CNN has confirmed that the bomb that killed 40 children when it struck their school bus in Yemen’s northern city of Saada was made by the U.S. weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin and sold by the United States to Saudi Arabia. The August 9 airstrike has sparked widespread outrage and increased scrutiny about the U.S. role in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. The bomb, a laser-guided MK 82, is similar to other U.S.-manufactured bombs that struck a Yemeni market, killing 97 people, and a funeral home in Sana’a, killing 155 people, in 2016. Following the funeral home massacre, the Obama administration banned the sale of precision-guided military technology to Saudi Arabia. The Trump administration overturned the ban last year. Click here to see our full coverage of the August 9 bombing of the school bus in Yemen, which killed 51 people—40 of them children.
In San Bernardino, California, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested a man driving his pregnant wife to the hospital to give birth last Wednesday, sparking widespread outrage. The ICE agents detained Joel Arrona-Lara when he stopped at a gas station, forcing his wife, Maria del Carmen Venegas, to drive herself to the hospital for her scheduled C-section. The couple has lived in the United States for more than 10 years and has five children, including their newborn baby. We’ll have more on this story after headlines.
In more immigration news, in Texas, armed guards forcibly removed 16 fathers from the Karnes County detention center, where they were being held with their sons after the families were separated at the border and then reunited. Authorities appear to have reseparated the parents and sons as retaliation for their plans to organize a nonviolent protest. Many of the imprisoned fathers said they had been tricked into signing deportation agreements in English that ICE told them were reunification papers. The families have now been reunited, and some have been released. We’ll have more on this story later in the broadcast.
Former CIA Director John Brennan says he may pursue legal action against President Trump, after Trump stripped Brennan of his security clearances. This is Brennan speaking Sunday.
John Brennan: “And so I think this is yet another example of his egregious abuse of power and authority. Just because he has the ability to revoke one’s clearance doesn’t mean that he is doing it for the appropriate reasons. Indeed, he violated the process that he himself, his administration, put out last year, in terms of the basis for revoking security clearances. So, I think it was just designed to distract the press from some of the other things that were going on last week.”
Former leaders of the U.S. national security establishment have blasted Trump’s decision to strip Brennan of his security clearance, calling it a clear attempt to stifle the free speech of the president’s critics.
The New York Times reports White House counsel Donald McGahn has been cooperating with the Mueller investigation. The Times reports McGahn sat down for 30 hours of voluntary interviews over the past nine months as part of Mueller’s investigation into President Trump’s possible obstruction of justice. In an ongoing tweetstorm, which began Sunday, Trump attacked The New York Times, tweeting, “The Failing New York Times wrote a story that made it seem like the White House Councel had TURNED on the President, when in fact it is just the opposite–& the two Fake reporters knew this. This is why the Fake News Media has become the Enemy of the People. So bad for America!” This morning Trump also tweeted, “Disgraced and discredited Bob Mueller and his whole group of Angry Democrat Thugs spent over 30 hours with the White House Councel, only with my approval, for purposes of transparency…”
In Gaza, Israeli soldiers shot dead two Palestinians and wounded hundreds more on Friday during the Palestinians’ nonviolent protests at the separation fence with Israel. The victims were 30-year-old Karim Abu Fatayer and 26-year-old Sa’adi Akram Abu Muammar. Gaza’s Healh Ministry says the Israeli military has killed 170 Palestinians and wounded 18,000 more since the Palestinians nonviolent Great March of Return protests began on March 30.
Meanwhile, longtime Israeli peace activist Uri Avnery has died at the age of 94 in Tel Aviv. Born in Germany in 1923, his family fled the Nazis and moved to what was then Palestine. As a youth, he joined the Irgun Zionist paramilitary group, which he later quit to become a leading peace activist in Israel. In 1950, he founded the news magazine, HaOlam HaZeh. Fifteen years later, he was elected to the Knesset on a peace platform. In 1982, he made headlines when he crossed the lines during the Siege of Beirut to meet Yasser Arafat, head of the then-banned Palestine Liberation Organization. This is Uri Avnery speaking on Democracy Now! about meeting with Yasser Arafat.
Uri Avnery: “During the battle of Beirut, I crossed the lines into the Palestinian territory. I met with Yasser Arafat, who was the leader of the PLO, and we had a long conversation about how to make peace. When pictures of him and me appeared on Israeli television talking to each other, sitting on the same sofa, I think it—to some extent, it helped to change the picture of Arafat the monster into Arafat the enemy with whom we can make peace.”
Uri Avnery went on to found the Gush Shalom peace movement in 1993. He died this morning at the age of 94.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has announced a conditional 3-month ceasefire with the Taliban.
President Ashraf Ghani: “In order for our countrymen to spend the days of Eid al-Adha in a peaceful manner, once again we announce a ceasefire that will start tomorrow, Monday, until the day of Prophet Muhammad’s birth anniversary [November 20], provided that the Taliban preserves and respects it, and announces it for any period they agree upon.”
Reuters reports that Taliban leaders have provisionally agreed to a 4-day truce. The proposed ceasefire comes amid rising violence across Afghanistan. The United Nations says 1,600 civilians have been killed in fighting in the first six months of this year, the highest number in the past decade.
In Brazil, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has ruled jailed former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva cannot be barred from running in the October presidential elections. Lula is currently the front-running candidate. He is in jail serving a 12-year sentence on a corruption conviction his party says was politically motivated. On its Friday ruling, the U.N. panel called upon Brazil “to take all necessary measures to ensure that Lula can enjoy and exercise his political rights while in prison.”
In Nigeria, at least 186 people have died in a cholera outbreak, with at least 16,000 more people affected by the water-borne disease. The United Nations says over 70 million Nigerians lack access to safe drinking water.
And Kofi Annan has died at the age 80 at a hospital in Bern, Switzerland, on Saturday. Born in Ghana, Annan served as the United Nations secretary-general from 1997 to 2006, becoming the first and only black African to hold the position. In 2001, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He vehemently opposed the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, calling the action “illegal.” Annan has been criticized for his role as head of the United Nations peacekeeping operations from 1993 to 1997 during the Rwandan genocide and the Srebrenica massacre. This is the director-general of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Michael Møller.
Michael Møller: “We have lost the moral voice of the world today. It is bad for the world in so many other ways. He was a peacemaker. He was always in the forefront of trying to help people. It’s devastating for me personally. He was a mentor, he was a role model, and he was a friend and part of my life, both professional and personal. And when I say that, I am also very aware of the fact that this true for so many others of my colleagues and people around the world.”
Kofi Annan died at the age of 80 in a hospital in Switzerland.
And here in New York City, David McReynolds, a longtime pacifist and socialist whom historian Howard Zinn and many others have called a “hero of the antiwar movement,” has died Friday at the age of 88. For nearly four decades, from 1960 to 1999, McReynolds was a staff member with the War Resisters League, where he focused on counter-recruitment and helped organize one of the first draft card burnings, and went on to play a key role in some of major demonstrations against the Vietnam War. He also campaigned for nuclear disarmament. In 1980 and 2000, McReynolds ran for president as an openly gay man on the Socialist Party USA ticket. We’ll have more on David McReynolds’s life and legacy later in the broadcast.