A diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks shows that the US military covered up the killing of dozens of civilians during a cruise missile strike in south Yemen in December 2009.
The secret cable from January 2010 corroborated images released earlier this year by Amnesty International, implicating the US in the use of cluster bombs. The cable was sent by Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh to US General David Petraeus, saying his government would “continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours.”
According to the cable, this prompted Yemeni Deputy Prime Minister Rashad al-Alimi “to joke that he had just ‘lied’ by telling Parliament that the bombs in Arhab, Abyan, and Shebwa were American-made but deployed by the ROYG [Republic of Yemen Government].”
“The cable appears to confirm Amnesty International’s finding that the Abyan strike was carried out by the US military, not Yemeni government forces,” Philip Luther, a Deputy Director for Amnesty International, said.
On December 17, 2009, an alleged al-Qaeda training camp in Abyan was hit by a cruise missile, killing 41 local residents, including 14 women, 21 children, and 14 alleged al-Qaeda members.
According to the leaked cable, President Saleh praised the strikes, “but said that ‘mistakes were made’ in the killing of civilians in Abyan.” Gen. Petraeus responded that only three civilians, the wife and two children of an al-Qaeda member, were killed.
After the attack, Amnesty International requested information from the Pentagon about US involvement in the missile attack, but received no response. The Pentagon later released a statement saying
that questions on operations against al-Qaeda should be posed to the Yemeni government.
The leaked cable revealed that Gen. Petraeus proposed abandoning the use of cruise missiles and instead using fixed-wing bombers circling outside of Yemeni territory to strike at targets using precision-guided bombs “when actionable intelligence became available.” The proposal was welcomed by President Saleh.
Security assistance to Yemen may substantially increase, if Gen. Petraeus has his way.
“The General told Saleh that he had requested USD 150 million in security assistance for 2010, a substantial increase over the 2009 amount of USD 67 million,” the cable states.
Amnesty International is calling on the US to investigate the use of drones by US forces for targeted killings of individuals in Yemen.
“There must be an immediate investigation into the dozens of deaths of local residents in the Abyan air strike, including into the extent of US involvement,” Luther said. “Those responsible for unlawful killings must be brought to justice.”
US Attorney General Eric Holder said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is currently under investigation and would be pursued if he were found to have broken the law.
Republican Congressman Peter King, the incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, went so far as to say that the website should be deemed a “foreign terrorist organization.”
Rep. King’s call for prosecution was echoed by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Clair McCaskill (D-MO) and former State Department official Liz Cheney.
“We’re deeply skeptical that prosecuting WikiLeaks would be constitutional, or a good idea,” Hina Shamsi, Director of the ACLU National Security Project, said. “The courts have made clear that the First Amendment protects independent third parties who publish classified information. Prosecuting WikiLeaks would be no different from prosecuting the media outlets that also published classified documents.”
“Prosecuting publishers of classified information threatens investigative journalism that is necessary to an informed public debate about government conduct, and that is an unthinkable outcome.”
Joy Reid medical expert blasts the president’s lies on coronavirus: ‘Trump needs to stay in his lane’
MSNBC anchor Joy Reid interviewed Dr. Bernard B. Ashby about the latest coming from the White House on the coronavirus pandemic.
"If, for instance, you did not test for pregnancy, does it mean you are not pregnant?" Reid asked.
Ashby, a cardiologist from Miami, praised the anchor on her new primetime show, "The ReidOut," but did not directly answer the question.
"And in terms of the whole discourse, the fact that I'm having to respond to Trump about clinical medicine is ridiculous," Dr. Ashby explained.
"Trump needs to stay in his lane. Like, we went to medical school for a long time, we did training for a long time to speak on exactly what ... we have the expertise to speak on and the fact that Trump is asserting himself in academic medicine, into clinical medicine is ridiculous," he explained.
GOP governor blocks local officials from forcing private schools to only hold classes online
On Monday, The Daily Beast reported that Gov. Larry Hogan (R-MD) is overriding a local order from Montgomery County restricting private schools to operating online only, as a safety precaution against the coronavirus outbreak raging in the area.
"Hogan issued an emergency order Monday that said private schools’ reopening would be up to individual schools and not mandated by the state," reported Madeline Charbonneau. "'The blanket closure mandate imposed by Montgomery County was overly broad and inconsistent with the powers intended to be delegated to the county health officer,' Hogan said."