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GLN's Buddy Bell

Going to Prison for Nonviolent Resistance To Military's "School of the Americas"

"Festival of Hope" for Buddy 6 PM -- 8 PM This Friday

DePaul University Lincoln Park Campus

Multipurpose Room, Student Center

2250 North Sheffield Avenue

This Friday the anti-war, anti-torture group School of the Americas Watch will host a "Festival of Hope" for the courageous stand of Buddy Bell, 24, a student who is awaiting a three month prison sentence for nonviolent resistance to the School of the Americas. Buddy has also been a generous contributor of his time to various GLN activities.

The School of the Americas (SOA), in 2001 renamed the "Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation," is a combat training school for Latin American soldiers, located at Fort Benning, Georgia. Its graduates include a "who's who" of notorious human rights abusers in South and Central America (see http://www.soaw.org/new/article.php?id=205).

In 1996, years before the scandalous news of widespread torture at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib, SOA was "outed" by the Washington Post (http://www.soaw.org/new/newswire_detail.php?id=851) for training its students in torture techniques, including use of "how to" manuals describing torture practices. Graduates of SOA 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 in become refugees by those trained at SOA.

In August 2005 Buddy was among thousands who attended the annual protest against SOA in Georgia. He and 30 others took the additional step of "crossing the line," stepping onto SOA property to resist its illegal promotion of torture and other human rights abuses. For this he was sentenced to three months in prison by a federal judge.

Please join Buddy and his other friends in Schools of the Americas Watch in a "Festival of Hope" featuring music, dancing, food and community.

Many thanks to School of the Americas Watch (http://www.soaw.org) for text used in this article.


GLN's Buddy Bell, a junior at DePaul University, who was arrested for "crossing the line" at the School of the Americas. Each August, tens of thousands protest against the SOA in a series of events organized by SOA Watch (http://www.soaw.org). This year some 32 people, including Buddy, committed civil disobedience by crossing the SOA's property line in nonviolent resistance against it. Though he was out of town on other business, DePaul University Father Dennis Holtschneidner wrote a letter praising Buddy's actions that was read out at the "Festival of Hope" celebration described above.

(Above and Below) A young celebrant at the "Festival of Hope."

Donté Smith, who also "crossed the line," with Buddy Bell. A packed house of at least a few hundred came out to the Festival of Hope at DePaul's Student Center to give best wishes to Donté and Buddy. Donté, who hails from Houston, is a student at Georgetown University. As a student he became involved in labor solidarity work with university workers, many of whom were forced to emigrate from Central America due to the violence fostered by our government there. Listening to their stories, he became committed to doing what he could to change the U.S. government policies, such as the School of the Americas, which promote this violence that has scarred so many lives.

GLN's Bob Schwartz with Sister Dorothy Pagosa of the 8th Day Center for Justice (www.8thdaycenter.org) and Illinois SOA Watch.


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