you say, open to an apathetic public and the Imperial Senate? My, my, that a lot of oversight, to much by far! But then again the dirty work is not done in a American military reservation with millions of dollars of communication equipment, oh no. It is done in dank prison cells, out of the way villages and deep in the jungles, in back room and back alleys, by proxies, by the students of this school. Without getting your hands dirty in the process.

    All for the Glory of Empire.

  3. RickB Says:

    Hey, I don’t go lookin’ for trouble, it finds me (cue Morricone).
    He is an industrious spinner, he turns up all over replying and challenging criticism, such is the lot of the public affairs officer. I think El Presidente of Venezuela would be a massive promotion, I’m not sure he’d be up for that. Strikes me more the Bruno Kirby character from ‘Good Morning Vietnam’

    Yeah Rafael, I don’t think a tour of the real estate answers the charges against the place.

  4. libhomo Says:

    A lot of the posters on blogs with rightist views come from the PR departments of the Republican party and big corporations. This guy was just easier to trace.

  5. RickB Says:

    I don’t doubt it, they certainly seem more elastic with disclosure and interests shall we say.

  6. James Says:

    I received an email from the same dude in response to this post: Alfred McCoy and William Blum on the School of the Americas. It ended with the same “come on down and see it for yourself” bit.

  7. RickB Says:

    Hello James, thanks for stopping by. Lee is really earning his crust, the come on down bit is so nice, but pointless, as Rafael pointed out, the end user experience of SOA is far from prying northern eyes. And yay bokononism, KV RIP.

  8. Rafael Says:

    Another US company caught with its pants down. Hired right wing militieas who in the past have been trained, cooperated and been equipped by such forces as SOA, the Colombia Military (same thing really), drug cartels (check out Los Pepes) and DEA among others.

    Here is the link….


  9. RickB Says:

    Thanks, I’ll look into Drummond further, they export to europe too, so maybe some boycott research to be done.
    This ties in with Chiquita too the hearings Rep. Bill Delahunt are doing are good work. Plan Colombia is coming home to roost, I just hope that the dems who were involved don’t stop Delahunt’s work. Time to come clean and stop this shit.

  10. Lee Rials Says:

    I’m glad you all have a sense of humor, but I still am curious. If you don’t like the institute, why can’t you make one valid point against it? Seems to me if you want to criticise, you could name something we do that offends you. I guess if you won’t come look, you won’t ever find that. The only comment made above about the institute was in reference to Col del Cid Diaz. Guess what? He was accused of transmitting an order from a superior to another officer, according to the 93 UN Truth Commission report. If you looked past the SOAW propaganda about him to their own ‘notorious graduates’ list, you would see they have corrected their record. That is hardly a major human rights crime, compared to the loose accusation. What’s more, he was not a guest speaker or have any other role at WHINSEC, except that in 2003, he acted as a chaperone to some junior officers who came to a course. There’s plenty wrong in the world without wasting your time on these phony issues. Get some facts and do your own research. By the way, my intent was not to hide who I am, and the offer to visit I make to everyone–some take me up on it.

  11. RickB Says:

    well soaw say this about Diaz-
    In 1983, Colonel Francisco del Cid Diaz (then a 2nd Lieutenant) commanded a unit that forcibly removed 16 residents from the Los Hojas cooperative of the Asociacion Nacional de Indigenas, bound and beat them, shot all 16 at point-blank range and threw their bodies in the Cuyuapa River. This is a very well known, very high profile and notorious massacre, and cited in the annual State Department Human Rights Country Reports throughout the 1980s. The case was also investigated by, and included in the final report of, the El Salvador Truth Commission established under the Salvadoran Peace Accords.

    The El Salvador Supreme Court granted amnesty to all defendants, but in 1992 the OAS Inter-American Commission on Human Rights stated that there was substantial evidence that Col. del Cid Diaz and the other ranking officer present gave the orders to execute, and recommended that the Salvadoran government bring them to justice. Instead of facing justice, we find that Col. del Cid Diaz was at the WHINSEC in 2003, and was also enrolled in SOA in 1988 and 1991.—

    Lee, c’mon get with it, this is the age of the internet, everything you claim can be checked and refuted in minutes. That’s why SOA/WHINSEC are doomed, you can’t stop the signal, the truth will out. Chaperone/ guest speaker, either way if the school was so unconnected and opposed to human rights abuses surely even having the guy back on site would be unthinkable. And all 3 examples are directly related to SOA/WHINSEC.
    And c’mon offering a tour is so basic PR, is anyone ever fooled by that? It’s one of the oldest tricks in the business. OOh you’re a cheeky monkey Mr. Rials.

  12. Lee Rials Says:

    So let me get this straight–you have no need to know what is taught at WHINSEC. Now that’s an interesting academic view. If you and your friends here remove your ideological blinders for a moment, you might actually see a truth. Have you ever bothered to read the UN Truth Commission Report on El Salvador from 1993? See what they say about Col. del Cid–it aint what you presented, that’s for sure. Anyway, I won’t even try to fool you smart guys–you’ve already let SOAW do that. Enjoy your abysmal lack of knowledge (comment about the protesters from a former Columbus, Ga, mayor).

  13. Ten Percent Lee Rials, It Must Be Love « Says:

    […] So let me get this straight–you have no need to know what is taught at WHINSEC. Now that’s an interesting academic view. If you and your friends here remove your ideological blinders for a moment, you might actually see a truth. Have you ever bothered to read the UN Truth Commission Report on El Salvador from 1993? See what they say about Col. del Cid–it aint what you presented, that’s for sure. Anyway, I won’t even try to fool you smart guys–you’ve already let SOAW do that. Enjoy your abysmal lack of knowledge (comment about the protesters from a former Columbus, Ga, mayor). […]

  14. RickB Says:

    Giving up so soon? And we hadn’t even got to Julian Villate!


  15. Erin Kelley Says:

    Lee Rials left this nice piece of propaganda in response to an article I posted called”Anti Americanism Aborad: A Call for Students to Brush Up on Their History Lessons:”

    “You are woefully misinformed about the School of the Americas, which has been closed for more than seven years, but which has never been shown to have taught or encouraged any illegal, immoral, or unethical behavior. Whatever you think of US foreign policy, you have not one factual objection to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, created in law by Congress and Pres. Clinton seven years ago. You may also note that every country that sends students to WHINSEC has elected civilian leadership. You are welcome to come evaluate us yourself. We are open every workday to any visitor, who may sit in on classes, talk with students and faculty, and review instructional materials. I will assure your access myself. Sincerely, Lee A. Rials, Public Affairs Officer, WHINSEC”

    I don’t care what you call it: SOA, WHINSEC, or whatever they are going to change it to in another couple years: this type of program in simply a military apparatus of US hegemony in world affairs

  16. RickB Says:

    Hey Erin, first can I say I really like your site, I think “culturally informed travel” is a very much needed concept, consumers in the rich north are encouraged to see the world as some kind of exotic Disneyland. And never to see their role/govt/commerce in the exploitation of much of the world. I remember someone saying that in a way all citizen’s of rich countries have an average equivalent of five slaves except they are out of sight out of mind, many small labours adding up to the overall cumulative exploitation. So your blog is a really good endeavour, I will be having a good read of it!
    Now Lee, bless his little cotton socks, there are now quite a few blogs that have enjoyed a visit from him after writing about SOA/WHINSEC, maybe I should look at compiling a list! And yes you are right about its imperial hegemonic function and I would also add it is only one of many such tax funded institutions that trains aligned militaries in the ways of the Empire. In fact there is some suspicion its prominence is not wholly unwelcomed by the Pentagon as it keeps the light off other darker corners.
    And as I said to him I could only consider a visit after the US restores habeas corpus and improves other human rights. It must be tragic for SOA/WHINSEC being such a beacon of ethical human rights based instruction to be stranded in a country with a regime so against those ideals…poor lambs!

  17. US Still Training Honduran Military Against Own Stated Policy « Ten Percent Says:

    […] US Still Training Honduran Military Against Own Stated Policy 15 July, 2009 — RickB Clearly the imperial establishment are happy with the coup and how sincere the Whitehouse is… well imagine a politician lying, who’d a thunk it? Or the establishment are fighting a Whitehouse they see as no longer ‘theirs’ (a non-white corporate centrist, why not just hand over Washington to Castro!!!!). […]

  18. Emily Says:

    You who have all those negative things to say about WHINSEC–yet you believe everything that SOA Watch claims. Although SOA graduates have committed some really loathesome acts–there is no proof that it was SOA training that did it–why wasn’t it their CIA training, or training with Israeli paramilitaries. And much of what SOA Watch says are lies. Start investigating individuals cases and you might see.

  19. RickB Says:

    1. Proof of lies is required otherwise it is a baseless accusation.
    2. Do you support CIA and Israeli training also?

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