Sunday, 16 February 2020

Former Columnist and Historian of the Jewish Community, Professor Geoffrey Alderman, is Banned by Jewish Chronicle Editor Stephen Pollard

Alderman’s 'Crime' was telling the truth about the Zionists' Antisemitism Disinformation Campaign  
An email from the Jewish Chronicle’s Stephen Pollard to Professor Geoffrey Alderman, a columnist for 14 years, was blunt and to the point: “as editor I no longer wish to have you in the paper.” A decision confirmed by Pollard in a phone conversation.
There are many, almost too many ironies, in this affair. Alderman is nothing if not a man of many contradictions but he has one, abiding fault as far as Pollard and the Zionist claque are concerned. He is too honest. Being an academic he feels an obligation to tell the truth. An almost unpardonable sin in the Court of Stephen Pollard.
Alderman's latest academic research project is a study of the Jewish contribution to crime in the UK. In an interview with the Times Higher Education Supplement of July 13 2017 he said that In the Oxford empirical tradition, I shall go wherever the evidence takes me.’
For Zionists, for whom defence of Israel right or wrong is all, this is entirely the wrong approach. The truth is secondary to the hasbarah (propaganda). That is why Zionists do so badly when they debate anti-Zionists.
The Zionist approach to such a study would be first to agree on the conclusions, namely that Jewish involvement in crime was minimal. Only then would they begin gathering evidence. You can see why Pollard had had enough of the good professor!
Alderman though is not your average progressive, still less a socialist.  He is religious and right-wing, as one would expect of someone who is Professor of Politics at the Britain’s only private university, Buckingham. But like Peter Oborne, the Tory journalist, he is a maverick and the Zionist tent has no room for mavericks.
What is surprising about Pollard’s decision is that it took him so long! Unlike previous editors, for example the late Geoffrey D Paul with whom I often crossed swords, Pollard has transformed the JC from a newspaper into a propaganda tract.  Dissenting opinions are rarely tolerated, which is why it is so boring. The idea of giving anti-Zionists space to debate issues or fairly covering the actual situation of the Palestinians in Israel and the Occupied Territories would be enough to give its contributors a (kosher) heart attack.
Alderman was a successor to another maverick columnist, Chaim Bermant, who died 22 years ago. Although Bermant was anti-gay and hostile to the left, Bermant was the only person who consistently raised matters like the oppression of the Palestinians. He supported recognition of the PLO long before it was popular. He was also a fierce critic of the Orthodox. In an Obituary Letter to the Guardian I quoted his observation that the Orthodox fear peace because then there would be intermarriage (between Jew and non-Jew) ‘the worst of all sins in their eyes.’ Bermant also wrote that the ‘greatest threat to the character and integrity of the Jewish state comes from Jews not Arabs.’
 Long and loud was the clamour of the JC’s readership for Bermant’s head but to his credit, the JC’s Editor stood up for him and freedom of speech. That was why the JC was a lively publication even if it made you chew your hair at times. It also had interesting contributors such as its Literary Editor, T.R. Fyvel, who succeeded George Orwell as literary editor of Tribune.
Not so today at the JC where you have to make do with such luminaries as MI5’s man at The Guardian, Jonathan Freedland and ex-communist reactionary David Aaronovitch. Pollard, the ex-Editor of the Daily Express and friend of its pornographic proprietor, Richard Desmond (someone who might be a useful subject for Alderman’s research!) doesn’t do free speech which was why he was a founder of the Henry Jackson Society, a nest of Islamaphobes and what used to be called ‘police state Democrats’.
Alderman is no friend of the Palestinians. He has no understanding of their suffering or the racist nature of Zionism. He doesn’t understand the contradiction inherent in a Jewish state which is bound to trample on what were once considered Jewish values such as justice, opposition to oppression and socialism.
The expulsion of the refugees and the military occupation of the West Bank, to say nothing of the apartheid nature of Israel are not Alderman’s concerns. When an Italian member of the International Solidarity Movement Vittorio Arrigoni was murdered in 2011 by an Islamist in Gaza, Alderman infamously welcomed his murder:

Few events - not even the execution of Osama bin Laden - have caused me greater pleasure in recent weeks than news of the death of the Italian so-called "peace activist" Vittorio Arrigoni. [This was no 'peace activist' Jewish Chronicle 13.5.11].

I suspect the above piece was more bravado and bluster but nonetheless it was shocking.
I said that Alderman was a man of contradiction, a ‘communal gadfly’ as the Jewish Chronicle article described him when he left the Board of Deputies to the sound of boos.
In an Interview with the Times Higher Education Supplement (13.7.17.) Alderman outlined his philosophy in the statement that ‘Folks don’t like the truth, do they? Even academic folks. Very sad.’ It would make a good epitaph for Stephen Pollard when the grim reaper comes a calling.
I said that Alderman was a man of contradictions and he is. Ironically he, of all people, in an article A man who deserves banning called, in November 2015, for the banning of another Jewish dissident, Gerald Kaufmann MP. In what was a prime example of the artificial hysteria generated by the fake anti-Semitism campaign, the Jewish Father of the House of Commons was targeted by groups such as the misnamed Campaign Against Anti-Semitism for having used the phrase ‘Jewish money’ in regard to the contributions of the Conservative Friends of Israel to Tory Party funds.
surely this wasn't the same Geoffrey Alderman who wrote, in an article Obama’s false  Iran Alternative (14.8.15) of ‘the fact that Jewish money, albeit American-Jewish money – is being used to this end has led the president to adopt an unfortunate and worrying rhetoric.  Israel and its supporters are warmongers and American-Jewish money is being used to drag America into war.’ 
Alderman’s main sin in Pollard’s eyes has been to contradict the JC’s incessant propaganda barrage to the effect that Corbyn is the worst anti-Semite since Adolf Hitler. Having worked with Corbyn Alderman knew that this was not true and last May he wrote an article in The Spectator Is Jeremy Corbyn really anti-Semitic? in which he stated that:
The fact of the matter is that Corbyn has an impressive record of supporting Jewish communal initiatives. For instance he was recently supportive of Jewish efforts to facilitate the speedy issue of death certificates by the north London coroner. In 2015 he took part in a ceremony in his Islington constituency to commemorate the founding of the North London Synagogue. In 2010 he put his name to an Early Day Motion (tabled by Diane Abbott) calling on the UK government to facilitate the settlement of Yemeni Jews in Britain. Indeed I could fill this entire article with a list of philo-Semitic EDMs that Corbyn has signed since he was first elected as Labour MP for Islington North in 1983.

Alderman went on to describe how:

In 1987 the West London Synagogue approached Islington Council with a startling proposal: to sell its original cemetery to property developers, destroying the gravestones and digging-up and reburying the bodies lying under them. This cemetery (dating from 1840) was not merely of great historic and architectural interest – in the view of orthodox Jews, the deliberate destruction of a cemetery is sacrilegious. So when Islington Council granted the planning application, a Jewish-led and ultimately successful campaign was launched to have the decision reversed. I was part of that campaign. So was Jeremy Corbyn. Meanwhile, the then-leader of Islington Council (1982-92), whose decision to permit the destruction of the cemetery was eventually overturned, was none other than Margaret Hodge

As if this was not blasphemy enough, Alderman went on to declare that ‘in my view context is, again, paramount.’ Alderman wrote that:
‘I will agree that from time to time, as backbench MP and party leader, Corbyn has acted unwisely. But the grounds for labelling him an anti-Semite simply do not exist.’

In the eyes of Pollard and the Board of Deputies Alderman had committed a Chillul Hashem, the desecration of the name of God, which is about as great a sin as man is capable of viz. telling the truth.
Of course to most normal people it is obvious that Jeremy Corbyn is not anti-Semitic. As Alderman points out he is a philo-semite, the exact opposite. But Zionists are not normal. Their values are, above all, those of state worship and veneration of the land over the people who live on it. To that end lying is just a means to an end.
Alderman isn’t the first journalist to suffer punishment at the hands of the Zionist press for expressing a dissenting opinion. Stephen Oryszczuk the foreign editor of Jewish News dared to criticise his own paper’s attack on Corbyn. He told The Canary:
It’s repulsive. This is a dedicated anti-racist we’re trashing. I just don’t buy into it at all.

Neither did the Jewish News editor as Oryszczuk was immediately put on gardening leave and soon after parted company.
Ironically Shraga Stern, wrote an article Among Charedim, Jeremy Corbyn's defeat is not being celebrated at all. Charedim are ultra-Orthodox Jews. Presumably Pollard was on vacation or out celebrating in the week after the general election to let this article slip through. Or maybe Pollard, knowing that the JC's circulation is continuing to decline sees Orthodox Jewry as a lucrative market.

Stern, a spokesman for Britain’s Ultra Orthodox Jews, had previously co-ordinated a joint letter from 34 Orthodox Rabbis dissociating themselves from the Board of Deputies attack on Corbyn. 

Yes I know that you didn't hear about this letter. That was because the BBC and the Press decided that it bore the wrong message. The subtitle of Shraga Stern's article was ‘The outgoing Labour leader has a distinguished record of support for our concerns’. Stern wrote that:
As the Campaign Against Antisemitism was forced to concede, a Deltapoll commissioned by the Jewish Leadership Council shortly before the election actually found that only 16 percent of 2017 Labour voters were wavering about voting for the Labour Party again because of the anti-Jewish prejudice that seems to have obsessed Mrs van der Zyl and the Deputies’ two ecclesiastical authorities, United Synagogue “chief rabbi” Ephraim Mirvis and Sephardi rabbinical authority Joseph Dweck.

In the Orthodox Jewish communities within which I live in Hackney, what was much more important was Labour’s promise to abolish Ofsted, which is currently engaged in what can only be described as a crusade against Torah-Orthodox schools.

Note how Stern puts Chief Rabbi in scare quotes.  Ephraim Mirvis is not recognised as a Jewish authority by the Ultra-Orthodox.  Or as Alderman wrote in the Guardian (13.7.12) ‘Once, the chief rabbi represented all British Jewry. No longer ‘

Home Office consultation on gay marriage in which he wrote that
"Our understanding [they declared] of marriage from time immemorial has been that of a union between a man and a woman. Any attempt to redefine this sacred institution would be to undermine the concept of marriage." The submission also made the point that "any attempt to exclude the possibility of a religious ceremony for such [gay] couples would be subject to challenge to the European court of human rights, on the grounds of discrimination" – a fear that is shared by other faiths.

This then is the background to the banning of Alderman, someone whose integrity and honesty  is in sharp contrast to that of Pollard, who is the human equivalent of a rattle snake on heat. On 2nd February Alderman issued a statement
Statement by Professor Geoffrey Alderman
Jewish academic Professor Geoffrey Alderman has been no-platformed by the UK’s oldest Jewish newspaper, the Jewish Chronicle.
Announcing this, Professor Alderman has made public the contents of an email sent to him by the Jewish Chronicle’s editor, Stephen Pollard.
In that email, Pollard told Alderman that “as editor I no longer wish to have you in the paper.”
This decision was confirmed by Pollard in a phone conversation with Alderman on 31 January 2020.
Following that conversation Alderman said:

“I am saddened immeasurably by Stephen Pollard’s decision, on which he refused absolutely to elaborate when we spoke on 31 January.  I began writing for the Jewish Chronicle in 1974 and from 2002 until 2016 I wrote the paper’s main weekly Comment column. Since then I have continued to contribute to the paper from time to time. Stephen’s decision to ban me entirely from writing for the paper has come without warning and without any rationale that he has seen fit to share with me. I simply don’t know why the decision has been taken, and can only speculate.”

Such is the level of Pollard’s dishonesty that he wouldn’t even give a reason for his decision.  However they are not hard to fathom. Amongst Alderman’s crimes we should include an article in The Independent headed ‘This Labour Party row will not be settled by relying on a flawed and faulty definition of antisemitism’.

Attacking the IHRA misdefinition of ‘anti-Semitism’, which has the status amongst Zionists of the tablets of stone that Moses carried with him on Mount Sinai, is another cardinal sin.
In his article Alderman wrote that the 11 examples of anti-Semitism in the IHRA
‘embed numerous internal contradictions. One example affects to condemn as antisemitic “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.” But the preamble that introduces all 11 examples explains that manifestations of antisemitism “might include the targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity. However, criticism of Israel similar to that levelled against any other country cannot be regarded as antisemitic.”  

Well, a number of political regimes around the world have been criticised because they are alleged to be pursuing policies reminiscent of the Nazis. So how in principle can it be antisemitic to draw a comparison between “contemporary” Israeli policy and that of the Nazis? 

Alderman compounded his ‘crimes’ by making a submission to the Equality & Human Rights Commission slating the IHRA definition. Indeed one of the wondrous things about the IHRA is that no academics or legal scholars defend it and yet it continues to dominate the narrative.  Another example of Marx’s dictum that the ruling ideas in society are the ideas of the ruling class.
Geoffrey Alderman, who is Professor Emeritus at the University of Buckingham, has written 16 books, several of which are on the history of the Jews in the UK. These include The Jewish Community in British Politics, Modern British Jewry, British Jewry Since Emancipation and London Jewry and London Politics 1889-1986. In 2011 was awarded the Chaim Bermant Prize for Journalism. His website is He is also a monthly columnist for the Jewish Telegraph.

However you will be pleased to know that although Geoffrey Alderman is now banned from writing for the Jewish Chronicle, Pollard’s pages will still be open for the Daily Mail’s racist columnist Melanie Phillips whose latest piece is ‘Don’t fall for bogus claims of ‘Islamophobia’

I should add one other thing.  I first came across  Alderman’s name in 1978 when the Board of Deputies was launching ‘kamikaze attacks’ (Maurice Ludman, Editor Searchlight No. 41) against the Anti-Nazi League because of its anti-Zionist founders. The ANL bothered the Board far more than the National Front.  Alderman along with others like Miriam Karlin criticised their approach. See also Jewish Voice for Labour’s Jewish academic no-platformed by Jewish Chronicle
Tony Greenstein

Friday, 14 February 2020

Pauline Hammerton –Expelled for Supporting the Palestinians on the 7th February (‘anti-Semitism’ in Labour Newspeak) Found Dead One Week Later

Pauline was Killed by Lansman, the Jewish Labour Movement and all those who supported the IHRA, a Charter for making false charges of ‘anti-Semitism’ against anti-racists

The Labour Party believes a few token words absolves it from its duty of care. Their actions led to the death of Pauline 
This is a post I wish I didn’t have to write but I have long feared I would have to write. Repeatedly I have been told by good socialists, suspended and expelled by the Labour Party, how depressed they felt at being falsely accused of anti-Semitism by those whose only purpose in life is to defame supporters of the Palestinians, anti-Zionists and anti-racists.
It is outrageous that good socialists and anti-racists have been defamed and smeared for opposing the world's most racist state, Israel.
The Lynch mob accompanying Ruth Smeet to Marc Wadsworth's Kangaroo Court
We have had 4 long years of fake and false allegations of ‘anti-Semitism’ by hypocrites, liars and defamers such as Luciana Berger and Ruth Smeeth.  Racists whose only mission was to defame anti-racist activists. We all remember how Smeeth falsely accused Marc Wadsworth of ‘anti-Semitism’ at the Chakrabarti press conference, despite him not even knowing that she was Jewish. To criticise these Zionist drama queens is anti-Semitic.
This was Pauline's last Facebook post
When the Labour Party adopted the IHRA misdefinition of anti-Semitism in September 2018 and when at last year’s conference, with the support of the pathetic Corbyn, ‘fast track’ expulsions were agreed, i.e expulsions without even a hearing, it was inevitable that sooner or later, someone would become so depressed that they would kill themselves. Fast-track expulsions, of which there were 25 in just one day this month, were a fast track ticket to someone’s suicide.
To Jon Lansman, Pauline Hammerton's death is a price worth paying to rid the Labour Party of anti-Zionists
If any one person had the ability to stop the adoption of these proposals and the IHRA in its track it was Jon Lansman. More than any one person it is Lansman who bears the blame for Pauline's death. Owen Jones, who has acted as a cheerleader to the expulsion of anti-racists should also look to what’s left of his conscience.
Mike Katz, Chair of the JLM, has played a key role in defaming anti-racist activists on behalf of the world's most racist state
A cursory look at Pauline Hammerton’s Facebook page shows that she was anything but a racist.  She was a decent, kind, concerned person who hated all kinds of oppression. Pauline was Chair of Manchester Socialist Health Association. That was why she supported the Palestinians. Pauline was the kind of person who should be welcomed and respected. Instead she was expelled at the instigation of Mike Katz and his fellow war-criminals in the Jewish Labour Movement , the overseas wing of the Israeli Labour Party.
Carl Sergeant - found dead after allegations made against him
Pauline Hammerton, who died a week after learning that she had been expelled under these murderous fast-track procedures, was not the first to die. In November 2017, Welsh Assembly Member Carl Sergeant, who had been suspended without being given any details, was found dead at his home. He had committed suicide. Sam Matthews, Head of Disputes had previously hung up on a call from him.
The self-pitying Head of Disputes who saw it as his mission to lie, deceive and expel socialists
Matthews was later to claim in the BBC Panorama programme Is Labour Anti-Semitic  that he had been suicidal at not being able to expel at will!
In the wake of Carl Sergeant’s suicide and the criticism of their behaviour, letters of suspension contained details of how to contact the Samaritans or the CAB.  There were also details of the Labour Party’s ‘Safeguarding Unit’ and a phone number, 0207 783 1134.  I have just phoned this number and been answered with a voice mail before the 4.30 cut off time. This is how the Labour Party fulfils its duty of care.
Owen Jones, this vacuous airhead, has acted as a cheer leader to Labour's killers
The Shadow NEC site said concerning Sergeant’s death:
What we do know from well researched evidence is the impact that public suspension, media pressure, isolation and not knowing what you have been accused of does to people’s mental well being.

There is much documented evidence that our party has been told repeatedly of the impact this treatment has had on individuals, irrespective of the nature of the allegations.

It eats into you, you cannot find an area to concentrate your defence on.
You believe yourself to be a decent person that cares about the world and society but a person/persons you believe in, see as a decent friend and fellow politician tells you that you have behaved in a way that you failed to recognise.
Your identity fragments, your hope dissipates, you fear you are a monster, you no longer know yourself.
What is so outrageous about all of this is that good socialists, kind and caring people, are being expelled because they object to the world’s only Apartheid State. A state that was best friends with Apartheid South Africa, armed and trained the Guatemalan Junta which killed 200,000 Indians and which today arms the Burmese Junta. It's description of itself as a 'Jewish state' is the greatest single reason for antisemitism today. It associates Jews everywhere with its war crimes.
Israel's Prime Minister Netanyahu has no problems greeting genuine anti-Semites like Hungary's Viktor Orban, a man who believes that the pro-Nazi war leader, Admiral Horthy was an 'exceptional statesman'
Israel is a state that is best friends with anti-Semites such as Viktor Orban of Hungary and Duterte, an open Hitler admirer, President of the Philippines.  To say nothing of  Trump’s anti-Semitism which manifests itself in the belief that Israel is the state of American Jews.
From Balfour to Trump, Bolsinaro to Orban, Vorster to Tommy Robinson, the best friends of the Zionists have always been anti-Semites.
The irony of all this is that it is anti-Semites who historically have been the best friends of Zionism.
Tommy Robinson, another supporter of Zionism, stands on an Israeli tank

When Russian Jews came to Britain to escape the Czarist pogroms at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century, the anti-Semitic British Brothers League was formed.  Its President William Stanley Shaw, a Christian Zionist wrote in the Jewish Chronicle (8.11.1901) that:
I am a firm believer in the Zionist movement, which the British Brothers League will do much incidentally to foster. The return of the Jews to Palestine is one of the most striking signs of the times…. All students of prophecy are watching the manifold signs of the times with almost breathless interest
Arthur Balfour, hero of the Zionist movement for his Balfour Declaration in 1917 introduced as Prime Minister in 1905 the Aliens Act designed to keep Jews out of Britain.  Anti-Semitism and Zionism are Siamese twins, joined together at the hip.
Pauline Hammerton RIP
 If you don’t want Jews to live in your country what better solution than to send them to Palestine.
We should not rest until those who were responsible for Pauline’s death, who murdered her by expulsion, are themselves expelled. Jeremy Corbyn by his silence is complicit in Pauline’s death. He could have spoken out at any time but he took the coward’s way out.
Jennie Formby  bears a heavy responsibility for Pauline's death
If Jon Lansman has any integrity, the fixer and manipulator who has long shown that power is his only principle, will resign from the Labour Party.  Jennie Formby and all those who were responsible for this tragedy should also consider their positions.
RIP Pauline Hammerton – we will not forget you.
Tony Greenstein
Martin Odoni
Rest in peace, Pauline Hammerton
by Martin Odoni
Pauline Hammerton, a long-term Labour activist from Hulme in Manchester, was fast-track-expelled from the party on the 4th of February for supposed ‘anti-Semitism’ – in reality, just for her support for the Palestinian people, who are being slowly crushed by Zionist occupation.
Pauline was found dead just seven days later. She had been left distraught by her expulsion, and although the cause-of-death has not yet been confirmed, the suspicion is that she suffered a haemorrhage brought on by the shock.
I had met Pauline a few times at demos and other meetings, and so, although I did not know her well, her death has come as a shock, to me personally, and to other activists across the north-west. Her dedication to justice was tremendous, and the callous mistreatment she received from a party that she had given so much to must have been the bitterest blow imaginable.
The deceitfulness and irresponsibility of the witch-hunt against scarcely-existent anti-Semitism in the Labour Party, carried out by Anglo-Zionist fanatics both outside and within that party, have badly damaged the lives of many innocent people. But now they appear to have taken the heaviest possible toll of all – an innocent life.
I do not expect the consciences of smear merchants like Margaret Hodge, Luciana Berger, Wes Streeting, David Collier, Zvi Solomons, Jonathan Hoffman, Ian Austin, and others of their ilk, to be tweaked in the slightest by this. Like all fanatics, they do not have consciences, no interest in right or wrong, only a blind hunger for power for the movement into which they have buried their individuality. They will probably relish the knowledge of their ability to destroy lives. At best, they will say, “Well, we’re very sorry to hear that this has happened, but…” before offering a nauseatingly dishonest list of reasons why this proves that people should not condemn Israel.
The Zionist lobby in the UK has always been amoral, indifferent to human lives, and only interested in ethics when they can be used as a weapon against opponents. But this marks the point at which the smear campaign has crossed the line. Their irresponsible aggression against innocent people to advance their failed ideology has now become a life-and-death matter in Britain, as it has long been in Palestine.
The question is, how do the rest of us respond?
Pauline Hammerton, rest in peace.
Correction: This article had previously indicated that Pauline was expelled on the 7th February. In fact, her letter of expulsion was sent on the 4th of February, and the 7th was apparently the date she opened it.

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

The School of the Americas is Still Going Strong - Its Purpose? To Keep Latin America Safe for US Multinationals

Founded in 1946 and renamed in 2001 the School of Americas is where Latin America’s Dictators and Torturers are Trained in the Dark Art of Subverting the Peoples' Will

In 2001, after being in the public spotlight, the institution where so many torturers and mad dog dictators had learnt their skills was renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.  However the role it performed was exactly the same as it had been before.

In 1961, US President John Kennedy ordered the school to focus on teaching "anti-communist" counterinsurgency training to military personnel from Latin America. According to anthropologist Lesley Gill, the label '"communist" was a highly elastic category that could accommodate almost any critic of the status quo.'
Beginning in 1961, Nicaraguan Dictator Anastasio Somoza sent Nicaraguan officers to the school to attend a 46-week course in their final year of training. Somoza himself made occasional visits to the school. In 1963 it changed its name from the U.S. Army Caribbean School to the School of the Americas.
According to Major Joseph Blair, a former instructor at the school, "the author of SOA and CIA torture manuals [...] drew from intelligence materials used during the Vietnam War that advocated assassination, torture, extortion, and other 'techniques'."[ The authors of the manuals "believed that oversight regulations and prohibitions applied only to U.S. personnel, not to foreign officers." Use of the manuals was suspended under Jimmy Carter over concerns about their correlation to human rights abuses but were reinstated under Ronald Reagan.
For those who don't get this cartoon - pictured is George Bush whose flagship policy domestically was 'leave no child behind' in education
Between 1970 and 1979, cadets from Chile, Colombia, Bolivia, Panama, Peru, and Honduras made-up 63% of the school's students. In 1980, the United States increased economic aid to Honduras. Journalist Ray Bonner reported that much of this aid would go toward training military officers at the School of the Americas and training programs within the continental United States. Hundreds of Hondurans were trained at the school during the 1980s, when the country became increasingly critical to Reagan's efforts to overthrow and defeat the Nicaraguan Sandinistas and other revolutionary guerrilla movements in the region. During the 1980s, Mexico, El Salvador, and Colombia made-up 72% of the school's cadets.
On September 21, 1984, the school was expelled from Panama.
School of the Americas Watch is an advocacy organization which was founded by Father Roy Bourgeois and a small group of supporters in 1990 to protest the training of mainly Latin American military officers by the School of the Americas (SOA). SOA Watch conducts a vigil each November at the site of SOA, located on the grounds of Fort Benning, a U.S. Army military base near Columbus, Georgia, to protest human rights abuses committed by some graduates of the academy or under their leadership, including murders, rapes and torture and contraventions of the Geneva Conventions.
Military officials state that even if graduates commit war crimes after they return to their home country, the school itself should not be held accountable for their actions. Responding to "mounting protests" spearheaded by SOA Watch, in 2000 the United States Congress renamed the School of the Americas the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), rather than closing the academy. In addition, all students must undergo a minimum of eight hours of class on human rights and the principle of civilian control of the military.
One of the handbooks - subtle isn't the name!
Inspired by the case of slain Archbishop Óscar Romero, who said "we who have a voice must speak for the voiceless," former priest Roy Bourgeois, Larry Rosebaugh OMI, and Linda Ventimiglia posed as military officers and crossed into Ft. Benning in 1983. They climbed a tree near the barracks housing Salvadoran troops and read the final homily of Archbishop Oscar Romero through megaphones. Bourgeois and his companions were arrested and Bourgeois was sentenced to 18 months in prison for trespassing onto Federal property. Protesting against the teaching of torture is an offence in the United States!
Bourgeois and his followers began to research the School of the Americas, conduct public education campaigns, lobby Congress, and practice nonviolent resistance at the School of the Americas facilities.
Following the November 1989 murders of six Jesuit priests, their housekeeper and her daughter at the Central American University in El Salvador in which graduates of the School of the Americas were involved, SOA Watch organized an annual protest to be held on the anniversary of the massacre beginning the next year. The event has been held every year since then.

Shut Down the School of the Americas/ WHINSEC By Dévora González Azadeh Shahshahani  Jacobin

Shut Down the School of the Americas/ WHINSEC

Jacobin Magazine November 15 2019
The School of the Americas/WHINSEC in Fort Benning, Georgia, has become notorious for training and enabling torturers, dictators, and massacres throughout the Western Hemisphere...The school is still training...ICE and the Border Patrol.
On November 16, 1989, the US-trained and funded Salvadoran Atlacatl Battalion entered the grounds of El Salvador’s Central American University (UCA) and brutally murdered six Jesuit priests, sixteen-year-old Celina Ramos, and her mother, Elba Ramos. Nineteen of the twenty-five Atlacatl Battalion soldiers were graduates of the US Army School of the Americas (SOA) — a combat training institution with the ostensible aim of instructing Latin American militaries in control tactics over armed counterinsurgent groups.
SOA was founded in the Panama Canal Zone in 1946 and expelled from Panama to Fort Benning near Columbus, Georgia, in 1984. The slain Jesuit priests worked in solidarity with El Salvador’s poor and marginalized and were outspoken critics of the country’s military dictatorship. They are among the 75,000 civilians murdered during the US-backed war in El Salvador between 1980 and 1992.
The SOA has trained more than 83,000 Latin American security forces since its founding. Notorious graduates of the SOA — including nearly a dozen dictators and some of the worst human rights violators in the continent — are guilty of using torture, rape, assassination, forced disappearance, massacres, and forced displacement of communities to wage war against their own people. Former Panamanian president Jorge Illueca stated that the School of the Americas was the “biggest base for destabilization in Latin America.” US-led and supported state violence abroad has ravaged and devastated communities in Central and South America, many of whose people are forced to migrate north.
On September 20, 1996, under intense public scrutiny, the Pentagon released the SOA training manuals, which advocated torture, extortion, blackmail, and the targeting of civilian populations. The release of these manuals proved that US taxpayer money was used to teach Latin American state forces how to torture and repress civilian populations.
A US congressional task force reported that those responsible for the 1989 UCA massacre in El Salvador were trained at the US Army School of the Americas, and as public pressure mounted to close the SOA, the Department of Defense responded by replacing the School of the Americas with the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) in January 2001. The measure passed when the House of Representatives defeated a bipartisan amendment to close the school and conduct a congressional investigation by a narrow ten-vote margin. The opening of WHINSEC is not grounded in any critical assessment of the training, procedures, performance, or consequences of the training program it copies. Further, it ignores congressional concerns and the public outcry over the SOA’s past and present links to human rights atrocities.
To this day, WHINSEC continues to train Latin American security officers — including immigration officials.
In 2015, the first US Border Patrol agent graduated from the infamous training facility. On October 24 of this year, a contract between Border Patrol and Winchester Ammunition became public, confirming that Border Patrol purchased 33 million rounds of bullets and could purchase more than 330 million additional rounds over the next five years. Training of Border Patrol staff at Fort Benning coupled with their increased firepower is setting the stage for US state agents to wage war against undocumented migrants and refugees at border crossings and within the United States.
Over the past fifteen years, nearly one hundred people have been killed by US Border Patrol as a direct result of their excessive use of force, including the cross-border killings of fifteen-year-old Sergio Adrián Hernández Güereca in 2010 and sixteen-year-old José Antonio Elena Rodríguez in 2012. Both teenagers were on Mexican soil when they were shot at and killed by US Border Patrol agents located on US soil. Not a single Border Patrol agent has ever been held legally accountable for these crimes. According to a recent internal government report obtained by Quartz, criminal misconduct by border officers is at a five-year high.
In addition to US Border Patrol agents now being trained at the location notorious for instructing Latin American security forces in civilian-targeted warfare, on September 9 of this year, an unredacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) report revealed that ICE agents will also begin training there. The report divulged that ICE contracted New Mexico training systems company Strategic Operations for almost $1 million to build realistic models of US cities at Fort Benning. This will be a training facility meant to simulate raids that ICE teams would carry out in places like Chicago and Arizona, and the ICE Special Response Teams will be trained to deal with immigrants crossing the border.
There are already extremely detailed designs of buildings meant to imitate the kinds of places that ICE teams will raid, such as a two-story brick residential building typical of Chicago and a single-family six-room home typical of Arizona, complete with “set props” such as furniture, clothing, and toys. According to the contract, the plans include expansion for the future, with as many as fifty more buildings to be added to the training facility.
ICE agents have carried out violence against immigrants across the country. In July, video surfaced of ICE officers in Kansas City assaulting a man named Florencio Millan-Vazquez in front of his children and girlfriend; they smashed his car window and dragged him out to arrest him after claiming there was a warrant for his arrest, despite not providing evidence of this. More recently, an immigrant man was shot by ICE agents in Nashville, Tennessee, this past September and had to be hospitalized. ICE remains a human rights threat across the United States.
The United States is directly implicated in training and financing the perpetrators of gross human rights violations. In South and Central America, this violence is marked by military, economic, and political intervention, in addition to training proxy fighters at the SOA/WHINSEC. Now, US Department of Homeland Security agents are being trained at the same location in the same tactics of civilian-targeted warfare. The results are already clear: lethally trained and heavily militarized state security forces that target civilian populations, specifically communities of color, without meaningful oversight or accountability.
On the thirtieth anniversary of the UCA massacre, human rights organizations are continuing to call for the closure of the SOA/WHINSEC training facility at Fort Benning. The school’s crimes aren’t just evident in the atrocities of the past — they’re also still found in the horrors along the US-Mexico border and through the atrocious violence of ICE today. Those who are horrified by the crimes of the Border Patrol and ICE should join the call to shut down the SOA/WHINSEC and similar training centers.
Dévora González is a field organizer with the School of the Americas Watch; she tweets @SOAWatch.
Azadeh Shahshahani is legal and advocacy director for Project South and a past president of the National Lawyers Guild. She tweets @ashahshahani.