Our Very Own School of the Americas


Readers will know of the infamous School of the Americas, located at Fort Benning, Columbus, Georgia, which trains ‘security’ personnel from many countries in methods of repression, and whose graduates have been linked to widespread human rights abuses in Latin America.  Every year the SOA (now renamed Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, an Orwellian title if ever there was one) has been the focus of mass protest by American citizens.  Last November ten people ‘crossed the line’, drawn to designate when a trespass occurs, and have begun serving sentences of one to three months.  Every year there are large demonstrations outside the gates, and every year there are arrests, though long prison terms of up to six months are now being imposed.


Well, there are plans to build our very own terrorist training school in Wales, the St Athan’s Military Academy, near Cardiff.  An article in Morning Star (28/4/’08) described New Labour’s plans to spend £14 billion on building ‘a privatised military base to train the latest recruits to the ‘war on terror’’.  ‘Courses are being designed to train any soldiers, sailor or air force or private ‘security service’ personnel who are willing to pay.’ 

Welsh CND spokesperson Jill Evans expressed particular concern that those preparing to initiate and participate in nuclear warfare would be trained to do so in ‘our nuclear-free Wales’.


This enterprise sounds too awful to be true, but there is no doubt about the plans to open the St Athan Defence Academy fully by 2013.