The Saudi embassy in the United States pointed the finger at Doctors Without Borders after the US-backed Saudi coalition bombed the medical humanitarian group’s newly constructed cholera treatment center in Yemen.
The Saudi government circulated a misleading fax from a Doctors Without Borders (MSF) employee, to try to absolve itself of responsibility for the airstrike. I contacted MSF for clarification, and the organization said the fax is being misrepresented, and strongly condemned the “unacceptable attack on a medical facility.”
On June 11, the US-backed Saudi coalition waging war on Yemen bombed a cholera treatment center in the northwestern town of Abs. This medical facility, which had just been built, was operated by MSF, and was clearly marked on the roof with the logos of MSF and the Red Crescent.
Lawmakers have published a bipartisan letter calling on the US government to withdraw support for a military attack on Yemen’s port city of Hodeida, which could unleash a humanitarian disaster that starves millions of civilians.
Lawmakers from both major parties have published a letter calling on the U.S. government to withdraw support for a military attack on Yemen’s port city of Hodeida, which would almost certainly unleash a humanitarian disaster that could starve millions of people.
The letter — which follows in full below — was signed by prominent Democratic and Republican congressmen, and is directly addressed to Secretary of Defense James Mattis.
With blessings from the United States, military forces led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates launched an attack on Wednesday, June 13 on Hodeida, the site where some 80 percent of humanitarian aid enters Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East.
The U.S. military is providing intelligence assistance to the Saudi- and Emirati-led forces in the battle. The U.S. has played a key role in the war in Yemen, since Saudi Arabia first launched its bombardment campaign in March 2015, selling the Gulf monarchy billions of dollars in weapons and providing in-air refueling and intelligence support.
The US-backed Saudi/Emirati coalition bombed a newly constructed cholera treatment center in Yemen run by MSF. This air attack comes after the impoverished country suffered through the worst cholera outbreak in recorded history.
A military coalition formally led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and supported by the United States and Britain, bombed a newly constructed cholera treatment in Yemen on Monday, June 11.
This attack comes after Yemen, the poorest country in the Middle East, suffered through the worst cholera outbreak in recorded history, with more than 1 million cases reported in 2017 alone.
The cholera treatment center was operated by the humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders (known in French as Médecins Sans Frontières, or MSF). It was located in Yemen’s northwestern Hajjah Governorate, an area that has been heavily bombarded by Saudi Arabia for more than 3 years.
(Editor’s Note – Ben Norton: It has long been suspected that the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is funded by Western governments. This is the first official confirmation that the leading “monitoring group” — which is run by a pro-opposition activist working from his home in England — has gotten money from the UK government. It is also worth noting that the SOHR’s rival the Syrian Network for Human Rights, which is much less reputable and even more explicitly partisan, has quietly admitted in passing that it is funded by “states.” The SNHR is notorious for whitewashing the crimes of ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other extremist militias in Syria.)
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) Is Funded by the British Government
Writing in the Mail on Sunday, journalist Peter Hitchens commented last month on the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR):
‘Talking of war, and Syria, many of you may have noticed frequent references in the media to a body called the “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights”, often quoted as if it is an impartial source of information about that complicated conflict, in which the British government clearly takes sides. The “Observatory” says on its website that it is “not associated or linked to any political body.”
‘To which I reply: Is Boris Johnson’s Foreign Office not a political body? Because the FO just confirmed to me that “the UK funded a project worth £194,769.60 to provide the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights with communications equipment and cameras.” That’s quite a lot, isn’t it? I love the precision of that 60p. Your taxes, impartially, at work.’
This figure was confirmed in communication with the Foreign Office by independent political journalist Ian Sinclair. (Email to Media Lens, May 17, 2018)
The Organization of American States (OAS) is a Cold War-era group that acts as a vehicle for US influence, opposing leftist governments in Latin America. Journalist Max Blumenthal challenged the OAS on its extreme anti-Venezuela bias and enlisting of right-wing pro-Israel lobbyists to demonize Nicolas Maduro.
BEN NORTON:It’s The Real News, I’m Ben Norton. The Organization of American States is a Cold War-era international body of countries in North and South America that claims to be independent and neutral, but, in reality, frequently acts as a proxy for the United States government.
The OAS is notorious for its extreme bias against left-wing governments in Latin America, particularly Cuba and Venezuela. Western corporate media outlets frequently echo the OAS’s anti-Cuba and anti-Venezuela reports, without providing any further information as to what exactly the OAS is, and what interests it serves.
In reality, however, the OAS was formed at the behest of the U.S. government as a coalition of anti-communist governments at the beginning of the Cold War. In 1948, the U.S. convened the International Conference of American States. At this meeting in Colombia, which was led by the U.S. Secretary of State and infamous cold warrior George Marshall, the right-wing governments of Latin America joined the U.S. in signing a charter that established the Organization of American States with the explicit goal of fighting the spread of socialism and defending capitalism in North and South America.
Although media outlets today cite the OAS as if it were supposedly an independent and impartial source, U.S. government bodies have openly admitted otherwise.
Internal documents exclusively obtained by the Grayzone Project (and embedded after this article) show how Cambridge Analytica’s UK-based parent company, SCL group, conducted a surveillance operation in Yemen called Project Titania. The initiative relied on psychological profiling, “strategic communications campaigns,” and infiltration of foreign operatives into indigenous communities through unwitting local partners whom they were instructed to deceive.
According to the materials detailed here, Project Titania was to be implemented by SCL “on behalf of Archimedes.” Archimedes is a US-based private contractor that advertises its ability to provide “Systems Integration, Engineering, and Mission Support solutions to government and businesses worldwide.”
The partnership between SCL and Archimedes highlights the seamless web of relationships between private intelligence firms and Western governments engaged in counter-intelligence activities in the Middle East. These large scale surveillance operations have been conducted without the knowledge of the Western public or input from elected officials, and would have remained mostly unknown had a series of leaks and hacking operations not placed them in the public domain.
Communications obtained legally by the Grayzone Project indicated that a former Archimedes staffer named Tim Riesen was a key contact for the Yemen operation. Little information is publicly available about Riesen; he is currently the the CEO of an international corporate consultancy firm called Madison Springfield, Inc.
(Video of my questioning of the OAS panel follows the article.)
On May 29, a panel of self-described independent experts convened a press conference at the Organization of American States in Washington DC. The panel presented a 400-page report accusing the Venezuelan government of crimes against humanity and demanding the prosecution of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro at the International Criminal Court.
The panel comprised a collection of aggressive advocates of regime change in Venezuela. I attended the event to question the self-proclaimed experts on their ulterior agenda and the absurd contradictions behind their claims to support universal human rights.
“With right-wing allies ruling Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, and Peru, the OAS has faded back into its history as an instrument of US domination of Latin America,” Mark Weisbrot, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, told the Grayzone Project.
Weisbrot added OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro, “is obsessed with Venezuela, and determined to do whatever he can to achieve regime change there, by any means necessary.”
On May 23, activist and satirist Randy Credico met with the staff of Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee and de facto leader of the House’s investigation into Russian meddling. Credico described the discussions to me hours after his meeting.
According to Credico, Schiff requested the interview after a brief chat with Schiff at the White House Press and Correspondents Association gala last month. An email from House Intelligence Committee senior counsel Shannon Green to Credico (below) demonstrates Schiff’s interest in the encounter.
Schiff was interested exclusively in gathering evidence to bolster the Russiagate narrative of Credico as a secret liaison between Julian Assange, who has been branded without evidence by the CIA as a hostile foreign intelligence asset rather than a journalist, and former Trump campaign aide Roger Stone.
(Credico, an erstwhile associate of Stone and fervent advocate for Assange’s freedom, was subpoenaed last November by Schiff. He invoked the Fifth Amendment at the time).
But once Credico arrived in Schiff’s office, he sent the congressman’s staff in an unexpected – and politically inconvenient – direction.
“I told them three times that Mr. Assange is wiling to meet with him,” Credico said. “And if Schiff is serious he can get this stuff cleared up. I’m just a courier to deal with this. And they [Schiff’s staff] just sat there and said, ‘Well noted.’ I said, if Nixon went to China, if the orange man Trump’s going to Korea, Schiff has the street cred — go meet with Assange.”
Two days later, Credico was invited onto MSNBC’s “The Beat” with Ari Melber. Melber and his producers had no idea that Assange had offered to be interviewed by the House Intelligence Committee. Like Schiff, they were merely interested in pumping Credico for details on communications between Stone and Assange that reinforced the narrative of Trump-Russia collusion.
“They have an agenda at MSNBC that’s anti-Assange, pro-war against Russia,” Credico remarked. “They pre-taped me because they got nervous, but they kept most of what I had to say. So what all the stuff about Stone did was give me a chance to talk about Assange.”
When Credico revealed his “secret mission” to Schiff to deliver Assange’s offer of an interview, Melber reacted with astonishment. He took to Twitter to publicize the offer that Credico disclosed, prompting a revealing reply from the congressman’s office:
“Rep. Schiff’s office just gave us this response:,” Melber tweeted. “‘Our committee would be willing to interview Julian Assange when he is in U.S. custody, not before.’”
Internal documents exclusively obtained by the Grayzone Project and embedded at the end of this article show how Cambridge Analytica’s UK-based parent company, SCL group, conducted a surveillance operation in Yemen, using psychological profiling, “strategic communications campaigns,” and infiltration of foreign operatives into indigenous communities through unwitting local partners whom they were instructed to deceive.
The SCL documentsdescribe “a research and analysis study undertaken by Strategic Communication Laboratories (SCL) on behalf of Archimedes,” a US-based military contractor. The name of the operation was “Project Titania.” It relied heavily on deception to gain access to the local population, ordering project operatives to develop a “cover story” that placed their presence in the country in a more innocent light.
The geographic targets of the project were Yemen’s Hadramout and Marib provinces. These regions have served as organizational bases for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and were at the time in the crosshairs of then-President Barack Obama’s drone assassination program.
Many of the methods of surveillance and manipulation revealed in these SCL documents closely mirror the tactics that were later applied in Western electoral contests. And when these tactics were exposed in early 2018, they ignited a political firestorm.
Hours before Australia joined the US as the only countries in the UN Human Rights Council to vote against an investigation into Israel’s killing of over 60 protesters in one day in Gaza’s no-go zone, I joined Sky News Australia to discuss the massacre and my and Dan Cohen’s new documentary on life under siege, Killing Gaza.
You can watch the trailer below and purchase the complete film here.