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Friday, January 16, 2009, Vol. 4, No, 6 — 157
"True North is for opinion makers"
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University of Alberta study shows dangers of race-based scientific research

U.S. subjected 60,000 American troops to mustard gas tests in World War 11

'The scientists who conducted the race-based studies suspected that non-whites would have a different response than whites to mustard gas ... they were wrong'

ALBERTA, Canada ( — American scientists used mustard gas on their soldiers for race-based experiments during the Second World War, a study by a University of Alberta professor has shown. — 470 words.

"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
PBS journalist Bill Moyers.


Your support makes it possible for True North to clear the fog of "publicity" and keep you informed on what's really happening in the world today. Please send your donation to:

Carl Dow, True North, Station E, P.O. Box 4814, Ottawa ON Canada K1S 5H9.

From the Desk of Great Granny Rosaleen Dickson, Contributing Editor.


Editor's Notes

Friday, January 16, 2009
True North Perspective
Vol. 4, No. 6 (157)

Sub-zero Toronto flood delays production of True North Perspective

The primary editorial office of True North Perspective is in Ottawa, Canada’s capital city. However every edition is launched into the ether from Canada’s largest city. Not because it’s the largest city but because our brilliant managing editor, Geoffrey Dow, lives there. Last Thursday, January 15, Geoffrey was one of 100,000 denizens of west Toronto who were rendered powerless when a water main in a hydro station burst, producing a flood that shut down electric power in the area. — 193 words.

From the Court of Judge Harold Wright

Errant male sentenced to producing 90 years of spaghetti sauce

It was revealed in court that for several years, a man was having an affair with an Italian woman. — 199 words.

A tome for your book list

An autistic with a PhD is one the leading animal behaviour experts

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective
Originally written for Ontario Farmer

The first time I saw Temple Grandin at work was in a video where she showed, instead of explaining, the best way to design a cattle-handling facility. She walked hunched over mimicking a cow describing step by step how it would react to the design of a facility. 455 words.

Ottawa writers make annual donation to hospital for sick kids

The Ottawa Independent Writers carried on a tradition of its annual Book Fair, by making a donation to
the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Foundation (CHEO), Thursday, January 15. The $300 donation
was the proceeds of the recent Book Fair raffle. OIW appreciates the generous contribution of books for
the raffle by Dundurn Press. OIW Past President Bill Horne presented the cheque to Carmen Wynn,
Special Events Manager, CHEO Foundation.

From the Desk of Mike (The Hammer) Garvin

Harley-Davidsons 'immortal' in Cuba

By Joshua Robinson
International Herald Tribune

HAVANA — Sergio Morales's friends gently rib him about the dirt under his fingernails and the grease that fills every line in his 58-year-old hands. The grease has been there so long, they tell him, that it must predate Fidel Castro's revolution. But Morales has heard all the jokes, and not a single one makes him look up from his work. — 974 words.

Health Watch

Shocking study reveals people still willing to torture

By Rowan Hooper and Reuters

Replication of a notorious "torture" experiment – in which people obediently delivered painful shocks to others if encouraged to do so by authority figures – has come to the same disturbing conclusion. — 505 words.


The Romans stole it from the Greeks and called it digitus impudicus

What are the rules for giving the finger to someone on U.S. network television?

By Juliet Lapidos

Director Darren Aronofsky flipped off the star of his new movie on Sunday evening during the NBC-televised Golden Globe Awards. The network broadcast Aronofsky's gesture without blurring out or otherwise obscuring his raised middle finger. Is a Federal Communications Commission fine in the works? — 539 words.

Opposition thugs attack pro-Chavez supporters at governor’s swearing-in ceremony,
beat women and rip off their clothes

By Tamara Pearson

MÉRIDA, Venezuela — More than 40 United Socialist Party (PSUV) supporters were injured by members of the opposition during the swearing in of the newly elected governor of Tachira state, according to national assembly member, Iris Varela. — 498 words.

Real estate still seen as safe bet
in both U.S. and global markets

The Moscow Times

NEW YORK — Foreign investors in real estate expect to spend much more in 2009 than they did in 2008, according to an annual report tracking institutional investor interest. — 208 words.

Did You Know?

True North Canuck Fact of the Day

That’s one crowded mantelpiece

Singer Anne Murray of “Snowbird” and “Can I Have This Dance” fame has more Juno Awards than anyone — 25.

Add in a couple of Grammys and countless other awards she’s won and you’ve got a lot of hardware.

Trivia compiled by Randy Ray and Mark Kearney, authors of eight books about Canada. For more fabulous facts, visit their Web site at:

Kennedy says Venezuela will continue to supply
cut-rate heating oil to American poor in 23 states

By Tamara Pearson

BOSTON — Contradicting recent reports about the program's discontinuation, the U.S.-based and Venezuelan-owned CITGO Petroleum Corporation confirmed the continuation of its U.S. heating oil program, said CITGO CEO Alejandro Granado during a press conference here today with Citizens Energy Chairman Joseph P. Kennedy II. — 378 words.

Tortured reasoning

By David Rose
Vanity Fair

George W. Bush defended harsh interrogations by pointing to intelligence breakthroughs, but a surprising number of counterterrorist officials say that, apart from being wrong, torture just doesn’t work. Delving into two high-profile cases, the author exposes the tactical costs of prisoner abuse. — 6,656 words.

Truck driver cuts off finger to stop wife's gambling

A man in Chongqing municipality cut off one of his fingers last Saturday night in a bid to dissuade his ex-wife from gambling. — 141 words.

Rights advocates challenge Pentagon claim that
61 ex-Guantanamo inmates return to terrorism

By David Morgan

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon said on Tuesday that 61 former detainees from its military prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, appear to have returned to terrorism since their release from custody. — 484 words.

Dick Cheney shows off his mastery of lying

By Steve Benen
Washington Monthly

Watching Dick Cheney's latest "exit interview" last night, it was hard not to marvel at the man's shameless, almost pathological, dishonesty. It was like seeing a master criminal at work—you're offended by the conduct, but almost impressed by the skill. — 328 words.

Cheney throws down gauntlet,
defies prosecution for war crimes

By Marjorie Cohn|Perspective

Dick Cheney has publicly confessed to ordering war crimes. Asked about waterboarding in an ABC News interview, Cheney replied, "I was aware of the program, certainly, and involved in helping get the process cleared." He also said he still believes waterboarding was an appropriate method to use on terrorism suspects. CIA Director Michael Hayden confirmed that the agency waterboarded three al-Qaeda suspects in 2002 and 2003. — 858 words.

Chavez: Castro to remain in seclusion

Meanwhile Venezuela delivers oil, Cuba supplies doctors, coaches

Associated Press

CARACAS, Venezuela — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Sunday it is unlikely that ailing former Cuban leader Fidel Castro will ever appear in public again. — 264 words.

The Grinning Skull:
The homicides you didn't hear about in Hurricane Katrina

By Rebecca Solnit

What do you do when you notice that there seems to have been a killing spree? While the national and international media were working themselves and much of the public into a frenzy about imaginary hordes of murderers, rapists, snipers, marauders, and general rampagers among the stranded crowds of mostly poor, mostly black people in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, a group of white men went on a shooting spree across the river. — 3,938 words.

Sharp-eyed Nanjing postal worker foils sex blackmail scam

An alert employee in a post office in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, uncovered an elaborate blackmail scam involving photos falsely showing officials in compromising positions last week. — 140 words.

Bolivia joins Cuba, Venezuela as third
illiteracy-free Latin American country

COCHABAMBA, Bolivia — Bolivian President Evo Morales has declared this country the third in Latin America to be free of illiteracy. — 208 words.

Kerry fears Afghanistan war turning into another Vietnam

Voices concern during Hillary Clinton's Secretary of State confirmation hearing

By Jonathan Kim

Jonathan Kim blogs under the name DJK. He is a Co-Producer at Brave New Films. He co-produces the Fox Attacks series and blogs for the and websites.

Thanks to our great friends and allies at Get Afghanistan Right, it seems like a real discussion about the wisdom of military escalation in Afghanistan is finally underway. — 390 words.

Does Obama see the U.S. as long-term guarantor of Iraqi stability?
If so, for how long — and why?

By Robert Dreyfuss
The Nation

Robert Dreyfuss is the author of Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam (Henry Holt/Metropolitan Books).

Iraq is not stable. The "surge" didn't work. The U.S.-Iraq "Status of Forces Agreement" is only a piece of paper. The country is plagued with violence. Key political actors in Iraq are bolstered by paramilitary armies, including the Badr Brigade, the Mahdi Army, and the Sons of Iraq ("Awakening") movement. Vast numbers of Iraqis are unemployed. Industry has collapsed, and basic services -- electricity, water, gas, sanitation -- are intermittent or nonexistent. The army and police are corrupt and infiltrated by militias, and the army's loyalty is suspect. Most of Iraq's political movements are backed by or have ties to one or more of Iraq's neighbors. Baghdad is a warren of blast walls and walled-off enclaves, reeling from years of ethnic cleansing, and Iraq's provincial capitals are rife with intrigue, with many of them -- Kirkuk, Mosul, Baquba, Basra, for instance -- perched at the bring of outright civil war. — 1,024 words.

Back to what Obama must do

By Paul Krugman
Rolling Stone

A Letter to the new president. What Obama must do.

Dear Mr. President:

Like FDR three-quarters of a century ago, you're taking charge at a moment when all the old certainties have vanished, all the conventional wisdom been proved wrong. We're not living in a world you or anyone else expected to see. Many presidents have to deal with crises, but very few have been forced to deal from Day One with a crisis on the scale America now faces. So, what should you do? — 4,788 words.

Forgive and forget?

By Paul Krugman
International Herald Tribune

Last Sunday President-elect Barack Obama was asked whether he would seek an investigation of possible crimes by the Bush administration. "I don't believe that anybody is above the law," he responded, but "we need to look forward as opposed to looking backwards." I'm sorry, but if we don't have an inquest into what happened during the Bush years — and nearly everyone has taken Obama's remarks to mean that we won't — this means that those who hold power are indeed above the law because they don't face any consequences if they abuse their power. — 734 words.

Condom burnings and anti-gay witch hunts:
How Pastor Rick Warren is undermining AIDs prevention in Africa

Team Obama likes to cite Warren's work on AIDS in Africa to combat criticism about the controversial pastor. But how does burning condoms save lives?

By Max Blumenthal

Max Blumenthal is a Puffin Foundation writing fellow at The Nation Institute in Washington.1,743 words.

Czar case closed

‘Russian investigators close the case on murder of last tsar in 1918.

The Moscow Times

MOSCOW — Investigators have closed an investigation into the shooting by Bolshevik revolutionaries of Russia’s last Tsar Nicholas II and his family in 1918, Itar-Tass news agency reported Thursday. — 662 words.

Al Jazeera provides an inside look at Gaza conflict

By Noam Cohen
The International Herald Tribune

NEW YORK — Last June, Al Jazeera English produced a report from Gaza about a young couple who were preparing to marry during the relative calm of the cease-fire between Hamas and the Israeli government, a time when they could finally shop for furniture and, as the reporter put it, let themselves "dream that a happy life together is within reach." — 1,270 words.

U.S. debt is losing its appeal in China

By Keith Bradsher
International Herald Tribune

HONG KONG — China has bought more than $1 trillion in American debt, but as the global downturn has intensified, Beijing is starting to keep more of its money at home — a shift that could pose some challenges to the U.S. government in the near future but eventually may even produce salutary effects on the world economy. — 1,520 words.

Fascinating historical notes … by George Laidlaw

Filling Casandra’s Shoes
A novel on political assassination

My novel Filling Cassandra's Shoes is based on the assassination in London when the Bulgarian Communist Party sent an assassin to kill a BBC reporter using a poison called 'ricin' that was used in an umbrella . The reporter died in hospital and only after an autopsy did they discover the small sphere used to kill him. — 280 words.

Spirit Quest

Gaza — Via Dolorosa

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

Daily we read and watch the terrible event in Gaza. How is it humanly possible to live under such circumstances? How is it humanly possible to inflict such brutality and suffering on a people, 1.5 million in a very small country? They have lived as in a prison, isolated from the rest of the world, guarded from the Mediterrnean, blockaded from the air and fences off from land by Israel and Egypt? — 562 words.

Random Acts of Poetry

"The Village Idiot", a poem by Mike Heenan. — 55 words.

Musings: Art is a necessity of life

By Barbara Florio Graham
Ottawa Citizen Special

I can't get the image out of my mind. A piece of ivory, function unknown, covered with finely detailed carving, which was part of an exhibit at the Museum of Civilization showing the daily life of the Copper Eskimos who populated the Bering Strait around 250 A.D. — 1,278 words.

The Book End

The Sweeney Diary: The violent history of The Rideau Canal

By Mike Heenan
Literary Editor True North Perspective

C.D.H.A.Q., Sweeney’s notation for "Catherine Drunk Had A Quarrel", appears time and again through the diary in reference to his wife Catherine, an indication of Sweeney’s tumultuous home life. Sweeney himself was a troubled man, he had many “contradictions” with both friends and family and the notation “uneasy in my mind” appears throughout the diary. — 272 words.

New web site may be path to success
for authors, publishers, and companies

Prolific best-selling Ottawa author and publicist Randy Ray has developed a new Web site to promote his publicity services, which he offers to authors, publishers and companies. Mr. Ray has helped many clients get their message out across Canada on CTV, CBC Radio, CH-TV, A-Channel and Global TV, and in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Sun, Halifax Herald and many Ottawa-area weekly newspapers. Mr. Ray's web site is: He can be contacted at: (613) 731-3873 or

Link not working? Story not loading? Can't click on the links? Got another computer problem? Never fear! Carl is here!

If you have any problems with accessing the newsletter or problems with your computer, send an email to Carl Hall , and he will be more than happy to assist you.


Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher
Geoffrey Dow, Managing Editor
Yvette Pigeon, Associate Editor
Mike Heenan, Literary Editor
Benoit Jolicoeur, Art Director
Ian Covey, Director of Photography
Carl Hall, Technical Analyst and Web Editor
Contributing Editors
Anita Chan, Australia
Rosaleen Dickson
Tom Dow
Randy Ray
Harold Wright