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SOA WATCH: letter from prison



---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: SOA Watch <info@soaw.org>
Date: Sat, Dec 25, 2010 at 10:41 AM
Subject: letter from prison
To: david.chirot@gmail.com


Dear David-baptiste,
Hope this email finds you well. We just received the letter below from prison from Father Louis Vitale. Fr. Louis was arrested together with David Omondi, Nancy Smith and Chris Spicer by the Fort Benning military police during the November Vigil when they carried the call to close the SOA onto the military base. Father Louis and David were sentenced immediately to six months in federal prison. Nancy and Chris are currently preparing for their federal trials on January 5, 2011. They will use the courtroom to put the SOA itself on trial. Several others are also still facing charges after having been arrested by the Columbus police following the rally on November 20, 2010. Support the SOA Watch Legal Defense Fund with a contribution today. You'll find addresses to write to the prisoners below.


Letter from Father Louis Vitale, SOA Watch Prisoner of Conscience:

Two weeks have passed since David Omondi and I began our sojourn here at Irwin County Detention Center in southern Georgia. Some may say, "Vitale has protested himself back into the pokey below the Mason-Dixon line" and "He has been jailed again in an effort to bring peace and social justice." SF Chronicle 11/28

LouieMany ask, "Why do you keep doing this?" We try to respond: "Because the oppression goes on and our nation is a major participant in that oppression of the poor and of all creation." Specifically this manifestation of mourning focuses on the School of the Americas (WHINSEC) at Ft. Benning, Georgia, where U.S. military have taught counter-insurgency techniques, including torture and disappearance, to Latin American military. It still goes on, as recently observed with the outrageous coup in Honduras carried out by graduates of the School of the Americas. In fact, our involvement in oppressive militarism extends throughout the world!

But why so many times at Ft. Benning (my fourth arrest and incarceration, and so far from my home base)? The School of the Americas is an icon of our intrusion into developing countries over many years and the source of horrific massacres including religious leaders and thousands of peasants. Also Ft. Benning is a major military base feeding vast numbers into the war machine. Thousands gather annually to mourn the victims and to call for an end to our war machine that continues to grow into more bases, nuclear weapons manufacturing facilities, even into space war (and the new X-37B militarized version of the space shuttle).

Are we ready to declare peace and act in its presence? Let's call - with all our energy - for nonviolent solutions now, transforming many peoples' lives and our world. Our work is cut out for us as we must be vigilant and active with nonviolent resistance. May we move towards peace in the new year.

[Louie, serving a 6 month sentence for trespass at Ft. Benning, was moved from the Irwin County Detention Center on December 15, and is currently in transit. We will let you know as soon as he reaches his final destination.]


Write the the Prisoners of Conscience

To write to Louis, please direct correspondence to: Fr. Louis Vitale, c/o The Nuclear Resister, P.O. Box 43383, Tucson, AZ 85733

To write to Michael David Omondi, also sentenced to six months for trespass at Ft. Benning, please direct your correspondence to: David Omondi, c/o The Los Angeles Catholic Worker, 632 N. Brittania St., Los Angeles, CA 90033


If you'd like to make a tax-deductible donation of $100 or more, please write a check to "SOA Watch Educational Fund" and mail it to: SOA Watch, PO Box 4566, Washington, DC 20017.
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