Showing posts from January, 2008

Canada puts US on Torture Watchlist

CTV News has reported that the Canada has named the United States on a watch-list of countries with "greater risks of torture". The list is part of a workshop for Canadian diplomats meant to teach them to recognize signs of torture and places where it is more likely to be found. It specifically mentions "U.S. interrogation techniques" including "forced nudity, isolation and sleep deprivation". Presumably the document was compiled before the use of waterboarding in American interrogations became widely publicized (waterboarding has been declared illegal by the United States in the past and is an internationally recognized form of torture[1]).

Siting the list, a lawyer for a Canadian boy who has been illegally held and tortured at the infamous U.S Guantanamo Bay prison for five years claims that he should be returned to Canada for a court hearing. The lawyer said that the boy has been abused, that his rights have been violated under international law,…

"We Own the World"

To follow the previous post, Noam Chomsky has written a new article, "We Own the World". It is excellent.

He explains clearly the intellectual and moral malaise that permeates current discussion of US policy towards Iran and the world in general.

Photo by John Soares, linked from

Noam Chomsky on Iran

Noam Chomsky is a professor of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has lectured and written extensively on US foreign policy and social issues. I've always been very interested in his perspectives, but until I saw this video, I'd found his other lectures somewhat dry. This interview does a good job of presenting an informed critique of the current political climate in the US regarding Iran in a concise and articulate manner. Noam Chomsky is a very respected voice, and what he says on Iran in this video is well worth hearing.

Broken Voting

As a computer systems engineer, I've always thought electronic voting machines are a Bad Idea. Here is a video demonstration of a defect in the electronic voting machines being used in US elections.

The Not-So-Green Door

Today I ran into John Baird, Canadian Minister of the Environment, at The Green Door. Since John was standing right in front of me at the cash register, I asked him just to be sure, "Excuse me, are you the Minister of the Environment for Canada?"

And he said, "Yes, yes, I am... I'm a vegetarian, actually, but don't tell anyone!"

My first thought was, what an odd place to meet John Baird. The Green Door is basically packed on any night of the week with tree-hugging, veggie chomping, earth-loving activists. And Baird is most recently credited with playing a major role in removing any meaningful targets from the Bali climate change initiative. Against tradition, he barred opposition MPs from participating in the summit, and then even as reports of Canada's dismal environmental performance surfaced, he stood with the US and Japan in blockading the Bali agreement.

I said, "You know, I have to say I was pretty disappointed with Canada's showing at…

Oesa Morning

Morning mist near Lake Oesa, Yoho National Park, Canada.

August 2007. Photo by Darren DeRidder.