May 31, 2010

Pt 1: Turkey/Israel - We awoke to news this morning of a NATO country, Turkey, in turmoil over an Israeli military action off the coast of Gaza. We heard the latest, and spoke with two people who have loved ones on those flotillas that were seized. The attack is not the only pressing issue facing the Secretary General of NATO. From Canada's decision to pull its top soldier out of the battlefield, to a US report which rips into its own for mistakes with Predator Drones - it has been a weekend of unexpected turns for NATO. We also spoke with NATO's top man, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. (Read More)

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Pt 2: Oil Drilling in Canada - Drilling without spilling. Are Canada's regulations tough enough to keep oil out of our waters? We spoke with two environmental experts who say government reviews are a good start, but don't go far enough. (Read More) 

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Pt 3: WW2 Caper - Dead men don't tell lies, do they? How a prevaricating corpse changed the course of the Second World War. (Read More) 

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Whole Show Blow-by-Blow

It's Monday, May 31st.

The cost to Canada for security for the 4 day G8 and G20 summit has ballooned to $1.1 billion.

Currently, to stem the tax dollar blow-out, the federal government plans the top kill procedure.

This is The Current.

Israel/Turkey - Audrey Bomse

As we heard in the news, thousands of Turks have taken to the streets of Istanbul. Turkey has withdrawn its ambassador to Israel and cancelled three joint military drills. That's after Israeli commandos killed at least ten people, and wounded dozens of others aboard a Palestinian aid convoy that was heading toward Gaza.

We heard from Audrey Bomse, who is with the Free Gaza movement. It had a ship in that flotilla. She was in Larnaca, Cypress.

Israel/Turkey - Dorian Jones

Dorian Jones is a journalist based in Turkey. He had just come from a demonstration in Istanbul, when The Current reached him.

Israel/Turkey - Anders Rasmussen

Turkey is a NATO country. NATO has a great deal of things on its agenda right now. The latest news out of Afghanistan has been anything but encouraging.

The Taliban has begun a new spring offensive code-named Al-Fatah or "Victory," and their insurgents have been backing up those words with lethal actions targeting NATO strongholds.

Last Wednesday, a car bomb exploded outside Canada's Provincial Reconstruction Team base in Kandahar City. Before that, the Taliban attacked the two most important military bases in Afghanistan -- Bagram and the Kandahar Air Field where the majority of Canadian troops are stationed. And, in the country's capital, Kabul, a suicide bomber smashed into a NATO convoy, killing 18 people. The dead included Colonel Geoff Parker, the highest-ranking Canadian Forces member to die in Afghanistan.

The attacks, however, have not deterred NATO leadership from pursuing its goal of handing over all security responsibilities in Afghanistan to the government of Hamid Karzai. Anders Fogh Rasmussen is the Secretary General of NATO, which leads the 41-nation military campaign in Afghanistan. He's also the former prime minister of Denmark. He was in Brussels, Belgium.

Articles of interest: Fighting in Afghanistan, Support Wanes in Canada, NATO and Obama


Israel/Turkey - Zoe Blunt

Israeli naval commandos stormed a flotilla of civilian aid ships bringing supplies to the Gaza strip overnight. At least 10 people have been killed, dozens of others have been wounded. It's believed that most of the dead were actually Turkish.

In response, people have taken to the streets of Istanbul by the thousands. Turkey has ordered its ambassador out of Israel and it's called on the UN Security Council to convene an emergency session about Israel. We reached Zoe Blunt. She's a friend of Kevin Neish, who is a Canadian activist who was on board one of those ships - the Challenger 2. She was in Victoria.

Israel/Turkey - Adrian Law

Adrian Law is the father of Alex Harrison. She is a British activist who was on a ship that was seized by the Israeli government.

Oil Drilling in Canada - Panel

This morning, BP's engineers are preparing to try once again with the so-called "containment cap" after acknowledging over the weekend that their "top kill" technique failed to stop the deepwater well that continues spewing crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico.

Meanwhile, Canadian environmental experts are warning that more needs to be done here to guard against a similar catastrophe.

They're not the only ones who are concerned.

Three weeks ago, Newfoundland ordered a review of offshore oil drilling regulations to ensure proper spill prevention and response measures are in place. Currently, the East Coast is the only location in Canada where offshore drilling is allowed.

Plans were underway to begin exploratory drilling in Canada's Arctic waters in the Beaufort Sea -- companies such as BP, ExxonMobil and Chevron have already leased large swaths of the seabed -- but in light of the oil spill in the Gulf, Canada's National Energy Board is now reviewing those plans.

And as we continue our coverage of the issues raised by the Gulf oil spill, The Current spoke with two people who say these government reviews are a good start, but don't go far enough.

William Adams is a former scientist at Environment Canada who was one of the researchers in a major oil spill study in the Beaufort Sea back in the 1970s and 1980s. Gail Fraser is a professor of environmental studies at York University in Toronto.

The Current did request interviews with federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice, as well as Newfoundland's Minister of Natural Resources Kathy Dunderdale, but neither was available this morning. We also invited regulatory bodies to take part, but both the National Energy Board and the Canada Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board declined. Similarly, our efforts to hear from someone with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers were unsuccessful. Finally, calls to industry players, including BP Canada and Chevron Canada, were not returned.

Articles of interest: Obama and Katrina, Oil Moratorium Canada


WW2 Caper - Ben MacIntyre

It's a real-life caper from the Second World War that reads like a fiendishly clever spy novel. A dead man is dumped into the sea chained to a briefcase containing fake top-secret documents. Those documents went on to change the course of the War.

The operation was called Mincemeat - the brainchild of several key British Intelligence officers. The success of Mincemeat hinged on a British deception - so elaborate - it would trick the Germans into making monumental missteps. Ben MacIntyre is an associate editor with the Times of London and he's spun this fascinating tale into a book called, Operation Mincemeat: How a Dead Man and a Bizarre Plan Fooled the Nazis and Assured an Allied Victory. Ben MacIntyre joined us from the Times newsroom in London.

Last Word - James Bond

As we heard from Ben MacIntyre, a secret British operation to deceive the Nazis during World War Two, known as Operation Mincemeat, was an idea that began as a novel by Basil Thompson and was picked up by a Royal Navy Intelligence officer named Ian Fleming, long before he became the man who created the British spy character - James Bond. We aired a clip where Ian Fleming is asked about how he came up with that name, James Bond, for his iconic secret agent 007.

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