Posts Tagged ‘Daniel Menard’
- Remembering the fallen, one tree at a time: “The first tree planted in the Afghanistan Memorial Forest at CFB Petawawa has been dedicated to the memory of Sapper Sean Greenfield, who was killed in Afghanistan on January 31, 2009. “Spr Greenfield’s tree will be the first of many planted here,” said base commander Lieutenant-Colonel Keith Rudderham. The Memorial Forest is in the Memorial Park on the eastern edge of the base. Its purpose is to provide a lasting link for the families of soldiers killed in Afghanistan for generations to come ….”
- Looking for Wikileaks’ diplomatic cables? Sorry, but just like the Afghanistan and Iraq leaks, every piece of paper is an individual snapshot of what one report writer had to say about a specific meeting. Do we know if all the cables are there to show a full picture? If they were, would mainstream media go for the meat (digging and waiting for some context) or the sizzle (what tidbits can we mine NOW)? Nothing to see here, friend – feel free to move on to other news.
- Well, we know ONE place diplomatic paperwork apparently didn’t find its way to: “Canadian reports about torture in Afghan prisons could have been helpful — if they had been passed on — the military’s former head of investigations said Monday. Retired lieutenant-colonel William Garrick was the commanding officer of the Canadian Forces National Investigative Service when detainees transferred to Afghan authorities told foreign affairs department officials they had been tortured. But Garrick told the Military Police Complaints Commission he didn’t see any of those allegations. When asked about reports that detail several prisoners’ allegations they were kicked, beaten with electrical cables and given electric shocks, Garrick said he wasn’t aware of the reports. He also said he didn’t know about site reports foreign affairs officials filed after visiting prisons and interviewing detainees ….”
- Some questions about from how Canada handled juvenile detainees in Afghanistan: “The Canadian Forces have for years arrested children suspected of working with the Taliban and handed them over to an Afghan security unit accused of torture …. Allegations that militants captured by Canada were transferred to Afghan forces and later tortured were hotly debated in Parliament last fall. A document obtained by the CBC’s investigative unit shows that Canadian soldiers captured children as well in the fight against the Taliban, and that many of them were transferred to the custody of Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security, or NDS. The document, obtained under an Access to Information request and marked “secret,” shows that Defence Minister Peter MacKay was briefed on the topic of juvenile detainees in Afghanistan March 30. The “Canadian eyes only” note informs MacKay of how many children suspected of “participating in the insurgency” have been arrested by Canadian Forces and how many of them have been transferred into Afghan custody in the previous four years ….” Kudos, by the way, to CBC.ca for sharing the briefing note in question here. The “Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre” in Afghanistan where the kids were sent popped up in Canada’s backgrounder on detainees recently: here’s the original backgrounder, and here’s the latest version. When did it change? Apparently, about the time CBC got the briefing note. More from CBC.ca here, the Globe & Mail here, Postmedia News here, QMI/Sun Media here and United Press International here.
- One columnist’s take on the Liberals supporting the extended mission in Afghanistan: “…. In that sense Ignatieff, with a very public nudge from foreign affairs critic Bob Rae, planted the party’s foreign policy flag on high ground. Staying in Afghanistan in hopes of morphing a military stalemate into a rough facsimile of peace makes sense in many ways. It accepts Canada’s responsibilities as a good Samaritan middle power, recognizes the domestic economic realities of being sensitive to Washington’s international security preoccupation, and is consistent with Liberal proposals to equip the military with the “kit” it requires, not stealth fighters Canada neither needs nor can afford. But while getting policy right, Ignatieff and Rae got the politics wrong. By giving Conservatives a free Afghanistan pass, Liberals further undermined their already suspect prospects in a federal election now widely expected to be just months away ….” Gee, you’d think the columnist in question prefers the Liberals to win than do something that might help – or am I being cynical here?
- For those who think “it’s just sex” when it comes to Daniel Menard’s court martial for an alleged affair and for reportedly destroying evidence: “…. Daniel Menard was not summoned to face a court martial nor did he resign his commission because he had sex with Master Cpl. Bianka Langlois. He was charged because he broke the rules …. Had Menard simply had an affair with a subordinate, he would have likely suffered at least a minor blow to his career. However, by attempting to use his position to obstruct justice, Menard committed a far more serious breach of discipline ….”
- Worries about how much (more than planned?) proposed new F-35 jet fighters will cost: “Canada’s new stealth fighter aircraft will require extensive maintenance, as well as very expensive changes to improve security at the military bases they operate from, according to Defence Department documents obtained by the Citizen. Critics of the Conservative government’s proposal to buy the high-tech Joint Strike Fighters have been warning that the purchase will come with hidden costs that could drive up the price tag far beyond the current estimate of $16 billion. The 2006 DND report, which looked at next generation fighter planes as well as the stealth Joint Strike Fighter, highlighted issues that could play a factor in any aircraft purchase ….” Unlike CBC.ca, though, the Ottawa Citizen doesn’t appear to be sharing the briefing note with its readers.
- Some folks would like to see Canada go back to calling the Navy the “Royal Canadian Navy”. The latest? Great name, but not bloody likely.
- Elvis murderer-rapist Russell Williams continues to leave the building – more here.
- On a more pleasant note, five new pilots rotate into positions with Canada’s Snowbirds: “Five Canadian Forces pilots were officially introduced as the latest members of 431 (Air Demonstration) Squadron, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, Wednesday, November 24 at 15 Wing, Moose Jaw, Sask., after a rigorous selection process and months of preparation. The newest squadron members are Snowbird 3, Captain Padruig MacIntosh, of Windsor, Ont.; Snowbird 5, Captain Brett Parker, of Edmonton, Alta.; Snowbird 6, Captain Denis Bandet, of Regina, Sask.; Snowbird 8, Major Ryan Stich, of Toronto, Ont.; and Advance and Safety Pilot – Snowbird 11, Captain Robert Chagnon, of Laval, Que. ….”
- Surely he can’t be dead? Yes he can – and don’t call him Shirley. Erik Nielsen, dead of complications from pneumonia at 84, predeceased by his brother, former Canadian Minister of National Defence (1985-1986) Erik Nielsen.
- Taliban Propaganda Watch: IED’s allegedly destroy “tanks” in Arghandab.
Rosie DiManno has done a kick-ass job covering the hard work Canadian troops have been doing overseas, but I have to disagree with her latest column on the Daniel Ménard court martial over an affair he had with a subordinate. Here’s the e-mail I wrote and sent to Rosie:
On your Menard column: while I’ve enjoyed your material from downrange, I have to say we’re not eye-to-eye on this one.
1) You say it’s a “policy” not to have sex with colleagues. In fact, I stand to be corrected, but my understanding is that Canadian troops sign a piece of paper saying they will not fraternize while in theatre. This included the General, so this is, at one level, not living up to one’s word.
2) You say “Proscriptions against physical intimacy may be intended to safeguard morale — or so the tall forehead brass claim — but the opposite is true in practice; a good fraternizing snog can do wonders for esprit de corps.” You think seeing a boss contravene orders everyone else is supposed to follow is good for morale? How about if an affair leads to, say, the boss’ lover getting more goodie jobs and fewer shitty jobs? How’s THAT for morale? And that doesn’t JUST apply in the military – I’m guessing there’s all sorts of (and too many) private sector examples of that out there. Except in the military, the bosses can have the power to choose who goes into situations where lives are threatened – I don’t want such decisions coloured by outside factors like romantic entanglements.
3) You also say, “Far from home, living in close quarters, physically fit men and women coping with boredom punctuated by the occasional sharp up-tick of adrenalin and the very real threat of danger, it is entirely human nature to seek out comforts of the flesh.” Call me dinosaurish, but if someone can be ordered to run towards bullets when instinct says the healthier option is to run away, I think they can be trained to keep off the fraternization wagon temporarily.
I’m hoping this helps you frame the situation a bit differently.
Take care, and although I may not agree with you on this one, thanks for getting the message out about the work the CF does.
And here’s what else I should have added:
- There may be a temptation to also say, “hey, if she wasn’t working directly for him, no biggie”. Really? To use a media example, if the publisher is “snogging” a junior sales person, is the sales manager (who, in many shops, reports to the publisher) free to assign and supervise said sales person the same way as the other sales persons? Ideally, yes. Realistically? It would be a pretty compartmentalized publisher who would let one of his subordinates dish out crap jobs to his/her lover without even hinting that things could be different.
- Re: “Menard, Canada’s former top soldier in Afghanistan, is facing — technically —prison time and dishonorable discharge if convicted on two charges of conduct prejudicial and four for obstructing justice … the latter, according to sources, arise from Menard allegedly asking the woman to delete email messages he’d sent her.” On this, we’ll see what the evidence and the verdict have to say. That said, if any other government official deleted emails, or asked to delete emails, to prevent detection of wrong doing, how big a font would your paper or other media outlets use for the word “Cover Up” in a headline? A lot of people see this – trying to cover one’s tracks in a position of very senior leadership – as at least as serious, if proven, as the relationship issue itself.
Update (1): Soon to be EX-General….
Update (2): Menard pleads guilty – no word on sentence yet.
This from the CF:
Commander Canadian Expeditionary Force Command (CEFCOM), Lieutenant-General Marc Lessard announced today that he has relieved Brigadier-General Daniel Menard from his position as Commander Joint-Task Force Afghanistan (JTF-Afg) and has designated Colonel Simon Hetherington as Acting Commander in the interim.
LGen Lessard made this decision following allegations concerning BGen Menard’s inappropriate conduct related to the Canadian Forces Personal Relationships and Fraternization directives, which caused Commander CEFCOM to lose confidence in BGen Menard’s capacity to command.
An investigation into the circumstances related to the allegations is being launched.
In the near future, the Canadian Forces will dispatch former JTF-Afg Commander, Brigadier-General Jon Vance to Afghanistan to assume command, pending the arrival of the next JTF-Afg Commander, Brigadier-General Dean Milner.
Before we jump to conclusions re: the nature of the “inappropriate conduct related to the Canadian Forces Personal Relationships and Fraternization directives” being investigated, let’s look at what ELSE is covered by the regulation in question:
A CF member in a personal relationship with another CF member, DND employee or member of an allied force, contractor or an employee of a contractor shall not be involved, regardless of rank or authority, in the other person’s:
- performance assessment or reporting, including training evaluations and audits;
- posting, transfer or attached posting;
- individual training or education;
- duties or scheduling for duties;
- documents or records;
- grievance process; or
It’ll be interesting to see how this unfolds in the media.
What a difference a few days makes.
On Thursday, we hear/read (courtesy of CTV sharing a Canadian Press story) – highlights, as usual, mine:
The incoming commander of Canadian Forces in Afghanistan is preparing to change the focus of counter-insurgency efforts as he deals with the possibility NATO will once again enlarge the area under Canadian control.
Brig.-Gen. Daniel Menard said Thursday he plans to increase troop levels in the province’s dangerous capital, marking a shift from existing strategy concerned largely with rural areas southwest of the city.
“We will be putting a lot of emphasis on Kandahar city,” Menard said. “Kandahar city, for me, remains centre of gravity. It is certainly key terrain and it needs to be taken care of.” ….
Interesting, considering this quote later on:
Menard took over Thursday as commander of Task Force Kandahar from Brig.-Gen. Jonathan Vance, whose so-called “model-village approach” had won praise from Canada’s NATO allies.
“There is much that others can learn from what the Canadian Task Force has achieved in the last nine months,” (ISAF RC-South commander General Nick) Carter said at the transfer of command ceremony.
“Canada had provided a model of how modern counter-insurgency should be prosecuted.”
Well, as of today, there’s a refinement of the incoming Canadian Task Force commander’s message (via the Canadian Press):
Canada’s top general in Afghanistan says he plans to continue the model-village approach pioneered by his predecessor.
Brig. Gen. Daniel Menard says coalition forces are likely to provide Canada with enough additional resources to focus both on Kandahar city and rural areas of the province.
Menard took over last week from Brig. Gen. Jonathan Vance, who experimented with concentrating Canadian troops in districts southwest of the city….
Here’s both versions in PDF format in case the links don’t work for you.