Friday, March 2nd, 2007 at 11:28 am in Uncategorized.
The son of San Mateo County Counsel Tom Casey was sentenced earlier this month to 100 days in federal prison stemming from a protest at a military school in Georgia.
Michael Vosburg-Casey, 32, a human rights advocate, was charged with misdemeanor trespassing after he was arrested on Nov. 16 during a protest at Fort Benning in Columbus, Ga., which houses the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the U.S. Army School of the Americas.
Vosburg-Casey (fifth from left in this photo, with beard) was one of about 25,000 people who gathered at Fort Benning in November to call for the closure of the school. He was arrested after he, as well as 15 others, crawled through a fence onto the school’s property.
“The School of Americas has a history of teaching torture and other extreme measures of counter-insurgency and interrogation,” Vosburg-Casey said in a statement. “And so, when soldiers are around those trained in these tactics we can see how the spiral of violence comes home to roost.”
The annual, non-violent protest began in 1990, to commemorate the murders of six Jesuit priests killed in El Salvador in 1989, Casey said. The protests are organized by the Washington, D.C. non-profit School of the Americas Watch.
According to Casey, who served as his son’s legal counsel, some of the people responsible for the deaths of the priests, as well as other human rights offenses, attended the School of the Americas, which moved to Fort Benning from Panama in 1984, temporarily closed and later re-opened under the direction of the U.S. Department of Defense.
“It (the school) has a history of training people who go on to hold significant positions back in their home country, including several dictators,” Casey said. “Some of these dictators have been involved in some of the biggest human rights abuses over the last 25 years.”
Vosburg-Casey, who attended McKinley Middle School (now McKinley Institute of Technology) in Redwood City and Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, was previously issued a ban and bar letter requiring him to stay away from Fort Benning for five years after he crossed onto the schools property in 2000.
“Michael, he’s a smart guy,” Casey said. “He knows what he’s doing and this wasn’t something he did impetuously or without a lot of thought.”
By the way, Vosburg-Casey is profiled as a “prisoner of conscience” on the School of the Americas Watch Web site, where we found this interesting tidbit:
“Mike is married with Amy Vosburg-Casey. They live with their chickens in Atlanta, GA. Mike is a self-trained piano tuner who spends lots of time on Atlanta’s streets with homeless people & others demonstrating opposition to our country’s failed belief that for every problem a military solution exists.”