Talk:Activists protest against School of the Americas

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I severely protest this article. The two sources used (Democracy Now! and Indymedia) are both biased to the far left. The protests may be newsworthy, but we need a balance in viewpoints here. Furthermore, the review process was completely ignored and the article plastered on to the Main Page six minutes after its first draft was complete, so there was absolutely no time for that balance to be achieved by other editors. Thirdly, it's just simply not written well enough to be a completed article. Is it "School of Americas" or "School of the Americas?" (According to Wikipedia's own article, which is linked to, it's neither at present.) The line notorious for training people who go on to violate human rights in Latin America is not explained or quantified. We're not even being told what exactly these people are protesting or why they have chosen now to do it. This is not a Wikinews-worthy article. Garrett Albright 08:10, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

This article needs more context and a more explicit, factual explanation for alleged murders and why the United States would be running it then, what their response is to such allegations. --119 15:19, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I agree. Severe bias here.


I attached a template and category so that readers will not mistake this as a finished article from wikinews community. I hope it will help making it better. Tomos 19:30, 23 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Well, certainly the issue is on how people define bias... If you believe that organizations such as CNN and the New York Times portray the true and accurate perspective on world events... then, of course, you will say that this article is written by a person with a fringe perspective. It is entirely possible, however, that if news organizations had been writing with a different frame of reference over the last several years - those here would say that this article contains perfectly legitimate facts. Indeed, the one thing this writer ought to have done was to provide a better source referencing for the facts he or she cited. Rainbird 04:14, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I agree that we need more solid sources. But I am afraid that is only part of the neutrality problem we have here. If we present a set of legitimate facts that would support only a certain view, and do not offer readers how others might contend, that may not be neutral. Tomos 12:37, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)
Shouldn't wikinews eventually be able to present a layout of how the pieces of the puzzle of our society fit together - and how the gears work? I grew up in Seattle, Washington, and I grew used to the Seattle Times' style journalism. Moving away from the pacific northwest, I was really surprised by the hateful tenor of most mainstream news print journals. I think it's far more balanced to write in terms of a bigger picture, than it is to mimic the vindictive tenor of the mainstream press of the 1900s. NPOV is an important concept, and we have to have a standard which we can all agree upon so that we can produce a quality product... But, it's important to make wikinews a more prestigious source of journalism than the typical 1900s fare. We should envision how that is going to be accomplished. Rainbird 20:33, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)


Article violates Neutrality and AccuracyEdit

I think this article violates seriouslly Wikinews policies. The article does not have a Neutral Point of View, the sources cited are unreliable and biased(this is the worst part). It seems the Wikipedia link cited in the sources section violates Wikimedia policies too. The claims can not be verified, and everything seems artificial and fake. At least, the source: Indymedia has been used as example of a Not Neutral Point of View in ThinkTank. The other cited source: Democracy Now! is a antiamerican left-wing publication and you can see this by the articles in its webpage:"Over 70 Die in Iraq in Weekend Fighting", "Report: Iraq War Is Cost U.S. $6 Billion/Month", "Malnutrition Rate Doubles For Iraqi Children"(after USA invasion), "Family of Spanish Journalist Killed by U.S. Forces in Baghdad Accuses U.S. of War Crime", "South African Poet and Activist Dennis Brutus: "People Globally Are Deeply Unhappy" with Bush's Reelection", etc. Well, for me it is evident the electronic magazine is heavilly biased. I doubt this article can even be saved for future publishing. I agree: this is not a Wikinews-worthy article. My opinion for this article is no. --carlosar

I think it can be saved, but it's a glaring warning of the need for a functioning review process, and one that makes sure articles like this aren't waved like a banner to our readers. Ambi 01:24, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I suppose what we need is some sources to base some counterpoints on, to balance views.

Via google news, you can find plenty of reports on this (more than 150). I picked two (below), and the Wikipedia article. None offered any counter argumets or criticisms against those protesters claims.

I haved searched via google and I have find a lot of reports too. Unfortunatelly every report was from sources like the ones cited here: unreliable and heavilly biased. Instead of legitimizing the article, the references I have found showed many of the claims are fragile and biased, hoax like. --carlosar
I think you need to support your observations with some sources. And even if it is a hoax, it is our job to report that such belief exists among certain people. Tomos 12:37, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Then I searched some commercial databases with "School of Americas" as a keyword. Very few academic paper. The following seems relevant because it has a discussion of the School's contribution to democracy. Can anybody skim through it?

  • Douglas Gibler & Tomislav Ruby (2002). Educating Foreign Officers. JFQ: Joint Force Quarterly. Winter, 2002 n.33, p.119-

I gotta go now, but if someone will work on this to neutralize, I will join later. Tomos 04:52, 24 Nov 2004 (UTC)

I've read the above paper. The paper starts with the discussion of a coverage by The Guardian (George Monbiot, “Backyard Terrorism,� October 30, 2001). The coverge is quite similar to the ones now available via google news. SoA trained dictators, death squad leaders, and other aggressors. The paper does not say that is a hoax. It does say that it is not representative of "professional military education." Major counterpoints offered, as I interpreted, are:
  • The participants, and their family members, are inevitably exposed to the U.S. society & culture.
  • According to a survey of PME trainees from 1950 to 1999 (N=648; 114 Argentines, 203 Greeks, 331 Taiwanese), "only two charged with any form of malfeasance." (Both were Argentines). Compared to the proportion of officers who were involved in the "so-called dirty war" (I don't know what it is), which is 20%, the proportion of the graduates showing wrongdoing is remarkably small - 4% among pre-1983 Argentine graduates.
  • Histories of Argentine, Greece, and Taiwan are reviewed in the paper and it was concluded that graduates of PME contributed to the emergence of stable democracy. (Hard to summarize quickly for me).
  • Even when all other countries are taken into account, countries with graduates have less than half possibilities of military coup compared to other countries.
We can also note that the current program emphasize human rights education among other things. It is stated on their web site.
That's all so far. Hope this helps. Tomos 12:37, 25 Nov 2004 (UTC)

Sources are not reliableEdit

I think the sources are not reliable. You should find some better source at least. Even if the article is rewritten we can publish it only if you can prove that the events narrated have been ocurred.--carlosar

I am still against this article. Wikinews can not have a good reputation if we start publishing articles like this.--carlosar

After reading the above article from JFQ, I thought that it was interesting that those authors defended the School of Americas not by rebutting what people say about dictators and death quad leaders, but by placing it in a larger context and argued that more benefits arises from the program. So those news papers you found so untrustworthy may well be factually okay, but just biased in terms of the scope. Of course, it is just my non-expert guess, and could well be wrong. Tomos 03:16, 26 Nov 2004 (UTC)

What do you think about an article from Microsoft criticizing Linux? It is the same thing. This article is unreliable and cannot be trusted, so you cannot publish it. --carlosar

  • Yes, I do understand your point, of course. Otherwise, I would not have bothered to read the article from JFQ. But do you understand my point? The accusation about SoA is recognized even among the defenders of the institutions/programs. If we can balance that view with other point(s) of view, we do not have to hide it. And of course, there is always a possibility of finding some credible source disputing the accusation. Why not look for one?
  • Besides, what you did above seems to be taking a copyrighted material from MS's site and release it into the public domain.. I beg you to be more careful, in case my understanding is correct. I will request a deletion of this page.

Tomos 01:32, 28 Nov 2004 (UTC)

If Biased, Just Fix ItEdit

There are going to be lots of news articles posted that have controversy around them, so let's get used to it. If you see bias, just fix it or flag it to be fixed. The power of wiki is not in the first issue of an article, but rather the result of repeated scrutiny and editing. I trust wiki to produce one of two results for an article about controversy:

  1. Both views will be presented with equal weight, or
  2. Only the verifiable facts will remain

I removed:

Reason: Unrealiable and bias source.--carlosar Dez 2 09:43:29 UTC 2004

Is it WikiNews or WikiPropaganda?Edit

Sorry, it was 4 am and I didn't research or rewrite this article as well as I should have, but it wasn't very well researched or written to begin with. A single Google search refuted most of the claims made in this article, including the number of people at the protest and the claims of connections to US-backed murders and rebellions. The writing itself is also extremely biased to the antiprotesters, as is the Wikipedia entry on the School of Americas. My major problems were a) it focuses solely on the protesters point of view without acknowledging the school's official mission at all, and b) the claims of connections to murders was not backed up in fact. About the only real information I found was the date of the protest and the names of the movie stars who showed up. It was politics, not news. I didn't correct anything as much as acknowledged the other side of things. I found it interesting that a pro-military celebration is thrown at the same time, and it has gotten very big.

What saddens me more is that none of the reputable news sources outside of the state of Georgia that I read bothered to double-check the claim of "16,000 people", a figure which was merely an estimate given before the event even occured. I found no pictures of this gigantic crowd, no police estimates of the crowd (which tend to be much more accurate), etc. Many of the news pieces I read were merely rewrittings of antiwar press-releases. Protesters are notorious for over-estimating their numbers - I should know, I've been to more than a few protests. We get 100 and claim we had 1,000! Get 1,000 and we say we had ten!

Whether the school or the protesters are "right" is totally irrelivent. If you disagree with this statement, I suggest you start a website called WikiPropaganda so you can properly put your agenda ahead of hard facts.

Frankly, I think the entire article should be scrapped, it's almost beyond repair. Like I said, it's not news, it's propaganda, and articles like this will ruin this website. I don't want to see some tightly controlled political organization writing the news, no matter what they stand for or if I agree with it.

And I must protest to the people who agreed with me that this article was biased. The whole point for Wiki is that "you" have the power to change stuff like this. Don't sit by and complain, ACT! Research and rewrite! Without your involvement, the website will never be as good as Wikipedia.

Still biased as of 2:40 P.M. (U.S. East Coast Time). The chief problem is that it presents mainly the anti-school point of view while worded to suggest that it's TRYING to be objective.
The quick fix would be to CONCEDE that the article is presenting the views of the protestors. That is, the article should be made about (a) the protesters and (b) why they are protesting, how they view their protest target and what they hope to accomplish. Such an article would be UNBALANCED but yet "neutral".
The long fix would be to do the quick fix first, and then BALANCE it by covering the POV of school proponents: (a) who they are and (b) why they like the school and what they hope they school will accomplish.
I hope I can overcome my pro-US-military bias enough to help with this, since I trained at Fort Benning and met El Salvadorean officers who attended the school in question (one a lieutenant at the school and another a graduate, a major whose father was a high-ranking Columbian gov't official).
By the way, perhaps the subtext missing from the article is that the School is openly anti-communist, and that many or most of the protestors are (not so openly) pro-communist. I recall from my college days (mid-1980s) that the big political clash was between US-backed governments, constantly accused of human rights abuses -- and Marxist-inspired guerrilas (always given a pass on human rights abuses). My friend's husband (Lee Shapiro) filmed Nicaragua Was Our Home, a documentary about Mesquito Indians decimated by Sandinistas. Shapiro located a US priest whom the Sandinstas and their US boosters claimed had been kidnapped by the "contras", and the film shows him describing his escape from Sandinistas who tried to murder him; the contras gave him refuge.
There's a WHOLE SHITLOAD of propaganda floating around in this cesspool (pardon my French). Ed Poor 19:53, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

pls include text in critiquesEdit

Hi,

reading critiques of this article it is impossible for me to judge whether they are valid comments or not, since you have pointed out your objections, and the conclusions that led you to those objections, but have not included the text that was in the article at the time you made your comments.

Since the nature of wiki allows continual evolution of the text, your comments may, or may not, be referring to the text of the article as I view it now.

So for each objection/critique etc, please please please take the time to copy and paste short extracts, provide references etc. Of course, this may all take longer than it would take to fix the article. That's the point. That's what wiki is about.

That doesn't mean 'shut up and fix it', it means 'provide context for your critque, or fix it, or shut up, your choice, but right now I can't easily evaluate criticisms made on the article from before my first viewing.

Yes, I know there is a history page and stuff, but it's a pain to have to cross reference it with your comments. Posting context and references in your discussions will make it much easier for other people to help criticise the authors efforts.

It is also normal and polite to do this, since it is hard for people to quite figure out whether what they think you mean is what you mean if you don't spell it out for us.

Simeon

I think everything has been said above already. Anyway I will try to list the critics in an objective way:
  1. I agree with the critics from the user Ed Poor. You must say the school is part of an anti-communist effort from the USA and that the ativists are pro-communist. In this case the trouble is missing important information.
  2. The user Ed Poor said:"The quick fix would be to CONCEDE that the article is presenting the views of the protestors. That is, the article should be made about (a) the protesters and (b) why they are protesting, how they view their protest target and what they hope to accomplish. Such an article would be UNBALANCED but yet "neutral".The long fix would be to do the quick fix first, and then BALANCE it by covering the POV of school proponents: (a) who they are and (b) why they like the school and what they hope they school will accomplish."
  3. I think the title: "16,000 protest..." violates NPOV policy because we are not really sure how many people were at the event. Anyway, I think the problem is not so severe, so I will be not against the title case someone else think different.

I hope this help you.Carlosar 18:45, 4 Dec 2004 (UTC)

biased report of a protest vs report of biased protestorsEdit

The report is about a protest. The report is not necessarily meant to cover the issue that the protestors are protesting, just in order to be an unbiased report.

The report *could* look more deeply into the issue, but generally that is considered 'current affairs' reporting, and not 'news' reporting. News takes a single event and reports on that one event.

I think wikinews needs to be cautious about alleging that the protestors are 'pro-communist'. Please provide evidence for this. Even 'mostly pro-communist' I would consider incorrect.

Even if 75% of them were carrying communist flags, I would tend to report that as 'protestors carrying communist flags' rather than 'pro-communist protestors'. This sounds over-cautious, but there are many documented cases of 'protestors' being used as agents provoceteurs, and a neutral reporter should be cautious about believing what is presented to them as evidence.

I desagree. If the protestors carry communist flags they are at least pro-communists. You cannot write they are against communism at the same time they carry communist flags and cry communism slogans.---Carlosar 16:46, 5 Dec 2004 (UTC)

If protestors were interviewed, and expressed pro-communist opinions, then they should be reported as having expressed pro-communist opinions. Not as being pro-communist.

In terms of whether SoA should have been given air time, yes, their reaction or that of the Government bodies responsible for the School should have been sought, and if unavailable, the reason given. But it is safe in such a case to assume that their opinion is contrary to the protestors, and the report published without their opinion, since the primary fact being reported is the large number of people protesting, and what are those people saying.

News reporting is about getting to air in a timely manner, and obtaining response from the SoA may happen quite slowly. Their response could be reported in a later article.

Dispute/variation on the reported numbers of protestors should be covered within the article, but it's OK to use the biggest estimate in the headline, if it is likely to be reasonably accurate.

And I agree somewhat that indymedia per se is not a good source, unless the identity of the author is known, or the event is confirmed by multiple disparate sources. However indymedia I would regard as a valid related link for such a story.

Yes, but not for this article, alone. The evidences are weak. Maybe if you be very carefull.---Carlosar 16:46, 5 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Simeon

indymedia et al as sourceEdit

If the event is not reported in mainstream media, it would be OK to report the event as having been reorted by indymedia.

Indymedia is a large enough social/internet force in its own right that it may be considered as news that indymedia reported a protest of 16,000 at SoA. Later followup could cover any dispute over whether the indymedia report was accurate, if evidence of this came to light.

It is quite common in my experience for events of this nature to go underreported in the mainstream news, and that is one reason for the existence of wikinews. If the event flat out can't be confirmed anywhere outside of indymedia, again, that itself is news, and a better story than the simple fact that indymedia reported a protest.

But do not assume that if indymedia is the only source it did not happen, or that the indymedia report is biased. Simply report in a neutral way, and in a way that accentuates an exciting and significant aspect to an event you yourself observed s a reasonably objective reporter, whether that event that you bear witness to was just the reading of a web page, or actually being on the ground at the protest ;).

Simeon

I am following the Wikinews policy which states that we must be aware of biased sources and advocate sites. I think the majority of people here in Wikinews would not like to see controversial subjects supported by biased sources. Anyway I think you could create a poll about controversial sources like Indymedia. Sorry my English.--Carlosar 16:40, 5 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Carlos,

Yes, as you can see by my two previous comments, in some ways I agree with you wrt indymedia, in some ways I disagree. What I am saying in the second post is that we can, and should on occaision, report that indymedia report something, because the very fact that indymedia reports something can be newsworthy. The example I gave is that the fact that news articles can appear prominently in one set of media and be completely ignored in another is itself a viable news story. This can go both ways, for instance the claim that 10,000 protested in support of the SoA seems to be unreported. One could write an article about this contrast in reports from internet sources, vs mainstream media. To do so, one would need to cite the internet sources. Ruling out indymedia by policy means no articles like this could appear on wikinews.

You can write a news story about bias of media, be it left or right wing bias, it can be newsworthy. You can write an article on impact of media, be they left or right wing media. So I think it is OK to say 'indymedia reported something-or-other' because indymedia is a very large media outlet, and what they say has an effect, it is valid to report that they say something, it is just important to report it the right way. I am certainly not saying we should just blindly quote their material.

In this case, indymedia is used in the current form of this article to source a quote from a protestor. I think that is valid, and it is attributed properly, ie

'Indymedia quotes Elizabeth Nadeau, a 27-year-old student, as saying "Prison will not deter us. We will be here until we close the school and change the foreign policy that it represents."'

The quote is attributed to an identified person, and is not really controversial information - it is an opinion representative of the protestors. Indymedia seems in fact a good source to use for such a quote.

Simeon

nearly readyEdit

I've fixed up most of the story in terms of wording and sourcing of info. I have left the most generic info as not being specifically sourced, the info can be found by following the various sources given elsewhere or can be regarded as common knowledge in my opinion.

However, I did not yet find a source for the following text:

"Antiwar activists claim that the school is directly connected with United States-backed killings and revolutions in Latin America, and that its stated mission is to train militias in violence against political dissidents."

Unless someone else fixes this sentence up by the time I next edit this document, I will replace it. If this sentence can be fixed, the story is ready to go to review stage I think. It's not quite news any more, but I think useful to take to the next stage, both for developing our review system, and because news should be recorded for posterity.

Simeon

I am still against the article but...Edit

I am still against the article but I will try to be positive about its publication. I would like to see other people opinions too. Thanks. Carlosar 18:19, 5 Dec 2004 (UTC)

You see, maybe I have been a little rigorous, but it is because the group is still small.---Carlosar 19:26, 5 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Additional infoEdit

I did some small research again. Here are some seemingly better sources.

  • Nepstad, Sharon Erickson (2000) School of the Americas Watch. Peace Review; Mar2000, v.12 n.1, pp.67-73.

There is a reference to a report issued Feb. 1999 by 1993 UN Truth Commission on Guatemara's human right violations, and the report, according to this article, one of the key contribution to this situation is U.S. military school's counter-insurgency training of the Gatemaran officers. Other things coming from the Commission includes that many of murderers of Jesuit priests at the University of Central America (19 of 26 were SoA trainees); El Mozote massacre (10 of 12 implicated officers were SoA trainees).

Retired U.S. Army Major Joseph Blair is referred to as an example of former-instructors who are critical of the school's programs. He was interviewed by a publication named "The Progressive" in which he criticizes the SoA's teaching of torture.

  • Agency Group 09 (2000) School of Americas furls flag. FDCH Regulatory Intelligence Database, Dec 19, 2000

This is a report on the closing celemony of the SoA. Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera given a speech. He said that human right violations are done by SoA graduates, but the training is not a cause, those actions are against what's taught. Other points made in the speech included that the American values were promoted into the Latin American countries thanks to the school; the countries were in better shapes because Marxist-led forces had been prevented from getting control, again thanks to SoA.

The article explains that that part of the speech is to counter the critics who charge SoA of giving training of tortures, or training dictators.

I did not find word "revolution" or "U.S.-backed killings" in the sources I looked at. The more widely-recognized criticisms may be training dictators, teaching torture techniques. The Joint Force Quarterly article I cited previously also seem to counter that kind of criticism, again, hinting that is the kind of ciriticism circulated. Tomos 20:02, 5 Dec 2004 (UTC)


Another source. It is an opinion piece mentioned in the Joint Force Quarterly article.

  • George Monbiot (2001). Backyard terrorism: The US has been training terrorists at a camp in Georgia for years - and it's still at it. Guardian. October 30, 2001.
    • The tone is explicitly critical of the school. A similar piece is available here: [1]
    • There is a number of people named as those who studied at SoA, and what they did. There are a few dictators and death squad leaders.
    • US State Department's 1999 report on human rights name two trainees as murderers of Alex Lopera (the peace commissioner).
    • A report from Human Rights Watch titled "Ties that Bind" (2000) says that paramilitary groups were led by 7 trainees and the groups are to be blamed for abduction and killing of various scales.
    • The United Nations Truth Commission on El Salvador in 1993 pointed out army officers who brought worst atrocities, and two-thirds is SoA trainee.
    • There was once an attempt to close the school in the U.S. congress during 2000.
    • At least 7 of the school's training manuals were released into public, and they included arresting of witness' relatives, blackmailing, execusion, and torture.

Again, this article emphasize terrible things that SoA contributed to, not the kind of article Wikinews should strive for. But perhaps some of those facts I listed could be verified.

"Revolution and U.S.-backed killings" was not in the source, though.

Tomos 03:21, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)

  • I just noticed that Human Rights Watch report is indeed available here: [2]

CommentEdit

I don't know much about this issue, but the article at of now [3] seems to have two problems:

  • many of the claims that is attributed to supporters are not sourced. We need those kind of things in the article to achieve NPOV, but can't somebody find sources to back that up?
  • "See also" section contains two sources that seem to be overtly POV.

Tomos 03:30, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I think the article is NPOV nowEdit

The article has recently been rewritten and I believe is NPOV now. Remembering that it is an article about a protest, it would be pointless not to mention what the demonstraters are protesting. As the article stands now, I don't think it can be said to be biased and should be moved to the review process. I don't know who has the power to decide that, but we shouldn't start deleting news articles that cover issues such as this, as that appears too much like censorship. jkrusky 04:13, 6 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Still a mess, but interesting experimentEdit

For the record, I agree with the protest politically, but think this article is still too biased to be called news. It has become something of a circus. Crowd estimates are still a big problem (can't we just admit that we don't know? All the estimates this article refers to were given before the event!) The language is still very biased towards the antiwar activitsts who first wrote it. The personal quotes are boring, they don't flesh out the facts.

However, I think the SOA march is now irrelevant. We are really working out a formula here. How do we eliminate political points-of-view and write a purely objective news story on the subject of a political rally? Hopefully how we work this out now will set a standard for the future.

Obviously the news should say WHAT happened (antiwar march, several protesters arrested), WHERE it happened (Ft Benning, Goergia) and WHEN (Nov 22). Those three are obvious.

It should state WHO showed up, both protesters and protestees. The article originally failed to mention the pro-military rally, and the piece was very different! Crowd numbers should be accurate and confirmed by independent sources, NOT estimates from the people organizing the rally! Furthermore, the news story should have the honesty to say "we don't know" when they don't have accurate figures. For example: "No concrete numbers are available for the size of the rally, but estimates given before the rally suggested between 10,000 to 17,000 people would attend." It is VERY important to have accurate numbers. I can't state this enough, if you still insist on providing inflated estimates from antiwar or pro-military sources you need your head examined.

The WHY is a little more complex. Obviously, we must know why the protesters are there in the first place. It's stupid to know that a rally was thrown but not what it is about. We must also know a little about what is being protested against. It's jsut as stupid to know that an antiwar protest was thrown without knowing the school is there. Equal space should be allowed, so I say a paragraph for each is sufficient, just enough to get the general idea across.

Some people get worked up about what order the information is provided, should the protesters be mentioned first or the school? Well, the news here is the protest itself (the school has been there for decades) so logic dictates the protesters should come first, then the school (if the school held its closing ceremony and protesters showed up, then the order should be reversed).

I personally believe you should end the article at that, no more than 3-4 small paragraphs. Links to antiwar/pro-military sites should provide more than enough analysis, in those places you expect a biased view. In a news article it's more important to be accurate and objective, otherwise you risk becoming Dan Rather.

finalising?Edit

OK, I just made some edits:

  • removed two 'see also' links which had no direct, substantiated connection to the facts of the story, and which were mainly opinion pieces with a strong bias
  • changed 63,000 graduates to 61,000 based on figure from the WHINSEC web site FAQ, which I take to be more authoritative than the CNN source which claims to be quoting from the web site anyway. I made a direct link to where I got this figure, if someone finds 63,000 or some other number on the actual WHINSEC site, then please amend to fix it.
  • fixed some grammar and wording for greater precision/accuracy
  • put "Fort Benning, Georgia" into lead par, and removed reference to US from same, since the dateline gives UNITED STATES as location.

I am happy with the state that it is now 14:34, 6 Dec 2004 in for this to be approved, if no further changes are to be made.

Dan Rather^H^H^H Simeon

Almost goodEdit

I have made some changes. Take a look, I think it needs some small repairs. -- Carlosar 02:06, 7 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Delete it, it's beyond hope.Edit

I'm sorry, Simeon, you just don't "get it." This is not a forum for you to spout out your beliefs, that's not news. You've been given plenty of feedback to rewrite this objectively, but your changes are always too small and begrudgingly given. You are too close to this material and should trash the article and allow someone fresh to approach it. You're last comments, plus the comments on the deleted page prove that to me. Trash it. --Chrispet109

I think you are right about the article, anyway I would like to save it. But I need help.--Carlosar 02:22, 7 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Usually I refrain from commenting on things like this, but I believe the type of comments illustrated here by Chrispet109 are extremely unhelpful and discouraging. There has been extensive effort by several people to rewrite this article. You could help too if you wanted to, instead of expending time trashing another's efforts. The article has gone from being an extensively biased piece to something very close to a news article with the help of numerous members of the community and that is heartening to see. Please let's not ruin the spirit with personal attacks. jkrusky 03:19, 7 Dec 2004 (UTC)

How many protesters?Edit

How many protesters? Is there some source(anyone) saying that there were 16,000 protesters?

There is a problem. The lines:"Several thousand protesters demonstrated(...)Unverified local media reports put the crowd at "up to 10,000" in number, while other sources gave higher crowd estimates of around 16,000." are not good. I think we should say who said that there were 10,000 or 16,000 protesters. Who said that? ---Carlosar 02:34, 7 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Okay, I did a small research to find an answer.
  • Over 16K - source #1,3,8
  • 15K -2
  • not specific - 4 (This source reports about 15K came to "God Bless Fort Benning" festival), 6, 7, 9 (This source reports about 15K for the festival.)
  • Up to 10K - 5
  1. http://www.tnimc.org/feature/display/3680/index.php
  2. http://atlanta.indymedia.org/newswire/display/34527/index.php
  3. http://www.workers.org/ww/2004/soa1209.php
  4. http://www.walb.com/Global/story.asp?S=2594607&nav=5kZQTNzq
  5. http://www.accessnorthga.com/news/ap_newfullstory.asp?ID=49556
  6. http://www.wcpo.com/news/2004/local/11/19/stursula.html
  7. http://www.tribstar.com/articles/2004/11/22/news/news02.txt
  8. http://www.soaw.org/new/
  9. http://www.macon.com/mld/macon/news/politics/10233806.htm
Combined, none of the sources I looked at say where the figures come from - either on the protest or the counter-protest festival. I think "estimates found in media ranges from 10,000 to 16,000," or something similar would be appropriate for the both events. Tomos 04:14, 7 Dec 2004 (UTC)

The article can be savedEdit

I was against the article but now I would like to save it. We just have to balance the information. If there are a lot of arguments against the school, lets give more chance to pro-school arguments. We should have both arguments, pro and against, so the reader can make a decision.--Carlosar 02:30, 7 Dec 2004 (UTC)

SourcesEdit

Indymedia source is highly biased. I suggest not remove it but add a contrary biased source.--Carlosar 02:46, 7 Dec 2004 (UTC)

--- OK... I've read the article and the two Associated Press source articles. The wikinews submission is not biased in any way that makes it subject to deletion! In fact I'm shocked anyone would disregard other peoples work in such a blatant way. (NB: I just read it.... never read the original and since I'm fumbling around the interface, I haven't found the changes anywhere)

If I should make any suggestions for an improvement it would be a mention of Katherine McCoy's, MSc Sociology, statistical study on nearly 12,000 students: the more classes a student took at the WHINSEC the more likely they were to commit human rights abuses in their country of origin. Source: http://www.commondreams.org/news2004/0325-07.htm

Benno ---

Who did organize the protest?Edit

Who did organize the protest? SOAW?

"(...)is an annual event organized by the School of the Americas Watch (SOAW) to commemorate..."

Is it correct? Opinions? - Carlosar 14:31, 8 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I am trying...Edit

I am trying to collect all relevant arguments pro and against the school. Carlosar 23:21, 8 Dec 2004 (UTC) Someone must check the spelling, I think there are some errors, it is not good yet. Carlosar 23:21, 8 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Removed "Manual of the Urban Guerilla"Edit

Removed the following text from the article:

The Brazilian version of IndyMedia mantains at its website a copy of the Marxist publication of Carlos Marighella: Manual of the Urban Guerrilla which details techniques of urban terrorism for communism fighters. The UK version of IndyMedia distributes a copy in English of the manual. Also there is a copy of the Manual of the Urban Guerrilla at the School of Americas Watch (SOAW) website, a anti-SOA website.

That IndyMedia has a copy of this Manual is irrelevant to the news of a protest ocurring in Georgia. That SOA Watch carries the text of the manual is factually incorrect. The SOAW website carries the text of a manual used at the SOA called "Terrorismo y Guerrilla Urbana" (Terrorism and the Urban Guerilla). Part II of this SOA manual mentions Marighella's "Mini-Manual del Guerrillero Urbano" (Mini-Manual for the Urban Guerilla), mentioning its influence and the importance of studying it in order to understand the urban guerilla. The SOA manual also says the full text of the Marighella manual has been included (in the SOA manual), but the Marighella manual cannot be found on the SOAW website. (Either the SOA manual did not include the Marighella manual, or SOAW does not include the full SOA manual.)

In any case, the removed section is either irrelevant or incorrect. -- Jeortiz 11:01, 15 Dec 2004 (UTC)

  • I added the link to the "Manual of the Urban Guerilla" (Indymedia site). It is relevant because it supports the claim:"The SOA mission was to counter the influence of Communism in the region". -- Carlosar 00:49, 17 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Sorry...Edit

...for editing a comment above rather than posting a new one.

This is a beta site, with beta users posting beta news ;)

Interesting discussion though.

The article goes back againEdit

I have re-submited the article to review because I think there are not any protest against its publication anymore. Are people using review tag anymore? I did not put the review tag because I did not know wether I should did it or not. I dont know if I should have re-submited the article or I should have let the article as it was. Let's see what happens. --- Carlosar 16:03, 18 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Carlosar - the item is a news item, not an encyclopedia item. The background of the school's history is not news. It is background. It goes late in the story. News is written in what we call 'inverted pyramid' style: most important and new aspects first, less important and background aspects last.
This is for two reasons: readers skim news and move on from one story to the next very quickly. They may only read two paragraphs. If the information at the start of the item looks old, they will skip the entire item.
Second reason is so that editors can easily modify the story to make it shorter. This is maybe not obvious here on the internet where we can make stories any lenght we like, much more important in a hardcopy paper where space is limited ... but even so, it matters as other people may be adding more stuff to the story, it's length may grow, and if the story is written properlyt in inverted pyramid style, we know easily that the later stuff is less important and can be chopped to make the story shorter if it does grow too long.
What the activists claim is of primary importance to the story, since the event being reported is the protest. This is the news event, that a bunch of people went out on the street to shout and sing about something. Then explain, what was it that they shouted and sang? Then explain why they may do that. Then for balance cover why they may be wrong, since they are expressing an opinion, and opinions may be wrong, so cover the other side.
Look again at the version I left, it is much better than this version for a news story. In the current state, the news is lost amidst a huge attempt to cover every aspect of the school's reason for being and struggle for identity.
I am not going to fix the article, since I think my last version is OK, apart from one small typo in the reference number 1. I have fixed the reference and the intro paragraph in the current version, but the rest of the article is too hard to read now, and not written in news style.
You see, a lot of people protested against this article because it was missing the background information. Besides the only way I think I could publish this article is like it is now. I dont think the article is very long. Besides I think it is perfect for Wikinews. In Wikinews we cannot do better than other media about publishing news quickly because the overall process is slow here. Nevertherless we can publish a story with some background information, so the reader gets intested about reading the story. I can even agree with you about excessive background information in some cases. But I think the news and the background information are in a good balance here. Anyway, case you have other ideas, I suggest you put your thoughts at the Water Cooler or Main Page discussion page, so other users can give a opinion and we can discuss about it. I didnt want to cover up any side, but on the contrary show both sides. This article shows some opionions but it is because the news itself is a opinion. The protest itself represents a opinion of a group of persons. So if we want to be NPOV we have to publish the other side opinions too. Thank you very much for your critics.--Carlosar 19:34, 26 Dec 2004 (UTC)
I think your claims should be discussed at the Style Guide, it is a discussion about style and it is not about only this article in particular.--Carlosar 19:39, 26 Dec 2004 (UTC)
This article is a difficult one because there are at least two contrary point of view. If you have some ideas about how to manage different point of views I think you should say. I tried to do my best. Anyway I think it was a good exercise for us. -- Carlosar 19:53, 26 Dec 2004 (UTC)
Return to "Activists protest against School of the Americas" page.