Aletho News


Malcolm X – You Can’t Hate the Roots Of A Tree

February 4, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular, Video | , | 1 Comment

UK nuclear site shutdown totals $160bln amid cost overruns

RT | February 4, 2013

Decommissioning one of the “most hazardous” nuclear sites in Europe has already cost Britain $106 billion, and further expenses are expected, officials have said. Sellafield chiefs have come under fire for missed deadlines and inflated salaries.

­Sellafield, the nuclear reprocessing site in Cumbria, northwest England, stores 82 tons of plutonium waste. A plant director called one of the plant’s buildings, B30, “the most hazardous industrial building in Western Europe.”

The closure was announced in June 2012, following concerns over terrorist threats and environmental damage.

The total lifetime cost of decommissioning and clean-up has hit £67.5 billion ($106 billion), the Public Accounts Committee said in a new report – two-thirds the total amount the UK spent on the National Health Service in the years 2011 and 2012, and nine times the spending on the Teacher Pension Scheme in the same time period, Guardian Data reported in its annual audit of UK government spending.

The report, published on Monday, highlighted “critical problems” with both the clean-up attempt and the costs of removing hazardous radioactive waste. The Sellafield clean-up was severely criticized by a Commons Select Committee, which commented on the PAC report.

“An enormous legacy of nuclear waste has been allowed to build up on the Sellafield site. [And] there’s no indication of when that cost will stop rising,” Chair of the Committee of Public Accounts Margaret Hodge MP said in a statement released along with Monday’s report.

Hodge added that 12 of 14 major projects at the plant were behind schedule, and five are over budget, posing severe risks to both people in the area and the environment. “Basic project management failings continue to cause delays and increase costs,” the Commons Select Committee said.

The ‘Prospect’ trade union called for closer scrutiny of Sellafield’s owners. The report said that nuclear executives from private companies have received a “reward for failure”, and are being paid “huge salaries”, averaging £690,000. One director was paid just over £1.2 million, according to the report.

“We need more evidence that the salaries paid to NMP senior directors match their actual performance within the company. Closer scrutiny would ensure that the public is actually paying for expertise that brings added value to the clean-up operation and not just bolsters NMP Ltd’s reputation,” Mike Graham, Prospect’s national secretary, said in a press release.

The report came the same week that court action was taken against Sellafield over its illegal dumping of nuclear waste in a local landfill. On Thursday, a court case will open in which the nuclear operator will be accused of breaching environmental permits when it dumped four bags of nuclear waste in a landfill at nearby Lillyhall, without any authorization.

“Furthermore, now that Cumbria county council has ruled out West Cumbria as the site of the proposed geological disposal facility, a solution to the problem of long-term storage of the waste is as far away as ever,” the committee said.

February 4, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Militarism, Nuclear Power | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Report: Israeli Occupation Authorities established 482 outposts last year

Palestine Information Center – 04/02/2013


RAMALLAH — The Israeli Occupation Authorities (IOA) demolished 465 Palestinian buildings and established 482 outposts in the West Bank and the occupied city of Jerusalem during the last year, a Palestinian official statistical report documented.

The PA Ministry for Settlement and Wall Affairs stated in its report issued on Sunday that the occupation authorities have set up over the past year 185 settlements and 175 outposts, in addition to another 29 settlement sites.

The report pointed out that the Israeli authorities completed 444 kilometers of a total 757 kilometers currently under construction of the Apartheid Wall that will isolate 10.2 per cent of the occupied West Bank.

The report documented that 465 Palestinian facilities were demolished during the last year concentrated mainly in al-Khalil, Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, pointing out to 728 demolition orders concentrated in al-Khalil and Jerusalem.

The report revealed new Israeli ways to confiscate Palestinian territories, where IOA began issuing decisions to confiscate isolated lands behind the separation wall such as those within the city of Jerusalem to the north of Bethlehem.

February 4, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

EFF to Supreme Court: Blanket DNA Collection Violates Fourth Amendment

Law Enforcement Should Not Gather Genetic Information Without a Warrant

EFF | February 4, 2013

San Francisco – The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) urged the Supreme Court Friday to block DNA collection from everyone arrested for a crime, arguing that law enforcement must get a warrant before forcing people to give samples of their genetic material.

EFF’s amicus brief was filed Friday in Maryland v. King – a case challenging a law in the state of Maryland that requires DNA collection from all arrestees, whether they are ultimately convicted of a crime or not. Maryland officials claim that DNA is necessary for definitive identification, but they do not use the sample to “identify” the arrestee. Instead, they use the sample for other investigatory purposes – retaining and repeatedly accessing the wealth of personal information disclosed by an individual’s genetic material despite lacking individualized suspicion connecting the arrestee to another crime. This violates the Fourth Amendment.

“Your DNA is the roadmap to an extraordinary amount of private information about you and your family,” said EFF Staff Attorney Jennifer Lynch. “It contains data on your current health, your potential for disease, and your family background. For government access to personal information this sensitive, the Fourth Amendment requires a warrant.”

In addition to Maryland, 27 states and the federal government have laws that mandate DNA collection from anyone arrested, even if they are not yet convicted of a crime. EFF has filed amicus briefs in a number of cases challenging these unconstitutional laws. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has shown increasing sensitivity to the power of sophisticated technology to undermine traditional privacy protections.

“Let’s say you were picked up by police at a political protest and arrested, but then released and never convicted of a crime. Under these laws, your genetic material is held in a law enforcement database, often indefinitely,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien. “This is an unconstitutional search and seizure.”

The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in Maryland v. King later this month.

For the full brief in Maryland v. King:


Jennifer Lynch
Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Lee Tien
Senior Staff Attorney
Electronic Frontier Foundation

Related Cases

Maryland v. King

February 4, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Here facing immorality

By Mazin Qumsiyeh | Popular Resistance | February 3, 2013

Here is where Israeli colonial settlements continue to expand on our lands. Here is where Israeli elites make billions from injustice while nature and people suffer. Here is the forefront of a global struggle. Here is where western hypocrisy gets exposed. Rhetoric about democracy and liberty in Syria and Iran is stripped naked when people see Western supported colonialism, racism and subjugation in Palestine. Here is where billions of Western taxpayer money is used to destroy life while enriching land thieves and war criminals. Here where we lost most of our land to colonial settler activity and suffer regularly from racist settler attacks. Here is where morality is shed daily because of paranoia and inferiority/superiority complexes (chosen but eternally victimized Jewish “people”). Here is where immorality has become a norm of society (see good analytic piece in Haaretz below). Here is where yesterday the Israeli occupation army and racist colonial settlers attacked villagers in Burin. Several Palestinians were injured (one 16-year old Palestinian was shot by live ammunition from settlers). 18 were brutally arrested/kidnapped including our friend Ashraf Aburahma from Bilin. Ashraf was himself arrested many times in nonviolent demonstrations. In one videotaped event, he was handcuffed, blindfolded and THEN shot at close range by occupation soldiers.

But here also is where we must and we will change things. Here the struggle goes on (La Luta Continue, tastimur almasira) to hang on to our humanity. We Palestinians with help of people of conscience from around the world must do better to challenge immorality (including “mental occupation”). We must work harder to undermine apartheid and repression. More people come to visit and participate with us in our struggle thus lighting candles in the darkness. We must accelerate this and be more bold. Nothing scares the elites in the apartheid state or their Western and Arab/Palestinian collaborators than actions like civil disobedience and BDS (boycotts, divestments, and sanctions) and other forms of practical resistance. There are signs of a new uprising/intifada. It will be the 13th or 14th wave/uprising on the way to liberty. We hope it is a global uprising against injustice and that is why many of us talk with internationals on a daily basis about morality, justice, and human rights. Of course there will be pain along the way (as happened yesterday in Burin) because no freedom is acquired without struggle and sacrifices. May the families of those thousands of martyrs killed in the struggle be comforted. May the injured heel. May the prisoners be released (some are now close to death as they engaged in a hunger strike). May all the suffering end. May more people shed immorality and join us to work to accelerate the end of injustice.

Do visit Palestine frequently even if only in your mind.

Just one story of thousands in the land of immorality: The struggle of Burin village


Videos before the evictions and arrest but shows settlers throwing stones v=K5mtU5SPRYU

Video of beating and kicking a Palestinian during the arrests

Standing defiant. Khalid Daragmah’s family protect their land in a sea of settlements

Follow-up: In my talks and in taking delegations around, I sometimes mention some things which happened in the past like the story of the “fugitive cows” in Beit Sahour or the destruction of a playground in Beit Jala. Here and in future emails I will send some follow-up on these stories and on stories I had shared in previous emails. They are not only relevant to those who heard directly from me about these things but to the thousands of others who receive those emails.

The Story of 18 fugitive cows of Beit Sahour

Video of the Israeli destruction of a playground to build an apartheid wall on Palestinian land

Analytical pieces

Never Again – unconditionally:

“As Jews, with our own painful history of oppression, we are compelled to speak out against human rights violations committed by the State of Israel – in our name – against the Palestinian people.” These are the first words of a group of South African Jews in their public statement in the Mail & Guardian of 14 December 2012. They recognize not only their own wounds and humanity…………

Big Brother: When secrecy becomes a norm in Israel, it comes as a price premium

February 4, 2013 Posted by | Video | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Eighth Annual Citgo-Venezuela Heating Oil Program Launched

Venezuelanalysis | February 4, 2013

Logo_citgo_03Last Thursday, at the Night of Peace Family Shelter in Baltimore, CITGO Petroleum Corporation President and CEO Alejandro Granado and Citizens Energy Corporation Chairman Joseph P. Kennedy II launched the eighth annual CITGO-Venezuela Heating Oil Program with the first heating oil delivery of this winter’s initiative.

The program, which began as a single donation in 2005 in response to the high prices of heating oil resulting from hurricanes Katrina and Rita, has grown well beyond its original scope. Today, it has become a humanitarian symbol of unity between the people of Venezuela and those in need in the United States.

This year, the program has a heightened sentiment as it comes at a time when Venezuelans and many in the world send their wishes for the health and prompt recuperation of President Hugo Chávez, who has supported this initiative since its creation eight years ago.

“The CITGO-Venezuela Heating Oil Program has been one of the most important energy assistance efforts in the United States. This year, as families across the Eastern Seaboard struggle to recover from the losses caused by Hurricane Sandy, this donation becomes even more significant,” said Granado. “This energy assistance program is an integral example of the humanitarian principles endorsed by the CITGO ultimate shareholder, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.”

Over the years, the program has helped more than 1.7 million people stay warm during the coldest months of winter by donating more than 200 million gallons of heating oil worth more than $400 million. It is estimated that this year the program will help more than 100,000 families in 25 states plus the District of Columbia, including members of more than 240 Native American communities and more than 200 homeless shelters.

“CITGO invests relatively more than any other major oil company in social responsibility projects. As a matter of fact, our percent of revenue spent in social programs has been five times more than those of other much larger, vertically-integrated competing global brands. It is a core principle of our business to use the strength of our resources to help people in need,” Granado said.

Since the program’s creation, CITGO has partnered with Citizens Energy Corporation, a non-profit organization created in 1979 by former U.S. Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II. Citizens Energy Corporation, which has used successful ventures in the energy and health care industries to finance charitable programs in the U.S. and abroad, has provided energy assistance to families in need for more than 30 years.

“We are so grateful for this generous donation from the people of Venezuela and CITGO Petroleum Corporation. After eight years and more than 200 million gallons of heating oil distributed within the U.S., the burden of another difficult winter threatens the livelihood and safety of senior citizens and low-income families,” Kennedy said. “It is critical that we continue to support American families through this program. Thanks to this partnership, we will help more than 400,000 people stay warm and safe this winter.”

Kennedy emphasized the commitment CITGO has made to American communities. He said that he has approached major U.S. oil companies and oil-producing nations to ask them to assist the poor in bearing the burden of rising energy costs. “They all said no,” he said, “except for CITGO, President Chávez and the people of Venezuela.”

Congressman Elijah Cummings (MD), who also spoke during the event, reiterated the importance of helping those in need. “I commend CITGO and Citizens Energy Corporation for launching the Heating Oil Program this year. This program is literally life-saving for so many whose resources are already stretched thin in tough economic times. I stand with the many Baltimore and Washington recipients who thank both CITGO and Citizens for their commitment to helping our communities,” he said.

Echoing those sentiments, Claudia Salerno Caldera, Venezuela’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs for North America, addressed the plight of poor people and why humanitarian assistance is so vital. “The vision of social responsibility in the energy policy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela has allowed us to assure that our profits benefit the neediest people in our country. Just as the government of President Hugo Chávez has made significant efforts in the fight against poverty and in the promotion of social justice in Venezuela, this program demonstrates that our commitment to the poor transcends all boundaries, ideological and geographical,” Salerno said.

Families struggling to pay for home heating oil can call Citizens Energy Corporation at 1-877-JOE-4-OIL (1-877-563-4645), to see if they are eligible for heating oil assistance. Once approved, the household will receive an authorization letter with details for arranging a one-time delivery of 100 free gallons of oil.

For more information about the program, click here.

Edited by

CITGO, based in Houston, is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals and other industrial products. The company is owned by PDV America, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. For more information visit

Beginning in 1979 with oil-trading ventures in Latin America and Africa, Citizens Energy has used revenues from commercial enterprises to channel millions of dollars into charitable programs in the U.S. and abroad. Whether heating the homes of the elderly and the poor, lowering the cost of prescription drugs for millions of Americans, or starting solar heating projects in Jamaica and Venezuela, Citizens Energy creates social ventures as innovative as the businesses that finance them. For more information, visit

February 4, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

On Paper, China Looks Very Good

By David Macaray | Dissident Voice | February 4th, 2013

Without much fanfare, and without many people even aware of it, in 2009, China has overtaken the U.S. as the world’s leading papermaker. Moreover, they did it in much the same way that they became the world’s premiere manufacturing beast: with innovative engineering, a smart game plan, a vast reservoir of cheap labor, and massive government subsidies.

As for reaching the top of the papermaking ladder, it’s the innovative engineering aspect that’s mind-boggling. China has managed to develop a genetically altered hardwood eucalyptus tree (which begins in the lab as a tissue sample inside a petri dish) that requires only four to six years to reach full height. That’s approximately one-tenth the time it takes “natural” trees in North America (which are abundant) to reach maturity. Eucalyptus is a favored furnish in papermaking because of its soft fiber.

Each year Chinese labs clone 190 million of these “test-tube” eucalyptus sprigs, which are planted on 790,000 acres spread over several Chinese provinces. Wending Huang, Asia Pulp & Paper’s chief forester in China, calls these bad boys “Yao Mings” (referring to a famous and very tall Chinese basketball player). Wisconsin is the leading papermaking state in the U.S. Maine is second. China can now match the yearly output of Wisconsin in just three weeks.

But genetically engineered trees aren’t the whole story. In addition to new woodlands, China has established itself as the world’s leading recycler of paper. Indeed, its recycling, de-inking, re-pulping operation is staggering. China buys about 54 billion pounds a year of scrap paper and cardboard from all over the world, and uses this recycled material to produce about two-thirds of its own paper and cardboard.

As for its own paper production, according to the McClatchy News Service, China has 20 mega-sized paper mills spread across the country, and the automated machines in these state-of-the-art mills are capable of producing a mile of glossy publishing-grade paper per minute. A mile a minute. That’s 5,280 feet per minute (fpm) of a glossy, high-quality base sheet. That’s amazing.

Not to give away any trade secrets, but Machine #1 at Kimberly-Clark’s Fullerton, California, paper mill produces a 172-inch wide sheet, at 4,600 fpm. That’s a pretty good operating speed for a less-than-new machine that runs 24 hours a day, 360 days a year. But this wadding is used exclusively for Kleenex and bath tissue, and doesn’t approach the quality of “publishing-grade” paper. A high-quality, glossy base sheet is a whole other deal.

It should also be noted that China still imports the overwhelming majority of its raw timber and processed (chemically treated) pulp. It gets its timber from all over the world (e.g., Indonesia, Russia, Vietnam, Brazil). In 2011 alone, it imported 14.5 million tons of it (29 billion pounds), l.6 million tons of which came from the U.S., where sawmills, logging and pulp operations have closed down, leaving timber businesses looking for new customers.

While environmental groups have strongly objected to China’s aggressive demand for wood pulp, claiming that it’s destroying the world’s forests, American companies and Wisconsin politicians have their own reasons to complain. They accuse the Chinese government of subsidizing the country’s paper mills and “dumping” unfairly priced (too cheap to compete with) paper on the American market. Japan was accused of the same practice with its cars.

According to McClatchey, “the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute estimates the Chinese government doled out at least $33 billion in subsidies to its paper industry from 2002 to 2009—the period that coincides with its stunning growth. That’s more than $4 billion a year, a number that is growing.”

So we have U.S. paper mills being squeezed not only by foreign competitors but by foreign governments subsidizing those competitors. It must be nice having your own government as partner and benefactor. One of the obvious advantages is that the government can print all the money it wants. That can be very helpful.

The third complaint—along with environmental concerns and “dumping”—is reserved for labor unions. They blame the unions for wanting decent wages and benefits. Attacking working people, those at the very bottom, should come as no surprise. It’s Newton’s First Law of Fecal Gravitation on an Inclined Plane (Shit rolls downhill).


David Macaray, a Los Angeles playwright and author (It’s Never Been Easy: Essays on Modern Labor), was a former union rep. He can be reached at:

February 4, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Israel arrests 22 Hamas members ahead of Fatah-Hamas talks

Al-Akhbar – February 4, 2013

Israeli forces led an arrest sweep of at least 22 Hamas members Sunday night and Monday morning, including 3 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.

The Israeli military confirmed arrests were made but would not elaborate further.

The Palestinian Ma’an news agency identified two of the MPs as Hatim Qafisha of Hebron and Ahmad Attoun of Jerusalem. Qafisha has previously been detained six times by Israel, whereas Attoun was forcibly transferred from Jerusalem to the West Bank by Israeli forces.

The third MP was identified by WAFA news agency as Mohammad al-Tul from Dahrieh.

Israel has a history of arresting Palestinian politicians and legislators, mainly targeting members of the pro-Hamas Change and Reform bloc since 2006, when Hamas won a majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament.

According to prisoners’ rights NGO Addameer, nearly a third of all members of the Palestinian Legislative Council were held in Israeli prisons in 2009.

The recent upsurge in arrests is most likely a response to Friday’s planned talks between rival Palestinian parties Hamas and Fatah as a way to undermine attempts at Palestinian political unity, according to Murad Jadallah of Addameer.

“Israel wants to show it has the authority and the military power to decide whether reconciliation happens,” the activist told Al-Akhbar.

Addameer has recorded the arrests of at least 40 Palestinians in the past 48 hours.

As of January 1, Israel held 4,743 Palestinians in its prisons, including 12 Palestinian MPs and 178 held without charge, according to Addameer’s latest figures.

Citing security sources, AFP reported that Israel plans to step up arrests of “suspected militants” in the West Bank.

Extensive use of administrative detention is illegal according to international law, but is commonly practiced by Israel against Palestinians.

February 4, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment