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tv   Fault Lines  Al Jazeera  November 20, 2013 5:30pm-6:01pm EST

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is long the river. >> they come to commemorate a massacre that took place here on may 14th, 1980, during the start of the el salvador ann civil war. there is a reenactment. about 600 people were gunned down that day trying to cross the river to honduras and reach safety.
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rosa rivera lost both of her parents in the war. >> that must have been very difficult. to live with so many of your family killed like that. in 1992, with the military and leftist guerillas signed a peace accord, passed and amnesty law, that law sealed those who violated amnesty laws. about 75,000 salvadorians were killed, 8,000 were disappeared, mostly by death
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quads. government force he were supported by the united states. in neighboring guatemala, genocide committed in the 1980s. were salvadorans also be held to account? a push to overturn amnesty law is underway fueled by new evidence of government complicity and murders and disappearances. los santos, a human rights activist, is searching out people in the yellow book. the book is a compilation of so-called dplin delinquent terrorists.
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>> how was it discovered? >> the yellow book was discovered three years ago. since then researchers have been carefully checking its authenticity so it is just now coming to life. marked confidential. fought together as the national liberation front or fmln . santos says some of the people were falsely accused of belonging
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to guerilla groups. others disappeared with death squads. the picture in the yellow book shows a young woman a swollen face named carmella castro. then a group of men dressed in civilian clothes took her to her house to search it. >> laura her sister was at home when the death squad arrived. carmenda had worked with a group in honduras but returned home
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with a small baby to live with her family. >> what was the last thing that your sister said to you ? >> they left and carmenda was gone forever. it helped them finally confirm that government agencies were involved in her disappearance. during the war, salvadoran, does the yellow book show that they were cooperating with the security forces at the highest level
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? the reagan administration also claimed that the death squads were independent groups. >> the argument that the reagan administration made was that these were rogue units. >> we showed him key pages from the yellow book. >> a document like this, i think, confirms that the high command was in fact directing the death squads. and the people in the reagan administration who kept insisting against the evidence that the high command was innocent, were clearly wrong. >> in the 1980s the administration needed congress to sign off on military aid to el salvador. >> security assistance is necessary against all those against the export of subversion by the soviet block cuba and nicaragua.
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>> the root was in social poverty on the one hand and a political that end was dictatorial. by seeing el salvador as a cold war conflict, president reagan provided the means to conduct the human rights violations that they conducted in. >> did the united states down play the atrocities? >> i can say there's no doubt down (vo) al jazeera america we understand that every news
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story begins and ends with people. >> the efforts are focused on rescuing stranded residents. (vo) we pursue that story beyond the headline, past the spokesperson, to the streets. >> thousands of riot police deployed across the capitol. (vo) we put all of our global resources behind every story. >> it is a scene of utter devastation. (vo) and follow it no matter where it leads, all the way to you. al jazeera america. take a new look at news.
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>> in the 1980s. the u.s. provided hundreds of millions of dollars in to el salvador. >> well armed units then went out on the offensive, and typically those were the units that were responsible for the worst massacres. >> possibly the worst in latin american history, more than 800 people were killed by the u.s. trained battalion. it was led by doming domingo alta rosa.
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>> a deputy in the legislative where assembly. >> you were a very successful counterinsurgency commander. what do you think was the we to your success? >> people from tsa santa marta see it quite differently. carlos
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bunilla heads a farming cooperative in this village.
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>> why do you think the parents are responsible for so much that took place here? >> colonel, i've spoken to more than a dozen people who say they have direct experience of atrocities that were conducted under your command.
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>> clearly, there were many atrocities that were commit. i heard a story about a pregnant woman whose baby were cut out of her stomach, thrown up in the air, and the fetus was stabbed. >> why were so many civilians killed touring the war here in el salvador? so if the civilians were sympathetic to the guerillas that was justification for
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killing them? but an awful lot were swept up and killed? why do you say it's a version of the left? you have the u.n. truth commission, the international commission, why would this happen? >> of in 1992 u.n. truth commission on el salvador traveled all over the country. they received more than 2200 case of acts of violence. paramilitary groups and death squads. fmln groups were accused in most of the incidents .
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salvador ian human rights: the discovery of the yellow book has aided queillar's effort to hold military accountable. this past march, queillar, famously issued an arrest warrant with augusto
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pinochet. queillar and garzon filed 43 new cases seeking the investigation and prosecution of atrocities. >> one of the cases submitted was for the murder of rosa rivera's parents by government soldiers. amanda castro also filed a case. she is the case carmendo castro hugged before being taken away by a death squad.
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several cases involved santa marta residents. on august 20th, al jazeera america introduced a new voice in journalism. >> good evening everyone, welcome to al jazeera. >> usa today says: >> ...writes the columbia journalism review. and the daily beast says: >> quality journalists once again on the air is a beautiful thing to behold. >> al jazeera america, there's more to it.
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>> audiences are intelligent and they know that their >> the attorney general of el
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salvador declined our request
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for an interview. in fact judicial officials and politician he here have shown little interest in addressing the amnesty issues. judge bellarmino where heine. sits on the court. >> the constitutional court is reviewing, a recent poll found that 60% of salvadorans are willing to overturn the law but heine seemed reluctant to do so. >> heine down played a recent
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case involving the massacre. so far no one has been punished for it. but the international criminal court called on el salvador. >> what do you expect the el salvadoran and the attorney diswrenl general to do? -- general to do? >> benjamin
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queillar carried that message to washington, d.c. a year ago. he argues that america's role in the civil war requires u.s. officials to help get justice in his country. >> you were part of the problem. >> u.s. congressman jim mcgovern supports queillar's are efforts. killing of six jesuit priests. >> a lot of the perpetrators of these crimes were people we trained in the united states. i think we have a special responsibility to demand there be some accountability, there be some truth. >> a truth that has long bothered mcgovern was that two salvadoran generals were granted asylum in the united states. >> the thought of them just kind of living the good life here in
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the united states i find repulsive. they are guilty of things that are terrible. >> the general's victims have been pursuing them in american courts. a key witness against them is dr. juan romogosa, seized by the military while treating poor farmers in the country side. romogosa was tortured browltly brutally at the national guard headquarters in 1980.
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>> how did you get through that? >> romogosa's two military uncles finally got him released but not before one last terrifying ordeal. vidas casanova who oversaw his torture was there. romogosa and two other salvadorans, in 2002 a jury found them liable for command responsibility for torture and other atrocities. today the u.s. department of justice is seeking to deport them back to el salvador. >> what will you do if the generals are deported back here
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to el salvador? >> autoformer salvadoran in the u.s., spain wants him extradited in the 1999 murder of the jesuit priest. >> i'd like to see all the internal memos that were written in the embassy or within our
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intelligence services about what was going on. >> do you think american officials need to be investigated an prosecuted for atrocities in el salvador? >> i think we ought to know the truth and then based on that take appropriate action. it is difficult to believe that u.s. advisors and intelligence officers didn't know more than they reported to congress. because they worked so closely with the salvadoran security forces. >> the u.s. state department says it supports justice in el salvador but repealed the amnesty laws up to court. don't want to look too deeply into the country's cold war past. >> during your lifetime do you expect to see the amnesty law overturned and generals garcia and
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vidas casas casanova and even yu be put on trial?
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>> this is al jazeera america live from new york city. i'm tony harris with a look at today's top stories. optimism regarding talks to roll back iran's nuclear program. and a new system to protect u.s. soldiers from sexual assaults. and laying a wreath a, a tribute to president john f. kennedy. >> talks aimed at ending the long-stand off over iran's nuclear program have resumed in geneva, but fiery comments by