Friday 10 December 2010


WikiLeaks fall-out

By Nathan Diebenow

10 December 2010 — Traditional lines of communication between the people and the press have fallen into such disrepair in America that a whole new approach is necessary to challenge the military-industrial-governmental complex, according to a former CIA analyst sympathetic to WikiLeaks.

"The Fourth Estate is dead," Ray McGovern, of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, told Raw Story in an exclusive interview. "The Fourth Estate in this country has been captured by government and corporations, the military-industrial complex, the intelligence apparatus. Captive! So, there is no Fourth Estate."

McGovern explained that the term the "Fourth Estate," known today as the news media in the US, was first coined by 18th century British statesman Edmund Burke. Burke is said to have pointed to the balcony in Parliament and lauded the print media of his day for being the safeguards of democracy. — Read the full article at, 946 words.

FBI whistleblower: No Iraq war if Wikileaks had existed
By Nathan Diebenow

10 December 2010 — A member of a group of former intelligence professionals that has rallied behind WikiLeaks suggested in a recent interview with Raw Story that the world would be a different and better place had the online secrets outlet come into existence years sooner.

“If there had been a mechanism like Wikileaks, 9/11 could have been prevented,” Coleen Rowley, a former special agent/legal counsel at the FBI's Minneapolis division, told Raw Story in an exclusive interview.

Rowley and her colleague Bogdan Dzakovic, a special agent for the FAA's security division, explained this position in an op-ed published in the Los Angeles Times in October.

However, they admit no claim to the original idea of an established pro-whistle-blower infrastructure. It's purely the U.S. government's, she said. — Read the full article at, 878 words.

  Cartoon by Steve Benson,, 10 December 2010.  

'Illegal', 'likely unconstitutional' — Ontario Ombudsman

Secret G20 law was illegal, Ombudsman slams provincial government and Toronto Police Service

By Robert Benzie and Rob Ferguson
Toronto Star

7 December 2010, TORONTO — It was “illegal” and “likely unconstitutional” for Premier Dalton McGuinty’s government to pass a secret regulation that police used to detain people near Toronto’s G20 summit of world leaders last summer, says Ombudsman Andre Marin.

In a scorching 125-page report entitled Caught in the Act, Marin said the measure “should never have been enacted” and “was almost certainly beyond the authority of the government to enact.”

“Responsible protesters and civil rights groups who took the trouble to educate themselves about their rights had no way of knowing they were walking into a trap – they were literally caught in the Act; the Public Works Protection Act and its pernicious regulatory offspring,” he told reporters. — Read the full article at the Toronto Star, 632 words.

Our readers write
The power of song — Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair-style!
I liked the article "The Power of Song" very much.  Music plays a major role in our lives.  There is nothing like it to soothe the soul. Many different moods can be created.  Music allows you to recall favorite people, places, things and inspires us to be creative.  My brother used to say, "A person who dislikes music or refers to it as noise lacks a soul". — Roberta Dupont, Ottawa, Ontario
Talking about "The Power of Song" I often associate a particular song or instrumental piece to someone who has been important in my life. Wherever I am when I hear that music, I instantly go back to memories of that person and take a few moments to give thanks for this person's contribution to my life. — Lucie Savage, Bourget, Ontario
I am in total agreement with what you say in "The Power of Song", Alberte. I start listening to music as soon as I rise and it goes on till I go to bed at night. I find it relaxing and since I am often alone, I sing to the music. Melancholy music reminds me of my parents, my brother and two sisters who have passed away. It makes me cry and it's okay. I need music! — Gwen Chabot, Ottawa. Ontario

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Wisdom is a result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience.
© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective
Editor's Notes
True North Perspective
Vol. 5, No. 52 (256)
Friday, December 10, 2010

Ex spy chief exemplifies CSIS penchant for

brawn over brains on potential security threats

Thanks to WikiLeaks we learn that former Canadian Security Intelligence Service Director Jim Judd has contempt for the attitude of Canadians toward global terrorism.
He says we suffer from an 'Alice in Wonderland' syndrome. He says that Canadian courts have the security service "tied in knots," hampering their ability to detect and prevent terror attacks inside Canada and beyond.
Judd told his American counterpart that CSIS officers were "vigorously harassing" known Hezbollah members in Canada but that the service's current assessment was that no attacks were "in the offing."
Quite a revealing mouthful from a man who for several years was head of an organization that was, and is. out of control. The CSIS has a history of blundering incompetence (if you'll pardon the redundancy). If it nails a serious security threat to our country it is by pure accident. — Read the full article inside, 403 words.
From the Desk of Darren Jerome, Ottawa, Canada


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

Harper's choice: Integrity commissioner's actions 'unacceptable', says Fraser

Christiane Ouimet failed to fulfil mandate, abused own staff
CBC News
Christiane Ouimet, the former integrity commissioner, acted inappropriately and unacceptably as a public servant, according to an audit released Thursday by Auditor General Sheila Fraser. (Patrick Doyle/Canadian Press)  

9 December 2010 — Former integrity commissioner Christiane Ouimet behaved unacceptably for a public servant and allegations of wrongdoing against her are founded, an audit by Auditor General Sheila Fraser found.

"In our view, [Ouimet's] behaviour and actions do not pass the test of public scrutiny and are inappropriate and unacceptable for a public servant — most notably for the agent of Parliament specifically charged with the responsibility of upholding integrity in the public sector and of protecting public servants from reprisal," Fraser wrote in her report released Thursday.

In brief, the report concluded that Ouimet:

  • Had inappropriate conduct and interactions with staff at the Public Service Integrity Commission, or PSIC.
  • Took retaliatory actions against those she believed had filed complaints about her.
  • Failed to perform her mandated functions.
Ouimet has not commented publicly on the audit. — Read the full article at CBC News, 1,006 words.
By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

10 December 2010, OTTAWA — A lot of lip service is paid to the importance of public transit but experts at a recent conference said all the evidence shows making greater use of it is the best way to make large modern cities livable for their growing populations.
Transit experts from Canada, the United States, Great Britain and France told delegates to the Sustainable Mobility Summit 2010 that while tight economic times are slowing the expansion of commuter rail, light and bus systems, all the evidence shows transit is seen by planners and residents as the key to living in large metropolitan areas.
Michael Roschlau, President and CEO of the Canadian Urban Transit Association, said his organization and others are working on a Canadian Urban Transit Policy that seeks dependable support from all levels of government for expanding economical and effective transit services. “Urban centres should aim for a 50% increase in transit use in the next few years." Read the full article inside, 642 words.

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Dark past haunts present in Trail, British Columbia

By Mark Hume
The Globe and Mail
7 December 2010 — The Teck smelter that looms over the town of Trail, on the banks of the Columbia River in southeast British Columbia, is a big industrial complex that boasts some of the world’s best environmental technologies.

But it also has a dark past and is haunted by problems the extent of which still aren’t fully understood.

Over the past 30 years, the company has sunk more than $1-billion into improving the smelter’s environmental performance, and it has done so with some dramatic results, reducing the release of granulated slag into the river from thousands of tonnes annually to zero, for example.

— Read the full article at The Globe and Mail, 798 words.

First, we take Toronto ...

Ford plans to hire more cops, but police don't want them

Crime is down 30%, but true to his ideology, new Toronto mayor wants to hire 100 more cops even though Toronto police say they don't need and can't afford the extra man-power

By Robyn Doolittle
Toronto Star
6 December 2010 — Following through on a campaign promise, Mayor Rob Ford has vowed to hire 100 more police officers as soon as he finds the cash.
But there’s one problem: the Toronto Police Service doesn’t want them.
Police officials are reluctant to publicly refuse additional manpower, but those in high-ranking circles are questioning why the tight-fisted mayor made the costly pledge without consulting the service, its union or its board, about whether more officers are needed.
“Part of the difficulty is the chief hasn’t had any discussions with the mayor yet,” said Chief Bill Blair’s spokesman, Mark Pugash. “The chief has said that he wants to discuss that with the mayor before he comments.”
Since 2005, crime is down across Toronto by about 30 per cent. Over that same period, the force has been struggling to get hold of its worsening financial crisis. — Read the full article at the Toronto Star, 759 words.

Typo led to mistaken villification as company that shut down Wikileaks, Canadian web-host now serves Wiki's leaks

By Steve Ladurantaye
The Globe and Mail
9 December 2010 —  Mark Jeftovic didn’t know his company had somehow managed to kick WikiLeaks off the Internet until he read it on a blog one morning while eating breakfast. And he never would have guessed he would then find himself working with the controversial website, which is under fire for publishing classified government documents on the Internet. The strange turn of events all began with a blogger’s typo.
“It’s all so Kafka-esque and surreal in the sense that I just wasn’t hugely ideologically supportive of WikiLeaks before all of this happened,” said the president of Toronto-based EasyDNS, which helps route traffic on the Internet.
The nimble Canadian firm was drawn to the battle as hackers on both sides of the issue furiously attack computers in a bid to advance their causes. Mastercard Inc., PayPal and Amazon were among the companies targeted Wednesday by WikiLeaks supporters after they said they wouldn’t deal with the site.
It all started for Mr. Jeftovic with a blogger writing last week about the decision of a competitor named EveryDNS to stop working with WikiLeaks because it had attracted attacks from hackers. But a small typo turned that into “EasyDNS,” leading to strange days for Mr. Jeftovic. — Read the full article at The Globe and Mail, 724 words.
From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

We Gathered to Say Haw'aa

Celebrating, 25 years later, the Haida blockade that helped win a crucial fight to save forests

By Caitlyn Vernon

Enbridge pipeline project faces increasing native opposition

By Mark Hume
The Globe and Mail
2 December 2010 — A $5.5-billion pipeline project that the proponent has described as of “national strategic importance” is running into increasingly fierce opposition from first nations in the West.

At a news conference in Vancouver on Thursday, several prominent leaders spoke against the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines Project and released a declaration of opposition signed by 54 British Columbia bands. Over the past year, 11 other native organizations across northern B.C., including the Haida Nation and the Gitga’at, who live along the marine part of the route, have rejected the pipeline.

— Read the full article at The Globe and Mail, 726 words.

25 November 2010 — Think back 25 years. Picture the way forestry used to happen along the coast of British Columbia.

I remember driving past clear cuts that stretched from river bottom to mountain top, hillsides looking completely shaved of all life. Massive piles of log debris obstructing streams, preventing salmon from spawning. With increasing speed, the ancient trees that had taken thousands of years to grow were being mowed down for timber and toilet paper.

But not everyone was just standing by. On Meares Island off the west coast of Vancouver Island, the First Nations joined forces with environmentalists to stop logging. And on Haida Gwaii a campaign had been in the works since the early 1970s to protect the southern part of the archipelago. It was called the South Moresby wilderness proposal.
As a kid in the early '80s I had the poster of Burnaby Narrows on my wall. It seemed this iconic image from South Moresby was everywhere at the time -- the bright sea stars and abundance of rich intertidal life illustrating the beauty of the area and raising awareness of the need to protect it from logging. — Read the full article at, 1,657 words.
Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

Bah Humbug! Watch out for Christmas indigestion!

(And let your budget be your guide!)
The best relationship is not the one that brings together perfect people, but the one that forms when individuals learn to live with the imperfections and admire the good qualities of others.
True North Perspective
Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more:

10 December 2010 — It started early! Right after Halloween, the stores pulled out their Christmas decorations, sent out their Christmas flyers, dolled out their Christmas shopping advice. We have all used some of their professional advice to keep our sanity in check until Christmas rolls around.
How many times have you heard: Budget for the gift-giving season? Make a list of people to whom you will offer gifts. Shop early! In Reader’s Digest December “The Spirit of Giving”, we are told to take the time to think about each person, and jot down a few notes about their hobbies, interests and personality. How to choose the gift? Let your budget be your guide — and stick to it! — Read the full article inside, 1,166 words.
Spirit Quest

I sing the Spirit electric!

Like energy, love must be transformed to be of use

By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan
True North Perspective

10 December 2010 — I was working late one evening in my church study in Toronto. It was quiet, no children or TV sounds to distract me, when suddenly my door swung open and the janitor burst into the room. He seemed terribly upset, red in the face and scarcely able to blurt out his news. Al was a Brit, a cockney, to be more precise. He had also been a British Tommy and thus always addressed me as “padre.”
”Padre,” he stammered, “I caught this couple who was havin’ sex in the bushes just under your window!”
This was followed by a period of silence as he tried to catch his breath and I tried to figure out how I should respond.  And then it seemed that Al calmed and I noticed that a benign smile played on his lips. As if to comfort me he said. “But padre, they wus doin’ it the Christian way.” — Read the full article inside, 769 words.

Remedial Media

Loony Night In Canada, brought to you by the CBC

Public broadcaster's tolerance for Don Cherry is tacit endorsement
By John Doyle
The Globe and Mail

7 December 2010 — I spent part of the weekend reading up on Don Cherry’s views on how this country is run and by whom. A bracing experience, with dollops of black comedy. Rather like watching the Leafs.

And it eventually occurred to me – who needs Sun TV News when CBC is unsubtly furthering a right-wing agenda? Thanks to CBC’s hands-off, shrugging attitude to Don Cherry’s political activism, the broadcaster is authenticating that activism.

In case you don’t live in the centre of the universe, you should know that today Cherry will “introduce” Rob Ford, the new mayor of Toronto, at the mayor’s first council meeting.

Why is Ford Don Cherry’s kind of guy? According to the Toronto Star: “Voters are ‘sick of the elites and artsy people’ running politics, says Don Cherry.” Cherry is also reported to be pleased by things “shifting around a bit to the right” and is further quoted as saying, “It’s time for some lunch-pail, blue-collar people.” That wouldn’t be Ford, exactly, as he’s a well-off career politician. Even just reading Cherry in the paper one can hear the tone of sanctimonious self-importance so familiar from Hockey Night in Canada. — Read the full article at The Globe and Mail, 972 words.



Homeless in Parkdale but - Ottawa don't be so smug!

By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective

10 December 2010, OTTAWA — I left my multicultural Parkdale this week to visit friends in Ottawa. They happen to live in the Glebe, an upscale neighbourhood in Ottawa. There are trendy stores, many "fair trade" coffee shops, your choice  of upscale bars and restaurents.
But one thing the Glebe has in common with my Parkdale is homeless or disadvantaged people.
I was quite surprised to see in this middle and upper middle class neighbourhood, people asking for handouts on the street just as in my own back yard. — Read the full article inside, 256 words.

Always worth repeating

'Give us the tools and we'll finish the job'

— Winston Churchill

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.

Looking forward ...

The decline and fall of the American Empire:

Four scenarios for the end of the American Century by 2025

Empires come and go, usually expiring far faster than they rise; there is no reason to expect the Pax Americana to be an exception

By Alfred W. McCoy
5 December 2010 — A soft landing for America 40 years from now?  Don’t bet on it.  The demise of the United States as the global superpower could come far more quickly than anyone imagines.  If Washington is dreaming of 2040 or 2050 as the end of the American Century, a more realistic assessment of domestic and global trends suggests that in 2025, just 15 years from now, it could all be over except for the shouting.
Despite the aura of omnipotence most empires project, a look at their history should remind us that they are fragile organisms. So delicate is their ecology of power that, when things start to go truly bad, empires regularly unravel with unholy speed: just a year for Portugal, two years for the Soviet Union, eight years for France, 11 years for the Ottomans, 17 years for Great Britain, and, in all likelihood, 22 years for the United States, counting from the crucial year 2003.
Future historians are likely to identify the Bush administration’s rash invasion of Iraq in that year as the start of America's downfall. However, instead of the bloodshed that marked the end of so many past empires, with cities burning and civilians slaughtered, this twenty-first century imperial collapse could come relatively quietly through the invisible tendrils of economic collapse or cyberwarfare. — Read the full article at, 4,815 words.

Spiralling out of Control: The Risk of a New Korean War 

Gregory Elich offers a sober assessment of the war danger that lurks behind the stubbornness and lies present on the Korean peninsula

Washington is setting itself up for another failed armed conflict

By Gregory Elich

4 December 2010 — An artillery duel between North and South Korean forces on November 23 has set in motion a series of events which threaten to spiral out of control.
On November 22, South Korea began its annual military exercise, involving including 70,000 troops, dozens of South Korean and U.S. warships and some 500 aircraft. The following day, South Korean  artillery stationed on Yeonpyeong Island began a live ammunition drill, firing shells into the surrounding sea.
The island is situated quite near to the North Korean mainland, and lies in disputed waters. At the end of the Korean War in 1953, U.S. General Mark Clark unilaterally established the western sea border to North Korea's disadvantage. Rather than in a perpendicular line, the Northern Limit Line was drawn to curve sharply upwards, handing over islands and a prime fishing area to the South that would otherwise have gone to North Korea. The North, having had no say in the delineation of its sea border, has never recognized the Northern Limit Line. — Read the full article inside, 2,219 words.

Rear-view Mirror

Vietnam: The Last Battle

By John Pilger

3 December 2010 — The rain sheeted down; time washed away. I looked down from the rooftop in Saigon where, more than a generation ago, in the wake of the longest war of modern times, I had watched silent, sullen streets awash. The foreigners were gone, at last. Through the mist, like little phantoms, four children ran into view, their arms outstretched. They circled and weaved and dived; and one of them fell down, feigning death. They were bombers.

This was not unusual, for there is no place like Vietnam. Within my lifetime, Ho Chi Minh's nationalists had fought and expelled the French, whose tree-lined boulevards, pink-washed villas and scaled-down replica of the Paris Opera were facades for plunder and cruelty; then, the Japanese, with whom the French colons collaborated; then, the British, who sought to reinstall the French; then, the Americans, with whom Ho had repeatedly tried to forge an alliance against China; then, Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge, who attacked from the west; and, finally, the Chinese who, with a vengeful nod from Washington, came down from the north. All of them were seen off at immeasurable cost. — Read the full article inside, 2,534 words.

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Cities need radical changes in the face of exploding population growth

'Show me a car that doesn't require a parking space'

By Sami Grover

2 December 2010 — As Lloyd reminded us, Alex Steffen once posted on the now sadly discontinued Worldchanging a fabulous piece called My Other Car is a Bright Green City. And yesterday, Lloyd also posted about a bike advocate complaining about the electric car hype that is so rife in the media (this site being no exception).
"Show me a car that doesn't require a parking space," argued the activist, "then I might be interested." Cars that don't require parking spaces—or at least can share their parking spaces with other cars by stacking, and can be rented out by the hour—are just one of the innovations being highlighted in a major new study on how megacities must change to meet mobility needs. Luckily, bikes feature pretty heavily too. Maybe Alex Steffen's other car is about to become reality. — Read the full article at, 539 words.

From the Desk of Nick Aplin, Contributing Editor, Ottawa

200 countries, 200 years, 4 minutes — not all doom and gloom


Raul Castro attends celebration of Cuban Jewish community

Alberto Nunez Betancourt
A happy coincidence, Army General Raul Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and Ministers, described the date of the celebration of the Jewish people and important passages in our history, when meeting with members of the Jewish Community of Cuba in the Synagogue Board headquarters, during the fifth night of Hanukkah, the traditional celebration also known as festival of lights, which in Hebrew means consecration.
Raul recalled that on 5 December, 54 years ago, the Granma expedition, having landed, they were surprised and had their first combat, which was a great opening loss. But thirteen days later they met up with a group of men with Fidel in Cinco Palmas, where the Commander in Chief, with only seven rifles and a great conviction of victory, said: Now we can win the war! — Read the full article inside, 384 words.
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Getting to know all about you ...
By Julia Angwin and Jennifer Valentino-Devries
The Wall Street Journal
30 November 2010, IRVINE, Calif. — David Norris wants to collect the digital equivalent of fingerprints from every computer, cellphone and TV set-top box in the world.
He's off to a good start. So far, Mr. Norris's start-up company, BlueCava Inc., has identified 200 million devices. By the end of next year, BlueCava says it expects to have cataloged one billion of the world's estimated 10 billion devices.
Advertisers no longer want to just buy ads. They want to buy access to specific people. So, Mr. Norris is building a "credit bureau for devices" in which every computer or cellphone will have a "reputation" based on its user's online behavior, shopping habits and demographics. He plans to sell this information to advertisers willing to pay top dollar for granular data about people's interests and activities.
Device fingerprinting is a powerful emerging tool in this trade. It's "the next generation of online advertising," Mr. Norris says. — Read the full article at The Wall Street Journal, 2,193 words.
Agence France-Presse
9 December 2010, PARIS — From the "Jesus Christ" crucifixion technique in Eritrea to the Uzbek practice of chilli pepper enemas, torture is a routine practice for authorities across the globe, a report said.
"One can reasonably estimate that more than half of the member states of the United Nations resort to torture," said the 370-page report by the Paris-based Action by Christians for the Abolition of Torture (ACAT).
The report titled "A World of Torture" paints a chilling picture of state abuse based on a study of 22 countries on five continents and concludes that its use is "endemic in a large number of countries."
While the torture of journalists, union activists or rights campaigner tends to get much media coverage, most victims are ordinary people "who come from the underprivileged and vulnerable categories of the population." — Read the full article at, 555 words.
Urban Renewal

Chicago learns to love (or at least live with) coyotes

By Robert Krulwich
National Public Radio

8 December 2010 — Chicago's Cook County now has over 60 coyotes fitted with radio collars (plus a good many uncollared ones) roaming parks, alleys, yards and thoroughfares in one of the biggest cities in America. The animals earn their keep eating small rodents, especially rats and voles. The Cook County, Illinois, Coyote Project calls itself "the largest urban study of coyotes in the world."
We have tracked the coyotes day and night and located the collared coyotes more than 40,000 times. This allows us to peek into the hidden lives of urban coyotes. We use results from this unique project to answer common questions regarding coyotes in urban areas.
Their first animal, called "Big Mama" was caught in 2000. "She was a young, transient coyote that was not a member of a group," says Dr. Stan Gehrt of Ohio State who directs the project. By 2002, she had settled down with an uncollared male friend (called, less warmly, "Number 115"), in a heavily-developed area a few miles from O'Hare International Airport. Together Mama and 115 have had at least six litters, producing 45 babies, and those babies now have babies. Big Mama's large family seems to live very discreetly in Chicago. People hardly ever see them. — Read the full article at National Public Radio, 703 words.

'Let's kill Julian Assange!'

WikiLeaks and the power of patriotism' 

'The role of a free press is not to serve the government or its diplomats. It is to serve the public who hold government accountable through information provided by the media.'

Last week, two prominent US columnists called for the death of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This knee-jerk patriotism -- that loving your country means not embarrassing your government -- undermines the power of a free press, Stephen J.A. Ward writes. But for some journalists, "national security" trumps independent reporting. 

9 December 2010 — A narrow patriotism -- the psychological equivalent of a knee jerk -- is an under-recognized force in modern journalism ethics. 

It distorts our thinking about the role of journalism as soon as journalists offend national pride and whistleblowers dare to reveal secrets. Narrow patriotism turns practitioners of a free press into scolding censors. Suddenly, independent journalists become dastardly law breakers. 

Narrow patriotism is the view that “love of country” means not embarrassing one’s government, hiding all secrets and muting one’s criticism of foreign and military policy in times of tension. Narrow patriotism is an absolute value, trumping the freedom of the press. 

The Wikileaks saga proves, once again, that this form of patriotism is a powerful commitment of many journalists; often, more powerful than objectivity or independence. 

For instance, as WikiLeaks rolled out the American diplomatic cables, Jeffrey T. Kuhner of the conservative Washington Times called for the assassination of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a December 2 opinion piece. “We should treat Mr. Assange the same way as other high-value terrorist targets: Kill him”  

One day later, Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer said the WikiLeaks document dump was “sabotage” during a time of war. US Attorney General Eric Holder should “Throw the WikiBook” at the website, using every legal tool at his disposal.  

These vociferous comments are not nasty comments made by anonymous online “patriots.” They come from practitioners of a free press in the land of the free.  

Critical journalism as patriotism 

The Wikileaks controversy reveals tensions in our view of the role of journalism in democracy. 

We believe in the idea of a free press; but we oppose it in practice when the press offends our patriotism, or works against some vaguely defined “national interest.” 

The same narrow patriotism was at work among major American media when President Bush decided to go to war with Iraq on flimsy claims. TV anchors put flags on their lapels and reporters accepted too easily the existence of weapons of mass destruction. 

In times of conflict, the strong emotions of patriotism override journalists’ in-principle commitment to critical informing the public and to impartiality. The word “patriotism” rarely occurs in journalism codes of ethics but its influence on practice is substantial. 

So what’s the right view of the role of journalism? 

The role of a free press is not to serve the government or its diplomats. It is to serve the public who hold government accountable through information provided by the media.  

Throughout history, journalists have caused their governments trouble and embarrassment. Journalists are properly patriotic when they write critically of government, when they reveal their hidden strategies, when they embarrass their government in front of the world. 

Criticism and the publishing of important confidential data is the way journalists often serve the public, despite howls of outrage from some citizens. 

Of course, Kuhner and Krauthammer don’t represent all American journalists. Many journalists support WikiLeaks. For example, Anthony Shadid, foreign reporter for The New York Times in Bagdad, expressed enthusiastic support during a recent lecture at my university's Centre for Journalism Ethics

The two-time Pulitzer Prize winner said: “I should probably be a little more ambiguous and grey about this, but I think it’s wonderful. It’s a wonderful disclosure, this transparency and this openness of public office. I find it incredibly refreshing and incredibly insightful, as well.” — Read the full article at The Canadian Journalism Project, 1,009 words.

Cuban court changes death sentence to 30 years against Salvadorian terrorist


7 December 2010 — The Courtroom of Crimes against the Cuban State Security with the Supreme Court decided, on Monday, December 6, to modify the death sentence originally given to Salvadorian Otto Rene Rodriguez Llerena and punish him to 30 years in prison for the crime of terrorism with continuous nature. — Read the full article inside, 284 words.


Advanced civilization may have drowned in the Persian Gulf 8,000 years ago

By Jeanna Bryner

9 December 2010 — Veiled beneath the Persian Gulf, a once-fertile landmass may have supported some of the earliest humans outside Africa some 75,000 to 100,000 years ago, a new review of research suggests.

At its peak, the floodplain now below the Gulf would have been about the size of Great Britain, and then shrank as water began to flood the area. Then, about 8,000 years ago, the land would have been swallowed up by the Indian Ocean, the review scientist said.


The study, which is detailed in the December issue of the journal Current Anthropology, has broad implications for aspects of human history. For instance, scientists have debated over when early modern humans exited Africa, with dates as early as 125,000 years ago and as recent as 60,000 years ago (the more recent date is the currently accepted paradigm), according to study researcher Jeffrey Rose, an archaeologist at the University of Birmingham in the U.K.

"I think Jeff's theory is bold and imaginative, and hopefully will shake things up," Robert Carter of Oxford Brookes University in the U.K. told LiveScience. "It would completely rewrite our understanding of the out-of-Africa migration. It is far from proven, but Jeff and others will be developing research programs to test the theory."  — Read the full article at, 909 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. FlynnSharing LiesFlying HighThe Richest Bitch in the Country or Ginny I Hardly Knows YaOne Lift Too ManyThe 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 Saunaa groundbreaking love story. All stories may also be found in the True North Perspective Archives.