Media 93: MSM downplays Britain’s role in the latest Yemeni killing & the BBC omits UN experts’ charge
Today, the BBC reports that UN Group of Regional and International Eminent Experts on Yemen will present a report to the UN Human Rights Council next month. It says that the experts believe war crimes may have been committed by all parties to the conflict in Yemen.
Yemeni government forces, the Saudi-led coalition backing them, and the rebel Houthi movement have made little effort to minimise civilian casualties and there have been attacks on residential areas in which thousands have died. The warring parties are also accused of arbitrary detentions, torture, enforced disappearances and recruiting children.
But the BBC failed to mention that the Group of Experts’ report notes that coalition air strikes have caused most direct civilian casualties. The airstrikes have hit residential areas, markets, funerals, weddings, detention facilities, civilian boats and even medical facilities.
Yemenis dig graves for children in the wake of the latest air strike
Lest we forget, the remote-sounding Saudi-led coalition is supported by UK arms sales (including cluster bombs manufactured in the UK) and technical assistance. British military personnel are complicit – deployed in the command and control centre responsible for Saudi-led air strikes on Yemen, giving access to lists of targets.
The Saudi-led coalition struck last Wednesday and Thursday. Following the attacks on Wednesday, four families in northwestern Yemen, who had decided to leave their homes to avoid such danger, were in a vehicle when airstrikes hit again.
Though Britain’s mainstream media fully reported the killings of 9th August, a search finds no reference to those on the 24th.
CNN did full justice to this atrocity, recalling also that earlier this month, a Saudi-led airstrike hit a school bus carrying scores of boys in Yemen. The attack killed 51 people, including 40 children, according to the Health Ministry. CNN has established that the bomb used in that attack was a 500-pound (227 kilogram) MK 82 bomb made by Lockheed Martin, one of the top US defence contractors.
CNN adds: “There have been growing calls in the US Congress for Saudi Arabia, a key US ally in the Middle East, to do more to prevent civilian deaths in Yemen, where three years of conflict have taken a terrible toll”.
The latest news: yesterday, Barbara Starr, CNN Pentagon Correspondent, reports that the Pentagon has issued a warning to Saudi Arabia that it is prepared to reduce military and intelligence support for its campaign against rebels in neighbouring Yemen if the Saudis don’t demonstrate they are attempting to limit civilian deaths in airstrikes – adding “It is not clear if President Donald Trump, who views the Saudis as an essential ally, would agree to a reduction of support”.
But, like the proverbial three monkeys, the failing British government hears, sees and speaks no evil.
Military figures in Britain and America continue to pass through the revolving door to defence companies
As noted earlier on this site, the Guardian recently highlighted the revolving door in this country: “Senior military officers and Ministry of Defence officials have taken up more than 3,500 jobs in arms companies over the past 16 years, according to figures that reveal the extent of the “revolving door” between the public and private sector”. A NATO Watch message now sends news of a parallel in the United States.
This clip is from a short video, Strategic Maneuvers, presented by War Costs to accompany a new report by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). It focusses on the revolving door between the government and war profiteering defence contractors:
“The revolving door phenomenon is not new, yet it continues to play an integral part in the money flow from the taxpayer to the Pentagon and into defense contractors’ pockets:
“Strategic Maneuvers (read the report here) finds that from 2009 to 2011, 70% of retiring three and four-star generals and admirals left the Pentagon to jobs with contractors and consulting firms, using their knowledge of the Pentagon and Capitol Hill to reap immense profits from public coffers. The report includes much more on this age-old process that ultimately perverts public trust in officials holding important positions in the government”.
Readers are invited to join the dialogue via the hashtag #4stars4profit on Twitter at @warcosts.
World Service Radio alarmed this reader today by prominently featuring a pre-election Pentagon speech by President Obama as a threat to China – in marked contrast to its website’s lowly placed and cheering title Obama unveils smaller US military.
Weasel words attempting to sanitise military spending and slaughter
Examples from a brief video extract:
- The latest Afghan war: “long-term nation-building with large military footprints”
- Afghanistan: a “long-term stability operation” which led to “force-generation”
- More investment in Nato, which has “demonstrated time and again” that it’s a “force multiplier”
Force Generation is the structured progression of increased unit readiness over time resulting in recurring periods of availability of trained, ready, and cohesive units.
A force multiplier, in military terminology, is a factor that dramatically increases the effectiveness of an item or group. Military examples include troop morale, reputation, training, and so on.
‘Nutshell’ definitions are needed – any offers?
We’ll be strengthening our presence in the Asia-Pacific alongside the Middle East; the Financial Times adds:
“While Mr Obama and other officials did not mention China by name, a strategy paper was more blunt in describing potential military threats from Beijing, at one stage listing it alongside Iran as one of the principal challenges.
“States such as China and Iran will continue to pursue asymmetric means to counter our power projections capabilities,” the document says. It also notes: “Over the long-term China’s emergence as a regional power will have the potential to affect the US economy and our security in a variety of ways.”
The global threat
Obama: “The world must know – the United States is going to maintain our military superiority with armed forces that are agile, flexible and ready for the full range of contingencies and threats.”