Saudi Black Hawk down in Yemen, ‘friendly’ fire


This 15 March 2011 video says about itself:

Saudi Troops and Helicopters Massacre of Peaceful Bahraini Protesters.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

In Yemen a Saudi military helicopter has been shot down. All twelve soldiers who were in the Black Hawk helicopter have been killed.

The accident occurred in Marib province, east of the Yemeni capital Sanaa. According to the Ministry of Defense in Yemen [that is, the Saudi puppet government in exile of Yemen] website the helicopter was shot down by friendly fire.

See also here.

Ecuadorean farmers against DynCorp mercenaries


This video from Britain says about itself:

More US militants to help Saudi Arabia’s massacre in Yemen

24 March 2016

The first batch of mercenaries from the private US military firm DynCorp has arrived in the Yemeni city of Aden to replace paid militants from another American company.

Under a USD-3-billion contract between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and DynCorp, mercenaries from the company are to be deployed to Yemen, where UAE forces are fighting against the Yemeni army and Popular Committees on Saudi orders, Khabar News Agency quoted an official with Yemeni Defense Ministry as saying.

DynCorp International is a USA-based private military contractor. Begun as an aviation company, the company also provides flight operations support, training and mentoring, international … Wikipedia

Headquarters: McLean, Virginia, United States, CEO: James E. Geisler, Founded: 1946, Parent organization: Cerberus Capital Management.

Subsidiaries: DYNCORP INTERNATIONAL OF NIGERIA LLC. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the first group of the mercenaries recently arrived in the port city of Aden to replace those of Blackwater, a notorious American group now renamed Academi. He added that the new militants included special naval forces, who entered the port of Ras Omran southwest of Aden. DynCorp is a rival of Blackwater, which hires mercenaries and sends them to fight in foreign countries on paid missions.

Blackwater had decided to withdraw from Bab-el-Mandeb region after the Yemeni forces inflicted heavy losses on them. The UAE was forced to bring in the new mercenaries from DynCorp for the same reason. Yemen has been under military attack by Saudi Arabia since late March last year. At least 8,400 people have been killed so far in the aggression and 16,015 others sustained injuries. The strikes have also taken a heavy toll on the impoverished country’s facilities and infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Ecuador small farmers’ day in US court over crop spraying comes closer

Wednesday 5th April 2017

MORE than 2,000 Ecuadorean small farmers began a joint legal action against US military contractor DynCorp on Monday, claiming that it unlawfully invaded Ecuador in 2000 and sprayed farms with toxic chemicals.

International Rights Advocates (IRA), representing the farmers before a jury at Washington District Court, hailed the trial as a positive step.

The group has been trying to take DynCorp to court since 2001 in the face of numerous attempts by the transnational to dismiss the case.

“This is an historic case — a finding against DynCorp will bring justice to the Ecuadorean farmers, who have been waiting a long time to have their day in court,” said IRA executive director Terry Collingsworth.

“A jury will finally get the chance to hear the evidence that DynCorp aerially sprayed a toxic poison that was designed to kill hardy coca plants on thousands of Ecuadorean farms and killed their crops, their animals and caused untold misery for the farmers and their families.”

For the Ecuadorean farmers and their supporters, the trial is long overdue.

Former president Bill Clinton awarded $1 billion in military aid to then Colombian president Andres Pastrana, launching Plan Colombia.

The military campaign was allegedly intended to combat drug traffickers but was directed against the Farc liberation movement and poor rural communities seen as supporting the left-wing guerillas.

DynCorp was hired as part of Plan Colombia to carry out aerial spraying of Colombian farms with glyphosate to eliminate coca crops.

The plaintiffs claim, however, that DynCorp illegally entered northern Ecuador, spraying and causing serious damage to local crops, animals and residents’ health.

Saudi Arabia investigated for war crimes


This video from the USA says about itself:

100+ Yemeni Civilians Killed At Wedding By Saudi Airstrike

29 September 2015

The death toll from an air strike on a wedding party in Yemen has jumped to 131, medics said on Tuesday, in one of the deadliest attacks on civilians in Yemen’s war that drew strong condemnation from the U.N. secretary-general.

Read more here.

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

Met mulling Saudi war crimes probe

Tuesday 4th April 2017

May enters grovelling mode as she visits her despotic pals

THERESA MAY faces some awkward grovelling on her visit to Saudi Arabia today following confirmation that Scotland Yard is considering launching a war crimes investigation into the despotic Gulf kingdom.

The Prime Minister’s talks, confirmed yesterday, are aimed at mending rifts between Britain and the Middle Eastern tyranny.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said that the Met had received a referral on Thursday of an allegation of war crimes made against Saudi Arabia committed in Yemen.

“Following receipt of the referral, the MPS war crimes team (part of the counterterrorism command) began a scoping exercise and contacted those making the allegations.

“There is no investigation at this time, and the scoping exercise continues.”

The government has licensed a shocking £3.3 billion of arms exports to the Saudi regime since the bombing of Yemen by a Saudi-led coalition started in March 2015. According to a UN report, 10,000 people have been killed in the conflict.

Last September, a joint report by the the Commons business and international development committees called for a suspension of arms sales until the completion of an independent inquiry into alleged human-rights breaches.

And in December the kingdom’s activities across the region prompted Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson to accuse the regime of “waging proxy wars” in the Middle East.

A decision is pending in a judicial review launched by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) over the legality of arms sales. Spokesman Andrew Smith said: “The humanitarian situation in Yemen is terrible.

“Thousands have been killed in a two-year-long bombardment and a civil war that has left the country on the edge of a famine.

Whitehall has been complicit in the destruction since day one. It has sold billions of pounds worth of arms and offered an unlimited and uncritical political support to the Saudi regime.”

He added: “If May wants to play a positive role in turning around a dire situation, then she must end the arms sales and her government’s complicity in the destruction.”

Yemen, Somalia wars and British Guardian daily


This video from the USA says about itself:

14 October 2016

The United States Navy fired missiles at sites in Yemen, continuing America’s long tradition of perpetual wars for profit.

Jimmy Dore breaks it down.

By Ian Sinclair in Britain:

Please don’t mention Western intervention

Wednesday 29th March 2017

By downplaying the West’s role in Yemen and Somalia, the Guardian is keeping its readers ignorant of the true nature of Western foreign policy, says IAN SINCLAIR

EARLIER this month Stephen O’Brien, the United Nations undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, warned the world was facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the second world war.

Speaking to the UN security council, O’Brien said more than 20 million people in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria were facing starvation and famine.

Following up on this, on March 17 2017 the Guardian published a report on Yemen, noting that aid agencies have warned the country is “at the point of no return.”

UN figures show 17 million people face severe food insecurity, the Guardian noted, including nearly seven million people deemed to be in a state of emergency.

With the article relegated to page 29 of the newspaper, there was just one oblique mention of the US and Britain, which the report explained “have influence over the Saudi-led coalition” currently attacking Yemen and blocking aid entering the country.

Here are the basic facts the Guardian chose not to highlight. Since March 2015, Saudi Arabia has led a coalition of countries in a bombing campaign to overthrow the Houthi government in Yemen (which itself overthrew the previous government).

According to the United Nations, there have been over 10,000 civilian casualties, with the Saudi-led coalition’s air strikes responsible for the majority.

In 2016 the Yemen Data Project — a group of academics, human rights organisers and activists — reported that one third of Saudi-led air raids have hit civilian sites such as school buildings, hospitals, markets and mosques. Martha Mundy, emeritus professor at the London School of Economics, believes that “in some regions, the Saudis are deliberately striking at agricultural infrastructure in order to destroy the civil society.”

The US and Britain have been closely collaborating with Saudi Arabia in Yemen. “We’ll support the Saudis in every practical way, short of engaging in combat… political support, of course, logistical and technical support,” the then foreign secretary Philip Hammond announced a month into the bombardment.

Speaking to me last year, activist Medea Benjamin, author of Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the US-Saudi Connection, explained Saudi Arabia is “getting munitions from the West… The US is even refuelling their planes in the air.”

President Barack Obama, described as “the reluctant interventionist” by senior Guardian columnist Jonathan Freedland, sold $115 billion worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia during his eight years in office. This makes the 44th president of the United States “the most enthusiastic arms salesman to Saudi Arabia in American history,” according to senior Brookings Institution fellow Bruce Riedel.

Speaking in January 2017, O’Brien was crystal clear about the main cause of the ongoing humanitarian crisis: “The conflict in Yemen is now the primary driver of the largest food security emergency in the world.”

The Guardian has form when it comes to (not) reporting the causes of the deepening humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Surveying the newspaper’s coverage of Yemen between June 2016 and mid-January 2017, Peace News editor Milan Rai concluded: “The critical role of the Saudi blockade in creating these conditions in Yemen has been effectively suppressed by the British media, including Britain’s most liberal mainstream newspaper, the Guardian.”

According to Rai, there were 70 stories or editorials about Yemen on the Guardian website during this period: “Most of those 70 items (42 stories, 60 per cent of the total) do not mention the humanitarian crisis — or the role of the Saudi blockade — in any way at all.” And though the other 28 articles did refer to the humanitarian crisis “most did so only in a way that effectively suppressed the information,” Rai notes.

Unsurprisingly a recent YouGov/ Independent poll found more than half of British people were unaware of the war in Yemen, with just 37 per cent of 18-24 year olds aware of the conflict.

Turning to Somalia, on March 13 the Guardian published a full-page article on the ongoing humanitarian crisis in east Africa. “As many as 6.2 million Somalis — more than half the population — need urgent food assistance,” noted the Guardian, including “some districts… under the control of Islamist rebels al-Shabab, making [aid] access complicated.” There is one mention of the US: “The US government says it has spent more than $110 million on humanitarian assistance in Somalia in 2017.”

In reality, the US has been heavily involved in Somali affairs since the 1990s. These interventions, noted BBC journalist Mary Harper in her 2012 book Getting Somalia Wrong?, are viewed by “a growing number of experts” as having “contributed towards [Somalia’s] destruction as a viable nation-state.”

Speaking to Democracy Now! in 2013, journalist Jeremy Scahill explained that in the early years of the “war on terror” the George W Bush administration “made a disastrous decision to put [Somali] warlords on the CIA payroll” and “basically had them acting as an assassination squad.”

A relative stability was created for a brief period when the Islamic Courts Union took control in 2006 — quickly shattered by the December 2006 US-supported Ethiopian invasion and occupation.

The occupation, as occupations often tend to do, energised extremists, with Somali journalist Jamal Osman explaining “al-Shabab was born when Ethiopia invaded Somalia in 2006 and some still see the group as a resistance movement.”

Since then the US has been trying to destroy the group its actions helped create. In 2012 the Los Angeles Times reported: “The US has been quietly equipping and training thousands of African soldiers to wage a widening proxy war against the Shabab.”

“Officially, the troops are under the auspices of the African Union,” the report explained. “But in truth, according to interviews by US and African officials and senior military officers and budget documents, the 15,000-strong force pulled from five African countries is largely a creation of the State Department and Pentagon.” The US government “is trying to achieve US military goals with minimal risk of American deaths and scant public debate,” the Los Angeles Times noted.

Since then the US has intensified its clandestine war in Somalia “using special operations troops, air strikes, private contractors and African allies in an escalating campaign against Islamist militants,” the New York Times reported last year.

Like Yemen, the US military involvement in Somalia has harmed the country’s ability to deal with humanitarian crises. For example, though the Financial Times explains the looming famine in Somalia is primarily the result of regional drought, it goes on to note: “The lack of effective government and an insurgency by al-Shabab, an al-Qaida linked jihadist group, have not helped.”

This quick survey of the Guardian’s recent coverage of Yemen and Somalia puts the lie to Guardian regular Polly Toynbee’s claim that the newspaper is “always free to hold power to account: to take on politicians, global corporations, the secret security state or great vested interests.”

The Guardian may well be free to hold power to account but it’s currently missing some huge open goals when it comes to Western foreign policy.

To be clear, I’m not saying the Guardian never mentions Western interference in Yemen and Somalia or links this to the growing humanitarian crises — I’m arguing the newspaper’s coverage does not match the importance of the issue.

As Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky argue in their 1988 book Manufacturing Consent, the fact “that the media provide some information about an issue… proves absolutely nothing about the adequacy or accuracy of media coverage… More important is the way they present a particular fact — its placement, tone, and frequency of repetition — and the framework of analysis in which it is placed.”

Indeed, by downplaying of US intervention in Yemen and Somalia, the Guardian has helped to keep the large swatches of the general public ignorant of Western foreign policy — a state of affairs that suits the US government’s interests, as the Los Angeles Times report above makes clear.

Up To 50,000 Cases Of Cholera Expected In Somalia By This Summer: WHO. Cholera is an acute diarrheal disease that can kill within hours if left untreated. Malnourished children are especially vulnerable: here.

Trump increases Pentagon support for Saudi war on Yemen


This May 2015 video from the USA is called Saudi Airstrikes Kill 800 Civilians In Yemen.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

As Yemen war enters third year, Pentagon moves to escalate slaughter

28 March 2017

The Pentagon has formally asked the Trump White House to lift limited restrictions imposed by the Obama administration on US military aid to the Saudi Arabian monarchy’s near genocidal war against the impoverished people of Yemen.

The Washington Post reported Monday that Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis, a recently-retired US Marine general, had submitted a memo earlier this month to Trump’s national security adviser H.R. McMaster, an active duty US Army lieutenant general, for the approval of stepped-up support for military operations being conducted in Yemen by both the Saudi regime and its principal Arab ally, the United Arab Emirates.

The memo, according to the Post, stressed that such US military aid would help to combat “a common threat.”

This supposed “threat” is posed by Iran, US imperialism’s principal regional rival for hegemony over the oil-rich Middle East. Both the Saudi monarchy and the Trump administration have repeatedly charged, without providing any significant supporting evidence, that Iran has armed, trained and directed the Houthi rebels who seized control of the Yemeni capital and much of the country, toppling the US-Saudi puppet regime of President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi in 2014.

A major escalation of the US intervention in Yemen will be directed principally at provoking a military confrontation with Tehran, with the aim of weakening Iranian influence throughout the region. Trump himself campaigned in the 2016 election denouncing the Obama administration for being too “soft” on Iran and for joining the other major powers in negotiating what he characterized as a “disastrous” nuclear agreement with Tehran. His advisers, including his ousted first national security adviser, Gen. Michael Flynn, and Defense Secretary Mattis, have all voiced bellicose hostility to Iran.

The immediate impetus for the call for increased US aid to the Saudi-led war is reportedly a proposed Emirati operation to seize control of the key Red Sea port of Hodeida. The effect of such an offensive would be to cut off the large portion of the country and its population under Houthi control from any lifeline to the outside world. Fully 70 percent of the country’s imports now come through the port. Even before the war, Yemen was dependent upon imports for 90 percent of its food. Aid agencies have warned that a military offensive on the port could tip the country into mass starvation.

The proposed US escalation in Yemen coincides with the second anniversary of the Saudi war on the country, launched on March 26, 2015 in the form of an unending bombing campaign directed largely against civilian targets, along with a halting offensive on the ground.

The anniversary was marked in the capital of Sanaa and other Yemeni cities by demonstrations of hundreds of thousands denouncing the murderous Saudi military campaign. The Houthis have won support that extends far beyond their base in the country’s Zaidi-Shia minority because of popular hatred for the Saudi monarchy and its crimes.

As the war enters its third year, Yemen is teetering on the brink of mass starvation, confronting one of the worst humanitarian crises anywhere on the planet. This war, waged by the obscenely wealthy royal families of the gulf oil sheikdoms against what was already the poorest nation in the Arab world, has killed some 12,000 Yemenis, the overwhelming majority of them civilians, and wounded at least 40,000 more.

Saudi airstrikes have targeted hospitals, schools, factories, food warehouses, fields and even livestock. Coupled with a de facto naval blockade, the aim of this total war against Yemen’s civilian population is to starve the Yemenis into submission. A US-backed campaign to seize the port of Hodeida would serve to tighten this deadly stranglehold.

In a statement issued Monday marking the beginning of the war’s third year, the United Nations emergency relief agency reported that “nearly 19 million Yemenis—over two-thirds of the population—need humanitarian assistance. Seven million Yemenis are facing starvation.”

UNICEF, the UN’s children’s agency, reported that roughly half a million children are suffering from acute malnutrition in Yemen, while 1,546 have been killed and 2,450 have been disabled by the fighting. The agency said that the rate of child deaths had increased by 70 percent over the past year, while the rate of acute malnutrition had increased by 200 percent since 2014.

The deliberate Saudi bombing of hospitals and clinics has left 15 million people without any access to health care, while the destruction of water and sanitation facilities has led to epidemics of cholera and diarrhea. It is estimated that as many as 10,000 children have lost their lives due to the lack of clean water and medical services since 2015.

Washington, under both the Obama and the Trump administrations, has been fully complicit in the war crimes being carried out by the Saudi regime and its allies against the Yemeni people. Washington poured a staggering $115 billion worth of arms into the Saudi kingdom under the Obama administration, resupplying bombs and missiles dropped on Yemeni homes, hospitals and schools. It set up a joint US-Saudi logistical and intelligence center to guide the war and provided aerial refueling by US planes to assure that the bombing could continue round the clock.

While a part of this decisive military aid was curtailed for public relations purposes following the horrific October 2016 Saudi bombing of a funeral ceremony in Sanaa that killed over 150 people, the US Navy entered directly into the conflict that same month, firing Tomahawk missiles at Houthi targets based on unsubstantiated charges that missiles had been fired at US ships.

Nonetheless, the request by Mattis would mark a qualitative escalation of the US intervention. While the Post reported that an Emirati request for US Special Operations troops to participate directly in the siege of the port of Hodeida was not part of Mattis’s proposal, it went on to warn that the Gulf sheikdom’s military “may not be capable of such a large operation, including holding and stabilizing any reclaimed area, without sucking in US forces.” Indeed, the Emirati army is in large measure a mercenary force, having recruited former members of the Colombian, Salvadoran and Chilean military to do the ruling royal family’s dirty work.

The Post goes on to report: “A plan developed by the U.S. Central Command to assist the operation includes other elements that are not part of Mattis’s request, officials said. While Marine Corps ships have been off the coast of Yemen for about a year, it was not clear what support role they might play.”

As numerous reports have indicated, the Trump White House has essentially given free rein to Mattis and the US military commanders to conduct armed operations as they see fit. The result has been the more than doubling of the number of US troops on the ground in Syria along with an escalation of the US intervention in Iraq, as well as a request for another 5,000 troops to be deployed in Afghanistan.

In Yemen, they are preparing to drag the American people into another criminal war against one of the world’s most vulnerable populations, threatening to hasten the deaths of millions of starving people. The strategic aims underlying this vast war crime are the imposition of US imperialist hegemony over the Middle East through a military confrontation with Iran and the preparation for a global conflict with Washington’s principal rivals, Russia and China.

Reality and the U.S.-made famine in Yemen: here.

Why is Donald Trump lunching with a Saudi war criminal while Yemenis are starving? Here.

Big Yemeni demonstration against Saudi war


This video says about itself:

Thousands rally in Sanaa, Yemen against Saudi-led airstrikes

26 March 2017

Massive crowds have hit the streets of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa in protest of the Saudi-led bombing campaign.

From Reuters news agency, 26 March 2017:

Thousands In Yemen Rally On Second Anniversary Of Civil War

Many waved national colors and denounced the U.S. and Saudi Arabia over the conflict.

SANAA (Reuters) – Thousands of Yemenis packed a square in the capital Sanaa on Sunday on the second anniversary of a war that has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people and pushed the impoverished country to the brink of famine.

It was the biggest gathering since a Saudi-led coalition of Arab states entered the conflict in 2015 to try to restore [Saudi appointed] President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power after he was ousted from Sanaa. …

“This is a message to the world to tell everyone that despite two years of war, the Yemeni people are still victorious, still alive and still love peace,” said Essam al-Abed.

U.S. WEIGHING GREATER INVOLVEMENT IN YEMEN WAR “U.S. military activity in Yemen until now has been confined mainly to counterterrorism operations against al-Qaeda’s affiliate there, with limited indirect backing for gulf state efforts in a two-year-old war that has yielded significant civilian casualties.” [WaPo]