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Colombia: US documents on Palace of Justice affair reveal army massacre

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Judi Lynn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jun-20-10 06:33 AM
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Colombia: US documents on Palace of Justice affair reveal army massacre
Colombia: US documents on Palace of Justice affair reveal army massacre
Submitted by WW4 Report on Sun, 06/20/2010 - 02:25.

To mark the conviction of Col. Alfonso Plazas Vegathe first ever in Colombia's infamous 1985 Palace of Justice casethe National Security Archive in Washington DC posted a selection of key declassified documents pertaining to the case June 11. Included was a 1999 US Embassy cable finding that soldiers under the command of Col. Plazas Vega had "killed a number of M-19 members and suspected collaborators hors de combat , including the Palace's cafeteria staff."

This week, a Colombian court sentenced the retired Col. Plazas Vega to 30 years in prison for the disappearances of 11 people, including members of the cafeteria staff, during army operations to retake the building from M-19 guerrillas. In all, more than 100 people died in the conflagration that followed, including 11 Supreme Court justices.

US Embassy Situation Reports obtained by the National Security Archive in collaboration with the Truth Commission on the Palace of Justice shed light on how the Colombian government and military forces responded to the crisis. In one cable sent to Washington during the crisis, the Embassy stated: "We understand that orders are to use all necessary force to retake building." Another cable reported : "FonMin said that President, DefMin , Chief of National Police, and he are all together, completely in accord and do not intend to let this matter drag out."

The Embassy documents also include a pair of reports on the fate of guerillas detained during the operation: one saying that "surviving guerrillas have all been taken prisoner," and another, two days later, reporting that "None of the guerrillas survived."
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