tv Democracy Now LINKTV May 23, 2013 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
05/23/13 05/23/13 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] >> from pacifica, this is democracy now! some have called such operations assassinations. they are not. the use of that loaded term is misplaced. assassinations are unlawful killings. >> for the first time the obama administration has admitted it has killed four u.s. citizens including a teenaged boy. we will speak with jeremy scahill, author of the new book, "dirty wars: the world is a battlefield."
you can simply have one branch of government unilaterally and in secret declare an american citizen should be executed or assassinated without having to present any evidence whatsoever, it to me, we should view that with great sobriety about the implications for our country. >> as guatemala's high court ríos montt genocide conviction, we will speak with helen mack who fought for years to bring to justice the government forces who assassinated her sister, the anthropologist myrna mack, september 11, 1990. did not accept the peace agreement. even the civilian government was wanting to humanize the conflict, the military did not, so she was killed in a framework. >> the mexican priest, father
solalinde, on the crisis faced by central and south american migrants who transit through mexico on their way to the united states. more coming up. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the obama administration has formally acknowledged u.s. drone strikes killed four americans in yemen and pakistan. in a letter to congress, attorney general eric holder confirm the u.s. deliberately killed a militant cleric anwar al awlaki in yemen in 2011. he also acknowledged the deaths of his 16-year-old son, abdulrahman, and his elder aid samir khan in yemen as well as the death of jude kenan mohammed in pakistan. upholder suggested those strikes or accidental, saying all three were not specifically targeted. mohammed's killing had previously been unknown and of wednesday he was still on the fbi's most wanted list. holders letter was revealed on the eve of today's major counterterrorism address from
president obama. the president is expected to announce a policy limiting targeted killing outside of four sons in places such as pakistan, yemen, and somalia and also expected to endorse using the same standards for attacking foreign suspects now used for targeting american citizens. the move could in the so-called signature strikes that treat foreign males and target zones as militants unless they're proven innocent after death. more after the headlines with jeremy scahill. president obama will also use his speech to outline the covers to close u.s. military prison at guantanamo. he reportedly is preparing to gradually lift his more than three-year ban on repatriating yemeni prisoners. the crew transfers will likely begin at a slow pace of around two or three prisoners at a time. more than half of the 166 prisoners have been cleared for transfer. over 100 are currently on hunger strike to protest their indefinite imprisonment. in a letter to the pentagon, a
group of lawyers for the guantanamo prisoners pleaded for preconditions at the prison, writing -- the financial cost of this week's devastating tornado in moore, oklahoma could top $2 billion. the oklahoma city mayor told reporters the storm may have damaged up to 13,000 homes. >> the numbers of this event are becoming even more staggering. 33,000 people affected, 12,000 to 13,000 homes impacted, property damage is $1.5 billion to $2 billion. this event will take awhile to address. >> the death toll from the tornado stands at 24 after initial estimates of 91 dead were revised. six people remain unaccounted for. president obama is scheduled to visit oklahoma on sunday.
the fbi says the man shot dead in florida on wednesday implicated himself and boston marathon suspect tamerlan tsarnaev in a 2011 triple murder. agents were questioning ibragim todashev at his orlando apartment when hilla to try to attack them. an initial report says he lunged at agents with a knife, but law enforcement agents said the details are unclear. the fbi is claiming todashev admitted that he and tsarnaev were involved in killing three men in massachusetts to prevent a potential testimony over a botched drug deal. a bystander videotaped one of two suspects moments after the killing, holding a cleaver in his bloodied hand. speaking to the camera, the man delivered a political message signaling ties to islamist militant sikh. i formust fight, and night and a tooth for tooth.
eye and a tooth for a tooth. the governments don't care about you. >> the man and another suspect tried to engage in similar changes with bystanders and later shot and detained by british police. the attack occurred near a british military site that has deployed soldiers to both iraq and afghanistan. the obama administration is vowing to increase military aid for syria's armed rebels unless president bashar al-assad complies with demands for talks. secretary of state john kerry issued the threat at a friends of syria meeting in jordan. >> in the event we cannot find that way forward, in the event the al-assad regime is not willing to negotiate geneva one in good faith, we will also talk about our continued support and growing support for the opposition. in order to permit them to continue to be able to fight for
the freedom of their country. >> the u.s. and russia are expected to convene a global conference on the syrian conflict in the coming weeks. the chicago board of education has approved a plan to carry out the largest mass school closing in history. on wednesday, the board voted to close 50 public schools. together they account for close to 10% of chicago's elementary schools. chicago mayor rahm emanuel has pushed for the closures, citing a $1 billion deficit. chicago teachers and parents have led a vocal campaign against the closures, staging rallies and filing a lawsuit last accusing the city of discriminating against affected students. in a statement, chicago teachers union president karen lewis said -- a sergeant at west point military academy has become the latest army official to be charged with sexual misconduct. sergeant michael mcclendon is
accused of indecent acts, reportedly videotaping female cadets in the shower. his case follows recent sex allegation charges against three separate military officials who served formal roles in the effort to prevent sexual harassment and assault. the head of the irs division at the heart of the scandal over the targeted vetting of right- wing groups has refused to testify before congress. appearing before the house oversight and government reform committee, lois boehner denied wrongdoing but invoked her constitutional right to avoid self-incrimination. >> i have not violated any irs rules or regulations and i have not provided false information to this or any other congressional committee. and while i would very much like to answer the committee's questions today, i have been advised by counsel to assert my constitutional right not to testify or answer questions related to the subject matter of this hearing. >> lois lerner was the first irs official to publicly acknowledge right wing groups were subjected
to extra scrutiny in a flood of applications from groups seeking charitable tax exemptions. but questions have swirled around her role. in colorado, the governor has stayed the execution of a death row prisoner by citing moral concerns about the death penalty. on wednesday, governor hickenlooper announced a temporary reprieve for nathan dunlap, colorado's longest serving death row inmates. he was scheduled for execution in august for 1996 quadruple murder. in a statement, the governor said -- those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> welcome to all our listeners and viewers from around the country and around the world. for the first time the obama
administration a bit wednesday it had killed four u.s. citizens in drone strikes overseas. three of the men were killed in yemen -- the muslim cleric anwar al awlaki, his 16-year-old son abdulrahman, and samir khan. a fourth man, whose death was not cris the reported, jude kenan mohammed, was killed in pakistan. the fbi had mohammed listed on its most wanted list until yesterday, even though he was secretly killed by the u.s. in 2011. in a letter to senator patrick leahy, u.s. attorney general eric holder said of the four u.s. citizens, only anwar awlaki was specifically targeted. he said the other three citizens were "not specifically targeted by the united states." he gave no other details on their deaths. his letter also did not address the thousands of non u.s. citizens to and killed by u.s. drones. according to the bureau of investigative journalism, u.s. drone strikes have killed as many as 3900 people in pakistan,
yemen, and somalia since 2002. most of them occurred under president obama. >> white house official said president obama will defend the program during his major speech today on counter-terrorism. it is reported obama signed a new classified policy guidance that would allow for drone strikes to continue pakistan, yemen, and somalia but under new rules. the times reports the new standard could and a signal -- could signal an end to signature strikes, which allowed for the killing of individuals based on behavior and other characteristics without knowing their actual identity. for more we go to terry scahill, author of the new book, "dirty wars: the world is a battlefield." premiers june 7. he is the national security correspondent for the nation, author of "blackwater" and democracy now! correspondent. fromng us by videostream troy, new york, welcome back to
democracy now! can you respond to the statement, the letter of the attorney general? >> i actually think there raises more questions than it answers. for the first time eric colder it admitted the u.s. -- he did not say assassinated, i call it assassinated one of its own citizens, and more and awlaki -- anwar awlaki. the 9/11ndemned attacks. he was really radicalized by u.s. policy and ended up going back to his ancestral homeland of yemen and started preaching against the u.s.. beginning in mid 2009, the obama administration decided to try to take him out. after numerous attempts to kill him with drone strikes, the americans succeeded in killing him in 2011. eric holder's letter talks about how al-awlaki had directed the
so-called underwear bomber who try to blow up a u.s. airplane over detroit on christmas day in 2009. what is interesting, all of these allegations are made by their holder, but no actual evidence has been presented against awlaki to indicate he played the role that eric holder is asserting. his trial is basically litigated through leaks in the press. he was never indicted on these charges. holder says we have this evidence, but it is too dangerous to be made public. there is a continuation of posthumous trial of anwar awlaki and now this letter from holder. on the issue of the other americans killed, jude kenan mohammed was a suspect who had been indicted and his family is contesting the charges. we do not know those circumstances of how he was killed.
samir khan from north carolina was killed alongside al- .wlaki' they looked at tried to charge him with a crime and fell to get an indictment. his family was told by the fbi before his death there were no criminal charges pending against him, so he was another american killed. perhaps the most disturbing killed is the killing of anwar al awlaki's 16-year-old son, abdulrahman, who was killed two weeks after his father while he was having dinner with his teenage cousin. in the letter, eric holder says besides anwar awlaki, the other three americans were not specifically targeted. what does that mean that >> it is almost like an orwellian statement, not specifically targeted. it could mean there were killed and the signature strikes, which is a fort -- sort of pre-crime. any military aged male and a
targeted area are considered terrorists and their deaths will be listed as death of a militant. it is possible the other americans killed were killed and the so-called signature strike. in the case of the 16-year-old boy, it is almost impossible to believe it was it when since two weeks after his father is killed he happens to be killed in u.s. drone strike. there were leaks from u.s. officials telling journalists he was 21 years old, at an al qaeda meeting. they have never been able to identify who they killed in that strike. the obama administration has never publicly taken on the fact they killed one of their own citizens who was a teenage boy. there are no answers to that question. i think there has to be a far more intense scrutiny of the statements of the attorney general and what we understand the president is going to say later. >> in his letter to congress, eric holder said of the four americans killed by drones that only anwar al awlaki was specifically targeted by those
drones. during his appearance on the rachel maddow show, the former pentagon general counsel was as of this means the other three americans were effectively killed by accident. this was his response. >> they are effectively saying it was an accident. >> they were not targeted as part of the specific operations. >> but killed anyway. >> they were killed. >> doesn't that -- shouldn't that afford their families some kind of recourse? >> that is a very good question. i think he should put that to the department of justice. >> if i were putting it to you, what would you say as a lawyer? >> like i said, it is an interesting question. it is an important one. as you probably know, anwar awlaki's father brought a second lawsuit after his son was killed for wrongful death, seeking damages for the loss of his son and grandson. i believe that lawsuit is still
pending right now. >> the was the former pentagon general counsel. jeremy, your response? and your sense of this upcoming trial, what it might reveal? >> it is interesting when rachel maddow is pushing this, so you're saying this is an accident, he does not say yes. he says they were not specifically targeted. i'm not sure what he means. i think it is telling his parsing words in that way. i think it is possible this was a signature strike or some other form of strike that we are not aware of because they are not actually saying, this was an accident that we kill these americans. they are using terms that are orwellian. when the department of justice white paper was leaked shortly before john brennan had his confirmation hearing, we learned the justice department and the administration lawyers had redefined the term "imminent."
they said if anyone had been involved with past plots against the u.s., there would be considered an imminent threat to the u.s. they are redefining terms and making it so they don't have to actually own the fact that kill their own citizens. if someone is specifically targeted, if you are wanting to kill them because of a bully or principle that any military aged male and a certain region is a legitimate target, that would fall under the rhetoric of jeh johnson and the eric holder letter. i think congress needs to step it up and ask how these americans were killed. i also think on both the moral level and my understanding on a legal level is it is irrelevant if they are americans or not. i think it is important because how a society will treat its own citizens is a good indicator of how it will treat noncitizens around the world. if the basic standards of due process are not been afforded to american citizens, they certainly are not born to be
afforded to non-american citizens. i see this as a high-stakes issue that we're facing an with a congress that is largely fallin to ask questions. >> we want to go back to jeh johnson being questioned by rachel maddow on her show on msnbc. he said eric holder's letter set for this do standard on the counter-terrorism activities. >> the individual must be a continuing and imminent threat to americans and that capture should not be feasible. those standards previously were only in place when it comes to u.s. citizens. what the letter discloses is that from this point on, and this has probably been in place for a while, that standard will be in place for any targeted lethal force of the so-called hot battlefield. that is a pretty rigorous standard. i think it is acknowledgment we're moving to a different phase in our counter-terrorism efforts. we have been in a so-called armed conflict for almost last 12 years that has involved a
u.s. military and other aspects of the u.s. government. we are in a different phase. i will call it an inflection point where core al qaeda has been effectively disseminated, captured or killed, and we see splinter groups, affiliate's in north africa and other places. so i think what you're seeing now is an acknowledgement we need to move away from conventional armed conflicts to the more traditional approaches to counter-terrorism where you have intelligence assets, law enforcement assets, the military and research, and the bar is one to be really high when it comes to targeted lethal force. going that is probably forward, a significant thing in the attorney general's letter. >> that is a former pentagon general counsel speaking to rachel maddow. jeremy scahill, your response to what he is saying?
>> when you redefine the term and a threat, anything goes. i take all of this with a grain of salt. it looks good on paper and i think it is good to win praise from a lot of liberals and will probably draw the ire of conservatives, but the issue is, the president, like his predecessors, has asserted the right to strike in any country around the world and effectively subscribe to the doctor in the world is the battlefield. as long as that remains on the books that the u.s. says, we are different every other nation around the world and that we have the right to strike in any country where we perceive imminent threat and "imminent" has been redefined, then none of this is one to fundamentally change. there is a debate going on in congress about whether to make permanent some version of what was called the authorization for the use of military force. this was a blank checks passed by congress in italy after 9/11
that authorized u.s. forces to hunt down those with a connection to the 9/11 attacks were ever the word -- were in the world. only barbara lee opposed that. she saw a lot of this coming. this perpetual state of war. when you take the fact the u.s. has both republican and democratic presidents that assert the world is a battlefield and of a popular democratic president, constitutional lawyer by trade who won the nobel peace prize who is trying to streamline and create a sort of permanent infrastructure for conducting assassination operations, then whether they are treating it and have drawn court or say we will use these redefined definitions to determine who can strike and cannot strike, it is really just assuring this is going to continue on in perpetuity. i think there is a bit of dog and pony show going on despite the fact there are these overtures to the anti targeted
killing or assassination. they are saying, we're going to do this in a cleaner way. this has been one mass of dirty operation. >> on the same day attorney general eric holder admitted u.s. had killed anwar awlaki and his son for the justice department dropped its effort to throw out a lawsuit over documents related to his death. oral arguments are scheduled this july in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the attacks. anwar awlaki's father, nasser al-awlaki, spoke earlier this year about his killing of his grandson. the attack came as the denver- born teenager was eating dinner with his teenage cousin. he was killed just weeks after his father was assassinated. this is nasser al-awlaki. >> i want americans to know about my grandson, that he was a very nice boy. he was a very caring boy for his family, for his mother and
brothers. in august 1995 in the state of colorado, city of denver. he was raised in america. i never thought that one day, this boy, this nice boy, would be killed by his own government. >> that was nasser al-awlaki. ccr-aclu tape. >> this is a very important lawsuit that has been brought by dr. nasser al-awlaki. in full disclosure, i have spent time with the family and spent a lot of time with most of the awlaki family. there is not a shred of evidence to indicate that abdulrahman, this teenager, had
anything whatsoever to do with terrorism, yet he was killed in this drone strike the white house has not said, this is why this boy was killed. all we have are the statements from people like senator harry reid who is the senate majority leader when asked about the killing of these three americans, including the 16- year-old boy, he said if there are three americans that deserve to be killed, it was those three. when i got him to comment on why the 16-year-old aide to be killed, his office did not respond. this is a man offering the highest level of the legislative branch. robert gibbs, the white house press secretary, was asked about the killing, that a spokesman for the obama campaign in 2012, was asked about the killing of abdulrahman and his answer was, he should of had a more responsible father. that is really reprehensible. you have absolute silence from the obama white house as to why this and man was killed. for them to use a term like not
specifically targeted without defining what they mean by that, i think undermines any sense of due process or judicial process for not just this american teenager, but for all who are being targeted in these operations. by a broader concern about this is this white house in the face of lawsuits brought by the families of these american citizens, even before anwar awlaki was killed his father had filed a lawsuit try to compel the government to present actual evidence his son was involved in terror plots and the obama administration and the justice department intervened in the case and filed briefs saying the evidence is too sensitive to be made public. they had decorations from the cia director panetta, director of national intelligence james clapper, then defense secretary robert gates saying if we present evidence against anwar awlaki, it was run the very national security of the u.s. this was a classic cheney and bush tactic being used by the constitutional --
>> we have 10 seconds. >> in the end, i think the stakes will be very high in this case. it will be interesting to see if obama administration tries to quash the lawsuit i tried to hide behind state secrets. >> jeremy scahill speaking to us from troy, new york. he is author of the new book, "dirty wars: the world is a battlefield." his producer and writer of a new documentary by the same name which is opening in theaters around the country on june 7. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. when we come back, we will be joined by the guatemalan human rights activist helen mack. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
guatemala.now to the country's top court has overturned the genocide conviction of former u.s.-backed military dictator efraín rios montt. in a historic verdict earlier this month, ríos montt was sentenced to 80 years for genocide and crimes against humanity in the killings of more than 1700 ixil nine people in the early 1980's. but now the status of the verdict is in question. in a three to two ruling monday, the guatemalan constitutional court dismissed all the case's proceedings dating back to a month ago. it was then that the court first annulled the case amidst a dispute between judges over jurisdiction. this is the constitutional court deputy secretary. said in the face of the legal process will be intercepted and to the process from april 19, 2013. all proceedings before that date are annulled.
>> in the run-up to its latest decision to overturn the court had come under heavy lobbying from rios montt supporters, including guatemala's powerful business association, cacif. ríos montt remains in a military hospital where he was admitted last week. this legal status is now up in the air. he will likely be released into house arrest, and it is not clear when or if he will return to court. >> for more we're joined by helen mack, one of guatemala's most well-known human rights activists. she is the president of the myrna mack foundation, named after her sister, an anthropologist who was assassinated in guatemala on september 11, 1990. helen spent 14 years bringing the officers and generals responsible for her sister's murder to justice. doyle,re joined by kate senior analyst of u.s. policy in latin america and the director of the guatemala documentation project at the nationals of three archive. she also attended the rios montt genocide trial in guatemala,
filing reports from inside the courtroom for the open society foundation. she is featured in the documentary, "granito: how to nail a dictator." mack, kate doyle, welcome to democracy now! helen, your response to the overturning of this verdict? predictable. a since the very beginning, it was very clear the legal strategy the defense wanted, they never wanted to dismiss all the charges that were given to ríos montt, so everyone was expecting this. we lostfor guatemala, an opportunity and for the victims, we lost respect. the justice system does not work for everyone. elite that it the
works. due process is only according to what i want to be understand. it is not what is the law. >> what was the actual argument the court used to overturn the verdict, the sentence? >> every ruling they have been given is under the legal issues. even the two judges from the constitutional court have a dissented opinion and saying, we don't have to roll right now because that is ordinary justice. they want to do it because they want to cancel, but that never had the intention to really discuss in a healthy way of the was or wasn't genocide. >> helen mack, we all know about september 11, 2001 when 3000 people were incinerated in a
moment in this country, but there was another september 11 red september 1199 with the murder of your sister myrna mack. can you tell us what happened to her? and then have you sought justice and a conviction, in some cases that were overturned later reinstated, how her story, or sister story in 1990, fits into the genocide trial of ríos montt? >> my sister was making research about displaced people. she was documenting many of the stories that happen in the ixil area. she documented that and that is part of what we were discussing in the genocide case. in many of her notes, there were part of the process in the genocide case but also it was part of the peace accord
returning for the displaced and refugees peoples' status. that is why it is like extended justice also for my sister. everything has been proved now. >> who killed your sister? >> it was the high command. the genocide case took 13 years to build. that means when they accused us, [indiscernible] how many military victims had the patience to bring the case for 14 years. >> when your sister was killed, what are you doing at the time? what was your political orientation in guatemala? >> i was on the other side of guatemala. i am a businesswoman. i was working on construction
building for housing projects and also educational projects. was really more conservative than what i am. i understood justice is justice. it does not matter if you are right wing or left wing. justice is justice. what we want is punishment for those who violated the law. >> kate doyle, i want to ask about your role in this whole process of the trial of ríos montt and imports of enough to secure it archives and you're able to uncover and assisting with this prosecution. >> the national security archives has worked for many years to try and cover the hidden history of u.s. policy in guatemala and other places around the world. one of the contributions that we made to this particular case was to obtain the
declassification of cia and pentagon embassy files that specifically identified what guatemala military officers were posted where in 1982, what kind of strategy and tactics for the guatemalan military using at that time, and even talking about some of the specific massacres that are at stake in this case. it is important the u.s. has such a close and supportive relationship with the guatemalan army all to the civil conflict, for that reason, the u.s. filed secret -- secret files are filled with information about how guatemala was functioning at that time and the ríos montt regime in particular. >> what was the u.s. doing when rios montt was in power? >> the u.s. had some years prior cut off all covert military assistance to guatemala under jimmy carter and restrictions on aid for human rights conditions. but the u.s. was extremely eager
to embrace ríos montt as an ally within its own strategic interest in central america at the time of the war against -- the secret war in nicaragua. the u.s. was in search of partners in the region to help them promote and promulgate that secret war. covert aidthe u.s. was cut off long before, cj finds, millions of dollars, continued to flow to military intelligence in guatemala. we discovered in a scandal some years later. >> helen mack, the case of myrna mack, was tried in 2002. so talk about who was found guilty and what happened to those verdicts. >> it was ordered by the high .ommand
doubt, of reasonable they exalt the general and the others and convicted one man. were goinge police to capture him, a military unit came in and took him great they helped him to flee. >> in terms of the implications of the proceedings and is ríos montt trial to the current government of guatemala and your sense of whether the current government officials were also implicated or involved in some of the genocide that was conducted against the mayan people? >> i think precisely because we have a president that is military, many other people feel this is a threat for constitutional justice.
[indiscernible] they prefer to be convicted before they talk. >> a kind of blood oath. >> yes. that is what happened in argentina. when some started talking, it was like a domino effect. that is what they're trying to not have happened in guatemala. that is why it is so hard to get convictions in guatemala or to get the military to talk. that is the importance of the documents that national city archives has done. andas documentary evidence many have testimonies that is verified that was what happened. >> so in the case of your sister myrna, an appeals court later overturned the conviction, just like with ríos montt. but then last year, it was
reinstated -- in 2003, rather, it was reinstated by the supreme court. kate doyle, do you see that possibility? where can this case go back up the case has been thrown out by this court, but it is not necessarily over. >> absolutely not. it is not over by any means. the survivors of the massacre who spoke for the first time in march and april are waiting in the wings. if they have to speak again, they will. the prosecutors are preparing to fight for their case. there is no doubt in my mind the team that brought this case to trial, that spent more than 10 years doing that -- and we should talk about when these talk about the survivors, spent more than 30 years doing that, saving the stories for this moment. that team is waiting to proceed. the kinds of people manipulation we have seen in this case as helen pointed out has happened
over and over again. not just in the case of the assassination of her sister, but many other cases. this is par for the course for the defense team in guatemala. unfortunately, they don't have a legal argument to protect their client. so they are using illegal manipulation to try to gain the system. >> and is the potential the case will be moved to another judge possible or will be sam judge continue to hear the case? >> it is not clear today at this moment what is going to happen. there is the potential this entire case will be moved to another tribunal so as to not pose the threat of double jeopardy to the defendants by hearing it in the same tribunal. >> the difference between this case and my sister's case, in my sister's case it was more clean in the sense they allowed the system to work. in this genocide case, they have not allow the system to work.
they have been manipulating since the very beginning so the rule of law has been weakening, especially the judicial power. i think the worst thing that can happen -- i think the idea and strategy of changing to another tribunal to make them free and there is no conviction for the genocide case. >> i want to turn to the declassified cia documents your organization, the national security archive, obtained for a freedom of information act request. it was a february 5, 1982 document that states --
as we wrap up, kate doyle, this trove of documents that you have that are the sort of part of the national security archives, how can people access them? and also, just the fact that clearly the u.s. government knew exactly what the guatemalan military was doing during the reagan years, and in continuing to flee and -- and millions of dollars. >> the reagan administration not only secretly funneled millions of dollars, but it openly flacked for this government. the secretary for human rights, for crying out loud, was on the
television and before the press and before congress over and over in telling the u.s. public how democratic and what a reformist this man was and why we have to support him. if your listeners or viewers want to take a look at the original to classified u.s. documents in this case and many others, making up to the national security archives archives.org/ guatemala. >> it has been an honor to have you with us. helen mack is running the myrna mack foundation and is a winner of the right livelihood award. kate doyle, guatemala documentation project at the national security archive. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. when we come back, father solalinde. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
>> this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman with juan gonzalez. >> as congress continues to shape an immigration reform bill that could provide a path to citizenship for some 11 million undocumented residents, we look now at the plight of those who rarely come up in this discussion -- migrants from central and south america who travel through mexico on the way to the u.s. many of them are fleeing violence and poverty in the country's only to face robberies, beatings, and kidnappings by smugglers who hold them for ransom. human rights groups estimate at least 20,000 central and south americans were kidnapped in mexico last year. that is more than 50 people a day. many do not survive and hundreds have been found in mass graves throughout the country. this is a clip from a short film forcted by marc silver amnesty international called,
>> that last voice you heard was father solalinde from the short film called "the invisibles." father solalinde joins us and our new york studio before heading home to mexico today. his a catholic priest on the caravan of hope across the united states to draw attention to the plight of central american migrants traveling here through mexico, more often deported into dangerous conditions. founder and director of the brothers in the road, a shelter for migrants in the southern mexican state of oaxaca, and
receive the 2012 national human rights award from mexico's president for his work. we're also joined by marco castillo. father solalinde, thank you so much for being with us. why have you come to this country? why the caravan of pope? -- why the caravan up hope? >> we think the immigration matter is a regional matter, so central america, mexico, the united states and canada and we believe that immigration reform is a vision of north america and so we are here in the caravan for help because we believe it
should be the whole region. >> and this whole issue of what happens to central american specifically in mexico, how big an issue is it in mexico? it is never discussed here in the united states. >> the situation has been different in mexico and central america. it is that people are looking for work and people are poor, just like they are here, and they're looking for better conditions so they can live in a dignified way. >> but what is the government in mexico during to attempt to prevent these kinds of assault and attacks and kidnappings?
>> and for the government of mexico, migration issues are not a party nor are the human rights issues internally in the country. >> can i ask you about san fernández, the mass graves bear? tell us where it is, what they are? >> unfortunately, sanford and note is a place we have not found published san fernández, it is a place where the guilty of not been published. >> who is buried there? >> [indiscernible] >> marco castillo, you have been organizing here. what is the impact of the reform
in terms of in the united states, especially the central americans who are coming across mexico? >> well, we welcome any effort that any government will offer around migration. unfortunately, we see this -- governments are seeing this and more than anything, congress is seen this as as a security. what we need is to bring the human rights and human being back to the center of human ability in the region. >> can you talk about the significance of this caravan of ope organizing your during the run immigration, and tell us your own story. >> of course. this caravan is a great opportunity to bring unity between mexico and the u.s.. we want to see ourself as a pop
[indiscernible] it has affected all of our dignity and human rights. a personal story, as thousands of others, migrants that have traveled to this country -- and i can specifically -- to bring the word and bring organizing efforts for both countries. >> father solalinde, there have been numerous threats against your own life. what kind of personal danger had you had to confront in advocating for migrants in mexico? >> so mainly, delinquent
organized crime and and that also public officials and police officials are part of that, and also is the creme of the cartels in the region. of the cartelse in the region. that, there are two things that are really important. 10,000 people who have been disappeared and kidnappings. >> and most of these kidnappings, how're they resolved? the people in central america -- the families in central america pay to free their relatives? so most of the people that
pass here are poor people and the criminals ask the families in the united states to pay money, so then the people that landed that money. once they come to the u.s., now they have to pay that money over a year or so while they work. >> can you tell us about the guns that come into mexico from the united states? >> so we have been here for about 30 days -- 24 days of the 30 days of the caravan. my experiences people need to speak of their own experience, and that is what michael spoke about, people speaking about
their own experience make 01 to ask about the change of government in mexico, the new president of mexico has tried to not have as much emphasis on the war on drugs as his predecessor did. the --a new government to see its policies implementing, hoping to change this current situation with the -- government? so the government believes in the six months they have been present, they can change the world but in fact, they cannot just change colors magically. they have to go through a process. >> what would be the main things they have to do to change that process?
>> first of, respecting human rights. second, listening to civil society and organizations there. and putting someone at the head of the commission for immigration that is in fact knows about human-rights. >> we wanted to give for being with us. we will continue the conversation and post it online. we will also be posting online a conversation we had recently at harvard university between jeremy scahill, author of "dirty -- noamd non tom ski chomsky. thank you for being with us. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to democracy now! p.o. box 693 new york, new york 10013.
[captioning made possible by democracy now!] this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. the obama administration has confirmed the u.s. illegally -- al-a man in yemen yemen.in they also confirmed the death of son. -- his but the administration said those strikes were accidental, saying all three were not specifically targeted. today, we are going to look at the new book "dirty wars"
written by jeremy scahill, former democracy now producer and now writes with the correspondence as well. and italled "dirty wars" is based on u.s. operations in somalia, yemen, and afghanistan. the majors -- the major focus is the u.s. assassination of these two who were killed in a u.s. aug strike -- drone strike week apart. i had the opportunity to interview jeremy scahill about his book when we were here in new york. i asked him to start with who i anwar al-awlaki is. >> two of