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November 18, 2009

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Bearing unbearable witness. A Canadian intelligence officer says it's likely that all detainees transferred to Afghan prisons by Canadians were tortured.

A fine cattle of fish. More than a third of the world's fish stocks are disappearing into the mouths of the world's livestock.

Keep terrorism suspects at Bay. American officials are seeking a new home for Guantanamo detainees -- but one Congressman says, "Not in my back yard."

Now, you can foot "The Bill" -- or drive it, if you prefer. The William Stephenson Way, that is -- a Winnipeg thoroughfare renamed for the man called Intrepid.

Necessity puts the mother in detention. An American soldier refuses to go to Afghanistan because she can't find a babysitter -- and is promptly arrested.

And...breeding discontent. After she spent fifty years without reproducing, humans discover what Mary the tortoise always knew: that she's actually Gary.

As It Happens, the Wednesday edition. Radio that brings you the fable of the tortoise and the heir -- or lack thereof.


FTR: RICHARD COLVIN Duration: 00:04:23

If a pin dropped in Room 371 on Parliament Hill this afternoon, it definitely would have been heard. None did -- but plenty of jaws fell open, as a packed room listened to the testimony of Richard Colvin.

Mr. Colvin is a Canadian diplomat who currently works in Washington. Back in 2006, he worked in Afghanistan for the Department of Foreign Affairs. In that job, he visited Afghan detainees that Canadian forces transferred to Afghan jails.

Today, he was before the Special Committee on the Canadian Mission in Afghanistan. The Committee is looking into allegations that detainees transferred by Canadian soldiers to Afghan prisons were tortured.

Here is some of what Richard Colvin told the committee today, for the record.


AFGHAN TORTURE TESTIMONY Duration: 00:09:36

Paul Champ is a lawyer for the B.C. Civil Liberties Association and Amnesty International. Both organizations have been investigating the treatment of transferred Afghan detainees. Mr. Champ was in Ottawa, to listen to Richard Colvin's testimony. We reached him there:


INTO THE LIGHT Duration: 00:00:19
Album: LIGHT TO DARK/JORDAN, RONNY
Label: 4TH & BWAY, 162-531 060-2
Persons/Roles:
JOEL CAMPBELL - COMPOSER
RONNY JORDAN - COMPOSER
JOEL CAMPBELL - KEYBOARDS
RONNY JORDAN - GUITAR
RONNY JORDAN - PRODUCER

FTR: OBAMA/ GITMO CLOSES Duration: 00:08:08

For the Record, that was United States President Barack Obama speaking last January.

It was one of his first acts in office: shortly after his inauguration, President Obama vowed to close the Guantánamo Bay military detention facility within a year.

Today, Obama admitted he that will not meet that deadline.

The problems with moving the prisoners are complex -- particularly the problem of those prisoners who can neither be freed nor tried in American courts.

And while officials toured an empty prison in rural Illinois earlier this week as a possible new home for the inmates, there is still plenty of domestic opposition to their transfer to the United States.

U.S. Representative Don Manzullo is one of the voices trumpeting that opposition. The Thomson Correctional Center -- the prison being proposed as the new Guantànamo -- is in his district. We reached Congressman Manzullo in Washington, D.C.


NEVER FELT THIS WAY Duration: 00:00:10
Album: SONGS IN A MINOR
Label: J, 80813 20002
Persons/Roles:
BRIAN MCKNIGHT - COMPOSER
ALICIA KEYS - VOCALS
ALICIA KEYS - PRODUCER

SCR: CENOTAPH CORRECTION Duration: 00:02:56

Acts of vandalism are always disturbing. And when they involve monuments to veterans, they're particularly disturbing.

Last week, a few days before Remembrance Day, we brought you the story of a cenotaph in Fredericton that had been severely damaged by vandals. And as you can imagine, that story aroused an emotional response from our listeners and our guests.

But we did receive one e-mail that took a different perspective on the issue. It came to us from Richard Frizell in Vancouver last week:Mr. Frizell wrote:

"There is a lot of emotionalism, which seems to be clouding rational thought, around this story. I once saw this cenotaph when it was whole; it was beautiful. I am saddened to see that it is now incomplete. I am writing this carefully, because virtually all reports speak of 'acts of vandalism'. "All authorities speaking on the matter appear to be baffled as to who did it, with what motivation, -- and even how it was brought down. The police said that there was no evidence of 'scars from the use of chains or other implements on the cross. All responses seem very, very emotional and talk of criminals, etc. However, there is another type of thing to think about."He continues:

"Did investigators consider that the cross might have come down because of physical failure of the structure itself, due to aging materials, maintenance issues, the play of hot and cold weather and other climactic elements on the structure, etc.? After all, the Vimy Memorial and other memorials had to have massive infusions of money within the last number of years to repair them because of, well, benign neglect.Could the 'villains' (if we need to find someone guilty) be those institutions that were responsible for the ongoing care and maintenance of the cenotaph itself ? Whatever the cause, let's hope it is restored to its former glory."

That e-mail came to us from Richard Frizell in Vancouver a few days ago. And it turns out that Mr. Frizell's rational response to the damaged memorial may be the right one. Today, Fredericton Police announced that they believe it is likely that the cenotaph fell apart on its own. The top-heavy cross underwent repairs two years ago, and that left the structure loose -- which they think caused it to topple over two days before Remembrance Day.


RETURN WEDNESDAY Duration: 00:00:52

Hello again, I'm CO.

And I'm BB. This is As It Happens, Part Two.

Coming up:

She couldn't find care -- and the Army says she was careless: an American soldier is arrested, when she refuses to leave her son without a babysitter.

Thunderstruck: if you're thinking of buying AC/DC's ginormous new box set, you'd better get ready to rumble.

Those stories are still to come on As It Happens.


FDLR ARRESTS Duration: 00:07:30

It's been fifteen years since Hutu genocidaires slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Rwandans. Since then, some of those same Hutus have continued to wreak havoc across the border, in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

For years, the F-D-L-R rebels have been waging war on the civilians living in the D-R-C's North Kivu province. Today, the future of the rebels is in doubt. Yesterday in Germany, the F-D-L-R's leader and deputy leader were arrested, on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed in the D-R-C.

Anneke Van Woudenberg is the D-R-C expert for the lobby group Human Rights Watch. She is in London, England.


DOUBLE X Duration: 00:00:30
Album: WE DIDN'T EVEN SUSPECT THAT HE WAS THE POPPY SALESMAN/TIELLI, MARTIN
Label: SIX SHOOTER, SIX03
Persons/Roles:
MARTIN TIELLI - COMPOSER
MARTIN TIELLI - VOCALS
MICHAEL PHILLIP WOJEWODA - PRODUCER

DATELINE: TORTOISE MIX-UP Duration: 00:02:00

Dateline: Cleveland, Ohio.Can the leopard change its spots, or the tiger its stripes? No more than a tortoise can change its sex, one would think. But things aren't always as they appear. If you're seeing spots, for example, what isn't a leopard may look like a leopard. And a tiger might be a cat of a different stripe altogether, if you can't read between the lines, so to speak.

And a tortoise? Well, as it's quite a modest creature, you have to look pretty carefully to determine whether that's a beau or a belle under the shell. And even if you spend a lot of time carefully looking, there's still no guarantee you'll get it right.

It took about a half-a-century for the medical staff at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to get it right, in the case of a giant tortoise known as Mary. Last week, during a routine physical, Mary -- a four-hundred pound Aldabra tortoise -- revealed to her examiners that -- "Abrac-aldabra!" -- she had suddenly become a he, after all these years.

Of course, Gary -- as he's now known -- has, in all likelihood, always been a he. It's just due to his small size, shorter tail, and flatter shell, that he was always assumed to be of the fairer sex.

But the finding puts to bed a longstanding mystery. As zoo director Steve Taylor points out, "We never had eggs. Now we know why."

I suppose it's all no skin off Gary's beak. He likely appreciates that slow and steady wins the race, and the truth shell set him free.


I'M IN LOVE WITH A RIPPER Duration: 00:00:32
Album: SEE MYSTERY LIGHTS/YACHT
Label: DFA
Persons/Roles:
JONA BECHTOTT - COMPOSER
YACHT - POP GROUP

ARMY MOTHER DETAINED Duration: 00:07:00

On November 5, Alexis Hutchinson missed her flight.

For most people, this wouldn't be a big deal. They would just rebook their tickets. But for the 21-year-old single mother, it was a serious problem. Specialist Hutchinson was about to be deployed to Afghanistan as an army cook. But when she couldn't find anyone to care for her infant son, she skipped the flight. And when she returned to base the next day, she was arrested.

Rai Sue Sussman is her lawyer. We reached her in San Francisco.


YOU, YOU'RE AWESOME Duration: 00:00:15
Album: YOU, YOU'RE A HISTORY IN RUST/DO MAKE SAY THINK
Label: CONSTELLATION, CST045-2
Persons/Roles:
OHAD BENCHETRIT - COMPOSER
DAVID MITCHELL - COMPOSER
JAMES PAYMENT - COMPOSER
JUSTIN SMALL - COMPOSER
CHARLES SPEARIN - COMPOSER
DO MAKE SAY THINK - POP GROUP

SCRIPT - AC-DC BOX SET Duration: 00:02:25

For those about to wrap -- we salute you. I mean "wrap" with a "W". As in presents.

When you hit the malls this year to do your Christmas shopping, you may notice a change from last year. People may actually be saying "Season's greetings!" and "Merry Christmas!", rather than staring into their empty wallets and crying.

We're not economists here at As It Happens, so we're not going to be so bold as to declare the recession over. But there are a few economic indicators on the extravagant-holiday-gift-idea front that do give us reason to believe that there may be a little more in Santa's sleigh this year. And our first indicator comes from the business analysts in AC/DC.

The band is known for rock music that's as about as subtle as an actual rock. And its new box set, which is called AC/DC Backtracks is also refreshingly unsubtle. It's billed as the ultimate box set. The collection comes with the usual pile of CDs and DVDs. Nothing to shake you all night long about that. But it also comes with a twelve-song LP of rarities mastered specifically for vinyl. And there's an AC/DC coffee table book. Also some AC/DC art. Some band souvenirs, including an "I Do It For AC/DC" button. A limited-edition guitar pick, and the "Lock up Your Daughters" tour flyer. They might as well throw in a Sham-Wow and a Slap-Chop.

But wait! There's more! If that's not enough to make you shake a leg to the record store -- the actual box itself is actually a working amplifier. So you can play the box set while listening the box set.

Now this Christmas deed does not come dirt cheap. It will set you back about two-hundred-and-fifty dollars. But can you really put a price on the look on your child or loved one's face when they know they're going to get a little "Hell's Bells" with their "Silver Bells"?

We'll be watching for more gift ideas that indicate we are back in black, and if you come up with any let us know. Our email is aih@cbc.ca and our Talkback number is 1-866-481-5718. And to hold you over until you can get to the mall, here's AC/DC with "Money Made".


MONEY MADE Duration: 00:02:38
Album: BLACK ICE/AC/DC
Label: COLUMBIA, 88697 39238 2
Persons/Roles:
ANGUS YOUNG - COMPOSER
MALCOLM YOUNG - COMPOSER
AC/DC - POP GROUP
BRENDAN O'BRIEN - PRODUCER

BUY EAST JERUSALEM Duration: 00:08:50

It's being seen as a direct challenge to Barack Obama's objection to building Israeli settlements on Palestinan-claimed territory: an announcement that nine hundred new homes are to be built -- for Jews -- in the Gilo part of East Jerusalem. That's the part of Jerusalem that has been claimed by Palestinians to be their capital of a redrawn Israel.

Today, Obama shot back. In an interview on Fox News, he said:

"I think that additional settlement building does not contribute to Israel's security. I think it makes it harder for them to make peace with their neighbours. I think it embitters the Palestinians in a way that could end up being very dangerous."

But new housing projects are not the only settlement activities that are offending Palestinans in the area.

Dov Hikind is a Democratic New York State Assemblyman. He's currently in East Jerusalem with a delegation of Americans who plan to buy up real estate in the area privately -- and thereby prevent Palestinians from purchasing it. We reached Mr. Hikind in Jerusalem.


RAINY DAY IN EAST L.A. Duration: 00:00:23
Album: III X 13 (THREE BY THIRTEEN)/DAKAH HIP HOP ORCHESTRA
Label: STRAVINGUS
Persons/Roles:
GEOFFREY GALLEGOS - COMPOSER
DAKAH HIP HOP ORCHESTRA - PERFORMER

WORLD FISHERIES REPORT Duration: 00:07:15

How often do you see a chicken fishing?

Let me answer for you: rarely. But that isn't stopping chickens from eating a whole lot of fish. A new report from U.B.C.'s Fisheries Centre reveals that, each year, thirty-six per cent of the world's total fisheries end up ground into fishmeal to feed farmed fish, chickens and pigs. So if we want to reduce presure on the world's dwindling fish stocks, the researchers say we'll have to find alternative food sources for farm animals.

Dr. Jennifer Jacquet is the lead author of the report. We reached her in Vancouver.


UMBRELLA BEACH Duration: 00:00:15
Album: OCEAN EYES/OWL CITY
Label: REPUBLIC, B001314102
Persons/Roles:
ADAM YOUNG - COMPOSER
OWL CITY - POP GROUP

WINNIPEG STREET NAME Duration: 00:06:53

They call me Budd. Barbara Budd¿ and what I'm about to tell you is top-secret information.

This week in Winnipeg, the city honoured its most famous spy by renaming a downtown street in his honour. The spy, whose code name was "Intrepid," was the senior representative of British Intelligence for the Western Hemisphere during the Second World War, and was a key player in the creation of the C.I.A.

Because of classified nature of this information, I cannot tell you the man's name. But I suppose it would be fine to tell you the name of the street: William Stephenson Way.

And that is why I am a terrible spy.

To brief you further, we reached Colonel Gary Solar, president of the Intrepid Society in Winnipeg.


007 Duration: 00:00:25
Album: THE BEST OF JAMES BOND - 30TH ANNIVERSARY
Label: EMI, E 298413
Persons/Roles:
JOHN BARRY - COMPOSER
BARRY JOHN ORCH - ORCHESTRA

SC/MUSIC: H1N1 SANTAS Duration: 00:02:16

By this point, most people in high-risk groups in Canada have had access to the H1N1 shot: children under five, the elderly, the Calgary Flames, some Raptors, and some Maple Leafs. But in the United States, the kerfuffle over who should be designated high-priority for the vaccine continues. Currently demanding special attention is one character in particular. He's chubby and plump, a right worried old elf -- but you'll laugh when you hear this, in spite of yourself.

I'm talking about Santa Claus -- as portrayed by each of the seven-hundred or so members of the fraternal organization called the U.S. Amalgamated Order of Real-Bearded Santas. As you can infer from the name of the group, these Santas aren't just guys who strap on a fake beard and a prosthetic little round belly that shakes when they laugh like a bowlful of jelly. Their beards are real. Their bellies are real. And their fear is real.

As the Christmas season approaches, these real-bearded Santas are expected to provide laps and sounding boards for thousands upon thousands of cherub-faced kids. And behind every one of those kids' rosy cheeks may lurk the fever associated with H1N1. The Amalgamated Order's president, Nicholas Trolli, says, that while older Santas are already getting the shot, young members should too, "not so much as to protect the Santa but to help protect the public."

Of course, Santa's right. All the Santas are right. Kris Kringle can't give out presents with a fever: you want him to deliver Christmas sweaters, not be one. So As It Happens urges health authorities to do the right thing, and vaccinate the fat guy in the red suit. Otherwise, on Christmas Eve, you may hear someone downstairs upchucking a million houses worth of milk and cookies into your fireplace. And you'll stare into the dark, and mutter, "Must be Santa".


MUST BE SANTA Duration: 00:02:49
Album: BOB DYLAN: CHRISTMAS IN THE HEART
Label: COLUMBIA, 88697 57323 2
Persons/Roles:
BILL FREDERICKS - DESIGNER
HALL MOORE - DESIGNER
BOB DYLAN - SINGING
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