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    EL SALVADOR JUDGE SUMMONS EX-SOLDIERS IN EL MOZOTE MASSACRE

    Mar 15, 6:59 PM EDT

    EL SALVADOR JUDGE SUMMONS EX-SOLDIERS IN EL MOZOTE MASSACRE
    SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) — A judge in El Salvador has reopened the case of the infamous El Mozote massacre during the country’s civil war and summoned 20 military suspects to appear in court.

     

     

     

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    Reagan’s forces of freedom in action. (Photo: Alain Keler/Sygma/Corbis)
    ‘On This Day’ 1981: U.S.-Trained Salvadoran Death Squad Massacres 900 Villagers at El Mozote

    DECEMBER 11, 2010 by BRETT WILKINS in LATIN AMERICA/CARIBBEAN, ON THIS DAY, THE BEST OF MORAL LOW GROUND, US GOVERNMENT, WAR, WAR CRIMES & ATROCITIES

     

    Crushing popular uprisings is no easy task. It requires an iron will and crack troops, coldblooded and callous, who aren’t afraid to get innocent blood on their hands. When the government of El Salvador, facing growing opposition to its oppressive rule, found itself in desperate need of such soldiers, it turned to its patrons in Washington.

    What it got was the Atlcatl Battalion. Created in 1980 at the notorious US Army School of the Americas, also known as the School of Assassins and the School of Coups because it produced so many of both, and trained at Fort Bragg, North Carolina by US Special Forces, the elite men of the Atlcatl Battalion were a brutal bunch. They were fond of killing animals and painting their faces with the blood, which they also sometimes drank, and as a rite of passage they would gather up all the roadkill carcasses they could find– “dogs, vultures, anything,” and boil them into a soup that they all guzzled down.

    Led by Lieutenant Colonel Domingo Monterrosa Barrios, a School of the Americas graduate and darling of the US military, the battalion was deployed back to El Salvador in 1981. It quickly gained a fearsome reputation for unmatched savagery. In late 1981 the Atlacatl Brigade launched “Operation Rescue,” ostensibly an anti-guerrilla mission. The reality, however, was that the Atlacatl Battalion usually killed anyone they came in contact with– men, women and children alike. Captain Walter Oswaldo Salazar, a company commander and School of the Americas graduate himself, summed up the prevailing mentality of Salvadoran officers when he gave permission for his soldiers to kill anyone they pleased since everyone in the northern part of the country was presumed to be a guerrilla.

    On December 10, 1981 the Atlacatl Brigade arrived at the village of El Mozote. Supremely confident with their American training, their American helicopters and their American guns, the Atlacatl soldiers met no resistance as they entered the village. The entire hamlet was ordered out into the town square where the terrified peasants were forced to lie face down on the ground as soldiers beat, robbed and interrogated them. Then everyone was told to return to their homes and remain there or be shot. Happy to be alive, the people of El Mozote quickly obeyed.

     

     

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