News Highlights – November 13, 2012

  • Remembering (1)  From one soldier’s take on Remembrance Day  “…. I noticed a Korean War Veteran pin on his jacket, so I asked him if he served in Korea and he said yes. So I thank him for his service, telling him that I am Korean and I appreciate what he did. This veteran became a bit emotional, because he could see the product of his sacrifice; a living proof that what he did was worth it. A Korean-Canadian who had the opportunity to live in liberty and freedom, because of him and other Canadians who served in Korea. If it weren’t for veterans like him, my father would not have had the choice to seek a better life for his family by immigrating to Canada. And the time gap between his tour in Korea to this event was more than 50 years ….”
  • Remembering (2)  “…. It is not about victory or military prowess and national accomplishment, still less about victims and criminals. It is about people who died. To label them heroes or victims, to enlist them in some political debate, robs them of their humanity. Remembrance Day is about Harry Cherry and Pat McCarty and 100,000 others. The debates about war and peace will rage on, but let the dead have their two minutes ….”
  • Column:  “Ottawa glorifies veterans — as long as they don’t cost anything
  • Toronto War Memorial Vandalism Being Looked at as a Hate Crime – CBC was a little behind the others , but they too now have the story.
  • CBC talks to a bunch of folks about defence spending  “Shrinking budgets in the years ahead is leading to questions about what kind of military Canada will have ….”
  • Joshua Baker, 1985-2010, R.I.P.  It was longest nine hours of Jim Scott’s life, from hearing his son was critically injured in an explosion, to learning the 24-year-old artillery soldier might just survive.  The news from Afghanistan was grim — a mine had gone off at close range, the blast peppering Bombardier Dan Scott and his close friend Cpl. Josh Baker with 700 steel balls.  Baker died quickly, even as Scott held his buddy’s hand in the ambulance. Scott was torn open by the mine, his internal organs shredded by the lethal shrapnel.  And for horrified family back in Canada, the nightmare grew worse.  Accurate news was hard to come by from the far-off theatre of war, and at first, the injuries sounded minor.  But then Dan’s condition was downgraded to very serious — the worst condition possible before death.  The commanding officer, who’d come to the family home to say Bombardier Scott was hurt but OK, left to put on the formal uniform required to break the news of death, if needed ….”        
  • Good point  “Last week the CBC got its hands on an amateur video produced by some of our soldiers for a comedy night at a military base in Nova Scotia back in 2010.  It was a short, four-minute spoof making fun of Osama Bin Laden’s older brother, “Eugene.”  The CBC says it got this video last month. But it sat on it for weeks, in order to release it as a big, breathless exclusive right before Remembrance Day.  It’s obvious why. It was the CBC’s way of showing what it thinks of our Canadian Forces: That they’re a bunch of racist pigs.  The CBC said the video was an exclusive. But it actually wasn’t. Because the CBC called the military police to come watch the video at the CBC offices. The CBC isn’t just reporting on this “scandal.” It is pitching it to the police, with the implication that the police should lay charges.  The CBC isn’t even pretending to be reporters. It is an anti-military activist ….”  The CBC called the Military Police to see some video?  One wonders if the CBC would have been as co-operative if civilian cops asked for video shot by the CBC?
  • Way Up North (1)  U.S. Coast Guard wraps up big Alaskan exercise ….
  • Way Up North (2) …. while Indian analysts mull why they should be interested in the Arctic, too        
  • When it comes to trust, a new Environics survey finds Canadians rank near the bottom of the pack — among citizens of 26 countries in the Americas — in having faith in their leaderThe survey found Prime Minister Stephen Harper scores a rating of “a lot of trust” from only 16 per cent of Canadians.    According to the Globe and Mail, that same survey finds we have a more peachy view of the Canadian Armed Forces. 53 per cent of respondents gave a thumb’s up to the military, compared to only 36 per cent for the RCMP.  The Prime Minister wasn’t the only one to get a low mark.  Parliament got a rating of only 17 per cent, just one percentage point ahead of Harper.  Those of composing these stories in the mass media rated even more poorly, with a a trust rating of only 6 per cent.”
  • Attempts to bundle several civil suits filed against convicted killer and former Canadian Forces colonel Russell Williams and his estranged wife will take another step forward this week.  Lawyers handling the case are anticipating a draft order seeking permission to compile the multiple suits under one umbrella will make its way to the regional senior justice for approval later this week.  The lawyers are calling for a Kingston, Ont., adjudicator to case manage the mounting files detailing damages sought by various victims.  Williams is serving life in prison in Kingston. He was convicted in October 2010 of sexually attacking two Tweed, Ont., women and the first-degree murders of Cpl. Marie- France Comeau, 37, of Brighton, Ont., and Jessica Lloyd, 27, of Belleville. He was also convicted of dozens of break-and-enters and thefts in Belleville, Tweed and Ottawa.  Administrative hiccups have been blamed for the slowed progression of the matter to its current stage, since Justice Robert Scott consented to recusing himself from the suit in September, agreeing that a Kingston judge handle claims being filed by plaintiffs and defendants in the multimillion-dollar civil suit ….”      
  • No word on the obtained report being shared, so no word on what else is there, when the report was even produced  The Public Safety Department worries Canada is becoming a digital launching pad for – not just a target of – malicious cyber-activities, confidential briefing notes reveal.  Traditionally, most cybercriminals are known for plotting their online schemes in places like Eastern Europe, East Asia and Africa, say departmental notes prepared for a closed-door meeting of the Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security.  “This may be shifting to more developed countries such as Canada, the U.S. and France – countries with good reputations,” say the notes, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.  “Plainly said, we may be moving from being mostly ‘targets’ of organized cybercrime hosted in outside jurisdictions, to ‘hosts’ of online cybercrime operations and activities.”  The notes were drafted for an introductory discussion by Brett Kubicek, Public Safety’s manager of research and ac ademic relations, at the roundtable’s June meeting.  The roundtable, which com-rises members of various ethnic backgrounds, tries to foster dialogue on security issues between government officials and minority communities.  “When it comes to cyberspace, it’s likely that the flow of questions facing policy-makers will continue to outpace readily available and clear solutions for the foreseeable future,” say Kubicek’s notes.  His comments followed an explicit warning from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service about homegrown websites that support and incite terrorist violence ….”      
  • Something from the U.S. DHS, via from April 2011  “This Assessment examines terrorist threats to the Marine Transportation System (MTS) relevant to the U.S. and Canadian maritime borders, and updates unclassified judgments from the 2007 Canadian Integrated Threat Assessment Centre (ITAC) product, “Terrorist Threat to the Canadian Maritime Sector,” and the 2008 USCG Intelligence Coordination Center product, “National Maritime Terrorism Threat Assessment.” The information is provided in support of the activities of the Department and to assist federal, state, and local government counterterrorism and law enforcement officials in effectively deterring, preventing, preempting, or responding to maritime terrorist attacks against the United States and Canada.  This document provides an updated baseline for MTS threats to support the activities of the Department and assist other federal, state, and local government agencies and authorities; the private sector; and other entities, both in implementing joint U.S. and Canadian strategies for northern border security ….”
  • On behalf of the Honourable Peter Kent, Canada’s Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, (yesterday) announced the designation of Canada’s participation in the Royal Flying Corps as an event of national historic significance …. During the First World War, nine facilities were set up in Canada that trained 11,928 air force personnel of all ranks for the Royal Flying Corps (later the Royal Air Force), many of whom, after the war, would provide the foundation for the development of the Royal Canadian Air Force. Canadian airmen made a vital contribution to the success of the Royal Flying Corps’ war effort. Prominent members of the Royal Flying Corps included two recipients of the highest award for valour, the Victoria Cross: William Avery Bishop, with 72 credited victories, the second highest total in the Royal Flying Corps; and, William Barker, with 50 victories and one of the most decorated Canadian serviceman in history.  This new designation will be included in Canada’s system of national historic sites, persons and events, on the recommendation of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada ….”

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