Nonviolence News Story

Why We Protest at Ft. Huachuca

Please join the Southwest Witness Against Torture on November 15 & 16 in

Tucson and Ft. Huachuca, Arizona

WHY WE PROTEST AT FT. HUACHUCA

 

A Statement of Southwest Witness Against Torture

 

www.southwestwitness.org

 

October 2008

 
Gandhi teaches us that nonviolence needs to be practiced in places of institutionalized violence.

We practice nonviolence at Ft. Huachuca—headquarters of U.S. Army military intelligence training—to protest the policy of cruelty our country has carried out against  captives in the so-called “War on Terror.”

We practice nonviolence at Ft. Huachuca to open dialogue with soldiers and commanders about their rights and obligations to report cases of torture and cruel treatment. We call on enlisted personnel to speak publicly about their training and any abuses they have observed.

We practice nonviolence at Ft. Huachuca to protest our government¹s increasing use of private contractors—with little to no oversight or accountability—both as instructors and as part of interrogation teams in the field.
We practice nonviolence at Ft. Huachuca to call for civilian, human-rights centered oversight of all interrogation training and practice, which must include absolute prohibition of cruel treatment and command responsibility for any violation of this prohibition.

Our nonviolent presence joins growing, deepening movements throughout the world calling for an end to war and torture everywhere. We act in solidarity with the campaign to close the School of the Americas/Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Cooperation at Ft. Benning, Georgia, where the testimony of torture survivors has informed our outrage and moved us to action. We know that torture diminishes the humanity of both perpetrator and those who are tortured. It damages the very soul of our country.

We are told that basic training in military interrogation at Ft. Huachuca respects the Geneva Conventions and follows the U.S. Army Field Manual. Yet, despite the efforts of many honorable soldiers and commanders who respect human rights, this training has been inadequate to prevent abuses of prisoners in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib and other military prisons and secret detention centers around the world.

What is being taught in the field and in advanced courses about interrogation? What is happening in this dark space between training and the field? Has the policy of cruelty practiced by some U.S. military, CIA, FBI, and private agencies been integrated into military doctrine and advanced training?  Does such activity take place at Ft. Huachuca?
 
We understand that secrecy and deception are part of the nature of military intelligence. We challenge this institutionalized silence, because torture and cruelty betray not only the Constitution of the United States, but who we are as a people. In a democratic society, such silence must not prevail.
 
To break this silence, interrogators and all other personnel (including private contractors) must be taught when and how to resist illegal orders that violate the laws of war, the Geneva Conventions and the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. They must be taught their obligation to speak out against such orders, and to report abuses to their superiors. And they must receive guarantees that speaking out will not lead to retaliation or punishment.
 
Ft. Huachuca¹s role in past military involvement in torture training must also be brought to light. Such involvement includes the creation of notorious manuals used at the School of the Americas to teach Latin American military personnel how to torture. Undoubtedly, records about past and contemporary use of torture exist at Ft. Huachuca. We call for the release of all such information, both past and present.

It is time for a light to shine on the darkness that has been hidden behind the walls of Ft. Huachuca.  
 
Monsignor Oscar Romero of El Salvador said, “Love begins where violence ends.”  To end the violence of torture and war we will stand at the gates of Ft. Huachuca.   Together let¹s build a world without torture.

www.southwestwitness.org