Saudi bombs killing Yemeni civilians


This video says about itself:

US Cluster Bomb Legacy Costing Lives In Laos

4 August 2014

The Legacy: The Vietnam war‘s dark legacy is still costing lives in Laos. Meet the brave women trying to clear the bomb fields.

From Human Rights Watch:

Yemen: Saudi-Led Airstrikes Take Civilian Toll

Saudis Should Not Repeat Use of Cluster Bombs

March 28, 2015

(Beirut) – The Saudi Arabia-led coalition of Arab countries that conducted airstrikes in Yemen on March 26 and 27, 2015, killed at least 11 and possibly as many as 34 civilians during the first day of bombings in Sanaa, the capital, Human Rights Watch said today. The 11 dead included 2 children and 2 women. Saudi and other warplanes also carried out strikes on apparent targets in the cities of Saada, Hodaida, Taiz, and Aden.

The airstrikes targeted Ansar Allah, the armed wing of the Zaidi Shia group known as the Houthis, that has controlled much of northern Yemen since September 2014. In January, the group effectively ousted the government of President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi …

The governments of the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Jordan, Morocco, and Sudan said that their warplanes also participated in airstrikes on March 26 and 27. Pakistan and Egypt provided naval support and the United States provided intelligence and logistical support, media reports said.

Interior Ministry officials linked to Ansar Allah shared with Human Rights Watch details of their final casualty count from the bombings in Sanaa on March 26. They said that warplanes bombed various parts of the city, including Bani Hawat, a predominantly Houthi neighborhood near Sanaa’s international and military airports, and al-Nasr, near the presidential palace. The officials said they had documented that 23 civilians had been killed and 24 wounded. Among the dead were 5 children, ages 2 to 13, 6 women, and an elderly man, they said. The wounded included 12 children, ages 3 to 8, and 2 women.

These numbers are consistent with information provided by two hospitals that Human Rights Watch visited. At the hospitals, Human Rights Watch documented the deaths of 11 civilians, including 2 women and 2 children, whose names were not included among those provided by Interior Ministry officials as well as 14 more wounded, including 3 children and 1 woman.

Amnesty International reported that bombing destroyed at least 14 homes in Bani Hawat.

Human Rights Watch has not been able to determine whether specific attacks complied with the laws of war, which apply to the armed conflict in Yemen. The laws of war prohibit attacks that target civilians or civilian property, or that do not or cannot discriminate between civilians and fighters. Attacks that cause casualties or damage disproportionate to any anticipated military advantage are also prohibited. All parties to the conflict have an obligation to take all feasible precautions to spare civilians from harm, and not to deploy forces in densely populated areas.

Saudi Arabia’s past use of cluster bombs, which are indiscriminate weapons, raises concerns that they will be used in the current fighting, Human Rights Watch said. There is credible evidence that in November 2009 Saudi Arabia dropped cluster bombs in Yemen’s northern Saada governorate during fighting between the Houthis and the Yemeni and Saudi militaries.

Cluster munition remnants from the 2009 airstrikes, including unexploded submunitions, have been reported by a number of sources. In July 2013, Yemeni clearance personnel photographed unexploded US-made BLU-97 and BLU-61 submunitions. In May 2014, VICE News published photos and a video shot near Saada showing numerous remnants of US-made CBU-52 cluster bombs deployed in 2009.

Cluster munitions contain dozens or hundreds of submunitions. The submunitions are designed to explode when they hit the ground but spread over a wide area, often the size of a football field, putting anyone in the area at the time of attack at risk of death or injury. In addition, many submunitions do not explode on impact but remain armed, becoming de facto landmines.

The US provided Saudi Arabia with significant exports of cluster bombs between 1970 and 1999. Saudi Arabia possesses attack aircraft of US and Western/NATO origin capable of dropping US-made cluster bombs. Human Rights Watch has urged Saudi Arabia and Yemen to join the 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which prohibits the use of cluster munitions in any circumstance.

“Saudi forces should publicly reject any use of cluster munitions and recognize that their use could have a devastating impact on civilians,” Stork said.

Defence officials in Washington admitted providing refuelling tankers and surveillance flights for the Saudi operations yesterday and there are several US troops working in the operations centre. Saudi ambassador Adel al-Jubeir said in Washington that the autocratic regime in Riyadh was “very pleased” with the level of co-ordination with the US: here.

Yet another front has been opened in the US-led war drive in the Middle East, this time in Yemen. In flagrant violation of international law, Saudi Arabia, backed by the Obama administration, has now completed its third day of air strikes targeting strategic locations as well as residential neighborhoods in Yemen. At least 39 civilians have been killed, including at least six children. The death toll will no doubt rise sharply in the coming days. These actions are being carried out with US logistical support, utilizing fighter jets and bombs provided by the United States: here.

BAE agrees price on Typhoon jet deal with Saudi Arabia government. British defence firm announces deal on 72 Eurofighter aircraft during Prince Charles visit to Saudi royals and deputy PM: here.

Saudi Arabia says it won’t rule out building nuclear weapons: here.

Bush regime relic Bolton wants war on Iran


John Bolton cartoon

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

John Bolton’s call for war on Iran

27 March 2015

The New York Times Thursday published a prominent opinion piece entitled “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.”

This video from the USA is about (failed) Unites States Republican presidential election candidate John McCain singing ‘Bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran‘.

The author was John R. Bolton, a former State Department official and, for a brief period, US ambassador to the United Nations, under the administration of George W. Bush. He became an influential figure in the administration after serving as a lawyer in the Bush campaign’s successful operation to steal the 2000 election by stopping the vote count in Florida.

Bolton, it must be said, has been calling for an immediate military attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities—by either Israel or the US, or both—for at least the last seven years. On each occasion, he has warned darkly that unless his prescription for intensive bombing followed by “regime change” was adopted within days, the world would face the threat of an Iranian nuclear attack.

Thursday’s column was no different. “President Obama’s approach on Iran has brought a bad situation to the brink of catastrophe,” Bolton writes. He is referring to the attempt by Washington, together with the other member nations of the UN Security Council plus Germany, to negotiate restrictions on a nuclear program that Iran insists is strictly for civilian purposes in return for easing punishing economic sanctions.

“Even absent palpable proof, like a nuclear test, Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear weapons has long been evident,” according to Bolton. Despite the lack of “palpable proof,” Bolton insists that Iran’s unwillingness to “negotiate away its nuclear program” and the inability of sanctions to “block its building of a broad and deep weapons infrastructure” constitute an “inescapable conclusion.”

Bolton, who has made an entire career of suppressing “inconvenient truths,” allows that he would prefer an all-out US bombing campaign, but would accept a US-backed attack by Israel.

“The United States could do a thorough job of destruction, but Israel alone can do what’s necessary,” he writes. He adds that this military onslaught must be combined with US efforts “aimed at regime change in Tehran.”

What is involved here is an open appeal for the launching of a war of criminal aggression and incitement of mass murder. The unbridled militarism expressed in Bolton’s column would not be out of place in the writings of Hitler’s foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, the first to hang at Nuremberg after his conviction on charges of crimes against peace, war crimes and crimes against humanity for his role in organizing the Nazi regime’s wars of aggression.

The question arises, why has he been given a forum in the editorial pages of the New York Times, the supposed newspaper of record and erstwhile voice of American liberalism?

The obvious answer is that any differences the Times editorial board—or for that matter the Obama administration—have with Bolton over Iran are of an entirely tactical character. All of them stand by the principle that US imperialism has the unique right to carry out unprovoked “preemptive” war anywhere on the planet where it perceives a potential challenge to its interests.

Not so long ago, Bolton, who personifies this arrogant and criminal policy, and the Times were on the same page politically and on essentially the very same lines he presents in his latest column on Iran.

In 2002, Bolton was Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security and a point man in the Bush administration’s campaign to prepare a war of aggression against Iraq based upon the lies that Saddam Hussein was developing “weapons of mass destruction” and preparing to hand them over to Al Qaeda.

Bolton, described by one of his former colleagues at the State Department as “the quintessential kiss up, kick down kind of guy,” had been an advocate of aggression against Iraq at least since 1998, when he joined other right-wingers in signing an “Open letter to the president” demanding such a war.

In the run-up to war, he played a central role in manufacturing phony evidence of the existence of Iraqi WMD. This included the promotion of the crude forgeries indicating that Iraq was seeking to procure yellowcake (concentrated uranium) from Niger.

During this same period, the Times provided invaluable assistance to this propaganda campaign. Its senior correspondent Judith Miller was working in alliance with administration officials and right-wing think tanks to confirm and embellish upon the lies about WMD. Thomas Friedman, the paper’s chief foreign affairs columnist, was churning out column after column justifying what he readily acknowledged was a “war of choice” against Iraq, justifying it in the name of democracy, human rights and oil.

As the reputed newspaper “of record,” the Times set the tone for the rest of the corporate media, which together worked to overcome popular opposition to a war in the Middle East.

The results are well known. The war claimed the lives of over a million Iraqis, devastated an entire society and threw the whole region into chaos. In the process, some 4,500 US troops lost their lives, tens of thousands more were maimed and wounded and some $2 trillion was expended. A dozen years later, the Obama administration has launched a new war in Iraq, supposedly to halt the advance of ISIS, a force that it effectively backed in the war for regime change in Syria.

No one has ever been held accountable for these war crimes; not Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bolton and others who conspired to drag the American people into a war of aggression based upon lies. And not the editors of the Times who produced the propaganda that facilitated their conspiracy.

On the other hand, those who oppose war—from Private Chelsea Manning, who exposed war crimes in Iraq, to Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, who was sickened by the atrocities carried out against the people of Afghanistan—are submitted to a media lynching and then given the full measure of “military justice.”

In publishing Bolton’s column, the Times is making sure that it burns no bridges to the most right-wing and sociopathic layers of the American ruling establishment. While it may differ with them now over an imminent bombing of Iran, future US wars—including against Russia or China, where the propaganda mills of the Times are grinding once again—will undoubtedly bring them back into sync.

Saudi warplanes kill Yemeni civilians, and now ground troops’ invasion?


This video, from South Korean Arirang TV, says about itself:

Concern grows as Saudi Arabia,allies bomb Yemen

26 March 2015

Civilians in Yemen were seen picking up the pieces and surveying the damage… when dawn broke following a surprise night-time air assault led by Saudi Arabia and its allies.

Reports say at least 18 civilian, including six children, were killed in the military operation that was to target the Houthi rebels …

Rebel leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi in a televised speech called the campaign ″criminal, unjust, brutal and sinful″ … and promised to fight back.

By Niles Williamson:

Saudi Arabia, Egypt prepare US-backed invasion of Yemen

27 March 2015

Saudi Arabia and Egypt are preparing a US-backed military invasion of Yemen aimed at pushing back the Houthi militia that has taken over much of the country and reasserting the control of besieged President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.

Egyptian officials told the Associated Press that the three-pronged assault would come from Saudi Arabia in the north and from the Red Sea in the west and the Arabian Sea in the south. As many as five Egyptian troop ships have been stationed off the coast of Yemen. The officials said that the assault would begin after airstrikes had sufficiently weakened the Houthi rebels.

The developing assault on the Yemen, code named Operation Decisive Storm, is drawing on air support and ground troops from a coalition of majority Sunni Muslim countries in North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia to suppress the Houthis, who belong to the Zaydi Shiite branch of Islam and have been backed by predominantly Shiite Iran.

The Saudi television channel Al Arabiya announced on Thursday that, in addition to at least 150,000 Saudi soldiers, military forces from Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan and Sudan were preparing [to] take part in the ground invasion. Saudi Arabia has already begun massing soldiers and heavy artillery on its southern border with Yemen.

The imminent intervention of ground forces drawn from countries throughout the region will transform the civil war into a region-wide openly sectarian war pitting forces aligned with the Saudi Sunni monarchy against forces associated with the Shiite-dominated government of Iran.

Sudan’s defense minister Abdel Raheem Mohammed Hussein reported Thursday that his country would contribute fighter jets in addition to ground troops which were already in route to the region. The Egyptian government has dispatched four warships to the Red Sea in order to patrol the Gulf of Aden and blockade Houthi supply lines.

Washington was quick to declare its support for the airstrikes and impending invasion. Bernadette Meehan, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, released a statement Wednesday condemning the Houthis and making it clear that the Obama administration backed the Saudi-led assault. According to Meehan, the US was “establishing a joint planning cell with Saudi Arabia to coordinate US military and intelligence support,” to assist military operations in Yemen.

US Secretary of State John Kerry spoke Thursday to the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf Cooperation Council states and reiterated the Obama administration’s support for the assault on the Houthi rebels. A State Department official told Reuters that Kerry “commended the work of the coalition taking military action against the Houthis and noted the United States’ support for those coalition efforts–including intelligence sharing, targeting assistance, and advisory and logistical support for strikes against Houthi targets.”

Speaking at a US Senate hearing Thursday, Gen. Lloyd Austin, the head of the Pentagon’s Central Command, stated that the US military would ensure that the shipping lanes through the strategic straits of Mandeb and Hormuz remained open during the conflict. “It is one of our core interests to ensure that we have free flow of commerce through both straits,” he told the assembled Senators. Two US warships, the USS Iwo Jima and USS Fort McHenry, have been positioned in the Red Sea just off Yemen’s coast.

US special operations troops were compelled to evacuate Yemen last week in the face of the Houthi offensive, reportedly leaving behind intelligence files that have fallen into the hands of the militia.

While the French and British governments have also provided support for the airstrikes, the European Union’s foreign minister, Federica Mogherini, released a statement yesterday cautioning against a military assault. “I’m convinced that military action is not a solution,” Mogherini stated. “At this critical juncture all regional actors should act responsibly and constructively, to create as a matter of urgency the conditions for a return to negotiations.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made a statement to reporters opposing the Saudi-led operation. “Military action from outside of Yemen against its territorial integrity and its people will have no other result than more bloodshed and more deaths.”

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham released a statement Thursday calling for an end to military operations. “Iran wants an immediate halt to all military aggressions and air strikes against Yemen and its people,” Afkham said. She warned that military operations in Yemen would “further complicate the situation” and “hinder efforts to resolve the crisis through peaceful ways.”

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, Adel Al Jubeir, speaking from the country’s embassy in Washington, announced the opening of military operations late Wednesday night with jets from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Bahrain participating in airstrikes.

Bombs were dropped on locations throughout Yemen. According to local health officials more than 25 people were killed and another 40 injured in airstrikes on the capital of Sanaa. Reports indicated that many of the casualties were civilians.

Among the reported targets were the Houthis’ home territory in the northern province of Saada, the Al Dailami air base, the international airport in Sanaa and the Al Adnan airbase north of the southern port city of Aden, a former base for US and European special operations soldiers. …

Hadi was forced to announce his resignation and placed under house arrest in January by Shiite Houthi militia after a month’s long occupation of Sanaa. Hadi escaped captivity in February and fled to the southern port city Aden where he was working to marshal support for an assault on the Houthis. On Thursday officials in Saudi Arabia reported that Hadi had fled Yemen and was in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

Irish music, war and history


This music video from Ireland says about itself:

30 November 2010

Wolfe TonesCome Out Ye Black And Tans

Words by Dominic Behan, music traditional

I was born on a Dublin street where the Royal drums do beat
And the loving English feet they trampled all over us,
And each and every night when me father’d come home tight
He’d invite the neighbours outside with this chorus:

Oh, come out you black and tans,
Come out and fight me like a man
Show your wives how you won medals down in Flanders
Tell them how the IRA made you run like hell away,
From the green and lovely lanes in Killashandra.

Come let me hear you tell
How you slammed the great Parnell,
When you fought them well and truly persecuted,
Where are the smears and jeers
That you bravely let us hear
When our heroes of sixteen were executed.

Come tell us how you slew
Those brave Arabs
two by two
Like the Zulus they had spears and bows and arrows,
How you bravely slew each one
With your sixteen pounder gun
And you frightened them poor natives to their marrow.

The day is coming fast
And the time is here at last,
When each yeoman will be cast aside before us,
And if there be a need
Sure my kids wil sing, “Godspeed!”
With a verse or two of Stephen Beehan‘s chorus.

By Peter Frost in Britain:

Bloodied at the hands of the Black and Tans

Thursday 26th March 2015

PETER FROST remembers an Irish republican ballad that echoes events that happened 95 years ago this week

OH, come out you black and tans/ Come out and fight us like a man/ Show your wives how you won medals down in Flanders/ Tell them how the IRA made you run like hell away/ From the green and lovely lanes in Killeshandra.

I first learnt Dominic Behan’s fine song from the man himself in the pubs of what many locals in the mid-1960s called County Kilburn.

Kilburn in north-west London had a huge and proud Irish community and the traditional music nights were said to be as good as anything you might hear in Dublin, Belfast or Derry.

The song was always a favourite with me and my wife Ann. We both have some Irish blood in our respective families. Much later we would discover that the subject matter had direct relevance to Ann’s own family history.

We would also, later in life, on some of our many visits to Northern Ireland, explore those lovely lanes in Killeshandra. The town was once an important centre of the linen industry. Today its setting in beautiful lake country has made it is a popular centre for fishing, walking, wildlife and eco-tourism.

Dominic Behan’s song, written as a tribute to his father Stephen — and ironically set to the Orange march Rosc Catha na Mumhan, or Battlecry of Munster — brings alive the hatred of the brutal British troops who arrived in Ireland 95 years ago this week.

After the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916 the execution of Irish leaders including Patrick Pearse and the dying James Connolly led to huge public outrage. This soon turned to support for the revolutionary Sinn Fein movement.

In the 1918 general election Sinn Fein won 73 out of 105 seats. In January 1919 the First Dail — the Irish parliament — declared an independent Irish Republic.

In the same month, the republican Irish Volunteers, fast becoming known as the Irish republican Army, began the guerilla campaign that would become the Irish War of Independence. The main thrust was to attack the hated Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) posts, police stations and barracks.

By 1919 the British administration, horrified by the low morale in the RIC, closed down and outlawed the Dail.

Westminster clearly needed new initiatives and the British government knew just what to do. In January 1920, the government started advertising in British cities for men willing to “face a rough and dangerous task in Ireland”.

Post-WWI unemployment and austerity meant there was no shortage of recruits, many of them veterans home from the trenches of Flanders.

By November 1921 about 9,500 ex-soldiers had joined. This sudden influx of men presented a real problem. There were not enough proper RIC uniforms to go round. Instead the new recruits were issued with war surplus khaki army trousers and dark green RIC or old blue British police tunics.

This sartorial odd mixture gave rise to their nickname, the Black and Tans. The name came from a famous pack of foxhounds from Limerick who wore similar colours. The title would stick even after the men eventually received proper green RIC uniforms.

The new recruits were given only three months’ hurried basic training, and were rapidly posted to RIC barracks, mostly in Dublin, Munster and Connacht.

The first Black and Tans arrived on March 25 1920 and immediately generated hatred and further resistance.

The government also raised a further unit, the Auxiliary Division of the constabulary. This group was made up of ex-army officers. The Black and Tans acted with the Auxiliaries and both were ordered to break the IRA by any means possible.

One of Ann’s relatives was murdered by members of the Auxiliary around this time. One of republican leader Michael Collins’s group, he was arrested and taken to Dublin Castle for questioning.

Just before nine o’clock in the evening he and a friend were released only to be immediately re-arrested for being on the street after the nine o’clock curfew. It was an old Auxiliary trick.

Dumped in the back of one of the Black and Tans’s notorious Crossley Tenders, they were driven to Phoenix Park and each had a bucket put on their head before they were shot at point-blank range.

The Auxiliary executioners were court-martialed but instead of any punishment their commanding officer offered his congratulations.

Black and Tans were paid 10 shillings a day, a substantial wage in those days — and they also got full board and lodging in special barracks.

With minimal police training, their main role was to strengthen the guarding of RIC posts. They worked as sentries, guards, escorts for government agents and as reinforcement to the regular police.

It took no time for them to gain a reputation for awesome brutality.

Black and Tans had little discipline. Deaths of Black and Tans at the hands of the IRA were often repaid with arbitrary reprisals against the civilian population.

In the summer of 1920, the Black and Tans burned and sacked many small towns and villages throughout Ireland.

One of the worst atrocities was the massacre of 13 civilians at Croke Park on Bloody Sunday November 21 1920.

Black and Tans and Auxiliaries opened fire with armoured-car-mounted machine guns on the crowd.

The Black and Tans justified the attack as revenge for Michael Collins’s assassination of an undercover RIC murder squad earlier that day.

In November 1920, they besieged Tralee, also in revenge for the IRA abduction and killing of two local RIC men. They shut the businesses in the town and let no food in for a week.

On the night of December 11 1920, they sacked and burned Cork city.

In January 1921, a commission set up by the Labour Party produced a report on the situation in Ireland. It was highly critical of the government’s security policy.

“Forming the Black and Tans,” it said “had liberated forces which it is not at present able to dominate”.

Since December 1920, the British government had sanctioned official reprisals in Ireland. The Black and Tans burnt property of IRA men and any suspected sympathisers.

Altogether 7,000 of them served in Ireland in 1920-22. More than one-third of them died or left the service before they were disbanded, along with the rest of the RIC, in 1922.

Today, nearly a century after the Black and Tans’ war crimes, these British bully boys are still remembered and still hated in Ireland.

“Tan” is still a term of abuse in Ireland. And in a delicious irony there is a medal, awarded by the Irish government to IRA veterans of the War of Independence. It bears a ribbon with two vertical stripes. The colours? What else but black and tan — just a tiny reminder of the colours of the still-hated enemy.