MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – November 17, 2012
- Israel (1) “Prime Minister Stephen Harper condemned rocket attacks against Israel as tensions continued to rise in the Middle East. His remarks, in Quebec City, came as the Israeli military prepared for a possible ground incursion into the Palestinian-controlled Gaza region, which observers say could lead to a dramatic escalation of the conflict. Aside from the call-up of reservists, the Israeli Defence Force announced Friday that a highway leading to Gaza would be off-limits to civilian traffic, according to published reports in the region. Rockets fired by Hamas militants were aimed at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem — two targets previously thought out of range of missiles from Gaza …. Harper’s government has been a staunch, outspoken backer of Israel, and recently won applause from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government for the abrupt closure of the Canadian embassy in Tehran. “We recognize and support Israel’s right to defend itself against such terrorist attacks, but obviously we urge all sides to take all precautions possible to spare any innocent lives,” Harper said Friday ….” - more from the Foreign Affairs minister earlier this week here.
- Israel (2) “A seemingly unending rain of Hamas rockets on Israeli cities and the threat of a ground attack on the Gaza Strip have prompted fears the violence will escalate and draw in other players throughout the Middle East and the world. That may seem to be an exaggeration given that Israelis and Palestinians have engaged in numerous short but bloody conflicts, most recently in late December 2008. But thanks to the Arab Spring, the situation this time around is very different. And though the fighting may seem distant and of little relevance to most Canadians, the reality is this country will be affected if the situation spirals out of control ….”
- Libya “…. the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, accompanied by the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Associate Minister of National Defence, Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) (La Francophonie), and General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, presented 210 Canadian Forces members with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Operation Unified Protector – Libya medal during a ceremony held at Canadian Forces Base Halifax. An additional 740 medals were awarded to Canadian Forces personnel in several other ceremonies across Canada and the United States of America today in recognition of their participation in Operation Mobile, the Canadian Forces’ contribution to the NATO-led operation to protect the people of Libya with the enforcement of an arms embargo and no-fly zone ….” – more on the medal here.
- Joshua Baker, 1985-2010, R.I.P. “The dangers of the Claymore anti-personnel mine were made abundantly clear to soldiers at an Afghanistan training range before an accident that killed a young corporal, a court martial heard Thursday. Two witnesses at the hearing for Calgary reservist Maj. Darryl Watts testified that Warrant Officer Paul Ravensdale, the range safety officer, had stressed the possible consequences of using the C19. “He was clear about the duties when handling it. He gave a very thorough briefing with the C19,” said Master Cpl. Scott Lawrence, a medic who was on the range, four kilometres north of Kandahar city, on Feb. 13, 2010. “He was clear about soldiers being back behind the (firing) lanes.” ….” - more from the court martial here and here.
- Way Up North Mark Collins on “At Least the Americans are Not Howling about “Arctic Sovereignty” “
- “Minister MacKay launches the 2012 Halifax International Security Forum” – more on the Forum here.
- “Canada’s military defense capabilities are at risk due to a predicted two-year delay of a new fleet of Earth-watching radar satellites, critics say. But the country’s defense department maintains it has a backup plan. The delayed Radarsat Constellation Mission (RCM) consists of three satellites meant to replace Radarsat-2, a five-year-old satellite that probes Canada’s landmass, and that of other countries, with radar signals. Radarsat-2 is expected to last until 2015, and potentially longer. Industry Canada, a government department that oversees the Canadian Space Agency, recently revealed that RCM will launch in fiscal year 2016-17, two years later than planned ….”
- “A cyber-attack on key infrastructure such as the power grid could be devastating for Canada, says a recently retired intelligence officer. Ray Boisvert, a former assistant director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, told a gathering of academics and security professionals Friday that a digital assault would mean malfunctioning cash machines, no gas at the pumps and empty store shelves. “One significant cyber-attack on a critical infrastructure node will bring calamity upon all of us,” Boisvert said during a panel discussion sponsored by the Canadian Association for Security and Intelligence Studies. “I will say categorically from my experience that the cyber-threat is real, it’s extremely significant, and it’s having a big impact on both public and private-sector interests. And it is fundamentally undermining our future prosperity as a nation.” Governments and many companies are only now beginning to face the threat from rogue states bent on doing damage or stealing secrets, said Boisvert, who left CSIS about six months ago to become a private consultant. Boisvert pointed to “worrisome” countries including China, Russia, North Korea and Iran, but stressed the list is much longer ….”