News Highlights – September 8, 2012

  • Iran (1)  No Embassy for YOU“The Harper government’s surprise decision Friday to suspend diplomatic relations with Iran is being seen as a pre-emptive move in anticipation of tougher action against the Islamic Republic.  Exactly what that will entail is unclear, with analysts predicting everything from Canada listing the infamous Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group to preparing for an Israeli military strike against Iran.  The unexpected decision has prompted mixed reactions at home and abroad, with Israel’s prime minister offering applause but former Canadian ambassadors warning Canada has lost a vital “window” into what’s happening inside the Islamic Republic.  Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, in Russia attending an APEC summit with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, announced Friday that Canada was closing its embassy in Tehran, primarily over concerns for the safety of Canadian diplomats.  “Our diplomats serve Canada as civilians and their safety is my number one priority,” he told reporters. “They don’t sign up to be put in harm’s way.”  In addition, Baird said all Iranian diplomats in Canada had been ordered out of the country within the next five days.  The government also officially listed Iran as a terrorist state, meaning victims of terrorism can sue the Islamic Republic under Canadian law.  Baird did not specify what threats Canadian diplomats are facing, prompting rampant speculation among analysts ….”  More from the Foreign Affairs Info-machine here, and from media here.
  • Iran (2)  Israel pleased ….
  • Iran (3) …. while Iran, not so much.
  • Well done to all who made it through!  Forming up at the start line at 4 a.m. yesterday morning, over 200 military personnel embarked on the non-competitive ‘ironman.’  Marking its 29th year the 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (2 CMBG) Ironman competition held at CFB Petawawa had a record number of participants. With almost 600 people wanting to compete in the event, the brigade expanded it to two days. Sept. 6 was designated the non-competitive race and today the competitive one.  For both races, participants are required to carry a 40 pound rucksack,while marching 32 kilometres, carry a canoe four kilometres, paddle the canoe eight kilometres and complete the race with a six kilometre rucksack run to the finish line.  2 CMBG Brigade Commander Colonel Simon Hetherington described the Sept. 6 participants as “people who have set a personal challenge for themselves.” ….”
  • Ooopsie…. A Canadian Forces member stationed at 19 Wing Comox is on trial for one count each of accessing and possessing child pornography.  The man’s trial began Monday, Aug 27 but was adjourned the next day. Lawyers for both sides will meet again in court Sept. 13 to set a date for the continuation of the trial.  The accused is alleged to have used the Internet to view and download child pornography images and videos, though counsel for the defense maintains that any such images or videos that may have been found, if any, were not obtained through criminal measures or for criminal purposes ….”
  • Sun Media column picks on academic who hunts for Canadian information, but won’t share his own  “…. The man who wanted all of Canada’s sensitive documents on the prosecution of a war made public is continuing a fight to stop an independent Ottawa researcher from finding out how Attaran spends tax dollars. Last year, a freedom of information request was made to the University of Ottawa seeking Attaran’s expense reports since Jan. 1, 2006. Rather than comply, the man who demanded openness from the Harper government cried foul and claimed this was an attempt to silence him. The university backed him up and fought the request.  I’m not sure how, but he eventually won and the Information Commissioner agreed that how a university professor spends tax dollars is not something the public should know. Yet somehow the inner workings of Canada’s war effort is something Attaran and his media allies think the public should know ….”

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