Washington D.C. (AHT) – A somewhat grainy video, presumably shot from a decade old cell phone, shows more than two dozen load Yemeni kids, aged 6 to 15, playing, laughing, and excitedly moving about their school bus, invoking warm childhood memories for anyone who has ever caught a bus to and from a school outing.
Moments later every single one of these kids were killed, vaporized by a Saudi fired missile.
This atrocity took place on 9 August, leaving 51 dead, 40 of whom were children, with most victims under the age of 10, while another 77 were seriously injured, according to the International Red Cross.
The US Department of Defense has tried to downplay the United States role in what must surely constitute a war crime and/or a crime against humanity by either arguing it’s still investigating the matter or by disingenuously minimizing its involvement.
“We may never know if the munition [used] was one that the US sold to them,” Army Maj. Josh Jacques, a spokesperson for US Central Command, told Vox. “We don’t have a lot of people on the ground.”
Well, we do know who sold Saudi Arabia the missile, and there are plenty of Yemeni journalists and international aid agencies in Yemen “on the ground.”
Remnants of the missile, which were posted on Twitter by Hussein Albikaiti, a Sana’a-based journalist, show its CAGE code, serial number, and the wording, “FIN GUIDED BOMB.”
A search of the CAGE code shows the missile to be issued by US defense contractor Lockheed Martin, while the serial number shows it to be a MK-82 missile manufactured by General Dynamics in Fort Worth, Texas.
“A US made laser guided bomb did this 2 a bus full of school children,” tweeted Albikaiti. “The bus was directly hit by a Saudi-UAE jet, fueled by USA plane, coordinates by US and UK satellites. One bomb sent these happy children to the graves after burning them alive and cutting them to pieces.”
Worse – the British and US mainstream media is complicit in the cover-up of yet another atrocity in Yemen, like always!
Read more about Yemen:
Maybe the most dangerous reality of the Trump presidency might be the media’s obsessive want to over analyze every tweet, off-hand remark, and gaff made by the current occupant of the White House, which, in turn, places television news networks at the centre of what has been a more than a 3-year long psychodrama if you count the 2016 election campaign.
The media’s obsession with this obviously unhinged and deranged US President comes at the cost of informing the American public of the horrors that are occurring in their name and with their tax dollars in countries many voters can’t even find on a map.
While CNN and a handful of other mainstream television networks carried news of the Saudi coalition missile attack on the school bus, there has been almost no follow up, leaving the public totally in the dark about the role the US played in this war crime, and in what has been described as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
According to FAIR, a media analysis service, the left-leaning cable news network MSNBC has not run a single segment related to the conflict in Yemen since early 2017 but ran with more than 1,300 broadcasts regarding Trump’s probable but still speculated collusion with Russia during the 2016 election.
The US media demonstrates a proclivity to report on Yemen only when an American serviceman is killed, according to FAIR, with networks devoting substantial coverage to a botched raid on January 29, which left one US soldier dead alongside dozens.
On the August 9th strike in Yemen, the British media has fared no better. The Guardian, for instance, widely considered a “bastion of liberal values and humanitarian concern,” failed to feature the killing of 40 Yemeni children among its 13 headline stories, while the Independent failed to include it among its top 8 headlines, according to Middle East Eye.
Coupled with a lack of media coverage is the near total silence that emanates from both US lawmakers and the Department of Defense, with the latter holding only a few public hearings on Yemen since the conflict began more than 3 years ago, one that has resulted in more than 23 million Yemenis being in need of urgent humanitarian assistance.
This is unconscionable and anti-democratic given the US provides the intelligence, guidance systems, warplanes, bombs, and missiles to the Saudi coalition.
Moreover, on the few occasions, Yemen is mentioned in the media, the extent of the human catastrophe is downplayed and underestimated. For instance, most media reports include a total death count of approximately 10,000 Yemenis, but aid agencies have estimated more than 150,000 died of disease and starvation in 2017 alone, with up to 130 children dying each and everyday.
According to the International Red Cross, 70% of the population needs aid to survive; 2.5 million have no access to clean drinking water; 1 in every 12 is severely malnourished; 940,000 are suspected of having cholera; while almost no medical supplies are getting into the country because of the Saudi blockade of Yemen’s ports, and the destruction of infrastructure throughout the country.
While this is a Saudi war of choice, it is planned and supported by the government of the United States, acting on behalf of the American taxpayer. It’s time the media report the full extent of the US role in prolonging the suffering in the Middle East’s poorest country so that voters can pressure their elected representatives into bringing an end to this senseless violence.
The lives of the next busload of Yemeni school kids depends on it.
This post by CJ Werleman originally ran on American Herald Tribune.
CJ Werleman is a journalist, political commentator, and author of ‘The New Atheist Threat: the Dangerous Rise of Secular Extremists.