November 30, 2008

Racine contingent protests School of the Americas

Words and photos by John Heckenlively

Stephanie Nistler, Sharin Tellez, Sue Craanen, Gary Craanen in Columbus, Georgia, shortly before the procession ceremony Sunday morning. Nistler and Tellez are students at Saint Catherines; The Craanens represented both St Catherines and the Racine Dominicans.

Last weekend (November 21-23) marked the 18th annual protest at the gates of Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia to protest the School of the Americas, now known as the Western Hemispheric Institute for Security Cooperation. The WHISC is a training facility for Latin American military personnel that has been linked with most of the major human rights abuses in Central and South America since the 1960s.

Over 20,000 people gathered at the northern entrance of Fort Benning and placed crosses with names of victims on the fence. During a procession which took over two hours, names of the dead were read as the crowd responded "Presente" -- "here" or "present" in Spanish.

Six people crossed onto Fort Benning property to protest the school, and are facing up to six months in federal prison for trespassing. Since 1995, almost 300 activists have spent time in prison for protesting against the School of the Americas. The six activists will be tried in Columbus in late January.

Craanen makes cross during Wisconsin prayer service Sunday morning, with Sharin Tellez and Stephanie Nistler

Gary Craanen attaches his cross to the fence during the "Presente" ceremony. This was Gary's second trip to Ft Benning; his first was in 1998.


  1. Ah guys it not the 80's any more. The civil wars of Central America are over. As we speak a major part of the classes taught are on the Law of Land Warfare and Human Rights using what has been learned from Iraq (we won) and Colombia (Ask Hugo about he connection to The Drug Lords still fighting the Government of Colombia and why Colombia has more civil rights then Hugo offers his county not that we in the USA will need freedom of speech/press after the Son Of God takes office)

  2. Where's the Reporting???11/30/2008 12:54 PM

    For as much as you two attack the Journal Times on its reporting, at least they report their own articles for the most part. Why is it that more and more when us Post readers click on a link it directs us to the Journal Times, Milwaukee Journal, TMJ 4 website, etc.... What gives? Where is your story about the man that was shot Saturday morning on Memorial Drive?? You guys need to tighten it up. I want to be a dedicated Post reader, but if you cant report on major stories in the community (Man getting shot), then I may have to go back to the JT. Thank you.

  3. Hi ???,

    We're an aggregating site. We compile links to Racine news stories from various sources. We compete with the JT, but they have far more resources and impact in the community. We criticize because we hope they'll get better at reporting on the major stories in the community.

    As for the shooting, that's not the type of story we'll typically cover (or even link to). Shootings and violent crime make up a fraction of what's important in Racine, and yet the public fixates on these crimes as the defining characteristic of our city. We believe there's more to Racine than scare-tactic stories designed to drum up newspaper sales and not much more.

    That's not to lessen the value of anyone's life - every shooting is a tragedy. It's just not the focus of this website.

  4. Sir

    If we do not know about what is going on in Racine how can we fix it?
    If the City did not know about the numbers of shootings we had and the lack of Police we never would have goten Mayor Gary "More Art Less Cops" Becker to do anything about that.
    One can report the shooting in a way that is not Yellow Journalism

  5. And in another place in the Post you have a story about crime ranking in the US. As the Mayor and you pat yourself on the back be sure to read the story to those shot and killed this year