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

Friday, March 19, 2010, Vol. 5, No, 15 — 219
"True North is for opinion leaders"
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'The NDS tortures people — that's what they do — and if we don't want our detainees tortured, we shouldn't give them to the NDS' — Canadian diplomat Richard Colvin

Canada broke pledges on Afghan jails, letters show

Ottawa and allies pleaded with national-security officials for patience on promises to build more humane prisons

By Paul Koring
The Globe and Mail

Canada and its allies have repeatedly promised — and failed — to build a new prison in Afghanistan where transferred detainees could be interned without risk of abuse, torture or ill-treatment and where Afghan guards could be mentored and trained in treating battlefield captives within the bounds of international law, according to Afghan secret police documents. — 1,012 words.

Cartoon by Matt Bors, Comics.com, 15 March 2010.

Editor's Notes

Friday, March 19, 2010
True North Perspective
Vol. 5, No. 15 (219)

On the passing of Yvette Pigeon
Associate Editor
True North Perspective

At 09:45, Tuesday, March 16, 2010, Yvette Thérèse Malvin Pigeon (nee Gagnier), Associate Editor of True North Perspective, died with a cry of triumph. Yvette had finally won her war against the cruel disease called Pulmonary Fibrosis. She was 75. — 1,445 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.

Letters to the Editor

Ice-free in 100 years, 30 years or three years?

Environmental changes coming in real time

Thank you for True North — always some interesting articles.

Your Feb. 5 issue carried an article "Study finds Arctic ice melting even faster than predicted." This referenced the Circumpolar Flaw Lead System Study, and the Amundsen's Arctic trip. I wanted to mention two earlier press reports:

On Aug. 24, 2005, the Citizen carried the headline "Arctic Ocean to be ice-free in 100 years: scientists" This referenced findings in a report in Eos, the weekly newspaper of the American Geophysical Union.

On March 16, 2007, the headline "Arctic could be ice-free by 2030". This followed a report in the American Association for the Advancement of Science journal Science.

On Feb 6, 2010, the secondary headline had escalated to "Major study shows worst-case scenario is Arctic will be ice-free in three years: scientist" This statement was based on the same material that gave rise to your Feb 5 report.

If we extrapolate forward those three findings, we can anticipate some serious environmental changes in the next decade!

Chris Humphrey

Re: "How far have we come?"

I read Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair's column, as well as those of her associates (March 12, 2010). Each gave me pause to reflect in a very positive way. So well said regarding the world's ails, and yet how far women have come this past century.

I thought about my own 30 yr. career in the electricity industry. Back then, women held clerical jobs. Men ran the company and were mostly university educated to be engineers. NOT TODAY. Women are running companies, university educated and strongly encouraged to apply for "non-traditional" jobs.

As the old saying goes, "You've come a long way baby!".

Great articles and thank you for reminding me how far we have come. I am hopeful that less fortunate countries make an effort to follow our lead.

Dawn McBride, Haines City, Florida

Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is a brilliant writer and has a knack for unfolding the subject she is writing to a personal level. This is quite a special talent. I really enjoyed the article "How far have we come?"

Arline Boyd, Victoria, B.C.

Stepping up transportation safety

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

In the 20 years since it was formed, the Transportation Safety Board of Canada has toiled away, often misunderstood, as it unraveled the cause of train, plane and ship accidents. — 831 words.

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

In the tradition of Bush, Cheney and Rove,
Harper's Conservatives cut climate scientists' funding,
and muzzle researchers' access to the media

Media coverage of climate change science reduced by over 80 per cent

"The Government of Canada has cut virtually all programs aimed at funding climate science. I get the sense that they feel that science is a nuisance. They ignore science in their decision making; they muzzle their federal scientists by imposing impossible media-contact regulations; they cut programs designed to allow scientists to develop knowledge." — Andrew Weaver, professor at the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, University of Victoria, and Canada Research Chair


That's from "Troubling Evidence," a startling new report from the Climate Action Network Canada. It was "released just days after a federal budget that effectively slashed funding for university-based climate science." A CAN Canada spokesman says of the Harper government, "They're putting climate deniers in key oversight positions over research, and they're reducing funding in key areas ... It's almost as though they're making a conscious attempt to bury the truth." — 707 words.

Canada's armed forces:
Steven Harper's shield

By James Travers
The Toronto Star

This easy winter has been hard on Stephen Harper's reputation as the smartest guy in the room. Suspending democratic debate to silence questions about prisoner abuse, using a throne speech and budget to recalibrate his agenda and tinkering with the national anthem have all fallen flat. — 587 words.

Jury finds Watts guilty

Canadian author and scientist Peter Watts faces
up to two years in U.S. prison after being beaten at border


The jury returned a guilty verdict in the Peter Watts case on March 19 reports the Port Huron Times Standard:

"Toronto author Peter Watts has been found guilty of assaulting, resisting and obstructing a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer. Jurors returned the verdict today in St. Clair County Circuit Judge James Adair's courtroom. He faces up to two years in prison when sentenced April 26." — 301 words

Afghan documents debate heats up

NDP tables anti-torture bill

CBC News

Opposition MPs are calling on the House Speaker to rule that the government violated parliamentary privilege in refusing to hand over uncensored documents on the transfer of Afghan detainees. — 765 words.

When love turns to violence

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.

Once again, Ontario residents were shocked and saddened by another tragedy that claimed the lives of a mother and daughter, both innocent victims of senseless male violence while the region was still trying to make sense of the Russell Williams crimes. The idea of having to deal with a possible serial killer, a colonel in the high ranking Canadian Forces was troubling enough already. The case has been more or less hushed and the Olympics certainly were a welcome diversion but the murders of Tracy Hannah, Shannon Hannah's mom, and her sister Whitney brought back the horror of violence against women. Shannon survived this terrible nightmare when her ex-boyfriend, Dean, showed up at their house and opened fire on the family. — 1,406 words.

Spirit Quest

The times change, the Spirit moves

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan

"The Times They Are-a Changing" — so wrote Bob Dylan in a song which we heard back in the sixties. 20 years ago I would not have believed that there would be a time when smoking in restaurants, transportation, and public buildings would be prohibited. I recall this as the board of our condominium is considering making this a smoke free building. That won't be much of a problem, it is already free of smokers and the real estate people assured us that the values of our units would be enhanced were they so designated. — 702 words.

Health Watch

Unhappy with your birth control?
10 methods you may want to try

Birth control can be a pain, but in this day and age every woman should love her method; here are 10 you ought to consider

By Daniela Perdomo

Of all the relationships in my life, the one with my birth control has been one of the most tumultuous. Over the years I've tried five different kinds, and while I am happy to report that I've finally found one that works for me, it was a bumpy path getting here. My most devastating birth control experiment was one of my first, which lasted nearly four years. It wasn't until I was off that particular method that I realized I'd just stepped out of a four-year haze that had been characterized by angry, irrational outbursts book-ended by episodes of equally irrational, very weepy sadness. (Apologies to my incredibly supportive college boyfriend.) Indeed, it wasn't until I was off that birth control that I elatedly discovered I wasn't the terrifying ball of fury and tears I thought I'd become. It was the birth control. 3,981 words.

Pepsi out of schools by 2012

The Associated Press

PepsiCo plans to remove sugary drinks from schools worldwide following the success of programs in the U.S. aimed at reducing childhood obesity. — 443 words.

'It's raining men'

Thousands answer Chinese college girl's plea for a boyfriend


She was probably hoping at least one, possible two, might respond. But when a Chinese student posted a message at college saying she wanted a boyfriend, they came in their droves. Instead of looking down from her balcony on a romantic scene as her potential suitor waited below, Zhang Mengqian was confronted with a huge mob. 258 words.


Everything you didn't know about Pakistan

A quick primer on the world's most misunderstood and demonized country — and one to which the United States is inextricably tied

By Nisa Qazi

Since 2005, the people of Pakistan, no strangers to upheaval, have been suffering near-constant food and water shortages, rampant power-outages and bodily harm as formerly peaceful cities are besieged by extremist violence. All the while, American leadership continues to direct criticism and threats at the troubled nation, allocating most of its monetary aid for Pakistan to its army, and openly endorsing India as blameless in the endless brinkmanship between the two equally culpable South Asian nations. — 2,149 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.

Report from Obama's America ...

McCain and Lieberman's "Enemy Belligerent" Act could set U.S. on path to military dictatorship

Glenn Greenwald calls the bill "probably the single most extremist, tyrannical and dangerous bill introduced in the Senate in the last several decades."

By Liliana Segura

On March 4th, Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman introduced a bill called the "Enemy Belligerent Interrogation, Detention, and Prosecution Act of 2010" that, if passed, would set this country on a course to become a military dictatorship. — 1,409 words.

'Victory' in Iraq?

U.S. turns its back on women's rights
as Iran takes power in Southern Iraq

By Abdu Rahman and Dahr Jamail*
InterPress Service

BAGHDAD — Under Saddam Hussein, women in government got a year's maternity leave; that is now cut to six months. Under the Personal Status Law in force since Jul. 14, 1958, when Iraqis overthrew the British-installed monarchy, Iraqi women had most of the rights that Western women did. Now they have Article 2 of the Constitution: "Islam is the official religion of the state and is a basic source of legislation." Sub-head A says "No law can be passed that contradicts the undisputed rules of Islam." Under this Article the interpretation of women's rights is left to religious leaders — and many of them are under Iranian influence. — 933 words.

New York Times reporter confirms long-standing reports
Obama made deal to kill public health care option

By Miles Mogulescu
Hunffington Post

For months I've been reporting in The Huffington Post that President Obama made a backroom deal last summer with the for-profit hospital lobby that he would make sure there would be no national public option in the final health reform legislation. I've been increasingly frustrated that except for an initial story last August in the New York Times, no major media outlet has picked up this important story and investigated further. Hopefully, that's changing. On Monday, Ed Shultz interviewed New York Times Washington reporter David Kirkpatrick on his MSNBC TV show, and Kirkpatrick confirmed the existence of the deal. — 807 words.

From the Desk of Vernon Pineau

Death by swami?

Sceptic challenges guru to kill him live on TV

By Jeremy Page

DELHI — When a famous tantric guru boasted on television that he could kill another man using only his mystical powers, most viewers either gasped in awe or merely nodded unquestioningly. Sanal Edamaruku's response was different. "Go on then — kill me," he said. — 1,291 words.

Chief exorcist Father Gabriele Amorth says Devil is in the Vatican

By Richard Owen

ROME — Sex abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church are proof that that "the Devil is at work inside the Vatican", according to the Holy See's chief exorcist. Father Gabriele Amorth, 85, who has been the Vatican's chief exorcist for 25 years and says he has dealt with 70,000 cases of demonic possession, said that the consequences of satanic infiltration included power struggles at the Vatican as well as "cardinals who do not believe in Jesus, and bishops who are linked to the Demon". — 650 words.

'The Game of Death'

French TV contestants made to inflict 'torture'

BBC News

A French TV documentary features people in a spoof game show administering what they are told are near lethal electric shocks to rival contestants. — 301 words.

Thai protesters pour their own blood on streets

Protest tactic slammed by the Red Cross as wasteful — and unhygienic

By Denis D. Gray
The Associated Press

BANGKOK — Thai protesters poured blood they had donated outside the front gate of the government headquarters Tuesday in a symbolic sacrifice to press their demands for new elections. Thousands of red-shirted demonstrators formed long lines to have their blood drawn by nurses, a day after their leaders vowed to collect 1 million cubic centimeters of blood — 264 gallons (1,000 liters) — to spill at Government House. — 939 words.

The hidden side of Somali piracy

By Maria Femes

In recent times, the world has witnessed a growing phenomenon in the Horn of Africa: Piracy. Something that was considered a relic of the past has returned in strength, mobilizing governments, navies, and security companies determined to fight without reserve. As a result, Somalia has become the demonized "producer of pirates." But we know very little about the reasons why this phenomenon has arisen in a country where the pirates are miserably dressed men in arms, with poor handling outboard engine ships equipped with a simple GPS. — 723 words.

England swings for silence

British libel laws silenced critic of lie detector system

By Mark Henderson

England's libel laws have been used to silence scientific critics of lie detection technology on which the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has spent £2.4 million. — 681 words.


Just as your car or bicycle can feel like a part of your body, so too can your computer — and it's no illusion

Your computer really is a part of you

By Brandon Keim

An empirical test of ideas proposed by Martin Heidegger shows the great German philosopher to be correct: Everyday tools really do become part of ourselves. The findings come from a deceptively simple study of people using a computer mouse rigged to malfunction. The resulting disruption in attention wasn't superficial. It seemingly extended to the very roots of cognition. — 469 words.

We feel your pain: Extreme empaths

By Helen Thomson

Horror films are simply a disconcerting watch for the majority of us, but for Jane Barrett they are literally torturous. She writhes in agony whenever the actors on the screen feel pain. "When I see violence in films I have an extreme reaction," she says. "I simply have to close my eyes. I start to feel nauseous and have to breathe deeply." — 2,171 words.

Rear-view Mirror

Baghdad then, Baghdad now

On the seventh anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, a remembrance of what once was

By Idious Buguise

Back then. Way before all this bloodshed and carnage and butchery. When there were no sirens and riots and bombs, and the lipsticked, powdered, mascaraed and coiffed women sauntered down pavements on bright red stilettos and the men came up to me, grabbed my elbow and demanded to escort me across busy intersections, I wandered the avenues and alleys and cul de sacs and shopped in the souk and ate late cream- and sugar-heavy breakfasts with the civil servants in brightly lit, music-booming cafes and sat by the Tigris and watched young Iraqis flying kites and old Iraqis reading newspapers and discussing the local and national politics and listened to the "English TV News for Foreigners." — 1,350 words.

Money and Markets

Obama's top bank cop wants less regulation, echoes Republican Wall St. pals

Republicans are taking an unpopular stand with Wall Street; Democrats need to have the guts to stand up against them both

By Zach Carter

If you had any doubt about the bank lobby's vice-grip on public policy, look no further than the meeting of the American Bankers Association currently taking place in Washington. In a shameless effort to curry favor with the deep-pocketed financial industry, House Minority Leader John Boenher, R-Ohio, urged lobbyists to fight hard against financial reform. And astonishingly, the nation's top bank cop, Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan, actually agreed with him. — 984 words.

The war against (economic) terrorism?

Germany considers unleashing spy agencies on New York and London

Many in Europe see currency speculation as 'economic terrorism'
Market analysts say idea is 'sinister and silly'

By Daniel Tencer

Germany's finance minister says his government is considering sending spies to London and New York to monitor the activities of currency speculators. Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told the German Parliament on Tuesday that he may have to send spies to the world's two most important financial centers "to set up surveillance of who is getting together with whom for which kinds of speculative processes, and where," according to a report at Bloomberg. — 577 words.

Open letter

The green they steal, the greed they wear

... a St. Patrick Day's lament

By Michael Moore


It was amazing. Every story on the front page of Monday's New York Times told the story of the Age of Greed during which a system known as capitalism is slowly, but surely, killing us. — 1,448 words.

Annals of Education

Texas approves radical right-wing history books

Change will impact students across country

By Andrew McLemore

For the next ten years, millions of students in Texas and across the country will read history textbooks suggesting that the actions of witch-hunt instigator Joseph McCarthy were justified. They will read about religious icon John Calvin instead of Thomas Jefferson. They will read a description of the US government that includes the words "constitutional republic" but not the word "democratic." — 610 words.


King of Spies

A new documentary exploring the life of reclusive novelist John le Carré to debut at Montreal's Festival International du film sur l'art

By Patricia Bailey
CBC News

Like George Smiley, the brilliant, homely anti-hero of some of his best known spy thrillers, writer John le Carré grew up feeling like an outsider. Born David Cornwell, he felt alienated from and deeply suspicious of most people around him. — 1,335 words.

The Book End

Workplace Bullying: a survival guide

By Katherine Williams

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 Workplace Bullying: a survival guide, by Katherine Williams. — Geoffrey Dow, Managing Editor.

Who workplace bullies are, why they attack
and how you can defend yourself from them

Workplace bullying has recently become recognized for what it is — a form of violence that destroys health, careers, and organizations. In this concise, clearly written book you will find a description of who the bullies are, why they bully, why you may be a target, and what you can do to help yourself — and others — survive a workplace bully's attacks. — 383 words

The Big Book of Canadian Trivia now in stores

Ottawa author Randy Ray and his co-author Mark Kearney of London, Ont. have published their ninth Canadian book, The Big Book of Canadian Trivia, which is now available in stores and on the authors' Web site at: TriviaGuys.com.

The latest Ray-Kearney effort is best described as a "greatest hits" book that contains the best Canadiana from their previous eight books, plus a considerable amount of new material.

In one big book readers will find all the trivia and facts about Canada they need to know: there are stories of important Canadian artifacts and history including what became of Canada's World War II spy camp.

All regions and provinces are covered, as well as important Canadian figures like John Molson, Elizabeth Arden and Russ Jackson.

If that isn't enough there will also be pieces explaining whatever happened to such Canadian icons as the last spike, labour leader Bob White, hockey tough guy Dave "The Hammer" Schultz, the first skidoo, swimmer Marilyn Bell and the first Tim Hortons donut shop.

Some items are "classics." Others are little known facts. Approximately 25 per cent of the material has never before appeared in print.

This fascinating Big Book brings together for the first time in one package the most notable facts and trivia from the archives of the trivia guys' collection.

The Big Book of Canadian Trivia is published by The Dundurn Group of Toronto.

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

The short story, The Old Man's Last Sauna, a groundbreaking love story, in the Friday, April 24 edition of True North Perspective, concludes the collection titled The Old Man's Last Sauna, written by Carl Dow. On Friday, April 17, you'll find O Ernie! ... What Have They Done To You! The series began Friday, February 20, with Deo Volente (God Willing). The second, The Quintessence of Mr. Flynn, Friday, February 27. The third, Sharing Lies, Friday, March 6. The fourth, Flying High, Friday, March 13. The fifth, The Richest Bitch in the Country or Ginny I Hardly Knows Ya, Friday, March 20. On Friday, March 27, One Lift Too Many, followed by The Model A Ford, Friday, April 3. The out-of-body chiller, Room For One Only, Friday, April 10. The series closed Friday, April 24, 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, Toronto Star, 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 HallĀ  chall2k5@gmail.com , and he will be more than happy to assist you.


Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher
Geoffrey Dow, Managing Editor
Yvette Pigeon, Associate 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
Rosaleen Dickson, Ottawa
Tom Dow, Sudbury
Bob Kay, Montréal
Randy Ray, Ottawa
Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair, Ottawa
David Ward, Ottawa
Harold Wright, Ottawa