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Friday, December 14, 2007

Father Roy Bourgeois in Los Angeles January 11, 2008

Whittier Area Peace and Justice Coalition presents Father Roy Bourgeois, Catholic Priest Founder, School of the Americas Watch
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Friday, January 11th
Gathering for refreshments 6:00 pm
Presentation 7:00 pm
St. Matthias Episcopal Church
7956 Washington Avenue, Whittier, CA 90602
562 698-9741
For more information: 562 698-9154 or
Requested Donation $5.00
No one will be turned away for lack of funds

The School of the Americas (SOA), was renamed the “Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation,” in 2001. It is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers, located at Fort Benning, Georgia and paid for by US tax payers.

Initially established in Panama in 1946, it was kicked out of that country in 1984 under the terms of the Panama Canal Treaty. Former Panamanian President, Jorge Illueca, stated that the School of the Americas was the “biggest base for destabilization in Latin America.” The SOA, frequently dubbed the “School of Assassins,” has left a trail of blood and suffering in every country where its graduates have returned.

Over its 59 years, the SOA has trained over 60,000 Latin American soldiers in counterinsurgency techniques, sniper training, commando and psychological warfare, military intelligence and interrogation tactics. These graduates have consistently used their skills to wage a war against their own people. Among those targeted by SOA graduates are educators, union organizers, religious workers, student leaders, and others who work for the rights of the poor. Hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans have been tortured, raped, assassinated, “disappeared,” massacred, and forced into refugee by those trained at the School of Assassins. SOA Watch is an independent organization that seeks to close the US Army School of the Americas, under whatever name it is called, through vigils and fasts, demonstrations and nonviolent protest,as well as media and legislative work.

Whittier Area Peace and Justice Coalition is a program of International Humanities Center, a nonprofit organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code.

Father Roy Bourgeois, M. M., Founder of SOA Watch, was born in Lutcher,Louisiana in 1938. He graduated from the University of Southwestern Louisiana with a Bachelor of Science degree in geology.

After college Fr. Roy served as a Naval Officer for four years--two years at sea, one year at a NATO station in Europe, and one year of shore duty in Vietnam. He received the Purple Heart.

After military service, Fr. Roy entered the seminary of the Maryknoll Missionary Order. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 1972, and he went on to work with the poor of Bolivia for five years before being arrested and forced to leave the country, then under the repressive rule of dictator and SOA grad General Hugo Banzer.

In 1980 Fr. Roy became involved in issues surrounding US policy in El Salvador after four US churchwomen--two of them his friends--were raped and killed by Salvadoran soldiers. Roy became an outspoken critic of US foreign policy in Latin America. Since then, he has spent over four years in US federal prisons for nonviolent protests against the training of Latin American soldiers at Ft. Benning, Georgia.

In 1990, Roy founded the School of Americas Watch, an office that does research on the US Army School of the Americas (SOA), now renamed the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation or WHINSEC, at Fort Benning, Georgia. Each year the school trains hundreds of soldiers from Latin America in combat skills - all paid for by U.S. taxpayers.

Fr. Roy has worked on and helped produce several documentary films, including 1983's "Gods of Metal" about the nuclear arms race and 1995's "School of Assassins." Both films received Academy Award nominations.

He was the recipient of the 1997 Pax Christi USA Teacher of Peace Award.

In December of 1998, Roy testified in Madrid before Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon seeking the extradition of Chile's ex-dictator General Augusto Pinochet.

From 1999 to the present time, Roy has and continues to travel extensively, giving talks at universities, churches, and other groups around the country.

Prior post:

Patricia Isasa and the School of the Americas

Video: Interview with Father Roy Bourgeois founder of the School of the Americas Watch ( The SOA is also known as the School of Assassins as it has been linked in training many of the worst torturers and human rights violators in Central and South America.

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