MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – July 28, 2012
- Foreign Affairs Minister: BAAAAAAAAAD Syria! “Canada is closely monitoring the renewed mobilization of Assad regime forces in the city of Aleppo. It is an unacceptable escalation of the conflict. Canada is horrified by reports of helicopter gunships opening fire on civilians and that the army has massed troops on the city’s borders in preparation for further assaults on its own citizens. Canada calls on all members of the UN Security Council to join in condemning these actions, including those members who have previously supported the regime, and to adopt a strong resolution that contains binding sanctions against the Assad regime.”
- Meanwhile, “An increasing number of Syrian asylum seekers have been fleeing to Canada to escape the civil war that continues to cut a bloody swath across their homeland. At the same time, Syrian-Canadians are asking the federal government to open the doors to friends and relatives facing what they say is extreme risk of torture or death at the hands of President Bashar al-Assad’s forces. “There is a limited number of people that are in really, really grave danger that we can admit,” said Faizel Alazem of the Syrian Canadian Council ….”
- Foreign Affairs Minister: BAAAAAD Eritrea! “Eritrea is facing increased diplomatic pressure from the Canadian government after a United Nations report published this week said the country has been using its Toronto consulate to force expatriates to pay taxes that help bankroll its military. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is considering “all options,” including shutting down the consulate, and has “called in” Canada’s Eritrean consul to meet with Canadian officials after the criminal allegations appeared in the report by the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea, a senior government official said Thursday. The report, published online Monday, said the Eritrean consulate in Toronto has been using coercive tactics to impose a 2 per cent income tax on expatriates to help finance the military, a fundraising practice the UN monitoring group says “arguably” violates an arms embargo imposed by the United Nations in 2009. A Royal Canadian Mounted Police assessment included in the UN report found that a “refusal to pay the tax often results in deni al of service or threats against, or harassment of, family members still residing in Eritrea, or possible arrest of the individual should they travel to Eritrea without paying the taxes alleged to be owing.” RCMP spokesman Sgt. Greg Cox said he could not confirm details of a criminal investigation unless criminal charges are laid, but added that the police force “is concerned about the issue as there exists a potential link with terrorist financing.” Semere Ghebremariam O. Micael, Eritrea’s only accredited diplomat in Canada, could not be reached for comment Thursday ….”
- Yet ANOTHER gang of Officer Cadets being publicly welcomed into the CF, adding to publicly-welcomed groups here and here. Again, I await a news release or media advisory inviting media to the welcoming of enlisted personnel.
Way Up North RCAF Info-machine shares search and rescue exercise information (a couple of weeks after the exercise) “A Cessna 185 departed Taltheilei Narrows, N.W.T., on Friday, July 13, but was overdue at Great Bear Lake. On Saturday, the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (JRCC) at 8 Wing Trenton, Ont., declared the search “major,” meaning the initial search was unsuccessful. Search masters at 435 (Transport and Rescue) Squadron, 17 Wing Winnipeg, Man., began planning their deployment to Yellowknife, NWT. By Sunday, July 15, two CC-130 Hercules aircraft were on their way to Yellowknife with approximately 75 members from 435 Squadron and 17 Wing. One CC-130 was configured for search and rescue (SAR); the other transported the support staff and equipment needed to establish a search headquarters. Although this was just an exercise scenario, the story behind it was all too familiar to 435 (Transport and Rescue) Squadron, one of several Canadian Forces units that fly SAR across Canada. The squadron is responsible for SAR coverage from Thunder Bay, Ont., to the Alberta-B.C. border, and between the U.S. border and the North Pole ….”
- Congrats to the CF’s new recruiting boss “Major Cynda Lavoie was named the Canadian Forces Recruiting Group Headquarters Commanding Officer at a ceremony at CFB Borden …. Major Lavoie joined the Canadian Forces Primary Reserve 22 years ago as a logistics officer in Quebec City after being a sea cadet in her youth. After university, she occupied various full time positions with the Reserve Force and finally, in 2002, made the big jump to the Regular Force, where she has carried out a number of postings as a specialist in finance, supply, and human resources. Her latest operational experience includes a deployment to Afghanistan in 2006 and to Operation PROTEUS, Canada’s contribution to the Office of the United States Security Coordinator (USSC) in Jerusalem, in 2010, where she taught logistics to Palestinian Security Forces ….”
- New digs coming for Reservists in Halifax? “Halifax reservists could be getting a new training facility. The Defence Department is looking at building a new armoury at Willow Park, a part of Canadian Forces Base Halifax, military spokesman Mike Bonin said Thursday. “Right now, it’s just in a design phase,” he said. “There is no final decision as to if and when it will be constructed.” Whether a new armoury goes ahead or not, Bonin stressed it won’t replace the historic Halifax Armouries located on Cunard Street. Built in 1896, the nearly 78,500-square-foot stone structure overlooks the Halifax Commons. According to the Defence Department’s website, the building’s condition has been assessed as fair ….”
- Khadr Boy (1) Has it been ten years already? This, from the Liberal Party Info-machine: “Liberal Senator Roméo Dallaire issued the following statement today to mark the 10th anniversary of Omar Khadr’s capture and incarceration: “Today marks the 10th anniversary of Omar Khadr’s capture—a Canadian citizen and former child soldier. During his decade at Bagram and Guantánamo Bay, Mr. Khadr’s rights have been consistently violated. He has been denied the right to due process and a fair trial, the right to protection from torture and the rights afforded to him under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. “After years of inertia, Canada finally agreed to Mr. Khadr’s return in 2010, as long as he served one additional year in Guantánamo. That year has passed, and yet the transfer request continues to gather dust on Minister of Public Safety Vic Toews’ desk, awaiting his signature. “I have started a petition calling on the Minister of Public Safety to authorize Mr. Khadr’s repatriation. More than 30,000 people have signed thus far and I encourage all Canadians to add their voice to this cause.” ….”
- Khadr Boy (2) “A top UN official has added her voice to the growing chorus of calls for Omar Khadr’s repatriation from Guantanamo Bay back to Canada. “Omar Khadr was a child soldier and our experience around the world clearly indicates that a system focusing on rehabilitation is far better suited for these children who have been exploited and abused by adults,” said Radhika Coomaraswamy in a statement. Coomaraswamy is Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s special representative for children and armed conflict, a post she has held since April 2006 and which she will leave in a couple weeks. The comment comes 10 years to the day after a bloody Khadr was captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan ….”
- Khadr Boy (3) If this columnist is so keen on having Khadr back, I wonder if he’d be willing to have the young man living next door when released from jail?
- Khadr Boy (4) Another columnist’s take “…. Will he live peacefully with his family, or will he be an advocate for terror — a magnet for others who glamorize his radicalism? One doesn’t know. But when he does return (as one day he will), he should not go to prison, as some advocate. He’s served his time. As an enemy combatant of the United States, perhaps he should remain detained in Guantanamo until the “war of terror” is over. That’s not going to happen, but the U.S. would be justified in keeping Khadr incarcerated — and Canada would be justified in wanting him kept there. But he’s Canadian-born, and we have no option but to accept him. Eventually.”
- Remembering Korea, 59 years later “Veterans of the Korean War and others gathered in Brampton on Friday to mark the 59th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended the war. Wreath-laying and poppy-placing ceremonies and a march past took place at a memorial service at the Korea Veterans’ National Wall of Remembrance at Meadowvale Cemetery on Mavis Road, followed by a reception at Mississauga Convention Centre on Derry Road West. Meanwhile, Korean War veterans in Sydney, N.S., aren’t holding a ceremony this year because the number of veterans who still live in the area is dwindling. Instead, a simple five-minute wreath-laying ceremony was approved by the local branch of the Korean Veterans Association. According to Veterans Affairs Canada, more than 26,000 Canadians served in the Korean War, including sailors from eight destroyers and airmen who took part in many combat and transport missions ….” – more from the Veterans Affairs Canada Info-machine here.