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Combat school must disclose trainees
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper)


San Francisco Chronicle (SF's leading newspaper), April 23, 2013
Posted: April 30th, 2013
http://www.sfgate.com/nation/article/Combat-school-must-disc...

A federal judge in Oakland says the government must release the names of Latin American military leaders it has trained at the installation formerly known as the School of the Americas, where protesters say the United States has nurtured some of the hemisphere's worst human rights abusers. The Defense Department facility at Fort Benning, Ga., now called the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, provides training in combat and counterinsurgency techniques. The U.S. government, starting in 1994, released the names and military units of trainees who had attended the school since 1946. The list contained more than 60,000 names when disclosure was ended by President George W. Bush's administration in 2004. The Obama administration has defended its predecessor's action in court. But U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton ruled ... that members of SOA Watch, which has protested at the school for more than two decades, were entitled to the names under [FOIA]. She said there was no evidence that any trainees had ever been promised anonymity or had been harmed by the pre-2004 practice of public identification. If Hamilton's decision stands, it will restore an important public safeguard, said Judith Liteky of San Francisco, a plaintiff in the suit and a participant in the protest movement since 1990. Liteky's husband, Charlie Liteky, was awarded the Medal of Honor as an Army chaplain in Vietnam and has served two jail sentences for protests at the Georgia school. Judith Liteky described the school as "an affront to our democracy," saying the opposition movement has compiled more than 500 names of human rights abusers among the graduates.

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