Miller & McIntyre Vote Against HR 1707; the Pentagon Continue To Train Future Latin American Death Squads

Last night Brad Miller and Mike McIntyre assisted in the defeat of HR 1707, the Latin America Military Training Review Act. This bill would have cut funding to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, or WHINSEC (p.k.a. the School of the Americas), a Pentagon-run training facility at Fort Benning in Georgia that teaches torture techniques to Latin American military officers. Many of WHINSEC's graduates include such luminaries as Manuel Noriega and Roberto Viola.

Reps. Miller and McIntyre: why did you vote to train the future leaders of juntas and death squads? Why do you wish to perpetuate flagrant human rights violations? You've got some explaining to do.

(For the record, Rep. Coble voted "Y" on HR 1707.)


Where did you get this information?

I was shocked to see that "my congressman, Howard Coble" voted for something I think I would support (haven't read the entire bill), and that Brad Miller, on whom I can count to be my representative, even though I'm not in his district, voted against it.

But - according to this, HR 1707 was referred to the House Committee on Armed Services on March 27, 2007, and hasn't had any other action. McIntyre is a member of the committee, but neither Coble nor Miller are.

Were you looking at a different bill?

It wasn't HR 1707,

it was Amendment #378 for HR 2764 Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act 2008. The Amendment reads:

An amendment to prohibit use of funds for programs at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation located at Fort Benning, Georgia.

Totals & Party Breakdown
Total Democrat Republican Independent
Ayes: 203 (46%) 180 23 0
Nays: 214 (49%) 42 172 0
Present: 1 (0%) 1 0 0
No Vote: 19 (4%) 12 6 0

North Carolina
Aye NC-1 Butterfield, George [D]
Aye NC-2 Etheridge, Bob [D]
Nay NC-3 Jones, Walter [R]
Aye NC-4 Price, David [D]
Nay NC-5 Foxx, Virginia [R]
Aye NC-6 Coble, Howard [R]
Nay NC-7 McIntyre, Mike [D]
Nay NC-8 Hayes, Robin [R]
Nay NC-9 Myrick, Sue [R]
Nay NC-10 Mchenry, Patrick [R]
Aye NC-11 Shuler, Heath [D]
Aye NC-12 Watt, Melvin [D]
Nay NC-13 Miller, R. [D]

There must be something we're missing here. Didn't Brad co-sponsor legislation last year to cut off funding for SOA?

Two things to note:

HR 1707 carries quite a bit of clout, and could (if passed) spell doom for the school. If funding were cut off from State, it could effectively quash debate on 1707 in Committee, and funds could be diverted from other sources to continue the school's operations. Kind of a stretch, but my mind works like that.

The second thing is from HR 2764 as passed:

For necessary expenses to carry out the provisions of section 541 of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, $85,076,000, of which up to $3,000,000 may remain available until expended


Provided further, That the Secretary of State shall submit to the Committees on Appropriations, no later than 60 days after enactment of this Act, a report addressing how the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation IMET program for fiscal year 2008 contributes to the promotion of human rights, respect for civilian authority and the rule of law, the establishment of legitimate judicial mechanisms for the military, and achieving the goal of right sizing military forces.

This report could be critical in passing 1707 (or at least getting it out of Committee), which is the newest in a series of bills to shut this operation down.