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tv   The Lost Tribe Secret Army Of The CIA  Al Jazeera  August 27, 2019 7:32pm-8:00pm +03

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including a child of drowned after a boat capsized off the coast of libya the libyan coast guard says at least 65 people were rescued when the vessel went down near the home city east of tripoli some passengers are still missing the boat was carrying people from sudan morocco somalia and egypt flash floods of killed at least 3 people in mauritania rain hit the southern part of the country catching many by surprise people were seen trying to desperately save their livestock. thousands of people in sudan have been forced to abandon their homes because of heavy flooding at least 62 people have been killed in 100 injured it's rewind now.
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hello i'm command santamaria and welcome again to rewind here on rewind we delve deep into the al-jazeera documentary archive to bring you some of the best and most influential programs of the past decade as well as news of what's happened since well sometimes the story behind the making of the program. half a century ago as war raged in vietnam and isolated community in the jungles of northern laos was recruited by the cia to help fight the viet cong over 50000 of
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the hmong tribe became part of america's secret army disrupting communist supply lines along the whole human trail thousands of monk died in the war but their problems didn't end when the americans pulled out fearing a crackdown by laos communist government forces many fled the country but some 7000 stayed behind then continued to fight what they called red laos from deep within the jungle where they lived in hiding in 2008 ounces there is tony burke they tracked uphill for more than 2 days through dense forests in search of the hmong who were left behind he found a settlement of fewer than 200 people most of them born after the war but still living as their ancestors had he was the 1st outsider they had seen in 32 years from 2008 this is the last tribe secret army of the cia. an arduous trek through thick jungle a journey to find a lost tribe. people been hidden from the outside world for more than 30 years
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too scared to leave the jungle but too afraid to stay people on their knees. they are among part of america's secret army in the vietnam war. now they say they're being hunted by the laos army picked off one by one time is running out for the whole month of northern. the dead of night and a rendezvous on the fringe of ages dances jungles. these are my guys they are home on a rugged tough people used to harsh conditions. for the people living in fear. when we talk we wished for. we try not to create noise and we try to avoid the danger. the danger is posed by the laos army they are everywhere the hmong told me and
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ambushes are common it's about midnight now we've been walking for about 3 hours up this huge hill hallways are put up with his tortures route for somebody like me but for these young hmong fighters it's a normal walk in the jungle and the sort of care they have to take to avoid the laos army. a few welcome hours asleep beneath the dense canopy awaking to the chill of an early morning in the highland jungle of northern laos. breakfast was a kind of yam a staple diet for the hmong but something i would come to dread in the coming days . after 2 and a half days of tough trekking i reached the outskirts of the village i walked on and a quite unbelievable welcome. to earth. and . i'm fine thank you. i was the 1st outside that anyone had seen for 32 years to some it was the 1st time ever. i didn't know it then but my visit had
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taken on a significance i wasn't prepared for. they called me father and gave me a deep respect for someone who could somehow end their plight give them a new beginning and for the 1st time in a long while give them hope. her. like everybody. else it fairly bad and you're. done that out of the ordinary. only if they want to. ringback know what i don't want yeah yeah. yeah. that's our. life. this is just the most incredible welcome about. dance
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a welcome to introduce me to the loser. or these people crying oh no you haven't really progressed since 1975 the living the same way that their ancestors did living in the forest in the jungle and it seems like they're abandoned by everybody wants more of them don't know that it's hard to appreciate their sense of isolation the reality of what those last year's mean. he said that had to do. that. you don't have to be in this village very long to understand why there is such a sense of desperation children are visibly malnourished they're dressed in old clothes barefoot or just with flip flops no medicine no education and little food almost a bigger fight than the government forces before coming here nothing actually can prepare you for what you actually see and that's the really depressing scene people
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living on the lowest level of human ladder and you look around you can't see much prospect for. improvement the emotion of these people they really come to the end of the line they believe that if nobody helps them it is really the end of the line and the end of them on something like 580000 people among have died in the last 32 years they claim and he doesn't get a solution his problem they reckon all among her going to die here in the jungle. the area is close to the vietnam border and where the vietnamese communists had their supply lines it was called the hoti minh trail. 60000 hmong were recruited by america as part of the cia's so-called secret army to fight the cons but the fight against the laos communist forces has continued long after the vietnam war. today
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155 people live in the community most of them born after 1975. 90 problem vang chukchi is the leader of the 7000 hmong who he say's remain in the jungle 32 years ago he was chief of 18000 most he claims have been killed people increasingly look to him for a solution to their plight. the leader looks to me a lot of work not. one load up a 2nd with filmy on long. 50 to our car or not to you in your good luck with the thought of all our own world all share and all you might like a bottle. o. . would it tell me how i now rope the talk or a little here and all got their heart up a goal would be worth all color o'clock o'clock local morrow here top in
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gold or short off along all. the hmong reveal him as animists they worship the land the nature incense is used as a means to communicate with their gods. on your head you know i go right down here alone. wait out gonna get the man i thought. oh you know. being a savior is a big responsibility for the people kneeling before me was so desperate they would snatch any glimmer of hope even if it was me. quite a long war hole or bed time with the gone with the no if you don't pay new car down to the top it up a hollow hoop and all conduct a man will only not hour when the moon. well it's
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a really strange situation moment when i was interviewing the leader and then suddenly he declared that i was formally being taken hostage until the united nations could resolve their problem here i did point out that one journalist like me couldn't resolve anything certainly not from inside the camp but this is a 1st for me being taken hostage by people to come try and help but it does show also the mark of desperation of these people they are really living a very difficult and hard life and from one day to the next they don't know how they're going to fare so i do understand to a certain extent but i hope they do change their minds an unreal situation everything else that could change their lives for the better was a long long way away but i was here and the hmong were getting used to the idea. but i don't know. the region will go. up or will i'm going to die oh sure you. know how did you know what we don't know and the. people have been scarred mentally by their experiences
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everyone has been touched everyone seems to have lost family all killed they say by the laos army last year the leader told me 54 of his people were murdered by the military and their physical scars as well. as 72 he claims 10 children and his wife were killed by the army and then he stepped on a mine planted on a route villages took to get food. more. in deep. water bottle money mama. no no no. payment. while. waiting for the long phone and on the phone on him for many many minutes until. my song is 59 and a grandmother she has lost 5 sons or shot dead she says by laotian soldiers.
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she says the scars of bullet wounds suffered when she went to dig for food don't know who. they are. now you know how. i'm. going on the moment i want to leave there you go. and you don't get my. no. no leave now you know how much i. don't demand. she i know. this is the thing survive on here it's the root of a plant and you have to dig down about a meter in order to get a taste of my potato is what we lived on for 3 days in the jungle getting here the surprise was that this is what we have on every single day here lucky to get 3
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meals a day if not it's about to change and you know if you know you have a plan now unknown. she doesn't. know i'm not someone to also call me. by the light of a count by the singer pushtuns and dance the steps of their ancestors who move from mongolia to china and then to laos. they try to retain what little culture they can and scrape by in a harsh environment that is now their world one that with every generation slowly ebbing away good.
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dawn is always the most vulnerable time with the hmong in the jungle the time when the laos army is most likely to strike one in. the wash more a splash really is a luxury the hmong would be too exposed living in rivers. this is for me to take. the lead it was still insisting i stay but he'd written a letter which he wanted me to deliver personally to the united nations in new york . that my mom is still. they were tough resilient people which is why the cia used them for 10 years during the vietnam war just a handful now remain in the jungle of northern else and finally i get to meet some . nice. job paul
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on our do your part do you know your poem don't yet you know i'm a god i know. what all big. well you know non date doctors all. the hmong feel the communist government in laos they call it the red laos is punishing them for fighting for the americans who want yang was a young man he fought for the americans against the communists be enemies now he feels abandoned by me and got his own. version of make up you who. they want. well the one that power board. i feel you need to shout. circle on him. when you're watching the slow death of a people it's hard to know what to do or even what to say i try to reassure them i
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gave them what i had in my pack of medical supplies and food the 1st time the younger hmong had seen ham and cheese. dictate one piece of good thick 11 throwing in. different i. don't. know sheepishly they came forward for a taste 1st the men. who were going out and then the women some a little confused about what they were being offered and your mother well i don't know what are you i mean or not i don't. want to know about you and then the children inched forward wary and wondrous at the same time he and i acknowledged that. it was you know i know i did say that i'm not going to write you i'm not good. enough. you. know what it is you're not going to live.
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and you can have. all of. this as the time passed the hmongs belief in me as a savior didn't diminish quite the contrary they stated me killed one of the few chickens they have in my honor and lit candles as a blessing to bestow on a good luck don de marco the admiral got delayed tied strings on my wrist to ward off the bad spirits they knelt before me in acts of homage it was also overwhelming and has been quite a moving experience i've never had anything like this happening before and i miss some great belief that i can suddenly. change around their fortunes and i can singlehandedly make the united nations come in and do something they treat me like some kind of god here. and i'm got the heart to tell them that so many other people around the world in so many other dire situations have been let down before by the international community. a chicken no matter how small an anorexic has good luck
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signs the wishbone almost suggested good omens maybe my release. down. for the hmong the jungle of now than laos is a place of nightmares and dreams. 18 years old he married at 15 and has 2 children he dreams of studying music and taking his children to a park. the melancholy sound of b.'s guitar made me think about my hopes i might increase in desire to leave. i've been here for about 5 days now and i haven't had a proper work in that time i live largely on the roots in these parts of harvey have the sun on my face because along up the live in places like this which is giving plenty of cover in case of the aerial reconnaissance of the laotian army
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spots them. and. i'm planning on going. and i've got to go but i see these people around me and every day i see the children it makes me think of my children my family my life and i realize that i can't stick as much longer so i want to go. after a week or rumor spread the translator and i were about to leave. he created panic and angry scenes. from that moment. that he money. on. that you. cannot make you know. that you think you don't like you don't like it.
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yeah so good that you know how. subsequently i believe all these people these women of packed up their their baskets their clothes their possessions and they want to come with me they want to walk out today walk out of the forest and civilization but i keep trying to explain to them that but the laos army out there and. i can't guarantee their safety quite quite the reverse it's bizarre. you know no. you know heated argument about whether to stay or to go with me. no you know what. the mood of panic could come from nowhere and disappears quickly because the homeowner reconcile themselves with reality and battle for survival. and people walk for days from.
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surrounding villages to plead with me for help. this man had lost all his family and he amputated his own hand after being badly wounded. i began to sing a song about the plight of the hmong people about persecution and injustice about survival. is haunting words followed me as my release became a reality and lead a blessing for the journey ahead. no. gentle. no. want. go. yeah. well you. go there if you are. not go home until.
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i turned one last time and i wondered what would happen to the hmong of northern laos and how many would live long enough to leave. so i know. that was the last stripe secret army of the cia well we're joined now from london by the filmmaker tony tony why don't you start by telling us why you went looking for the moment the 1st place. well i suppose i've got a bucket list of stories that i've always wanted to cover i was too young to cover the vietnam war something that really interested me but a spin off from that was the hmong so i kept in contact with what was happening to them as much as i could and then they came an opportunity there was a connection that i learnt of in in california among community then they i contacted them and they put me in contact with the hmong community in laos and arranged for me to go and see them so it was something that i really wanted to do
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it's a great desire to cover that because it's one of those very i think very important stories but one that is overlooked because it's so difficult to do start challenging was it actually reaching the hmong i mean did you did you know you'd be putting your life in danger well there always concerns because the people in california may be quite aware of the dangers from the loutish laos army they said that people in the jungle being hunted by the laos army they were being killed so i had to be prepared for that sort of thing i wasn't really prepared for the physical side of it because actually getting there was physically challenging i wasn't perhaps the fittest at the time but soon as i started walking it was a monumental hike for nearly 3 days over really really large hills in darkness sometimes and i'm not due to go with a camera man who was carrying a bit away and when he learnt about the rigors of the hike and the fact the potential dangers he decided not to go so therefore i took the camera myself which
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i've done in the past and it wasn't a problem for me. but as a i found it challenging he would have found it impossible to be honest tell you within a thumping of a savior but then you were also taken hostage how did you cope psychologically. well i'm a tough old dog so it didn't really get me down too much to be honest it was never a case of my life being in danger i didn't fear these people i understood their desperation and they were using whatever bargaining tool they could nevertheless phony ideas this is one of those stories that really thay's with you long after you've left well it was a profound experience because i never really expected to find what i did i didn't understand from all my research the deep. fear and the deprivation of these people so to actually go there from the moment i entered their camp they were on their hands and knees praying and crying and this was not just to greet me was
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not a show because in the course of the next week i saw it on a regular basis people crying people pleading with me people saying they've got no hope they're all going to die they all heard stories about you know their loved ones being killed they said by the laotian army the fact that they were on the run they were sick they were needy and they had very little you also made a promise to take that up with the u.n. did you manage that i went to new york i went to the united nations i wrote to the secretary general i told everything i saw or i gave a link to the documentary i did absolutely nothing happened when i raised it in a press briefing to the un's press people they looked at me like yeah and what it didn't register on the social consciousness of the united nations or in fact the world so i feel a tremendous sense of failure and i suppose that's why the images of stayed with me so long longer than some of the other horrible things that i've covered tony
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berkeley great talking to you thanks for joining us and we want. and that is it from us this wait be sure to check us out online by the re one page at al-jazeera dot com for more films from this series on kemal santa maria from the whole team thanks for joining us since time. rewind returns with a new series. and brand new updates on the vast amount is a nice documentaries. rewind continues we have to be an afghan and that is it is it that is that and this is the proudest day out by my life that was a real turning point for goes that give them a lot of confidence that they can beat any team in a shoe on al-jazeera. after
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