Posts Tagged ‘Canadian Military and Veteran Health Research Forum’
- Afghanistan (1) Toronto Star columnist becomes legal rep for teenager wanting student visa to attend school in Canada.
- Afghanistan (2) Someone (I’m guessing) in Ottawa is pissed at how ‘terps trying to come to Canada are being handled. “Frustration is growing in government ranks that Ottawa is falling down on its vow to help Afghan interpreters and their families find a new life in Canada. “I would say longstanding and growing frustration,” a senior official said this week after the Star highlighted the plight. The target of that frustration is the Citizenship and Immigration department, which critics say is dragging its feet on a Conservative vow to help Afghans who helped the Canadian mission in Kandahar resettle in Canada. “There is a moral obligation to do the right thing here and it’s unfortunate that CIC doesn’t feel this way,” said the official, who asked to remain anonymous ….”
- Afghanistan (3a) Canadian Info-Machine officer Commodore Bill Truelove: Taliban losing a grip on its troops? “The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has said that “the Taliban leadership has lost control of their organization.” During an operational update by representatives from the ISAF headquarters and NATO on Monday, Canadian Commodore Bill Truelove, Deputy Director of the ISAF Communication Directorate, said the Taliban carried out several attacks recently in spite of the Afghan Eid holiday. “Over the past week, the Taliban showed their blatant disregard for this holy celebration through a series of attacks resulting in the deaths of many innocent civilians,” he told reporters in Kabul. Truelove said the attacks occurred after senior Taliban leaders issued specific orders to their troops, directing them to stop killing innocent Afghan civilians. “Still, enemy forces are realizing they are sacrificing their lives for a cause that is not just and under leaders who have no concern for this country or its people,” he added ….”
- Afghanistan (3b) Does one Taliban post including alleged security plans for a major meeting (link to copy of post at non-terrorist site) constitute a “propaganda war”? “Afghanistan’s propaganda wars are becoming almost as intense as the actual fighting, as all sides jockey for position ahead of an anticipated NATO withdrawal in 2014. On Sunday, the Taliban took their psychological operations to a new level when they attempted to derail a loya jirga, or national council, Hamid Karzai, the Afghan President, has called for Wednesday. This will discuss future U.S. troop withdrawals and possible peace talks with 2,000 community and tribal leaders. In addition to the usual threats to assassinate anyone who attends the meeting, the Taliban have published what they claim are highly classified documents detailing security arrangements for the council, scheduled to be held at the Polytechnical University in western Kabul ….”
- Afghanistan (4) Senator Pamela Wallin on the training mission: “…. Canada has engaged in what is an incredible act of faith, inspired by the knowledge that if we educate and train the next generation of citizens and soldiers we will truly be giving peace – and Afghanistan – a chance.”
- Afghanistan (5) “International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo says his office will be releasing a report in the coming weeks that will decide whether to launch a formal investigation into Canada’s treatment of Afghan detainees, among other things. “There are serious allegations of crimes committed by different parties,” he said in an exclusive interview with Postmedia News during a stop at the University of Ottawa on Tuesday. “We are trying to find who is really allegedly responsible for crimes to check if there’s a need for us to investigate or not.” Moreno-Ocampo said his report will not specifically focus on Canada’s treatment of detainees in Afghanistan, but all crimes allegedly committed in that country and seven others. Most allegations, he added, are against the Taliban, but all claims are being looked at ….”
- “Canadian Forces reservists can face extra hardships after returning from deployments, researchers say. Difficulty finding employment and poor post-mission communications between reservists and military units are major barriers to soldiers reintegrating into civilian life. The findings of a study by Defence Research and Development Canada in Toronto were presented at the second annual Canadian Military and Veteran Health Research Forum in Kingston. The study involved 125 Canadian reserve soldiers who returned from an overseas deployment. The troops were contacted six to eight months after returning and about one-quarter of them took part in the 20-minute electronic survey. The results showed many reservists struggle to find work following their deployments. The lack of work added greatly to their struggle to reintegrate themselves into civilian life, said researcher Donna Pickering Tuesday afternoon ….” A bit more on the Forum here, and the latest, updated (as of yesterday) CF Info-Machine backgrounder on PTSD here.
- Another research tidbit from the same conference: “Almost one-quarter of a group of frontline soldiers sent to fight in Afghanistan in 2007 have been diagnosed with mental health problems, according to a new study by the Canadian Forces. The figure shines a light on the psychological risks facing Canada’s battle-hardened veterans not only in CFB Gagetown, where the study was conducted, but at CFB Petawawa in Ontario, CFB Edmonton in Alberta, CFB Valcartier in Quebec and at other major military bases where soldiers have deployed in great numbers over the last few years. The study of 792 members of the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment, found 23.1 per cent of soldiers who served in Kandahar four years ago were now being treated for their mental health problems. One in five of those soldiers have been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, one of the chief health risks to Canadian soldiers after a decade of combat in Afghanistan. The study was presented Tuesday at a military health-care conference (in Kingston) that is bringing together some of the country’s best minds to share the latest research on how to help soldiers with broken minds and bodies ….”
- “After almost five years of legal wrangling, Dennis Manuge says he’s relieved that Canada’s disabled veterans are finally getting their day in court. “How I feel about it is a little bit of relief and absolute faith in the justice system that we are going to begin to have our case (heard),” he said Tuesday. Manuge, of Musquodoboit Harbour, N.S., is the representative plaintiff in a lawsuit against the federal government that alleges it is illegally clawing back the long-term disability insurance benefits of injured veterans. The Federal Court in Halifax will begin hearing arguments Wednesday in the class action, which could potentially affect the benefits of as many as 6,000 injured veterans ….”
- A reminder: “For the sixth year in a row, friends and families of Canadian troops deployed overseas will be able to send their holiday letters and parcels for free via Canada Post. The program, which started in 2006, has delivered close to 90,000 parcels to members of the Canadian Forces serving overseas in war zones. With capacity limitations on military aircraft carrying supplies to deployed forces, this program is restricted to family and friends of the deployed service men and women serving overseas in war zones. Troops serving on any of the deployed Her Majesty’s Canadian Ships are also included in the program. Canada Post will accept regular parcels free of charge to designated Canadian Forces Bases overseas from October 17, 2011 until January 13, 2012. Lettermail weighing up to 500 grams to deployed troops can be sent free of charge until December 31, 2012.” More from Canada Post here.
- Canada’s mission to help Jamaica is wrapping up – safe travels home, folks! More on OP Jaguar here.
- “Haiti’s efforts to restore its disbanded army could deplete resources from more pressing matters in the Caribbean nation, which is still recovering from the massive earthquake that killed hundreds of thousands of people almost two years ago, a Canadian diplomat said Tuesday. John Babcock, a spokesman for Canadian Minister of State of Foreign Affairs Diane Ablonczy, said in an email to The Associated Press that Haiti’s decision to create a second security force is a sovereign right but that its formation “seems premature” because of the difficult living conditions that many Haitians still face following the January 2010 earthquake. “Canada fears that creating a second security force will significantly reduce resources available for Haiti’s other important priorities,” one of them being the need to strengthen Haiti’s national police department, Babcock wrote. Haitian President Michel Martelly is moving ahead with a plan to restore the national army that was disbanded in 1995, and recruiting an initial force of 500 troops would cost an estimated $25 million. Babcock said Tuesday Canada wouldn’t help pay for a second security force, echoing sentiments of foreign diplomats who told Martelly in October they wouldn’t fund the force ….” Here’s a bit of what Canada’s done for Haiti’s police force, as well as the official line on our relations with Haiti.
- Way Up North More on how expensive it could be to keep troops in the north (again with no disclosure of “obtained” documents).
- At least one Canadian Press reporter is not personally averse to the idea of sharing documents obtained through Access to Information Act requests, even if his employer doesn’t seem to be using available technology to make that happen yet – one can hope….
- F-35 Tug o’ War “U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has warned the F-35 project will be scrapped if a congressional “super committee” doesn’t come up with a credible plan to reduce the U.S. federal deficit by next week. Opposition parties in Ottawa jumped on the comments Tuesday, accusing the federal government of continuing to bury its head in the sand as the stealth fighter program suffers ever-increasing amounts of turbulence. But the government again stood firm, saying Panetta’s comments were in response to internal U.S. politics while expressing fresh confidence in the controversial military jet being delivered to Canada on time and on budget ….” More on Canada continuing to stand behind its decision here, and how it could cost way more if the U.S. cancels here.
- “As the nuclear crisis over Iran heats up, Canada is veering toward a dangerous place. Israel is again contemplating a military attack on Iran to prevent its developing atomic weapons. This time it’s not clear that U.S. President Barack Obama can forestall the Jewish state …. In the past, Canada would have happily stayed on the sidelines …. Under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, however, Canada has taken a more militant approach to international affairs. His support for Israel has been rock-hard. He has also shown himself willing to deploy Canada’s small but effective military in combat operations the government deems politically useful …. In short, both sides now see the nuclear issue as life or death. The question for nations like Canada is not which country we like more but which alternative is worse. Is it better to let Iran follow in the footsteps of the U.S., France, Britain, Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea by acquiring nuclear weapons? Or is better to unleash another Mideast war?”
- A bit of Canadian aviation history will become a bit of a British monument honouring Bomber Command (PDF). “A Royal Canadian Air Force C-17 Transport (landed) in Lethbridge, Alberta on Remembrance Day to pick up 800 pounds of aluminum that was once part of a wartime RCAF Halifax Bomber. The metal will become part of a £6,000,000 Bomber Command Memorial currently under construction in Green Park, London. The aluminum is being provided by the Bomber Command Museum of Canada to draw attention to the fact that 10,000 of the over 55,000 airmen lost with Bomber Command during World War II were Canadians. Halifax Bomber LW682 was part of 426 “Thunderbird” Squadron RCAF. It was shot down in 1944 and crashed into a swamp in Belgium. The seven Canadians and one Briton aboard were killed. The bodies of three of the Canadian airmen, missing in action and entombed in the Halifax bomber, were recovered in 1997 and given a full military funeral in Gerarrdsbergen, Belgium. The recovered parts of the Halifax were all saved and brought to Canada. Some of the parts were used in the restoration of the Halifax currently on display at Trenton, Ontario. The unusable aluminum was saved due to the rarity and heritage of this RCAF metal and was then melted down into ingots to be used into the future for Air Force Memorials, plaques, and statues by the Bomber Command Museum of Canada ….”
Written by milnewsca
16 November 11 at 7:45
Tagged with 426 Thunderbird Squadron, Afghanistan, Ashbury College, Bill Truelove, Bomber Command Memorial, Bomber Command Museum of Canada, Canada Post, Canadian Military and Veteran Health Research Forum, Canadian Press, CC-177, Defence Research and Development Canada, Dennis Manuge, Diane Ablonczy, Donna Pickering, F-35, Federal Court, Gerarrdsbergen, Haiti, Haji Sayed Gulab Shah, Halifax Bomber, ICC, International Criminal Court, interpreters immigrating to Canada, Iran, Jamaica, John Babcock, Joint Strike Fighter, Kabul, Kandahar, Leon Panetta, loya jirga, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, LW682, Michel Martelly, military news, milnews.ca, Murray Brewster, Operation Jaguar, Pamela Wallin, Paul Watson, Polytechnical University, Roya Shams, SISIP, SISIP class action law suit
- Short and sweet on the plane that crashed near Cold Lake, from the CF news release: “At approximately 11:45 p.m. MST on November 17, a CF-18 Hornet fighter jet crashed in a field approximately 13 kilometers northwest of 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alta. The pilot, Captain Darren Blakie of 409 Tactical Fighter Squadron, successfully ejected from the aircraft and was taken to hospital upon being recovered. He is in good condition and is being released from hospital. The exact cause of the crash is unknown at this time. The Directorate of Flight Safety has begun an investigation into the crash.” A bit more from the Canadian Press here, CBC.ca here, as well as a “how many of these things have crashed lately?” round-up here.
- Guess what NATO leaders are going to be talking about in Lisbon this weekend? Got it in one. Now that the PM has said out loud that we’re keeping troops in Afghanistan until 2014, one of the regulars at the Army.ca forums raises a good point for NATO to remember when Canada offers its help (again): “…. My guess is that this week, in Portugal, Minister MacKay will tell NATO/ISAF what to tell us to do. If we decide that we are going to train computer engineering officers and kosher cooks then, Presto!, computer engineering and kosher cooking will, suddenly, be top of ISAF’s list of priorities for training. We have earned, and had bloody well better use, our right to a caveat or two. We will teach the Afghans whatever in hell we want to teach and NATO/ISAF will be suitably grateful for our efforts ….”
- Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic Bob Rae sums it up best when it comes to the debate (or lack thereof) on Canada’s Afghanistan mission: “…. We went into Afghanistan with our NATO partners, with the full approval of the United Nations. It is one of the poorest countries in the world, ravaged by 30 years of civil war. Al Qaeda and other extremist groups have found a haven in the south of the country and the north of Pakistan. Of course all issues are about politics. But some issues can transcend partisanship. In every other country in the NATO alliance there is multipartisan support for efforts in Afghanistan, a willingness to discuss options, in a climate of public candour. Why should Canada be any different ? Our political culture is now all about trench warfare. Everything is supposed to seen through a partisan lens, and everything played to short term advantage. Anyone who asks “what’s best for Afghanistan ?”, or “what’s best for Canada, our role as a reliable member of NATO and the UN ?” is portrayed as some kind of poor sap who doesn’t “get” politics. It’s called doing what you think is right, talking to the public about it, and worrying less about who gets credit. There’s something almost pathological about the state of our politics, to say nothing of political commentary, if we can’t have that kind of conversation ….” Check out his detailed and nuanced discussion of the issue during debate in the House of Commons more than a year ago here.
- Peter Kent, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs, said something interesting in the House of Commons yesterday during Question Period: “If we were sending troops into a war situation again, we would put the matter before Parliament. However, the assignment post-2011 for Canadian Forces troops will be to train behind the wire.” Really? We’ll see, then, 1) next time and 2) if a Conservative government is still in power. More on the “why?” of such a vote here and here, and the “why not?” here and here.
- Blog Watch: QMI/Sun Media’s Ottawa bureau boss David Akin reminds us that the latest decision on the mission in Afghanistan fits into the guidelines of the March 2008 motion of the House of Commons. In the comments section, Mark Collins of Unambiguously Ambidextrous fame reminds us who’s been saying something different. Hmmm, where else have I read this? Meanwhile, former OMLT-eer Bruce Ralston points out where ELSE in Afghanistan Canadian trainers could be deployed (as well as what’s needed vs. what Canada is offering).
- Remember the Leopard tanks we borrowed from the Germans for Afghanistan while we bought some from the Dutch? They’re on their way home now: “…. the Canadian army is taking the opportunity to return some of the tanks it hastily borrowed from Germany more than three years ago as the war was exploding in the withered farmland west of Kandahar city. The heavily armoured Leopard 2 A6Ms were rushed into Kandahar in the summer of 2007 to help defend troops against bigger and more powerful roadside bombs. Fewer than half a dozen of the 20 borrowed machines are being replaced with upgraded Leopard 2 A4M tanks, which the Defence Department purchased from the Dutch and modified for use in Afghanistan’s arid desert, said Lt.-Gen. Peter Devlin, the head of the army. All of the borrowed vehicles will be returned after the combat mission ends next spring, and will have to be refurbished before they are returned, Devlin said in a recent interview. “The ones going now are part of the normal replacement, based on hours and mileage.” ….”
- The Office of the Veterans Ombudsman Annual Report 2009-2010 is now available here.
- The Kingston-Whig Standard tells us more work may be forthcoming to look into the health of serving and former CF members: “A national centre to study the health of veterans and serving military members is on its way to being established and Senator Pamela Wallin said Thursday morning that an institute to co-ordinate research is all but certain to be placed in Kingston. “This is going to happen,” said Wallin, who was interviewed in the wake of a two-day international conference in Kingston this week that brought together scientists, military brass and veterans advocates. “We have the right people in the right places and I am behind this, 1,000%.” The conference was organized by Queen’s University and Royal Military College to bring together researchers from different universities and countries to share their data and experiences in the field, which range from combat injuries to long-term problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder and the effects of chemical exposure ….” More on that conference from the CF here.
- Speaking of research – Available: Software developed by Canadian military researchers that can scan loads o’ documents, pick out target words, and analyze patterns with those words. Wanted: some help to make some money selling that software.
- Who’s causing civilian casualties in Afghanistan? If all you read this story by Postmedia News, the aid groups spoken to talk only about NATO forces. The news release, announcing a new report calling for more protection of civilians during the fight, isn’t much better, although it does admit, “Anti-government groups cause most Afghan civilian casualties.” The report (22 page PDF here) spends most time talking about what NATO/ISAF should do, but a closer reading shows it doesn’t let the bad guys completely off the hook: “…. (Armed Opposition Groups, or) AOG continue to be responsible for the great majority of casualties, and are increasingly utilizing tactics that violate the principles of distinction and proportionality. While a recently issued Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA) Code of Conduct states that “the utmost effort should be made to avoid civilian casualties” and “the Taliban must treat civilians according to Islamic norms and morality,” this appears to have had little impact on the ground …. Another major tactic of concern is assassinations and executions of civilians by AOG, which account for 14% of all civilian deaths. Assassinations reached a record average high of 18 per week in May and June 2010, representing a “systematic and sustained campaign of targeting tribal elders, community leaders and others working for, or perceived to be supportive of the Government and IMF,” according to the UN ….” Pretty consistent reporting from the UN and other sources (check here, here and here) indicate more than 2 out of 3 civilian casualties are caused by the bad guys. Should we be less careful? No way. Should the bad guys be maybe nagged a bit? Oh yeah.
- Here’s one way to keep a multiple murder-rapist’s paraphenalia off ebay: “The Canadian Forces have searched convicted serial killer Russell Williams’ Tweed cottage to retrieve his military kit — and burnt his military clothing. Four military officials, including two police officers, entered the Tweed cottage on Tuesday with the former air force colonel’s permission. They emerged after 90 minutes with enough military equipment, including books and manuals, to almost fill a van. “All his military clothes — boots, headdress, shirts and everything — as soon it was taken it was also disposed of, it was actually burned the same day,” Cmdr. Hubert Genest, a Canadian Forces spokesperson, said in an interview. He added that while the retrieving of military equipment is standard procedure for anyone who leaves the army, the burning of uniforms is not. Normally, the military tries to recycle and reuse clothing. “In this case,” Genest said, “all of his clothing had his name on it, and we felt it was actually more appropriate to actually dispose of it by burning the equipment.” Asked why it was burned, he said: “I could speculate about what could happen to the clothing, but by disposing of it like this, we’re sure it’s not going to be used again.” ….”
Written by milnewsca
19 November 10 at 7:45
Tagged with Army.ca, Bob Rae, Bruce Ralston, Canadian Military and Veteran Health Research Forum, civilian casualties in Afghanistan, David Akin, E.R. Campbell, Flit, Hans Jung, Mark Collins, military news, milnews.ca, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs, Nowhere to Turn, Office of the Veterans Ombudsman, OMLT, Oxfam, Pam Wallin, Peter Kent, Russell Williams, Surgeon General for the Canadian Forces, Walt Natynczyk