[Editor’s Note: Once again, human rights atrocities in our name and on our dime. — Mark L. Taylor]
On Point / WBUR (8/22/18)
After a reportedly American-made bomb killed dozens of children in Yemen, we’ll take a hard look at U.S. interests, actions and responsibilities in Yemen.
- Jane Ferguson, recently snuck into northern Yemen to report on the conflict and humanitarian crisis for PBS NewHour, where she is a special correspondent. She’s also a contributor to The New Yorker on issues related to the Middle East. (@JaneFerguson5)
- Kristine Beckerle, Yemen and United Arab Emirates researcher for Human Rights Watch. (@K_Beckerle)
- Ambassador Gerald Feierstein, former U.S. ambassador to Yemen, 2010-2013. Director for government relations, policy and programs, Middle East Institute. (@j_feierstein)
(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L. Taylor, 2018. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )
PBS NewsHour: How We Got The Images You Weren’t Meant To See In Yemen
By Jane Ferguson
PBS News Hour (7/3/18)
As I arrived in Sana’a city late at night on June 6, the few working street lights cast a glow over the closed doors of shops, trash on the streets, and the earthen color of the buildings. All so familiar. Driving past the enormous Saleh Mosque — a major landmark in the capital — the sign now read “the people’s mosque” in Arabic. Yemen’s former, long-time dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, had turned against the Houthi rebels occupying this city in December and paid with his life. All visible reminders of him have been removed.
It had been three years since I was last in Yemen, my longest absence in the 10 years I’ve been coming to this remarkable country. Visas had arrived and expired several times as journalists were banned from flights into Sana’a. The Saudi-led coalition controls the air space, and the passengers allowed on the United Nations flights in and out of the capital. The roads from the south of the country, which it also controls, are peppered with military checkpoints blocking reporters from Houthi-rebel held areas. Yemenis travelling between both sides of this conflict are quizzed about who they are and why they are travelling.
My fixers and I had considered many different ways of getting into this city from hopping on a bus to traveling with a camel caravan, even taking a snaking route from the east with Bedouin smugglers. In the end, we settled on driving north dressed in a full Islamic face veil. We would simply hope that the soldiers did not ask about my ID papers. Traditional custom in Yemen often prevents officials from personally addressing women they don’t know. There was no way I could bring my male cameraman, so I would have to hire a local crew once inside.
Crossing the front lines was a simple, silent drive. A slight hum of tension gripped the inside of the car as everyone fell quiet watching the surrounding countryside. …
Watch this gripping video below of what is being done in our name. Journalist Jane Ferguson has brought us the images of the brutality being done in our name and on our dime.
Despite Effort By Dem Sen. Chris Murphy, GOP Rejects Call To Curb US Funding For ‘Slaughter of Yemeni Kids’
“At some point we need to believe our eyes rather than the reports we get from the administration that the targeting is getting better.”
By Andrea Germanos
Common Dreams (8/22/18)
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) on Wednesday denounced as “mind blowing” the decision to “continue to willingly participate in the slaughter of Yemeni kids” after Republicans objected to his amendment to the Defense Appropriation bill that would have put key restrictions on U.S. financial and othe support for the Saudi-led bombing campaign.
The Republicans objected.It’s just unthinkable to me that we continue to willingly participate in the slaughter of Yemeni kids when there is zero benefit to U.S. security. Mind blowing really.
The amendment “would cut off United States’ support for the Saudi Arabia-led coalition’s war in Yemen until the Secretary of Defense certified that the coalition’s air campaign is not violating international law and U.S. policy related to the protection of civilians,” a press statemnt from Murphy’s office states.
Win Without War had called the amendment “our big chance to slam on the brakes and stop our role in enabling the suffering in Yemen.” Yet Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, objected to Murphy’s amendment, despite saying that “what’s going on in Yemen is atrocious.”
Speaking on the Senate floor next to a photo of a Yemeni community center bombed when a funeral was underway, Murphy gave a damning assessment of the catastrophe the U.S. has helped fuel. “The United States is a key player in this bombing campaign,” he noted.
In his floor speech, Murphy said that “the targeting of civilians inside Yemen is getting worse, not better,” and referenced an event he said should underscore the urgency of his amendment—the coalition‘s bombing earlier this month of a school bus in Yemen that killed 40 children.
“The Saudis’ initial reaction was that it was a legitimate military target,” Murphy said. “There’s no way a school bus is a legitimate military target. That school bus was carrying dozens of children—dozens of children that are now dead because of a 500-pound bomb made in the United States and sold to the coalition.”
The amendment doesn’t even put a full stop on U.S. support but merely requires “the administration to certify that civilians aren’t intentionally getting targeted in contravention of U.S. law before we continue to support this funding,” Murphy said.
“At some point we need to believe our eyes rather than the reports we get from the administration that the targeting is getting better,” he said, yet the “problem is [that the coalition’s] targets are [a] school bus, funerals, water treatment facilities.” He said U.S. support, which includes military support and intelligence, makes it so that the coalition “can more effectively hit their civilian targets with the bombs that we are selling.”
“The fact of the matter is the majority of the civilian casualties are caused by the side that we are supporting,” Murphy said.
“The campaign is not expediting a political end,” he argued. “It is prolonging the misery and giving more opportunity for our mortal enemies there, the terrorist groups to get stronger and stronger.”
“We are radicalizing a generation of Yemeni children against us and that will have implications for U.S. National security for years to come,” he warned.
Watch Murphy’s full speech below:
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