Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight News Highlights – January 18, 2013

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  • More Mali (1a)  Canada’s first drop-off complete – this (via Google Translate) from the French defence ministry info-machine“…. This day was mainly marked by the arrival of France Helicopter Group aero-mobile. They were transported by a strategic airlifter C17 Canadian, marking the beginning of Canada’s support for the operation Serval …. ” – more from media here.
  • More Mali (1b)  Still, France wants MORE ….  “…. While the French military appreciates this logistical support, France’s ambassador to Canada, Philippe Zeller, told CBC News Thursday that his country wants Canada to provide it for longer than the limited period Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced on Monday.  French President François Hollande and Harper spoke by telephone Wednesday. The brief information provided by the prime minister’s office about the call didn’t indicate that extending Canada’s mission was part of the conversation, but Zeller says that’s when the request was made ….”
  • More Mali (1c)  Meanwhile,France’s appeal for more troops in Mali falling on deaf ears
  • More Mali (2)  DFAIT Travel Warning:  Don’t Go to Mali, and Get Out if you’re There!
  • More Mali (3)  He’s (allegedly) baaaack….. He was dubbed “The Uncatchable.” The RCMP tried to catch him anyway, determined to prosecute him for kidnapping two Canadian diplomats and holding them for 130 days in the Sahara desert.  The hunt by the RCMP failed – and now their target, Mokhtar Belmokhtar, is reported to be the mastermind behind a dramatic Algerian hostage-taking raid that reveals the regional perils attached to the French-led military offensive in Mali.  About 20 heavily armed Islamist radicals killed a Briton and an Algerian at a natural-gas complex in Algeria Wednesday morning. They injured six others and captured dozens of hostages, including ciizens of the U.S., Britain, France, Norway, Ireland and Japan ….”
  • More Mali (4)  Sun Media opinion piece  “….  Why is Canada involving itself in Mali’s civil war? A war between undemocratic military autocrats and Qaddafi-trained Jihadists?  We have no strategic interests, few economic ties, and no cultural or historic attachment with Mali. We’ve called the regime illegitimate and condemned their actions.  Are we just going to keep chasing al-Qaeda around Africa, even if it means teaming up with warlords and despots?  War is a horrible thing. It causes death and destruction. It kills the good alongside the bad. There are plenty of regimes we don’t like around the world, plenty of terrible governments harming their people.  We should learn from our mistakes in Libya and the unintended consequences of our actions against Qaddafi. For every bad guy you eventually kill, you engage and activate unknown others along the way ….”
  • More Mali (5)  More on whazzup in Mali here (Google News), here (EMM Explorer) and here (France’s defence ministry’s latest update in French)
  • More “down the road” talk about the CF  The Canadian Forces (CF) face an existential question.  It is not the quality of its individual members; they are thoroughly trained and individually highly professional, well-led soldiers, sailors and aviators.  It is not the quality of its equipment, despite substantial concerns over “rusted out” naval vessels, questionable submarines, and delays into the never/never decisions for next-generation aircraft.  Rather, the question is the mission the CF will pursue into the out years of the first half of the 21st century.  And mission equals money; money equals mission …..”
  • More in the same vein  “…. At one extreme are those who call for Canada, like Iceland and Costa Rica, to abandon our standing army and no longer be part of NATO. Most Canadians appear to favour a military which is adequately equipped and funded to protect our sovereignty over territorial waters and airspace, and to have a say at the table on global security by rapidly deploying anywhere in the world on occasions when needed to protect civilians under siege. I favour this approach.”
  • Canadian military veterans living on Ottawa’s streets need more help, according to an Ottawa city councillor, who is trying to push officials to improve th co-ordination of support servicesCoun. Steve Desroches, who represents the ward of Gloucester-South Nepean, said he believes all the necessary support programs exist in Ottawa to help homeless military veterans.  But Desroches said they are disconnected and not as effective as they could or should be, which means many homeless veteran live under the radar.  “If we can help by identifying them and making sure they’re getting the programs they need, I think we’ll have succeeded,” Desroches said.  “This is about tapping in to the good work the Royal Canadian Legion is doing.” ….” – more here.
  • The latest from the VAC Info-machine on how looking into a Toronto veterans’ nursing home is coming along  “The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, announced …. that the first meeting of the External Advisory Committee in charge of providing independent advice on the audit of the Veterans Centre at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre was held on Thursday, January 10, 2013, at the facility. The Committee, chaired by the Veterans Ombudsman Guy Parent, includes representation from organizations involved in Veterans’ issues, and individuals with health expertise …. While the audit is still in progress, on-site visits and interviews with over 100 residents and family members have been recently completed. The audit results are expected in the winter of 2013.  The Veterans Ombudsman, Guy Parent, has elected to participate as an independent observer throughout the audit process and is providing an independent avenue for Veterans and their families to raise additional or other concerns.”
  • A 36-year-old soldier and Afghanistan veteran who had sex with three women without telling them he has herpes, infecting two, pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing bodily harm FridayMaster Cpl. Mathew Wilson admits he had unprotected sex with two women he met on Internet dating sites and protected sex with a neighbor between 2005 and 2009 …. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Feb. 7.  Wilson faces a trial on a charge of possessing child pornography Feb. 24.”
  • Has it been 22 years already?  An American-led coalition of a half million soldiers mustered in the Persian Gulf in the closing months of 1990. The coalition readied itself for war under the auspices of the United Nations as a result of Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait and its threat to peace and security in the Persian Gulf.  The Allies were under significant pressure given the capabilities of Saddam Hussein’s military forces. The Iraqis possessed considerable military breadth and depth. The Iraqi army had over one million soldiers in uniform supported by more than 5,500 tanks, including modern T-72s and over 3,000 artillery pieces. To this was added the elite Republican Guard who numbered over 80,000 troops. And the Iraqis also boasted over 750 French- and Soviet-made aircraft, including 500 fighters and fighter-bombers …. The Canadian Forces deployed to the Persian Gulf in August 1990, shortly after the UN passed Resolution 661 authorizing an embargo against Iraq to restore peace to the region. Operation Friction, the Canadian contribution to the Allied effort, brought together a Naval Task Group, a field hospital and 24 CF-18 fighters ….”
  • An Ontario bodyguard who worked for Saadi Gaddafi provided “invaluable assistance” to the Libyan dictatorship as it attempted to brutally crush an anti-regime uprising in 2011, the Canada Border Services Agency alleged on Wednesday.  At an immigration hearing in Toronto, the CBSA accused Gary Peters of complicity in war crimes, citing the “vital role” it said he had played as bodyguard to Mr. Gaddafi, the son of dictator Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and a commander in the Libyan special forces.  Mr. Peters was so well-entrenched in the Gaddafi regime that he was given a pass card that allowed him unfettered access to any government building, the agency alleged as it for the first time laid out its case against the man it called “Saadi’s bodyguard.”  Summoned to Libya in February 2011 by Saadi Gaddafi himself, Mr. Peters accompanied the dictator’s son to meetings with senior members of the regime and to public rallies where he represented his father, Kristen Smyth, a CBSA officer, told the hearing ….”
  • A Pakistani-born Canadian citizen was sentenced to 14 years in prison Thursday for providing material support to overseas terrorism, including a Pakistani group whose 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India, left more than 160 people dead.  Tahawwur Rana did not address the court before U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber imposed the sentence and did not react afterward. But his defence attorneys said the judge was right to reject prosecutors’ arguments that Rana deserved a stiffer sentence because the charges were related to terrorism.  Jurors in 2011 convicted Rana of providing support for the Pakistani group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and for supporting a never-carried-out plot to attack a Danish newspaper that printed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in 2005. The cartoons angered many Muslims because pictures of the prophet are prohibited in Islam ….” – more here.

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18 January 13 at 7:45

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