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tv   Doc Film - Testifying against Assad - Seeking Justice for Syria  Deutsche Welle  November 29, 2018 8:15pm-9:00pm CET

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breaking windows and injuring players then police used tear gas to disperse the crowd but the gas got into the bus and made other bokeh players sick the game was rescheduled for sunday evening but then. you're watching e.w. news live from berlin i'll be back at the top of the hour with more world news followed by the day to see the. school. the first cloning lesson from the doors grand the moment arrives. join your reckoning on her journey to freedom. in our interactive documentary the story of an orangutan returns home on t w dot com the tanks.
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president thanks for giving us the opportunity this is your first in a drama is watching an interview with bashar al assad in which the syrian president is confronted with photos of people tortured to death assad rejects the claim that they were killed by his own security forces you can bet you thought he just spoke by god i just think it was i was there and my friends died in front of my eyes because of torture and until this very moment there's people who are dying because of torture if we are getting this if it is who are we defending syria against school and for assad dismisses criticism as efforts to demonize his regime and you where do you draw the i've been tortured everyone i met in the present in tortured . to lie. it is
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a way of defense of the government against the people you know the execution is part of the seat of government was also the way they can make it legally but it's been here for decades they don't have anything to think with the execution according to the law for trial is a legal action don't allow too many lawyers do and even for the prisoners. the old hold on. one or two minutes to their decision. exclusion the people we saw. one.
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november the fourth twenty sixteen syrian human rights lawyer and while boonie launches an appeal on facebook. we are looking for people who were abducted taken to intelligence service channels two one five two two seven and two three five and tortured them we want to press charges in germany and send a clear message to the torture is in syria there is no impunity. one hundred people responded that same day offering to testify as witnesses. khaled or ours was in germany when he saw the appeal he had heard good things about the syrian human rights lawyer album he was known for his courage in defending countless political detainees at trials in syria. we have had less.
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that's for i was surprised actually. here i had an opportunity to bring criminal charges. despite not being german. exactly and chance for me so as i said it was an opportunity. soon as i saw the appeal. i talked to and we are right away. in twenty fifteen hundred and his wife were able to escape and come to germany where they were recognized dance political refugees they had taken part in a mass protests against our society in twenty eleven and peaceful activists plus they were on the syrian intelligence agencies wanted list at the end of twenty eleven they had been arrested by military intelligence in damascus and taken to the notorious branch to one find they are now to give evidence to the german attorney
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general all the karpin strip in this present they were like totally like ruin the quiet for a week or whatever it is because it's not something that they are used to you know there was a shock to get into the room and they just told you and they never told you to take off or clothes it was like a surprise thing you know took off your parents and took off her dress and second floor cuffed to the group and in every step they will ask you to do it again you know and you will be are you serious i'm not going to be like totally naked you would never know it was stripped they stripped me when i went. totally naked and he did sexually harassed they they thought they might do whatever he tried to do something khaled does not want to talk about the man a torture only about how he was forced to watch the torture is at work helping me a good bye for them these as by seeing them tortured. those other two piece of oil
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was torture in itself and on this the in me these that by and i got to go down on my knees and watch. on my part of my heart and they held my head up by my hair to force me to watch. long saying they had a long chain with a hook on the airline hawk and on the end beat the two prisoners on the back with the whole. focus on him it is the how of one if can be flies it is hell i can see the exposed flesh on. kind of them for me personally for me dollars that image was the worst thing i experienced. on the. there is now widespread evidence of syrian intelligence running a network of detention facilities called branches all across damascus branch two
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one five was the destination for many of the demonstrators arrested during protests like khalid and a beer the interrogation and torture rooms are said to be located in the six and seven stories. branch two for eight is linked to executions conducted without trial. branch two to seven has seen thousands of cases of arbitrary detention as usual in underground cells two to seven is the branch with the highest number of deaths the syrian air forces intelligence wing is considered the most brutal agency one of its torture divisions is located in measure a at a military airport you may hear dying from torture starvation and the general conditions of detention. burnim summer twenty seventeen. a confidential meeting at the european center for constitutional and human rights to prepare the criminal charges against the torturers the german attorneys here
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specialize in international law they work together with syrian law and journalist must end darwish in human rights wow and while bernie. instead of accusing individual torturers the team of targeting the top of the chain of command high ranking officials from syrian intelligence services. education's. international law expert patrick crocker explains to colleagues attending the meetings how german law also covers officials who failed to prevent crimes which were not for something. but for something that you had what you didn't do was to do . the people that committed the crimes and didn't stop the violence. because the potion was the lawyers know that officials did know what was going on and not just because the reports of torture leaking to the outside world is.
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not. well having themselves been imprisoned by the regime for five years and darwish for three and a half. in two thousand and two germany adopted the code of crimes against international law meaning it can now try to crimes against humanity war crimes and genocide in germany even if they were committed elsewhere in accordance with the principle of universal jurisdiction it's tough only the state is utterly unrealistic right now and to think that syria itself could take these cases to trial they can see the principle enables any state in the world to assume jurisdiction and investigate these crimes. all you have to want. and the tension in germany for example across the queue the perpetrator should they
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enter the country. despite them having no connection to germany despite the crime having been committed in syria and then probably being a syrian national that is the background to the principle of universal jurisdiction . and while bernie is reluctant to take time out from his work he does make exceptions for journalists due to the public safety factor something you learn from decades of cases in damascus representing those persecuted for political reasons. his commitment to human rights and freedom of expression would not have been possible without the involvement of journalists from outside syria and also afforded him protection but after syria signed an international convention against torture in two thousand and four our bunny was deemed too dangerous for the regime. we hope it will be side to do something we know he will not do so because
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syrian side with many agreement international agreement and in go it in. so we'd like to use this agreement to say stop the torture in syria and in fact they arrested me after two years because i think i spoke about torture. in place in syria there is that need for. one year after his release in twenty eleven his friend and fellow activist high level mark to close abducted the figure of all foreign t. in the syrian legal world to this day nobody has seen or heard from him since. money feels it is his duty to continue their common struggle for justice and the key issue here and the jails run by the intelligence agencies everybody in syria from himself over from the stories of that they should need who were released or
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their parents. but the detention in the jail or in the station. but they didn't spoke about it because afraid they didn't spoke loudly that public the more secret weapon of this regime to put the people in fields in europe or just feel. to head up or. feel. it's still a secret weapon it was a tradition. to mix up the bush titled. marzan darwish also has a photo of missing lawyer mark took on his war alongside photos of friends and colleagues who have likewise disappeared darwish is a lawyer and activist for the syrian center for media and freedom of expression.
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darwish founded the center in damascus in two thousand and four when it was raided for a third time in twenty twelve the air force intelligence service arrested groove fourteen staff including darwish and his wife you're are there. now to being the last to be released in twenty fifteen he fled to berlin since then he's been continuing his struggle to ensure a democratic and peaceful syria. they both. faces this scandal for. torture the bad condition. of their families who feel that they. ignore nobody care about their suffering. and really if we don't find. justice a solution for the people of food food just there's no justice on the. human
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right it's. that it's not that fate so we push it to go to the extent of the. thought. that i was a sham like either or. human rights organizations has to make that well over one hundred thousand people in syria are in captivity or have disappeared eighty percent of them following government orders . many families in syria have somebody who is missing where they detained or disappeared. manson darwish and here are by their determined to ensure that these people are not forgotten they launched a global search for witnesses from syria in their efforts to file criminal charges . the united
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nations have proved to be a singular disappointment for seven years the body has been observing events in syria starting with the revolution and its violent suppression of the un human rights council set up a commission of inquiry which has since compiled thousands of documents on crimes against humanity in syria but no action has been taken darwish embodied ten what is now its fourteenth session. can this we cannot allow impunity. if impunity prevails in syria and should work crimes and crimes against humanity will become legal everywhere. without legal review the terrorist continue to escalate it will work that is why justice is so important to us of this mean glad that. the human rights activists want to be heard before the united nations as
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a voice of syria's civilian population as a voice committed soley to human rights not compromised by overriding political interests. we continue to strongly support the mandate of the commission of inquiry and welcome its critical work in investigating agree just human rights violations and abuses as well as violations of international humanitarian law of which the syrian government remains the primary perpetrator but widespread practice of enforced disappearances torture and execution by the regime reinforces the need for a transition to a government that can protect the rights of all syrians demands consistently dismissed by the syrian government and backed up by russia in that election the election commission bases its work on statements from anonymous witnesses which is not credible with of a new uses reports from dubious sources and from governments hostile to syria. the
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commission is not trustworthy. you're not the commissioner makes no mention of the war crimes that were committed with weapons from the united states with. the human rights activists are determined to prevent the politicians having the only opinion on events in their country. the young woman arrested by the syrian regime on terrorism charges presents her central demand. that would mean that are we just as a democratic transition and accountability we cannot proceed without official recognition of the crimes committed without compensation for the victims as part of an investigation by a transitional justice higher than a camel out there and. when it's the turn of nongovernmental organizations to speak of the end of the commission meeting most journalists are no longer listening. all
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eyes ears and cameras on this day or on carla del ponte the syrian commission's most determined special investigator resigns because even in the seventh year of the investigation there is still no criminal court for syria on behalf of the international community she has documented the most serious human rights violations to no avail. i resign to put an end to my frustration as a former prosecutor after more than five years active in the commission. we call not up chain from the international community and from the security council it is a little short putting in place a trade deal not a tribunal or dock for that but for the crimes of that that komi did in syria and we are in just seven year of the commission of crimes severe crimes against humanity including genocide and war crimes can be tried in the international
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criminal court in the hague one hundred twenty four countries have read. it's all thora to but syria is not among them which is why the hague is not an option here the last resort would be for the security council to have the case referred to a special tribunal on syria. but so far attempts have been vetoed by russia and china. carla del ponte essentially did not want to be an alibi for inaction by the international community. so excited to see that right now i don't see a way out of this i don't see the political will to achieve justice and actually get other. by and i still imagine that the high official is a political and military leaders might one day appear in court. but if it is a little bit careful gets a hold lot i have to admit it's only
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a small unfortunately and health. and human rights violations documented in syria are appalling you. know you for i have come across a new methods of torture i had never heard of before in forty years on foot i live in bandra most importantly. other torch it involves keeping people alive for as long as possible before they die. and that is unbelievable this is gladly meanwhile the syrian human rights activists refuse to give up on their course. and know that tomorrow there is nothing to change we will not get to model my whose results were this is a process we should keep fighting keep trying to achieve some succeed and this is a lot apart from the justice for all. to take time need
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a little for a fourth and walk the most from what on earth to keep the voice of the victim the voice of the family is the listen here and then an international of. our beer five hoot and holler our us new things who get dangerous when one thousand sided to join the attempted revolution in twenty eleven anyone talking of freedom and democracy risked jail but the artist and her future husband refused to be intimidated the resistance to the regime of bolstered their confidence in state security forces began shooting at the demonstrators they considered alternative forms of protest the would not make them direct targets. was like i don't know more than hundred a lot of number of people and they would they work freedom. democracy
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and we just threw a lot of number of balls from the street the same see the cars work on and this and the board could keep going down until it nearby the house that had lived in and it was so beautiful and another one that with the red thing it was like also because i love it in the lakes we have a lot of fountains in the mosques in a lot of squares and the color that the. waterworld raids the same time we were we were covering the sport and there were like hundreds of people killed in violence and only that. it was protests likely that led them to being added to the intelligence agencies wanted list before the first year of the revolution was over agents tracked down a high lead and a beer and took them to branch two one five. this . was. when it
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comes to the issue of human rights violations the syrian community in berlin rallies together they include torture survivors and families who do not know where their loved ones are or whether they are even alive. the organizers of this meeting in berlin also invited kathleen mushy head of the un's new investigation on serious war crimes in syria established despite fears resistance from russia he said of just gathering documents she has been tasked with preparing court proceedings despite the absence of assyria tribunals the former french judge praises the efforts of the syrian lawyers and is frank in her criticism of the international community's failures it is a syrian society not that originally the prosecutors are the judges were taking the lead in the civil society that decides that report is in earth and that we need action traditional action they convince. very courageous and and very
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professional prosecutors that they have cases for marzan darwish those independent status is essential. their witnesses are afraid of becoming victims of revenge again once the regime has regained complete control you know that is why we need a neutral institution affiliated to the u.n. so that the witnesses feel comfortable testifying and do not have to be silent on what happened. or why them and. june the twenty ninth twenty seventeen and historic day in cannes were home to germany supremum court. masson darwish gave testimony to germany's attorney general. it was the first time the journalist was able to speak before judicial officials without fearing his statements could land him in prison.
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yeah actually that is the look of. the most and what them in their hope that we can send them and so that there is no more impunity and justice that's what's the will even for the syrian of that all of them and we're used to this level as a human being we don't accept this kind of. war crime or crime against them the city and humanity and say no this is not the what a problem for a lot of. muslim darwish was questioned by the german state attorneys over the course of two days he testified on his own three year imprisonment and how he was tortured daily for an entire year you also reported about friends in the same prison who did not survive the ordeal i am a trainee dentist was tortured to death and there are photos of girls whose body and those of over six thousand others. all the syrian military photographer had to
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take pictures of those tortured to death after over two years he could no longer stomach it and deserted subsequently smuggling his photos out of the country he is codenamed caesar for his own protection his pictures catalogue the systematic human rights crimes by the regime in damascus. on this particular day darwish was interviewed for twelve hours with many traumatic memories resurfacing. the german attorney general was unusually candid in his assessment of the photos taken by caesar documenting the murderous torture. he sees in the caesar files testified to thousands of ordeals thousand bows and have desecrated bodies mention
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we have subjected the files to a legal and forensic examination i know you will meet its initial and. we want to clarify why these people had to die. and more investigations also have the aim of you terminating the who the originator is about fish who is responsible for these people having to die in such conditions and was indecent we believe that the caesar files are authentic the. distant and. france has also opened investigations into the responsible parties from the syrian regime. five years ago the life of. change radically the french syrian and his wife stopped going dancing and playing bridge and going out to meet friends. they had received a phone call from obey their sister in law in damascus the syrian air force intelligence service had conducted
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a nighttime raid on her home in the upscale embassy district first taking away her son patrick. the next day they picked up obeyed his brother. a french teacher a fellow prisoner released shortly afterwards told him what he saw. they had to stand with their heads against the wall for twelve hours. then had taken off his slippers. then in the afternoon they brought patrick in. they were forbidden to speak but. dad no problem finding. his father asked were you tortured. no no i'm all right but he wanted to reassure his father but after what the witness told us we did have the impression that they had tortured the boy. then they were separated again. then was led into
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a cell and his last words we knew were let me out of here i'm suffocating that was it the last sign of life. durbar decided to take action using contacts in syria proved a hopeless undertaking he then addressed the french president the foreign minister and other senior officials his brother and nephew like yourself are french citizens the bar received polite and sympathetic responses from the palace. you're off up in iraq on the door of the world right to the top. as well but nothing else happened at all. not immediately but then french t.v. picked up on the story the international federation for human rights intended to refer the case to the french judiciary. then file charges in paris concerning
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inforced disappearance with lawyer aspect that now finally state prosecutors launched proceedings. with the assad regime providing zero information on the whereabouts of the brother and nephew witness testimony is vital. claim aspect tard contacted human rights organizations to find people who had been in the same prison at the same time bill forat is in syria denied all accusations of kidnapping. on that. and while bruni learn informed her that there was one witness in germany he had likewise been in the maze a prison run by the air force intelligence service for them in the. law and according to our burning on the witness was able to provide detailed testimony. is one which officers served their power interrogations were conducted. and how the
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general conditions were there. the fact that a dictatorial regime makes people disappear and provides no information for the family is a form of terror it is political terror that is used deliberately it's an organized set up the fact that obeyed and the whole family are in the dark about the fate of passion and mars then is the decision of the bash al asad regime and that's what we're trying to say it's organized and i said it's our secret war we say if there are orders involved. to say it was planned this way fast. the next day and while bernie arrives in paris as does the witness from germany who did not wish to be filmed because he still has relatives living in syria. revealing
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his identity would put them at risk of reprisals potentially fatal from the regime . that fear also complicates the work of investigators in europe across the continent there are witnesses of victims and also perpetrators who have defected the authorities in paris only have access to the witness from germany because the syrian lawyer was able to gain his confidence. and while goony intends to testify himself before french investigators another in cling of hope for abated. as in germany the aim is to see international arrest warrants issued against the heads of syrian intelligence a warning shot to those responsible if they arrested while crossing an international border they could then face trial a move also intended to discourage the perpetrators from committing further acts of
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violence. for four years now abated obama has been waiting for a sign of life from his brother and nephew. khalid around us has found a job as a mechanical engineer in the german port city of bismarck which will be the small family's new house. his daughter years mina has never set foot in syria her parents homeland. and i've moved more than eight times in the last five years. yeah but there's no place like home proper that is. hope to go back soon. and we ask him what home means
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to him. i don't yet have a clear answer on that. it's unfair for me. home is where i am. and where i find my goal. my. the outbreak of the revolution meant to dream come true for a beer she was overjoyed to see syrians daring to go out onto the streets and peacefully stand up for their rights what is since happened there however she finds extremely distressing. has become a civil war in the media and our revolution to become that isis that is all over that no one ever talks about the regime anymore and this is really hurt us because there's a lot of people being. killed in
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a lot of people being tortured is too narrow a president you know. so. more a seriously. and while bernie wants to hear the testimony of additional witnesses in norway is only option is to travel from one country to the next to prepare for the case until perhaps there is after all an international tribunal on syria. has alberni waits to meet a witness he receives a devastating phone call. the caller tells him of rumors that his old friend and colleague has died in captivity they have been no news of him for five years the rumors are unconfirmed but the call is deeply upsetting for everyone who knew him.
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said news for us anyway when. the us. he was arrested and. i just knew all its move a lot of washing of all his remarks for. me meets the witness in his hotel her son was twenty two when he was arrested by syrian military intelligence the young man now wants to submit a detailed account of his ordeal the lawyer looks for evidence that corroborates reports from other witnesses before combining the individual statements to form a broader picture. of what it was. son was crammed into
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a four by four meters cell with one hundred ten other people they were stripped and forced to stand all day long they were allowed to go to the toilet once a day and had to sleep on top of each other all they were given to eat was bread and dirty water many suffocated others died of starvation or because their wounds from torture were left untreated. it's been six months since a beer and khaled filed criminal charges with german prosecutors with the help of anwar alberni the case has set a precedent being the first example of war crimes and human rights violations being investigated while the conflict in question is still ongoing actually this conflict and it's part i think of from people for most international justice is one our life like it's a big name right now there are those who never started it doesn't level and we just
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want to continue we are not going to surrender about like everything but that's out there it's a message to the people of people that being a family that has a black son has been killed in torture it's it's it's worth it for the people that's told it brings out. that we are thinking about it and we are believe something that is a right. you know not in in only like talking or only like a tap you know report or whatever we are we are trying to do like actually on. the day on which anwar al boonie delivers his testimony to the german attorney general in carl's were is perhaps one of the most important in his life. i
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feel when we start to close friends and close that. it's a bit because it's my duty my good to help just. to find. some hope hole in. the syrian future and while bunny will senior is alie mom look ahead of all four intelligence services and twenty twelve he was appointed director of the national security bureau. left ten a general rafi chair had dame head of military intelligence until twenty fifteen and considered a close adviser to a sat on strategic issues. his successor mohammed is also among the accused gen mohammed was the head of the notorious torture center branch two three five. head of the air force intelligence service is considered the most brutal official likewise stands accused of involvement in the violent suppression of the civilian
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population the german prosecutor has two objectives. to nix the most firstly you see those people who are parties to these crimes by full those who were responsible for torture initially work rhymes and crimes against humanity is the kind we want them to know that germany is not a safe haven. and to the victims we also want to give them the clear message that they are being taken seriously allan's our aim is to investigate the suffering they were subjected to and also to look at the perpetrators who provided they're here in germany or europe and make them accountable and of what institution. that is the hope for the syrians the hope for justice and a life in freedom. how we can. get on. that stand up and yes i was here.
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for the source i think it's very important the justice of accountability of cancer i'm just. here myself to give i hope for the. good. happy. with my children i hope the source of my children and their children will become a friend actually in. the arms of a close friend and really. i don't. no you would not believe she's a nice. person i would think. it would not be quite sure push if i mean like i. said. maybe i should see that you're not look i've missed her. input spoke of mine i think of my daughter.
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and so i wanted to feel comfortable in the future when she might ask me for haagen is what did you do about them it has to come out on the fourth i want to be able to send an unambiguous message to my daughter now faced with i'm that we did do something massive amount of the shit can the viet if i just get my album. where i will act and i will live as a person has the brights and no one has the right to take my wife from me this is what i want my daughter to see to see me not pm. labeled. or her the following a follow the lead without think. i will just leave the life there wouldn't let my daughter know that she can do anything shoe bombs if it's the
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right thing to do. why not go out and they will not succeed in dividing us so that i will not succeed in taking the people off the streets because we're tired of the stick trying to shelter. taking the stand global news that matters d. w. made from minds. anxiously waiting. waiting for
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a lifeline to syria. good morning where are you why don't you answer to every call brings them closer together. but it hurts because they feel powerless to help. they worry about the ones they've left behind. but really i'm trying to be strong but deep down i'm broken. the war continues to haunt those who fled from syria. and i'm trying to reach them but nobody else has. the war on my phone or two part documentary starts december eighth on t w.
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this is. tonight the u.s. president's former attorney pleads guilty to congress over. the fleet drawing sharp criticism from the u.s. president who claims that michael cohen is just trying to get a wider prison said he will go to washington for the ladies meanwhile president his camp with a meeting with russian president vladimir putin.

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