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.