It seems international media and human rights organizations have suddenly “discovered” the crisis in Yemen. After more than two years of horrific war and civilian massacres carried out by the Saudi-led alliance, even CNN has found a conscience, recently publishing The images Saudi Arabia doesn’t want you to see and “Yemen is silent, forgotten… even a purposely forgotten emergency.” Yet images of extremely emaciated Yemeni children starved by the lengthy Saudi blockade on the ravaged third world country were already profuse outside of mainstream media, appearing on Yemeni activist social media accounts with regularity since the start of Saudi air raids in March 2015.

In response to CNN’s article, investigative journalist Ben Norton, who writes for liberal and progressive publications, acknowledged the following:

Trump was elected. When it was Obama overseeing the catastrophic war in Yemen, the US media had little interest. Yes, silent and purposefully forgotten by the US media from March 2015 until January 2017, when Trump entered office. Most Americans had no idea thanks to the media, which paid little attention to Yemen as the US & Saudi destroyed it. Sure, better late than never. But for 2 years the media ignored US carnage in Yemen while peddling Syria propaganda.”

As Norton suggests, the media establishment appeared less interested in digging into America’s role in Yemen under the Obama administration, but the new spotlighting of human rights abuses in “the silent war” comes amidst the historically unprecedented unraveling of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and a general tit for tat airing of the region’s dirty laundry as old allies become enemies.

New torture report exposing Saudi coalition crimes

On Thursday (6/22) the Associated Press published a lengthy investigation entitled, In Yemen’s secret prisons, UAE tortures and US interrogates, alleging that captured suspected al-Qaeda militants, along with civilians swept up in raids by the Saudi-US coalition in war-torn Yemen are being systematically tortured at a series of 18 newly disclosed “black sites.” The report focuses on the role of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a close US ally in the Yemeni war, and its methods for extracting information from detainees at the secretive facilities the UAE operates. But the report also suggests some level of CIA and Pentagon involvement in horrific interrogation techniques reminiscent of those found in the Senate CIA torture report partially released in 2014.

Testimonies by Yemeni victims as well as local guards stationed at the sites include allegations of a torture regimen so intense it sometimes leads to death: flogging with wires, suffocation, extreme sensory deprivation, being crammed into tiny shipping containers, being smeared with feces, sexual abuse, and something called ‘the grill,’ in which prisoners are tied to a spit and rotated over fire. The 18 documented detention facilities include locations like converted nightclubs, abandoned shipping ports, former government buildings, coalition military bases, and private mansions. Much of the testimony focuses on Riyan airport. According to the Associated Press investigation:

At one main detention complex at Riyan airport in the southern city of Mukalla, former inmates described being crammed into shipping containers smeared with feces and blindfolded for weeks on end. They said they were beaten, trussed up on the “grill,” and sexually assaulted. According to a member of the Hadramawt Elite, a Yemeni security force set up by the UAE, American forces were at times only yards away.”