August 18, 2009

Pt 1: Somali Canadians in Kenya - After a seven-week battle with Canadian passport officials in Kenya, Suaad Hagi Mohamud is home, reunited with her son. The government has promised it will look into her case, but in the meantime Somali-Canadians are demanding Canadian officials explain how it could have happened.

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Pt 2: Iran Confession - We started this segment with a scene from George Orwell's futuristic nightmare 1984. It is the enduring cautionary tale about that dark place where forcing confessions to imaginary crimes is a crucial component of totalitarian rule.

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Today's summer guest host was David Michael Lamb.

It's Tuesday August 18th.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on national television that US President Barack Obama is lost in the Andromeda galaxy when it comes to Latin America.

Currently, A proud Chavez added "and I should know, 'cause I'm a REAL space cadet."

This is the Current.

Somali Canadians in Kenya

After a seven-week battle with Canadian passport officials in Kenya, Suaad Hagi Mohamud is home, reunited with her son. The government has promised it will look into her case, but in the meantime Somali-Canadians are demanding Canadian officials explain how it could have happened.

They complain that her case is not isolated. And no one knows that better than Anab Issa... her 25 year old autistic son Abdilhakim Mohamed is languishing in a tough part of Nairobi. The Canadian High Commission insists he's an imposter. This is the same High Commission that said Suaad Hagi Mohamud was also lying about her identity.

For the past three years Abdilhakim has been in stuck in Africa... unable to get a passport to return to Canada. We first told you this story in June and aired a clip of how Anab Issa described the ordeal. We also heard from Abdilhakim Mohamed. He is still in Kenya. Efforts are still underway to secure his return to Canada.

Mohamed Dalmar is a close family friend of Anab Issa and her son Abdilhakim Mohamed. He is manager of the settlement department of the Catholic Immigration Centre in Ottawa.

Consular Critic

The Current put in requests to speak with Lawrence Cannon -- the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deepak Obhrai -- Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Peter Kent -- the Minister of State of Foreign Affairs. All those requests were turned down.

Peter Van Loan is the minister of Public Safety and reports to the Canadian Border Services Agency. We aired a clip with some of what he said during an interview with CBC Radio yesterday about the government's decision to investigate the case of Suaad Hagi Mohamud.

When the Liberals were in power, it was MP Dan McTeague's job to work on getting people like Suaad Hagi Mohamud and Abdilhakim Mohamed back to Canada. This morning, we reached Dan McTeague in Quebec City.

Iran Confession

We started this segment with a scene from George Orwell's futuristic nightmare 1984. It is the enduring cautionary tale about that dark place where forcing confessions to imaginary crimes is a crucial component of totalitarian rule.

In Iran today, the grim game of forced confession is in full swing. Earlier this month, a trial of more than 100 Iranian oppponents of the current regime got underway. They are accused of conspiring with foreign powers to stage a revolution through terrorism, subversion, and a media campaign to discredit the recent presidential election.

And the centerpiece of the trials are the so-called confessions of those on trial. First up was former vice president Mohammad Ali Abtahi. His confession dutifully aired by Iranian State TV on the first day of his trial. A longtime proponent of reform and critic of the government, Abtahi seemed to have an inexplicable change of heart while in custody. He said claims of election fraud were made up by the oppostion and that the post-election protests were part of a plan to topple the government in a ''velvet revolution.''

A similar confession was made by Canadian citizen Maziar Bahari, a filmmaker and Newsweek reporter. We aired a translation of part of his confession.

And while no one knows for sure, human rights groups are concerned that these confessions were made under duress. Our guest knows all too well the conditions under which such confessions are made. Iranian journalist Omid Memarian was forced to confess something he hadn't done back in 2004. Now he works for the Middle East division of Human Rights Watch. He was in New York this morning.

Music Bridge

Artist: Thievery Corporation
Cd: Radio Retaliation
Cut: Cd 1, Sound the Alarm
Label: ESL
Spine: ESL 140

Last Word - The Clash

As you just heard, the trials of Iranian opponents to the ruling regime in Teheran is underway. And it was exactly thirty years ago this year that the band the Clash wrote its anthem to all those languishing in prisons around the world. We ended the show today with a song from the Clash's 1979 album London Calling called Clampdown.

Music

Artist: The Clash
Cd: London Calling
Cut: Cd 9, Clampdown
Label: Epic
Spine: EK 63885

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