Posts Tagged ‘Valcartier’
- Cpl. Yannick Scherrer, Royal 22e Régiment, R.I.P. Arriving back in Canada this afternoon – more here.
- Libya Ops (1) – Canadian General says all good to go in transfer of ops to NATO command.
- Libya Ops (2) – American General on who’s in charge of what in Libya, the short version (“#NATO is now in charge of ALL military operations in #Libya: Humanitarian, Arms Embargo, No-Fly Zone, and Protection of Civilians.”) and the longer version.
- Libya Ops (3) – “Enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya required four sorties by NATO aircraft in the past 24 hours, the Pentagon said Tuesday. As of 1000 GMT (6am EDT Tuesday), NATO carried out four flights to police the no-fly zone against the Libyan regime, along with four other sorties in support of the mission, according to information released by the Pentagon. The figures followed comments from US and allied commanders that the regime’s air defenses have been knocked out in earlier coalition raids, with Moamer Kadhafi’s aircraft effectively shut down under a no-fly zone now firmly in place. The four no-fly zone sorties were flown by Canada and Spain, using F-18 fighter jets, said a US defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity ….”
- Libya Ops (4) – Guess which Foreign Affairs Minister wasn’t at a big meeting on Libya this week?
- Libya Ops (5) – TorStar columnist: “The life and death issue that no major party leader wants to talk about in this election campaign is war. Canada is involved in two now. But to listen to the leaders you’d never know. Our latest war is being waged against Libya. Like the endless adventure in Afghanistan, this one, too, slipped by beneath the radar of public consciousness. Yes, there was a debate of sorts in Parliament. But it was short and perfunctory. The Conservative government and all three opposition parties agreed that Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi is a bad dude, that the United Nations was right to authorize attacks against his country and that Canadian fighter jets should join in with gusto. Then they got back to the real business of Canadian politics: slagging one another over which party is the most dishonest ….”
- One man’s “gag order” is another man’s “be very careful what you say during an election campaign.” “The federal government has restricted media interviews of officials in Afghanistan because of the election campaign, a move that one critic says hampers the public’s understanding of Canada’s mission in the war-torn country. The restrictions became known after The Canadian Press requested an interview this week with Tim Martin, Canada’s top diplomat in Kandahar. The request was for a story about a transfer of command ceremony that took place Tuesday at Camp Nathan Smith on the outskirts of Kandahar city. Such events happen from time to time and Tuesday’s ceremony was expected to mark a major milestone as Canada was set to hand over command of the Provincial Reconstruction Team’s training centre to Afghanistan’s Ministry of the Interior and NATO forces …. A spokesman for the Canadian International Development Agency rejected the interview request, saying Martin would not be granting interviews in the duration of the five-week election campaign. Adam Sweet said an order was in effect restricting federal officials from talking to the media aimed at preventing them from making public comments that could influence, or appear to influence, the outcome of the election. “We act with as much restraint as possible, confining ourselves to public business and this rule applies to our communications activities as well,” Sweet said. Nina Chiarelli, the acting director of communications for the prime minister, denied there was an order in place that prevented federal officials from speaking with reporters. But she said communications with the media are restricted during an election ….”
- Former OMLT’eer Bruce Ralston sounds off on his blog about the recent Rolling Stones article on American soldiers accused of assassinating innocent Afghans: “…. Like the vast majority of soldiers in the theatre, these sick little f__ks had as little contact as possible throughout their tour with local nationals, who were about as real to them as sprites in a video game. This was a predictable consequence of all the distance we have put in this military context between Us and Them, the “Them” in this case being the people we were sent to protect. Our whole approach to force protection, with all of its interacting with the host nation only across razor wire or through gunsights, is a concomitant cause of these atrocities ….”
- F-35 Tug o’ War (1) – “Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff promised Monday to re-examine a deal to buy the next-generation F-35 stealth fighter plane, but military experts say it would be pointless for a Liberal government to hold a “fly-off” competition to replace Canada’s deteriorating CF-18 fighter-bombers given that there is no alternative that would suit the Canadian Forces’ needs. “We are going to replace the CF-18 -we care about the sovereignty of Canada. But we’ve got time to get this right. [The Conservatives] tried to hustle the country into a purchase without a competitive process” ….”
- F-35 Tug o’ War (2) - “New fighter jets Canada plans to buy will be more than $100 million each — at least $25 million more per plane than government estimates — according to a top U.S. budget watchdog. Conservative government officials have said 65 new joint strike fighters being built to replace Canada’s F-18 jets will cost about $75 million each, about $9 billion with training and an additional $200-$300 million a year in maintenance. But Mike Sullivan, director of acquisition management at the US General Accountability Office, said he doesn’t know where that estimate comes from. “That’s not a number that I am familiar with at all,” he said in an interview Tuesday with CBC’s Power & Politics with Evan Solomon, cautioning he hasn’t seen the methodology behind the numbers. Sullivan said the estimated cost of the F-35A model that Canada is buying is “in the low 100 millions.” “Probably somewhere between $110-115 million,” he said. A prominent Conservative admitted to CBC that the cost of the F-35 fight jets might not be as the government has promised. Earlier on Power & Politics, Conservative MP Laurie Hawn said Canada is buying the planes at the peak of their production, making them cheaper than the $133 million the U.S. estimates their jets will cost. Hawn also said the $133 million estimate is an average of three models being built, of which the Canadian jet is the cheapest ….”
- Poochies helping Canada’s wounded warriors.
- What’s Canada Buying? Lockheed Martin Canada gets big (+$22M) gig building battle simulators for Gagetown, Valcartier, Petawawa and Wainwright.
- A bit of plaid military history being made. “An elite unit of Second World War commandos with a reputation for daring and stealth that earned it the nickname The Black Devils are being honoured with the creation of an original Scottish tartan. A new tartan design will be officially filed with the Scottish national tartan registry for the First Special Service Force, a Canadian-American unit created in 1942 and disbanded after barely a year of intense warfare. The creation of the tartan is being spearheaded by the Helena, Montana-based Shining Thistle Pipe Band and the First Special Service Force Association, which represents the remaining members of the unit and their descendants. The force trained at Fort William Henry Harrison in Helena before heading into combat. “We want to not only recognize and honour them, but to hear their stories before they are lost,” said Bill Woon, the executive director of the association and the son of a Canadian member of the commando unit ….” FYI, today’s Canadian Special Operations Regiment (CSOR) perpetuates the Canadian element of the First Special Service Force.
- More class acts from a classy guy (and an… interesting interpretation of the military environment from an unidentified source). “Police found child porn on serial sex criminal Russell Williams’ computer but laid no charges in exchange for him pleading guilty to murder and sexual assault, a new book says. The former commander of Canada’s largest military airfield wouldn’t admit to downloading pictures of teenaged girls in sexual positions, Globe and Mail reporter Timothy Appleby writes in “A New Kind of Monster.” A source quoted in the book said Williams couldn’t face the stigma attached to child pornography, though he was willing to plead guilty to murder, rape and a series of bizarre sexually motivated break-ins. “This is a guy who structured his life around how he saw others act, and that’s how his morality base came about,” said the source, who was involved in the case. “In the military, you can kill people, it’s accepted … it’s within the realm of human behaviour. And in war, rape is within that realm as well. The one thing that isn’t, and stands outside that, is (sexual abuse of) children.” ….” Note to book author Tim Appleby and whoever his source is: if the source is quoted correctly, and if the source really thinks this, s/he’s wrong. Rape is NEVER acceptable in any context in the CF, and killing is ONLY to be carried out when following accepted rules of engagement (usually as a measure of last resort). If this reflects what the source thinks, that source is sadly mistaken.
- A Canadian Forces media advisory says Canada’s next contingent (a battle group based on troops from the Royal 22nd Regiment from Valcartier, Quebec) is beginning its deployment to Afghanistan – bonne chance, and stay safe!
- Canadian troops in Kandahar are now working for a new American boss, according to the Canadian Press. Meanwhile, the outgoing commander of Regional Command South, British General Nick Carter, is quoted by UK media saying that squeezing Taliban supply lines is making it harder for the insurgents to make IEDs: “The price of ammonium nitrate has increased 10 times. Basic IED components by 11 times. With these constraints and the economic impact of the poppy blight this year, we believe it is difficult for them to go on the offensive.”
- One sign of success in Kandahar, according to a story posted to the Government of Canada’s Afghan mission page? “Increased participation at local shuras shows that people are turning to their government to get things done. In southern Afghanistan, that means security operations are achieving a positive effect.” I hope so, but I’d be happy to see comments from those more in the know about such things.
- “It is in the early spring that they are going to have to start looking inward” - this from a Canadian officer just back from Afghanistan, quoted by Postmedia News, regarding how Canada will “rapidly begin winding down as much as three months before a July 1, 2011 deadline set by the House of Commons”.
- A reminder that it’s not JUST soldiers working hard in Afghanistan, from the Toronto Star: ” “Some things you just can’t change, so you have to make the best of it,” added the Jamaican-born police officer. “Most people can’t see it, but what we’re doing here is great.” (Toronto Police Service Constable Toronto police Constable Phillip Sinclair, 36) is one of 32 Canadian police, including several Toronto police officers, working against the clock in Kandahar to help the Afghan police force shape up before Canada’s military mission is set to end next July….”
- Is everyone in Cabinet happy with the Omar Khadr plea bargain, including serving part of his sentence here? Apparently not, if you believe this from this blog post by a Sun Media senior correspondent on Parliament Hill: “…. Conservative cabinet ministers are not happy with the Khadr deal and the reality that he will be returned to Canada next year and free shortly thereafter. On Monday when cabinet gathered to prepare for question period tempers flared. According to sources at the meeting and those close to cabinet ministers, there was yelling and accusations. Top Conservatives are also not happy with the way the Khadr deal was handled. The deal appears to have been sealed while Prime Minister Stephen Harper was travelling in Europe and there is the suggestion that foreign affairs officials used this time to offer and accept more than Harper was willing to. Diplomatic notes were exchanged with the Americans on October 23rd in the middle of Harper’s trip to Switzerland and the Ukraine. The question now is, was Harper fully aware? ….” My guess: would something this big go down WITHOUT the PM’s approval, no matter where he was in the world? If he could be reached, he could provide input.
- Canadian Press says: “A trove of leaked internal Veterans Affairs documents suggests bureaucrats knew from the beginning that a new system of benefits would mean less cash for injured soldiers with one analysis projecting savings of up to $40 million per year….” And who’s fault is it? According to the Veterans Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn, quoted by CP as well, “the Conservative government is only cleaning up the mess the Liberals left behind when it comes to benefits — or lack of them — for injured soldiers….” BTW, CP, any chance of sharing some of those documents with the public?
- Blog Watch: “UBC Student Brian Platt travels to Afghanistan for a 10-day trip to explore how the country has changed, and the role students and universities are playing”. Check it out – it’s great stuff. Meanwhile, my fave new acronym describing non-governmental organizations (oxymoronically) organized by governments: GONGO (Government-organized NGO). More on that, and how Afghanistan’s new Youth High Peace Council(link to ISAF news release) might be considered one, here at the Afghanistan Analysts Network.
- Taliban Propaganda Watch: Taliban claims responsibility for more than 30 killed in Kandahar, Zabul attacks
Enjoy your day!
This from the Canadian Forces:
One Canadian soldier was killed and four others were injured when their armoured vehicle struck an improvised explosive device north of Kandahar City in the Shah Wali Kowt District. The incident occurred at approximately 5:00 p.m., Kandahar time, on April 13, 2009. The fallen soldier is Trooper Karine Blais, from 12e Régiment Blindé du Canada based at Canadian Forces Base Valcartier. Trooper Blais was serving with the 2nd Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment Battle Group ….
Condolences to family, colleagues and friends of the fallen, and hopes for a full and speedy recovery for the injured.