Aletho News


Israel’s New Generation of Racists

TheRealNews | April 2, 2013

April 2, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , | 2 Comments

Iran Abandons Chinese Help, to Build World’s Highest Hydroelectric Plant Alone

By John Daly | | April 1, 2013

Iran, pummeled by years of international sanctions, has had two energy goals.

First, to preserve its dwindling international hydrocarbon market share, increasingly battered by years of U.S. and UN sanctions designed to slow down and halt its civilian nuclear energy program, which Washington and Tel Aviv have long insisted masks a covert program to develop a nuclear weapons program.

The second, much less reported in the foreign press, is to diversify its indigenous energy infrastructure, so as to preserve its hydrocarbon assets for the long term.

In pursuit of the latter goal, Iran is ramping up its hydroelectric program.

Iran currently has 23 operational hydropower plants, with a combined electricity generating capacity of 8.2 gigawatts, 14 percent of the nation’s total generating capacity of 58.5 gigawatts. A further 4.8 gigawatts of capacity is under construction, with 12.7 gigawatts of hydro capacity either undergoing feasibility study or in the early design stages.

The centerpiece of Iran’s hydroelectric ambitions is the $1.5 billion Bakhtiari Dam and Hydroelectric Power Plant in southwest Iran across the Bakhtiari River in the Zargos mountains in Iran’s western Lurestan province, with a capacity of about 169 billion cubic feet of water.

Due to open in 2014, the Bakhtiari Dam HPP will be the tallest dam in the world at 1,033 feet, surpassing China’s 1,000 foot Jinping-I Hydropower Station. The Bakhtiari HPP will be a double-arch concrete dam, creating a reservoir with an area of 5,900 hectares, with six 250 megawatt turbines providing a generating capacity of 1.5 gigawatts.

Feasibility studies for the Bakhtiari Dam HPP began in 1996, but ongoing problems saw a design team comprising Iranian and Swiss consultancies appointed in May 2005. The most notable delay was caused by the 2002 liquidation of the German contractor originally appointed to build the scheme. Tightening international sanctions made Tehran’s efforts to secure international financing more and more strained.

Enter the Chinese, with Sinohydro and Iran’s Faban taking over the project in 2007, with Chinese banks to provide the estimated $2 billion financing. Two years ago a Tehran-based consulting engineer noted, “For the past year, with the financial sanctions, it has been difficult to purchase equipment for hydro projects here. Projects have been pretty much limited to using Chinese manufacturers or trying to make parts locally. This has slowed down a number of schemes, especially those that have had to change their equipment specifications midway through construction. Nonetheless, they are moving forward. Sanctions have just meant that projects won’t necessarily have the best equipment installed and may take longer and cost more.”

Iran Water & Power Resources Developer Co. is overseeing the Bakhtiari Dam HPP. Since being established in 1989, IWPCO has been responsible for the construction of all new hydropower plants in Iran.

Interestingly, IWPCO remains coy about who will manufacture the facility’s turbines. The IWPCO website states about the electrical generation power facilities, “type of generators,” only the cryptic comment, “being designed.”

Two years ago, China’s Sinohydro Corp, constructor of China’s massive Three Gorges HPP, signed a contract to construct the Bakhtiari Dam HPP, Iran’s the state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) reported, with a projected timeline of five years to complete.

Well, something disrupted the deal, though neither side is saying, as last June Iran’s government decided to withdraw from the deal, which analysts believe may be linked to the dissatisfaction of Iran’s central bank with loan options issued by the Chinese.

Showing some admirable bravado, IWPCO’s Mohammad-Reza Rezazadeh stated that Iran is considered among the most advanced countries in dam construction and engineering.

So, will Iran’s indigenous industrial base be able to pull off the Bakhtiari Dam HPP without either Chinese expertise or funding? Given that China is currently Iran’s largest export market for oil exports, no doubt there will be some more “frank and candid” discussions, little if any of which will leak to the Western press.

John Daly is CEO of U.S.-Central Asia Biofuels Ltd

Ahmadinejad inaugurates world’s tallest dam project in Lorestan

Press TV – March 28, 2013

Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has inaugurated a major construction project to build the world’s tallest double-curved concrete arch dam in Iran’s western Lorestan Province.

In a Thursday ceremony in the city of Khorramabad, the president expressed gladness over launching the major project, which will be carried out entirely by Iranian experts and construction workers.

The 315-meter-tall (1,033 feet) dam has been designed to construct a hydroelectric power plant that will generate 1,500 megawatt electricity.

President Ahmadinejad described the Bakhtiari Dam project as a turning point in the path towards the development, progress and improvement of Lorestan Province.

The president added during the inauguration ceremony that the world’s tallest double-curved concrete dam is being built here by the “able hands and expertise of committed Iranian scientists and workforce.”

The dam will be built over Lorestan’s Bakhtiari River.

April 2, 2013 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Iran Abandons Chinese Help, to Build World’s Highest Hydroelectric Plant Alone

Gaza fighters launch retaliatory strikes over prisoner’s death

Al-Akhbar | April 2, 2013

Gaza fighters fired retaliatory strikes on Tuesday, hours after the death in custody of a Palestinian who was denied appropriate cancer treatment, witnesses and the Israeli military said.

Witnesses told AFP that militants in Gaza City had fired three mortar rounds, but the army said only one projectile had landed, without causing any casualties.

Meanwhile, over 40 Palestinians angered by the death of Maisara Abu Hamdiyeh, 64, were injured in clashes with Israeli police and prison guards. Riots are believed to have swept through Israeli prisons, while guards used live fire and tear gas against the protesters.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP that the faction was watching the developments with “the greatest concern” and that Israel would “regret its continuing crimes”.

The last time Gaza fighters launched rocket fire was on March 21 during a visit by US President Barack Obama, when two rockets landed causing some damage but no injuries.

Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh’s death threatened to raise tensions in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and Gaza, after reports surfaced that Israeli authorities had denied care to the prisoner. Palestinian Prisoner Affairs Minister Issa Qaraqe likened Israel’s handling of Abu Hamdiyeh’s condition to a “slow death penalty.”

Israeli authorities claim they informed Abu Hamdiyeh, 64, of his illness in February, however, prisoner’s rights groups say the diagnosis occurred in August 2012. His lawyers and relatives report that Israeli doctors ran biopsies on him after he repeatedly complained of throat pains.

Palestinians have held several protests in recent weeks in support of more than 7,000 prisoners in Israeli jails, including over 300 children.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said Israel had ignored long-standing pleas to free Abu Hamdiyeh, 64, sentenced to life in prison in 2002 for recruiting a bomber who planted explosives in a Jerusalem cafe. The bomb did not detonate.

“The Israeli government in its intransigence and arrogance refused to respond to Palestinian efforts to save the life of the prisoner,” Abbas told members of his Fatah party in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

Abu Hamdiyeh is the second Palestinian to die in Israeli custody this year. Arafat Jaradat, 30, died after an interrogation session in February. Palestinian officials said he had been tortured, an allegation Israel denied.

News of Abu Hamdiyeh’s death touched off protests by Palestinian inmates in several Israeli prisons. At Ramon jail, in southern Israel, inmates threw objects at guards, who fired tear gas at them, the Prisons Service spokeswoman said.

Three prisoners and six guards were treated at the jail for tear gas inhalation, she said.

In Abu Hamdiyeh’s West Bank home city of Hebron, masked stone-throwers confronted Israeli soldiers. No serious injuries were reported.

Israel holds 178 Palestinians in administrative detention, who have been jailed without trial as suspected militants for renewable three- to six-month terms based on classified evidence.

Hundreds of sick Palestinians are perishing in Israeli jails, according to the Palestinian Prisoner Affairs Minister and activists. The Palestinian Prisoners Club says some 25 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel are suffering from cancer.

Palestinians are expected to hold strikes across the West Bank and Gaza, and Palestinian members of the Israeli Knesset have issued strongly worded condemnations of the Israeli government over Abu Hamdiyeh’s deah.

Rights groups, as well as Qaraqe, described Abu Hamdiyeh’s eight-hour trips to and from the hospital as hellish. He was transported in a corrugated metal van with no windows or seats.

The Palestinian Authority said they expected him to be released on Monday. Israel’s refusal to free Abu Hamdiyeh had sparked protests in several Israeli prisons, where 17 detainees have begun a hunger strike.

In recent weeks, Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad made intense efforts to secure Abu Hamdiyeh’s release in the light of his deteriorating health.

(Al-Akhbar, Reuters, AFP)

April 2, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Comments Off on Gaza fighters launch retaliatory strikes over prisoner’s death

UN adopts arms trade treaty

Al-Akhbar | April 2, 2013

The UN General Assembly on Tuesday overwhelmingly adopted the first-ever treaty to regulate the $80-billion-a-year conventional arms trade.

The assembly voted 154-3 for a resolution that will open the treaty for signature from June. Syria, North Korea and Iran – which had blocked the treaty last week – voted against it. Twenty-three nations abstained.

The first major arms accord since the 1996 Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty would cover tanks, armored combat vehicles, large-caliber artillery systems, combat aircraft, attack helicopters, warships, missiles and missile launchers, as well as small arms and light arms.

It would aim to force countries to set up national controls on arms exports. States would also have to assess whether a weapon could be used for genocide, war crimes or by terrorists or organized crime before it is sold. The treaty will not control the domestic use of weapons in any country.

The vote capped a more than decade-long campaign by activists and some governments to regulate the global arms trade.

Every country is free to sign and ratify the treaty, which will take effect after the 50th ratification from among the 193 UN member states, which could take up to two years.

(AFP, AP, Al-Akhbar)


23 countries, including China, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua and India abstained.


Russia and China – which both abstained during Tuesday’s vote – said that the vague criteria defined in the document may lead it to being manipulated for political ends, with various hostile countries defined as “human-rights abusers”. Russia also wanted the document to ban the supply of arms to non-state actors, such as rebels in the recent Arab uprisings.

India, another country that refused to endorse the treaty, and a major importer of arms, claimed the treaty gave excessive leverage to exporting states, who would be allowed to unilaterally break contracts for supposed ethical violations.

April 2, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , | Comments Off on UN adopts arms trade treaty

Sudan frees six political prisoners

Press TV – April 2, 2013

Six political prisoners have been freed, after President Omar al-Bashir ordered all political detainees to be released.

The release took place on Tuesday. Most of those freed are believed to have been held for more than two months at the Kober Prison in the capital Khartoum in connection with a conference in Uganda.

The conference held in January released a charter for using both armed and peaceful means to end the president’s 24-year rule.

“We confirm we will continue our communication with all political and social powers without excluding anyone, including those who are armed, for a national dialogue which will bring a solution to all the issues,” said Bashir.

Meanwhile, the opposition headed by Farouk Abu Issa has said that Bashir’s move to release the political detainees is a step toward genuine talk.

Vice President Ali Osman Taha made an offer last week to the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-North) rebels and opposition political parties to partake in a constitutional dialogue.

The country is in need of a new constitution to replace the 2005 document, which was based on a peace agreement that ended the country’s 23-year civil war.

The peace agreement also led to the country’s splitting up in July of 2011, causing South Sudan to become an independent nation.

April 2, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , | Comments Off on Sudan frees six political prisoners

Venezuela’s Maduro leads latest poll before election

Xinhua – April 1, 2013

CARACAS — With the presidential election less than two weeks away, Venezuelan Acting President Nicolas Maduro led opposition leader Henrique Capriles by 20 percent in latest polls.

According to results released Monday by local pollster company Hinterlaces, Maduro, late President Hugo Chavez’s political heir, would get 55 percent of the vote against 35 percent for Capriles, who was defeated by Chavez in last year’s election.

Asked about their projection of the two candidates’ winning chances, 61 percent people chose Maduro and only 22 percent opted for Capriles.

The survey, conducted in March among 1,100 people across the country, has a 3-percent margin of error, the company said.

The official pollster GIS XXI on Monday released a similar poll result, predicting that Maduro would win the election with 55.3 percent of the vote.

Another survey, also conducted by the Venezuelan Institute for Data Analysis in March, showed that 53.8 percent of the 1,200 respondents would vote for Maduro, compared with 30.8 percent for Capriles.

The presidential election campaign will officially begin on Tuesday.

April 2, 2013 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Comments Off on Venezuela’s Maduro leads latest poll before election

Peru: scandal over Israeli security contractor

WW4 Report – 03/31/2013

Peru’s Congress has opened a high-profile investigation into a contract with Israeli security firm Global CST, entered into by the previous government of Álan García, an audit by the Comptroller General of the Republic found irregularities in the deal. The probe concluded that the Peruvian state had lost $16 million when the firm failed to fulfil terms of its contract with the Armed Forces Joint Command. A congressional oversight commission has questioned three former cabinet members in the scandal—ex-housing minister Hernán Garrido, and ex-defense ministers Ántero Flores Aráoz and Rafael Rey—as well as ex-Joint Command chief Gen. Francisco Contreras. Special anti-corruption prosecutor Julio Arbizu has called on García himself to testify before what is being called the Mega-Commission, and for the attorney general’s office, or Fiscalía, to investigate the former president.

Global CST, whose founder and director is IDF reserve Gen. Israel Ziv, was secretly contracted in 2009 to help Peru’s military fight remnant Sendero Luminoso rebels in the Apurímac-Ene River Valley (VRAE). Testimony and documents confirm that Rey exchanged communication directly with Israel’s then-foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman over the deal, and called upon him to pressure CST’s competitor Armaz to drop out of the bidding process. According to testimony, Garrido also helped Global CST arrange a similar deal with the government of Colombia before recommending the firm to Peru’s own armed forces.

Also named is ex-admiral Carlos Tubino, now a lawmaker for the Fuerza Popular party, headed by Keiko Fujimori, daughter of imprisoned ex-dictator Alberto Fujimori. Both Fujimoristas and supporters of García’s APRA charge that the investigation is politically motivated. (IPS, La Primera, March 22; Perú21, March 15; Perú21, March 8)

Controversy also surrounds contracts with the Israel Corporation, which has bought into Peru’s energy sector.

April 2, 2013 Posted by | Corruption | , , , , | Comments Off on Peru: scandal over Israeli security contractor

Panama: Indigenous Leader Murdered After Anti-Dam Protest

Weekly News Update on the Americas | April 1, 2013

Onésimo Rodríguez, a leader in Panama’s Ngöbe-Buglé indigenous group, was killed by a group of masked men in Cerro Punta, in western Chiriquí department, the evening of Mar. 22 following a protest against construction of the Barro Blanco hydroelectric dam. Carlos Miranda, another protester who was attacked along with Rodríguez, said the assailants beat both men with metal bars. Miranda lost consciousness but survived; Rodríguez’s body was found in a stream the next day. Miranda said he was unable to identify the attackers because it was dark and their faces were covered. Manolo Miranda and other leaders of the April 10 Movement, which organizes protests against the dam, charged that “the ones that mistreated the Ngöbes were disguised police agents.”

The Ngöbe-Buglé stepped up their demonstrations against the Barro Blanco project in January, when construction continued at the site despite a United Nations (UN) report that largely substantiated indigenous claims that the dam would flood three villages, cut the residents off from food sources and destroy important cultural monuments [see Update #1168]. As of Mar. 26 an independent study mandated by the UN report and agreed to by the government had still not started.

In addition to protesting the Honduran-owned company building the dam, Generadora del Istmo, S.A. (GENISA), indigenous activists blame two European banks for funding the project: Germany’s private Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG) and the Nederlandse Financierings-Maatschappij voor Ontwikkelingslanden N.V. (FMO), in which the Dutch government holds a controlling interest. Dam opponents say GENISA also sought funding from the European Investment Bank (EIB) but withdrew the application after learning that bank officials planned to visit the affected communities themselves. ( 3/25/13; La Estrella (Panama) 3/26/13)

In other news, as of Mar. 19 the National Coordinating Committee of the Indigenous Peoples of Panama (COONAPIP) had decided to withdraw from the United Nations Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (UN-REDD+) program, which focuses on environmental problems in developing nations. The indigenous group charged in a statement that the UN and the Panamanian government “have appeared to marginalize the collective participation of the seven indigenous peoples and 12 traditional structures that make up COONAPIP” and have put “legal and administrative obstacles in the way” of indigenous participation. The Mesoamerican Alliance of People and Forests (AMPB), a coalition of Central American and Mexican indigenous and environmental groups, is backing COONAPIP’s decision. ( 3/19/13; Adital (Brazil) 3/21/13)

April 2, 2013 Posted by | Economics, Environmentalism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Panama: Indigenous Leader Murdered After Anti-Dam Protest

Top scientists to Obama: Ban mutation experiments that will make avian flu more infectious

RT | April 1, 2013

A group of leading scientists – including a Noble Prize winner – has proclaimed that it is “ethically and morally” wrong to alter the deadly H5N1 virus to make it more contagious for research purposes, and have asked President Obama to ban it.

“The accidental release of an artificial, laboratory-generated, human-transmissible H5N1 virus into the community has the potential to cause a global pandemic of epic proportions that would dwarf the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic that killed over 50 million people,” read a letter to the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.

The petition was drafted by the Foundation for Vaccine Research (FVR), a scientific advocacy group, and numbered world-leading biologists among the 17 signatories, including Lord May, the former chief science advisor to the UK government, and Sir Richard Roberts, the recipient of the 1993 Nobel Prize for Medicine, for genetics research.

Late in 2011, two groups of scientists courted controversy, when they prepared to publish studies showing a modified version of the avian flu virus that could be passed through the air between mammals. In its current form, the virus, which has killed 60 percent of those it infects, is not easily caught by people from birds, and is even more difficult to transmit from one human to another.

But, Ron Fouchier, of Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands, and Yoshihiro Kawaoka, from the University of Wisconsin, the scientists behind the purposeful mutations, known as gain-of-function studies, say the virus will itself change without lab research, and foreseeing its progression might enable a vaccine or cure to be developed sooner.

They had voluntarily placed a moratorium on gain-of-function research after their initial research created concern that details about how these modifications to a virus that has killed more than 350 people since its discovery in 2003, were achieved would fall in the hands of careless scientists or worse, terrorists and hostile governments.

The moratorium was lifted earlier this year.

“The recent calling off of the moratorium by 40 flu researchers alone – not funders, governments or international bodies – says it all. The flu community simply hasn’t understood that this is a hot-button issue that will not go away,” Professor Simon Wain-Hobson, one of the signatories, told UK’s Independent newspaper.

FVR hopes the further gain-of-function experiments – most of which are funded by the government – will be postponed, pending a more thorough scientific debate on the ethics.

The US government is currently making tentative steps to regulate the research. The White House has published a draft paper that would require government agencies to evaluate the potential risk of any study involving 15 most dangerous cultures, but it has no plans to curb gain-of-function studies altogether.

And even if the petitioners manage to persuade Barack Obama, their plea is unlikely to stem the tide of similar new manipulations around the world.

“The H5N1 studies represent the first of no doubt many such studies involving other potential pandemic pathogens. Gain-of-function studies with H5N1 virus are being conducted in China, and a team in The Netherlands is expanding their H5N1 studies to include studies with the H7N7 virus, and has announced plans to conduct similar gain-of-function studies with the SARS coronavirus,” admits the petition.

April 2, 2013 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , , | Comments Off on Top scientists to Obama: Ban mutation experiments that will make avian flu more infectious

Dead In The Water – The Sinking of the USS Liberty

During the Six-Day War, Israel attacked and nearly sank the USS Liberty belonging to its closest ally, the USA. Thirty-four American servicemen were killed in the two-hour assault by Israeli warplanes and torpedo boats. Israel claimed that the whole affair had been a tragic accident based on mistaken identification of the ship. The American government accepted the explanation.

For more than 30 years many people have disbelieved the official explanation but have been unable to rebut it convincingly. Now, Dead in the Water uses startling new evidence to reveal the truth behind the seemingly inexplicable attack. The film combines dramatic reconstruction of the events, with new access to former officers in the US and Israeli armed forces and intelligence services who have decided to give their own version of events.

Interviews include President Lyndon Johnson’s Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara, former head of the Israeli navy Admiral Shlomo Errell and members of the USS Liberty crew.

April 2, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, Video, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

Israel hinders efforts aimed at nuke-free Middle East: Iran

Press TV – April 2, 2013

An Iranian envoy to the UN has reiterated Tehran’s proposal for a Middle East free of nuclear arms, blaming the Israeli regime for hampering efforts to cleanse the entire region of all nuclear weapons.

Pointing to Israeli bids to oppose and obstruct an Iranian initiative to rid the Middle East of all atomic warheads, Iran’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Gholam-Hossein Dehqani said in a Monday address to the UN Disarmament Commission (UNDC) meeting that the Islamic Republic and all Arab nations have declared their willingness to partake in a conference on eliminating all nuclear arms in the region without preconditions.

Dehqani further pointed to Iran’s insistence that all UN amendments for freeing the Middle East and the world from nuclear arms must be implemented, emphasizing that the eradication of all atomic weapons across the globe is the only ultimate guarantee for removing this threat.

The Iranian official also stressed that since the US atomic bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, nuclear disarmament has remained one of the greatest global priorities and the UN General Assembly called for the abolishment of atomic bombs in a resolution at its first meeting on January 24, 1946.

Dehqani expressed regret, however, that “the maintenance of thousands of nuclear arms in the weapon depots of nuclear powers” on their own soil as well as in the territories of their allies “threatens international peace and security and the existence of human civilization.”

He further pointed to major concerns about the continued allocation of billions of dollars by countries that possess nuclear weapons for the testing and development of a new generation of atomic arms, as well as constructing new facilities to manufacture such weapons of mass destruction.

The Iranian envoy also pointed to the massive annual expenditures for the production and development of nuclear arms by some of the countries that possess atomic warheads and said there are major concerns regarding the expansion of nuclear military programs by these countries.

Calling for the total eradication of such nuclear arms, Dehqani further expressed regret about the “slow progress” on the issue of nuclear disarmament at the United Nations, reiterating the Islamic Republic’s insistence on eliminating all atomic arms based on the nation’s core opposition to all weapons of mass destruction.

The Israeli regime is widely believed to be the only possessor of nuclear weapons in the Middle East. The regime reportedly maintains between 200 and 400 atomic warheads, but under its policy of so-called nuclear ambiguity, it has never denied nor confirmed its possession of the weapons of mass destruction.

Furthermore, the Israeli regime has never allowed any international inspection of its nuclear facilities and has refused to sign the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). It has also refused to join the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which limits members to civilian uses of the nuclear technology.

The UNDC meets annually in geographical working groups for three weeks in the spring, but over the years it has failed to agree on any substantial outcome. The commission, like most other UN bodies, is heavily influenced and manipulated by the US and its allies to ensure their global interests are served through the world body.

April 2, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Comments Off on Israel hinders efforts aimed at nuke-free Middle East: Iran