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School of Assassins: Guns, Greed, and Globalization [Paperback]

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Pages   155
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.27" Width: 4.67" Height: 0.5"
Weight:   0.5 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Nov 1, 2001
Publisher   Orbis Books
ISBN  1570753857  
EAN  9781570753855  

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School of Assassins: Guns, Greed, and Globalization by Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer

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More About Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer is Assistant Professor of Justice and Peace Studies at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. For more than twenty years he has studied and written about the relationship of religion, violence, and peace and his books include Jesus Against Christianity: Reclaiming the Missing Jesus and School of Assassins: Guns, Greed, and Globalization.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Like Carmichael said so long ago: Violence is as American as Apple Pie.

There is nothing new in our going around the world torturing our hostages, and killing them. Read this book. You need to. Abu Grabh was no aberration. People just don't go around with their cell phones cameras anymore. Our generals are bemused to discover that torture is considered off the table, and the rules of the Geneva Convention apply. Since when?

The great Catholic Publishing House Orbis Books courageously and consistently speaks for human rights and democracy in our hemisphere and world wide, and at home, as the Publishing House connected to the American Society of Foreign Missions known as Maryknoll.

Several Maryknollers have been martyred by graduates of this so-called School of the Americas, including Father Bill Woods and Sister Ita Ford and Sister Maura Clarke, etc., their assassinations never finding judgment and justice in this present world. This military brainwashing institute for torture and death has also been implicated in the martyrdom of Archbishop Romero who shortly before his own assassination peladed with President Carter to close it down. Instead Carter's successors only increased it.

General Noriega, whose Panama once hosted this institute while still under US direct and open colonialist control, is one noted graduate among the several in powr in the worst days of genocide and military oppression in El Salavador, Guatemala, the Southern Cone, etc., and when George Bush the First, who once vacationed with Noriega, found him no longer so malleable, he did away with him with the death and destruction of thousands of poor Panamanians, a foretaste of Bagdhad.

Maryknoll Father Roy Bourgeois has worked very hard for decades to do away with this immoral and evil institute which has brought suffering and death and torture to thousands of millions of our fellow Americans of this Hemisphere, mainly in the interest of preserving and expanding US business interests (again, think Iraq).

During Bob Dole's campaign stunt of going to Managua to "debate" President Daniel Ortega (recently re-elected to another term now twenty years later), President Ortega responded to DOle's accusation of religious repression in Nicaragua by pulling out a large photo of Father Roy being arrested at the School of the Americas, then and now based at Fort Benning, Georogia. This is the true religious repression, that we cannot speak for truth, justice and peace with the prophetic, revolutionary and compassionate love commanded and modelled by Jesus Christ.

This book is written by Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, a master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary and author of Harvest of Cain and The Politics of Compassion as well as Saving Christianity from Empire and War Against the Poor: Low-Intensity Conflict and Christian Faith. See also his Families Valued: Parenting and Politics for the Good of All Children and other publications, please, as he is proloific a prophet of peace and of Christ as our own Father John Dear SJ.

Here in this book he updates his earlier publication School of Assassins: The Case for Closing the School of the Americas and for Fundamentally Changing U.S. Foreign Policy. This is the best resource for discovering the true history of this colonialist and prespressive military institute which has brought such misery to millions and the genocide of, for example, several Mayan linguistic groups as attested by Maryknoll herself. In this update Pallmeyer refocuses us to the continung war upon the poor and the effects of globalization.

Heroically the people of Bolivia now break free from this instrument of their own oppression and work towards their ultimate liberation. Let us read this book carefully, and pray, and understand in compassion how and why, and pray for their forgiveness,and that of so many millions of people in the Americas. Let us form a School of the Americas based upon peace and development as we are called to do in Pope John XXIII's Pacem in Terris: Encyclical Letter of His Holiness Pope John XXIII and in Pope Paul VI's ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF PEOPLES: POPULORUM PROGRESSIO. as well as in the closing chapters of the present Supreme Pontiff, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI's Sacramentum Caritatis: el Sacramento de la Caridad: una Exhortacion Apostolica Postsinodal, in which he quite clear and unequivocally recalls to us that our participation in the Eucharist compels us to alter the unjust structures which leaves the majority of the world's people in desperate poverty, in which our consciences must cry to find so much wasted on the military, a portion of which would ease the suffering of the starving. Jesus calls us still to feed the hungry, not to slaughter them for resources, and for greed.

Updated Propaganda  Dec 30, 2002
What started out ten years ago as a special interest group holding a small former Army school, SOA, responsible as just the common ground where alleged criminal people passed through before or after allegedly committing a crime, this 2d edition spins the culpability forward and upward to a more emotions-inciting "responsible for training the criminals" and uses the critical post-9/11 buzz phrase - "training terrorists".

This book is interesting for what it presents and for what it leaves out. Full of facts and lots of footnotes (and I recommend readers look up and read each one -- in full) to support the specified and implied points that the book's subjects - two US military training institutions-- taught criminal and condoned similar conduct and; therefore, are somehow responsible for many if not most of the ills of the region and must be closed. Yet, surprisingly, there is no call for action by the folks who do develop US policy, the Administration, and by those who approve and resource this policy for action and who have the power to "change the foreign policy", the Members of Congress.

Mr. Nelson Pallmeyer's main symbol, SOA, closed in 2000 and his new one, WHINSEC, seems, in its short life , to have addressed and fully incorporated and embraced all of the concerns articulated in the book, at least from what I saw visiting the place, -- it isn't closed nor holding 'secretive' classes, it has definite independent oversight, its courses do not focus on 'killing techniques'; it doesn't appear to be spending too much taxpayer money, and it includes, even seeks, civilians students and professors and it offers a core course of solid respect for human rights -- WHINSEC addresses all of the critics' concerns and more.

A recent Amnesty International report, though critical of a lot of U.S. foreign policy and military relations and definitely slamming SOA, did note that WHINSEC along with IMET, had the best and broadest human rights training programs in the Department of Defense. I won't mention the error in this section of hte book.

This book is a good example that propaganda is not, at face value, always false. Generally propaganda bases on some real facts and events, but these facts and events are purposefully distorted so that only information supporting a certain side is expressed to an audience. Some times this is called the art of the spin.

At best this book is a one-sided update of the original book crammed full of many isolated facts all critical of U.S. foreign policy and government but using a small entity, SOA, as its symbol to garner support for the cause: forcing change to U.S. foreign policy. This book claims to want the "School of the Americas" closed also but that fact happened in 2000 and now the effort is to jump the symbol to another institute. As the Department of Defense has between 150 and 240 similar but different institutions it would seem that there is a wealth of future 'symbols' out there.

To prove his point, Mr. Nelson-Pallmeyer tosses out national and international level entities like "the US Government", "the CIA", "The IMF and WTO" and then -- whump, he jumps and lands at least 5 if not more levels down at SOA and WHINSEC with the obligatory "Tah-dah" to tie in his "because of this therefore this" cause-effect sting. Example -- he uses anecdotes of someone making allegations and then footnotes it to a source that is part of or related to the organization that asked him to write the book initially where his source is originally quoted. He even references his own previous works! This is a self-licking ice cream cone effort.

At worst this book is a smear on the honor and integrity of U.S. and foreign men and women and their families who do everything in their power to present solid, correct U.S. education and training classes to people our national leaders say are worthy of so receiving.

If the allegations that SOA and WHINSEC taught and teach criminal antiterrorist conduct, then, by extension, Mr. Nelson-Pallmeyer's book alleges that all U.S. military training to foreigners and our own people are, by association, just as bad! The sheer lack of evidence used in this argument causes me headaches. The negative stereotyping of any and all military people from outside the U.S. is also troubling. It is a really good example of Mr. Nelson- Pallmeyer's own change by "any means necessary" (the end justifies the means).

This book must be read with the understanding that it is biased and supports a specific desired end. The reader must look into the sources footnoted and other references and read them as well as seek out documented details of the story of the other side. I did and I have -- it is absolutely amazing what this book just doesn't tell you, the reader.

Somehow there is the alleged 'casual relationship' presented in this book to relate an institution's activities directly to crimes and evil by individuals throughout the Western Hemisphere over the past half-century or more without regard to time, location or content.

Mr. Nelson-Pallmeyer's book does present some topics at the national and international politics and policy level that are worthy of, in some cases, demanding of, discussion and debate however I found nothing in my external readings that justifies the use of his symbols (SOA and WHINSEC) in his arguments because there are enough examples up at that level alone. What had potential to be a solid academic work ends up as a propaganda primer.

May I offer two sources that will help you on your quest for the real truth (or as close as possible given the spin of both sides of this)?

1 - John T and Kimbra Fishel's article, "The Impact of the US Army School of the Americas on Host Nation Militaries: An Effective Instrument of Policy or Merely a Scapegoat" in Low Intensity Conflict and Law Enforcement, Volume 7, Summer 1998 Number 1 (I found copy found on this site)

2 - Lora Lumpe's article "U.S. Foreign Military Training: Global Reach, Global Power, and Oversight Issues" in the May 2002 issue of Foreign Policy in Focus ... .

Truth, Integrity, Honor, Morale Courage

Symbolism through Literature  Oct 29, 2002
This book tries to make a case using really imaginative logic -- as in: Person A allegedly committed a crime; Person A also at sometime went to SOA therefore going to SOA casues a person to commit a crime. Please -- where is the accuracy in the use of verifiable facts? Example: Your Gen Galtieri went to an Army school that preceded SOA some 30 years before he assumed the Junta leadership how does that make "attending SOA" responsible or complicit in his later actions? -- where is the cause and effect? What I really got from this book is that the author definitely opposes past and current US foreign policy in the region and disregards facts to defend his position. OK - so take your criticism to the people who made the policy and the people who approve and fund it -- the folks in Washington DC! All this book does is prove that propaganda is a collection of mainly unrelated facts placed together to support a position. The truth is that the evidence and facts that have surfaced since this book was written disprove the author's many negative allegations and conclusaions of this school.
SOA/WHISC- not an issue of the past  Dec 20, 2001
Jack Neslon-Pallmeyer's new book, School of Assassins: Guns Greed and Globalization, brings the history and development of the School of the Americas, including its recent name change to The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, into perspective along with the developments of the global and national economies and militaries. In a time when the role of the SOA/WHISC is being seriously and persistently challenged, the name change and other cosmetic alterations represent a need to continue to build and strengthen the thoughtfulness and articulation of the movement and voices that are calling for the school's closure. This book ties together many of the critical issues at play in the debate over the SOA/WHISC and puts it in the context of the role it has in the world today, as well as how it has developed and changed with the changing world and economy in which we all live.

One of the key points stressed in this book is that the SOA/WHISC's role has never been stagnant or unaltered, but rather that it has and continues to change along with the goals of the United States foreign policy. The purpose and role that the SOA/WHISC fulfilled at its inception is not the same as the purpose it is serving today. The US foreign policy, beginning around the time the SOA was opened in Panama, has evolved throughout different stages, each trying to maintain a different balance between military and economic strategies and tactics to enforce and implement its goals.

Beginning in a period of major military domination, the SOA was created at a time when military repression and power was the main way of enforcing and achieving the US foreign policy goals. However, economic tools and leverage, such as those achieved by the International Monetary Fund and The World Bank, began to gain momentum and strength as efficient ways of implementing foreign policy. The second stage of US foreign policy was thus a balance between the growing use of economic leverage and the lessening of the need for military repression. During the third stage that the SOA/WHISC functioned in, economic power implemented through the afore mentioned institutions and their programs (such as Structural Adjustment Programs), took the front line in US foreign policy. The decreasing role of the need for military and violent repression in this stage had a great impact. It threatened and concerned those in the military to seek ways to maintain the immense budget and importance of the military at a time when it was not really being used or was as necessary.

This "military industrial complex" is another key issues at stake in Nelson-Pallmeyer's book, and plays a large role in the remilitarization that characterizes the fourth stage of US foreign policy. The SOA/WHISC's role in the present day is greatly founded on this remilitarization as an important tool in order to achieve the goals and stability desired by the US foreign policy.

The new name given to the SOA represents a face lift, as many refer to it, which attempts to make the goals of the SOA/WHISC seem worthy of the absurd amount of money the US government budget allots the military. Nelson-Pallmeyer makes a point that the " `any means necessary' foreign policy is possible when advocates are convinced that the means they employ, whether the torturer's hand or the banker's rules, are justified because they promote the common good or protect particular interests they represent" (98). Changing the name of the SOA to WHISC, along with the other cosmetic curriculum changes, is attempting to do just this; to create a new image of the school that is one promoting `security cooperation' and human rights. As this book states, however, these changes do not represent any sense of remorse, accountability, or separation from the past policies and deeds that a truly new institution would need to be based on.

The impact of corporate-led globalization is another key issue in The School of Assassins: Guns Greed and Globalization; and likewise, is a factor that plays into the remilitarization that characterizes stage four of US foreign policy. Although globalization, as stated by Nelson-Pallmeyer, is a reality, corporate-led globalization is not inevitable and is furthermore, undesirable. Corporate-led globalization undermines democracy, aggravates problems rooted in inequality, and is altogether destabilizing. This destabilization in turn becomes a reason for remilitarization, and a problem to be handled through military repression rather than systematic, economic, and global changes. Corporate-led globalization is not the beneficial development or progress that the myths make it out to be.

Finally, the debate and struggle around the SOA/WHISC is but a glimpse at the greater picture, the tip of an immense iceberg. Nelson-Pallmeyer states that "the SOA is a window through which US foreign policy can be seen clearly" (xvii). The struggle and movement to close the SOA/WHISC is also fighting against many of the greater issues at stake in our foreign policy and international involvement and is only one of many battles to be fought. Closure of the SOA/WHISC will not appease or end the movement, just allow it to move on to the next battle. Many of the aspects of the US foreign policy that break down the false image of the benevolent superpower are brought in to focus through connections and impacts on the SOA/WHISC. The SOA/WHISC is like a case study of the many components and factors of US foreign policy and its goals. In exposing oneself to the SOA/WHISC debate, history, and struggle, it is inevitable to come to some greater understanding of the US's involvement and true goals in its foreign policy and international affairs. This book is atriculate, thought provoking, and worth reading.

Not much information here  Aug 31, 2001
To start off let me tell you that this book could have been written in just one chapter. The entire book is so repetitive that it becomes an annoyance. The few pieces of relevant information in this book are worth the read, after all this book is fairly inexpensive. However, beware that the author mostly mentions incidents affecting religious figures in Central America. As if religious figures and their prosecution by SOA graduates are the only subjects worth detailing. I was really disappointed by this and the author's constant religious tone. In addition, the author never stops pushing the SOA Watch and his other books. This book seemed to me more like a fancy pamphlet for the SOA Watch an less, much less, of an objective look at the School of the Americas and the case of closing it down like the title suggests.

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