News Highlights – 15 Jul 11

  • Libya Mission (1)  Minister of National Defence drops by“Canadian troops in Libya are saving lives and helping to mount pressure on the country’s dictator, Moammar Gadhafi, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said Thursday. MacKay praised the Canadian Forces personnel involved in the NATO-led mission in Libya during a teleconference Thursday from Naples, Italy, calling them “our greatest citizens and our best ambassadors.” The defence minister met Wednesday with some of the 650 troops stationed at bases in Italy for the operation. Despite the ongoing violence in Libya, MacKay said the Canadian military is helping to achieve “tangible results.” ….”  A bit more in the official CF statement here.
  • Libya Mission (2)  Canadian commander:  what suicide plan to blow up Tripoli?  “Moammar Gadhafi plans to blow up facilities such as oil refineries as the embattled leader’s forces retreat from Western-backed rebels in Libya, the Canadian commander leading NATO’s mission said Thursday. However, Lt.-Gen. Charles Bouchard said he had not heard of any plan by the dictator to blow up the capital Tripoli before giving it up — a possibility recently acknowledged by a Russian envoy. Speaking from a base in Italy and accompanied by Defence Minister Peter MacKay, Bouchard said the “Gadhafi regime has given direction to his forces to destroy certain facilities as they withdraw back, such as fuel refineries. “This is a government, this is a leader who will not hesitate to kill his own population to achieve his own personal goals,” he said via video conference. Still, that doesn’t necessarily mean government forces will comply, he said ….”
  • Libya Mission (3)  Compare and contrast two models of media coverage of troops at war (h/t to Mark Collins).
  • CF helps evacuate folks from remote northern Ontario communities, again“The Government of Canada, through the work of the Canadian Forces, evacuated 125 residents of Cat Lake First Nation, Ontario, overnight, after wildfires in the area were threatening their welfare. This operation was undertaken at the request of the Government of Ontario …. Within an hour of the province’s request for airlift support, two CC-130 Hercules; one from 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron, based at 17 Wing Winnipeg and one from 424 Transport and Rescue Squadron, based at 8 Wing Trenton, were en route to the affected community. Less than three hours later, all the residents identified as a priority for evacuation by local authorities were safely on the ground in Kapuskasing, Ontario ….”
  • Afghanistan (1)  Former General facing Court Martial for alleged dalliances in Afghanistan“…. Retired Brig.-Gen. Ménard has been charged with two counts of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline contrary to section 129 of the National Defence Act. The first charge relates to his alleged inappropriate conduct by engaging in an intimate personal relationship with another member of the Task Force at Kandahar Airfield contrary to Theatre Standing Orders. The second charge relates to alleged attempts by the accused to hinder efforts to find out the facts about that relationship ….”  Here’s what he was originally charged with late last year“…. The charges facing Brig.-Gen. Ménard are two counts of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline, laid in the alternative, contrary to section 129 of the National Defence Act (NDA), related to alleged inappropriate conduct as outlined in the Canadian Forces Personal Relationships and Fraternization directives; and four counts of obstructing justice contrary to section 130 of the NDA, pursuant to section 139(2) of the Criminal Code of Canada….”  More from Postmedia News here and here.
  • Afghanistan (2)  Great flick from the CF Info-Machine’s multimedia section on Canada’s training and mentoring mission that’s just wrapped up.  Shame it didn’t get out sooner – good job!
  • Afghanistan (3)  More video from the CF Info-Machine on how shuras helped get the job done in Kandahar.  Again, shame it didn’t get out sooner.
  • Afghanistan (4)  The Toronto Star picks up the “garage sale” story and runs with it.
  • Afghanistan (5)  One opponent of the war’s “black or white” assessment“The narrative of Canada’s role in the Afghan civil war as told by the country’s mainstream media is designed to lead readers and viewers to two inescapable conclusions: First, that after 10 years, Canada’s involvement in the conflict has come to a definitive end. Second, that thanks to the efforts and sacrifices of Canada’s troops, at least 157 of whom have died with scores more maimed physically and mentally, the West has triumphed unconditionally in Afghanistan. Alas, the balance of probability is high that both these yarns are baloney ….”  A “definitive” end?  “Unconditionally” triumphed?  I’d be happy to see some mainstream media sources using words that specific.  Anyone?  Anyone?
  • Paratroopers from around the world meeting, and jumping, around Quinte. “Beach-goers at Sandbanks Provincial Park had some added scenery Thursday as military skydivers took part in an international parachuting operation over Lake Ontario. Military skydivers from Chile, United States, United Kingdom, Poland, Mexico and Canada have been in the Quinte region since the weekend, taking part in Exercise Quinte Dipper, an international exercise, aimed at familiarizing the skydivers with other country’s training methods. Capt. Christopher Nobrega, an adjutant from the Land Advanced Warfare Centre at 8 Wing Trenton said the week-long exercise helps the military personnel familiarize themselves with their counterparts from other countries ….”
  • Special Forces helicopter ops over Windsor over and done with “Nighttime military exercises over Windsor, Ont., this week have come to an end. And both the Canadian Forces and local residents who came out to watch were pleased with how the manoeuvres went. On two nights this week, two CH-146 Griffon helicopters with the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command buzzed the top of the downtown Chrysler building in the dark. Lights on the choppers were turned off, and the pilots wore night-vision goggles as they approached the building from all directions on Tuesday and Wednesday nights ….”
  • New bosses for Royal Military College and 1 Canadian Air Division.
  • What’s Canada Buying? (1)  Someone to do a survey of what’s where at the CFB Stadacona Naval Cemetery, research into biomarkers spotting acute low-level radiation poisoning and heated innerwear for divers for delivery to Richmond, Ontario.
  • What’s Canada Buying? (2)  “L-3 Communications Corporation, Arlington, Texas, is being awarded approximately $22 million for the hardware and software to upgrade the Canadian Air Force’s training system from the existing Advanced Distributed Combat Training System to the current U.S. Navy Tactical Operation Flight Trainers Roadmap Procurement Program baseline. In addition, this contract includes the installation and testing of the hardware and software for six networked CF-18 nine-panel Tactical Operational Flight trainers; 10 Part Task Trainers and six brief and debrief systems; a theater specific visual database; Simulated Joint Helmet Mounted Cueing System; new personal computer-based image generation; and operator, maintenance and user defined file training for approximately 10 students ….”
  • Preserving Korea’s stories.  “Capt. Mort Lightstone spent 6,600 hours in the air during the Korean War. He doesn’t want that to be forgotten. “As time goes by, we lose memory of those bad times,” said the 78-year-old veteran, who joined the Royal Canadian Air Force when he was 18. Today, he takes pride in talking to students around the country about his experience as a navigator in the war, and teaching them how to “salute veterans.” Lightstone, who served for 28 years in the Canadian military, still remembers how terrifying it could get. “We knew dying was part of the game,” he said, adding it shows the determination to defend people’s rights abroad. Lightstone believes every Canadian should have a chance to know what veterans went through as they fought during World War II and the Korean War. He is among the war vets who have joined the Historica-Dominion Institute’s Memory Project to help get their stories heard and shared by Canadians ….”

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