Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight

Archive for the ‘Domestic terrorism’ Category News Highlights – March 25, 2014

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leave a comment » News Highlights – February 11, 2014

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  • Please do what you can to spread the message that folks who are having a tough time don’t have to suffer alone – #sendupthecount – more here on Facebook and here at (Disclosure:  I’m a moderator at
  • Budget 2014 (1)  Here’s the entire budget package – all 427 pages of it – if you’re interested in details I haven’t covered here.  Feel free to share whatever else catches your eye via comments
  • Budget 2014 (2a)  Some highlights from the document itself (this one on page 232)  “…. Economic Action Plan 2014 proposes to recognize the historic titles and rank designations of the Canadian Armed Forces in the National Defence Act – The Government of Canada has honoured the proud history of the Canadian Armed Forces by restoring the titles of the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army and the Royal Canadian Air Force, as well as traditional rank designations for our men and women in uniform. In recognition of Canada’s military traditions and heritage, the Government proposes to amend the National Defence Act to enshrine these titles and designations in law ….”
  • Budget 2014 (2b) On not cutting spending on big things that are needed, but moving it down the road (page 263)  “…. The Government is moving $3.1 billion in National Defence funding for major capital procurements to future years in which key purchases will be made ….”
  • Budget 2014 (2c) Some vet stuff (pages 231-233)  “…. Economic Action Plan 2014 proposes $108.2 million over three years, starting in 2013–14, to expand eligibility for the Funeral and Burial Program to ensure that modern-day veterans of modest means have access to a dignified funeral and burial …. The Government is proposing changes to the Public Service Employment Act and the Public Service Employment Regulations to enhance employment opportunities in the federal public service for veterans …. Economic Action Plan 2014 proposes funding of $2.1 million in 2014–15 to improve My VAC Account, a web-based tool that provides information and access to Veterans Affairs Canada’s services, and allows veterans and their families to do routine business with the Department ….”
  • Budget 2014 (2d) On Afghanistan (page 231)  “…. The Canadian mission in Afghanistan has been the most significant Canadian military engagement since the Korean War and the fifth most costly military conflict in our nation’s history in terms of lives lost.  The Government is committed to recognizing the historic significance of this military engagement and the enormous personal sacrifices made by the thousands of Canadian Armed Forces personnel and dedicated public servants and civilians ….”
  • Budget 2014 (3)’s take  “The Defence Department was effectively stripped today of more than $3 billion it had planned to spend on major new military purchases in the near future, in what amounts to the second major spanking it’s faced in as many weeks.  In its latest budget, the Conservative government announced it will reclaim the $3.1 billion in cash it had planned to allocate to the military over the coming years but restore it four years hence, so the gear can be bought then.  “To ensure that funding for vital National Defence equipment is available for planned requirements, the government is shifting $3.1 billion of National Defence funding for major capital procurements to future years in which key purchases will be made,” the budget said.  The budget cut will have the effect of preventing the military from buying some gear for which it had lobbied long and hard to win approval ….”
  • Budget 2014 (4)  Toronto Star‘s take  “Federal Conservatives are boosting their financial support to ensure dignified funeral services for veterans, pledging to give priority hiring to military personnel in the public service, and plan to commemorate Canada’s long and costly mission in Afghanistan ….”
  • Budget 2014 (5)  Pacifist disarmers at  STILL too much spent on defence! (with an e-mail newsletter here saying exactly that) - more on what likes in general here and here, with what it wants specifically here (6 page pdf of specifically what Stephen & Co. want for defence – cutting the budget to pre-9/11 levels, changes in “force structure and essential capabilities,” and move the money to “other priorities”)
  • Budget 2014 (6)  More from media (via Google News) here
  • Meanwhile,Canada’s famed Snowbirds aerobatic flying team has been forced to cancel all shows in the United States because of budget cutsSnowbirds spokesman Capt. Thomas Edelson says the number of flying hours were cut for the squadron based in Moose Jaw, Sask., so the four U.S. shows were cancelled.  Edelson says the team enjoys going south of the border, but Canadian audiences have to be the priority ….”  You already read that here almost ten days ago, remember?
  • Veterans’ advocates are urging restraint as the federal Conservative government prepares to spend what could be hundreds of millions of dollars to commemorate the First and Second World Wars starting later this year.  The Veterans Ombudsman’s office and the Royal Canadian Legion say it is important and necessary for the government to mark Canada’s contributions and sacrifice during both conflicts, which included such defining moments as Vimy Ridge and Dieppe.  But they oppose extravagant displays of pomp and ceremony at a time when they say many Canadian veterans are not getting the services and support they so desperately need ….”
  • Lookit who gets a chance to talk Thursday about where the CF’s going  “General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), will provide an address outlining the current state and priorities of Canada’s Armed Forces, at the next Signature Lecture at The Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI).  “The State of the Canadian Armed Forces and Its Priorities,” will take place on Thursday, February 13 ….”
  • Remember Bill C-217, the federal Private Members Bill calling for tougher punishment of folks found guilty of defacing or damaging cenotaphs or other memorials?  The Senate’s Legal and Constitutional Affairs committee will be holding hearings into the proposed law today and tomorrow.
  • From the Shipfax blog  “HMCS Athabaskan made an impressive sight as it dodged through sunny breaks entering Halifax this afternoon. The ultra sleek looking ship appears to be emerging from an extended refit with surprisingly little material on her masts ….”
  • Way Up North  Rankin Inlet, a community in Canada’s eastern Arctic territory of  Nunavut, will be the temporary home to approximately 350 soldiers as the Canadian Armed Forces unfolds its new Arctic field training, known as Exercise Trillium ResponseThe 4th Canadian Division/Joint Task Force Central and the 31 Canadian Brigade Group from Ontario will be honing their winter warfare and cold weather survival skills over the course of 10 days.  A small group landed in Rankin Inlet Saturday to set up camp and prepare for the soldiers’ arrival. The remainder of the soldiers will arrive next Saturday ….”
  • Afghanistan  “Canada is sounding the alarm about a proposed law in Afghanistan, amid signs the clock is already being turned back on hard-fought rights for Afghan women and girls ….”
  • Khadr Boy  January 19, 2014  “Lawyer Dennis Edney says his client Omar Khadr will not be transferred to a federal medium-security prison, following a report he said misquoted him.  Edney said that there is no immediate plan to move Khadr out of the maximum-security prison in Edmonton, where he is currently being held. But Edney says he’s been told his client may eventually be moved to the Bowden Institution, a federal medium-security prison located in Innisfail, Alta ….”
  • Khadr Boy  February 11, 2014  “Last Friday, February 7, Omar Khadr was moved to the medium-security prison, Bowden Institution and Annex. The transfer is a step closer to justice and freedom, as he can finally earn his parole that allows his reintegration into society ….” News Highlights – February 10, 2014

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  • Please do what you can to spread the message that folks who are having a tough time don’t have to suffer alone – #sendupthecount – more here on Facebook and here at (Disclosure:  I’m a moderator at
  • Credit where due:  Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence Laurie Hawn appears to tackle a lot of recent complaints via a lengthy Facebook page with his name on it (also viewable here and out and about on the interwebs).  Here’s a brief excerpt:   “…. The challenge that we have is that, no matter what we say as Government, it will not be believed in the face of one dissenting view by a veteran or a soldier.  That is understandable, considering Canadians’ completely justifiable love for veterans and soldiers.  I have that same love for veterans and soldiers.  Another challenge that any government has is the reality of dealing with legitimate expectations from across the board in Canada, and trying to find a workable and sustainable balance ….”
  • This letter to the editor  from a senior VAC official (highlights mine)  “I wish to comment regarding the claims made by the Military Ombudsman that more should be done to ensure veterans receive the benefits they deserve.  In fact, approximately 85 per cent of all applications for Veterans Affairs Canada’s disability benefits will ultimately result in a favourable decision.  Veterans Affairs requests additional details only when the veterans’ medical information is missing from their military records or was not provided initially by the applicant. Having said that, we do need to ensure that the records we will use to make a decision are reflective of the veteran’s current medical situation ….”
  • A married and decorated military man was sentenced Monday to two years in prison for his vast and violent collection of child porn images that date back more than a decadeMilitary Sgt. Gregory Kusec, 44, told court he would continue to get treatment for what a doctor diagnosed as pedophilia and sexual sadism.  Police found thousands of images on 19 devices, amassed from the time the Internet was still dial-up, court heard …. He will be on probation for three years following his jail term and will be added to the sex offender registry.  QMI Agency is awaiting a response from officials on his military status.” – a bit of backstory here at
  • A high-profile soldier-turned-senator is speaking against a Conservative MP’s bill to enact strict punishments for anyone caught vandalizing statues dedicated to Canada’s soldiers and veterans.  Independent Liberal Sen. Romeo Dallaire says he’d rather see some vandals ordered to spend a few hours listening to the tales of Afghanistan veterans than have them tossed in jail for vandalism. Hearing war stories from vets might turn a teenager who made a bad decision into an evangelist who will preach against defacing any of the almost 6,700 local monuments in Canada, Dallaire said …. Bill C-217 is a private member’s bill from Conservative MP David Tilson. Under its terms, anyone caught desecrating a war memorial would face a minimum fine of $1,000 for a first offence; a second offence would bring at least 14 days in jail. Each subsequent offence would carry a minimum 30-day jail term ….”
  • Northeastern Ontario MPP named Honorary Colonel of Algonquin Regiment
  • Thirteen aviation students at Seneca College get to wear flight suits on Fridays. It’s their version of dressing down, compared to the full military dress uniforms they wear during the rest of the week.  The students are part of an innovative joint program being offered by the Toronto-area college and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). The new Continuing Education Officer Training Plan (CEOTP) – Pilot program has been designed to graduate a winged pilot with a Bachelor of Aviation Technology degree in just four years. That’s three years less time than it takes for a student to achieve the same qualifications at Royal Military College in Kingston, Ontario.  The course has been more than three years in the making, and is the only program of its kind for the CAF pilot occupation ….”
  • Afghanistan  Commentary  “…. NATO expects to have trained and equipped a combined police and army force of over 300,000 before the final pullout. There is, of course, no way that the impoverished Afghan treasury can sustain a force that size, especially if it is involved in perpetual combat operations.  Afghan generals speculate that their forces will require another five to 10 years of mentoring and equipping before they can fully stand alone. What these Afghan officers don’t realize is there is no longer any Western appetite to fund such a long-term commitment.  We just need the Afghan army to hold the airfields until the last NATO plane has departed.”
  • More than three years after his arrest, a man who once auditioned for the Canadian Idol TV show will face trial on a terrorism charge.  Khurram Syed Sher, a doctor of pathology from London, Ont., is to be tried by judge alone in an Ottawa courtroom starting (today).  Sher, 31, was charged along with two other men in August 2010 with conspiracy to facilitate terrorism.  The others cannot be named due to a recently imposed publication ban aimed at ensuring the jury in their trial, slated for April, is not prejudiced.  Following the sensational arrests, police said they seized terrorist literature, videos and manuals, along with dozens of electronic circuit boards allegedly designed to detonate homemade bombs remotely.  Three additional men, all believed to be living abroad, have been named as unindicted co-conspirators.  Police claimed the alleged plot stretched from Ottawa to Afghanistan, Dubai, Iran and Pakistan ….”
  • Commentary  Canada’s new citizenship bill a Trojan horse …. Bill C-24 would give the Conservative government unprecedented authority to strip Canadians of their citizenship. It’s not just Omar Khadr who’ll be hit ….” – a touch more here
  • A former Guatemalan special forces soldier arrested in Alberta and extradited to the U.S. was sentenced to 10 years in prison for lying on his U.S. citizenship papers about his alleged role in a civil war massacre.  U.S. District Court Judge Virginia A. Phillips also stripped 55-year-old Jorge Sosa of his U.S. citizenship.  Sosa was convicted last year of lying on his 2007 naturalization application about his role in the Guatemalan military and alleged participation in the killing of at least 160 people in the village of Dos Erres in 1982.  Sosa used to work as a martial arts instructor in Riverside County. He was arrested in Lethbridge, Alta. in 2011 – he is also a Canadian citizen – and extradited to face charges in the U.S.  Sosa told the court he is innocent and disagrees with the jury’s verdict ….”
  • Look closely at the smaller of the two 77 mm field guns in Esquimalt’s Memorial Park and its battle-weary wounds begin to showThe punctured metal hints at shots fired by the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles before they overwhelmed the Germans at Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917. The regiment, made up of mostly Victoria-based soldiers, captured the anti-tank gun as one of nearly 400 war trophies that would eventually make their way into the hands of Canadian municipalities following the First World War.  “This is a storm trooper gun,” says Mike Reed with Esquimalt’s public works department. “The Germans put smaller wheels on it and stripped the unnecessary pieces so troops could pull to the frontline and embed it tighter to the ground.”  Across the park sits a German 77 mm Feldkanone 96 neuer Art Field Gun, a tongue-twisting name for a similar weapon with larger wheels and shielding taken at the second battle of Cambai on Sept. 29, 1918.  Together, they comprise two of only three known First World War German field guns in the province, says Colin Wyatt with the Ashton Armoury and Museum in Saanich ….” News Highlights – February 3, 2014

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leave a comment » News Highlights – January 26, 2014

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Written by milnewsca

26 January 14 at 20:00 News Highlights – January 21, 2014

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  • Please do what you can to spread the message that folks who are having a tough time don’t have to suffer alone – #sendupthecount – more here on Facebook and here at (Disclosure:  I’m a moderator at
  • Afghanistan (1)  Mo’ troops coming home – more here
  • Afghanistan (2)  Martin Glazer, Peter McSheffrey, R.I.P.  “Employees at an Ottawa accounting firm are mourning the loss of two colleagues killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan and wondering what it means for how they do their jobs.  Martin Glazer, 43, of Gatineau, Que., and Peter McSheffrey, 49, of Ottawa, were killed on Friday when a suicide bomber and two gunmen attacked La Taverna du Liban restaurant in Kabul.  In all, 21 people were killed in the restaurant attack, in what officials said was the deadliest violence against foreign civilians in Afghanistan since the start of the war nearly 13 years ago.  The two worked as auditors for Samson & Associates and were in Afghanistan to assess projects delivered by non-governmental organizations ….” – more here and here
  • Ooopsie ….David Jeffrey Dodd says he is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, haunted by the scenes of his overseas experiences when his Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry platoon was bombed and a female soldier died in his arms.  “She was an incredible soldier. I lost 4 good soldiers and she was one!” Dodd posted on the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) Association Facebook page Sunday.  “I’m coming into a hard time of year (feb sucks bc that’s when it happened) … I can’t sleep most nights because I see s— in my dreams.”  It would be a gut-wrenching story, if it was true.  But nobody who has served with the Patricias appears to know Dodd or know anyone who does.  Even more peculiar, the Patricias have never lost a female soldier in the manner Dodd described.  Those two inconsistencies sparked an online firestorm on the Facebook thread, with up to 900 comments, questioning who Dodd is and why he had made the comments he did ….” - more here
  • Edmonton Oilers give a military touch to honouring both the CF and best player of each game  “…. After each Oilers win, the player who is deemed the ‘player of the game’ by his teammates will don a military jacket as a salute to the country’s heroes and as a symbol of their own sacrifice and success.  Once it was determined that would be the item of choice, the long search for the perfect military jacket began ….”
  • Two briefing notes, two assessments of Goose Bay – AND CBC shares them both so you can see for yourself!  “…. Two top officials — Gen. Tom Lawson, the chief of the defence staff, and Robert Fonberg, the deputy minister of National Defence — signed off on a briefing note and presentation prepared for the associate minister in January 2013.  “This brief will confirm that the [Canadian Armed Forces] and DND are committed to ensuring an enduring presence in Goose Bay,” they wrote.  But a briefing note sent two months later, in March 2013, painted a less optimistic picture, highlighting a number of “challenges” with 5 Wing.  “You should be aware that DND/CAF has identified Goose Bay as the lowest priority base from a military operational perspective,” the briefing note advised …. “In the current context … it is increasingly difficult to justify current expenditure levels as they draw resources from higher priority operational activities,” the document notes ….”
  • If there’s a major cyberattack on Canada, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney will not be giving the public “specific details” of the incident, newly released briefing notes indicate.  However, the minister won’t be at a complete loss for words if he follows the carefully crafted script he’s been provided for just such a terrible occasion.  “Cyberattacks are a global phenomenon,” Blaney is advised to tell Canadians.  “Canada and other countries face escalating cyberthreats — these threats are real and continue to mature.”  Stephen Harper’s office has been roundly criticized in recent years for micromanaging cabinet ministers and the public servants who toil in their departments.  However, the briefing notes — obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act — show bureaucrats are not above looking over ministerial shoulders.  The notes suggest Blaney be circumspect about an assault on vital electronic networks ….”
  • The Lux Ex Umbra blog on connecting the dots between Communications Security Establishment Canada and the private sector
  • Canadian academic’s take on recent changes in how the U.S. promises to spy in the future
  • Canada signs agreement with Israel that will, in part, “facilitate …. marked growth in security and intelligence cooperation;
    closer academic ties (and) enhanced defence and security relations ….
    - more from the PM’s Info-machine here
  • Media lawyers opposed to a sweeping publication ban the Crown is proposing for the February terrorism trial of a pathologist from London, Ont., argued Monday the unprecedented measure would be akin to holding a secret trial.  Lawyers for the Citizen and CBC said the proposed ban on the trial of Khurram Syed Sher goes too far, putting fair trial rights ahead of the right to freedom of expression.  “The integrity of the justice system relies on the open court,” argued Wendy Wagner, a lawyer for the Citizen.  “In the eyes of the public, it does become a secret trial. It is in essence that.”  The Crown wants to temporarily ban reporting on all evidence, arguments and the verdict in the trial of Sher, one of three men arrested in August 2010 following an 11-month undercover police investigation.  The prosecution argues that the unprecedented move is needed to protect the fair trial rights of two other accused. Those two men are expected to stand trial in April, one month after Sher’s four-week trial in front of a judge alone concludes.  Prosecutor Martha Devlin argued Monday the evidence, arguments and verdict in the Sher trial could be made public after the jury in the subsequent trial was sequestered. The concern is that publicity from the earlier trial could prejudice the jury, since prosecutors intend to rely on overlapping evidence in the two trials.  Lawyers for Sher and the other two men support the Crown’s request for a publication ban ….”
  • The RCMP say they alerted all appropriate authorities, including Mexican airport officials, about Canadian teenager Skylar Murphy, who had been allowed to board a flight to Mexico after surrendering to security a pipe bomb at Edmonton International Airport.  It took four days — until Sept. 24, 2013 — before airport security officials in Edmonton realized they had obtained a pipe bomb, with an attached nearly three-metre long fuse, from the 18-year-old Murphy of Spruce Grove, Alta.  Security screeners had not recognized the device was a pipe bomb and had actually tried to return it to Murphy.  The RCMP said they acted immediately once they were told about the pipe bomb. But the Mounties decided to allow Murphy to finish holidaying with his family in Mexico before arresting him on his return to Edmonton on Sept. 27.  “A criminal investigation was initiated immediately, and over the next three days, all appropriate authorities, including Transport Canada, air-carrier security personnel and local airport screening officials in Mexico, were notified and engaged at the appropriate level,” the RCMP said in a statement to CBC News ….”
  • Commentary:  “Don’t use Edmonton pipe bomb incident as an excuse for longer airport security checks

Written by milnewsca

21 January 14 at 20:50


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