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Commentary :: Human Rights
BTL:Campaign to Close U.S. Army School of the Americas Attracts...
04 Nov 2005
...Bipartisan Support ~ Interview with Christy Pardew, communications coordinator of the School of the Americas Watch, conducted by Between the Lines' Melinda Tuhus
Campaign to Close U.S. Army School of the Americas Attracts Bipartisan Support

Interview with Christy Pardew, communications coordinator of the School of the Americas Watch, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

This year marks the 15th anniversary of efforts by School of the Americas Watch to close down a training facility for Latin American military officers located at Fort Benning in Columbus, Ga. Nov. 18 through 20, non-violent activists will gather at the gates of Fort Benning to demonstrate solidarity with the victims of human rights abuses committed by graduates of the school, long known as the School of the Americas and now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, or WHINSEC. With music, pageantry and prayer, they will call for the closure of the school. And, as in past years, some will likely be arrested in acts of civil disobedience and serve several months in prison for their witness.

Every year for the past 15 years, a bill to close the school has been introduced in the House of Representatives. It came within a few votes of passing in 1999, but support dropped after the school changed its name and after the 9/11 attacks. This year, the bill has 130 bipartisan co-sponsors and, according to activists, the best chance of passing since 1999.

Between The Lines' Melinda Tuhus spoke with Christy Pardew, communications coordinator for SOA Watch, based in Washington, D.C. and Columbus, Ga. She explains that, although media coverage of U.S. military operations in Latin America have received less attention than Iraq and Afghanistan, the Bush administration is heavily invested militarily in the region. And, she says that there is bipartisan interest in cutting the budget for the School of the Americas, which they estimate to be about $20 million a year.

This year, the protest will include more participation by Latin American supporters of the effort to close the school, as well as puppetry and music by the Indigo Girls. For more information, contact SOA Watch at (202) 234-3440 or visit their website at

LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking on one of the links below:
"Between The Lines" is a half-hour syndicated radio news magazine that each week features a summary of under-reported news stories and interviews with activists and journalists who offer progressive perspectives on international, national and regional political, economic and social issues. Because "Between The Lines" is independent of all publications, media networks or political parties, we are able to bring a diversity of voices to the airwaves generally ignored or marginalized by the major media. For more information on this week's topics and to check out our text archive listing topics and guests presented in previous programs visit:
"Between the Lines," WPKN 89.5 FM's weekly radio news magazine can be heard Tuesdays at 5:30 p.m. ET; Wednesdays at 8 a.m. ET and Saturdays at 2 p.m. ET (Wednesday's show airs at 7:30 a.m. ET during fundraising months of April and October).
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Weekly Summary" which features a RealAudio link to the week's program for Between The Lines, send an email to btlsummary-subscribe (at)
For an email subscription of "Between The Lines Q&A" which features a RealAudio link and weekly transcript to one of the interviews featured on Between The Lines, send an email to btlqa-subscribe (at)
betweenthelines (at)
Distributed by Squeaky Wheel Productions
©2005 Between The Lines. All Rights Reserved.
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