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A death squad is an armed military, police, insurgent, or terrorist squad that conducts extrajudicial killings, assassinations, and forced disappearances of persons as part of a war, insurgency or terror campaign. These killings are often conducted in ways meant to ensure the secrecy of the killers' identities, so as to avoid accountability.
Death squads are often, but not exclusively, associated with the violent political repression under police states, one party states, or military dictatorships. It is not unheard of, however, for more democratic governments to form death squads during a state of emergency and then disband them once the crisis passes.
Death squads often have the tacit or express support of the Government, as a whole or in part (see state terrorism). Death squads may comprise a secret police force, paramilitary forces or official government units with members drawn from the military or the police. They may also be organized as vigilante groups.
"Extrajudicial killings" are the illegal killing of leading political, trades union, dissidents, and social figures by either the State security forces, terrorist organizations, or organized crime such as the Sicilian Mafia or the Latin American drug cartels.
Extrajudicial killings and death squads are historically prevalent in the Middle East (mostly in Iraq), El Salvador, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, several nations or regions in Equatorial Africa, Jamaica, many parts of South America, Uzbekistan, parts of Thailand and in the Philippines.
Although the term "death squad" did not rise to notoriety until the activities of such groups in Central and South America during the 1970s and 1980s became widely known, death squads have been employed under different guises throughout history. Apparently, the term was first used by the fascist Iron Guard in Romania. It officially installed Iron guard death squads in 1936 to kill political enemies. It was also used during the Battle of Algiers by Paul Aussaresses.
One of the earliest cases of extrajudicial killings was in Weimar Germany.
Cold war usage 
In Southeast Asia, extrajudicial killings were conducted by both sides during the Vietnam War. Nguyễn Văn Lém (referred to as Captain Bay Lop) (died 1 February 1968 in Saigon), a member of the Viet Cong, commanded a death squad targeting South Vietnamese policemen and their families during the Tet Offensive in Saigon. On February 1, 1968, Captain Bay Lop was arrested by South Vietnamese police while dumping the bodies of his unit's victims. Captain Bay Lop was then shot in the head by South Vietnamese Police Major General Nguyễn Ngọc Loan. A photograph taken of the event by American reporter Eddie Adams horrified people throughout the Western World and contributed to the anti-Vietnam War movement.
During the 1960s and throughout the 1970s, death squads were used against the Viet Cong cadre. See also Phoenix Program (also known as Phung Hoang). The Viet Cong extensively used death squads against civilians and government officials.
In Latin America, death squads appeared first in Brazil where a group called Esquadrão da Morte (literally "Death Squad") emerged in the 1960s; they subsequently spread to Argentina and Chile in the 1970s, and were later used in Central America during the 1980s. Argentina used extrajudicial killings as way of crushing the liberal and communist opposition to the military junta during the 'Dirty war' of the 1970s. For example, Alianza Anticomunista Argentina was a far-right death squad mainly active during the "Dirty War". The Chilean military regime of 1973–1990 also committed such killings. See Operation Condor for examples.
During the Salvadoran civil war, death squads achieved notoriety when a sniper assassinated Archbishop Óscar Romero during Mass in March 1980. In December 1980, three American nuns, Ita Ford, Dorothy Kazel, and Maura Clarke, and a lay worker, Jean Donovan, were raped and murdered by a military unit later found to have been acting on specific orders. Death squads were instrumental in killing hundreds of peasants and activists, including such notable priests as Rutilio Grande. Because the death squads involved were found to have been soldiers of the Salvadoran military, which was receiving U.S. funding and training from American advisors during the Carter administration, these events prompted outrage in the U.S. and led to a temporary cutoff in military aid from the Reagan administration, although Death Squad activity stretched well into the Reagan years (1981–1989) as well.
Honduras also had death squads active through the 1980s, the most notorious of which was Battalion 316. Hundreds of people, teachers, politicians, and union bosses were assassinated by government-backed forces. Battalion 316 received substantial support and training from the United States Central Intelligence Agency.
Recent use 
By continent 
South America 
Amnesty International reports that "the security forces in Argentina first started using "death squads" in late 1973. One example was Alianza Anticomunista Argentina, a far-right death squad mainly active during the "Dirty War". By the time military rule ended in 1983 some 1,500 people had been killed directly by "death squads", and over 9,000 named people and many more undocumented victims had been "disappeared"—kidnapped and murdered secretly—according to the officially appointed National Commission on Disappeared People (CONADEP).
The Esquadrão da Morte ("Death Squad" in Portuguese) was a paramilitary organization that emerged in the late 1960s in the context of the Brazilian Military Dictatorship. It was the first group to have received the name "Death Squad" in Latin America, but its actions sometimes resembled traditional vigilantism as several executions were not exclusively political-related. The greater share of the political executions during the 21 years of Military Dictatorship (1964–1985) were done by the Brazilian Armed Forces itself. The purpose of the original "Death Squad" was, with the consent of the military government, to persecute and kill suspected criminals regarded as dangerous to society. It began in the former State of Guanabara led by Detective Mariscot Mariel, one of the "Twelve Golden Men of Rio de Janeiro's Police", and from there it spread throughout Brazil in the 1970s. In general, its members were politicians, members of the judiciary, and police officials. As a rule, these groups were financed by members of the business community.
In the 1970s and 1980s, several other organizations were formed modeled after the 1960s Esquadrão da Morte. The most famous of such organizations was the "Scuderie Le Cocq", named after Detective Milton Le Cocq. The group was particularly active in the Brazilian Southeastern States of Guanabara, Rio de Janeiro, and Espírito Santo. In the State of São Paulo, the work of Death Squads and individual gunmen called "justiceiros" was a common practice during the period. Here the executions were almost exclusively a work of off-duty policemen. One of them, a police officer nicknamed "Cabo Bruno", was convicted in 1983 for the killing of more than 50 victims.
The "Death Squads" that were active under the rule of the military dictatorship have left a lasting legacy in the culture of the Brazilian police as in the 2000s police officers were still being linked to death-squad-type executions. In 2003 alone roughly 2,000 people were killed in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, with Amnesty international claiming the numbers are likely far higher.
One of the most notorious murder gangs operated by the Chilean Army was the Caravan of Death, whose members travelled by helicopter throughout Chile between 30 September and 22 October 1973. During this foray, members of the squad ordered or personally carried out the execution of at least 75 individuals held in Army custody in these garrisons. According to the NGO Memoria y Justicia, the squad killed 26 in the South and 71 in the North, making a total of 97 victims. Augusto Pinochet was indicted in December 2002 in this case, but he died four years later without having been convicted. The trial, however, is on-going as of September 2007, other militaries and a former military chaplain having been indicted in this case. On 28 November 2006, Víctor Montiglio, charged of this case, ordered Pinochet's house arrest Between 5,000 and 30,000 people are believed to have been killed in the operations of Pinochet's regime. In June 1999, judge Juan Guzmán Tapia ordered the arrest of five retired generals.
In Colombia, the terms "death squads", "paramilitaries" or "self-defense groups" have been used interchangeably and otherwise, referring to either a single phenomenon, also known as paramilitarism, or to different but related aspects of the same. In 1993, Amnesty International (AI) reported that clandestine military units began covertly operating as death squads in 1978.
According to the report, throughout the 1980s political killings rose to a peak of 3,500 in 1988, averaging some 1,500 victims per year since then, and "over 1,500 civilians are also believed to have "disappeared" since 1978." The AUC, formed in 1997, is the most prominent paramilitary group.
A report from the country's public prosecutors office at the end of 2009 reported the number of 28,000 disappeared by paramilitary and guerrilla groups. As of 2008[update] only 300 corpses were identified and 600 in 2009. According to the prosecutor's office it will take many more years before all the bodies recovered can be identified.
In its 2003 and 2002 world reports, Human Rights Watch reported the existence of death squads in several Venezuelan states, involving members of the local police, the DISIP and the National Guard. These groups were responsible for the extrajudicial killings of civilians and wanted or alleged criminals, including street criminals, looters and drug users.
Central America 
El Salvador 
During the Salvadoran civil war, death squads (known in Spanish by the name of Escuadrón de la Muerte, "Squadron of Death") achieved notoriety when a sniper assassinated Archbishop Óscar Romero while he was saying Mass in March 1980. In December 1980, three American nuns and a lay worker were gangraped and murdered by a military unit later found to have been acting on specific orders. Death squads were instrumental in killing thousands of peasants and activists. Funding for the squads came primarily from right-wing Salvadoran businessmen and landowners. Because the death squads involved were found to have been soldiers of the Salvadoran military security forces, which were receiving U.S. arms, funding, training and advice during the Carter, Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations, these events prompted some outrage in the U.S. Human rights activists criticized U.S. administrations for denying Salvadoran government links to the death squads. Veteran Human Rights Watch researcher Cynthia J. Arnson writes that "particularly during the years 1980–1983 when the killing was at its height (numbers of killings could reach as far as 35,000), assigning responsibility for the violence and human rights abuses was a product of the intense ideological polarization in the United States. The Reagan administration downplayed the scale of abuse as well as the involvement of state actors. Because of the level of denial as well as the extent of U.S. involvement with the Salvadoran military and security forces, the U.S. role in El Salvador- what was known about death squads, when it was known, and what actions the United States did or did not take to curb their abuses- becomes an important part of El Salvador's death squad story.". Some death squads, such as Sombra Negra, are still operating in El Salvador.
Honduras had death squads active through the 1980s, the most notorious of which was Battalion 3–16. Hundreds of people, teachers, politicians, and union bosses were assassinated by government-backed forces. Battalion 316 received substantial support and training from the United States Central Intelligence Agency. At least 19 members were School of the Americas graduates. Seven members, including Billy Joya, later played important roles in the administration of President Manuel Zelaya as of mid-2006. Following the 2009 coup d'état, former Battalion 3–16 member Nelson Willy Mejía Mejía became Director-General of Immigration and Billy Joya was de facto President Roberto Micheletti's security advisor. Another former Battalion 3–16 member, Napoleón Nassar Herrera, was high Commissioner of Police for the north-west region under Zelaya and under Micheletti, and also became a Secretary of Security spokesperson "for dialogue" under Micheletti. Zelaya claimed that Joya had reactivated the death squad, with dozens of government opponents having been murdered since the ascent of the Michiletti and Lobo governments.
Throughout the Guatemalan Civil War, both military and "civilian" governments utilized death squads as a counterinsurgency strategy. The use of "death squads" as a government tactic became particularly widespread after 1966. Throughout 1966 and the first three months of 1967, within the framework of what military commentators referred to as "el-contra terror", government forces killed an estimated 8,000 civilians accused of "subversive" activity. This marked a turning point in the history of the Guatemalan security apparatus, and brought about a new era in which mass murder of both real and suspected subversives by government "death squads" became a common occurrence in the country. A noted Guatemalan sociologist estimated the number of government killings between 1966 and 1974 at approximately 5,250 a year (for a total death toll of approximately 42,000 during the presidencies of Julio César Méndez Montenegro and Carlos Arana Osorio). Killings by both official and unofficial security forces would climax in the late 1970s and early 1980s under the presidencies of Fernando Romeo Lucas Garcia and Efrain Rios Montt, with over 18,000 documented killings in 1982 alone.
Greg Grandin claims that "Washington, of course, publicly denied its support for paramilitarism, but the practice of political disappearances took a great leap forward in Guatemala in 1966 with the birth of a death squad created, and directly supervised, by U.S. security advisors." An upsurge in rebel activity in Guatemala convinced the US to provide increased counterinsurgency assistance to Guatemala's security apparatus in the mid to late 1960s. Documents released in 1999 details how United States military and police advisers had encouraged and assisted Guatemalan military officials in the use of repressive techniques, including helping establish a "safe house" from within the presidential palace as a location to coordinate counter insugency activities. In 1981, it was reported by Amnesty International that this same "safe house" was in use by Guatemalan security officials to coordinate counterinsurgency activities involving the use of the "death squads."
According to a victims brother, Mirtala Linares', testimony, "He wouldn't tell us anything; he claimed they hadn't captured [Sergio], that he knew nothing of his whereabouts – and that maybe my brother had gone as an illegal alien to the United States! That was how he answered us."
The United Nations sponsored Commission for Historical Clarification concluded that "The United States demonstrated that it was willing to provide support for strong military regimes in its strategic backyard. In the case of Guatemala, military assistance was directed towards reinforcing the national intelligence apparatus and for training the officer corps in counterinsurgency techniques, key factors which had significant bearing on human rights violations during the armed confrontation."
The National Security Archive released declassified US documents relating to Guatemala's 36-year civil war which show that Washington was aware of the Guatemalan military's excesses against civilians and continued to support it throughout the bloodiest days of the conflict, which killed up to 200,000 people.
The secret killings of Assam (1998–2001) was probably the darkest chapter in Assam's political history when relatives, friends, sympathizers of ULFA insurgents were systematically killed by Death Squads. These extrajudicial murders happened in Assam between 1998 and 2001.Though there was no official name or code for this squad,Local people used to call them "Gupto Ghatak Bahini" which means Secret killer group.In some cases they killed some of the surrendered and reformed ULFA cadres,Innocent civilians on mere suspicion of being an Informer of ULFA. During the government of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) leader & Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, a number of family members of ULFA leaders were assassinated by unidentified gunmen. With the fall of this government following elections in 2001, the secret killings stopped. Investigations into the killings culminated in the report of the "Saika Commission", presented to the Assam Assembly November 15, 2007. The report provides details about the killings, which were organized by Prafulla Mahanta in his role as the Assam Home Minister, and executed by the police, with cooperation from the Indian Army. The actual killers were surrendered elements of the terrorist organization ULFA, who would approach their targets at home, at night, knocking on the door and calling out in Assamese to allay suspicion. When the victims answered the door, they were shot or kidnapped to be shot elsewhere.
The Khmer Rouge began employing death squads to purge Cambodia of non-communists after taking over the country in 1975 . They rounded up their victims, questioned them and then took them out to killing fields. The rebels, led by Bun Yom, rescued many thousands of Cambodian people. The rebels also captured thousands of Khmer Rouge soldiers, which they traded to the Thai government for food and munitions.
South Korea 
News reports on the use of death squads in Korea originated around the middle of the 20th century such as the Jeju Massacre and Daejeon. There were also the multiple deaths that made the news in 1980 in Gwangju.
Many extrajudicial killings occurred during the 2003 anti-drug effort of Thailand's prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Rumors still persist that there is collusion between the government, rogue military officers and radical right wing/anti-drugs death squads,         with both Muslim and Buddhist sectarian death squads still operating in the South of the country.
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The New People's Army (NPA) groups known as "Sparrow Units" were active in the mid-1980s, killing government officials, police personnel, military members, and anyone else they targeted for elimination. They were also supposedly part of an NPA operation called "Agaw Armas" (Tagalog for "Snatch Arms – "), where they raided government armories as well as stealing weapons from slain military and police personnel. A low level civil war with south Muslims, Al-Qaeda sympathizers and communist insurgents has led to a general break down of law and order. The Philippines government has promised to curb the killings, but is itself implicated in many of the killings.
North America 
United States of America 
During the California Gold Rush, the State Government between 1850 and 1859 financed and organized militias to hunt down and murder Native Americans in the state. Between 1850 and 1852 the state appropriated almost one million dollars for the activities of these militias, and between 1854 and 1859 the state appropriated almost 500,000 dollars for these purposes, almost half of which was reimbursed by the federal government. These death squads were part of the reduction of the indigenous population of California from 150,000 in 1848 to 15,000 in 1900. Some scholars contend that the state-financement of these militias, as well as the US government's role in other massacres in California, such as the Clear Lake Massacre and the Yontoket Massacre, in which up to 400 or more natives were killed in each massacre, constitutes acts of genocide against the native peoples of California.
Beginning in the 1850s, Pro-Slavery Bushwhackers and Anti-Slavery Jayhawkers waged war against each other in the Kansas Territory. Due to the horrific atrocities which both sides committed against civilians, the Territory was dubbed, "Bleeding Kansas." After the American Civil War began, the bloodshed continued.
The most infamous atrocity committed in the Kansas Territory during the American Civil War remains the Lawrence Massacre. In this incident, a group of Bushwhackers led by William Clarke Quantrill and Bloody Bill Anderson burned down the Pro-Union settlement of Lawrence, Kansas and murdered 150 unarmed men and boys.
Due to this and other atrocities, Quantrill's Raiders were denied amnesty after the cessation of hostilities in 1865. As a result, several Quantrill veterans refused to lay down their arms. Among them were the James-Younger Gang, which continued a campaign of armed robbery and assassination for nearly two decades after the end of the Civil War.
Also during Reconstruction, embittered Confederate war veterans formed the Ku Klux Klan and several similar vigilante organizations throughout the American South. The Klan and its counterparts routinely shot and lynched African-Americans, northern carpetbaggers, and Southern "scalawags", who were regarded as having betrayed the Confederacy. This was often with the unofficial support of the U.S. Democratic Party leadership. Historian Bruce B. Campbell has called the KKK, "one of the first proto-death squads." Campbell alleges that the difference with modern death-squads was that the Ku Klux Klan was composed of loyalists of a defeated regime rather than the ruling governmental entity. "Otherwise, in its murderous intent, links to private elite interests, and covert nature, it very closely resembles modern death squads."
Ultimately, U.S. President Ulysses Simpson Grant declared a state of emergency in the American South and gave the United States Army power to break the Klan. Suspected Klansmen were tried before military tribunals and hanged. Although the organization was regarded as having been broken, the Ku Klux Klan continued to be viewed through rose-colored glasses by many White Southerners of all social classes.
In 1915, D.W. Griffith's film The Birth of a Nation romanticized the K.K.K. and led directly to its refoundation at a conference at Stone Mountain, Georgia. Within short order, the Klan contained chapters not only in the American South, but also in Michigan, Minnesota, Indiana, and Illinois.
Unlike its counterpart after the American Civil War, the re-constituted K.K.K. professes to despise not only non-Whites, but also "White Ethnic" Americans, Jews, and Roman Catholics. Among the most famous victims of the refounded K.K.K. are Father James Coyle, Medgar Evars, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner. (see also 16th Street Baptist Church bombing).
A Salon.com post by Greg Grandin accuses United States of training and setting up death squads in Latin America. The United States Army School of the Americas in Georgia has been accused by various activist organizations of having trained "500 of the worst human rights abusers in the hemisphere"
U.S. intelligence made extensive use of targeted killings as part of the Phoenix Program during the Vietnam War. It is estimated that as many as 26,000 alleged Viet Cong were killed during this program.
For more than seven decades following the Mexican Revolution, the Mexican State was a one party state ruled by the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (PRI). During this era, death squad tactics were routinely used against suspected enemies of the state.
During the 1920s and '30s, the PRI's founder, President Plutarco Elías Calles, used death squads against Mexico's Roman Catholic majority. Calles explained his reasons in a private telegram to the Mexican Ambassador to the French Republic, Alberto José Pani Arteaga. "...Catholic Church in Mexico is a political movement, and must be eliminated in order to proceed with a Socialist government free of religious hypnotism which fools the people... within one year without the sacraments, the people will forget the faith..."
Calles and his adherents used the Mexican Army and police, as well as paramilitary forces like the Red Shirts, to abduct, torture, and execute priests, nuns, and actively religious laity. Mexican Catholics were also routinely hanged from telegraph poles along the railroad lines. Prominent victims of the Mexican State's campaign against Catholicism include the teenager Jose Sanchez del Rio, the Jesuit priest Father Miguel Pro, and the Christian Pacifist Anacleto González Flores. (see also Saints of the Cristero War).
In response, an armed revolt against the Mexican State, the Cristero War, began in 1927. Composed largely of peasant volunteers and commanded by retired General Enrique Gorostieta Velarde, the Cristeros were also responsible for atrocities. Among them were the assassination of former Mexican President Alvaro Obregon, train robberies, and violent attacks against rural teachers. The uprising largely ended after the Holy See and the Mexican State negotiated a compromise agreement. Refusing to lay down his arms despite offers of amnesty, General Gorostieta was killed in action by the Mexican Army in Jalisco on 2 June 1929. Following the cessation of hostilities, more than 5,000 Cristeros were summarily executed by Mexican security forces. The events of the Cristero War are depicted in the 2012 film For Greater Glory.
During the 1960s, '70s, 80s, and '90s, death squads continued to be used against anti-PRI activists, both Marxists and social conservatives. One example of this is the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre, in which an anti-regime protest rally was attacked by security forces in Mexico City.
Allegations have been made by both journalists and American law enforcement of collusion between senior PRI statesmen and the Mexican drug cartels. It has even been alleged that, under PRI rule, no drug traffickers were ever successful without the permission of the Mexican State. If the same drug trafficker fell from favor, however, Mexican law enforcement would be ordered to move against their operation, as happened to Pablo Acosta Villarreal in 1987.
By the early 1990s, the PRI's corruption became so pervasive that Juarez Cartel boss Amado Carillo Fuentes was even able to purchase a window in Mexico's air defense system. During this period, his airplanes were permitted to smuggle narcotics into the United States without the interference of the Mexican Air Force. As a result, Carillo Fuentes became known as "The Lord of the Skies."
The PRI also used death squad tactics against the Zapatista guerilla movement in the Yucatán. In 1997, forty-five people were killed by a Mexican security forces in Chenalho, Chiapas.
In 2000, however, the PRI was peacefully voted from power.
Weimar Germany 
Death squads first appeared in Germany following the end of the First World War and the overthrow of the House of Hohenzollern. In order to prevent a coup d'etat by Soviet-backed German Communists, the SPD-dominated government of the Weimar Republic declared a state of emergency and ordered the recruitment of war veterans into militias called the Freikorps. Although officially answering to Defense Minister Gustav Noske, the Freikorps tended to be drunken, trigger happy, and loyal only to their own commanders. However, they were instrumental in the defeat of the 1919 Spartacist Uprising and the annexation of the Bavarian Soviet Republic. The most famous victims of the Freikorps were of Communist leaders Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, who were captured after the Spartacist Uprising and shot without trial. After the Freikorps units turned against the Republic in the monarchist Kapp Putsch, many of the leaders were forced to flee abroad and the units were largely disbanded.
Some Freikorps veterans drifted into the ultra-nationalist Organisation Consul, which regarded the 1918 Armistice and the Versailles Treaty as treasonous and assassinated politicians associated with them. Among their victims were Matthias Erzberger and Walter Rathenau, both of whom were cabinet ministers in the Weimar regime.
In addition, the city of Munich also remained a headquarters of Russian White émigré hit teams, which targeted those believed to have betrayed the Tsar. Their most infamous operation remains the 1922 attempt on the life of Russian Provisional Government statesman Pavel Miliukov in Berlin. When newspaper publisher Vladimir Dmitrievich Nabokov attempted to shield the intended victim, he was fatally shot by assassin Piotr Shabelsky-Bork.
During the same era, the Communist Party of Germany also operated assassination squads of their own. Titled, the Rotfrontkämpferbund they carried out assassinations of carefully selected individuals from the Weimar regime as well as rival political parties. The most infamous operation of Weimar-era Communist death squads remains the 1931 slayings of Berlin police Captains Paul Anlauf and Franz Lenck. Those involved in the ambush either fled to the Soviet Union or were arrested and prosecuted. Among those to receive the death penalty was Max Matern, who was later glorified as a martyr by the East German State. The last surviving conspirator, former East German secret police head Erich Mielke, was belatedly tried and convicted for the murders in 1993. The evidence needed to successfully prosecute him had been found in his personal safe after German reunification.
Nazi Germany 
In 1934, Hitler ordered the extrajudicial killings of Ernst Roehm and all members of the Sturmabteilung who remained loyal to him. Simultaneously, Hitler also ordered a mass purge of the German armed forces, targeting officers who, like General Kurt von Schleicher, had opposed his drive for absolute power. These massacres have gone down in history as, "The Night of the Long Knives."
Following the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the German military was followed by four travelling death squads called Einsatzgruppen (Einsatzgruppe-A through D) to hunt down and kill Jews, Communists and other so-called undesirables in the occupied areas. This was the first of the massacres that made up the Holocaust. Typically, the victims, who included women and children, were forcibly marched from their homes to open graves or ravines before being shot. Many others suffocated in specially designed poison trucks called gas vans. Between 1941 and 1944, the Einsatzgruppen killed about 1.2 million Soviet Jews, as well as tens of thousands of suspected political dissidents, most of the Polish upper class and intelligentsia, POWs, and uncounted numbers of Romany.
Another use of death squad tactics in Nazi Germany took place after the failure of the July 20th Plot, which had aimed to assassinate Hitler and dismantle the Nazi Party. More tha 4,000 members and sympathisers of the German Resistance and their families were either killed out right or subjected to judicial murder by Judge Roland Freisler of the People's Court. Those whom Freisler sentenced to death were routinely hanged from piano wire nooses within hours of their trials.
THese tactics ended only with the surrender of Nazi Germany in 1945.
East Germany 
Between the end of World War II and 1989, East Germany was a one party state under the Socialist Unity Party and its secret police, the Stasi. During these years, kangaroo courts and cavalier use of the death penalty were routinely used against suspected enemies of the State. In order to prevent East German citizens from defecting to West Germany, orders were issued to border guards to shoot suspected defectors on sight. During the 1980s, the Stasi carried out a mission to hunt down and assassinate West Germans who were suspected of smuggling East GErmans.
The Stasi also operated terrorist training camps for Left Wing terrorist organizations from Africa, Europe, and Latin America. Most infamous was their involvement in training the West German Red Army Faction. At these camps, R.A.F. members were instructed in the use of military hardware and assisted in planning attacks on West German politicians, police officers, union officials, and businessmen. R.A.F. members who chose to retire from the armed struggle were relocated to East Germany and given new identities. Following German Reunification, surviving R.A.F. veterans in the former East Germany were rounded up and prosecuted for their past crimes. In 1996, the R.A.F. released a statement which announced that it was disbanding.
During the Cold War, death squads associated with the Libyan embassy in East Berlin plotted murders of West German and American targets. According to John O. Koehler, this was done with the full knowledge of the East German secret police or Stasi.
Following German reunification, death squads linked to foreign intelligence services have continued to operate in Germany. The most infamous example of this remains the 1992 Mykonos restaurant assassinations, in which a group of anti-Islamist Iranians were fatally machined gunned in a Greek restaurant in Berlin. A German court ultimately convicted the assassins and exposed the involvement of intelligence services of the Islamic Republic of Iran. The murder and subsequent trial has been publicized in the nonfiction bestseller The Assassins of the Turquois Palace by Roya Hakakian.
Then, in October 1944, Horthy announced a cease-fire with the Allies and ordered the Hungarian Army to lay down their arms. In response, Nazi Germany launched Operation Panzerfaust, a covert operation which forced Horthy to abdicate in favour of the Fascist and militantly racist Arrow Cross Party, which was led by Ferenc Szálasi. This was followed by an Arrow Cross coup in Budapest on the same day. Szálasi was declared "Leader of the Nation" and prime minister of a "Government of National Unity".
Arrow Cross rule, despite lasting only three months, was brutal. Death squads killed as many as 38,000 Hungarians. Arrow Cross officers helped Adolf Eichmann re-activate the deportation proceedings from which the Jews of Budapest had previously been spared, sending some 80,000 Jews out of the city on slave labor details and many more straight to death camps. Many Jewish males of conscription age were already serving as slave labor for the Hungarian Army's Forced Labor Battalions. Most of them died, including many who were murdered outright after the end of the fighting as they were returning home. Quickly formed battalions raided the Yellow Star Houses and combed the streets, hunting down Jews claimed to be partisans and saboteurs since Jews attacked Arrow Cross squads at least six to eight times with gunfire. These approximately 200 Jews were taken to the bridges crossing the Danube, where they were shot and their bodies borne away by the waters of the river because many were attached to weights while they were handcuffed to each other in pairs.
Red Army troops reached the outskirts of the city in December 1944, and the Battle of Budapest began, although it has often been claimed that there is no proof that the Arrow Cross members and the Germans conspired to destroy the Budapest ghetto. Days before he fled the city, Arrow Cross Interior Minister Gabor Vájna commanded that streets and squares named for Jews be renamed.
As control of the city's institutions began to decay, the Arrow Cross trained their guns on the most helpless possible targets: patients in the beds of the city's two Jewish hospitals on Maros Street and Bethlen Square, and residents in the Jewish poorhouse on Alma Road. Arrow Cross members continually sought to raid the ghettos and Jewish concentration buildings; the majority of Budapest's Jews were saved only by a handful of Jewish leaders and foreign diplomats, most famously the Swedish Raoul Wallenberg, the Papal Nuncio Monsignor Angelo Rotta, Swiss Consul Carl Lutz and Giorgio Perlasca. Szálasi knew that the documents used by these diplomats to save Jews were invalid according to international law, but ordered that they be respected.
The Arrow Cross government effectively fell at the end of January 1945, when the Soviet Army took Pest and their enemies forces retreated across the Danube to Buda. Szálasi had escaped from Budapest on December 11, 1944, taking with him the Hungarian royal crown, while Arrow Cross members and German forces continued to fight a rear-guard action in the far west of Hungary until the end of the war in April 1945.
After the war, many of the Arrow Cross leaders were captured and tried for war crimes. Many were executed, including Ferenc Szálasi. Fr. András Kun, a Roman Catholic priest who commanded an Arrow Cross death squad while dressed in his cassock, was also convicted and hanged after the war. Fr. Kun's cassock remains on permanent display at the House of Terror in Budapest.
During the Irish War of Independence, Michael Collins mounted a guerrilla campaign. Using a group of gunmen who were dubbed "The Twelve Apostles", Collins killed officials of the Royal Irish Constabulary, the Dublin Metropolitan Police and British Intelligence. On Bloody Sunday (1920), Collins' men killed fourteen of the MI5 agents who comprised the Cairo Gang. In one incident, the IRA group was heard to scream, "May the Lord have mercy on your souls", before opening fire.
That afternoon, a combined force of British security forces shot into the crowd during a Gaelic football match at Croke Park, killing many unarmed civilians. The hostilities ended in 1921 with the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which guaranteed the independence of the Irish Free State.
After independence, Irish nationalist movement divided over the terms of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, which granted a partitioned Ireland Dominion status within the British Empire. Furthermore, all officials of the new Irish State were required to take an oath of allegiance to King George V of the United Kingdom.
As a result, the Irish Civil War was fought between those Irish nationalists who accepted the Treaty and those who considered it treasonous. Although fought between men who had recently served together against the British, the fighting was often without quarter and brutal atrocities were committed by both sides.
At the beginning of the Civil War, the Irish Free State formed a special counter-terrorism police, which was called the Criminal Investigation Department. Based in Dublin's Oriel House, the CID were especially despised by the Anti-Treaty IRA, which referred to them as, "The Murder Gang." During the Battle of Dublin (1922), the CID is alleged to have summarily shot an estimated 25 Anti-Treaty militants. Ultimately, the Irish State disbanded CID upon the cessation of hostilities in 1923.
Furthermore, a number of Anti-Treaty militants were tried by Irish military tribunals and executed. Following the Anti-Treaty IRA's assassination of Sean Hale, a Pro-Treaty member of the Dail, the Irish State retaliated by executing four Anti-Treaty insurgents by firing squad. Another executed Republican was Robert Erskine Childers, an Anglo-Irish Protestant and chief Anti-Treaty propagandist. The charge which led to Childers' execution was that he was carrying a revolver when captured by the Irish Army. Ironically, the revolver had been a gift from Michael Collins. (see Executions during the Irish Civil War).
When it became clear that the IRA could not defeat the Irish State, statesman Eamon De Valera along with senior officers of the Anti-Treaty IRA agreed to a ceasefire.
United Kingdom (UK) 
During the Irish war of independence in 1916–21, the British Cabinet of David Lloyd George organised several assassination squads. Known by their mixture of police and military uniforms, they were dubbed the Black and Tans and the Auxiliary Division. In 1920 alone the Royal Irish Constabulary Reserve Force murdered the mayors of Limerick and Cork cities. In Limerick, the replacement mayor was also murdered, while in Cork, the new mayor died after a 74-day hunger strike.
In Northern Ireland, various republican and loyalist paramilitary groups and members of the British military and the Royal Ulster Constabulary killed without lawful excuse during The Troubles. During the 30 years of the The Troubles in Northern Ireland, republican and loyalist paramilitary groups organised dedicated death squads. Notable cases include the Provisional IRA Internal Security Unit, commonly known as "the nutting squad", which carried out the killing of suspected informers and "collaborators" with the British security forces and the case of Brian Nelson, who was simultaneously an Ulster Defence Association terrorist and an informant for the British Army's Intelligence Corps. In 1992, Nelson pled guilty to a total of 20 charges, including 5 sectarian murders.
Russian Empire 
The first organized use of death squad violence in Russia dates from the 16th century reign of Ivan the Terrible, the first Russian monarch to claim the title of Tsar. Named the Oprichniki, they wore quivers which contained brooms, symbolizing their mission to ferret the enemies of the Tsar. They dressed in black garb, similar to a Russian Orthodox monastic habit, and bore the insignia of a severed dog's head (to sniff out treason and the enemies of the Tsar) and a broom (to sweep them away). The dog's head was also symbolic of "nipping at the heels of the Tsar's enemies." They were sometimes called the "Tsar's Dogs" on account of their loyalty to him. They also rode black horses in order to inspire greater terror.
Their oath of allegiance was: I swear to be true to the Lord, Grand Prince, and his realm, to the young Grand Princes, and to the Grand Princess, and not to maintain silence about any evil that I may know or have heard or may hear which is being contemplated against the Tsar, his realms, the young princes or the Tsaritsa. I swear also not to eat or drink with the zemshchina, and not to have anything in common with them. On this I kiss the cross.
Led by Malyuta Skuratov, the Oprichniki routinely tortured and executed whomever the Tsar suspected of treason, including boyars, merchants, clergymen, commoners, and even entire cities. The memoirs of Heinrich von Staden, provide a detailed description of both the Tsar's motivations and the inner workings of the Oprichniki.
The most famous victims of the Oprichniki remains Kyr Philip Kolychev, the Metropolitan bishop of Moscow. The Metropolitan gave a sermon in the Tsar's presence in which he rebuked Ivan for terrorizing and murdering large numbers of innocent people and their families. Enraged, Tsar Ivan convened a Church council which declared Metropolitan Philip defrocked and imprisoned in a monastery for delinquent clergy. Years later, Tsar Ivan sent an emissary demanding Metropolitan Philip's blessing on his plans for the Novgorod massacre. Metropolitan Philip said, "Only the good are blessed."
Enraged, Tsar Ivan sent Skuratov to personally strangle the Metropolitan in his monastic cell. Metropolitan Philip was subsequently glorified as a Saint by the Russian Orthodox Church.
In later centuries, Russian Tsars would declare a state of emergency and use death squad tactics in order to suppress domestic uprisings like Pugachev's Rebellion and the Russian Revolution of 1905. During the latter, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia ordered the Imperial Russian Army to ally itself with the Black Hundreds, an ultra-nationalist paramilitary group. Those captured in arms against the Tsar's forces were tried by military tribunals before being hanged or shot. According to Simon Sebag Montefiore, being caught wearing similar clothing to Anti-Tsarist militias was often enough for court martial followed by execution. These tactics were continued by the anti-communist White Movement during the Russian Civil War (1917-1920).
Opponents of the House of Romanov also carried out targeted killings of those deemed as enemies of Socialism, which was referred to as individual terror. Among them were the People's Will, the Bolshevik Battle Squad, and the Combat Brigade of the Socialist Revolutionary Party. Among the victims of Marxist death squads were Tsar Alexander II of Russia, the Grand Duke Sergei Alexandrovich of Russia, and the Georgian language poet and publisher Ilia Chavchavadze. These tactics were drastically accelerated following the October Revolution.
Soviet Union 
Following the Bolshevik Revolution, the former Russian Empire spent 73 years as a one party state ruled by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Especially between 1917 and 1953, the CPSU routinely ordered the abduction, torture, and execution of massive numbers of real and suspected anti-communists. Those with upper class origins were routinely targeted in this way during the early years of the Soviet Union.
Soviet Premier Vladimir Lenin ordered the Cheka and Red Guards to use total war tactics against both the anti-communist White Movement and Left Wing insurgencies like the Kronstadt Uprising and the Tambov Republic. He also decreed that opposition to the Party should be answered by state terror against both anti-Leninist Marxists and social conservatives.
During the Red Terror, Soviet security forces executed large numbers of the House of Romanov, the Russian nobility, captured White Army officers and men, Russian Orthodox clergy, monastics, and laity, and supporters of the Russian Provisional Government.
Following Lenin's strokes in 1922, the new Party leadership began a mass purge of religiously active Orthodox, Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists. This was followed by arrests and executions of kulaks—a derogatory term for prosperous peasants and those who did not wish to surrender their private farms plots. After Joseph Stalin decreed the cancellation of Lenin's New Economic Policy in 1927, Soviet security forces began purging the owners of private businesses who had grown wealthy during the previous era.
During the Great Purge, the CPSU under Joseph Stalin used the police, the NKVD, to abduct, torture,[dubious ] and execute large numbers of suspected political opponents. This involved a large-scale purge of the Communist Party and government officials, repression of kulaks, Red Army leadership, and the persecution of unaffiliated persons,[dubious ] characterized by widespread police surveillance, widespread suspicion of "saboteurs", imprisonment, and arbitrary executions. In Russian historiography the period of the most intense purge, 1937–1938, is called Yezhovshchina (ежовщина; literally, the Yezhov regime), after NKVD head Nikolai Yezhov.
Also during the interwar period, the NKVD routinely targeted anti-Stalinists in the West for abduction or murder. Among them were the CPSU's former Commissar of War, Leon Trotsky, who was assassinated by NKVD officer Ramon Mercador in Mexico City. Furthermore, former White Army Generals Alexander Kutepov and Evgeny Miller were abducted in Paris by the NKVD. Kutepov is alleged to have had a heart attack before he could be smuggled back to Moscow, and shot. General Miller was not so fortunate and died in Moscow's Lubianka Prison. Yevhen Konovalets, the founder of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, was assassinated by NKVD officer Pavel Sudoplatov in Rotterdam on 23 May 1938.
In the post-war period, the Russian Orthodox Church collaborated with the Soviet State in a campaign to eliminate Eastern Rite Catholicism in the newly annexed regions of Soviet-ruled Ukraine. Priests and laity who refused to convert to Orthodoxy were either assassinated or deported to the GULAGs at Karaganda. On 27 October 1947, the KGB staged a car accident in order to assassinate the Greek-Catholic Bishop Theodore Romzha of Mukachevo. When the "accident" failed to kill the Bishop, the KGB poisoned him in his hospital bed on 1 November 1947.
Even after Stalin's death in 1953, the Soviet secret police continued to assassinate anti-communists in the West. Two of the most notable victims were Lev Rebet and Stefan Bandera, Ukrainian nationalists who were assassinated by the KGB in Munich, West Germany. Both deaths were believed accidental until 1961, when their murderer, Bohdan Stashynsky, defected to the West with his wife and voluntarily surrendered to West German prosecution.
During the Soviet-Afghan War, Soviet security forces engaged in mass slaughter of Afghan rebels and many civilians. The war, however, ended with the withdrawal of all Soviet forces from Afghanistan followed soon after by the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
The Russian military has been accused of using death squads against Chechen insurgents. After defecting to the United States in October, 2000, Sergei Tretyakov, an SVR agent, accused the Government of the Russian Federation of following Soviet-era practices by routinely assassinating its critics abroad.
Prior to World War II, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union fought a war by proxy during the Spanish Civil War. There were death squads used by both the Falangists and Republicans during this conflict. Prominent victims of the era's death squad violence include the poet Federico García Lorca and journalist Ramiro Ledesma Ramos.
According to author Donald Rayfield,
"Stalin, Yezhov, and Beria distrusted Soviet participants in the Spanish war. Military advisors like Vladimir Antonov-Ovseenko, journalists like Koltsov were open to infection by the heresies, especially Trotsky's, prevalent among the Republic's supporters. NKVD agents sent to Spain were therefore keener on abducting and murdering anti-Stalinists among Republican leaders and International Brigade commanders than on fighting Franco. The defeat of the Republic, in Stalin's eyes, was caused not by the NKVD's diversionary efforts, but by the treachery of the heretics."
The ranks of the Republican assassination squads included Erich Mielke, the future head of the East German Ministry of State Security. Walter Janka, a veteran of the Republican forces who remembers him described Mielke's career as follows,
In the modern era, Grupos Antiterroristas de Liberación (GAL) terrorist group were death squads illegally set up by officials within the Spanish government to fight ETA. They were active from 1983 until 1987, under the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party's cabinets.
The Srebrenica Massacre, also known as the Srebrenica Genocide, was the July 1995 killing of an estimated 8,000 Bosniak men and boys, as well as the ethnic cleansing of 25,000–30,000 refugees in the area of Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina, by units of the Army of Republika Srpska (VRS) under the command of General Ratko Mladić during the Bosnian War. In addition to the VRS, a paramilitary unit from Serbia known as the Scorpions participated in the massacre.
In Potočari, some of the executions were carried out at night under arc lights, and industrial bulldozers then pushed the bodies into mass graves. According to evidence collected from Bosniaks by French policeman Jean-René Ruez, some were buried alive; he also heard testimony describing Serb forces killing and torturing refugees at will, streets littered with corpses, people committing suicide to avoid having their noses, lips and ears chopped off, and adults being forced to watch the soldiers kill their children.
The Srebrenica massacre is the largest mass murder in Europe since World War II. In 2004, in a unanimous ruling on the "Prosecutor v. Krstić" case, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) located in The Hague ruled that the Srebrenica massacre was genocide.
Middle East 
Under the reign of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi (1941–1979) the SAVAK (Security and Intelligence Service) was founded. During the 1960s and 1970s it has been accused of using death squads. After the Islamic Revolution overthrew the Shah, Amnesty International continued to complain of human rights abuses in Iran. Suspected foes of the Ayatollah Khomeini, were imprisoned, tortured, tried by kangaroo courts, and executed. The most famous victim of the era's death squad violence remains Amir-Abbas Hoveida, Prime Minister of Iran under the Shah. However, the same treatment was also meted out to senior officers in the Iranian military. Other cases exist of Iranians opposed to the Islamic Republic who have been tracked down and murdered abroad. One of the most notorious examples of this remains the 1992 Mykonos restaurant assassinations in Berlin, Germany.
Among them were "death squads" in the form of killings of civilians by government agents that were denied by the government. This was particularly the case during the 1990s when more than 80 writers, translators, poets, political activists, and ordinary citizens who had been critical of the government in some way, disappeared or were found murdered. In 1983 the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) gave one of the leaders of Iran Khomeini information on Communist KGB agents in Iran. This information was almost certainly used. The Iranian regime later used death squads occasionally throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s however by the 2000s it has appeared to almost entirely if not all cease their operation. This partial Westernization of the country can be seen paralleling similar events in Lebanon, United Arab Emirates, and Northern Iraq beginning in the late 1990s.
Iraq was formed by the British from three provinces of the Ottoman Empire following the empire's breakup after World War I. Its population is overwhelming Muslims but divided into Shia and Sunni Arabs and with a Kurdish minority in the north. The new state leadership in the capital of Baghdad was composed mostly of the old Sunni Arab elite.
After Saddam was overthrown by the UK-US invasion in 2003 the secular socialist Baathist leadership were replaced with a provisional and later constitutional government that included leadership roles for the Shia and Kurds. This paralleled the development of ethnic militias by the Shia, Sunni, and the Kurdish Peshmerga.
While all three groups have operated death squads, in the national capital of Baghdad some members of the now Shia police department and army formed unofficial, unsanctioned, but long tolerated death squads. They possibly have links to the Interior Ministry and are popularly known as the 'black crows'. These groups operated night or day. They usually arrested people, then either tortured or killed them.
The victims of these attacks were predominantly young males who had probably been suspected of being members of the Sunni insurgency. Agitators such as Abdul Razaq al-Na'as, Dr. Abdullateef al-Mayah, and Dr. Wissam Al-Hashimi have also been killed. Women and children have also been arrested and or killed. Some of these killings have also been simple robberies or other criminal activities.
A feature in a May 2005 issue of the magazine of The New York Times accused the U.S. military of modelling the "Wolf Brigade", the Iraqi interior ministry police commandos, on the death squads used in the 1980s to crush the Marxist insurgency in El Salvador.
In 2004, the US dispatched James Steele as an envoy and special training adviser to the Iraqi Special Police Commandos who were later accused of torture and death squad activities. Steele had served in El Salvador in the 1980s, where he helped train government units involved in human rights violations death squads in their war against the FMLNF.
Ivory Coast 
In an interview to the panafrican magazine "Jeune Afrique", Laurent Gbagbo accused one of the opposition leaders, Allasane Ouattara (ADO), to be the main organizer of the media frenzy around his wife's involvement in the killing squads. He also successfully sued and won, in French courts, in cases against the French newspapers that made the accusations.
South Africa 
In 1948 the National Party (NP) took power in South Africa and began implementing their policy of Apartheid (Afrikaans for "separateness"). Under this policy, blacks, Indians and Coloureds were denied the right to vote and the ability to reside outside of officially designated "townships" and "homelands". Theatres, restaurants and swimming beaches were strictly segregated. Interracial relationships were also banned. This culminated in the country, in 1961 declaring itself a Republic and leaving the Commonwealth of Nations, in which it had previously been a Crown Dominion.
Beginning in the 1960s, the African National Congress (ANC) and its ally, the South African Communist Party (SACP), began a campaign to topple South Africa's white-controlled government. Both the ANC's armed wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), and South African security forces routinely engaged in bombings and targeted killings, both at home and abroad. Particularly notorious was the South African Police's counter-insurgency unit C10, commanded by Colonel Eugene de Kock and based on the Vlakplaas farm west of Pretoria.
Winnie Mandela, who had been left in charge of the ANC during the imprisonment of her husband, routinely ordered her bodyguards to abduct, torture, and murder suspected informers in the townships. She once boasted that the ANC would free South Africa by Necklacing all opposition.
The violence ended in the early 1990s, when South Africa's National Party was peacefully voted from power after having been forced to the negotiating table by the ANC and the international anti-Apartheid movement. Since the fall of Apartheid, death squad violence in Apartheid South Africa has been investigated by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
Human rights groups 
Extrajudicial Killings Summit 
||This section is in a list format that may be better presented using prose. (October 2008)|
The 22nd PUNO Supreme Court[disambiguation needed] is set to hold a National Consultative Summit on extrajudicial killings on 16 and 17 July 2007 at the Manila Hotel. Invited representatives from the three branches of the government will participate (including the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the PNP, CHR, media, academe, civil society and other stakeholders).
- Puno will give the keynote speech and closing remarks. Puno searches for major solutions to solve forced disappearances.
- During the first day of the summit, the speakers will present their respective papers comprising significant inputs from their respective sectors, while on the second day, the participants will break out into 12 groups (chaired by a Justice) and take part in a workshop. Local and international observers (the diplomatic corps and representatives from various international organizations) will be accredited.
- Puno announced that "the summit highlight will be a plenary session where each of the 12 groups shall report to the body their recommended resolutions. The reports and proposals will be synthesized and then transmitted to the concerned government agencies for appropriate action."
- The earlier slated Malacañang-sponsored "Mindanao Peace and Security Summit (8–10 July 2007 at Cagayan de Oro City), focussed on how to make the anti-terror law, or the Human Security Act (HSA) of 2007, more acceptable to the public.
- On 16 July 2007, Justices, activists, militant leaders, police officials, politicians and prelates attended the Supreme Court's two-day summit at the Manila Hotel in Manila City to map out ways to put an end to the string of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines. Bayan was set to launch their "silent protest", but expressed support for the high court's initiative. Director Geary Barias, chief of the police's anti-killings Task Force Usig, Sen. Panfilo Lacson, Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim, Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Yñiguez, re-elected party-list Representatives Satur Ocampo (Bayan Muna) and Crispin Beltran (Anakpawis) attended. Supreme Court Chief Justice Reynato Puno said that the "National Consultative Summit on Extrajudicial Killings and Forced Disappearances: Searching for Solutions", would help stop the murders. Delegates were given 12 to 15 minutes each to share their insights and knowledge about the matter. Yniguez accused the government of failing to actively pursue investigations on the hundreds of killings and the Catholic Church was alarmed that victims have been denied their "fundamental right" to live.
- Based on Yniguez-church's count, the number of victims of extrajudicial killings has reached 778, while survivors of "political assassinations", was pegged at 370. He also noted 203 "massacre" victims, 186 people who involuntarily disappeared, 502 tortured, and others who were illegally arrested. Yniguez similarly criticized the government's alleged insistence on implementing its Oplan Bantay Laya I and II (the military's counter-insurgency operation plans which militants have said consider legal people's organizations as targets).
- Meanwhile, Bayan urged the Supreme Court to "check serious threats to civil liberties and basic freedoms" including the anti-terror law or the Human Security Act of 2007, which took effect on 15 July despite protests from leftist groups.
- Vice President Teofisto Guingona Jr. will join Bayan and other leftist groups as petitioners in their formal pleading before the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the law. Human rights lawyer Atty. Edre Olalia of the International Association of People's Lawyers (IAPL) will serve as lead counsel. Bayan chair Carol Araullo said the respondents will include members of the Anti-Terrorism Council headed by Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and Raúl González. Earlier, [CBCP president Angel Lagdameo] pointed out at least 5 provisions of the law that may threaten civil liberties: Sec. 19 allows detentions of mere suspects for more than three days in the event of an actual or terrorist attack, while Section 26 allows house arrest despite the posting of bail, and prohibits the right to travel and to communicate with others; Sec. 39 allows seizure of assets while Sec. 7 allows surveillance and wiretapping of suspects; Sec. 26 allows the investigation of bank deposits and other assets.
See also 
- Extrajudicial punishment
- Extrajudicial killing
- Arbitrary arrest and detention
- Salvador Option
- Selective assassination
- Summary execution
- Summary justice
- Manhunt (military)
- Midnight Man (TV serial)
- Einsatzgruppen and Einsatzkommandos of Nazi Germany
- Operation Condor
- Escadrons de la mort, l'école française (Death Squads, the French School – video in french, with spanish subtitles)
- Astonishing Discovery of Remains of Guatemalan Death Squad Diary Victims
- Death Squads in Global Perspective: Murder with Deniability",Campbell and Brenner, eds.
- El Salvador's Decade of Terror, Americas Watch, Human Rights Watch Books, Yale University Press,1991,21
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- Amnesty International – Getting Away With Murder: Political Killings and Disappearances in the 1990s, 1993,36
- Sociedade, cultura e política: ensaios críticos. Ana Amélia da Silva, Miguel Wady Chaia, Carmen Junqueira – 2004 – p. 625
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- Caravan of Death, Memoria y Justicia (English)
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- Comando Rodrigo Franco (Spanish)
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- Arnson, Cynthia J. "Window on the Past: A Declassified History of Death Squads in El Salvador" in Death Squads in Global Perspective: Murder with Deniability, Campbell and Brenner, eds, 88
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- Michael MeClintock, The American Connection, vol. 2, State Terror and Popular Resistance in Guatemala (London: Zed, 1985), pp. 84—85.
- Gabriel Aguilera Peralta, "The Militarization of the State", in Guatemala in Rebellion: Unfinished History
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- America's trinity of terrorism | Salon News
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- "The National Security Doctrine and the role of the United States" The Report of the Commission for Historical Clarification, 1999
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- see also Joel R. Hyer andSan Marcos, eds. Exterminate Them: Written Accounts of the Murder, Rape, and Enslavement of Native Americans during the California Gold Rush, Michigan State UP, 1999; and Benjamin Madley, American Genocide: The California Indian Catastrophe, 1846-1873, Yale University Press, 2012.
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