ACLU Investigating Cover Up Of US Missile Massacre That Killed 21 Children And 14 Women

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The ACLU and the CCR are trying to force the US government to release information on the cover up of the deadly missile attack that caused the Al-Majalah Massacre.

The Wikileaks diplomatic cables have revealed that the United States government covered up a deadly massacre in Yemen that killed women and children and wiped entire families off of the map.

The attack occurred during an assassination strike that was supposed to take a known militant but when all was said and done forty-one civilians, including women and children lie dead in the attack.

The Wikileaks cable revealed that the US government had the Yemeni military take the blame for the incident to cover up the massacre and now the US government is being pushed to provide justification for the attack by the ACLU and the CCR through a FOI request.

Of course incidents like this have been propagandized by the government to be nothing more than collateral damage and the bought and paid for corporate media is more than happy to act as a stenographer for the government instead of full-filling their purpose under the constitution to PROTECT against such an overbearing government.

Now amount of Orwellian doublespeak can ever change the fact that this is just one more in the long list of US government war crimes that must be answered for.

Meanwhile REPORTS come in and daily basis claiming the government Yemen is responsible for killing innocent civilian protestors as part of a brutal crackdown similar to the what the media alleges the Syrian government is conducting.

It makes one wonder how many of these civilian deaths the US government are also responsible for.

Here is a powerful clip on the massacre from the film “America’s Most Dangerous Game” which was produced by journalist Jeremy Scahill and filmmaker Rick Rowley.

Fire Dog Lake reports:

ACLU, CCR Request Information on US Drone Strike That Caused Al-Majalah Massacre

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for information on the legal basis for a strike that occurred in Yemen on December 17, 2009. The United States had been allegedly TARGETING Saleh Mohammed al-Anbouri, a “known militant who had allegedly been ‘bringing nationals from different countries to train them to become al Qaeda members. At least one cruise missile with cluster munitions was launched and killed not only Al-Anbouri but also forty-one civilians, including women and children.

The ACLU and CCR specifically seek details on the following:

We seek information about the U.S. government’s legal basis in domestic, foreign, and international law for the U.S. military strike on the al-Majalah community,information about the U.S. government’s decision-making process and factual basis for ordering that strike, and information concerning any investigations or ASSESSMENTS of the strike by or at the behest of the U.S. government. We specifically seek records concerning the U.S. government’s knowledge that civilians, including women and children, were present in the al-Majalah community, the measures taken to fulfill the United States’ legal obligation to limit civilian casualties, and any measures taken by or at the behest of the United States to compensate victims’ surviving family members for the loss of civilian life and property caused by the strike. Finally, we request information concerning U.S. government efforts to conceal its responsibility for the al-Majalah strike.

Weeks ago, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), based in the United Kingdom, published a STUDY of the US drone war in Yemen and highlighted the massacre. Twenty-two children were killed. A dozen women were killed. Five of the women killed were pregnant. [A complete list of the victims has been published by TBIJ here.]

Yemen’s parliament convened a “Commission of inquiry into the SECURITYincidents in the Abyan province.” What the Commission found when visiting the cemetery was “grisly.” The victims were buried in “communal graves” because they could not be identified. “Their bodies had been completely torn into pieces during the attack.” Tribal leader, Sheik Saleh Ben Fareed, told journalist Jeremy Scahill anyone who had a “weak heart” would “collapse” if they saw the remains of those killed. “You see heads of those who were killed here and there. You see children,” Fareed added. “And you cannot tell if this meat belongs to animals or to human beings. Very sad, very sad.”

The US refused to speak about the civilians killed in this drone strike. A State Department spokesperson told TBIJ, “I don’t have any information for you with respect to the December 17, 2009 incident in question. I refer you to the Government of Yemen for additional information on its counterterrorism efforts.” It was a mendacious reference as the ”counterterrorism efforts” have been and CONTINUE to be carried out by the Yemen government under the direction of the US government.

The ACLU and CCR also request information on the State Department’s diplomatic coverup of the massacre, which WikiLeaks exposed in its release of US State Embassy cables.

After the Al-Majalah massacre, US diplomats and military officers worked to cover up the attack. A January 2010 cable detailed a meeting between President Ali Abdullah Saleh and then-CENTCOM commander General David Petraeus. Saleh told Petraeus the Yemen government would CONTINUE to say “the bombs are ours, not yours.” The Yemen government would cover up the attacks to help the US keep them covert. And, though Saleh expressed concern about the inaccuracy of the missiles and the number of civilians killed, he promised to help the US avoid an investigation.

The Yemen government apologized to the victims. They “paid out compensation at LOCAL levels to affected families.” The US State Department and CENTCOM, which hold responsibility for the covert operation that killed the civilians, did nothing. That is why TBIJ asked the State Department what investigations the US carried out into the December 17 attack, what further investigations were conducted after the commission inquiry by the Yemeni parliament, what disciplinary measures have been taken against US personnel involved, and what compensation, if any, was paid by the US to surviving members of the families attacked on that day.

There is a level of urgency to the request for information. The number of attacks in Yemen has escalated; attacks there now occur more frequently than drone strikes in Pakistan. The US government, however, has withheld legal and factual information that justifies the use of lethal force in a country “with which the United States is not at war.” The secrecy suggests that much of the covert drone war violates international and domestic law. The refusal to ADDRESS what happened with the al-Majalah strike makes it highly likely that this is another war crime the US has committed in the “war on terrorism.”

The ACLU and CCR have boldly taken on the sisyphean task of forcing the disclosure of information on the US’ covert drone war that is actually not so covert anymore. The two groups (and other organizations) continue to push for the release of information on CIA’s drone program. The CIA has refused to release the documents because “national SECURITY” could be harmed if the agency acknowledges the program exists. However, as those working to get the information released make clear in their documents submitted to the court as part of their FOIA lawsuit, much about the drone program is already well documented and known.

Last week, POLITICO‘s Josh Gerstein reported the judge presiding over the lawsuit was losing his patience as government agencies repeatedly delay their responses to the lawsuit. He agreed to permit another delay but left a handwritten note, “OK, but don’t ask for any more time…If government officials can give speeches about this matter without creating SECURITY problems, any involved agencies can.”

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Source: Fire Dog Lake

Press TV reports :

ACLU seeks info on 2009 Yemen attack

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Center for Constitutional Rights have urged Washington to reveal details of a deadly missile strike in Yemen in 2009

Press TV – The groups announced that they had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Pentagon, the Department of the Navy, and the United States Central Command, among other government entities, seeking details of the attack, on Tuesday.

The FOIA is a federal freedom of information law that allows for the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the United States government.

The strike, which occurred on Dec. 17, 2009, killed 41 Yemenis, including 21 children and 14 women, which was the highest death toll for civilians in a US attack in Yemen to date, ACCORDING to the ACLU.

It was worst reported loss of civilian life from a US assassination attack in Yemen to date, ACCORDING to the ACLU.

The attack, carried out with one or more cruise missiles launched from an US warship or submarine, TARGETED the remote mountain village of al-Majalahon in Yemen’s Abyan province. Entire families were wiped out in the strike.

Yemeni officials initially said the country’s army launched the airstrike. The ACLU cites information released through WikiLeaks describing an agreement between the US and Yemeni governments that shields US citizens from being held ACCOUNTABLE for such attacks.

The US military uses lethal force in several Muslim countries, including Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan, to TARGET suspected militants, but the attacks have mostly led to civilian casualties.

Categories: MIDDLE EAST

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