May 22, 2009

Pt 1: Racism, Children & State - A little over a year ago -- back in March, 2008 -- Winnipeg's Child and Family Services got a call about a young girl who -- for two days in a row -- had come to school with a swastika on her arm. The CFS took the girl into custody along with her younger brother.

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Pt 2: Fake Medical Journals - The Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine looks pretty much as it sounds - like an authentic peer-reviewed scientific journal. It published scientific articles and reviews of research. It had its own honorary editorial board made up of established well-known scientists. And it was published by Elsevier, one of the biggest and most credible names in the scientific publishing business.

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Pt 3: Gitmo Montana - U.S. President Barack Obama has taken a lot of heat this week over his bid to shut down the U.S. Military Prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Yesterday, he came out swinging in his own defense.

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Today's guest host was Bob McKeown

It's Friday May 22nd.

A new CNN poll shows that support for former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney is on the rise.

Currently, In unrelated news, former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney says he now supports torture.

This is the Current.

Racism, Children & State - Mom

A little over a year ago -- back in March, 2008 -- Winnipeg's Child and Family Services got a call about a young girl who -- for two days in a row -- had come to school with a swastika on her arm. The CFS took the girl into custody along with her younger brother.

And now, Child and Family Services is expected to argue that the two children should be placed in its care permanently ... in part in order to protect them from the allegedly racist teachings of their parents and what it describes as a "white supremacist" environment.

The Child Protection Hearing begins next week in Winnipeg. The father has filed a constitutional challenge, arguing that his rights to freedom of expression and religion have been violated. He did not respond to our requests for an interview. But the children's mother has agreed to speak to us this morning. Under Manitoba's child welfare laws, to protect the identity of the children, we can't use her name and as you'll hear we have also altered her voice.

Child and Family Services says it cannot comment on the case because it is before the courts. The Child Protection hearing begins next week in Winnipeg.

Racism, Children & State - Follow

This case in Manitona has raised some difficult and challenging questions ... most crucially, how to define what is in the best interests of the children. That's something Cheryl Milne has given a lot of thought to. She is the Executive Director of the David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Law. Before that, she was counsel with Justice for Children and Youth, a legal clinic that focusses on child rights. Cheryl Milne was in Toronto.

Fake Medical Journals - Reporter

The Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine looks pretty much as it sounds - like an authentic peer-reviewed scientific journal. It published scientific articles and reviews of research. It had its own honorary editorial board made up of established well-known scientists. And it was published by Elsevier, one of the biggest and most credible names in the scientific publishing business.

But it turns out that the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine was really something else - a marketing tool designed to look like a peer-reviewed medical journal. It was in fact paid for by the pharmaceutical company Merck. It contained information favorable to Merck products. And it didn't disclose that sponsorship. Elsevier published five other journals with similarly questionable credentials. And that has caused a storm of controversy in the scientific community.

Alison McCook is the Deputy Editor of The Scientist, the publication which investigated and confirmed this story. She was in Philadelphia this morning.

The Current requested an interview with someone from Merck. The Company directed us to a statement instead. In it, the company writes:

Merck agrees with Elsevier about the importance of appropriate disclosure of financial support, and we remain committed to providing journals with the information that permits such disclosures to be made.

The statement goes on to say that the company, understood that Elsevier envisaged the complimentary publication would draw on the vast resources of Elsevier ... to deliver novel and timely full text articles and abstracts to physicians.

The Current also requested an interview with Elsevier, the publishing company.

We were able to speak to Tom Reller, the firm's Director of Corporate Relations. He would not agree to do an interview, but he did say that Elsevier takes the matter very seriously and is doing its own internal review. Elsevier issued a press release on May 7th that stated:

... between 2000 and 2005, our Australia office published a series of sponsored article compilation publications, on behalf of pharmaceutical clients, that were made to look like journals and lacked the proper disclosures. This was an unacceptable practice, and we regret that it took place.

Mr. Reller also said the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine was published by Elsevier's pharmaceutical services division in Australia and this is not related to Elsevier's core business. He says it was unaccaptable and wrong for the Australia office to publish this series of publications that were made to look like journals and lacked the proper disclosure and that the publisher is working on developing procedures to insure this doesn't happen again.

Fake Medical Journals - Bio-Ethicist

The story behind the Australasian Journal of Bone and Joint Medicine has been unsettling for many people in the scientific and medical communites. Doctor Summer Johnson is the Executive Editor of the American Journal of Bioethics and she was in Albany, New York.

Peer Review

To most people, the term "Peer-Reviewed" suggests a seal of approval by independent experts who are qualified in their field. But over the years, peer-reviewed journals have still occassionally found themselves at the centre of controversy.

Marcel LaFollette has put scientific scandal under her microscope. She is the author of Stealing Into Print: Fraud, Plagiarism and Misconduct in Scientific Publishing. Her new book is Science on the Air and she was in Washington.

Gitmo Montana - Greg Smith

U.S. President Barack Obama has taken a lot of heat this week over his bid to shut down the U.S. Military Prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Yesterday, he came out swinging in his own defense.

But President Obama wasn't the only one talking up the issue yesterday. In a speech to a Washington think-tank, former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney took several shots at the idea of shutting down Guantanamo.

And earlier this week, the Democrat-controlled Senate refused to approve the funds President Obama was seeking to close the prison. Across the country, legislators are objecting strongly to the idea that some Guantanamo inmates might end up in U.S. prisons ... especially prisons in their districts.

But several city councilors in Hardin, Montana are taking a different view. They want Guantanamo's inmates to be transferred to their town ... specifically to a brand new detention facility that is now sitting empty and unused. They've passed a unanimous resolution calling for the move. And they've written a letter to President Obama that outlines the proposal. But the reactions in Hardin are mixed. We aired some tape with what we heard when we placed a call to Three Brothers' Pizza in Hardin, Montana and asked the owner to pass the phone around to patrons.

Greg Smith is among the people who are behind the idea of bringing Guantanamo Bay inmates to the new Detention Facility in Hardin. He's the Executive Director of the Two Rivers Port Authority. He's also Hardin's Director of Economic Development and he was in Hardin, Montana.

Gitmo Montana - Hardin Mayor

Ron Adams is the Mayor of Hardin. He was skeptical of the idea of bringing Guantanamo detainees to his community when the idea was first raised last month. And he's still not convinced. Ron Adams was in Hardin, Montana.

Gitmo Montana - DNTO Skit

A lot of the debate over what to do with the inmates at Guantanamo Bay has centered around the potential fall-out from bringing them onto American soil. And that got our friends at the CBC's Content Factory thinking, We aired something they call "The Shawshank Rendition."

Last Word - Torture Song

We wanted to end the program this week with a song inspired by what happened at the U.S. Military Prison in Guantanamo Bay. Jonathan Mann is a singer-songwriter who has made it his mission to write a song-a-day, every day for as long as he can keep it up. He posts the songs on his blog -- rockcookiebottom.com.

And we gave the last word to Jonathan Mann with his song, number 109 ... a song that took its lyrics directly from the so-called "torture memos" ... the legal analysis done by the Bush's Justice Department and released by the Obama Administration last month.

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