Update: To their credit, CNN posted ‘Bomb that killed 40 children in Yemen was supplied by the US‘ about 14 hours after this was published. Nothing from MSNBC and Fox as of yet.
A placard at a mass funeral for the 40 children slaughtered in Saada province last week read ‘America killed the children of Yemen’. They weren’t wrong, and we have the receipts to prove yet another US-supplied and British-enabled slaughter of Saudi Arabia’s impoverished Southern Neighbour.
The bomb which hit the bus was a MK-82 initially manufactured by General Dynamics in Fort Worth, Texas: the only company that is currently certified to manufacture this unit for the Department of Defense. Its CAGE code (94271) corresponds to Lockheed Martin in Archbald, Pennsylvania, where it was likely fitted with a nose-mounted laser seeker before being sold to Saudi Arabia as the finished product.
A picture of a shard of the bomb with the CAGE code, serial number and ‘FIN GUIDED BOMB’ was Tweeted by Hussein Albukhaiti, a Sana’a-based independent journalist. A simple search on any online CAGE directory shows that the number in question was issued by Lockheed Martin.
📸👇of #US bomb used by #Saudi #UAE strike on school bus
51killed inc 40children
Pentagon said 9th August:
doesn’t know if US-made bombs killed kids in Yemen
“We may never know if the munition [used]was one that the US sold to them,”
Now we know its #USA made MK82 pic.twitter.com/LPDm9UW1i0
— Hussain Albukhaiti (@HussainBukhaiti) August 11, 2018
Yemeni journalists found this fragment of the bomb Saudi Arabia dropped on a school bus full of children in Yemen https://t.co/ooLcwBpMwZ
It’s a US-made MK-82 guided bomb, which has been used in previous attacks on Yemeni civilians
The cage code on the bomb is Lockheed Martin’s pic.twitter.com/Wu6OSZeKJ2
— Ben Norton (@BenjaminNorton) August 11, 2018
Unlike previous civilian atrocities in Yemen, this one had actually received reasonable coverage in the US media. Several articles on the slaughter were even featured on MSNBC, where Yemen garners 5000% less broadcasting time than stories of Russian computer stuff according to FAIR. However, the relatively extensive CNN/MSNBC/Fox coverage has yet to pick up on the images provided by local Yemeni photojournalists that show clear evidence of American hardware being responsible for the attack.
Stories relating to global conflict predictably stop at America’s own doorstep, before everyday people might start to relate the pictures on their TV screen to the society and system of governance they see around them. In order to sell war to the American public in the Information Age, the consequences of geopolitical adventures must be blurred to the average Joe; they must be treated like natural disasters with no obvious malevolent force behind them that we can tackle. To try to fight against the underlying origin of the problem must seem as futile as a fight against nature.
Devon to Yemen – A British education in collateral murder.
The story was the same in the UK, where there was very little media effort to hold the Ministry of Defence to account for the attack, despite the Guardian reporting as far back as January 2016 that British forces watch Saudi operations from a ‘command room’ to provide ‘best practice on targeting techniques’. Presumably a direct attack on a school trip for 5 to 11-year-olds fell short of British military best practice, and so what is being done to hold Saudi officials to account and ensure that such an atrocity can’t occur again? This was a question that was conspicuously absent from the UK right wing press last week.
An extremely redacted FOIA response from the Foreign Office in February 2017 confirmed that the UK were involved in training Saudi Royal Air Force personnel to ‘improve targeting processes’ and ‘support International Humanitarian Law compliance’. Damningly, the document also confirms the presence of military liaison staff in Saudi Arabia, banishing any plausible deniability on our side. What isn’t being told is whether the Saudi military are adhering to British best practices or failing: are the deaths the result of inadequate pilots, woefully inadequate processes being taught by the British or simply a refusal to abide by them?
If the issue is with the British targeting processes, then we are beyond complicit in the tragedy. If it is a case of the Saudi Arabian Air Force simply refusing to abide by our practices, then Westminster must condemn the war and wash their bloody hands of it. Needless to say, this is not happening.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman can hardly be quaking in his boots about a UK humanitarian kickback. After three years of mercilessly carpet-bombing his Yemeni neighbours with whatever technological monstrosities we have sold him fresh from BAE Systems munitions factories, he was treated to a red-carpet UK visit in March, even meeting the Queen. Another 48 jet fighters were sold to Saudi Arabia soon after, with the Prime Minister even flagrantly lying about UN authorisation for the intervention in Yemen to cover the back of our large Saudi adult son. To be clear, Security Council Resolution 2216 declared Hadi the legitimate leader of Yemen, but in no way condoned a foreign invasion.
This latest Typhoon deal means that the UK have signed $6.4 billion worth of new military contracts with Saudi Arabia since their abhorrent assault on Yemen began. We are in the business of validating war crimes and lending the architects credence and resolute support. Bin Salman’s callousness and disregard for human life may be a headache for a PR-obsessed military empire determined to preserve their veneer of respect for human rights, but his underlying objectives are synchronised with UK foreign policy to a tee. This is why he will continue onwards with minimal hurdles.
There’s no difference between being an arms dealer
And being a wanted war criminal.
Although you don’t have to get your hands bloody
The results are equally terrible.
– Heathcote Williams
The Multi-Millionaire Arms Dealer – By Appointment
Yemeni children who never make it back from a school trip won’t be remembered past the next news cycle; BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and General Dynamics will continue to see their share prices rise steadily and will invest the profits into absurdly under-regulated lobbying sectors both sides of the Atlantic to grow their influence further; the population of Yemen will continue to decline until bin Salman succeeds in conquering more space to build his Tesla flagship showroom and the US gains a larger portfolio of Middle-Eastern client states.
The military-industrial steamroller turns with depressing inevitability and another 10 million Yemeni kids in its path.