CODE PINK & David Swanson.org & Common Dreams & George Galloway & CNN – 2018-08-14 22:45:37
ACTION ALERT: How Can They Let This Go On?
Medea Benjamin / CODEPINK
ACTION ALERT: This bomb fragment (above) links the
deaths of 40 Yemeni school children to the
Massachusetts-based bomb-maker, Raytheon.
Raytheon has the blood of innocents on its hands.
Raytheon can be contacted at:
870 Winter Street, Waltham, MA 02451
and at https://www.raytheon.com/contact
(August 14, 2018) â€“ Outraged by the US-backed Saudi-led bombing massacre of school children in Yemen? Tell Senator Corker and Representatives Engel and Royce to publicly oppose the sale of more bombs to Saudi Arabia.
We continue to mourn the 40 children killed last Thursday in Yemen when a Saudi airstrike hit their school bus. The children were on a field trip to celebrate their graduation from summer school. They were chatting and laughing, until the bomb fell. On Monday, a mass funeral was held.
Last week, right after the bombing occurred, we filled the State Department voice mailbox with demands that they condemn the atrocity. But the United States has refused to comment on the terrorizing of Yemeni civilians. Now we need your help to get Congress to take action!
We want the heads of the Foreign Relations Committees in Congress to publicly oppose the sale of more bombs to Saudi Arabia. Senator Bob Menendez, ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, already has done this.
Call on his Republican colleague, Senator Bob Corker, and House leaders, Representatives Eliot Engel and Ed Royce, to join Senator Menendez in placing a hold on the sale of more high-tech munitions to the Saudis.
The Saudis have been committing war crimes in Yemen since 2015, bombing civilians in marketplaces, hospitals, schools, and homes, and blocking the entry of humanitarian aid. They have created the worst humanitarian crisis on Earth.
According to Yemen Data Project, during the month of June alone, the Saudi-United Arab Emirates coalition carried out 258 airstrikes on Yemen — and nearly one-third of those strikes hit residential areas. Bombing a bus full of young children is grotesque. It is unacceptable for the U.S. to continue providing weapons for such massacres.
ACTION: Ask Republican Senator Bob Corker, and House leaders, Representatives Eliot Engel and Ed Royce, to join Senator Menendez in placing a moratorium on the sale of more high-tech munitions to the Saudis.
For the sake of the dead, and with hope to prevent further atrocities, we must take action.
Yemeni Children Matter
David Swanson / David Swanson.org
(August 13, 2018) — We’ve been given a rare opportunity. While the United States military has slaughtered innocents by the hundreds of thousands in the Middle East over the past couple of decades, almost never have US television viewers seen images of the victims, in particular images of them alive just moments before death rained down on them.
Now we have video footage of dozens of little boys on a bus less than an hour before US-made Raytheon bombs murdered many of them, wounded others, and traumatized survivors.
As with a racist police murder, what is rare here is not the crime but the video. This bus was bombed by the US-Saudi alliance. The weapons used by Saudi Arabia are US weapons. The US military aids the Saudis in targeting and refuels their US-made airplanes in midair, so that the bombing need never cease. This was a bus full of little boys in the middle of a crowded market. The tens of thousands of people who attended the boys’ funeral are certain to have recognized the crime of mass murder.
Dozens of US Senators recognized the outrage months before it happened, because it’s one blip in an ongoing mass-murdering forever-war. Back in March, numerous Senators took to the floor of the US Senate and denounced ongoing US participation in this war. I wrote at that time:
“The facts of the matter were presented very clearly in the debate by numerous US senators from both parties. They denounced war lies as ‘lies.’ They pointed out the horrendous damage, the deaths, the injuries, the starvation, the cholera. They cited Saudi Arabia’s explicit and intentional use of starvation as a weapon. They noted the blockade against humanitarian aid imposed by Saudi Arabia. They endlessly discussed the biggest cholera epidemic ever known. Here’s a tweet from Senator Chris Murphy:
“‘Gut check moment for the Senate today: we will vote on whether to continue the US/Saudi bombing campaign in Yemen which has killed over 10,000 civilians and created the largest cholera outbreak in history.’
“Senator Jeff Merkley asked if partnering with a government trying to starve millions of people to death squared with the principles of the United States of America. I tweeted a response: ‘Should I tell him or wait and let his colleagues do it?’ In the end, 55 of his colleagues answered his question as well as any history book could have done.”
That’s right, 55 US Senators voted for genocide. And they got what they voted for. But imagine if they hadn’t, and someone else had. Imagine if the racists who marched in DC last weekend and in Charlottesville last year had blown up a bus full of children. Or imagine if, just prior to a desired attack on Iran, an attack on a bus full of kids were blamed on Iran (and the footage aired 89 million times on every US channel).
It’s not as though US residents cannot object to cruelty engaged in by the US government. Look at the protests in recent months against cruel treatment of immigrants in the United States. I don’t think people have chosen to care about those children stripped away from their families simply because those crimes have occurred within the borders of the United States. I think far more important is the frequency and the depth of the story in US television and news reports.
So, what might happen if we were to persuade television networks like MSNBC to mention Yemen more than once a year? I strongly suspect that the delusion that maintains that Americans cannot care about non-Americans would be shattered. People will care if you show them what to care about, instruct them to care, and make clear that their political party identification need not conflict with caring.
Dear Republicans, please feel free to ignore that Trump is overseeing these horrors, and focus instead on the fact that Obama’s “successful” drone war played a major role in creating the current catastrophe.
Dear Democrats, please do the reverse.
Dear Everybody, the important thing is to speak up now for removing the US military and US weapons companies from Yemen and its region of the Earth.
Video of Schoolchildren Just Moments Before
Being Massacred by US-Backed Saudi Bombing
“This blood is on America’s hands,
as long as we keep sending the bombs
that kill so many Yemenis.”
Jake Johnson / Common Dreams
“By backing the Saudi coalition’s war in Yemen
with weapons, aerial refueling, and targeting assistance,
the United States is complicit in the atrocities taking place there.”
— Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
(August 13, 2018) — As funeral ceremonies for the 51 Yemenis — including 40 young children — massacred by the latest US-backed Saudi bombing took place in the war-torn district of Saada on Monday, cellphone footage captured by one of the murdered children just moments before the coalition’s airstrike hit shows the dozens of kids excitedly gathered on a bus for a long-awaited field trip celebrating their graduation from summer school. [Video link. Warning: graphic footage/]
According to CNN — which obtained and published the footage on Monday — most of the children on the bus were killed by the Saudi airstrike less than an hour after the video was captured.
This is just the latest horrific attack on civilians by the Saudi-led coalition, which has received explicit military and political backing from the United States. Images sent to Al-Jazeera by Yemen’s Houthi rebels suggest that Mark-82 bomb — which is manufactured by the massive American military contractor Raytheon — was used in the strike, though the photos have yet to be independently verified.
Watch the footage here. (Warning, the video is graphic)
According to the Houthi Health Ministry, 79 people in total and 56 children were wounded in the attack, which quickly drew condemnation and demands for an independent investigation from international humanitarian groups, the United Nations, and a small number of American lawmakers.
“By backing the Saudi coalition’s war in Yemen with weapons, aerial refueling, and targeting assistance, the United States is complicit in the atrocities taking place there,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote on Facebook. “We must end our support for this war and focus our efforts on a UN-brokered cease-fire and a diplomatic resolution.”
As Al-Jazeera notes, the US “has been the biggest supplier of military equipment to Riyadh, with more than $90 billion of sales recorded between 2010 and 2015.”
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has enthusiastically continued the long-standing US policy of backing the Saudi regime no matter how many innocent people it slaughters in Yemen, openly applauding the kingdom for buying so much American weaponry.
Ahead of Monday’s funerals for the dozens of children murdered by the Saudi-led coalition last week, images on social media showed Yemenis digging graves in preparation for the ceremonies.
As Philly.com‘s Will Bunch noted in a column on Sunday, the Saudi-led coalition’s school bus bombing forced the corporate media — which has almost completely ignored the humanitarian crisis in Yemen — “to pay at least a little bit of attention.”
“It shouldn’t have taken so long,” Bunch wrote. “This blood is on America’s hands, as long as we keep sending the bombs that kill so many Yemenis, and as long as we give the Saudis our unqualified diplomatic support in a messy regional conflict. And yet there’s been no public debate about the murky US role out of this, and no clarification from the White House or the Pentagon over what we hope to accomplish by our support of the mayhem.”
“If the American people can take back control of what is being done in our name,” Bunch concluded, “maybe we can finally begin washing away this spreading moral stain.”
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License
“Children in the Yemen Have Been Slaughtered
Thanks to Bombs Sold by Us”
George Galloway / talkRADIO
(August 9, 2018) — George Galloway is a British politician, broadcaster and writer.
He has served as a Member of Parliament, elected as a candidate for the Labour Party and later the Respect Party. Galloway opens this show with his take on bombings in Yemen. What does it mean for our relationship with Saudi Arabia?
The Schoolboys on a Field Trip in Yemen
Were Chatting and Laughing.
Then Came the Airstrike
Nima Elbagir, Salma Abdelaziz, Sheena McKenzie and Waffa Munayyer / CNN
(August 14, 2018) — For a group of boys in northern Yemen, Thursday was supposed to be a celebration — a much-anticipated field trip marking their graduation from summer school.
A video taken by one of the boys shows the classmates jostling and yelling on a packed school bus, clearly excited for the day ahead.
Their delighted chatter drowns out the person taking roll call, red pen poised in hand.
A parent outside the window waves goodbye to their child.
Within hours the boy who took the video, along with most of his classmates, would be dead — killed after a Saudi-led coalition airstrike hit their school bus.
Neighboring Saudi Arabia has been leading a coalition of Gulf states against Houthi rebels in northern Yemen since 2015, after the Iran-backed rebels drove out the pro-Saudi and US-backed government.
The children, reportedly ages 6 to 11, had been on a field trip to a graveyard for rebels, one of the few green spaces left in the northern Saada governate.
“Because of the war, most of the parks and gardens are destroyed,” explained the boys’ 40-year-old teacher, Yahya Hussein. “The nicest areas are the martyr’s shrines and mosques,” he told CNN.
“They were so excited about the field trip,” Hussein said of the outing, which was to mark the end of the boys’ two-month religious summer school. “It’s all they had been talking about for the last couple of days.”
In the video, filmed by schoolboy Osama Zeid Al Homran, the classmates are shown reciting verses from the Quran. The moment the lesson is over, the children race into the graveyard to play chase.
Zeid can be heard shouting to his friends, “Wait! Let’s take a picture!”
‘These Are Just Children’
Later in the day, after the boys returned to the school bus, tragedy struck.
Hussein had been late to the field trip and was parking his car a short distance from the bus when the blast came.
“I heard a loud explosion and there was dust and smoke everywhere,” he said. “The scene can’t be described — there was body parts and blood everywhere.”
“These were the children that were laughing, playing, acting very excited just a couple of days ago about their field trip. And now they were just mutilated corpses,” he said.
“I was frozen,” said the father of three. “I just started screaming, ‘Oh people, oh world — these are just children.'”
Of the 51 people who died in the airstrike, 40 were children, Houthi Health Minister Taha al-Mutawakil said during a news conference Friday. He added that of the 79 people wounded, 56 were children.
Graphic footage of the immediate aftermath of the strike, broadcast by Houthi media, shows the children’s charred bodies under the blown-up bus. In one video, a Yemeni father spots his son’s corpse partially covered by a blue tarpaulin in the back of a pickup truck.
Houthi TV network Al Masirah reported that one of the first medics on the scene, Hussein Hussein Tayeb, found that his son was one of the dead.
“As soon as I arrived with others wanting to help out, we figured we had to quickly nurse the wounded because there was chaos — people were running over bodies and shouting,” he said.
“As I was nursing people, I lifted a body and found that it was Ahmed’s face. I carried him and hugged him — he was my son.”
Mass Funeral for Boys
On Monday morning hundreds of mourners gathered for a mass funeral for the boys, their small caskets carried through the city of Saada before being loaded onto pickup trucks.
Alongside the caskets stood giant placards bearing the bloodied faces of the children in the aftermath of the attack. Other signs said “America killed the children of Yemen.”
The procession, organized by Houthi rebels, was one of several planned to take place across Yemen on Monday.
Abdel-Ilah Mohammad, the father of 7-year-old victim Mohammad Abdel-Ilah, told CNN that his son had been so excited for the school trip that he got up at 6 a.m.
“We never expected this to happen,” he said. “He walked out of the door with his white clothes. He put on perfume and combed his hair before he left; he didn’t need to — he was a handsome boy. He did not know what was coming for him.”
US General to Aid Investigation
US Defense Secretary James Mattis said Sunday that, while he backed the US State Department’s calls for the Saudi-led coalition to investigate the strike, he is sending a general to help with inquiries.
“I have dispatched a three-star general into Riyadh to look into what happened here and if there is anything we can do to preclude this in the future,” Mattis said.
The state-run Saudi Press Agency reported Friday that the Saudi-led coalition had opened an investigation into the attack.
Saudi Arabia denies targeting civilians and defended the incident on Thursday as a “legitimate military operation” and a retaliatory response to a Houthi ballistic missile that targeted the kingdom’s Jizan province the day before.
Coalition spokesman Col. Turki al-Malki told CNN the airstrike that hit the bus was aimed at a “legitimate target.”
“No, this is not children in the bus,” he said. “We do have high standard measures for targeting.”
Thursday’s strike was the worst attack on children since Yemen’s brutal war escalated in 2015, UNICEF said Friday.
UN Calls for Investigation
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the attack and called for “an independent and prompt investigation” into the strike.
Guterres said in a statement that all parties must “respect their obligations under international humanitarian law, in particular the fundamental rules of distinction, proportionality and precautions in attack.”
The war in Yemen is now the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with more than 22 million people — three-quarters of the population — in desperate need of aid and protection, according to the United Nations.
More than 10,000 civilians have died and 40,000 have been wounded in the war, which reportedly has left 15 million Yemenis without access to clean water.
Nada Altaher contributed to this report.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, for noncommercial, educational purposes.