Emirates-USA torture in Yemen, Amnesty says


This video says about itself:

🇾🇪 Yemeni prisoners say UAE officers sexually torture them: AP | Al Jazeera English

20 June 2018

Seven former detainees of prisons run by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Yemen have described what they call ”systematic sexual torture”.

They told the Associated Press they were raped and abused by Yemeni guards working under UAE officers. …

Al Jazeera’s Dayana Karim reports.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

UAE and US guilty of war crimes in Yemen torture centers, Amnesty charges

13 July 2018

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and mercenary forces operating under its command have carried out widespread forced disappearances, torture and murder of Yemenis suspected of opposing the more than three-year-old intervention by the oil-rich Gulf state in alliance with Saudi Arabia and Washington.

This is the conclusion drawn by the human rights group Amnesty International after interviewing at least 75 people, including families of the disappeared and detained, survivors of the UAE torture centers, lawyers, journalists and local officials in Yemen.

Amnesty concentrated its investigation on 51 cases, typical of the untold hundreds if not thousands who have been swept up into the UAE detention and torture apparatus. Nineteen of these individuals remain missing, their whereabouts unknown to their families amid fears that some of them may have died in captivity.

The report outlines the stark political contradictions underlying the UAE’s repressive operations in Yemen. While intervening in the country as part of a Saudi-led coalition whose ostensible aim is the restoration to power of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, the Saudi puppet who was overthrown by Houthi rebels in January 2015, the UAE is clearly pursuing its own interests in the region.

“The UAE had been bypassing Hadi government officials in dealing with security issues, at times prompting President Hadi and his supporters to criticize the UAE for behaving like an occupier”, the Amnesty report states.

This statement was substantiated on Monday when the “interior minister” designated by President Hadi, who remains in self-imposed exile

Or: Saudi autocracy-imposed house arrest exile?

in Riyadh, held a meeting in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden with a top UAE official, calling on Abu Dhabi to shut down or hand over the prisons it runs in southern Yemen.

The UAE has been working in collaboration with southern secessionists, who oppose the re-imposition of Hadi’s rule over the region, as well as with a network of militias and mercenaries that it is arming and financing.

Its aim is to assert control over a series of bases bordering the strategic waterways linking the Red Sea with the Indian Ocean, most importantly the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, through which much of the Middle East’s oil bound for Asia is shipped.

To assert its control, the UAE has instituted a reign of terror in the areas of Yemen it has conquered. According to Amnesty: “Witnesses described how detainees were dragged from places of work and on the street, in some cases they were beaten—at times to the point of bleeding or losing consciousness—and companions threatened when they attempted to question the arrest. When a 37-year-old man was being arrested by the Security Belt while hanging out with friends near his house in Aden he was beaten up when he asked why he was being taken, his family said; a friend who stepped in to stop the beating was detained too.

“In cases where arrests happened at home, witnesses said security forces showed up in large numbers, barged in oftentimes late at night or around dawn, pointing guns at family members, using excessive force amid the screams of women and children. They dragged out individuals without showing warrants, explaining the reason of the arrest, or saying where they are taking those being arrested.”

Among those seized in this fashion have been suspected supporters of the Houthis as well as those of groups that fought against them, along with members of the local branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, journalists, civic leaders and those believed to be critical of UAE rule.

Those detained have been taken to a network of 18 secret prisons where, according to Amnesty, detainees report, “being subjected to or witnessing torture and other ill-treatment, including sexual abuse, and the use of prolonged solitary confinement. Witnesses said, at times, detainees were filmed as they were being tortured, including while being tied, stripped naked, given electric shocks and beaten with canes and wires.”

The report quoted one detainee, held at a detention camp located at the UAE base in Bureiqa, Aden, who said he had been subjected to “all sorts of torture” by UAE troops there “including by repeatedly inserting an object into his anus until he bled. He said he was kept in a hole in the ground with only his head above the surface for up to three days during which he was only given a small amount of water twice a day and left to defecate and urinate on himself in that position.”

The report also cited the exposure last month by the Associated Press of widespread sexual torture inside the UAE’s secret prisons. Detainees have been systematically raped by Yemeni guards acting under the orders of Emirati officers as other guards filmed these assaults for the purpose of blackmail.

Other regular practices have included electrocuting prisoners’ genitals, hanging rocks from their testicles and sodomizing them with wooden and steel poles.

“They strip you naked, then tie your hands to a steel pole from the right and the left so you are spread open in front of them. Then the sodomizing starts”, a father of four told the AP.

An earlier AP report published last year quoted Pentagon officials as acknowledging that US military personnel “participate in interrogations of detainees at locations in Yemen, provide questions for others to ask, and receive transcripts of interrogations from Emirati allies.”

The Pentagon has claimed that it has received no reports of torture or abuse, but prisoners have reported the presence of uniformed US military personnel at the torture centers. While they had not seen them participate directly in the abuse, they insisted that they had to have been aware of the torture, given the constant screaming and the condition of the detainees.

The UAE forces, moreover, consist in large measure of mercenaries, including former American military officers who have assumed senior command positions. A key role has been played in the organization of the UAE military by an Abu Dhabi-based firm called Reflex Responses Company, also known as R2, founded in 2010 by the politically connected military contractor Erik Prince, who formerly headed Blackwater, infamous for its massacres in Iraq.

Prince, whose sister Betsy Devos is Trump’s education secretary, has overseen the hiring and training of mercenaries from Sudan, Colombia, South Africa and elsewhere, who have been deployed to Yemen.

The Amnesty report makes clear that the UAE’s arbitrary arrests, forced disappearances and wholesale torture, as well as the US complicity in these acts, constitute war crimes.

As horrific as they are, these crimes are only the tip of the iceberg of the atrocities unleashed against the people of Yemen in a war that has assumed near genocidal proportions. The war has left 600,000 civilians either dead or wounded, according to a statement issued by the Yemeni Ministry of Human Rights in March. It has left another 22.2 million Yemenis in need of food aid, and 8.4 million on the brink of famine.

Last month, the UAE, with Washington’s backing and military collaboration, launched a military siege of the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah, despite warnings from the UN that it could cost the lives of 250,000 civilians in the city itself, as well as millions more if the port—the lifeline for food and medicine for some 70 percent of the population—were shut down.

Washington has backed the war, providing Saudi-led forces with the bombs and missiles that are killing Yemenis, supporting the blockade of the country with US warships, providing midair refueling for Saudi warplanes and operating a joint logistic center in Riyadh where targets are chosen.

Begun under the Obama administration, Washington’s support for massive war crimes is directed at countering Iranian influence in the region and furthering US hegemony, strategic aims for which US imperialism is prepared to sacrifice the lives of millions.

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Saudi-Trump war on Yemen and Michigan, USA


Yemen's capital Sana'a after Saudi airstrikes, October 2015

By Niles Niemuth in the USA:

The impact of the US-backed war in Yemen on Michigan’s 12th district

Niles Niemuth is the Socialist Equality Party’s candidate for House of Representatives in Michigan’s 12th congressional district. Niles is running on a socialist, anti-war and anti-capitalist program in the interests of the working class in Michigan and around the world. …

As I have traveled around Michigan’s 12th district these past weeks working with supporters to collect the thousands of signatures needed for ballot access, we have had the opportunity to engage in many important and memorable conversations with workers and young people.

Michigan’s 12th district is remarkably diverse, containing three major auto factories, a number of large and small college campuses, as well as the city of Dearborn, which is home to some 40,000 Arab Americans—more than any other American city—including a large number of Yemeni families.

Recently, while petitioning at a farmer’s market in the city of Ypsilanti, I met a young woman who was shopping with her husband and their two small daughters. I explained to her that one of the planks of my campaign platform is the call for open borders. Workers should have the right to live and work in any country they choose, I said, and all refugees from war should be welcomed with full rights.

Niles Niemuth speaking to a Yemeni-American family in Ypsilanti

She told me that she and her husband are from Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East and the site of an ongoing war.

Since Saudi Arabia launched the war to reinstall the US-Saudi-puppet regime in Yemen in March 2015, some 600,000 civilians have lost their lives or been injured as a result of the conflict. The destruction of industry and a naval blockade enforced by the US led to death by starvation of over 50,000 children in 2017 alone. A brutal cholera epidemic infected over one million people. The poorest country in the Arab world prior to the Saudi-led assault has been artificially pushed to the brink of famine.

“I can’t even imagine what it would be like for our girls to live through what they are living through in Yemen”, the young woman said, “not knowing each night whether the bombs will fall on them. It is extremely traumatizing for the children.”

She and her husband explained that they had many family members in Yemen who are suffering the consequences of the war. When her sister recently sent photos, they could see that her lips had turned blue from malnutrition. It is not safe for them to visit their family in Yemen while the war continues. Even if they were somehow able to return to Yemen, they would run the risk of being barred reentry to the US now that the Supreme Court has upheld Trump’s travel ban, which bars Yemenis and people from six other countries from entering the United States.

I know that the difficult story of this family is the story of thousands of other Yemenis, and millions of refugees all over the world. As a writer for the WSWS, the war crimes being committed in Yemen has been one of my particular areas of concern since the war began over three years ago under the Obama administration.

Despite the immense suffering of millions of people at the hands of the US government and its allies in the Middle East, the mainstream media has virtually blacked out coverage of Yemen in order to provide a political cover for the crimes of American imperialism.

The Yemeni couple I spoke with in Ypsilanti agreed that it is the US government which is primarily responsible for the seemingly endless death and destruction in the region. I raised with them, and many others I have spoken with, the issue of the role of the Democratic Party specifically, which bears no less responsibility for the catastrophe in Yemen than the Republicans.

Under the Obama administration the US government provided Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners with bombs, military intelligence and other logistical support in its vicious air attacks. American refueling planes flew daily missions to ensure that coalition warplanes could keep pounding targets throughout the country around the clock. Yemen was just one of seven countries which were being actively bombed by Obama, who earned the distinction of being the first president to spend every day of his administration at war.

The stockpiles of weapons used to rain down terror on men, women and children in Yemen were refilled many times over by the Obama administration, which struck a 20-year, $60 billion weapons deal with Saudi Arabia in 2010, a figure which increased to $115 billion by the end of the administration. This was the largest transfer of weaponry in US history, including fighter jets and attack helicopters, until the Trump administration inked a $350 billion arms deal with the Saudi monarchs last year.

Even now the Democrats support the Trump administration’s backing of the ongoing brutal siege on the critical port city of Hodeida, which supplies 70 percent of the country’s population with food, fuel and medicine. The UN estimates that 121,000 people have already fled the besieged port city, turning them into refugees. For the more than half a million people remaining in the city, conditions are rapidly deteriorating, with food in short supply, prices for staple goods skyrocketing, and blackouts occurring weekly if not daily.

My opponent in the race to represent the 12th district, Democrat Debbie Dingell, is implicated in these crimes against humanity as an enthusiastic supporter of American militarism. Dingell recently joined Senate and House Democrats in voting overwhelmingly to approve the Trump administration’s latest military budget, which includes $719 billion for the Department of Defense, and an expansion of the US nuclear arsenal.

Workers and youth who are looking for a political strategy to put an end to war and defend the rights of immigrants and refugees will find no way forward in the Democratic Party–the same party which bears a heavy responsibility for the creation of the current crisis in Yemen and across the Middle East.

I believe that in order to put an end to the assault on Yemen a new international movement against war, uniting the great mass of working people and youth in opposition to capitalism and imperialism, must be built on an anti-capitalist and socialist basis.

Dutch army helps UAE war on Yemen


This November 2017 video says about itself:

150 children die every day in Yemen as Saudi Arabia has implemented a vicious bombing campaign and has blockaded the country from land, air, and sea. 7 million people are threatened by famine leading many organizations to say that what is happening in Yemen has the makings of a ‘genocide’.

From Stop wapenhandel (Stop the arms trade) in the Netherlands:

UAE army elite unit involved in war in Yemen comes to train in the Netherlands

June 26, 2018 – The Presidential Guard of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a military elite unit that plays an important role in the war in Yemen, will participate next week in the Non-Conventional Threat (NCT) Europe event in Vught.(1) This event is organized in collaboration with the Dutch armed forces and takes place at its National CBRN Training Center.(2)

Stop Wapenhandel finds it incomprehensible that an army unit which participates in a war in which human rights are brutally violated is welcome in the Netherlands for military training.

The UAE‘s Presidential Guard is not just any army unit: it is the leading unit in the war that the Emirates are waging in Yemen as part of the coalition led by Saudi Arabia. According to the United Nations and human rights organizations, this coalition is committing war crimes on a large scale, eg, by bombing hospitals.

The humanitarian situation for the citizens of Yemen is disastrous, partly due to a sea blockade that leads to the first necessities of life and relief goods being unable to reach the country. Oxfam Novib warned earlier this month that millions of people in Yemen are threatened by food shortages and contagious diseases. The war cost the lives of more than 10,000 people, mainly ordinary citizens. For this reason, the Dutch government pursues a cautious arms export policy for countries involved in the war in Yemen.(3) A seriously cautious policy should also apply to training of soldiers who play an important role in this war.

Notes:

(1) The NCT Europe event focuses on training for reactions and protections against the use of chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons. The event will be opened by Inspector-General of the Armed Forces (IGK) Lieutenant General Hans van Griensven. In addition to training and lectures, there is a trade fair with various military and security companies. The organization of NCT Europe is in the hands of the Leiden IB Consultancy, which collaborates with the Ministry of Defense.

(2) It is not the first time that Defense has gone wrong in this way. In 2016, the Commander of the Naval Forces invited Saudi Arabia, the driving force behind the war in Yemen, to participate in the MAST arms fair in Amsterdam. In response to parliamentary questions, then Minister Hennis merely said that “bilateral contacts with the Saudi Arabian Navy” are independent of a restrictive arms export policy. The Dutch Socialist Party last week discussed the participation of the Presidential Guard in the Vught training in a parliamentary debate. Minister Blok would reply to this by letter.

(3) The Dutch government pursues a cautious arms export policy for countries involved in the war in Yemen, but refuses to proceed to a full arms embargo. For example, the export of SOTAS military communication systems for tanks to Saudi Arabia produced by Thales Netherlands is not completely stopped. The Abrams tanks in question are frequently used in Yemen. The government also issued a new permit last month for the export of radar equipment for a frigate for the Egyptian navy, despite the participation of this navy in the sea blockade of Yemen.

UAE occupiers’ sexual torture of Yemenis


This video from the USA says about itself:

Yemenis Accuse UAE Officers of Sexual Torture Inside Secret Prisons

21 June 2018

A new investigation has uncovered rampant sexual violence against Yemeni prisoners held in prisons run by the United Arab Emirates in Yemen.

The Associated Press reports that in March, 15 officers lined up the prisoners in the southern city of Aden and ordered them to undress before searching their anal cavities, claiming they were looking for contraband cell phones. The prisoners screamed and cried and those who resisted were beaten and threatened by dogs.

Hundreds of prisoners reportedly suffered similar abuse. A Pentagon spokesman quoted in the piece said the allegations were not substantiated. The UAE is a key ally of the United States and has partnered with Saudi Arabia in its military assault on Yemen.

Will Saudi-Trump war kill millions of Yemenis?


This video from the USA says about itself:

US-SaudiUAE War on Yemen Could Starve Millions of Civilians

7 June 2018

As the UN warns 18.4 million Yemenis could soon face starvation, the US is considering more direct military intervention [on the Saudi absolute monarchy’s side].

Shireen al-Adeimi discusses with TRNN’s Ben Norton how a SaudiUAE attack on the port city of Hodeida could lead to mass catastrophe.

Deadly siege of Yemeni port of Hodeidah begins with Washington’s aid and approval. By Bill Van Auken, 14 June 2018. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the Pentagon is working directly with Saudi and UAE forces in selecting targets in the Red Sea port city.

Trump invading Yemen, helping Saudi bloodbath?


This November 2017 video from the USA is called Yemeni Journalist: Saudi Arabia’s Total Blockade on Yemen is “Death Sentence” for All.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Washington considers direct intervention in siege of Yemeni port city

5 June 2018

In what would constitute a major escalation of the US role in the near-genocidal war waged over the last three years by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) against Yemen, US officials were in discussions yesterday on the Pentagon taking a direct role in the siege of the country’s Red Sea port city of Hodeidah.

Saudi and UAE-led forces came within 10 km of Hodeidah on Monday, having pushed north up Yemen’s western coast with the aid of relentless air strikes against Houthi rebel forces, which control the city as well as the country’s northwestern provinces, including the capital of Sana’a, which is 230 miles to the north.

The Wall Street Journal Monday cited US officials reporting that “The Trump administration is weighing an appeal from the United Arab Emirates for direct US support to seize Yemen’s main port. …”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a strong proponent of global US military intervention, has asked American officials to come up with a “quick assessment” of the prospects for a direct US military role in the siege of Hodeidah.

The Journal report cited one official raising doubts that the US-backed forces “would be able to do it cleanly and avoid a catastrophic incident.” Another senior American official, however, told the Journal: “We have folks who are frustrated and ready to say: ‘Let’s do this. We’ve been flirting with this for a long time. Something needs to change the dynamic, and if we help the Emiratis do it better, this could be good.’ ”

A battle for control of Hodeidah poses a direct threat to the city’s civilian population of 400,000, with the potential of a Saudi blitzkrieg combined with a direct US intervention recreating the kind of mass slaughter unleashed by the Pentagon in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria.

More broadly, such a siege threatens the lives of millions of Yemenis in the Houthi-controlled highlands, for whom Hodeidah is the sole aid lifeline in a country historically reliant on imports for 90 percent of its food.

Even before taking into account the catastrophic impact of closing down this port, the chief aid official at the United Nations, Mark Lowcock, warned last week that by the end of this year, another 10 million Yemenis will join the 8.4 million who are already on the brink of starvation in what the UN has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Hundreds of foreign aid workers have reportedly evacuated the city, and it was reported on Monday that a UN aid vessel came under direct attack by Saudi warplanes. The city is already under bombardment from both the air and the sea.

“Thousands of civilians are fleeing from the outskirts of Hodeidah which is now a battle zone,” Jan Egeland, secretary-general of the Norwegian Refugee Council, told Reuters. “We cannot have war in Hodeidah, it would be like war in Rotterdam or Antwerp, these are comparable cities in Europe.” He added that such a war would mean “nothing coming through” in terms of food and other aid for the country’s starving population.

It was reported Monday that a UN mediator, Martin Griffiths, had arrived in Sana’a to present a proposal for a Houthi withdrawal from Hodeidah and the placing of the port under UN supervision. It was not clear, however, whether either the Houthi-led administration or the Saudi and UAE-led forces would adhere to such a settlement.

The Saudi-led “coalition” wants to secure its grip over Hodeidah in order to starve into submission the entire population in the areas under Houthi control.

Sharpening the tensions and creating the conditions for even greater slaughter, the Saudi and UAE monarchies are pursuing conflicting interests in their military interventions in Yemen, with Riyadh attempting to re-install the puppet government of Abd-Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, and the UAE supporting secessionists who are seeking to revive the former state of South Yemen.

Saudi Arabia launched the war in March 2015, carrying out relentless airstrikes ever since that have devastated civilian neighborhoods, vital infrastructure, factories and even farms. Mass civilian casualties have resulted from the bombing of funerals and weddings, with the death toll from these attacks now over 13,000, with many more dying from hunger and disease. More than 2,200 people have lost their lives to a cholera epidemic that has infected 1.1 million people, while the country has seen its first outbreak of diphtheria since 1982.

From the beginning of the Saudi onslaught, the Obama administration provided indispensable US military support, selling Saudi Arabia and the UAE bombs (including outlawed cluster munitions) and warplanes used to strike Yemen, providing mid-air refueling to Saudi jets to assure continuous bombardment, and setting up a joint US-Saudi command to render logistical aid, including intelligence used in selecting targets. At the same time, US special forces units and armed drones have been deployed in Yemen for assassination missions …

The Trump administration has escalated US involvement, with not only massive new arms sales to the Saudi monarchy, but also the deployment of US special operations troops to fight directly alongside Saudi forces. Revealed a month ago, this deployment was carried out behind the backs of the American people and without informing Congress, much less gaining its authorization. While explained as a mission to protect Saudi Arabia’s borders with Yemen, the purpose of the US troop deployment appears to be far broader.

Driving the US toward increasingly direct intervention in a war that has pitted the obscenely rich oil monarchies of the Persian Gulf against the poorest nation in the Arab world is the broader strategy elaborated by the Trump administration in preparation for a military confrontation with Iran.

The US and its allies have cast the war in Yemen as a so-called proxy conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia, with Washington making unsubstantiated allegations that Iran has supplied the Houthi rebels with arms. The reality is that both Washington and Riyadh see the domination of Yemen by any government that is not a US-Saudi puppet regime as an unacceptable threat.

The discussions in Washington on an escalation of direct US intervention in Yemen are unfolding in the context of the sharp ratcheting up of US sanctions and threats against Iran following President Trump’s unilateral May 8 withdrawal from the nuclear agreement reached in 2015 between Iran and the so-called P5+1—the US, UK, France, Germany, China and Russia.

A more direct US military intervention in Yemen may prove the stepping stone to a region-wide war aimed against Iran and at the securing of US imperialism’s unfettered control over the energy-rich and strategically vital Middle East.

The US carried out war crimes in its four-month-long siege of the Syrian city of Raqqa last year, according to evidence gathered by Amnesty International and released in a report by the human rights group on Tuesday: here.

The United States committed war crimes of staggering proportions last year during its four-month-long siege of the Syrian city of Raqqa, demolishing up to 80 percent of the city with an unrelenting blitzkrieg of bombs and artillery shells that killed hundreds of civilians. The devastation left behind by the US military and its proxy troops in the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces was detailed in a damning report published this week by Amnesty International grimly titled “War of Annihilation.” Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis routinely used the phrase when describing the effort to take control of the city: here.

UK, France & US ‘war of annihilation!’ on Raqqa – a war crime says Amnesty: here.

Cambridge Analytica’s role in Yemen bloodshed


This video from the USA says about itself:

Max Blumenthal Reveals Surveillance Program in Yemen Run by Cambridge Analytica

1 June 2018

Journalist Max Blumenthal published documents showing how Cambridge Analytica‘s parent company SCL Group ran a secret counter-insurgency operation in Yemen on behalf of a US-based military contractor, called Project Titania. The UK government likely contracted it, exploiting NGOs and spying on populations in the Middle East.

FACEBOOK FINED OVER CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA Facebook was slapped with a 500,000-pound fine (about $660,000) from a British data watchdog for allowing Cambridge Analytica to improperly access user data. The agency said Tuesday that the social media giant “contravened the law by failing to safeguard people’s information.” [HuffPost]

Facebook should be fined billions for data breach, campaigners say: here.