Friday 28 January 2011

Mubarak sends in the troops

Egyptian army ordered to enforce curfew

As we go to press the army seems to be ignoring the command 

By Jack Shenker and Peter Beaumont, with Sam Jones
The Guardian

28 January 2011, CAIRO — President Hosni Mubarak has ordered tanks and troops onto the streets of Egypt to enforce a curfew as violent clashes continue between police and protesters demanding an end to his 30-year rule.

Towards the end of a day that saw the Nobel peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei placed under house arrest and the headquarters of the ruling party set ablaze, army tanks rolled into the centre of Cairo and Suez, where they were greeted by demonstrators hoping that the army would side with them against the police.

  For ongoing live coverage, click here to visit Al Jazeera's English-language service.

In Cairo's main square thousands of anti-government protesters wielding rocks, glass and sticks chased hundreds of riot police away. Several police officers stripped off their uniforms and badges and joined demonstrators.

The scenes were repeated in the cities of Alexandria, Assiut, Minya, al-Arish, Suez and Mansoura. There were protests in 11 out of the 28 Egyptian provinces. —  869 words.
  Cartoon by Jerry Holbert,, January 25, 2011  

Cartoon by Steve Sack, 28 January 2011,



Hassan Diab — Canada's shameful Dreyfus Affair

By Shannon Lee Mannion
Special to True North Perspective
Originally published in Peace and Environment News

28 January 2011 OTTAWA — The complex situation involving Hassan Diab, a Lebanese-born Canadian citizen whom France is trying to extradite for an alleged crime committed 30 years ago in Paris shares startling similarities to that of the Dreyfus Affair more than 100 years ago.

Alfred Dreyfus (1850-1935), a Captain in the French army, was an accomplished man from a well-to-do Jewish family who owned a textile plant in Alsace. In 1894, he was arrested and charged with treason and espionage. These charges are akin to what we currently call terrorism in that allegations of damage to state security are often cited.
Hassan Diab (1953- ), a university professor and Muslim, was born in Beirut, Lebanon where he studied Sociology, initially at the American University in Beirut and subsequently, relocating to the USA where he earned a PhD from Syracuse University. He moved to Canada in 1993 and took up residency in Ottawa in 2006. He has taught at several universities in the Ottawa area including Carleton and Ottawa universities. He was arrested in 2008 for alleged participation in a bombing that took place outside a synagogue in Paris in 1980. 1,158 words.

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. 6, No. 3 (261)
Friday, January 28, 2010

The Sign Remains the Same (at least for now)

Farewell to the Glebe Apothecary:

One small step on the road to monopoly

By Geoffrey Dow
Managing Editor, True North Perspective
Originally published at Edifice Rex Online

One of the comforting myths about capitalism — one that has the benefit of, sometimes, even being true — is that investment is about creating wealth, not just amassing it. And so we tell each other inspiring stories about the Steve Jobs of the world far more often than we do the cautionary tales of the Bernard_Madoffs or Conrad Blacks.
The reality, though — and more now than since the Gilded Age — is that most investment has little to do with creating wealth and almost everything to do with consolidating it (or stealing it outright). There are many more Blacks and Madoffs than there are Jobs.1,052 words.
Our readers write
The Mexican police rape of Rebecca Rutland
(Please see last week's Editor's Notes)

Thank you for publishing the reports that reveal the shocking behaviour of the Mexican police in the rape and humiliation of Canadian Rebecca Rutland. It is no surprise that the criminals in police uniform have denied the charge. This is typical of many, if not all, such offenders. The hostile humiliation leaves deep scars in violated women. Sadly this crime also happens in civilized countries where one would expect men in positions of power would have at least some decency. Thank you again for revealing such a sad story. — Yohanna Loonen, Ottawa, Ontario

Reader sees biblical wisdom in words of Villeneuve-Sinclair
Alberte Villenuve-Sinclair's article, "Don't be a chicken" could qualify as a biblical parable used to bring moral support and compassion to women who still suffocate under male dictatorship. The article brings about thoughtful consideration that may help oppressed women in their quest to free themselves from a tyrant's yoke. — Anita Bourdeau, Ottawa, ont.

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By Zach Ruiter and Liat Mandel
13 January 2011 — David versus Goliath has recently been retold as a story of environmental justice; a small group of Trent students and Peterborough residents defeated the General Electric-Hitachi Corporation of Canada (GE) at the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) tribunal. On December 23, permission for GE-Hitachi's secretive plans to process enriched uranium downtown were officially revoked. The tribunal decision stated, "the issued license does not authorize activities related to low enriched uranium or possession of the same".

Amanda Lickers and Matthew Laing-Gibbard, second-year students at Trent, caught sight of GE's hazy yet green-lighted approval to manufacture Low Enriched-Uranium (LEU) rods to power the "CANDU-Two," the descendant reactors to Canada's use and export of atomic energy. Having studied the effects of cumulative and non-metabolizable radiation exposure on cell structure, Lickers and Laing-Gibbard knew the health of Peterborough residents was in danger.990 words.

"News is what (certain) people want to keep hidden. Everything else is just publicity."
-- PBS journalist Bill Moyers.
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Blackburn unveils action plan to boost Canadian foods

While trying avoid promise of implementing Product of Canada food labels

By Alex Binkley
True North Perspective

OTTAWA — The Harper government has whipped up a food processing action plan to try to slip out of its promise to implement meaningful Product of Canada food labels.

Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of State for Agriculture, announced the action plan and said it will kick off with a campaign to encourage Canadians to buy more domestically produced food. Few other details of the program were released. 702 words.
Because the truth isn't good enough for Harper?

CRTC proposes making it legal for broadcasters to air lies as news

Clearly opening wide Canada's door for nonsense spewed by U.S. Fox "News"

By Stephen Bede Scharper
The Toronto Star
24 January 2011 — A recent, little-noticed news item may result in a deep and indelible blemish on the Canadian mosaic.
Earlier this month, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), without fanfare, posted on its website a potential game-changer in the world of broadcast journalism. The CRTC is seeking to relax restrictions concerning the broadcasting of specious information on radio and television.
Currently, the law stipulates that broadcasters “shall not broadcast any false or misleading news.”
Sounds reasonable enough — and straightforward — as it should, since it concerns the integrity of news reporting.
But not apparently to the CRTC. It is proposing to soften the regulation, banning “any news that the licensee knows is false or misleading and that endangers or is likely to endanger the lives, health or safety of the public.”
In short, with the new wording, broadcasters could air false or misleading news with impunity, provided that it does not endanger the lives, health or safety of the public. 739 words.

The biggest internet losers? Canadians

So much for digital creativity. New CRTC decision means only big telecoms can afford to take advantage of new media — oh, and your bill will probably go up, too
By David Beers
27 January 2011 — YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, iPad. . . and whatever else is about to take the world by storm, making all of those digital breakthroughs seem old news. Surely it's obvious by now that Canadians are going to be better off if we foster digital media creativity, rather than leaving it to people in other countries.
But tell that to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the body supposedly responsible for regulating electronic media for our well-being. The CRTC has decided to allow Bell and other big telecom companies to change the way Canadians are billed for Internet access. Metering, or usage-based billing (UBB), will mean that service providers can charge per byte in addition to their basic access charges.
The move is sure to stifle digital creativity in Canada while the rest of the world looks on and snickers.917 words.

From the Desk of Dennis Carr, Sustainable Development Editor

Cross-posted from the Wonk Room.
24 January 2011 — Chevron, responsible for a multi-billion-dollar environmental disaster in Ecuador, is instead spending millions to shore up political support and to evade the cleanup. U.S. senate disclosure forms reveal that oil giant Chevron spent $2.9 million lobbying the federal government last quarter, eclipsing even Exxon ($2.6 million) and BP ($2.2 million). Chevron's 2010 lobbying totaled $12.89 million, following a tremendous outlay in 2009 of $20.8 million. Chevron also recently launched a major greenwashing campaign, "We Agree," which claims that it shares the public concern that "oil companies should put their profits to good use" and "oil companies should support the communities they're a part of." However, Chevron is also spending millions to defend itself in a 17-year-old lawsuit over the billions of tons of toxic waste its now-subsidiary company Texaco dumped into the Ecuadorian watershed. The case is finally nearing its conclusion in the Ecuadorian court system. — 490 words.
By Esther Matharu and Shannon Lee Mannion

28 January 2011 OTTAWA — If Canada's Prime Minister walked up to you and said, "How do you think I'm doing?" you'd fill his ear, wouldn't you?

It's not as if you'd have nothing to tell him. You'd no doubt take him to task on a number of issues.

The way it goes now, there is little opportunity to have a say in how our country is being run. Minority government or not, Mr. Harper is leading us on a merry chase.Enter a new political party, The Women's Alliance Party/Parti Alliance Femmes (WAP/PAF) that is going to clean-sweep the House of Commons. — 293 words.

A True North Perspective Classic:

Bits and Bites of Everyday Life

More than ever Zoomers are embracing the arts

True North Perspective
Alberte Villeneuve-Sinclair is the author of The Neglected Garden and two French novels. Visit her website to learn more:

23 October 2009 — I was quite amused when Moses Znaimer renamed the Carp magazine Zoomer. At first, I thought it was a bit pretentious but then I realized that today's retirees are a very special brand of 50+ individuals.
They are healthier, have more disposable income and have a broader range of options offered to them. And one of the options they choose in great numbers is the arts.
After three days spent with various authors and artists at the Canadian Authors' Festival which was held at the Museum of Aviation in Ottawa, I realize how talented our senior population is.647 words.

Ottawa has transformed in the past 10 years

'We are not the same but we are One'

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

28 January 2011 — It is now ten years since we purchased our home in Ottawa. Long distance house shopping is not an easy task. We had lived in the city of Owen Sound on beautiful Georgian Bay for eleven years. However it is a good six to seven hours drive from where our family lives and as I jokingly say: we wanted to be a more present problem to our children.

Along with death and marriage, moving is considered to be one of the greatest stress producers in life. Downsizing our former home, from three bedrooms, a den and full basement, a garage with all its storage space, to a two bedroom condo unit is no easy task. It required a full inventory of our possessions. Decisions of what to take and what to donate is painful in itself.

Besides the physical move there is also the separation from friends and the leaving behind of a familiar and beautiful environment. — 693 words.


By Frances Sedgwick
True North Perspective

I don't usually get the flu shot.
In fact, last year I was glad I didn't because much controversy emerged around it.
The other day I heard on the news  the emergency wards were overflowing with cases of this year's terrible strain. Health authorities were urging everyone to take advantage and get the free flu shot.
That didn't nudge me in the direction of getting the shot.716 words.
From the Desk of Darren Jerome, Ottawa, Canada

Egypt: Evidence of torture and repression by Mubarak's Police


U.S. can't link Assange to Manning

By Daniel Tencer

24 January 2011 — One avenue by which the United States could press charges against Julian Assange appeared to have closed Monday, with US military officials' admission that they can't find a link between the WikiLeaks founder and PFC Bradley Manning, the alleged source of WikiLeaks' State Department cables.

News reports late last year indicated that the US was trying to build a criminal conspiracy case against Assange through evidence that he aided Manning when the Army private allegedly copied more than a quarter million classified State Department cables onto CD and walked away with them.

But according to military officials who spoke to NBC News, the US has failed to find evidence proving that link.538 words.

By Maria Luisa Rivera

28 January 2011 — Many well-known activists including Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel peace laureate, have been arrested in their homes, civilians have been wounded and even killed in clashes with Egyptian police and security forces.
As an Internet blackout imposed by the state covers the country, every citizen and grassroots organization will now be exposed to arbitrary police forces. As secret documents from US prove, during the demonstrations today, authorities might use physical threats, legal threats and extraordinary laws such the Emergency Law as an excuse to persecute and prosecute activists during the pacific demonstrations taking place in Cairo and other cities.543 words.
Notes from the 'war on terror', British Front

Not Mata Hari, it's Mista Hari!

British undercover police cleared 'to have sex with activists'

Promiscuity 'regularly used as tactic, says former officer

Environmental groups among favoured targets

By Mark Townsend and Tony Thompson
The Guardian

22 January 2011 — officers routinely adopted a tactic of "promiscuity" with the blessing of senior commanders, according to a former agent who worked in a secretive unit of the Metropolitan police for four years.
The former undercover policeman claims that sexual relationships with activists were sanctioned for both men and women officers infiltrating anarchist, leftwing and environmental groups.
Sex was a tool to help officers blend in, the officer claimed, and was widely used as a technique to glean intelligence. His comments contradict claims last week from the Association of Chief Police Officers that operatives were absolutely forbidden to sleep with activists. 916 words.

New York lawyer is Venezuela's sweetheart

'This is not a horrible place led by some brutal dictator,' says Eva Golinger, 'Chavez has recovered Venezuelan identity and made people proud to be Venezuelan ... the foreign media fails to report the social gains.'

By Andrew Cawthorne

22 January 2011 CARACAS (Reuters) — When President Hugo Chavez's government held a ceremony in parliament's hallowed Salon Eliptico room to chastise foreign meddling in Venezuela, the keynote speaker was a petite and passionate American named Eva Golinger.

"The Salon Eliptico is reserved for the most important and prestigious events, and only two people from the U.S. have ever spoken there. One is me (Eva Gollinger) and the other is John F. Kennedy," the writer and lawyer recalled of the event in November last year. — 801 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.

Cuba and Venezuela: A decade devoted to literacy

By Olga Diaz Ruiz

26 January 2011 HAVANA, Cuba —The past decade has seen a lot of progress in Venezuela's education system especially at the primary level under the Cuba-Venezuela Comprehensive Cooperation Agreement.

Pedro Vicente Rodríguez, Vice Minister of People’s Power for Higher Education in Venezuela, praised his country's cooperation with Cuba in the field of education during the past decade.

He said that by the end of 2005, Cuban teachers, using what is called the Robinson Mission, played a key role in teaching about 1,700,000 Venezuelans to read and write.

Some 600,000 have made their way through sixth grade. Others continue studying hard to reach that goal said Pedro Vicente Rodríguez, who was speaking at the 2011 12th Pedagogy Congress being held in Havana.

Venezuela thanks Cuban solidarity in health sector

Create free medicare units in 13,0000 facilities

22 January 2011 CARACAS (Prenza Latina) —Venezuelan Health Minister Eugenia Sader thanked Cuba for its support and solidarity to create a network of free medical care, which includes over 13,000 facilities.

University of Havana honours Cuban cinema

Michel Hernádez
26 January 2011 HAVANA — The University of Havana has granted the José Manuel Valdés Rodríguez conmemorative seal to outstanding personalities of Cuban cinema. — 215 words.

How does the Mob make a living these days?

By Stayton Bonner
Slate Magazine
21 JanuaryNearly 125 Mafia members were arrested in New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island on Thursday morning (January 20) as part of what is being claimed as the largest organized-crime shakedown in F.B.I. history. According to early reports from the New York Times, the mobsters were arrested for standard crimes like extortion and racketeering, as well as "more sophisticated schemes." With the Boardwalk Empirebootlegging days a distant memory, street gangs selling drugs, and Vegas prostitution only a short Southwest flight away, a startled public is left wondering: How does the modern Mafioso make a living? — 606 words.

Chinese father becomes internet sensation for protest-stripping after hours in line fail to win railway tickets for holiday trip home

Lorianna De Giorgio
Toronto Star

A Chinese man who stripped down to his underwear after being denied train tickets this month has become an Internet sensation, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Dubbed the “Running Naked Man” by Chinese media, Chen Weiwei apparently stormed a train station manager’s office in the west Jinhua station in China’s eastern Zhejiang province in just his briefs on Jan. 18 to demand why he wasn’t allowed to buy any tickets, the Times’ David Pierson reports. — 309 words.

Court restricts movement of dictator 'Baby Doc'

22 January 2011 PARIS — Michaelle Jean, Special Envoy for Haiti of the Organization of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), praised today the health support given by Cuba in the Caribbean country, devastated by an earthquake a year ago. — 227 words.
Health Watch
The Fun Theory
By Keith Morgan
Vancouver Sun
10 January 2011 — No Sex Please, We're British. That was the name of a West End theatre farce in Britain in the 1970s but it also became a widely subscribed to viewpoint of stuffy Brits.
If it were ever true then it is an image that has certainly been dashed by poll conducted by online car retailer, A recent survey found that 54 per cent of Brits admit to having had sex in a car. — 490 words.
University of Cambridge
26 January 2011 — The mechanism that controls the internal 24-hour clock of all forms of life from human cells to algae has been identified by scientists.
Not only does the research provide important insight into health-related problems linked to individuals with disrupted clocks - such as pilots and shift workers - it also indicates that the 24-hour circadian clock found in human cells is the same as that found in algae and dates back millions of years to early life on Earth.
Two new studies out tomorrow, 27 January, in the journal Nature from the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh give insight into the circadian clock which controls patterns of daily and seasonal activity, from sleep cycles to butterfly migrations. 637 words.
Annals of Education
By Esther Inglis-Arkell
27 January 2011 — A diploma doesn't necessarily indicate expertise. Zoe D Katze, Ph.D., C.Ht., DAPA, for example, has a wall of diplomas, despite being unable to sign her name. She doesn't have the opposable thumbs for it.
Steve Eichel, PhD, ABPP, who I can assume earned his degrees the hard way, got upset with the amount of credentialing being given out to uneducated hacks. These degrees were concentrated in the less rigorously controlled professions, such as hypnotherapy and diet counseling, but could branch out to more generalized degrees – hence the ‘Ph.D.' diploma clutched in the hirsute Doctor Katze's claws. He wanted to prove that diploma mills were happy to give out diplomas to anyone, giving easy credibility to scammers and a worthless piece of paper to people who wanted to seem educated. All he needed was some money.343 words.


25 January 2011 BEIJING — During a rare visit to China's top complaints department Monday, Premier Wen Jiabao asked officials to be responsible and dedicated to addressing complaints, to create conditions for the public to criticize and supervise the government.

Braving the winter freeze, Wen visited the State Bureau for Letters and Calls, the central level department dealing with petitions, in south Beijing. 

It was the first time a Chinese Premier has had face-to-face communication with petitioners in Beijing since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. — 592 words.

Russia says it may deploy first-strike nuke missiles


25 January 2011 MOSCOW — Russia is waiting for NATO's response to the latest proposal about the European anti-missile defense (AMD) system, and if an agreement with the alliance fails, Russia would deploy its nuclear missiles, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday. — 194 words.

Rear-view Mirror

'We can develop a market economy under socialism' Deng Xiaoping, Paramount Leader of China 1978 to 1992

China is the sleeping giant that has awakened and is shaking the world, as Napoleon predicted. It is now the second largest economy, after the United States. To help understand how all this happened in just 30 years we offer this excerpt from a talk with Frank B. Gibney, Vice-Chairman of the Compilation Committee of Encyclopaedia Britannica, Inc. of the United States, Paul T. K. Lin, Director of the Institute of East Asia at McGill University of Canada, and others.

'It seems that China has to carry out a new revolution.'


'The Gang of Four said it was better to be poor under socialism than to be rich under capitalism. This is absurd.'

November 26, 1979

Gibney: Over a fairly long period of time China has remained closed off from the United States. For such a country as China, it is really a big challenge to achieve rapid modernization. It seems that China has to carry out a new revolution.

Deng Xiaoping: Modernization does represent a great new revolution. The aim of our revolution is to liberate and expand the productive forces. Without expanding the productive forces, making our country prosperous and powerful, and improving the living standards of the people, our revolution is just empty talk. We oppose the old society and the old system because they oppressed the people and fettered the productive forces. We are clear about this problem now. The Gang of Four said it was better to be poor under socialism than to be rich under capitalism. This is absurd. — 2.151 words.

Marching to the police beat

J-Source Project

The media coverage of the Toronto Police during the G20 may have tarnished their image. Last week, they may have gained it back after the funeral for an officer. But some call the funeral coverage excessive, befitting royalty or heads of state, and wonder if there was a link between the two. Story and photos by Dana Lacey.

Something’s afoot in the city of Toronto. In just a matter of days, there’s been a sudden and major shift in how Hogtown’s media frames the police. And viewers, listeners and readers are finding it hard to keep up.

For two days in June, Toronto’s downtown core swarmed with police officers for the G20 summit. Journalists complained of assault, broken gear and illegal arrests.

Six months later, the Toronto Star reported on the first police officer to be charged with G20-related assault. The charge was the direct result of a Star story, published just a week earlier that revealed new-found footage of a police pile-on.

Just two weeks later, the Star reported a similar story that suggested newly-revealed photos could identify officers in a separate alleged police assault for which the investigation had already been closed.

Both stories were widely retold by other media.

Only four days later the media's mood swung the other way. On January 18, between 13,000-14,500 police officers descended on downtown Toronto for the public funeral of an officer killed on duty the week before. Sgt. Ryan Russell’s January 12 death was allegedly caused by the driver of a stolen snowplow. The commemoration of his life by thousands of police officers attending the funeral in one of the world's largest arenas, seemed like a maudlin, made-for-tv (and other media) story. — 1,180 words.

By Jim Lobe

(Jim Lobe's blog on U.S. foreign policy can be read at

24 January 2011 WASHINGTON (IPS) — The exposure by Al Jazeera and London's Guardian newspaper of a huge cache of documents detailing Palestinian accounts of a decade of peace negotiations with Israel could deal a lethal blow to U.S. efforts to get a credible process back on track, according to experts here.

By demonstrating how much the Palestine Authority (PA) was willing to give up in exchange for an independent state, the 1,600- some documents, whose disclosure began Sunday and will reportedly continue through Wednesday, are likely to further undermine in its people's eyes the already badly weakened regime headed by its president, Mahmoud Abbas. — 1,132 words.
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Days of future cinema past

Jane Fonda wants to re-visit Barbarella — 'It could be funny and feminist'

By Debroah Vankin and Geoff Boucher
Los Angeles Times
27 January 2011 — Two-time Oscar winner Jane Fonda is back in exercise videos, but she wants to get even more physical — the 73-year-old actress said she would pounce on the chance to return to the lusty universe of “Barbarella,” the 1968 sci-fi adventure that became a cult classic.

“I have a dream – to do a sequel to ‘Barbarella,’” Fonda said. “Not a remake, a sequel! Look, I get shtupped by a blind angel, OK? Let’s just take it from there.”

In the original film, Barbarella was bedded by a number of aliens — including a winged fellow who looked quite angel-like and lived in a bird nest — and was also threatened with death inside an orgasm machine. The movie, made in Europe and directed by Fonda’s then-husband, Roger Vadim, was called the “kinkiest film of the year” by Penthouse when the magazine put Fonda on its cover back in 1968. —437 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.