Wisdom is the result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience.
© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective

Friday, June 11, 2010, Vol. 5, No, 27 — 231
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Not just torture ...

CIA doctors face human
experimentation claims

Medical ethics group says physicians monitored 'enhanced interrogation techniques' and studied their effectiveness

By Ed Pilkington
The Guardian UK

9 June 2010 — Doctors and psychologists the CIA employed to monitor its "enhanced interrogation" of terror suspects came close to, and may even have committed, unlawful human experimentation, a medical ethics watchdog has alleged.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR), a not-for-profit group that has investigated the role of medical personnel in alleged incidents of torture at Guantánamo, Abu Ghraib, Bagram and other US detention sites, accuses doctors of being far more involved than hitherto understood.

PHR says health professionals participated at every stage in the development, implementation and legal justification of what it calls the CIA's secret "torture programme".

The American Medical Association, the largest body of physicians in the US, said it was in open dialogue with the Obama administration and other government agencies over the role of doctors.

"The participation of physicians in torture and interrogation is a violation of core ethical values," it said.

The most incendiary accusation of PHR's latest report, Aiding Torture, is that doctors actively monitored the CIA's interrogation techniques with a view to determining their effectiveness, using detainees as human subjects without their consent. — Read the full article at The Guardian UK, 599 words.

Cartoon by Cam Cardow, Comics.com, 6 June 2010.

Compare and contrast:
1-week G20 security tab nears $1 billion
After almost 10 years Guantanamo hits $500 million

By Scott Higham and Peter Finn
The Washington Post

7 June 2010 GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba — At the U.S. naval station here, a handsome electronic sign hangs between two concrete pillars. In yellow enamel against a blue metal backdrop is a map of Cuba, the "Pearl of the Antilles," above flashing time and temperature readings.

"Welcome Aboard," the sign says.

The cost of the marquee, along with a smaller sign positioned near the airfield: $188,000. Among other odd legacies from war-on-terror spending since 2001 for the troops at Guantanamo Bay: an abandoned volleyball court for $249,000, an unused go-kart track for $296,000 and $3.5 million for 27 playgrounds that are often vacant.

The Pentagon also spent $683,000 to renovate a cafe that sells ice cream and Starbucks coffee, and $773,000 to remodel a cinder-block building to house a KFC/Taco Bell restaurant.

The spending is part of at least $500 million that has transformed what was once a sun-beaten and forgotten Caribbean base into one of the most secure military and prison installations in the world. That does not include construction bonuses, which typically run into the millions. — Read the full story at The Washington Post.

Short on brain power, CSIS billionaires play typically
heavy-handed role in the security circus boondoggle

Surveillance too heavy, protesters say

By Tom Godfrey
Toronto Sun

10 June 2010 — G20 protesters say their phone calls, e-mails and texts are being monitored by CSIS agents.

And protesters claim there have been at least 28 incidents in which organizers have had CSIS officers show up at their doors seeking interviews and trying to intimidate them.

With the Toronto summit just two weeks away, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service has escalated domestic surveillance, sources said. — Read the full article at Toronto Sun, 270 words.

The billion $ security circus

40 Toronto officers watch 20 protesters

By Drew Halfnight
National Post

9 June 2010 — Downtown Toronto got a taste yesterday of what's to come at this month's G20 summit.

A group of about 20 activists gathered reporters to call for changes to the political and economic systems, watched by an almost comically disproportionate security presence: more than 40 police officers surrounded the gathering on foot, horseback, bicycles and in unmarked cars. — Read the full article at National Post, 222 words.

Editor's Notes

Friday, June 11, 2010
True North Perspective
Vol. 5, No. 27 (231)

Dynamic Duo

Carl Dow, left, with Randy Ray, right. Photo by Ken Jeffries.

Randy Ray, right, and Carl Dow, left, took to blue lake and rocky shore for an intense strategy meeting Friday, June 4, to Sunday, June 6. The location was at Ray's Rock, Twin Lakes, north of Havelock, Ontario. Randy Ray is a nationally well-respected Ottawa-based publicist, a best-selling author, and a contributing editor to True North Perspective. Carl Dow is editor and publisher of True North Perspective and editor of Capital Letter, a publication of Ottawa Independent Writers. Although on the very verge of solving all the world's problems, Randy and Carl, always generous of spirit, took time out to stare at a camera held by star photographer Ken Jeffries of nearby Campbellford who was anxious to escape the heat of debate. Looking forward.


Letters to the Editor

In praise of Villeneuve-Sinclair's angels

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair's article "Would you be angel?" is an open invitation to take ourselves more lightly and at the same time to surpass worries and the tribulations of life. I like the quote from Saint Theresa as it corresponds to one of my favourite Buddhist principles about awareness of the ephemeral quality of earthly things. "All things pass."

Lots of material here such as Wayne Dyer's teachings, how to deal with pollution in our life produced by others and sometimes ourselves, about "being in the dumps" and its negative impact on the soul. One thing is sure, I believe you when you say you practice "Being as light as possible so that I can take flight despite the extra load" and opening your heart to love. Thank you for the opportunity to reflect on these principles of life!

— Carole Bézaire, Gatineau, Québec

"Would you be an angel?" What a beautiful philosophy of life! What a wonderful way to start your Sunday, your week, the rest of your life! I truly enjoyed the article.

Yves Sincennes, Sudbury, Ontario

"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.

Inside Sudbury's bitter Vale strike

'Strikers and their families feel betrayed by Ottawa,
particularly Industry Minister Tony Clement.'

By Linda Diebel
Toronto Star

6 June 2010, COPPER CLIFF, Ontario, Canada — My grandmother, Lillian Rose, was the sweetest person I've ever known. She gave up more than youth and beauty to leave England and come with her husband to the nickel mines of Canada's Precambrian Shield. The Sudbury region, some 400 kilometres north of Toronto, is an unforgiving place for a fragile English rose.

During the last 40 years of her life, she had a disease that turned her once-pale skin red and left it blistered and scabbed. The constant flaking embarrassed her and, on bad days, the pain sent her to bed. My earliest memory — and I was no more than 18 months — was of being on her bed on Jones Lane in Copper Cliff, understanding even then I had to be gentle.

Doctors couldn't help because they believed her allergic to the air she breathed, a soup of industrial pollutants. Sometimes the sulphur was so thick it seared the throat.

Move away, they said, and your skin will clear up. But they didn't talk about that publicly. My grandfather Reg was an electrician at the Copper Cliff smelter and his job, and the livelihoods of the physicians themselves, depended on what was then King Inco, the world's biggest producer of nickel.

Lately, Lillian Rose has been on my mind. Last Sunday, I was preparing to fly north to write about the 11-month-long strike against Inco, now called Vale, by 3,000 members of the United Steelworkers Local 6500. The pending trip evoked memories, and I found myself staring at a faded photo of my grandmother and me.

Still, I had no intention of writing about her.

My story would be about the culture of a company town from the perspective of generations of men who went down the mines, or worked in the smelter or refinery, at what used to be Inco. — Read the full article at theToronto Star, 3,169 words.

Why all the coalition talk in Ottawa?

'All four parties operate as if they alone have a monopoly on the right ideas and paint the others as if they're reckless or untrustworthy'

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

11 June 2010 — Unless readers diligently ignore political news from Ottawa, they will have heard or read plenty about proposals for some sort of Liberal-NDP coalition or merger to knock the Harper Conservatives out of power.

To many hyperventilating politicians and commentators, uniting the left is the only way to beat Harper. All of which ignores the old political maxim that governments defeat themselves, which Harper will likely do sooner rather than later. — Read the full article inside, 652 words.

'She was punished because her male bosses couldn't handle their libidos'

Is sexy office attire grounds for firing?

Debrahlee Lorenzana's wrongful-dismissal suit against Citibank has sparked debate over workplace sexual harassment

By Zosia Bielski
The Globe and Mail

7 June 2010 — No tight turtlenecks, no pencil skirts, no three-inch heels — and no Jessica Rabbit curves.

The story of Debrahlee Lorenzana, a chesty New York business banker who claims she was fired for distracting her male colleagues, is raising questions about corporate dress code policies, and whether co-workers who complain about the sexy ensembles of others are engaging in a special kind of sexual harassment.

Citibank fired Ms. Lorenzana last August, citing work performance. She fired back with a gender-discrimination suit, dismissed last month because her contract allows only private arbitration of disputes. She's now suing for wrongful dismissal.

"She was punished because her male bosses couldn't handle their libidos," Jack Tuckner, her lawyer, told the New York Post.

Photos he arranged show Ms. Lorenzana in a fitted navy jacket and knee-length pencil skirt, snake-skin three-inch heels, as well as a tight black wrap dress she wore to her interview. — Read the full article at The Globe and Mail, 978 words.

Trees and gardening

By Lakshmi Sundaram
True North Perspective
First published in the West Quebec Post

When husband is on holiday at home, I just don't seem to get anything done and we do have our occasional issues. The latest takes root in the garden where, when he is not on the balcony sharing a bottle of Argentinean rosé, falling asleep in My pool armchair, or falling asleep watching a DVD, he is digging, tilling, planting, pruning or weeding something. In His garden. I am welcome to plant, anything, but not just anywhere. — Read the full story inside, 642 words.

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Haida Gwaii waters and seabed to be protected

The Canadian Press

8 June 2010 — The federal government has announced plans to expand protection for an area off British Columbia's northern coast known among conservationists as the "Galapagos of the North."

The spectacular islands that make up Haida Gwaii have long been protected within Gwaii Haanas national park, but for years that protection stopped at the beach.

Now the federal government says it will protect a 3,500-square kilometre area covering the waters and seabed surrounding the archipelago formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands. — Read the full article at TheTyee.ca, 522 words.

He may not know much about art, but Tony Clement knows what he likes — and what he doesn't

Industry Minister had final say on federal funding for arts festivals

The Canadian Press

11 June 2010 — Popular events in Montreal and Toronto that lost out on federal funding this year have Industry Minister Tony Clement to thank for the lack of cash in their coffers.

Clement himself chose which events would receive financing under the Conservative's controversial marquee tourism events program.

The government was heavily criticized by the Opposition and event organizers when the funding announcement was made in mid-May.

Festivals such as Les FrancoFolies de Montreal were refused $1.5 million of expected federal funding for 2010. The announcement came about a month before the event was to be held. — Read the full article at CBC News, 453 words.

A tribute to dads (part 1)

'A dad need not buy a child everything he wants ... All he needs is to be generous of soul and willing to give of himself'

By Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair
True North Perspective

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more, www.albertevilleneuve.ca.

11 June 2010 — I have decided to devote my next two articles to dads and for this purpose I asked friends and relatives to share a story or a wonderful memory of their father with me.

A father's role is wonderfully rewarding, often demanding and complicated and it has evolved throughout the decades. Dads are more involved than ever in the everyday childcare of today. So what advice would one give a dad? I think there is no magical recipe to being a good dad but all-encompassing qualities such as love and caring, wisdom and patience, tolerance and pride, being a supportive teammate with mommy and a good role model for the kids are sturdy building blocks, true and tested, on which to build quality parenthood. Parents need to create a loving, safe environment so that children can grow and blossom into unique spirits and well-balanced, happy adults down the line. Self-confidence, a positive attitude and setting a good example has always proven better than lecturing when raising kids.

So on with my friends' and relatives' stories ... — Read the full article inside, 1,286 words.

Spirit Quest

'Practical theology' no invisible hand

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

The Reverend Doctor Hanns F. Skoutajan

11 June 2010 — "Certainly we can see the Holy Spirit there!" he said as he cocked one eyebrow.

These words were firmly imprinted in my mind during my student days at university. I had a professor — well, he wasn't really a professor, inasmuch as he did not have a doctorate, which seems to be the prerequisite for admission to that "immortal" status. He was an adjunct faculty member, a minister of one of the largest churches in Kingston and a person with a great deal of pastoral experience. He had also been a chaplain in the war.

His course was called "Practical Theology." This was not meant to distinguish it from "impractical" but rather theology applied to contemporary life situations. — Read the full article inside, 832 words.


Dear Sweet Henri

By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective

Photo by Geoffrey Dow, www.ed-rex.com.

11 June 2010 — Today on my way to my morning swim at the community centre on Brock Avenue, I passed by the neighhourhood where Henri lives.

It brought back memories of last winter when I first met Henri. I thought to myself that I must look up Henri and see what he's up to.

I first met Henri when I was looking after a house for a friend who was in hospital. As an old friend of the family I would go and check the mail and make sure everything was okay in his house. This happened to be in the middle of last winter so I had to check the furnace as well as the mail.

One snowy day as I was checking things out, I heard a noise on the front porch. I always left the front door open for fresh air — and for a fast escape in case of need. Being alone in this vacant house made me nervous. — Read the full article inside, 810 words.

Truth in Honduras

One year after the military coup, the battle over who gets to expose — or avoid — recent history begins

By Jeremy Bigwood
In These Times

11 June 2010 — One year after Latin America's first coup of the century, two opposing truth commissions — one official, one not — have set to work to determine why and how Honduran President Manuel Zelaya was removed from power. At stake is the legitimacy of the Honduran state and its president, issues of hegemony versus democracy, and, not least, the historical record.

The Honduran Armed Forces staged a coup d'état against Zelaya on June 28, 2009. Upset by Zelaya's leftward drift, Honduras' oligarchy, which has long ruled the impoverished Central American nation of 7.3 million, backed the coup.

In response, Zelaya supporters, as well as those simply opposed to the rupture of democratic rule, formed a vocal opposition movement, the National Front of Popular Resistance. The coup government's reaction, which was immediate and continues to the present, has involved "thousands of human-rights violations," according to the human-rights organization Center for Justice and International Law. Scores of opposition activists have been assassinated, according to Honduran human-rights organizations. — Read the full article at In These Times, 482 words.

Reality Check

What's worse than the gulf oil leak?

It's the carbon, stupid

By Bill McKibben
The Christian Century

Chart from National Snow and Ice Data Center; click to view full-size original.

1 June 2010 — The sudden, hideous explosion of oil in the Gulf of Mexico is the latest reminder of who we really are. By we, I mean:

British Petroleum: For a while it engaged in an expensive public relations campaign to restyle itself as Beyond Petroleum, but clearly the initials stand for Broken Pipe. Or maybe Bigtime Pollution. Or maybe just Bad People. You want to know what it means to be a hugely profitable company? It means taking huge risks, almost always with other people's money and future. BP has left a trail of fines, safety violations and hubris on its way to its enormous sums of money, and its liability for damages in the gulf is carefully capped by federal law at $75 million, roughly one-fiftieth of what the company made in the fourth quarter of last year. (You think BP might have played a role in writing that federal law?) Right now it's busy building a device technically known as a Big Honking Dome that it's planning to lower over the hole. Maybe this will work, in which case the obvious question will be: Why didn't you have a Big Honking Dome standing by before you started?

Our government: This one you can't just pin on the Bush administration. Its legacy of constant deregulation is a clear contributing factor, and somehow it's not surprising to learn that Dick Cheney's former employer Halliburton is at least peripherally involved. But Barack Obama has been completely "balanced" about energy, careful at every turn not to offend the big oil and coal companies. Just a month ago he announced that he was suspending a longstanding moratorium on offshore drilling. "The answer is not drilling everywhere all the time," Obama said at Andrews Air Force Base. "But the answer is not, also, for us to ignore the fact that we are going to need vital energy sources to maintain our economic growth and our security." The balance part? He simultaneously allowed as how the federal government would add 5,000 hybrid vehicles to its auto fleet and that the military would experiment with biofuels. Well gee, thanks.

And, well, we as in — us: You don't think every politician in America, Obama included, hasn't noticed that Americans scream every time the price of oil begins to rise? You think maybe, just maybe, that the needle BP stuck into the bottom of the sea flows straight into our veins? — Read the full article at The Christian Century, 1,849 words.

Health Watch

It's tough to sit, even for the fit

CBC News

11 June 2010 — The bodies of even the most physically active Canadians take a physiological hit from sitting for hours, say scientists who warn about health effects of an increasingly sedentary society and prescribe some standing advice.

Canadian researchers are part of a pioneer field of study looking at the effects that sitting has on the body. At a lab in Ottawa, scientists are observing children as they watch TV, monitoring their pressure and oxygen consumption. The scientists want to see how sedentary time, such as sitting all day at school and then channel surfing at night, harms children's health. — Read the full article at CBC News, 623 words.

Beware the computer age and the myth of multitasking

Your brain on computers: hooked on gadgets and paying a mental price

By Matt Richtel
The New York Times

6 June 2010, SAN FRANCISCO — When one of the most important e-mail messages of his life landed in his in-box a few years ago, Kord Campbell overlooked it.

Not just for a day or two, but 12 days. He finally saw it while sifting through old messages: a big company wanted to buy his Internet start-up.

"I stood up from my desk and said, 'Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God,'" Mr. Campbell said. "It's kind of hard to miss an e-mail like that, but I did." — Read the full article at Source, 3,713 words.

In case you missed it ... and always worth repeating

Winston Churchill: Give us the tools and we'll finish the job

Let's say that news throughout human time has been free. Take that time when Ugh Wayne went over to the cave of Mugh Payne with news that the chief of his group had broken a leg while chasing his laughing wife around the fire. That news was given freely and received as such with much knowing smiles and smirks to say nothing of grunts of approval or disapproval. — 688 words.

Steve Jobs defends serious journalism and
tells why you should pay for True North Perspective


No good news from the Afghan front

'Secretary of Defence Robert Gates warned that the U.S. and its NATO allies were running out of time to show results.'

By Jim Lobe
Inter Press Service

10 June 2010, WASHINGTON — While U.S. officials insist they are making progress in reversing the momentum built up by the Taliban insurgency over the last several years, the latest news from Afghanistan suggests the opposite may be closer to the truth.

Even senior military officials are conceding privately that their much-touted new counterinsurgency strategy of "clear, hold and build" in contested areas of the Pashtun southern and eastern parts of the country are not working out as planned despite the "surge" of some 20,000 additional U.S. troops over the past six months.

Casualties among the nearly 130,000 U.S. and other NATO troops now deployed in Afghanistan are also mounting quickly. — Read the full article at Inter Press Service, 1,142 words.

Report from Obama's America ...

After Bush, the American war machine marches on

Obama is secretly deploying elite U.S. forces to countries across the globe

'Remember the "training mission" in Vietnam? That's how it morphs.'

By Jeremy Scahill
The Nation

4 June 2010 — The Washington Post is reporting that the Obama administration has substantially expanded the role of US special operations forces across the globe as part of what the paper calls Washington's "secret war" against al Qaeda and other radical organizations.

Obama, according to the paper, has increased the presence of special forces from 60 countries to 75 countries. US Special Forces, the paper reports, have about 4,000 people in countries besides Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The Special Operations capabilities requested by the White House go beyond unilateral strikes and include the training of local counterterrorism forces and joint operations with them," according to the Post. "Plans exist for preemptive or retaliatory strikes in numerous places around the world, meant to be put into action when a plot has been identified, or after an attack linked to a specific group." — Read the full article at Source, 1,139 words.

'Not allowed'

BP, U.S. Coast Guard and law enforcement agencies block reporters from reporting on oil spill

Is BP taking lessons from the G20 security team?

By Jeremy W. Peters
The New York Times

9 June 2010 — When the operators of Southern Seaplane in Belle Chasse, La., called the local Coast Guard-Federal Aviation Administration command center for permission to fly over restricted airspace in Gulf of Mexico, they made what they thought was a simple and routine request.

A pilot wanted to take a photographer from The Times-Picayune of New Orleans to snap photographs of the oil slicks blackening the water. The response from a BP contractor who answered the phone late last month at the command center was swift and absolute: Permission denied.

"We were questioned extensively. Who was on the aircraft? Who did they work for?" recalled Rhonda Panepinto, who owns Southern Seaplane with her husband, Lyle. "The minute we mentioned media, the answer was: 'Not allowed.'" — Read the full article at The New York Times, 1,271 words.

... and getting its worker safety lessons from Bhopal?

BP discouraging crews from using respirators
refuses to divulge chemical make-up of oil dispersants, human rights group says

By David Edwards

11 June 2010 — BP's logic seems to be that if the oil cleanup doesn't look dangerous then it must not be. The oil company has told workers not to wear respirators because it's bad for public relations, according to one human rights group.

RFK Center President Kerry Kennedy traveled to the Gulf Coast to talk to cleanup workers and found that BP was trying to repress the use of safety equipment.

"In all three states that I've visited, fishermen said when they went out to work on the cleanup, that if they tried to bring respirators they were told it was unnecessary equipment and would only spread hysteria," Kennedy told Fox News Friday. — Read the full article at the RawStory.org, 369 words.

While Venezuela funds it, Cuba provides human resources
for massive medical and educational aid program for Haiti


3 June 2010, PUNTO CANA, Dominican Republic — Speaking at the closing session of the World Summit on the Future of Haiti, Cuban Vice President Esteban Lazo today urged the international community to demonstrate a commitment to humanity, PL reports.

"What brings us here is not a political problem, but a human drama," Lazo stated to the delegates from 55 countries and 35 international organizations attending the Summit.

Lazo recalled that, before the earthquake struck Port-au-Prince, Cuban brigades had been working for 11 years in Haiti, cooperating in a number of sectors, but particularly in those of health, education and housing.

He noted that, as part of that project, 400 Cuban doctors have worked in Haiti, helping to treat 14 million people, and have operated on 47,000 patients with visual disorders; moreover, 550 Haitian doctors have graduated in Cuba and a further 600 are currently studying Medicine on the island. — Read the full article at the Granma, 287 words.

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Green roofs now mandatory in Copenhagen

By Brian Merchant

9 June 2010 — A new policy adopted last month has made green roofs required by law on all new buildings with roof slopes of less than 30 degrees.

The initiative is one part of the city's plan to become totally carbon neutral by 2025, Inhabitat reports (via GOOD). And it's pretty impressive how much new green growth the policy will lead to.

5,000 square meters a year will be covered with vegetation, the city hopes. As you likely know, green roofs have already begun to change architecture and planning around the world in some major ways — this most recent development is a welcome addition, but hardly surprising, given how green Copenhagen already is. — Read the full article at TreeHugger.com, 227 words.

From the Desk of Bob Kay, Contributing Editor, Montreal

A Jew tells Helen Thomas
'We're not going anywhere'

Sara K. Eisen tells Helen Thomas Jews are just sick and tired of moving all the time

By Sarah K. Eisen

9 June 2010 — Here's the thing. I've been thinking about poor Helen Thomas, who I believe was probably just saying what everyone thinks and has therefore been made a scapegoat. Not that I really care, because we ought to share the scapegoat status once in a while. It's the least we can do to dispel the stereotype that we are stingy, us irritating Jews.

Helen, you know why we were in Germany and much of Eastern Europe in the first place? (And by the way, if I follow your advice, do you think the nice old ladies who got my grandmothers' large houses and farms from the Nazis in what was once Czechoslovakia will kick the property back two generations? That would be cool because I'd love a vineyard and an agricultural estate.)

We were in Germany and Hungary and Czechoslovakia and Russia (where we were regularly just plain killed by Cossacks), and also, for many centuries, Poland (ditto), because we were told to get the hell out of England, France, and Spain. (Or, you know, just plain killed by handsome and heroic fairytale knights.) — Read the full article at YNetNews.com, 1,218 words.

From the Desk of Bob Kay, Contributing Editor, Montreal

Background on Turkey's shifting allegiance

EU bungling and America's fading power in Middle East
are feeding Turkey's switch to strategic alliance with Iran

By Gil Yaron

10 June 2010 — Hardly anyone disputes the assumption that the strategic alliance between Israel and Turkey has come to an end, at least for the time being. The political Left in Israel places the responsibility for this on the shoulders of its own government: Had we only pursued the peace process more vigorously, they claim, Turkey would still be on our side. Conservatives prefer to blame Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who undoubtedly prefers the company of Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to Israel's Shimon Peres. Both sides have a point, but they miss the whole picture.

Two additional factors have driven Turkey to make a strategic U-turn. The first is the continuing decline of US power in the Middle East. The world's only superpower has lost its deterrence and respect in the region to an extent that even Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, who once clamored for the Americans' favor, now dares to publicly poke fun at the US Administration without fearing any consequences. When US power diminishes, so decreases Israel's standing as Washington's most important ally. — Read the full article at YNetNews.com, 1,005 words.

Worse than a crime — a mistake

By Eric Margolis

7 June 2010, ISTANBUL — Turks are still seething with rage over last week's Israeli attack on a Turkish vessel trying to break the years-long blockade of Gaza. Four of the nine peace activists killed aboard the ship were Turkish citizens. A score of peace activists were wounded; some claimed they were beaten when in Israeli custody ashore.

"We are all Palestinians" read banners being waved across Turkey. Turks, a very nationalist and combustible people, are taking the Israeli attack as an assault on their homeland.

Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, accused Israel of a "massacre," warning, "Israel risks losing its closet ally in the Mideast if it does not change its mentality." By "mentality," Erdogan meant Israel's rightwing, Likud coalition of PM Benjamin Netanyahu, with whom relations have steadily worsened. — Read the full article at the EricMargolis.com, 1,017 words.

Rear-view Mirror

Few in the West know of the horrors
of 900-day WW 11 siege of Leningrad

'Western people don't understand how it is possible to eat shoes, earth, and each other to survive'

By Xenia Prilepskaya
The St. Petersburg Times

11 June 2010 — Alexander Sokurov's latest film has people reading from a book, one after another, for the whole 96 minutes.

Reading Book of Blockade has children, soldiers, artists and actors reading true stories about the horrors of the 900-day Siege of Leningrad during World War II.

The film uses stories from Book of Blockade, written in the 1960s by Daniil Granin and Ales Adamovich, where they wrote down the stories of the people who survived the siege. "It was a life-long decision ... to make this film. Every citizen of St. Petersburg has at least once read the book," Sokurov said in a written statement.

"I wanted to catch the momentary impression that these real stories of enormous sufferings, cold, famine and deaths produce on our contemporaries, those who live in a safe and comfortable world and, perhaps, have never read this book and do not have the slightest idea how cruel the world could be." — Read the full article at The St. Petersburg Times, 562 words.

Canadian miner plans major uranium project in Kazakhstan


9 June 2010, TAIKONUR, Kazakhstan — Cameco Corp. plans to double capacity at its Inkai uranium mine in Kazakhstan once it has the conversion facilities to advance nuclear fuel production, the company's chief executive said.

Jerry Grandey said the mine's annual capacity should rise to 4,000 tons from the current 2,000 tons after Cameco and its joint venture partner, state firm Kazatomprom, agree on how to process the uranium. He declined to give a timescale.

"The joint venture partners are in agreement that we should go from two to four thousand," Grandey said in an interview. "But to do that, we need to be advancing the conversion aspect."

Kazatomprom aims to become a producer through every step of the nuclear fuel cycle by 2020, while Cameco aims to double uranium production worldwide by 2018 to meet growing demand from the nuclear industry as more reactors are built. — Read the full article at The Moscow Times, 687 words.

Stockholm report says Venezuela leads Latin America in reducing military spending

Aporrea and Venezuelanalysis.com

4 June 2010, CARACAS — The annual report released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) on Wednesday revealed that Venezuela is the Latin American country that reduced its military spending the most in 2009, with 25 per cent less than the year before.

In total volume of military spending compared to the rest of Latin America, "Venezuela occupies fifth place with US $3.254 billion, a quarter less than the money it spent toward this end in 2008," reported EFE in reference to the report.

Brazil increased its military spending more than any other Latin American country, allocating a total of US $27.1 billion in 2009, an increase of 16 per cent.

Brazil was followed by Colombia, whose military expenditure increased by 11 per cent.

SIPRI indicated that Colombia is the country in the region that directs the most money toward military spending as a percentage of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), with 3.7 per cent. — Read the full article at Venezuelanalysis.com, 348 words.

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Gautrain arrives in time for World Cup

Africa's first high-speed train may be revolutionary

By Pumza Fihlani
BBC News

8 June 2010, JOHANNESBURG — Africa's first high-speed train has started running — just in time for fans travelling to South Africa for the World Cup, which starts on Friday.

Costing a massive 24bn rand ($3bn; £2.1bn), South Africa hopes that its revolutionary rapid transit system will bring some much needed change to its outdated and sometimes unreliable transport system.

Its top speed is 160 km/h (100 mph) — a long way from the world's fastest trains but still far superior to the locomotives chugging along most of the rest of the continent's tracks, which mostly date from the colonial era.

Although the Gautrain was not intended to be a World Cup project, the local authorities and constructors Bombela were anxious to get the main route ready in time for the football extravaganza. — Read the full article at BBC News, 895 words.

Brace yourself: The World Cup isn't the only good news from Africa

'Since 1995, African poverty has been falling steadily.'

By Karen Rothmyer
The Nation

3 June 2010, NAIBOBI, Kenya — When United Nations member countries meet in New York in September to review progress toward meeting the 2015 Millennium Development Goals, it's a safe bet that one conclusion they'll reach is that Africa is failing miserably. In an April interview with South Africa's News24, UN official Osten Chulu said that on the goal of halving extreme poverty, the world as a whole is doing reasonably well, "but Africa, especially the sub-Saharan region, is seriously lagging behind."

Sitting here in Kenya, I find it hard to believe that the situation is really as grim as portrayed by the UN, the World Bank and most of the NGO crowd. OK, maybe the rapid growth of Nairobi shopping malls, complete with fake waterfalls and expensive dress shops, is mainly a middle-class phenomenon. But whenever I travel in the countryside I am equally struck by the fact that so many rural women sport stylish braids or other hair designs — a far cry from the simple head scarves of forty years ago.

So I was very excited a couple of months ago when I read a Reuters story about a new study by two academics, Xavier Sala-i-Martin, a Catalan economist who teaches at Columbia, and Maxim Pinkovskiy, an MIT doctoral student, titled "African Poverty Is Falling... Much Faster Than You Think!" In the paper, published under the auspices of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER, the sober outfit that decrees when recessions have begun and ended), the two argue that "the conventional wisdom that Africa is not reducing poverty is wrong.... In fact, since 1995, African poverty has been falling steadily." — Read the full article at The Nation, 1,741 words.


Study suggests children of lesbians more well-adjusted than others

By Madison Park

7 June 2010 — A nearly 25-year study concluded that children raised in lesbian households were psychologically well-adjusted and had fewer behavioral problems than their peers.

The study, published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, followed 78 lesbian couples who conceived through sperm donations and assessed their children's well-being through a series of questionnaires and interviews.

Funding for the research came from several lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender advocacy groups, such as the Gill Foundation and the Lesbian Health Fund from the Gay Lesbian Medical Association.

Dr. Nanette Gartrell, the author of the study, wrote that the "funding sources played no role in the design or conduct of the study." — Read the full article at CNN, 781 words.

Not wanted on the voyage

Russian experiment in long-term space exploration evades issue of 'sexual tension' by selecting an all-male crew

Endurance trial will isolate six "cosmonauts for 520 days, but experiment presumes no women will be going to Mars

Mail Online

1 June 2010 — A row has erupted after women were banned from a mock mission to Mars in which six people will be shut away in a space capsule for 18 months.

Russian scientists made clear they did not want 'sexual tension' to disrupt an experiment in human endurance, and instead selected an all-male crew.

The 520-day mission will not leave the ground but in all other respects it will emulate what cosmonauts will face on the first manned flight to the Red Planet. — Read the full article at Mail Online, 752 words.

DNA study confirms geographical origin of Jews

Agence France-Presse

9 June 2010, PARIS — New research has found Jews share a genetic bond with Cypriots and Druze and confirms the Jewish diaspora maintained a strong DNA continuity despite its long separation from the Middle East, scientists said on Wednesday.

The work, published in the British journal Nature, is part of a wider exploration into human migration based on clusters of tiny differences in genetic code.

"We found evidence that Jewish communities originated in the Near East," said molecular scientist Doron Behar of the Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa, Israel, who led an investigation gathering experts in eight countries.

"Our genetic findings are concordant with historical records." — Read the full article at RawStory.org, 622 words.

Where the bikini finds uneasy sisterhood with the hijab

'Last summer, for example, Rania Ghaddar was rejected from one of the posh Beirut beaches because she was wearing the hijab.'

By Mona Alami
Inter Press Service

2 June 2010, BEIRUT — Hijab or bikini? That is a question that Lebanon seems to be forever balancing.

Both extremes make up the social fabric of the country, and the recent 'Miss USA' pageant, which saw the election of Rima Fakih, a Muslim Shiite of Lebanese origin, has once again spotlighted the diversity and often paradoxical image of women in Lebanon.

First-time tourists to Lebanon are often struck by the contrast of women tanning in skimpy bathing suits alongside veiled women sipping frappuccinos at the country's beaches, or scantily clad females walking along the streets with others wearing the hijab.

Their surprise is, for the most part, a result of misinformation regarding the country and the cultural mix of its people. — Read the full article at Inter Press Service, 857 words.

Annals of Education

The pleasures of imagination

By Paul Bloom
The Chronicle of Higher Education

30 May 2010 — How do Americans spend their leisure time? The answer might surprise you. The most common voluntary activity is not eating, drinking alcohol, or taking drugs. It is not socializing with friends, participating in sports, or relaxing with the family. While people sometimes describe sex as their most pleasurable act, time-management studies find that the average American adult devotes just four minutes per day to sex.

Our main leisure activity is, by a long shot, participating in experiences that we know are not real. When we are free to do whatever we want, we retreat to the imagination — to worlds created by others, as with books, movies, video games, and television (over four hours a day for the average American), or to worlds we ourselves create, as when daydreaming and fantasizing. While citizens of other countries might watch less television, studies in England and the rest of Europe find a similar obsession with the unreal.

This is a strange way for an animal to spend its days. Surely we would be better off pursuing more adaptive activities — eating and drinking and fornicating, establishing relationships, building shelter, and teaching our children. Instead, 2-year-olds pretend to be lions, graduate students stay up all night playing video games, young parents hide from their offspring to read novels, and many men spend more time viewing Internet pornography than interacting with real women. One psychologist gets the puzzle exactly right when she states on her Web site: "I am interested in when and why individuals might choose to watch the television show Friends rather than spending time with actual friends." — Read the full article at The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2,851 words.

Looking forward ...

The human phenome project

By Olivia Judson
The New York Times

8 June 2010 — In 1884, a man called Francis Galton opened the doors of his "Anthropometric Laboratory." This was "for the use of those who desire to be accurately measured in many ways, either to obtain timely warning of remediable faults in development, or to learn their powers." The many ways included height, hand strength, acuity of sight and hearing, lung capacity and the power of a blow with the fist.

Galton was one of Charles Darwin's cousins. This was no particular distinction: Darwin had many cousins. Indeed, he married one, and was married by one — the vicar who presided at the wedding was a cousin too. But Galton was distinguished in other ways: he was one of the great scientists and polymaths of the 19th century.

Among his achievements: he was the first to make rigorous weather maps, and he discovered the anticyclone. He developed methods to describe and classify fingerprints, and showed that they were a reliable way of telling one person from another. — Read the full article at The New York Times, 1,438 words.

Annals military intelligence

Arlington National Cemetery misidentified, misplaced 211 U.S. soldiers' remains

Agence France-Presse

10 June 2010 — The superintendent of the premier US military cemetery has been reprimanded after an investigation found that it had lost track of remains in 211 graves, US Army officials said Thursday.

The investigation by the army's inspector general was launched in November at the Arlington National Cemetery following a series of scandals involving mishandling of remains of US soldiers and veterans.

The cemetery, visited by four million people each year, is the resting place of two presidents, a dozen Supreme Court justices, other famous Americans and casualties of all US wars.

The probe found that the cemetery lost track of an urn of cremated remains and a casket of remains and buried an urn of cremated remains on top of an unrelated service member's casket. — Read the full article at RawStory.com, 609 words.

Madmen in Authority

'So wise policy, as defined by the G20 and like-minded others, consists of destroying economic recovery in order to satisfy hypothetical irrational demands from the markets...'

By Paul Krugman
The New York Times

7 June 2010 — Rereading my post on the folly of the G20, it seems to me that I didn't fully convey just how crazy the demand for fiscal austerity now now now really is.

The key thing you need to realize is that eliminating stimulus spending, while it would inflict severe economic harm, would do almost nothing to reduce future debt problems.

At left is the IMF's estimate of sources of the growth in debt over the next few years.

And even this figure conveys a misleading impression of the importance of stimulus spending.

lettFirst, since cutting stimulus would weaken the economy, it would reduce revenues — that is, a substantial part of the debt growth the IMF attributes to stimulus would have happened even without stimulus, through lower revenue.

Second, for the US at least the core reason for long-run budget concern is rising health care costs — in fact, health cost control is the sine qua non of long-run solvency — which has nothing whatever to do with how much we spend on job creation now. — Read the full article at Source, 396 words.

Money and Markets

Think 'we're all Keynesians now?' Better think again

Europe caught in the iron fist of
neo-liberal fiscal discipline and anti-labour measures

'In Greece, Portugal, and Spain, "social democratic" governments are discarding even the pretext of being agents of progressive reform ... [They] are imposing unprecedented cuts and austerity measures significantly reducing the standard of living for working people through the roll back of long established social programs, social entitlements and social rights ... there is no longer anything that sets apart southern European "social democratic parties" from (neo)conservative or neoliberal parties.'

By Chronis Polychroniou

8 June 2010 — We live in critical times. Global capitalism has plunged much of the world in a crisis of unprecedented proportions and is causing misery and suffering for millions of people. Economic insecurity, mass unemployment, declining wages, poverty, social marginalization, crime, fear and social decomposition are now defining features of many advanced societies. With growth concentrated largely on speculative financial activities and the suppression of wages, wealth is so unequally distributed in many advanced capitalist societies that the social and historical boundaries between rich and poor nations have completely broken down. Wealth and poverty coexist in close proximity in many cities in advanced societies just as they do in the less developed world.

With the belief that markets on their own terms are the best means for the maximization of growth and development and that societal interests are best served when individuals act more like consumers than citizens, neoliberal dogma may be the most dangerous ideology of our times. Essentially, neoliberalism represents a counterrevolution to the postwar regime in the area of economic and social rights and connects to the interests of the rich, corporations and the needs of the dominant form of capital in contemporary capitalism, that of finance. — Read the full article at TruthOut.org, 2,257 words.

In Memoriam: I.F. Stone

'He would have seen the War on Terror as just another red scare, stampeding the U.S. and the world into ceding still more of their rights and freedoms.'

'The best blogger ever'

I.F. Stone died as the Net was coming alive. Today's journalists should heed his prophecies.

By Crawford Kilian

June 2010 — I.F. Stone died at 81, in 1989, but his legend lives on among journalists: the tough, deaf, nearsighted little radical who reported the news his own way.

Stone, who was done before the Web came alive, might anyway be considered "the best blogger ever" according to one expert in digital journalism. You do have to wonder what Izzy Stone's impact might have been had the Internet been at his disposal.

A different era

After 20 years as a reporter and commentator for left-wing papers like PM, Stone came out of World War II too independent for anyone in the Cold War media. He praised his enemies when they did the right thing, and damned his friends when they erred. The big newspapers wouldn't touch him because he was too left-wing; the left-wing media like the National Guardian and Monthly Review resented his willingness to criticize the Soviets.

Effectively blacklisted by the late 1940s, Stone the radical became Stone the small businessman, publishing I.F. Stone's Weekly for a few thousand subscribers. Lacking the resources of a big-city newspaper, he drew on his many contacts and his readiness to dig into dull government documents for the outrageous details. — Read the full article at TheTyee.ca, words.

'The rules have been different for Helen for many years, and only for Helen.' — Ari Fleischer

An end for Helen Thomas and the Helen Thomas Rules

By Jeremy W. Peters
The New York Times

7 June 2010 — To many in Washington, two sets of rules seemed to apply for journalists covering the president: those for regular White House correspondents, and those for Helen Thomas.

Ms. Thomas, 89, made a name for herself asking tough, provocative questions of every president since John F. Kennedy, but her tart tongue may have finally brought her career to a close. Ms. Thomas said on Monday that she will retire, following an uproar over her recent remarks that Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine."

The departure of Ms. Thomas, 89, was a sudden and surprising twist to a controversy that has gone viral in the last several days. Her retirement marks a rather ignominious end to a career that was trailblazing and historic. Few White House correspondents ever achieved her high profile and respectability. From her coveted seat in the front row of the White House briefing room to her ability to cow even the most hardened White House press secretary, Ms. Thomas was a legend in Washington. — Read the full article at The New York Times, 573 words.

Banned again! Joyce's Ulysses obscene on Apple's iPad

By Kevin Kelleher

9 June 2010 — Somewhere, James Joyce must be laughing at Steve Jobs.

As everyone who took a modern lit class in college knows, Ulysses was banned from publication in the United States because of a scene in which Leopold Bloom masturbates on a beach while fireworks burst nearby. The courts eventually decided the episode wasn't obscene because it didn't promote lust.

History is repeating itself again, this time in Apple's (AAPL) App Store. Sarah Weinman at the Daily Finance says that a Webcomic adaptation of the book, Rob Berry and Josh Levitas' Ulysses Seen, has been banned from iPads and iPhones because of cartoon nudity. Here is a picture of an offending panel (courtesy of Robot 6), in which stately, plump Buck Mulligan dives nude into the sea.

Shocking, isn't it? — Read the full story at TheBigMoney.com, 423 words.

The Glass Teat

Hey! It worked for the Muslims!

The professionally offended strike again
and this time they're Christians —
Will Comedy Central abort proposed cartoon?

By Stephen Tomkins
The Guardian UK

9 June 2010 — A new organisation has been formed by the US religious right to attack a programme that hasn't yet reached pilot stage. JC, a Comedy Central cartoon about Jesus trying to live a normal life in New York, does not have a completed script, but Citizens Against Religious Bigotry (Carb) are calling on advertisers to force the channel to abort it.

Carb, starchier than your average lobbyists, are particularly exercised by the contrast with the way Comedy Central backed down on airing scenes involving Muhammad in South Park, fearing violence. "Does that indicate that Christians then are punished because they aren't crazy?" asked the talk show host and Carb Michael Medved.

So censorship goes pre-emptive, a TV show doesn't even have to be made in order to offend, and the duty to protect the unborn has no relevance to works of creativity. — Read the full article at The Guardian UK, 713 words.

Fox News, other right-wing commentators, suckered by satirical promotion

Small publishing company places warning label on U.S. Constitution

'This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today.'

By Diane Macedo

9 June 2010 — A small publishing company is under fire after putting warning labels on copies of the U.S. Constitution, Declaration of Independence and other historical documents.

Wilder Publications warns readers of its reprints of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, Common Sense, the Articles of Confederation, and the Federalist Papers, among others, that "This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today."

The disclaimer goes on to tell parents that they "might wish to discuss with their children how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and interpersonal relations have changed since this book was written before allowing them to read this classic work."

Walter Olson, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, says the company may be trying to ensure that oversensitive people don't pull its works off bookstore or library shelves.

"Any idea that's 100 years old will probably offend someone or other," Olson told FoxNews.com. — Read the full article at FoxNews, 462 words.

Time Lord saves Harris Tweed

Reincarnated alien's selections rescues iconic British clothier

The Chap

29 March 2010 — Matt Smith, the actor playing the latest incarnation of the Doctor in Doctor Who, has inadvertently revived the Harris Tweed industry in the Outer Hebrides.

Mr. Smith, working with Doctor Who's costume designer Ray Holman, chose a vintage tweed jacket as part of his signature outfit, which also includes a bow tie, striped shirt and braces.

The Chap has yet to establish whether the bow tie is real, though the braces are sadly of the clip-on variety.

Mr. Smith's tweed jacket, however, is thankfully authentic, dating from the late 1960s and made from a Mackenzie two-by-two dogtooth Harris Tweed.

Given the cult status of the Doctor, it comes as no surprise that fans of the series have been jamming the switchboard of the Harris Tweed Authority with requests for the provenance of the tweed. — Read the full article at The Chap, 277 words.

The Book End

A Casualty of War cover.

A Casualty of War

By Susan Taylor Meehan

Every Friday (or as often as we can) in this spot True North Perspective will feature a book by a Canadian writer. The presentation will not be a review. It will include a profile of the author and information about the product of the author's literary labours. If a reader wants to file a review we'll publish it.

Today we present A Casualty of War, by Susan Taylor Meehan, along with an excerpt from the book itself. — Geoffrey Dow, Managing Editor.Read the full story inside, 1,430 words.

In case you missed it ...
The Old Man's Last Sauna
A collection of short stories by Carl Dow

An eclectic collection of short stories that will stir your sense of humour, warm your heart, outrage your sense of justice, and chill your extra sensory faculties in the spirit of Stephen King. The final short story, the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Sauna is a ground-breaking love story.

The series begins with Deo Volente (God Willing). Followed by The Quintessence of Mr. Flynn, Sharing Lies, Flying High, The Richest Bitch in the Country or Ginny I Hardly Knows Ya, One Lift Too Many, The Model A Ford, the out-of-body chiller, Room For One Only and O Ernie! ... What Have They Done To You! The series closes with the collection's namesake, The Old Man's Last Sauna, a groundbreaking love story. All stories may also be found in the True North Perspective Archives.

Website may be path to success
for authors, publishers, and companies

Prolific best-selling Ottawa author and publicist Randy Ray has developed a website 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, Source, Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Sun, Halifax Herald and many Ottawa-area weekly newspapers. Mr. Ray's web site is: www.randyray.ca. He can be contacted at: (613) 731-3873 or rocket@intranet.ca.

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  chall2k5@gmail.com , and he will be more than happy to assist you.


Yvette Pigeon, 1934-2010, National Editor, 2006-2010

Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher
Geoffrey Dow, Managing Editor
Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor
Benoit Jolicoeur, Art Director
Ian Covey, Director of Photography
Carl Hall, Technical Analyst and Web Editor
Randy Ray, Publicity

Contributing Editors
Anita Chan, Australia

Alex Binkley, Ottawa
Dennis Carr, Vancouver
Tom Dow, Sudbury
Bob Kay, Montréal
Randy Ray, Ottawa
Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair, Ottawa
David Ward, Ottawa
Harold Wright, Ottawa