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Talk:Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation



The following was deleted from the page "Critics argue that the school trains attendees in practices such as genocide, massacres of civilians, and egregious human rights violations, "Who are these critics and what is their first hand information concerning what is being taught at the shool? According to WHINSEC the school has never in its history taught any type of terrorigation techinques of any kind. To put this information in as fact simply because some organization makes an accusation is not proof. One of the main purposes of the creation of WHINSEC was to have a school which from its very beginnings was adament about properly reviewing any materials that were used by the school and removing any training that would raise questions of human rights abuse. (Just for everyone's information: One of the biggest drums being beat to attack the former School of the Americas is the "torture manuals". The SOA "torture manuals" often talked about were never used as instruction materials but were additional reading materials provided by a fromer instructor from another school. The school included them in their additional reading materials without reviewing them assuming they didn't not contain innapropriate materials. When it was brought to their attention that they did they recovered and destroyed them. That was an action taken by the school after the school realized the mistake.) I know these things because I traveled to the school for eight years and personally investigated most of the accusations.) If this defaming materials is to be returned to the page it should requre that somewhere there is found one person who will testify that they were taught any kind of interrorigation techniques at WHINSEC. If not what may or may not have been taughts at SOA has nothing to do with what is presently being taught at WHINSEC. This is an article about WHINSEC and not SOA. -- (talk) 03:40, 17 December 2010 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by ChaplainSvendsen (talkcontribs) 16:32, 11 December 2010 (UTC)


This page is currently SERIOUSLY BIASED towards the school. There is almost no mention of the countless massacres and killings that the school's graduates have committed. There is no mention of the anti-union activity that the students are trained in. And, most of all, there is no mention of teh annual march against the school in which thousands participate every year, and in which dozens commit acts of civil disobedience in protest of the school. I have tagged this articl for disputed neutrality, and it would be great if someone researched the topic a little bit more and changed the article so it represented the reality of the school instead of the official government opinion. If no one else changes it, I'll have to. And soon.TrogdorPolitiks 20:11, 13 January 2006 (UTC)

[Countless? How many do you consider countless. I have never heard of more than a small handful of accusations for which there was no direct correlation between what they did and what they learned at the school. With over 75000 students having attended the two schools, all military, police, or civil authority to have only a small handful being accused of misconduct is actually quite remarkable in that by pure chance the number would not be greater. I might even assume that is because the school and its training actually prevented such things from occuring. (talk) 19:01, 29 November 2010 (UTC) ]
I fixed some stuff. Still needs a rewrite, not incredibly clear WHY there is so much dispute over the institution, but the facts are there.TrogdorPolitiks 20:51, 18 January 2006 (UTC)
Let's remain objective. While I agree the article is flawed, what I see above my post here is as slanted as the article it's complaining about. If the facts are there, as you say, cite some references. I challenge you to present them without rhetorical devices like ALL CAPS; without inflammatory exaggerations like "countless massacres"; and without non-sequiturs: the fact that there are annual marches, in which people commit civil disobedience, does not demonstrate wrongdoing on the part of WHISC; it demonstrates that there are annual marches, in which people commit civil disobedience. The fact that numerous murders and some massacres (while clearly horrific and tragic) have occurred, does not prove that WHISC ordered them, nor that the WHISC trained the killers to commit them, any more than the fact that Ted Kaczynski's attendance at Harvard (or the attendance of any number of future white-collar criminals, lawyers, and CEOs) casts ill repute on that institution. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Ancientgeekphilosopher (talkcontribs) 9 August 2006.

I would say it is POV in this manner: Most people who know about the School of the Americas/Western Hemispher INstitute for SEcurity Cooperation know about it because of the attrocities committed by graduates and the high number of future dictators it graduated and not what the institution says of itself. There is no reason to give the institution's POV of itself at 50% of all content. This type of thinking gives government a de facto veto on all such content. And that's just speaking of a US centric POV. Move beyond the US and the SOA/WHINSEC's POV of itself would be a much, much smaller minority. Unless of course US POV are the only views that matter. I don't think that is what wikipedia is about. LobotRobot 21 December 2006

The writing style of this article is a complete embarrassment. It is so thoroughly biased toward the school as to approach complete self-satire. EVERY point in the criticism section is followed by pro-SOA/WHINSEC replies. This is not seen in reverse in the other sections. A total rewrite of this article is needed, although it appears that the school and-or its supporters will not allow it based on a careful review of the changes. (talk) 06:51, 26 December 2009 (UTC)

I think the main problem is that the "History" section is mostly in favor of the school, where in fact there's not much about the actual "history", while controversial parts of the history are only on the criticism part. I mean, for and against are in 2 separate parts, while "history" should be "history", representing both positive and negative sides.This part should be rewritten in order to match with the title of the section.--Desyman44 (talk) 21:52, 28 December 2009 (UTC)

In reference to the first posting in this section about the page being biased, I just did an analysis of my own. Including the lead section which I just edited, this page contains 553 words about WHINSEC and 1,659 words about USARSA, persons attending training at USARSA, SOA Watch and other US training schools. To me, this shows that the majority of the material on the page is not about WHINSEC at all, does that make any sense to other contributors or to Wikipedia monitors? Additionally, there are 40+ sources referenced at the bottom of the page, approx 6 are to WHINSEC or government sites that have information about WHINSEC, 3 or 4 are "dead links." The remaining are, again, references to articles, information and/or websites that are not about WHINSEC. In fact, the more I research about the Institute, the more that i see that this page really doesn't say much about the Institute at all, where is the value in that. In my opinion, there are 3 or 4 pages mixed together here, which further confuses anyone who would come here for verifiable information. 56CommonSense (talk) 21:45, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Forgot to mention the "further reading" section. Not one listing here is about WHINSEC. This information belongs on a USARSA page or some other relevant page as I stated previously. 56CommonSense (talk) 21:47, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Pentagon changing the nameEdit

In 2000, mounting pressure upon the United States Congress to stop funding the SOA caused the Pentagon to rename the school the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, abbreviated as WHISC or WHINSEC.

The source for this is an unsourced blog which is not a WP:RS. It was in fact Congress who changed the organization and name by law, the 2001 Defense Authorization Act, 10 USC, Sec 2166. It may have been the Pentagon who was behind the proposal for the changes that the Congress voted on but this would require a RS. As such I will removed this statement unless there are sourced objections.Ultramarine (talk) 12:14, 21 November 2007 (UTC)

At present WHINSEC is the best source of human rights protection and training available. How do I know that? Because I served for four years as and advisor and four years as a Board Of Visitors member at which time I helped in its development and implimentation. The real problem with entries on the page is evidently most people who post neither know the actual work of the school, have never been to the school, nor had any contact with its administration, teachers, or even students for that matter. I am constantly bewildered by statements such as "All those graduated who massacured people are never mentioned in connection with the school." Or statments like that. While in its existance the School of the Americas had over 60000 students. WHINSEC has had well over ten thousand students in its existance. I get a little greived when I give out information about WHINSEC and people say "who are you" that we should accept your information at truth. Well I ask the same question as to those who post falsehoods about the school and delete easily verified information which could be obtained by a simple phone call the school administration. What is even more frustrating is that after over 75000 students attended the two schools when a hand full go out and commit human rights violations that it is automatically assumed that they learned how to do it at either SOA or WHINSEC. How does a class on running a supply depot or writing military orders or working in cooperation with anti-drug taskforces across boarders teach torture or human right abuse? The answer is simple it does not. As concerns WHINSEC in their entire history they have never taught interrorigation techniques of any kind. Period. What they have learned at WHINSEC to the requirement of protecting human rights and not using torture or abusive treatment of others. Period. The WHISEC of today, an organization which is sending out trained country of origin graduates back home to teach their entire country the importance of protecting human right and the elemination of torture and such techniques is what should be the lead article on the WHINSEC post. Instead what we see is false propaganda coming from political anarchists such as SOA Watch and other organizations which are parroting false accusations in order to obtain political gain. Rev. / Chaplain (Major USAR, Retired) Kent Svendsen Advisor Board of Visitors 2000 - 2004 Member Board of Visitors 2004-2008 WHINSEC / Former member Board Of Church and Society United Methodist Church Northern Illinois Conference/ —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:53, 29 November 2010 (UTC)


Not found on the webpage of WHINSEC, in contrast to the seal, and it does not list from where it was taken, so unless a source is given it will be removed.Ultramarine (talk) 09:46, 29 November 2007 (UTC)

The picture is of the shoulder unit patch which is worn on the uniforms of those stationed at the school. Here is the reference to verify that. The unit patch is different from the school crest. ( (talk) 22:03, 16 November 2012 (UTC)) Chaplain Svendsen


Not sure if this belongs under the Controversy section, but the Punk Rock band Anti-Flag has a song called "School of Assassins (SOA)" a clear reference to this topic I think is worth adding somewhere (talk) 05:26, 4 January 2008 (UTC)

Not really my lane, but I find this whole discussion page quite interesting. Anyway I work in the United States Army and have had associations with WHINSEC and I can tell you the image of the crest displayed here, is the patch worn by WHINSEC instructors and personnel at Ft. Benning. I know it doesn't appear on their website, because that is not important for them to advertise. However, if you google search "WHINSEC patch ACU", you will see the top five hits return as various commercial forms of the crest depicted here. It is being sold to personnel and instructors at the school for wear on the left shoulder of their uniform, where Army units typically display their "unit identification badge". I assure you it is quite real. I am not sure if this is considered a verifiable source, all I am saying is that the crest is in fact the symbol for the Institute and thus, you should find a way to include it in your page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:25, 19 July 2012 (UTC)

Adds from Italian WikiEdit

I added some information that were missing, by translating from Italian Wiki[1]. I think that if on that version the information are not considered violation of POV, they arent as well on the English one. I am still working on it anyway.--Desyman44 (talk) 17:52, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

New PhotoEdit

I have a photo of what SOA looks like now (hotel) if that might add to the page?--Abarratt (talk) 17:31, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Why not? in my opinion it's all right, but specify that that is the OLD location, not the current! On italian wiki there's this pic from commons:   - is that one or a new one?--Desyman44 (talk) 17:47, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

adds on Japanese wikiEdit

Please edit it, anyone who can speak Japanese :)-- (talk) 06:36, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

Posada CarrilesEdit

I added a picture of Posada Carriles at the time of his education in Fort Benning. at the time the school was in Panama, but Fort Benning is the actual location of the academy. That's why I chenged in the beginning my own edit from "in the school" to "here", of course referring to Fort Benning. --Desyman44 (talk) 13:43, 21 April 2008 (UTC)

I don't think Posada Carriles went there. In Joan Didion's book "Miami", she discusses that several Cuban exiles went to military training in the US prior to or concurrent with the formation of the exile action groups Alpha 66 and Omega 7. But it wasn't SOA, and actually (according to Didion) the exiles saw the training as a sort of run-around by JFK to keep them occupied without actually committing to a full-scale invasion (that is, a second attempt of the Bay of Pigs). After becoming disenchanted with JFK's plan to train them, they stopped their training and returned to Miami and apparently it was really touchy for JFK at the time and he pleaded with them to stay or something (he was desperate to keep them convinced that a second invasion attempt was underway, when in fact he didn't want to do that). (talk) 19:26, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

He and Jorge Mas Canosa attended Fort Benning but not SOA. (talk) 04:01, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

I have removed the picture of Posada. Over 200 Brigade 2506 veterans attended a 1000-hour "Special Officer Training Program" specifically set up for them at the US Army Infantry School in 1963. The documentation was included in Posada's 2011 court files and can be found here: Documents on Posada Carriles' military record on the blog Along the Malecón on Cuban-US issues. No reference anywhere to the SOA. --Hvd69 (talk) 11:40, 1 May 2014 (UTC)

Introduction, NPOVs and sourcesEdit

Ultramarine made an edit to introduction [2], claiming there is a NPOV, without stating which one, since all information has source, they are not dissimilar to other wiki versions, they tell neutrally facts.

It now looks like this:

This is denied by the WHINSEC and supporters who argue that the alleged connection is often weak, such as taking a single course on Radio Operations and human rights violations many years later. The education now emphasizes democracy and human rights. [6][7][8]

Since: 1. Saying the connection is "often weack" can be considered a NPOV, since the only provided case of weak connection is the one of Roberto D'Aubuisson. I doubt, anyway, that this can be considered a "weack connection", since he actually was fully graduated there - independently from the specialization course he attended - as all of the "Notorious graduates", and not a sporadic contact. The fact that years passed from his graduation, I dont think can be brought as justification. Graduation is not like milk, that then you throw away. One remains a graduate till he dies...or have I to repeat my study in 10 years to have it confirmed???

2. "such as taking a single course on Radio Operations" is given as a general statement, while it does correspond just to D'Aubuisson. This is, anyway, explained later on, in the "according to SOA Watch" section, where this information seems more appropriate since states who is the person in the case.

3. That "The education now emphasizes democracy and human rights" is given as stated, while this is only wht DIRECT SOURCES, that should be avoided but here are widley used, do say. Sources, in fact, are: the official website (6), an article quoting the school's officials (7), another article where I dont find traces of the words "human rights" or "democracy", but rather talks about the case of D'Abuisson (8). "Emphasize", in fact, seems not neutral, but rather a personal consideration. More neutral would be stating the fact, more reliable, that 8 hours of Human rights and democracy education has been introduced in curricula, or at least write that the "emphasizing" is in supporters'/officials' words.

Then I suggest to: - restore the previous version;

-in alternative, to find a compromise such as: This is denied by the WHINSEC and supporters who argue that the education now emphasizes democracy and human rights and that the connection with the school is in some cases weak. --Desyman44 (talk) 16:18, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

If you look at the actual courses taken by these persons if is usually in things like logistics, tank warfare and so on. Only a few took courses in the intelligence and counter-intelligence which allegedly mentioned some torture techniques in intelligence manuals. If you insist, I can state exactly which courses those persons mentioned in the intro, and other places, took. 8 hours of human rights eduction is the minimum per course.Ultramarine (talk) 16:24, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
I know it's the minimum. If u prefer, it can be written explicitly that "a minimum of 8 hours of human rights and democracy education has been introduced in curricula", even if it's already written several times later on. The "emphasizing" still remains not neutral if not stated that is a consideration by somebody. Or writing the pure fact that min. 8 hours have been introduced, or that the consideration that it "emphasizes" comes from DIRECT SOURCES (that should be avoided as often partial).
Adding all the courses taken can be a good idea for the scheme in the bottom, that needs to be filled, according to SOA Watch, eventually also with the main crimes those people are accused of. But seems not proper in the introduction nor in the text of the article, since will make it less flowing.
the use of the "often weak" remains non neutral, since I dont think that the type of course does mean a stronger or weaker connection, since we dont know, besides the tytle of the course, what exactly they were thought or which manuals they actually read. It can be stated connection is sometimes weak, but "often" it's a word I'd avoid.
The "such as..." part does apply only to one person, so it's not properly written. Better avoid the "such as" and just say in some cases ("some" doesnt nor say "many" or "a few", so fits better and is more neutral) the connection is weak. Then you can specify all the courses later on. I thik this can be a good compromise, hm?

--Desyman44 (talk) 16:52, 22 April 2008 (UTC)

We know that the criticized manuals were used in Intelligence courses. That seems to be the only concrete allegations regarding teaching material or other material teached. No evidence that every course included teaching human rights violations. I disagree that it is necessary to mention specific persons in the intro. The intro in your version is biased against one side. Another suggestion for solving this would be to restore the prior intro which was not biased against either side.Ultramarine (talk) 17:05, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
I dont see why u see it biased against one side. I put a specific, relevant and sourced information, not a POV, that is in nobody's interest to hide, unless that person is a Carriles supporter! The part about answers to critics was present, I never deleted it. Some of your expressions, on the other side, such as "very weak" or "emphasizes" seems not neutral as to try to understimate the responsibilities. I will split my points it in parts, please answer me to each, so discussion is easier:
1."often weak" is not really neutral, I'd avoid "often" and put some more neutral word such as "sometimes weak" or "not often strong"...etc.
How about "at least sometimes weak"
2."The education now emphasizes democracy and human rights." is a quotation from school's officers[3]. Or you report it, as it is in the article you put as a source (School's Officers claim that...) or you just tell the fact that min. of 8h education in human rights has been introduced in curricola.
More correct "According to the WHINSEC, now there is a minimum of eight to forty hours of human rights eduction per course depending on its length.[4]."Ultramarine (talk) 09:53, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
3.If, as you stated, the evidences are not enough to know whether the manuals were used in other courses or not and, I would add, since we dont know if there have been other manuals or if the teaching has also been without manuals explicitly teaching "human rights violation", using the case of one person (itself, anyway, not clear) in order to state it is the case of many ("such as...") is implicitly a contraddiction. I do not say not to write it, and I agree with you mentioning a specific person in intro is not the best solution. That's why i would avoid talking about him without telling his name (it's not really encyclopedic) and state that is argued that sometimes connection is weak/not often strong. Then the topic will be developed in details in the appropriate section.
But you are describing specific individuals in the intro. We do not know if the SOA teached those individuals anything corrupting or was in any way responsible for later human rights violations. Since this is unknown such controversial allegations should not be in the intro. I still think the earlier shorter version was NPOV. It did not mention any individuals exactly because there is no evidence for any role of the SOA except for those taking Intelligence courses. If you accuse specific individuals, it should be those who took Intelligence courses.Ultramarine (talk) 10:08, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
Also, according to the SOA "The School of the Americas taught military education courses as they were taught in U. S. Armed Forces institutions -- the School translated the courses, lessons plans and all, into Spanish."Ultramarine (talk) 10:11, 23 April 2008 (UTC)
4.You wrote that WHISC and supporters say connection between SOA and terrorists is often weak, but I can only see that WHISC reject accuses to CURRENT practices, while about SOA just says it belongs to past and that now there's human rights education. The defence of SOA through the "very weak connections" are stated only by supporters (the Paul Mulshine you quoted), not by WHISC and, anyway, they regard just D'Aubuisson: another reason why I'd avoid the "such as...". Let me know if you have information that state it differently--Desyman44 (talk) 18:32, 22 April 2008 (UTC)
Yes, Mulshine only mentions D'Aubuisson but it is quite clear that he argues that many of the other individuals linked to the school are so on similar weak grounds. Again, I think this whole problem could be avoided but not mentioning any individuals in the intro.Ultramarine (talk) 10:08, 23 April 2008 (UTC)

My observations on the discussion above. There can be no disputing a fact about whether or not a soldier attended training at an American school nor what courses he/she attended. It is documented and cannot be denied. The second fact that cannot be disputed is that, for those soldiers who have been convicted of the crimes, the record is clear and undeniable. As an academian myself, I can't wrap my brain around the concept that completion of an American training course is the undeniable cause for the crimes that these soldiers committed. Where is the verifiable proof? I would march on Washington if I had something like that but, I'm sorry, there isn't anything posted on this page that removes the doubt. Statements from those convicted that said the training they received in the US made them do it, or perhaps a US or International instructor who made an official statement that they told them to commit these crimes would be the only way I could see that we would know for sure. The more I read the postings here, the more frustrated I am becoming with information posted based on assumptions or conjectures without any verifiable documents. This looks to be more a debating page on the topic than an encyclopedia page, which is what it is intended to be. How about contributors stick to the facts we can put about WHINSEC here. Perhaps there should be a USARSA page or a US Military Training page that would be titles that are more all-encompassing for the info posted here that doesn't apply to WHINSEC. 56CommonSense (talk) 21:32, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

I wanted to learn more about the training manuals posting on the page and the oversight committee report mentioned. When I followed the link, it took me to a page on the SOAW website that talked about the event and had some quotes from the briefing/report but did not contain any citation and/or link to the report or a link to where they got the information in their article from. How am I supposed to know what is the truth without a verifiable source? I teach some online courses and I crush my students when they do not cite their work. Wikipedia is trying to improve the quality of the information on its pages so that more schools, Universities and such will recommend it as a reference. It is irresponsible citations such as #16 that contribute to reader's perceptions that the information on Wikipedia pages is not reliable. Contributors please, only provide real citations/references to the true sources of information, otherwise it is unusable. Until that link is fixed or replaced, it should remain disconnected. 56CommonSense (talk) 22:03, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Let's say the school does train soldiers in rendition type techniques (and I'm not asserting that, only that there are legitimate reasons to question). Does anybody really think the school would supply training manuals that cover "interrogation procedures when all else fails" to the public upon request, or list courses such as "Torture 101" on their website? Transparency has never been our strongsuit. Just sayin'. Lulu de St. Etienne (talk) 18:21, 26 August 2012 (UTC)

To respond to this last paragraph when WHINSEC was created it was by design that no interroigation techniques of any kind be taught at the school. Lessons learned from the past dictated that this fact be closely monitored and that the school be as open and transparent as possible so there were no doubts. Becoming an advisor to the school starting shortly after their opening I was part of the discussions, which took up a significant percentage of the work of the Board Of Visitors (The oversight board)concerning ways the school could allow close inspection of its activities. Of course this didn't stop constant demands for congressional investigations into the school by those who fear that there were deranged warmongers hiding behind every door waiting to teach torture and human rights violations. The school teaches leadership skills and the classes are in many cases idential to those offered to our armed forces, only in Spanish. Having served 27ys in the military both as enlisted and as an officer I can tell you that absolutely none of my classes taught me torture techniques. So tell me lulu do you think that WHINSEC is the only possible place and means that such techniques could be taught? (talk) 14:44, 7 December 2012 (UTC)

Pov tagEdit

I have removed the POV tag since the user who added it, even after I invited him/her to leave a comment on this talk page, did not explained why and what his/her proposal were, therefore only adding the template without allowing any possible resolution of the dispute as no dispute actually started.--Desyman44 (talk) 19:31, 15 March 2010 (UTC)

So the introduction is not open to any changes? The instuctions plainly state that wikipedia entries are supposed to be impartial and not defaming. Why is the opening statement that WHINSEC is equivalent to SOA when in fact the two schools are nothing like each other? Granted SOA trained Central and South American soldiers, police, and civil authority and WHINSEC teaches the same catagory. And yes I can see where it would be logical to link WHINSEC to the SOA article and state the connection. But why is this article about WHINSEC almost totally filled with accusations against SOA as if it were things that WHINSEC are presently doing. They are two different schools. If there are accusations against WHINSEC and their it documentation then fine. But to repeatedly over and over again talk about SOA activities like they are WHINSEC activites is dishonest and defaming. This article so extremely biased and does not reflect the wonderful work WHINSEC is doing today. I am asking that all materials regarding SOA and their former activities be moved to the SOA article and that WHINSEC be given an opportunity to post what they are presently doing at the school. I investigated the school for over eight years. I traveled to the school and interviewed teachers, students, and administration asking the hard questions. I find it rather insulting to have materials I put on here dismissed and deleted saying I have no documentaion. I am that documentation having researched it. While other organizations are given credibility when they are simply repeating accusations. In investigation SOA I was told that while there was inappropriate materials given to the student that is was by accident and part of a reading list of materials that were not vetted before including them. I was told that they were never used as text books and never taught from. If that is not true than if that accusation is to be made surely after over 61000 students attended the school some former student somewhere can be found to say: I was taught this at the school. I read all kinds of accusations but I never read about any eye witnesses to it. Are there such witnesses out there willing to say it was done? I have never heard of any and would gladly accept such information as part of my research. So what we have is organization like SOA Watch and Amnesty International which quotes themselves in their accusations and because its repeated enough times its accepted as documentation. Did anyone stop to consider why so many congressional inquiries were completed and nobody was cited or prosecuted for any wrong doing? So what happened? Were all of them corrupt and all of the investigations biased and all of their outcomes rigged? And do you want to know why I spend so much time personally on this issue? Its because when I talk to people like SOA Watch and get letters back from those sitting in jail who were arrested when presented with the facts their reply shows they don't really care if what I tell them is true or not. That's right and I quote: "Even if what you say is true we simply don't want the US military training anyone." So its not about ending human rights abuse and stopping torture thinking the WHINSEC is promoting and teaching such things. Its about a dislike for the US military and any information used no matter how biased, defaming or just plain wrong is properly used for the cause. WHINSEC is in fact actively helping to prevent torture and human rights abuses. Their program on human rights protections is being taught to every student and instructors are returning to their countries and teaching it to their military, police, and administration. Democracy, the type we have where people can speak their minds and protest is being taught as a valuable move forward in the progress of a nation. I spend so much time on this subject because if the school were to be closed I truly believe it would be a blow to human rights protections and people would be tortured, hurt, and killed who would otherwise have been spared such a fate. Rev. Kent Svendsen Advisor WHINSEC 2000-2004 Board Of Vistors member 2004-2008 peace and justice advocate and retired Army Chaplain. —Preceding unsigned comment added by ChaplainSvendsen (talkcontribs) 19:47, 4 December 2010 (UTC)
"Between 1946 and 2001, the SOA trained more than 61,000 Latin American soldiers and policemen. Some of them became notorious for human rights violations, including generals Leopoldo Galtieri, Efraín Ríos Montt and Manuel Noriega, dictators such as Bolivia's Hugo Banzer, some of Augusto Pinochet's officers,[1][2] members of the Atlacatl Battalion of El Salvador who carried out the El Mozote massacre of 1981, and the founders of Los Zetas, a drug cartel formerly affiliated with the Gulf Cartel.[3][4]"
This material needs to be deleted. First because it certianly is not neutral and secondly because of its lack of fairness. This statement is equivalent to blaming the high school somebody graduated from for causing somebody to become a thief and a murder. Where is the cause and effect? Also why is this on the WHINSEC article. While some people think WHINSEC is exactly the same school as SOA many other know it is not the same school. There are many significant differences between the two. What this article should contain if referring to SOA is the many changes the new school made to change. i.e. The many ways the school worked to become more "transparent" in what it did and how it did it. The development of new programs such as the "Shoot Don't Shoot" training and especially its development of the human rights training program. In the past I've attempted to put things like this in the article only to have it removed without reason. Everything I listed can be found on the website.
The other real problem this article has with neutrality is its massive use of quoted from SOA Watch which often colors to truth to the point that its unrecognizable. And also you don't want original research, so then lets say I have a number of documents that are good references to prove verifiability. How do I use those references. You seem to accept whatever SOA Watch says regardless of what proof of verifiability they have just because one of their writers says it. So if I create an organization called WHINSEC report and have people write things about the school would you accept them as a means to verify the information? — Preceding unsigned comment added by ChaplainSvendsen (talkcontribs) 03:33, 17 December 2010 (UTC)
Chaplain Svendsen, please see WP:COI, as you appear to have one in relation to this article.  Redthoreau -- (talk) 15:57, 7 January 2011 (UTC)
As per WP:COI, and the antagonistic attitude (and lack of real counterargument) on the part of ChaplainSvendsen, I'm re-adding that content. It's fair, accurate, and cited content. And the reason for deletion of other content that he complains about being deleted, is that the article was previously highly POV in favor of the school, as discussed elsewhere on this talk page. Notions that the school has really changed, except in name, are generally absurd. The new "human rights" courses are nothing but a whitewash. Members of the Honduran Miliary were seen there recently, even *immediately after* their participation in a coup that ousted democratically-elected leader Manuel Zelaya. (talk) 04:06, 24 December 2011 (UTC)

"Notions that the school has really changed, except in name, are generally absurd". And you know this how? I became an advisor to the shool around a year after it opened and worked with them for eight years. What is your point of reference as to what was and was not taught at the school. I reviewed each year the curriculum that was being taught and interviewed both students as well as teachers. I was there to help them through the process of the translation of everything into English so it could be reviewed and closely scrutinized for any objectionable materials with the goal of being more transparent. I met with the creators and was part of the oversight for the develpment and implementation of the Human Right Protection training program. I was there to see the development of the anti drug enforcement training with its strong element of protecting innocent civilians and protecting the environment when assaulting and shutting down drug labs. I walked the site and instructors explained the training to the advisors and board members. I was there for the implementation of the "Shoot Don't Shoot" training program designed to encourage police and military to assess a situation involving armed conflict and criminal activity and making sure innocent civilians or criminals about to surrender are protected and the use of armed violence is not the first option considered. I tried to include these things in the article and much more and it was repeatedly removed while accusations unproven to be connected to anything the school taught where repeatedly included. If a graduate from the school committed a criminal action / human rights violating action which book used at the school taught them that and which class or instructor was the source of that learning. I can tell you most emphatically that in the eight years I worked with the school that there were some huge changes taking place in the school and the work that they did. The most profound of which was not only the inclusion of human rights materials and training but an emphasis in which it became the foundation upon which everything else was taught. Chaplain Kent ( (talk) 22:27, 16 November 2012 (UTC))

I just read this last posting above. Again, looking to be objective and stick to verifiable facts, I am bothered by this statement as a reason to post something here "Notions that the school has really changed, except in name, are generally absurd. The new "human rights" courses are nothing but a whitewash." I would like to know what this statement is based on and if there is any verifiable material to back it up. When I read it, it appears to be an opinion statement or a point of view. Has the contributor ever visited the institute or talked with anyone there, US or International? This would be the best way to verify what the human rights courses are like. It appears that WHINSEC regular has members of the IRC and even Human Rights Watch participating in their training, conferences and their "Human Rights Week." What do they say about the human rights training? The other statement "Members of the Honduran Miliary were seen there recently, even *immediately after* their participation in a coup that ousted democratically-elected leader Manuel Zelaya." The history of the Institute and the records of student attendance that are found on their federal advisory committee website (open to the public) shows that Honduras has had students at WHINSEC annually for most of the courses they offer and Honduras also provides some instructors regularly, so I would expect that on any given day, you will find students and/or instructors from Honduras at WHINSEC. So that being the verifiable history of Honduras at WHINSEC (see the SECDEF annual report to congress on the faca website) how does that have any connection with the Honduran Coup? If there is any verifiable evidence that we can use here to show that those Honduran military members that participated in the Coup did so because they were trained or directed to do so because of their attendance to any American school or institute, let's look at it here. If not, then the posting above must be based on opinion and/or assumption and has no place in Wikipedia, according to their policies. Finally, I would again bring to all contributor's attention the fact that the material in question here is about Army training institutes in existence long before WHINSEC was established. I don't understand how it applies to WHINSEC. 56CommonSense (talk) 21:17, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Human Right ViolationsEdit

"The School of the Americas has been criticized concerning the human rights violations performed by a number of its graduates"

I deleted WHINSEC from the sentence because the reference given while it does mention SOA it does not mention WHINSEC. Also the facts do not match this statement. Of the WHINSEC students who have been accused of wrong doing the list is not "numberous" but very small. And of the accused wrong doing of the former students most were for criminal acts other than human rights abuses. Finally if you look at the reference given to verify the information that reference while it does mention SOA it does not mention WHINSEC. ChaplainSvendsen (talk) 03:46, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

I think the motivations you gave are rather "technicalities" and do not seem so persuading to me: I mean the reason why the list is not "numerous" is because the name WHINSEC is relatively recent and there's no dirty war going on anymore in latin america (so it's a consequence of an exogenous factor = historical background). 2 of the sources do not mention WHINSEC because they are older than 2001 (how could they?) while the one from, which is from 2001, actually mentions WHINSEC. Finally, SOA Watch and other HR organizations are still there, still campaigning for WHINSEC closure, that's a proof enough I suppose. No NGO changed attitude the day after SOA turned into WHINSEC. It is therefore misleading to make the reader believe only SOA was criticized and WHINSEC is not, also because critics to WHINSEC as a mere "renaming" for SOA are reported later in the paragraph, so it would result as incoherent for the reader. I would reinstate the deleted part.--Desyman44 (talk) 00:34, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

You said: "there's no dirty war going on anymore in latin america" and that is why there are no accusations of human rights abuse against WHINSEC. That is what you said. So if there had not been any "dirty wars" going on during the time SOA was in existance would that also mean that there would not have been any accusations against SOA? Do you see how faulty that reasoning is. "No NGO changed attitude the day after SOA turned into WHINSEC." Sorry that is not true. You have been believing the misinformation which groups like SOA Watch have been handing out. There was a radical change when SOA was eleminated and WHINSEC was created. And in fact since the beginning WHINSEC has continued to evolve in many positive ways. Examples of this are: "Shoot, Don't Shoot" training. (I actually was allowed to participate in one try of their computer weapons training program.) How to determine if somebody with a weapon is a threat to you or not. So you don't shoot first and ask questions later. Their Anti-Drug Task Force Training. Which includes how to recognize innocent civilians and protect them from harm around remote drug labs. Also how to handle toxic and potentially environmentally hazardous waste on the sites. Finally cooperation between nations so that one country can pass off or receive permission to cross a border to arrest drug traffic offenders. Next The Human rights protection training which became mandatory for all students at WHINSEC. Followed by the "Train the Trainer" program which is producing Human Rights Protection trainers who return to their country to give the training to the nation's military and police forces. The Vetting system which is probably one of the best prevention tools for any soldier hoping to gain higher level ranks. For many graduating from WHINSECs Command And General Staff course (it has since been renamed) is the only way to be promoted to the higher level ranks. For the Central and South American service members its the equivalent of a US soldier graduating from West Point as concerns future career possibilities. Potential students tread very carefully so as to no be accused of human rights abuse and even being a part of a unit with human rights abuse accusations against it can prevent one from being accepted as a student. I could give much much more information. But can you see how WHINSEC is not SOA even though they both train(ed)common leadership courses all of which are also used by our armed forces for US military. (I know all of this because I spent 27 years in the military and have had some of those exact leadership training courses. I also know all of this because as a peace and justice advocate I spent 2000-2008 traveling to the school each year investigating, asking questions of students and teachers, reviewing materials, and serving both as an advisor (2000-2004) and then as a Board Of Visitors member (2004-2008). What I find incredible is that Wikipedia will accept radical groups with a political agenda like SOA Watch which in many ways has little use for the truth as valid references. Then on the other hand refused to allow references from the school itself and individuals like myself who have actual first hand knowledge to be used. All of what I have writtn above at one time or another I posted into the article and it was removed without any discussion or comment. ChaplainSvendsen (talk) 18:48, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

I removed this section for lack of relevance. According to the info posted here, this issue was addressed by DOD in 1996. Manuals were destroyed, removed from inventory in 1991, a decade before WHINSEC was established. WHINSEC never distributed these manuals. Posting here misleads readers that there is a connection. 56CommonSense (talk) 15:28, 6 March 2012 (UTC)

Here's what I find amazing. There are complaints that any reference to SOA are taken from the article and the insistance that accusations and slander concerning the former school (SOA) be included in the article and then when I include information enlightening people about just exactly what did take place back they are removed because there is no "connection". So is there a connection between the former SOA and WHINSEC or not. If not then there should be no reference to SOA in the article and if there is then relevant material explaining just exactly what happened is quite appropriate. So the editors need to decide which way they want it and either include both or exclude both. ( (talk) 21:51, 16 November 2012 (UTC))Chaplain Svendsen

Editorial DisputesEdit

I realize that it states that this is not the place to have a discussion about the article. That is not my purpose here. My purpose is to prevent ongoing battles of people adding things only to have them removed. The guidelines state that any materials which are posted need to be "verifiable" and that the writing be "neutral". So here's my contention. If I read the materials and they appear to be attacking rather than "neutral" then that is a reason to remove or change it. Also, who decides what source is a legitimate source. I do not consider SOA Watch a reliable or truthful source. So unless somebody from Wikipedia can give me a good reason otherwise if the source is SOA Watch I can take that material out because SOA Watch is not a legitimate source. My rationalization for that is simple. If Wikipedia articles are supposed to be "neutral" then I'm assuming that the sources should not be organizations who's only goal in life is to attack, defame, and eleminate the subject. i.e. SOA Watch. Surely there are other sources which can be found to verify the materials.

Next I want to know why the introduction is off limits to editors. The introduction is not neutral and in my educated opinion contains misleading information. I can't edit it, however, because there isn't an option to do that. Also can anyone from Wikipedia explain why WHINSEC should not be allowed to write major portions of this article? If what they write can be proven wrong then of course it should be deleted. What I have a problem with is false and misleading accusations are aimed at the school and written into the article as if they were fact. But on the other hand represenatives from the school arn't allowed to put information about the school and its activities because its not verifiable? So accusations verifiable or not are OK but telling the story about the school is not. How is that fair let alone "neutral". I'm doing this now because I'm planning on posting information about the school and will be very vigilant as to who deletes any of it and challenging it to the editorial board. ChaplainSvendsen (talk) 19:13, 20 December 2010 (UTC)

Whatever.... I didn't enter the fray and make any edits but this is clearly a debatable subject and should be identified as such. Continuing human rights violations in countries such as Honduras and Columbia are being attributed to graduates of the "school of assassins", which underwent merely a change in name at the request of the Pentagon, for PR reasons. SOA Watch is surely not the only group calling for the school's closure. Catholic missionaries returning from the relevant nations can be found protesting in Fort Benning. PBS and RT have done tv segments on its existence. Here is an attempt at an even-handed approach to the controversy and yearly debate over Congressional funding. Most recently, Ecuador withdrew from their agreement with US to allow a US military base in Ecuador in exchange for training of their soldiers. Correa said that the US could have a base when Ecuador could maintain their own base in the U.S. There is a growing anti-US-imperialism sentiment across the globe and resentment over our reserve currency status.

Chaplain, do you also believe there was no waterboarding used at Gitmo and we aren't assassinating US citizens with our drones? You can teach a course on human rights however when you train men to be people killing machines and send them home to work for narcissistic and power-hungry leaders of conflict and poverty ridden nations, while unable to refrain from human rights yourself (refusal to sign Inter-American pact, Bradley Manning, NDAA, Patriot Act, treatment of protesters are more examples), of course abuses will be seen. While your loyalty and patriotism may be lauded in other circumstances, they have resulted in not only a biased, but a seriously incomplete and whitewashed picture of this training facility. Lulu de St. Etienne (talk) 18:03, 26 August 2012 (UTC)

First of all have you ever looked at the school's curriculum. I did and I didn't see one class on "train men to be people killing machines" included. The classwork offered at WHINSEC is roughly equivalent to the non commissioned officer schools and Officer training schools of our armed forces. Its much of the same training that US soldiers receive only in Spanish. And lets look at just one of your accusations that of the "treatment of protesters". Do you know what the school does with protesters? They invite them to get on a bus and come into the school and let them ask questions of a board comprised of students and teachers of the school. Perhaps that is why today the number of protesters at the school has been so greatly reduced because they see for themselves what is being taught. Chaplain Svendsen ( (talk) 22:44, 16 November 2012 (UTC))

Human Rights ViolationsEdit

The following was added to that section. There were also a few minor changes in phrasing.

With the establishment of WHINSEC a new and different school was created which in the years since its creation has created a number of programs in response to the criticisms aimed at the former School Of The Americas. The most obvious of which is their mandatory human rights training which is mandatory for all students. One new policy was a vetting system who's goal was to prevent anyone already accused of human rights abuses from gaining a seat at the school. Another specific attempt to prevent criticism was the complete omission from the classes of the teaching of any type of interrogation techniques and a careful review of all teaching and reference materials.

This material was included as relevant facts concerning the reasons for SOA being closed and the attempt by the military to establish a new and different school. If there is any complaint about references I would like to know exactly what would be a valid reference. I have this information because I spent eight years investigating the school and all of it was presented during the Board Of Visitor meetings over the years. My references include past board members as well as the public relations section of the school. If this is a problem then I would like to see references concering accusations against former graduates that can show a cause and effect between what classes they attended at the school and the accusations of human rights abuse. Additionally quite often all that has to happen is the announcement that an investigation is being started, regardless of whether it had anything to do with human rights abuses or not, and immediately its presented as proof within this article. If this material is deleted because of complaints of verifiability then I will most certianly go in and delete those other references for the very same reason. ChaplainSvendsen (talk) 16:33, 1 January 2011 (UTC)

You consider SOA to be too biased to be used as a reliable source then cite former board members and the PR division of the school as your primary sources? Surely ye jest. It appears as if you have some sort of ties to the school that prevent impartiality. Lulu de St. Etienne (talk) 18:32, 26 August 2012 (UTC)

Human Rights ViolationsEdit

The following was deleted from the article: "U.S. Army Maj. Joe Blair, a former director of instruction at the school, said, "there are no substantive changes besides the name. [...] They teach the identical courses that I taught, and changed the course names and use the same manuals."

The reason for this deletion is that even though it is an accurate statemnt and even though there is reference documentation the posting is disingenuous and misleading and fails the requirement of being neutral. It leaves one with the assumption that nothing was added to the course work. My suggestion is that if this is to be included it needed to be in another section other than human rights violation. Just how is setting up a supply cage or teaching proper preventative maintenance of a vehicle relevant to the subject of human rights violations? The statement in and of itself is correct, but over all misleading. let's take Vehicle Preventative Maintenanc for instance. It's taught in English all over the US military. Its translated into Spanish and is taught at WHINSEC in exactly the same way it was taught in SOA. And? What's the point? The assumption this posting tends to lead people to is that SOA is the same school teaching the same things in the same way without any changes. And that is blatantly false. So if someone what's to restate is in an accurate and neutral way and post it somewhere other than the Human Rigts Violation section I have not objection of having it returned to the article. ChaplainSvendsen (talk) 14:30, 7 January 2011 (UTC)

Lead SectionEdit

Team, As a first time reader of this particular page, I have spent several days reading through the old instructions to become familiar with the history of this page's evolutions. Reading through the comments, I see a wealth of information about WHINSEC and about USARSA-some clearly verifiable (government documents, legislation etc) other information appears to lack credible sources. It is my intent to contribute my expertise to Wikipedia, including this page but before I do, I would like to get some answers to a few items that stand out immediately to me based on my own research. I need to get a sense of the purpose of this page from Wikipedia's view and also the view from those who have contributed and continue to contribute.

My first intention is to submit a Lead Section paragraph to replace the current one

"The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISC or WHINSEC), formerly the United States Army School of the Americas (USARSA or SOA; Spanish: Escuela de las Américas) is a United States Department of Defense educational and training facility at Fort Benning near Columbus, Georgia in the United States. Established by the US government for teaching law enforcement and military techniques to US allies in the rest of the Americas, it has been criticized for training Latin American dictators and their militaries in various techniques to quell dissidence in their countries."
 I hope that I am correct in identifying this as the lead section.  Regardless if that is its title, I believe that, based on Wikipedia's policy-present a "neutral point of view" and "verifiable" this paragraph does not represent a neutral point of view and is missing the verifiable information about WHINSEC (taken from 10 USC 2166) which defines the Purpose of the institute.  I think this is what a reader would expect.  Specifically, my intended changes would address the following points:

Why is there a redirect from an old SOA website to WHINSEC? IAW 10 USC 2166 clearly shows that Congress closed that Army school over a decade ago " (b) REPEAL OF AUTHORITY FOR UNITED STATES ARMY SCHOOL OF THE AMERICAS.-Section 4415 of title 10, United States Code, is repealed." 10 USC 2166 also authorizes the SECDEF to establish a DOD training institute for Western Hemisphere nations (says he "may") "(a) ESTABLISHMENT AND ADMINISTRATION.-(l) The Secretary of Defense may operate an education and training facility for the purpose set forth in subsection (b). The facility shall be known as the 'Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation'. A reader does not have to analyze this legislation here to understand that it was Congress' intent to close USARSA and establish a new DOD training institute to provide the SECDEF the ability to organize a security cooperation training institute as well as to address the concerns of opponents to USARSA, both civilian, governmental and international. If someone desires to read about USARSA, why would they be directed to a page dedicated to WHINSEC? In my opinion, the redirect implies that the WHINSEC page is the new USARSA page but USARSA no longer exists, as verified by the reference I just shared. Solution: Eliminate the redirect because it confuses readers; start a USARSA page so that readers can find USARSA research all in one place; create a section called "Controversy" on the WHINSEC page where information can be input that discusses other views, opinions etc about WHINSEC. Being objective-a review of the current WHINSEC page contains only a paragraph or two of facts about WHINSEC itself. The remainder of the entries are centered on the controversy surrounding USARSA. It is not the lead section that fails to properly describe what is the content on the page, it is the content on the page which does not match its title and provides little information about WHINSEC.

2) Why is the word " formerly" used in the Lead Section: "The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHISC or WHINSEC), formerly the United States Army School of the Americas" The verifiable evidence (US Legislation) which I shared above clearly shows that these are two different institutes. If there is credible evidence that it was Congressional intent to incorporate only a name change for USARSA, then that reference should be cited here, otherwise remove the reference to USARSA.

56CommonSense (talk) 21:43, 28 February 2012 (UTC)

The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), is a United States Department of Defense Institute located at Fort Benning near Columbus, Georgia in the United States. Authorized by US Congress through 10 USC 2166 in 2001,[1] WHINSEC "Provides professional education and training to eligible personnel of nations of the Western Hemisphere within the context of the democratic principles set forth in the Charter of the Organization of American States (such charter being a treaty to which the United States is a party), while fostering mutual knowledge, transparency, confidence, and cooperation among the participating nations and promoting democratic values, respect for human rights, and knowledge and understanding of United States customs and traditions. [2]Throughout the decade since its establishment, WHINSEC has provided training for more than 13,000 US and International students. Its educational format incorporates guest lecturers and subject matter experts from sectors of US and International government, non-government, human rights, law enforcement, academic institutions and interagency departments[3] to share best practices in pursuit of improved security cooperation between all nations of the Western Hemisphere.(WHINSEC Public Website). Additional information is included below concerning WHINSEC's history, curriculum and opponents of US training programs open to Latin American nations. The Lead Section has been updated as posted above in order to provide more clarity on what this page is about; include information that is verifiable and referenced; and ensure a neutral point of view. 56CommonSense (talk) 18:28, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

Page Search CriteriaEdit

In the interest of accuracy and ensuring that searchers find the information that they are looking for, I have taken out/modified the search categories as shown below for the reasons annotated:

Category:Terrorism in the United States-Removed-This page does not have information about any terrorist acts and/or terrorism in the United states unless your opinion/view is that this institute conducts/condones terrorism. Information found on this page should be relevant and verifiable, not subject to opinions.

Category:Human rights abusesRemoved-removal is debatable if we create a neutral section on this page entitled "Opponents of WHINSEC" (example) and the section discusses who the opponents are and why they are opposed to WHINSEC the category may be relevant. I offer this as, in reading what is currently on this page, it looks as though the topic of "human rights abuses" is used quite often and I would have to assume that those who posted that information may repost under the new section.

The debate over this topic that appears throughout this talk section has inspired me to do some reading and make a conclusion about it in the spirit of a new point of view which may allow contributors to come to some agreement on what is relevant to be posted on a page entitled WHINSEC. In analyzing this, I have tried to be as objective and neutral as possible and stick to verifiable facts and information.

The connection between human rights abuses appears to be from students who completed training at USARSA and later committed an act(s) of human rights abuse in their native countries. It also appears that the connection made by those who posted is best described using the legal term "proximate cause." Proximate cause is defined as "a happening which results in an event, particularly injury due to negligence or an intentional wrongful act." In the case of the human rights abuses noted by contributors on this page, it appears from the postings that, in their view, the proximate cause of the human rights abuses was attendance at USARA. I say "in their view" as I do not see any documentation that indisputably verifies that attendance to training courses at USARSA is the proximate cause of criminal acts of trainees.

Verbalizing or writing proximate cause statements that an accuser knows are not true can be considered slander or libel (the utterance of false charges or misrepresentations which defame and damage another's reputation; a false and defamatory oral statement or representation published without just cause and tending to expose another to public contempt).

Fortunately our Supreme Court has recognized that there is a constitutional aspect to slander or libel which is freedom of speech. The Supreme Court has taken the opinion that statements made about a public person or a matter of public concern are not considered slander or libel if the person making the statement does not know whether or not their statement is true (they are protected under the 1st amendment). Without their ruling, freedom of speech in American might be significanly hindered, no to mention freedom of the press. This Supreme Court standard is referred to as “actual malice."

Intervening causes come into play when trying to prove proximate cause. An intervening cause is defined as "A separate act or omission that breaks the direct connection between the defendant's actions and an injury or loss to another person, and may relieve the defendant of liability for the injury or loss." In this case the defendant's action would be his/her attendance to USARSA. It appears as though most of the violations occurred after attending training courses at USARSA. Considering what intervening causes are possible in this scenario, I have come up with a list including: Coercion by peers, or superiors; obligation to follow orders of superiors; threat of physical harm; provocation; misinformation; traumatic stress syndrom; mental illness; a skewed moral framework or set of values; personal experiences growing up etc. When developing this list, I tried to think about "what causes people to harm or kill others." I am certain there are many more possibilities. My conclusion would be that any of these intervening causes as well as others i am not aware of could have caused these people to commit these acts. My other conclusion is that we will likely never know exactly why they did it. In other words "would these people have committed these acts of violence if they had not attended training at USARSA." Considering the testimony presented on this page about the murders in El Salvador for example, it appears to me that it is very likely that these atrocities would have happened anyway, as the testimony and truth commission findings seem to show that these soldiers were ordered to do so. The only connection to USARSA that appears there is there attendance to training course(s).

So, what is my point? Without some verifiable proof of proximate cause in the human rights violations posted on this page, one would have to make an assumption about the proximate cause of the violations. The assumption could not be neutral but would find USARSA responsible or not responsible. Therefore, we, as contributors, should be critical of posting information that is not verifiable and requires a non-neutral assumption to be made. This is not in accordance with Wikipedia policies or the spirit of presenting neutral information for readers.

Category:Salvadoran Civil WarRemoved, occured before the establishment of WHINSEC; not connected Category:Operation Condor Removed, occured before the establishment of WHINSEC; not connected ca:Escola de les Amèriques fr:École militaire des Amériques Removed, this page is about WHINSEC not another institution pt:Escola das Américas Removed, this page is about WHINSEC not another institution Human rights in latin america Category:Human rights training in the Western HemisphereModified-formerly "human rights violations". New category is more consistent and representative of WHINSEC 56CommonSense (talk) 18:10, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

Lots of long winded, "if you didn't see it happen it didn't" yap in these various sections to base the gutting of an article. As long as School of America's redirects to this page, this is where SOA info needs to go. If you want to WRITE ANOTHER PAGE FOR SOA, that's fine, however you violated Wikipedia guidelines by removing information directly linked under the name, excusing it as "not relevant". Really? Not relevant but it directs to this page?

If you don't like the two being together, you can write a separate page for SOA. Until then, You are Wrong To Remove SOA information from this page, as THIS PAGE IS THE LINK FOR SOA, and DEFACING INFORMATION IS ALSO AGAINST WIKIPEDIA. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 18:35, 24 November 2012 (UTC)


I think its appropriate that we have a section "background" where we can put additional information about WHINSEC that is not part of the lead section but does not fit into the History section. I will place the text here initially. 56CommonSense (talk) 21:01, 3 March 2012 (UTC)


"In 1946, in the early days of the Cold War, the Latin American Training Center – U.S. Ground Forces[5] was established in the Atlantic sector of the Panama Canal Zone, in the US army base of Fort Amador.[6] During 1949 it was expanded and became the U.S. Army Caribbean Training Center, seated into a former hospital building on the grounds of Fort Gulick[7] (now housing the Melia Hotel).[8] It was once again expanded and renamed the U.S. Army School of the Americas in 1963. It relocated to Fort Benning in 1984, following the signing of the Panama Canal Treaty.[9] More than 61,000 military personnel attended these United States Army schools.[5] According to WHINSEC's web page, "the School of the Americas taught military education courses as they were taught in U.S. Armed Forces institutions—the School translated the courses, lessons plans and all, into Spanish. Beginning in 1963, and evolving as the region changed, SOA taught, at various times, professional military education and training courses to officers and non-commissioned officers in the areas of: professional leadership (Command and General Staff course, Military Police courses, Infantry Officers Basic course, Artillery Officers course and a Cadet Orientation course); infantry weapons (Mortar Officer course); technical support (Engineer Basic and Officer courses, Radio Operators course, Small Caliber Repair course, Wheeled Vehicle Maintenance course and Medical Assistance courses); counter-insurgency (Internal Defense and Development course, Military Intelligence course, Military Police course), introduced during 1963; and specialized leadership and skills (Ranger course, Air Mobile course, Jungle Operations course, Patrolling course, Parachute Rigging course, Basic Airborne course, Pathfinder and Jumpmaster courses)."[5"

Since this section is on the WHINSEC page, we should provide information on the history of WHINSEC. The institute has been around for a decade, there has to be some good information about it during that time. The information above doesn't talk about WHINSEC at all and I find myself increasingly frustrated with the lack of WHINSEC information on this page. I am working on updating the history section to tell the readers something about WHINSEC's history, not USARSA history, which apparently ended in 2000.56CommonSense (talk) 22:18, 3 March 2012 (UTC)

As stated above, I am editing the History section to eliminate confusion for readers. Information here should focus on WHINSEC's history, not USARSA history. USARSA history information is appropriate for its own page but does not fit here. I will try to synthesize the opponent point of view here as it relates to WHINSEC and leave opponents to USARSA to find a more appropriate page to post this information. 56CommonSense (talk) 16:10, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Is the consensus that a separate article is needed to describe the School of the Americas from 1946 to 2000? Is it ok for that single article to cover the evolution of SoA over those years as per the first paragraph in this History discussion or does each variation deserve its own article? donbock (talk) 21:46, 11 October 2012 (UTC)

All this is is great info on WHISEC, but I want info on The SOA, whose link comes here. Can I get that information, please?~~ — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:51, 13 November 2012 (UTC)


Was updated to 2012 to add recent announcement by Correa of Ecuador that he would be pulling all troops from WHINSEC citing reasons of human rights violations. The link used came from SOA Watch, sorry Reverend, but their reporting was the most complete I found on the topic. My statement was confirmed by actual statement by Correa which SOA Watch provided, albeit in Spanish. (Not fluent but knowledge of French is enough to get the gist.) Whether the school taught violations or not, it's indisputable Correa is making the correlation, which is what I wrote. Lulu de St. Etienne (talk) 18:51, 26 August 2012 (UTC)


It seems to have escaped notice that the history of WHISC as School of the Americas has been whitewashed out of this article: the lead doesn't even mention the old name! This despite the fact that it is widely agreed that it was little more than a cosmetic change, and that School of the Americas redirects here. This needs to be fixed. Rd232 talk 15:55, 22 October 2012 (UTC)

Facing guns with poetryEdit

My effort to make an addition to Further Readings failed. This Wikipedia topic is incomplete without a link to the following poem: "Memorial for Antonio Maria Barrera" - which is posted upon the Internet at the following url: "". United Methodist Church clergyman, Rev. Jack Day, joined others in the annual School of the Americas protest march in November 1998. When he got home he began the creation of a poem. Composed in English, this writer suggested the stanzas be translated into Spanish, and the poem published in both languages. Jack credits two translators for their help. Please go read this remarkable American poem. -- signed Edward Chilton. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:46, 22 January 2013 (UTC)


I've read every article posted in the past, and it seems to me that they are all generally unfounded and bias in support of closing the Institute. Not once did I see an official article, newsletter or even mentioned the folks at that place. As if this was the platform to carry on with the promotional material in the benefit of a particular cause - may I say, close the school? Well, the school is closed.

I don't deny the fact that IF you want to include history into the page, you should. But then start from where the Institution was founded BY LAW - 2001.

So, I looked into the official pages and posted what I found. If you would like to contribute with a piece that states something like: Opposition to WHINSEC - then by all means. But let’s stick to the facts and not forget intellectual verifiability

Comments as those made in the past in this page by certain individuals are considered under Wikipedia policy as libelous, and must be deleted.

Verba et FactaEDJO97

Can we stay on SubjectEdit

I've read every article posted in the past, and it seems to me that they are all generally unfounded and bias in support of closing the Institute. Not once did I see an official article, newsletter or even mentioned the folks at that place. As if this was the platform to carry on with the promotional material in the benefit of a particular cause - may I say, close the school? Well, the school is closed.

I don't deny the fact that IF you want to include history into the page, you should. But then start from where the Institution was founded BY LAW -

So, I looked into the official pages and posted what I found. If you would like to contribute with a piece that states something like: Opposition to WHINSEC - then by all means. But let's stick to the facts and not forget intellectual verifiability

Comments as those made in the past in this page by certain individuals are considered under Wikipedia policy libelous, and must be deleted. — Preceding unsigned comment added by EDJO97 (talkcontribs) 16:30, 6 May 2013 (UTC)


Stumink made this edit, twice, and I reverted both times for the following reason: the current text is sourced. The edited text,

The focus later changed to fighting 'terrorists'".

is not corroborated by the source, which describes only how the terminology used by WHINSEC-trained troops changed, not any actual shift in policy wrt. which groups where targeted, and the edited text does seem to imply such a change. QVVERTYVS (hm?) 11:41, 17 April 2014 (UTC)

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Saddam HusseinEdit


please excuse me if I'm asking a stupid question, but is there a source proving that Saddam Hussein was at the school? During my studies I invested some time in the life of Saddam Hussein and this seems rather unlikely to me. He was a long time guerilla warrior against al-Kazim before the second coup d'Etat of the Baath Party brought him into gouvernement office. I think he was never actually in the military and Iraq wasn't considered an US-Ally at the time, this was rather the British influence zone.Tortososs (talk) 23:20, 12 July 2017 (UTC)

Yeah, this was vandalism. Removed.TheTimesAreAChanging (talk) 02:02, 14 July 2017 (UTC)

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No historyEdit

Why is there no explanation of where this institute came from or when it began? It's vague.

Makes you want to believe the cynics who say anything negative gets removed. (talk) 13:00, 13 January 2019 (UTC)

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