Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight News Highlights – 24 Apr 12

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  • CSIS Boss: More AQ lone wolves=more trouble hunting them down  As many as 60 Canadians have journeyed abroad to train as al-Qaeda terrorists, this country’s spy chief revealed as he sounded a warning over the group’s shift to a much harder to detect “lone-wolf” style of attack. Richard Fadden, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, also acknowledged Monday that al-Qaeda’s switch to a sole-actor approach to inflicting damage is presenting a problem for Western anti-terrorist agencies. “This really makes things very complicated for us,” he told a Senate committee. He said this lone-wolf approach tends to attract individuals driven by ideology as well as “serious personal problems,” a combination that makes them more unpredictable ….”  More here (, here (Toronto Star) and here (Reuters)
  • Communications Security Establishment Canada spokesperson:  “…. As a leader in safeguarding Canada’s security and as an integral member of the Canadian security and intelligence community, CSEC is mandated to collect foreign signals intelligence – according to the Government of Canada’s intelligence priorities – while respecting the rights and privacy of Canadians. By law, CSEC does not direct its activities at Canadians or any person in Canada. CSEC only directs its activities at foreign entities located outside of the country. CSEC is diligent with privacy. There are strict measures in place to protect and safeguard the privacy of all Canadians at all times ….”
  • Afghanistan  Not Canadian content, but so moving (warning:  some graphic content), I just HAD to share this story – here’s a taste:  “…. The Camp Bastion trauma center is a United Kingdom facility. Severe casualties are treated by U.K. surgeons and receive U.K. blood products. American troops are kept alive by units, liters, sometimes gallons of British blood. One Marine from my unit lost both legs high on the femur in an instant, and the blast opened his pelvis. Marines and a corpsman were at his side in seconds, and knew where to find his arteries to stop the bleeding from his gaping groin. His circulatory system no longer circulated—his arteries and veins were a nest of open-ended tubes draining away from his heart. The team at Camp Bastion stabilized his injuries, and in the process gave him more than 100 units of blood. Twenty citizens’ worth of blood went into him and flowed out his wounds again before he was stable. Last summer, I found myself in a political squabble with a Briton in a bar in San Francisco. He thought American servicemen were in the grip of a narrow mythos of self-reliance. I told him about the Marine, and all the blood that had passed through him. “Your blood brings us home,” I said, and I thanked him and his countrymen. We’re Facebook friends now ….”
  • F-35 Tug o’ War (1)  Back to the House of Commons….  ” “Mr. Speaker, we do not apologize for the fact that Canada is following its laws and policies on procurement in securing replacements for the aging CF-18s,” Chris Alexander declared (yesterday) afternoon of the F-35 mess. It is unclear who demanded the Harper government apologize for following proper procurement policy. For that matter, it is unclear who has accused the Harper government of actually following proper procurement policy. Indeed, the question here, from the NDP’s Jack Harris, the brusque Newf now back on the defence file, was something else entirely. “When,” Mr. Harris asked, “will the government stop making excuses for deceiving Canadians?” Mr. Alexander’s response to this was to refuse to apologize. Twice ….”  More from the Question Period exchange here (Hansard) and here (3 page PDF)
  • F-35 Tug o’ War (2)  The air force has raised questions about whether enough has been budgeted to train pilots for the F-35 stealth fighters. About $1.3 billion was set aside for training, simulators and other infrastructure under the Harper government’s proposed $9-billion capital purchase of the radar-evading jets. But documents obtained under the Access to Information Act show air force planners have been concerned about the dollar projection. That’s because it was calculated for the standard Defence Department estimate of 20 years’ of flying, rather than the lifetime of the aircraft, which is estimated at 36 years ….”
  • F-35 Tug o’ War (3)  Mark Collins on “F-35 Costs the Canadian Government Doesn’t Like to Talk About”
  • F-35 Tug o’ War (4)  Is advertising affecting media coverage? “Another Canadian news source is helping out the F-35 program. A Hill Times article from today includes a large, glossy interactive sales advert from the maker of the F-35. iPolitics is also guilty of this behaviour in the past. It doesn’t help media credibility ….”  More from Eric Palmer’s blog here.
  • F-35 Tug o’ War (5)  Not just Canadian politicians fighting the “tell us” fight on the F-35  “Prime Minister David Cameron must release the advice given to ministers which led to them selecting the F-35C for the UK’s aircraft carriers, Shadow Defence Secretary Jim Murphy has said. While Labour had selected the F-35B when the aircraft carriers were designed, ministers opted for the F-35C during 2010’s Strategic Defence and Security Review, citing its greater payload capacity and range. Since then, however, it has looked increasingly likely that the government will revert to ordering the F-35B amid fears the cost of installing cat and trap equipment to the carriers could be as high as £1.8bn (CDN $2.9 billion) ….”
  • What’s Canada Buying?  Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle update, via the CF Info-Machine:  “…. The TAPV project will procure 500 vehicles with an option for an additional 100. Specifically, the Canadian Forces will acquire up to 197 of the recce variant and up to 307 of the general utility variant. Deliveries will begin in 2014 and initial operational capability is expected that year. The final Request for Proposals was released to the seven pre-qualified bidders on March 15, 2011. Bid closure was August 29, 2011, and four bids were received. Evaluation, including physical testing at Aberdeen Test Centre, started September 6, 2011 ….”
  • Way Up North  The largest military exercise in the High North, inside and immediately outside the Arctic Circle, since the end of the Cold War (and perhaps even before) was completed on March 21 in northern Norway. Except for the crash of a Norwegian military transport plane in Sweden during its course the world would have been unaware of it. Cold Response 2012 was conducted from March 12-21 primarily in Norway but also in Sweden with the participation of 16,300 troops from fifteen nations as part of full spectrum – air, sea, infantry and special forces – maneuvers against the backdrop of the past three years’ new scramble for the Arctic. The term High North is a translation of the Norwegian designation nordområdene which was adopted by NATO in January of 2009 for its two-day Seminar on Security Prospects in the High North in Reykjavík, Iceland attended by the bloc’s secretary general, chairman of its Military Committee and two top military commanders, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe and the Supreme Allied Commander Transformation …. Last month’s Cold Response was the largest of five such exercises held since 2006. The first was the largest military exercise ever conducted in Norway, with 10,000 troops from eleven nations. All NATO member states, at the time 26, were invited to participate …. According to the website of the Norwegian Armed Forces, military forces from fifteen nations were involved – NATO members Norway, the U.S., Britain, France, Canada and the Netherlands – as well as Partnership for Peace affiliate Sweden, part of whose territory was employed for the exercise ….”
  • UAV eyes in the sky coming to civilian skies near you, soon?  “…. A spokesperson for CAE, Inc., which is located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, has confirmed that a series of test flights have occurred in recent weeks as the country looks towards purchasing drones for domestic use. According to CAE’s vice president, Pietro D’Ulisse, the capabilities of the craft will be a great asset for law enforcement across Canada. “Much like the use of simulation in training, the use of unmanned systems for a range of civil applications has the potential to enhance safety, increase efficiency, and save money. We look forward to continuing to work closely with Aeronautics, regulatory authorities, and potential customers as we demonstrate these capabilities,” D’Ulisse reports in a recent press release ….”  More here
  • Israel’s military attache in Canada wants to hit the road, meet Canadians  “Another layer has been added to the ever-deepening bilateral relationship between Canada and Israel. Last December, Israel quietly named Brig.-Gen (Res.) Eden Attias as its first Ministry of Defence attaché to Ottawa. Prior to that, Israel’s only defence attaché in North America was stationed in Washington, D.C. Given the deepening ties and friendship between Canada and Israel, the moment was right for his new post to be created, Attias said. “Due to the flourishing relationship between Canada and Israel, one of the recent discussions between our defence ministries involved looking for ways to get more people on the ground in each country. We have a lot of things we’re sharing,” he said. In his first full interview with the media since taking up his post, Attias, 45, told The CJN last week that he’s eager to begin making contacts across the country, as well as to promote Israel’s interests to Canadians, and vice versa ….”
  • Call for a Canada-China relations thin tank  “…. Canada’s evolving regional economic requirements and a pressing nationwide requirement to diversify international markets are also re-calibrating China’s strategic relevance to Canada. The Harper government and the Canadian private sector must improve their response to these new forces. For this to happen, the creation of an independent Canada-China centre of excellence is essential. This centre should be independent, but officially recognized by Parliament. It could quantify opportunities and concerns about Canada’s relationship with China on behalf of Canada’s main political parties, business, labour, NGOs, academics, and think tanks. Other countries that have a comparable organization include the Great Britain-China Centre and the National Committee on United States-China Relations ….”
  • Poochies against PTSD  There are mornings when it’s only the persistent nudging of Halo’s cold, wet nose that convinces Richard Yuill to get out of bed. The post-traumatic stress disorder with which he has struggled since his tour of duty in Bosnia sometimes comes with crushing depression that makes it difficult for him to face the day. Seven-month-old black lab puppies care little about such things, though, especially when they have empty tummies and full bladders. “He’s pretty hard to ignore,” smiles Yuill, gently stroking the puppy’s smooth forehead. Halo — he’s named after a Canadian military operation in Haiti — is part of Bravo K9, a program of Hope Heels. The non-profit organization initially was established to help people with mental-health issues but has expanded to include current members of the Canadian Forces or veterans who have symptoms of operational stress injury or post-traumatic stress disorder, known as PTSD ….”

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