Humint Events Online: Saudi Arabia Buys Good Press in the US as They Commit Mass Murder in Yemen with US Help

Monday, January 11, 2016

Saudi Arabia Buys Good Press in the US as They Commit Mass Murder in Yemen with US Help

Saudi Arabia is in the market for a better reputation in Washington, D.C. 
In September alone, foreign lobbying disclosure documents show the Saudi government signing deals with PR powerhouse Edelman and lobbying leviathan the Podesta Group, according to recent disclosures. Edelman, the largest privately owned public relations agency in the world, is known for helping clients win favorable media coverage on mainstream outlets. The Podesta Group is a lobbying firm founded by Tony Podesta, a major fundraiser for the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. 
The new signings are the latest in a year-long hiring spree by the Persian Gulf state as it further builds up its already formidable political arsenal inside the Beltway. The Saudi Arabian Royal Embassy did not respond to a request for comment. In March, the Saudi Royal Embassy retained two influential lobbying firms, DLA Piper and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. DLA Piper, for instance, employs a small army of former government officials, including retired U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and George Mitchell. Also in March, the embassy retained two firms that specialize in analyzing big data for political clients, Targeted Victory and Zignal Labs. 
Saudi Arabia’s political operation already includes former Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., who chairs one of the largest Republican Super PACs in the country, as well as the public relations firm MSLGROUP/Qorvis, and Saudi Aramco, the state-owned oil company that funds several influential American political groups, including the American Petroleum Institute. Aramco’s U.S. subsidiary, Saudi Refining, is a registered agent of the Saudi government. The government also finances a number of think tanks and universities, and has made contributions to prominent American nonprofits, including the Clinton Foundation. 
The Podesta Group contract is with the Center for Studies and Media Affairs at the Saudi Royal Court. The contract, filed in the Justice Department’s foreign lobbying database, says that the firm will provide “public relations” work for the center.

Yemen is being destroyed by Saudi Arabia and the US: 
MSF hospital bombing amid Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen prompts outrage over ‘worrying pattern of attacks to essential medical services’ The projectile dropped on the Shiara Hospital is thought to be the latest in a series attack on health facilities directly managed or supported by MSF 
"It is the latest bombing in what is thought to be a series of attacks on a health facility directly managed or supported by MSF in the past three months. In October, Haydan hospital was destroyed in an air-strike by the Saudi-led coalition (SLC). A mobile clinic in Taiz, south west Yemen, was also hit in December, which wounded nine people, where one later died." 
Of course - as awful as it sounds - dying instantly in a bomb attack might be a welcome relief if you've been staving for months on end: 
Yemen conflict has pushed six million people to the brink of starvation, Oxfam warns 
That includes two million children 
And what horrible dictator is staving 2 million children? Why, it's not a dictator at all, it's the US and UK, helping their wonderful ally Saudi Arabia. 
Aid agencies say embargo imposed by US and UK-backed Arab coalition has had dramatic effect, with almost 80% of population in urgent need of food, water and medical supplies "Despite western and UN entreaties, Riyadh has also failed to disburse any of the $274m it promised in funding for humanitarian relief. According to UN estimates due to be released next week 78% of the population is in need of emergency aid, an increase of 4 million over the past three months." 
"Fuel and vital medical supplies will run out in a matter of weeks in some of the hardest-hit areas of Yemen, aid agencies have warned, amid a blockade by the Saudi-led coalition that has been conducting bombing raids over the country for months. Since the coalition – which has been conducting airstrikes across the country since March in an attempt to oust Houthi rebel forces – imposed a “de facto” blockade, very few vessels have made their way to the country. Even before the conflict, Yemen depended on imports for 70 per cent of its fuel and 100 per cent of its medicine. “At the moment we only have enough fuel in the north and centre of the country for the next six weeks,” Mark Kaye, the acting director of advocacy for Save the Children in Yemen, told The Independent on Sunday. As well as providing electricity for households and petrol for vehicles, “that means no fuel for hospitals, who rely on generators for their work”. In recent days, the main paediatric hospital in the north was forced to close because of damage from the strikes and a lack of fuel and medical resources. The World Health Organisation warned this week that the country’s biggest blood-transfusion centre in the capital, Sanaa, could also be forced to close in as little as two weeks. Meanwhile, near-daily airstrikes continue to cause injuries among the civilian population." 
In the middle of all of this, with the coalition bombing civilians and hospitals and starving the population - collective punishment the war crimes prosecutors call it - what has the US done to help stem the violence and help restore peace? 
Sell them another 18B in weapons, that's what. 
U.S. approves $1.29 billion sale of smart bombs to Saudi Arabia.  The proposed sale includes 22,000 smart and general purpose bombs, including 1,000 GBU-10 Paveway II Laser Guided Bombs, and over 5,000 Joint Direct Attack Munitions kits to turn older bombs into precision-guided weapons using GPS signals. The weapons are made by Boeing Co (BA.N) and Raytheon Co (RTN.N), but the agency told lawmakers the prime contractors would be selected in a competition. 
Saudi Arabia, one of the largest buyers of U.S. weapons, was approved in September for a potential second sale of 600 Patriot-PAC-3 air defense missiles made by Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N), a deal valued at $5.4 billion. Last month, the U.S. government also approved the sale to Saudi Arabia of up to four Littoral Combat Ships made by Lockheed for $11.25 billion. 
So while the US sees SA using US made and provided weapons to attack hospitals and civilians populations, it sells it 18 BILLION more in weapons?

It makes you want to scream.


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