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.”
‘Absolute immunity:’ Kayleigh McEnany claims Trump has monarch-like powers despite Supreme Court ruling
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Thursday said that President Donald Trump continues to believe that he has "absolute immunity" from prosecution despite a Supreme Court ruling that said otherwise.
At a White House briefing, McEnany argued that a high court ruling which gives prosecutors the right to subpoena Trump's financial records is actually a "win for the president."
"The president was making general point about deference and on the principal of absolute immunity," she explained. "He believes there should have been more deference [to him by the court]."
Trump’s is appealing to an electorate that is ‘dissolving before his eyes’: columnist
Writing in The Atlantic this Thursday, Ronald Brownstein says that Donald Trump is running for reelection for an America that "no longer exists."
"Trump in recent weeks has repeatedly reprised two of Richard Nixon’s most memorable rallying cries, promising to deliver 'law and order' for the 'silent majority,'" Brownstein writes. "But in almost every meaningful way, America today is a radically different country than it was when Nixon rode those arguments to win the presidency in 1968 amid widespread anti-war protests, massive civil unrest following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., white flight from major cities, and rising crime rates. Trump’s attempt to emulate that strategy may only prove how much the country has changed since it succeeded."
Trump is a friendless ‘psychopath’ who now sees Kavanaugh and Gorsuch as enemies: Art of the Deal ghostwriter
Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch, who were nominated by Donald Trump, voted with the majority on Thursday against the president. Tony Schwartz, the ghostwriter behind “Trump: The Art of the Deal,” says that the president now views the two Supreme Court justices as his enemies.
“The psychopathy is why he does what he does,” Schwartz told CNN. “He has no conscience and so breaking the law for him is no big deal.”
The Supreme Court rejected claims by Trump's attorneys that the president enjoyed absolute immunity, but the rulings may still allow him to keep his financial records secret until after the November election.