Friday 11 February 2011


Mubarak resigns, army takes power

Victory for protests or just a changing of the guard?

Egypt's streets erupt with joy even as future remains uncertain

Al Jazeera

11 February 2011,  — Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president, has resigned from his post, handing over power to the armed forces.
Omar Suleiman, the vice-president, announced in a televised address on Friday that the president was "waiving" his office, and had handed over authority to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
Suleiman's short statement was received with a roar of approval and by celebratory chanting and flag-waving from a crowd of hundreds of thousands in Cairo's Tahrir Square, as well as by other pro-democracy campaigners who attending protests across the country.
The top figure in Egypt's new regime is now Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, the country's defence minister.
After the announcement, he drove past Mubarak's former palace, where crowds cheered him. He stopped briefly to thank and hail the pro-democracy campaigners before driving in.
In its third statement to the nation since Thursday, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces said it was examining the situation "in order to materialise the aspirations of our great nation". 1,268 words.
  Cartoon by Bruce Beatie, February 11, 2011,  
  Cartoon by Bruce Beatie, February 11, 2011,  

The Cold War didn't end in 1991 — but its last act may be starting in 2011

Goodbye to all that: Pax Americana proves to be pox, in the Middle East and elsewhere

By Tom Engelhardt

7 February 2011 — As we've watched the dramatic events in the Middle East, you would hardly know that we had a thing to do with them.  Oh yes, in the name of its War on Terror, Washington had for years backed most of the thuggish governments now under siege or anxious that they may be next in line to hear from their people.  When it came to Egypt in particular, there was initially much polite (and hypocritical) discussion in the media about how our "interests" and our "values" were in conflict, about how far the U.S. should back off its support for the Mubarak regime, and about what a “tightrope” the Obama administration was walking.  While the president and his officials flailed, the mildest of questions were raised about how much we should chide our erstwhile allies, or encourage the massed protestors, and about whether we should “take sides” (as though we hadn’t done so decisively over the last decades).

With popular cries for “democracy” and “freedom” sweeping through the Middle East, it’s curious to note that the Bush-era’s now-infamous “democracy agenda” has been nowhere in sight.  In its brief and disastrous life, it was used as a battering ram for regimes Washington loathed and offered as a soft pillow of future possibility to those it loved.

Still, make no mistake, there’s a story in a Washington stunned and "blindsided," in an administration visibly toothless and in disarray as well as dismayed over the potential loss of its Egyptian ally, “the keystone of its Middle Eastern policy,” that’s so big it should knock your socks off.  And make no mistake: part of the spectacle of the moment lies in watching that other great power of the Cold War era finally head ever so slowly and reluctantly for the exits.  You know the one I’m talking about.  In 1991, when the Soviet Union disappeared and the United States found itself the last superpower standing, Washington mistook that for a victory most rare.  In the years that followed, in a paroxysm of self-satisfaction and amid clouds of self-congratulation, its leaders would attempt nothing less than to establish a global Pax Americana.  Their breathtaking ambitions would leave hubris in the shade.

The results, it's now clear, were no less breathtaking, even if disastrously so.  Almost 20 years after the lesser superpower of the Cold War left the world stage, the “victor” is now lurching down the declinist slope, this time as the other defeated power of the Cold War era. 3,126 words.

A report from the dungeons of Tony Blair's "courageous force for good"

28 hours in the dark heart of Egypt's torture machine

A blindfolded Robert Tait could only listen as fellow captives were given electric shocks and beaten by Mubarak's security services

By Robert Tait
The Guardian
9 February 2011 — The sickening, rapid click-click-clicking of the electric shock device sounded like an angry rattlesnake as it passed within inches of my face. Then came a scream of agony, followed by a pitiful whimpering from the handcuffed, blindfolded victim as the force of the shock propelled him across the floor.
A hail of vicious punches and kicks rained down on the prone bodies next to me, creating loud thumps. The torturers screamed abuse all around me. Only later were their chilling words translated to me by an Arabic-speaking colleague: "In this hotel, there are only two items on the menu for those who don't behave – electrocution and rape." 1,102 words.

Wisdom is a result of a happy marriage between intelligence and experience.
© Carl Dow, Editor and Publisher, True North Perspective
Guest Editorial
True North Perspective
Vol. 6, No. 5 (263)
Friday, February 11, 2010
By Michael Harris
Ottawa Sun

11 February 2011 — Are Canadians just “unarmed Americans with health care,” or is there something distinct in the national psyche?
Oddly, that is shaping up as the question that could revive the political fortunes of Michael Ignatieff.
I say “oddly” because I am talking about the same Michael Ignatieff featured in highly effective Tory attack ads who is clothes-lined by his own words. You know, the beer can flag, the park he misses more than the country, his love of the Republic. Not quite endorsements of true patriot love.
But he’s improving. For one thing, he has stopped biding his time. The strategic absenteeism and debilitating acquiescence of the last four years have been replaced by a new feistiness. Mr. Ignatieff, at last, has realized his job is to oppose and critique, not retreat and enable.549 words.
Our readers write
A deluge in response to Alberte's courageous story

Dear Alberte, you are wise to write about Alzheimer's! This article will benefit many people since almost everyone has been affected by Alzheimer's disease at one time. I started working on a book that deals with the disease about two years ago, having dealt with my mother's disease as well as other people's. It was a touchy subject then and I didn't want to embarrass my family. But now the time has come and I hope to complete the book this year. — Colette St-Denis, Ottawa, Ont.

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World's hunger is Canada's opportunity ... and responsibility

Canada must boost food production

as food prices and hunger rise

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

11 February 2011 — Rising world food prices caused by dwindling stocks of grain and other commodities are shinning the spotlight on the agriculture and food processing policies of the federal and provincial governments to a degree rarely seen before.
The Canadian Agriculture Policy Institute (CAPI) and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business both issued reports in early February urging governments to encourage farmers to ramp up production.643 words.
Alteration of document defunding aid agency 'gives rise to very troubling questions'
By Greg Weston
CBC News
11 February 2011 — A scathing ruling by the Commons Speaker Peter Milliken confirms that a key government document signed by International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda and two of her most senior officials was deliberately “doctored.”

Milliken called the document tampering "very troubling."

“Any reasonable person confronted with what appears to have transpired would necessarily be extremely concerned, if not shocked,” Milliken wrote in his decision.

Milliken said technicalities prevented him from doing anything further about the incident.

Nonetheless, the Speaker’s harshly worded ruling and Oda’s connection to a doctored document is certain to trigger opposition calls for the minister’s head.593 words.

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

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainability Editor

Green school buildings help children directly, not just the environment

By Katie Hyslop

9 February 2011 — When the provincial government decided all new school buildings must meet the LEED Gold standard in 2008, the motive was making B.C. the province with the first carbon-neutral government in Canada, with the added benefit of saving school districts some energy costs.
But new avenues of research into the effects of school buildings on human health and productivity are producing evidence that the government's move towards greener schools could be producing healthier, more productive and more environmentally aware students. 1,875 words.

Death by a thousand taps?

Environmentalists sound alarm over B.C. water-bottling plans

By Wendy Stueck
The Globe and Mail
8 February 2011 — Plans to tap dozens of mountain streams on the B.C. coast and then bottle and sell the water have raised concern in environmental groups, which call the proposals “a new dimension in water exploitation” and have asked the province to conduct an assessment that would consider them as a whole.
Under the current system, each licence application is assessed on its own. The bottled water applications are for licences in the Bute, Knight, Jervis and Toba inlets, in an area already peppered with existing or proposed licences for hydroelectricity projects. —  498 words.
Bits and Bites of Everyday Life
Art and Nature: The perfect combination!
True North Perspective
Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more
11 February 2011 — “Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better.” I smiled when I read Albert Einstein’s wise words in the advertisement for the 2011 Canadian Museum of Nature Exhibition: “Nature into Sculpture” on display till February 13th at the Canadian Museum of Nature, 240 McLeod St. in Ottawa.
I have this saying written down in my book of famous quotes. The advertisement also tells us: “The natural world has always been a primary source of inspiration for sculptors.” And it is true with most art forms: drawing, painting, photography, weaving… Nature’s masterpieces have always been a source of inspiration and have provided the raw materials: wood, clay, stone, fiber or metal that sculptors in turn “cut, chisel, bend, shape or mould” into works of art.745 words.
  Click for more intomation.  

Inspired by Dante's Inferno

Yohanna Loonen is an Ottawa, Canada, sculptor who has exhibits of her work at an exhibition of the National Capital Network of Sculptors. The exhibition is being held February 5 to 13 at Ottawa's Museum of Nature.
Ms. Loonen's sculpture above, is one of three she presented for exhibition. It is inspired by Dante's Inferno, and was done in Terra Cotta Sculpting Clay, cone 04, which is fired at a lower temperature to keep the colours brilliant. It was fired twice. First, with a bisque firing, also called a low firing. Then it is glazed and fired a second time at a much higher temperature.199 words.
Spirit Quest

Ghosts of the Old World haunt the New

'The worst part of communism is what came after it'
By The Rev. Dr. Hanns F. Skoutajan
True North Perspective
11 February 2011 — I believe in ghosts, the kind that Anna Porter writes about in her fascinating book, Ghosts of Europe. These are not the poltergeists that are reputed to rattle the windows and swing chandeliers in those old and dusty castles on the Rhine, the Danube and the hills of Transylvania, but the spirits that will not rest after Europe’s  transformations since 1989.
That year the Berlin Wall came down. Young Germans swarmed over that concrete obscenity into “freedom.” They had hopes for a better life, to travel, to purchase a car without waiting months if not years for its delivery. They wanted to be informed and not have the Stasi poke their noses into their every affair. They weren't all satisfied as East German businesses were bought  up by western interests, then closed down those old and inefficient factories causing massive unemployment. Along with the Wall the Iron Curtain that divided Europe from the Baltic to the Mediterranean collapsed as the Soviet Union ceased to be soviet or union.1,173 words.
By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective
11 February 2011 — Making good use of the public transit system I see a lot of things that annoy me, amuse me and make my heart glow with warmth and hope.
I  yearn for the days when we chatted with our fellow passengers. When we shared a laugh at the antics of small children. When we exchanged notes on the latest happenings in the neighbourhood and then on to solving the problems of the world.
Now, I can't even get the time of day.  Each person is immersed in his or her own personal environment. I-pods, cell phones, video games.523 words.

From the Desk of Ken Jeffries, East Central Ontario Editor

  Heading South  

Madeleine and Gary Jeffries, of Havelock, Ontario, about 200 km west of Ottawa, wave goodbye. They are leaving for Arizona and points west on a five-week escape from the snarling, bitter Wolf Wind of the North. By the time they return there will be strong promise of spring in the air. However, we who never get away, know that March can be capricious and play gotcha with those who are too optimistic. Anyway, we wish them well on their journey.


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.

From the Desk of Darren Jerome, Ottawa, Canada

Secret plan to kill Wikileaks with U.S. spy leaked

Fear, uncertainty and doubt behind divide-and-conquer sabotage
By Nate Cochrane
SC Magazine

Agence France-Presse

10 February 2011, BERLIN — Daniel Domscheit-Berg accuses WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of many things in his book presented Thursday, but perhaps the oddest allegation is that he abused the former insider's cat.

"Julian was constantly battling for dominance, even with my tomcat Herr Schmitt," Domscheit-Berg says in his book "Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website."159 words.

10 February 2011 — Three information security consultancies with links to US spy agencies cooked up a dirty tricks campaign late last year to destroy Wikileaks by exploiting its perceived weaknesses, reads a presentation released by the whistleblowers’ organisation that it claimed to be from the conspirators.

Around December 3, it was believed consultants at US defence contractors Palantir Technologies, Berico Technologies and HBGary proposed an alliance to lawyers for a desperate Bank of America to discredit the whistleblowers’ website using a divide and conquer approach.440 words.

Money and Markets

The French Connection and the myth of worker productivity

By Paul Krugman
The New York Times

8 February 2011 — Workers in the United States are more productive, per capita, than workers in European nations, according to 2009 federal government statistics.
But does this mean that Europeans are doing something wrong, or do they simply have different priorities than Americans?
This is a question that has often come up lately as commentators compare the economic situations of countries on both continents.
It’s true that French G.D.P. per capita (output divided by the number of people in the nation), for example, is only about three-quarters of the American level, when adjusted for purchasing power. But when you look closely at that number, the story is certainly more complex than many people think.728 words.

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Always looking forward

Third Ways

By Eric W. Dolan

10 February 2011 — The charity group A Human Right said it was planning to purchase a satellite that would provide free basic Internet access to developing countries around the world.

The group, which was founded by 25-year-old Kosta Grammatis, is currently raising money to buy the TerreStar-1, the largest commercial communications satellite ever built. TerreStar, the company that owns the satellite, filed for chapter-11 bankruptcy protection in October 2010, opening the possibility that the satellite may be up for sale. 445 words.

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Adbusters: The left built Huffington, and we can tear it down too

By David Edwards
9 February 2011 — The purchase of the Huffington Post by AOL left many of the progressive writers and readers that made the site into a powerhouse looking for a new home.
Adbusters magazine set out to unite those disaffected former supporters of Arianna Huffington's flagship site by suggesting they use social media to promote alternatives.
"Socialite Arianna Huffington built a blog-empire on the backs of thousands of citizen journalists," a post at Adbusters begins. "She exploited our idealism and let us labor under the illusion that the Huffington Post was different, independent and leftist. Now she’s cashed in and three thousand indie bloggers find themselves working for a megacorp."524 words.

Cartoon by Matt Bors, February 11 2011

  Cartoon by Matt Bors,, February 11, 2011  


Health Watch

Supermarket chicken harbours superbugs: CBC

CBC News
10 February 2011 — Chicken bought at major supermarkets across Canada is frequently contaminated with superbugs — bacteria that many antibiotics cannot kill — an investigation by CBC TV's Marketplace has found.
Marketplace researchers — along with their colleagues at Radio-Canada's food show L'Epicerie — bought 100 samples of chicken from major grocery chains in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.
The chicken included some of the most familiar label names in the poultry business. —  424 words.

Doomed to become America’s first better-stay-at-home former president, Bush can still take consolation in getting scarce tickets to the SuperBowl

By Roy McGovern
Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.
9 February 2011 — As the news broke on Saturday that former President George W. Bush had abruptly canceled his scheduled appearance this week in Geneva to avoid the risk of arrest on a torture complaint, my first thought was — how humiliating, not only for Bush but, by extension, for all Americans.
However, those who might have expected Bush to be down in the mouth and sulk about the embarrassment were disabused of that notion as the TV cameras caught him and Condoleezza Rice -- his former national security adviser and Secretary of State -- in seats of honor at Sunday’s Super Bowl in Dallas.1,689 words.
Agence France-Presse
10 February 2011, LONDON — A museum in London is throwing caution to the wind for an exhibition on sex in the animal kingdom complete with copulating chimps and randy rabbits -- just in time for Valentine's Day.
"Sexual Nature" at the Natural History Museum explores the diverse ways in which animals have evolved to procreate, such as a snail's love darts, the detachable penis of the paper nautilus, or the outsized testes of the promiscuous chimp.
The exhibition, which opens on Friday, also looks at human sexual behaviour in the context of other species.465 words.
The Book End

The Angira Legacy and The Catalyst,

Part II and III of the Angira Trilogy

by Kevin Dooley

True North Perspective will feature a book by a Canadian writer each Friday or, as often as we can. 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. Today we present The Angira Legacy and The Catalyst, by Kevin Dooley. — Geoffrey Dow, Managing Editor.

Patrick McKee, young scion and rebel of a prominent Kanatian family, now finds the trust he inherits from his great-grandmother from Angira Island was fated for him. No one else could claim it. None met the special educational conditions.
He now has a PhD in Psychology with expert work on war traumas and particularly on twins separated at birth or at a young age. His benefactor was such a person. Only a few minor other conditions apply.
The task of erecting memorials to those named on Angira now means his engagement there. Patrick is now a very driven man to find her life and enter the huge dynamics and complex elements now unfolding on Angira. For it is a momentous moment in the Island's history and heritage, and of its neighbour Hibernia.724 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.