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.