Sunday, November 22, 2009

Take Note, Obama

This is what someone who deserves the Nobel Peace Prize looks like, fighting against our country's policy of training torturers and war criminals to go work in Latin America.

For immediate release
Sunday, November 22, 2009

Father Roy Bourgeois and SOA Watch Nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize

Father Roy Bourgeois, MM, and School of the Americas Watch (SOA Watch) have been nominated for one of the most prestigious awards in the world - the Nobel Peace Prize - for their sustained faithful nonviolent witness against the disappearances, torture, and murder of hundreds of thousands of civilians (peasants, community and union organizers, clerics, missionaries, educators, and health workers) by foreign military personnel trained by the U.S. military at U.S. taxpayer expense at the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia.

The candidacy of Father Roy and SOA Watch for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize has been officially submitted to the Nobel Committee in Oslo, Norway by the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. The official announcement was made by AFSC representative John Meyer on Sunday, November 22 at 9am at the gates of Fort Benning (home of the School of the Americas) during the annual November vigil to close the SOA.

"We are deeply honored, and deeply humbled, to be nominated for this prize for peace," commented Bourgeois, a Vietnam veteran, Purple Heart recipient and a Catholic priest, who helped found SOA Watch. "This nomination is a recognition of the work of the thousands struggling against militarism across the Americas."

SOA Watch is a nonviolent grassroots movement that works through creative protest and resistance, legislative and grassroots media work to stand in solidarity with the people of Latin America, to close the School of the Americas (renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation) and to change oppressive U.S. foreign policy that institutions like the SOA/ WHINSEC represent.

This weekend, SOA Watch is gathering by the thousands at the gates of Ft. Benning to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the killings of 14-year-old Celia Ramos, her mother Elba Ramos, and the six Jesuit priests she worked with at the Central American University in San Salvador in November 1989. Human rights defenders from Colombia and Bertha Oliva, founder of human rights organization COFADEH, Committee of Family Members of the Detained and Disappeared in Honduras, which has been actively resisting the SOA graduate-led coup as part of the resistance front.


Aric Clark said...

Indeed, please take note Obama! He can still earn that Nobel - just close Gitmo and Bagram, end Extraordinary Rendition, quit defending executive privilege and secrecy in court, guarantee every detainee gets a date in our civilian court system, withdraw from Iraq, and de-escalate in Afghanistan...

Take all that money you will have saved and put it into caring for our veterans, and making amends to innocent people illegally detained by our government. You'll probably still have a bunch left over to pay down the deficit, and fund healthcare reform.

Adel Thalos said...

Interesting post...thank you.


I am curious. Why is "a date in civilian court" so important? Do you not believe that they would receive justice from a military tribunal?

Aric Clark said...


There are significant rights which are curtailed in a military tribunal - among them the right for the defense to have foreknowledge of and review all of the evidence against the defendant. These are rights I would consider crucial to any trial being fair. Furthermore, many of the detainees it has already been admitted, were civilians not combatants, but since all of them were labelled enemy combatants when abducted we have no good way of telling which is which. The presence of torture, the destruction of evidence, and the practice of rendition have all made it more difficult to establish a chain of custody and accuracy of any account. We therefore, have no choice, in my opinion, if we are to hold credible trials of any kind, but to have them occur in a federal civilian court where transparency will hold sway.