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Nuns, Priests, Vets, Students Get Prison for SOA Protest

by SOA Watch Thursday, Jan. 30, 2003 at 7:55 PM
media@soaw.org 202.903.7257

Defendants Testified Against Double Standard in War on Terrorism, Put SOA and U.S. Foreign Policy on Trial

Columbus, GA - As the Bush Administration seeks to expand the “war on terrorism,” 42 human rights advocates from across the country were tried this week in federal court for civil disobedience to close what they call a terrorist training camp on U.S. soil: the School of the Americas, renamed Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (SOA/WHISC). Graduates of the controversial combat training school for Latin American soldiers continue to be implicated in human rights atrocities throughout Latin America.

The defendants were among 10,000 who gathered in November to call for the closure of the SOA/WHISC. They peacefully crossed onto Ft. Benning, site of the school. So far all of the defendants have either pled or were found guilty of trespass. The trial of the last two defendants from the group is expected to conclude this afternoon. Sentences ranged from twelve months probation with community service to six months in federal prison with fines. Two defendants reported to prison immediately, and the rest will self-report.

The group included eight Catholic nuns, a priest, a reverend, four veterans, union organizers, students and others. Thirty-five more defendants will start trial on February 10, facing the same trespass charge.

“The SOA is out of alignment with the values of the American people,” said Judy Bierbaum, a defendant from Albuquerque, New Mexico. “Patriotism is not about slapping a flag in the window if that’s where it ends – it’s about calling our country to task.”

The defendants testified in court against a double standard in the “war on terrorism”, offering evidence to put the SOA/WHISC and U.S. foreign policy on trial. Defense Attorney William Quigley proffered an affidavit from U.S. Rep. James McGovern that calls for the closure of the SOA/WHISC, and a copy of a 2002 report from Amnesty International that calls for a suspension of training at the SOA/WHISC, and an independent commission of inquiry to investigate the school. Amnesty refutes the claim that the WHISC is a new institution, stating that WHISC "is essentially the same school as SOA, with the same primary mission…”

The trial judge, G. Mallon Faircloth, is known for giving the maximum of six months to opponents of the SOA/WHISC. Previous to this week’s verdicts, nearly one hundred people have served a total of over fifty years in prison for engaging in nonviolent resistance in a broad-based campaign to close the school.

The SOA/WHISC is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers. Its graduates are consistently involved in human rights abuses and atrocities. In 1996 the Pentagon was forced to release training manuals used at the school that advocated the use of torture, extortion and execution.

The 42 Adjudicated SOA Defendants

(listed in order of state)

To Arrange Interviews, Call: 202.903.7257

Seth Cohen, 22, Fair Oaks, CA – 12 months probation, 250 hours community service, 0 fine

Dan Fortson, 43, Redway, CA, – 3 months in federal prison (self-report), 0 fine

Linda Aguilar, 19, San Francisco, CA – 12 months probation, 250 hours community service, 0 fine

Sondra Angulo, 22, San Francisco, CA – 12 months probation, 250 hours community service, 0 fine

Guadalupe Chavez, 20 San Francisco, CA – 12 months probation, 250 hours community service, 0 fine

Donald Haselfeld*, 76, San Francisco, CA – 6 months in federal prison (self-report)

Margaret Rossi, 21, San Francisco, CA – 12 months probation, 250 hours community service, 0 fine

Derrlyn Tom*, 44, San Francisco, CA – 6 months in federal prison (self-report)

Lisa Hughes, 37, Valyermo, CA

William Combs, 58, Tallahassee, FL – 3 months in federal prison (self-report)

Christine Gaunt, 46, Grinnell, IA,

Timothy Grivois, 21, Chicago, IL – 12 months probation, 250 hours community service, 0 fine

Sr. Kathy Long*, 55, Chicago, IL – 3 months in federal prison (self-report)

Sr. Dorothy Pagosa*, 48, Chicago, IL – 3 months in federal prison (self-report)

Sr. Joann Quinkert*, 71, Oak Lawn, IL – 12 months probation, 500 hours community service

Sr. Adele Beacham, 76, Bloomington, IN – 12 months in home confinement, 250 hours community service

Sr. Rita Gerardot*, 76, St.-Mary-of-the-Woods, IN – 12 months probation, 500 hours community service

Edith Balot, 69, Jefferson, LA – 3 months in federal prison (self-report)

Christine LaVallee*, 27, Worcester, MA – 12 months probation, 0 fines

Scott Schaeffer-Duffy, 44, Worcester, MA – 3 months in federal prison (reported immediately)

Loring Harkness IV, 21, Northfield, MN – 12 months probation, 250 hours community service, 0 fine

Daniel Marx, 19, Northfield, MN – 12 months probation, 250 hours community service, 0 fine

Judy Bierbaum*, 46, Albuquerque, NM – 6 months in federal prison (self-report), ,000 fine

Eloy Garcia, 34, Maryknoll, NY – 3 months in federal prison (reported immediately), 0 fine

Marie Salupo, 24, Maryknoll, NY – 3 months in federal prison (self-report), 0 fine

Rev. Clifford Frasier, 35, New York, NY – 6 months in federal prison (self-report), 0 fine

Marvin Warren, 21, Poughkeepsie, NY – 3 months in federal prison (self-report)

Jesse Carr, 20, Oberlin, OH – 3 months in federal prison (self-report), 0 fine

Eric Zibbel, 19, Oberlin, OH – 12 months probation, 250 hours community service, 0 fine

Ann Huntwork*, 71, Portland, OR – 6 months in federal prison (self-report)

Philip D'Onofrio, 35, Salem, OR – 3 months in federal prison (self-report)

Sr. Mary Hamilton, 52, Rosemont, PA – 3 months in federal prison (self-report)

Katherine Brown, 52, Providence, RI – 3 months in federal prison (self-report), 0 fine

Marilyn White*, 55, League City, TX – 6 months in federal prison (self-report), 0 fines

Sr. Moira Kenny*, 56, McAllen, TX – 6 months in federal prison (self-report)

Fr. James Hynes*, 57 San Antonio, TX – 6 months in federal prison (self-report)

Pamela McBride*, 45 Sorita, TX – 6 months in federal prison (self-report), 0 fines

Dave Depp, 66, Doswell, VA – 12 months probation, 250 hours community service, 0 fine

Thomas Cleary*, 74, Richmond, VA – 6 months in home confinement

Katherine Bjorkman, 19, Burlington, WI – 3 months in federal prison (self-report)

Sr. Caryl Hartjes, CSA*, 67, Fond du Lac, WI – 3 months in federal prison (self-report)

Joyce Ellwanger*, 65, Milwaukee, WI – 6 months in federal prison (self-report)

* Second-time line-crosser

# # #

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