Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight News Highlights – December 21, 2012

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  • One more year in Kosovo ….  “…. the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, announced that the Government of Canada has extended its commitment to provide members of the Canadian Armed Forces to support theNATO-led Kosovo Force based in Pristina until December 2014 …. Kosovo Force has been contributing to the maintenance of freedom of movement and ensuring a safe and secure environment for all people in Kosovo since 1999.  Established under United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244, Kosovo Force supports the development of a peaceful, stable and multi-ethnic Kosovo.  In doing so, Kosovo Force is also responsible for the development of the Kosovo Security Force.  The Kosovo Security Force conducts crisis response operations in Kosovo and abroad, civil protection operations within Kosovo, and assists Kosovo civil authorities during natural disasters and other emergencies …. Eight Canadian Armed Forces personnel currently support Kosovo Force as part of Canada’s Operation Kobold. They serve in a variety of staff roles from assisting in the development of the Kosovo Security Force and its civilian Ministry, to the coordination of logistical support for the NATO force. Earlier this fall, the Canadian Armed Forces increased its commitment to Kosovo Force from five to a maximum of ten personnel ….”   
  • …. and a few more troops to Haiti“The Harper government has quietly considered a proposal to contribute more peacekeepers to the UN stabilization mission in Haiti in a goodwill gesture aimed at Brazil.  The emerging economic power in South America is the biggest contributor to the international military force in the hard-pressed Caribbean nation.  Ottawa and Brasilia have discussed the idea of embedding a Canadian platoon of soldiers in an existing Brazilian unit, as well as deploying additional Canadian troops to help with headquarters and logistics, according a set of internal Defence Department briefings.  The initial contribution plan, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, calls for a force of 50 Canadian soldiers.  “The security situation has improved since 2010, but still remains fragile,” said a Jan. 6, 2012, briefing for Defence Minister Peter MacKay.  The proposal has been floating around National Defence headquarters for almost two years, but has yet to receive the blessing of the federal cabinet despite — according to the documents — the backing MacKay and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird.  A spokesman for Foreign Affairs said Canada has a “long-standing relationship with Haiti that reflects the strong ties between our peoples.” But Joshua Zanin added it would be inappropriate to speculate on a future military mission ….”  A reminder:  we already have a handful of folks in Haiti as part of Operation Hamlet.   
  • Afghanistan (1)  Joshua Baker, 1985-2010, R.I.P.  When Capt. Darryl Watts and his platoon left the security of Camp Nathan Smith, the soldiers were expected to have a live round in the chamber in all weaponsSafety on, but ready to fight at a moment’s notice.  It’s Feb. 12, 2010, and having suffered massive casualties – four soldiers killed in action, four wounded, the death of Calgary Herald reporter Michelle Lang and the injuries of a foreign affairs worker – just six weeks before in an IED explosion, the soldiers knew all too well that an attack can spring in an instant.  Watts, a popular Calgary firefighter and reservist, led them that day to what was supposed to be a simple day of weapons exercises.  It was anything but ….”
  • Afghanistan (2)  Christmas greetings from troops in Afghanistan, courtesy of the CF Info-machine   
  • Afghanistan (3)  “Catherine Jones laughs a lot.  “I’m the only person stupid enough to pay to go to a war zone!” she says with one of her deep, rich laughs.  That laugh, which is often self-deprecating, helped break the ice with the soldiers.  Jones was in Afghanistan around Christmas 2009 to film a documentary about the life of the everyday soldier. Titled 15:13, it airs …. Jan. 10, at 11 p.m., on CBC’s documentary channel.  The timing was pure coincidence, but it suits her story and her theme.  “It’s all about love,” says Jones, a painter and filmmaker who has lived in Halifax since 2002.  As a painter, Jones honoured veterans in At the End of the Day, her 2003 to 2005 series of oil-on-linen portraits of Canadian, British and German Second World War veterans. One was of her late father, William Guy Jones, who was a prisoner of war in North Africa.  She was determined to continue to honour the everyday soldier by going to Afghanistan.  After being accepted into Canada’s war artist program in 2005, she was told in 2006 that artists weren’t being sent to Afghanistan.  Then she met Maj.-Gen. Ian. C. Poulter when he unveiled her painting at Vimy. To commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, Jones had painted a large-scale portrait of two Canadian soldiers killed in 1917 during the battle for the ridge.  Jones was starting to think a movie would be a better way to capture “the notion of comradeship unknown to civilians” and “what it’s really like over there.”  “Ian was the one who said, ‘Do you want to make a movie about the NSE?’ And I was, ‘Sure, what are they?’”  Instead of focusing on battle groups, 15:13 is a portrait of the National Support Element, the clerks, machinists, mechanics, launderers, cooks and truck drivers or “the beans, boots and bullets people.” ….”     
  • More on the snowboarder rescued by the RCAF this week (via the RCAF Info-machine)
  • Remember the chap found guilty of some sexual assaults in Petawawa in 2010?  A Canadian soldier found guilty of assaulting two women may have to undergo a psychiatric assessment and could be declared a dangerous offender.  Cpl. Christopher Chaulk, 28, of Base Petawawa, pleaded guilty to two counts of assault causing bodily harm. In an agreed statement of facts, the soldier admitted his role in two attacks that occurred at the base during the early morning hours of May 6 and May 8, 2010. At the time, Chaulk was training to deploy to Afghanistan as part of Task Force 1-10.  Chaulk is due back in court Jan. 4 to hear Justice Martin James’ ruling on the psychiatric assessment.  Crown attorney Jason Nicol said Wednesday he has filed an application to have the accused declared a dangerous offender ….”      
  • While beancounters search for ways to cut costs, this from the Minister of Defence (about eight weeks after the fact)  On October 29, 2012, I approved the Chief of the Defence Staff’s recommendation to establish the position of the Canadian Forces Judge Advocate General at the rank of Major-General from that of Brigadier-General and to promote the Judge Advocate General, Major-General Blaise Cathcart, to that rank.  The elevation of the Judge Advocate General’s rank is a significant recognition of the importance of the Judge Advocate General’s position …. The rank of Major-General is appropriate in keeping with the practice of a number of our allies. Most importantly, it will enhance the Judge Advocate General’s independence and his ability, and that of the Office of the Judge Advocate General, to provide oversight of the military justice system and to efficiently and effectively deliver timely, independent, operationally focused and solution oriented legal services to the Government of Canada, the Canadian Forces and the Department of National Defence ….” – more on the promotion at here.
  • On behalf of the Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, David Tilson, Member of Parliament, Dufferin–Caledon, …. announced support of up to $50,000 for a project in Orangeville, Ontario. This funding, provided through the Community War Memorial Program, will help to construct the new Bravery Park Monument, which is part of a larger community effort to transform Orangeville’s Mill Square Park into a military themed park referred to as “Bravery Park.” The park will honour the bravery of all those who served and those who are still serving ….”   
  • Interesting theory….A security expert says Canada needs to go beyond screening for terrorists landing on our shores and consider the religious beliefs of some prospective immigrants.  Scott Newark says Canada should be concerned about “Islamist” immigrants.  Newark served as executive officer of the Canadian Police Association and also worked as a security and policy advisor to both the Ontario and federal Ministers of Public Safety.  “We need to think hard about what I would call ‘Islamism’, the political Islam that has absolutely no interest whatsoever in integration, that is intolerant and unyielding and absolutely committed to eradicating Western values,” he said in an interview.  Newark says if Canada did a better job screening prospective immigrants, Omar Khadr might not be household name ….” – article also available here if previous link doesn’t work   
  • Another gang onto Canada’s official list o’ bad guys/terror groups  “The Honourable Vic Toews, Canada’s Minister of Public Safety, today announced that the Government of Canada has made changes to the Criminal Code list of terrorist entities.  “The list of terrorist entities sends a strong message that Canada will not tolerate terrorist activities, including terrorist financing, or those who support such activities,” said Minister Toews. “That is why Canada has made the principled decision to add the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Qods Force to the list.”  The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Qods Force is the clandestine branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps responsible for extraterritorial operations, and for exporting the Iranian Revolution through activities such as facilitating terrorist operations.  The Qods Force provides arms, funding and paramilitary training to extremist groups, including the Taliban, Lebanese Hizballah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command ….” – more on Canada being cross with Iran from the Foreign Affairs minister here.
  • BAAAD helper of North Korean kidnappers!  “For decades, North Korea’s communist regime sent agents abroad to abduct defectors, whose fate for abandoning the insular kingdom was imprisonment without trial, beatings, torture and death.  The abductions occurred mostly in South Korea and China but a man who admits to having taken part in the program was recently caught in Canada, prompting the government to seek his deportation.  Ottawa’s successful effort to obtain a deportation order against the state-sponsored abductor was described in an Immigration and Refugee Board decision released to the National Post on Wednesday.  But the case is being treated with such secrecy that much of the ruling was deleted by officials, apparently including the man’s name, age, nationality, when and how he came to Canada and what he was doing here ….”   
  • Time to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in 2014 with a new coinCheck out the petition here, and discussion of the idea at here.

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21 December 12 at 7:45

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