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The Demonic Reality of Fukushima

And the Absurdity of the NRC

By CINDY FOLKERS | CounterPunch | March 2, 2012

In the days following the March 11, 2011 beginning of the Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe, chief cabinet secretary Yukio Edano repeatedly reassured the Japanese public, news media, and world community that there was “no immediate health risk” from mounting radioactive releases from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. His choice of words was very similar to the U.S. nuclear power establishment’s during the Three Mile Island melt down of 1979, as captured by Rosalie Bertell’s classic anti-nuclear primer No Immediate Danger? Prognosis for a Radioactive Earth.

However, as the New York Times revealed Monday, Edano and his colleagues at the highest levels of the Japanese federal government were actually worried about a worst-case scenario, a “demonic chain reaction” of atomic reactor meltdowns spreading catastrophic amounts of deadly radioactivity from the three operating units at Fukushima Daiichi (as well as multiple high-level radioactive waste storage pools there), to the four operating reactors and pools at Fukushima Daini (just 7 miles south, which itself avoided catastrophe thanks to a single surviving offsite power line; several offsite power lines were lost to the earthquake, and all diesel generators were lost to the tsunami), to the operating reactor and pool at Tokai (much closer to Tokyo). Regarding such a nightmare scenario, eerily similar to what Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa depicted in Dreams, the New York Times reported:

“We would lose Fukushima Daini, then we would lose Tokai,” Mr. Edano is quoted as saying, naming two other nuclear plants. “If that happened, it was only logical to conclude that we would also lose Tokyo itself.”

On March 13, 2011, even as Fukushima Daiichi’s reactors were melting down and exploding, and its storage pools at risk of boiling or draining dry and the high-level radioactive waste catching fire, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) provided false assurance to the U.S. public and news media, that no harmful levels of radioactive fallout would reach U.S. territories. However, at the very same time, NRC was itself worried about potentially hazardous levels of radioactive Iodine-131 reaching Alaska.

Just last week, NRC held public meetings about its newly unveiled, so-called “State of the Art Reactor Consequence Analysis” (SOARCA). One meeting took place near the Peach Bottom nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania, nor far from Philadelphia or Washington D.C., where two General Electric Boiling Water Reactors of the Mark I design (GE BWR Mark I) operate. Paul Gunter, Beyond Nuclear’s Reactor Oversight Project Director, attended and testified.

SOARCA is meant to replace a 1982 study, “Calculation of Reactor Accident Consequences” (CRAC-2). CRAC-2 made shocking projections of casualties and property damage that would result downwind of a catastrophic radioactivity release from an accident at either Peach Bottom Unit 2 or 3: 72,000 “peak early fatalities”; 45,000 “peak early injuries”; 37,000 “peak cancer deaths”; and $119 billion in property damages. But CRAC-2 was based on 1970 U.S. Census data. Populations have grown significantly in the past 42 years, so casualty figures would now be much worse. And when adjusted for inflation, property damages would now top $265 billion, in 2010 dollars. Such shocking figures may explain why NRC, which commissioned the study, tried to conceal its results from the public. But U.S. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) made the information public in congressional hearings.

Of course, as shown by Fukushima Daiichi, a major accident at either Peach Bottom reactor could very easily spread to the second reactor. And, as Yukio Edano — who now serves as Japan’s Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI), with direct oversight of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) — warned about Fukushima Daini and Tokai, a catastrophic radioactivity release from Peach Bottom could spread to other nearby nuclear power plants, such as Limerick Units 1 and 2, Three Mile Island Unit 1, and Salem Units 1 and 2/Hope Creek, forcing workers to evacuate and putting many additional reactors’ and high-level radioactive waste storage pools’ safety at risk.

Despite all this, NRC’s SOARCA — by assuming almost all radioactivity will be contained during an accident, any releases will happen slowly and in a predictable fashion, that emergency evacuation will come off without a hitch, etc. — claims that casualties will be low, or even non-existent. Such false assurances fall flat on their face in light of the lessons learned from the Fukushima Nuclear Catastrophe, including the new revelations described above.

In fact, Peach Bottom 2 and 3 are bigger in size than Fukushima’s Units 1 to 4. Peach Bottom 2 and 3 are both 1,112 Megawatt-electric (MW-e) reactors, 2,224 MW-e altogether. Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1 was 460 MW-e. Units 2 and 3 were each 784 MW-e. Altogether, they were “only” 2,028 MW-e, smaller in size than Peach Bottom 2 and 3. The same is true regarding high-level radioactive wastes. The Fukushima Daiichi Units 1 to 4 storage pools contained a total of 354 tons of irradiated nuclear fuel. Peach Bottom nuclear power plant, however, stores well over 1,500 tons of irradiated nuclear fuel on-site. Although Peach Bottom has installed dry cask storage, the vast majority of irradiated fuel is still stored in the Mark I elevated, and vulnerable, pools. Beyond Nuclear recently published a backgrounder on the risk of Mark I high-level radioactive waste storage pools.

NRC should immediately withdraw its absurd SOARCA report, and get about the business of protecting public health, safety, and the environment — its mandate — rather than doing the nuclear power industry’s bidding by downplaying risks as at Peach Bottom 2 and 3. A good place to start would be immediately and permanently shutting down all 23 operating Mark Is in the U.S., including Peach Bottom 2 and 3, as Beyond Nuclear’s “Freeze Our Fukushimas” campaign calls for.

Cindy Folkers is a Radiation and Health Specialist at Beyond Nuclear.

March 2, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Nuclear Power | , , , , | 4 Comments

War Tax at the Gas Pump

Sanctions, Threats and Speculators

By JEFF KLEIN | CounterPunch | March 2, 2012

It’s hard to miss the higher cost of gas every time we fill up our cars these days, but the News Media doesn’t do a very good job of explaining why.  There isn’t any mystery, though, if you read the financial press and oil industry sources: We’re paying extra for gas because of rising tensions in the Middle East and especially the scare over a possible US or Israeli attack on Iran. In effect, we’re paying a “war tax” at the gas pump, and the cost will only get higher unless we put aside the talk of war and get down to serious diplomacy to settle the differences in the region.

Here’s what the Wall Street Journal had to say recently, under the headline Oil Rise Imperils Budding Recovery: 

Rising oil prices are emerging once again as a threat to the U.S. economic recovery just as it appears to be gaining momentum. Oil prices have climbed sharply in recent weeks as mounting tension with Iran has raised the threat of a disruption in global supplies. On Wednesday, oil futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose $1.06 to $101.80 a barrel on reports that Iran had cut off sales to six European countries in response to the European Union’s newly stepped-up sanctions.

The world market price for oil is headed upward of $110 a barrel, which could translate into $4 gasoline before too long.  If an actual war breaks out, we could soon be remembering the current price at the pump as “cheap gas”.

But what about “Drill Baby Drill” to lower the price of gas – as the Republicans demand?  Political rhetoric aside, the reality is that there is a world market price for petroleum which cannot be significantly lowered by marginal increases in US supply.  International oil prices are rising even as US oil production has increased during the past decade.  Do you think US suppliers are going to sell us domestically-produced oil at a discount lower than the world market price?  Keep dreaming.  That’s just not the way the oil companies do business.

For example, after the US Arctic oil fields were developed and the TransAlaska pipeline came into service – despite serious environmental objections – large amounts of Alaskan oil were exported rather than sold in the lower 48 states.  Between 1996 and 2004 almost a 100 million barrels of Alaska crude were shipped to Japan, Taiwan, Korea and China.  Direct export of North Slope oil was eventually banned by Congress, but refined petroleum products – gasoline, heating oil, jet fuel – continue to be shipped abroad from refineries in Alaska and the lower 48.  Today Gulf Coast refineries find it more profitable to sell gasoline to Latin America instead of shipping it to the East Coast, where the law would require them to use US-flagged tankers with American crews. The US is now a net exporter of refined petroleum products, even as the rising price of gas continues to put a strain on struggling families with no alternative means of transportation.

But an even higher war tax on gas is not inevitable.  Diplomacy with Iran could still diffuse the conflict before the unthinkable happens.  Despite all the alarmist and warmongering rhetoric, especially from Republican presidential candidates, we are not facing an imminent nuclear threat from Iran.  US intelligence agencies are unanimous in judging that Iran does not have an active nuclear weapons program at this time.  In fact, the Iranians – like all the other countries in the Middle East except Israel – have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and they have the right under its safeguards to produce low-enriched uranium for power plants and medical research.  All of Iran’s nuclear materials are under real-time inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The only nuclear weapons in the Middle East right now are the hundreds of warheads belonging to the US and Israel.

Despite this reality – and in the face of opinion polls showing Americans prefer a diplomatic solution to the Iran issue rather than a military conflict – some politicians seem determined to drive us into yet another Middle East war.  Ironically, the very same politicians who are trying to make a partisan issue out of the price of gas are the ones who are pressing for policies to sharpen the regional tensions that have caused them to rise.

After the bitter experience of Iraq and Afghanistan, we should have learned enough to demand a peaceful way out of this conflict.  If we fail, a new war could have unpredictable and catastrophic results throughout the region. Of course, in that case, $5 gas might be the least of our problems.

Jeff Klein is a retired local union president active with Dorchester People for Peace (info@dotpeace.org)

March 2, 2012 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , | 4 Comments

Homs in the hell of armed groups

By Silvia Cattori | February 29, 2012

Homs, now, is nothing but a sinister battlefield where government soldiers face armed groups which, according to independent witnesses about the true nature of the rebellion, are blindly firing cannon shots to sow terror and death, then pretending that only government forces are bombarding the city.

The Western media, for its part, continues to adduce as evidence the statements of local committees which spread propaganda of the armed “opponents”, in coordination with the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights, a London-based body created and funded by the rebellion-allied forces The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights — which collects the statements of various local committees in Syria — has been repeatedly denounced as nothing but a vulgar instrument of disinformation in the service of the revolt. Despite ample evidence of that, it remains the principal source of information from Syria – together with the famous “great reporters” — and the entire Western media are referring to it, spreading day after day the reports by this observatory.1

To understand what happens in Syria, it is therefore not possible to rely on the Syrian Observatory or on bloggers who are part of this rebellion. We also cannot rely on foreign correspondents who are, as we can see, systematically and from the heart and soul on the side of the armed “opponents”, qualifying them as “heroes” and presenting the battle that divides the Syrian people in an entirely Manichaean way: On one side the opposition which “struggles for democracy”, and on the other the terrible dictator.

Things are not like that. As demonstrated by a recent poll, as well as by the massive demonstrations in support of the Russian and Chinese veto at the UN, the vast majority of the Syrian people do not want this armed revolt, which seeks solely to legitimize NATO powers and several Arab states — notoriously known as champions of democracy, such as Qatar.

If you want to speak of “heroes” in Syria, then you should refer to all parties who are suffering, not only to the “heroes” recognized by the West …

How many Milan missiles were handed over to the rebels?

The number of Syrian citizens appealing to to their president for intervention of government forces is very high. This is especially true in Homs, where the situation is alarming because large sections of the population are held hostage by these groups occupying entire areas of the city — the neighborhoods of Baba Amr, Khaldiyeh, Karm el-Zeytoun — where the people have been calling for months for Damascus to rescue them.2

Their fate has become even more a source of anxiety since the same Milan anti-tank missile launchers delivered to the Libyan rebels during the Libyan campaign, less than a year ago, by France and Qatar, began to be used. We can remember how at the time Sarkozy and Bernard Henry Levy misled public opinion by putting the blame on forces loyal to Gaddafi for the use of these Milan missiles, which were taking a heavy toll on the people.

This is the same disturbing scenario repeating itself in Syria. Politicians, journalists and NGOs are once again taking a firm stand concerning the war, provoked by groups exploited by foreign powers. They attribute to the government forces, as was done in Libya and without proper inspection, the acts of barbarism perpetrated by the armed ‘opponents’ who are terrorizing the majority of the population.

For three weeks correspondents have been repeating that Homs has been unilaterally shelled by the Syrian army. On the contrary, the loyalist contingents attacked by the Milan missiles have suffered heavy losses since the beginning of their intervention. It is not clear whether the authorities in Damascus will be able to dislodge these groups with heavy weaponry from all quarters of the city.

Could the Syrian government not respond?

From the beginning of these battles it has been repeatedly demonstrated that the armed ‘rebels’ are trained, drilled and formed by foreign special forces and that among their ranks the opponents have elements acting on behalf of foreign powers whose presence in Syria is self-evident. Syrian television has recently disseminated pictures of Homs taken by a foreign “war photographer” who followed and filmed these armed “opponents” — the same ones glorified by the “great reporters” — who wildly launch rockets and missiles. An image has attracted attention: In a building, whose stairs are dirty with blood and destroyed furniture, a surprising graffiti with heavy meaning stood out on a wall: “From Misurata, after we have freed Lybia, we came to free Syria!”

Who is responsible for the massacres of Homs, and which objectives does he pursue?

These armed groups, whose most violent actions are attributed to Al Assad soldiers facing them, are systematically presented by the Western press as “foes” fighting for “democracy.”

Why do “great reporters” not bring evidence of Syrian victims of abductions, tortures and murders by these armed “opponents”?

Why has the President of Doctors without Borders recently contributed to this process of intoxication, showing as credible the testimonies of anonymous Syrians with covered faces — standing side by side with the rebels, and attributing to Al-Assad forces and to the hospitals’ doctors unspeakable acts of torture and injury of children?3

Who would believe in Bashar Al Assad’s interest in torturing his people, in raping children and girls? Who would believe that the majority of the Syrian people would continue supporting Bashar Al Assad if he was really such a bloody torturer as painted in the West for the purpose of war propaganda?

These incessant campaigns which defend the violent opposition, and not the people terrorized and oppressed by these rebels, are dangerous. They aim to bring grist to the foreign power’s mill — France, Great Britain, the United States, backed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia — which have been preparing for months the ground for a military intervention in Syria, and are just waiting for the green light by Obama.

Notes

[1] The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights – which collects the statements of various local committees in Syria – has been repeatedly denounced as nothing but a vulgar instrument of disinformation in the service of the revolt. Despite ample evidence of that, it remains the principal source of information from Syria – together with the famous “great reporters” – and the entire Western media are referring to it, spreading day after day the reports by this rip-of observatory.

[2] See: “Une Syrienne, dont le frère a été tué à Homs par des “opposants”, témoigne” (“A Syrian who had killed his brother in Homs by ’opponents’ witnesses”), story picked up by Nadia Khost, February 8, 2012.
(http://www.silviacattori.net/article2790.html)

[3] The role of NGOs that have contributed to the misinformation affecting Syria and thus increasing the risk of foreign intervention, and in particular Amnesty International and Medecins Sans Frontières will be the subject of further investigations.

~

Original article in French (23.02.2012):
http://www.silviacattori.net/article2861.html

March 2, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | Leave a comment

Amano’s New Report on Iran’s Nuclear Program

Hassan Beheshtipour | Iran Review | February 29, 2012

Introduction

Two days after the high-ranking delegation of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) returned from their second trip to Tehran within the past month, Yukiya Amano, the agency’s director general, released his official 11-page report. In this report, which unlike the previous one is more brief and practical, the latest developments in Iran’s peaceful activities to produce nuclear energy have been examined. While admitting to Iran’s great breakthroughs and achievements in building nuclear fuel rods – which are to be used in the Tehran Research Reactor for producing medical drugs – the report discusses some details about activities carried out in 15 Iranian nuclear power centres and emphasizes the futility of Iran-IAEA negotiations primarily because of Tehran’s refusal to allow the agency’s officials to inspect the Parchin centre. The present piece will explore and analyze the most important parts of the latest IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear program.

Analyzing Amano’s Report

1) The IAEA Secretariat’s Repeated Breaches of Its Reports’ Confidentiality

On Friday, 24 February 2012, the International Atomic Energy Agency circulated the report written by its director general, Amano, among the agency’s members. Once again, in violation of the IAEA charter, which underscores the confidentiality of the agency’s reports on member states, the full text of Amano’s report about Iran was released to the Western media outlets, so that they use it as material to wage negative propaganda against Iran. Interestingly enough and in spite of the repetition of this patent contravention, no member of the IAEA secretariat or the secretary general himself is willing to provide an explanation why such a confidential and specialist text is published on news websites even before reaching the agency’s members.

2) Parchin Site and the Media Fault-Finding

Amano’s report emphasizes the peaceful nature of those nuclear activities by Iran of which the UN nuclear watchdog has been informed and which are monitored by the agency’s experts. The IAEA, however, expects Iran to go beyond fulfilling its commitments regarding the implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the related safeguards agreement and thus allow the IAEA inspectors to visit other sites and centers which are not connected with the country’s nuclear activities. The Islamic Republic is opposed to this request for two simple reasons.

Firstly, based upon the NPT safeguards agreement, the International Atomic Energy Agency is only supposed to oversee the declared nuclear sites and in fact is not entitled to request the inspection of a given country’s non-nuclear centers. Secondly, in 2005 the Islamic Republic of Iran allowed the IAEA experts to inspect the Parchin military center to prove its goodwill as well as its willingness to cooperate voluntarily with the agency. At the time, Mohamed ElBaradei, the then secretary general of IAEA, stressed in his report issued a while later that no trace of nuclear work has been found in Parchin. Given this explanation, what motive other than fault-finding can there be behind an attempt to visit the site once again after seven years? Of course, the IAEA officials argue that according to the NPT Additional Protocol, which Iran signed provisionally but voluntarily in 2003, they are entitled to visit any place they wish without limitation and should only inform the Iranian authorities of their plan at most 48 hours before the inspection. Accordingly, they would like Iran to give permission for a revisit to the Parchin site in order to relieve some other members of their doubts about the country’s nuclear activities.

In response to this argument, one should say that the Additional Protocol has not yet received final ratification in the Iranian parliament and the government cannot cooperate with the UN nuclear agency within its framework. Moreover, as Iran’s Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency Ali Asghar Soltanieh says, Tehran has provided the agency’s delegation with the relevant evidence, informing it of the reasons why the allegations raised about Parchin are baseless. According to him,

“Regular inspections of Iran’s nuclear facilities according to the Non-Proliferation Treaty have always been carried out and continue to date. The agency’s request to visit Parchin site is different from, and the calls by the agency for the clarification of some questions and ambiguities require an agreement on a framework within which the considerations of both sides should be taken into account.” (1)

Obviously, Iran has a set of conditions for the IAEA inspection of its military centers, which should be met within the framework of a mutual agreement. In other words, the Islamic Republic and 100 other members of the agency that have not yet ratified the Additional Protocol cannot open all their military centers – which have no connection with nuclear activities – to inspectors, who indeed refuse to make any commitment to keep the results of the visits confidential.

In recent years, Iran has invariably raised the significant point that if countries take on international commitments and honour them, then in return they are given advantages and concessions to promote the level of their cooperation. If countries such as Iran should comply with international obligations enforced by global centres of power on them, but in return are not rewarded with concessions but are also subjected to increasing pressure caused by sanctions, then how could Amano and his colleagues expect these countries to find and give a logical answer to their publics about their unilateral collaborations; collaborations that have nothing for them other than increasing commitments?

Therefore, the issue of visiting the Parchin site has simply been raised to make a case for Western media to spread propaganda against the Islamic Republic and influence their audience into believing that since Iran denies permission for the inspection of requested sites, it conducts illegal activities. Such an attempt is made in spite of the fact that the atomic agency’s reports on Iran since 2003 have invariably stressed that all of Tehran’s nuclear work has been under IAEA scrutiny and no deviation from the NPT safeguards has been traced during the period. This means that one cannot question Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities simply by relying upon allegations devised by Tel Aviv or policies adopted by Washington.

3) Implementing the UN Security Council Resolutions

In his latest report, Amano has underlined Iran’s failure to implement the UN Security Council resolutions about its uranium enrichment activities, while the Islamic Republic considers these resolutions illegal and unjust, referring to numerous articles in the UN Charter, according to which sovereign states have the right to determine their own fates. Iran’s peaceful activities regarding the enrichment of uranium have all been fully under the supervision of the UN nuclear watchdog, as testified by its 30 reports, and thus in no sense threaten international peace and security. The US force and the Israeli lobbying have, however, caused seven resolutions to be passed totally unilaterally against Iran in the UN Security Council so far, of which four have imposed extensive sanctions on Iranians. Meanwhile, the United States, Canada, and the European Union have, in concert with Japan, South Korea, and Australia, slapped broader sanctions outside the framework of Security Council resolutions against the Iranian people; sanctions which have no relevance to Tehran’s efforts concerning nuclear energy production and uranium enrichment. The latest round of sanctions included an embargo on the purchase of Iranian oil and financial transactions with Iran’s Central Bank, which have caused so much trouble for international markets while they are not yet fully in force. In such unfair circumstances, how can Amano expect Iran to halt its uranium enrichment work?

Conclusion

The part of Amano’s report which highlights Iranian nuclear advancements demonstrates that in spite of wide and severe sanctions, Iran has managed to build nuclear fuel rods successfully and use them in Tehran Research Reactor to produce anti-cancer drugs. This is a very promising development, which should please all those who understand the meaning of dominance and know how delightful scientific confrontation with that monopolistic system is. Amano’s report should equally embarrass and sadden all those who contended, until recently, that Iran would never succeed in building nuclear fuel rods.

In another part of the report where Amano talks about Iran’s failure to implement the UN Security Council resolutions and its continuation of uranium enrichment, he is making a repetition of what has been repeated before. The insistence that Iran should allow the inspection of non-authorized centers according to the Additional Protocol of the Non-Proliferation Treaty will not deliver any results other than supplying the material for propaganda against the Islamic Republic. Such a behaviour is in contradiction with the charter of the International Atomic Energy Agency, whose main goals are to control and oversee the nuclear activities of member states as well as to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy in the world.

It seems that if the IAEA manages to free itself of the pressure put upon it by domineering powers, which seek to preserve a monopoly on the production and use of high-level technology including nuclear energy know-how, it can easily reach an agreement with Iran according to a model similar to the previous modality, so that a practical solution is achieved for removing all the existing doubts and ambiguities about Tehran’s nuclear program.

Notes:

(1) Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA), 06/12/1390 (Persian Calendar) [25/02/2012].

More By Hassan Beheshtipour:

*Necessity of Playing with China-Russia Ball in Iran’s Court: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Necessity_of_Playing_with_China_Russia_Ball_in_Iran_s_Court.htm

*Iran-Russia-China Relations: Challenges & Interests?: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Iran_Russia_China_Relations_Challenges_Interests_.htm

*Iran Sanctions Will Backfire on EU: http://www.iranreview.org/content/Documents/Iran_Sanctions_Will_Backfire_on_EU.htm

March 2, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments

NATO shelling leaves six injured in Pakistan

Daily Times | March 2, 2012

MIRANSHAH: Six tribesmen were critically injured when six mortar shells fired by NATO forces in Afghanistan landed in Zairai village of Tehsil Dattakhel in North Waziristan Agency on Thursday.

Official sources said that NATO forces stationed in Afghanistan fired six mortar shells into Dattakhel area of North Waziristan, the tribal area considered by the US as a stronghold of al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists, seriously injuring six tribesmen. The injured were shifted to hospital.

The incident sparked panic among the locals, who complained that the US was trying to crush the tribesmen through such attacks. It is pertinent to mention here that on Wednesday, US jets violated Pakistan’s airspace. The government of Pakistan has repeatedly asked NATO forces to abstain from violations of its border.

March 2, 2012 Posted by | War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Bomb blast hits anti-US rally in Yemen, injures 22

Press TV – March 2, 2012

A bomb explosion has hit an anti-US protest rally in northern Yemen, injuring at least 22 people, Houthi fighters reported.

The resistance group, which controls much of the north of the country, said the explosion occurred in Sa’ada Province on Friday without providing further details.

Yemen has been the scene of anti-US rallies since a Washington-backed power transfer deal granted the country’s long-time dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh immunity from prosecution in return for stepping down.

Yemenis say Saleh and his aides must stand trial and face justice over the deadly crackdown on protests over the past year which killed nearly 2,000 anti-government demonstrators.

Yemenis also accuse the US and its ally Saudi Arabia of derailing their revolution by brokering a deal that transferred power from Saleh to his deputy, the UK-trained army Field Marshal Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, in a single-candidate election.

On Tuesday, thousands of Yemenis gathered outside the US Embassy in the capital, Sana’a, demanding the expulsion of Washington’s ambassador to Yemen over his intervention in the country’s internal affairs and the desecration of the Holy Qur’an in a US-run military base in Afghanistan.

Angry protesters burned the US flag and an effigy of US Ambassador Gerald Michael Feierstein.

Feierstein is accused of having a role in holding the recent single-candidate presidential election in Yemen and returning Saleh home from a ”medical visit” to the US.

March 2, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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