Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight News Highlights – February 2, 2013

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  • Algeria (1)  Two Mounties on the ground in Algeria are making “some progress” in their efforts to verify claims that a couple of  Canadians had a role in a deadly gas plant attack in that country, a senior law enforcement official said late FridayWhile investigators have not been able to get access to bodies or key documents, they are discussing “coordination and cooperation” with Algerian authorities.  “We feel a lot better than when we got there,” the official told Postmedia News.  The official acknowledged that Algeria is dealing with many priorities in the wake of the four-day siege last month at the In Amenas facility that left 37 hostages and 29 militants dead. Algerians have allowed representatives of some countries where the victims were from to get access to the bodies, the official said.  The dead hostages included workers from Japan, the Philippines, the U.S. and Britain. None were from Canada.  “We’re not the only country knocking on their door,” the official said. Not wanting to jeopardize the case, the official declined to go into detail about the challenges RCMP investigators are facing or what they’re doing to try to authenticate the claims, which were made by Algeria’s prime minister ….”
  • Algeria (2)  Signs that Canadian citizens were involved in the attack by hostage-taking Islamist militants on a remote gas plant in Algeria are of great concern to American authorities, U.S. intelligence officials said on ThursdayWhile Algerian authorities apparently have not yet provided Western governments with cast-iron proof, a senior U.S. intelligence official said, “We’re taking very seriously the reports of the two Canadians’ involvement.” …. “
  • Mali (1)  Former United Nations force commander in Rwanda Roméo Dallaire says the Canadian government is failing to fulfill its obligations under the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) in Mali, where France has been leading an intervention against Islamic extremists since Jan. 11“This government, even with Libya, has refused to used the term Responsibility to Protect. Overtly refused to use the term,” said Senator Dallaire. “We’re already beyond having to qualify R2P (in Mali). We’re already down that road. The UN has already wanted to implement it. But what’s lagging is the will to intervene.”  Under the UN definition of R2P, the international community has the obligation to take collective action in countries where the government is failing to protect its population’s rights under the UN Charter. In an interview with iPolitics Thursday, Dallaire said that, as far as he is concerned, the requirements to enforce R2P have been met in Mali, since the country has made a call for assistance …. Dallaire agreed that Canada has been responsive to France’s needs. But when it comes to requests for troops and capabilities outlined in the UN Security Council Resolution 2085 on Mali, he said Canada has not given the same sense of urgency.  “We’ve responded to needing what the French need, at least for what they’ve indicated. But we have not responded … on what Canada has done regarding the UN. So far, I’m thinking that Canada hasn’t even responded,” said Dallaire ….” 
  • Mali (2)  More on whazzup in Mali here (Google News), here (EMM Explorer) and here (France’s defence ministry’s daily update in French)
  • What Canada’s up to re:  helping Syria out (via the Parliamentary Secretary for Defence’s Info-machine)
  • A Canadian navy intelligence officer who sold military secrets to Russia has apologised to his family, at a court hearing in Halifax, Nova ScotiaSub-Lt Jeffrey Paul Delisle, 40, pleaded guilty in October to espionage.  He told the sentencing hearing: “I love them very much. If I could go back in time, I would. But I can’t.”  Delisle ended up receiving almost C$72,000 (£45,700) over nearly five years for the covert relationship with Russia.  Prosecutor Lynn Decarie is asking for a 20-year prison term, saying Delisle abused the trust of his family, colleagues and Canada’s allies.  Ms Decarie cited testimony from three top military and security officials who said that Delisle’s actions caused “severe and irreparable” damage.  “I believe there was very serious harm done to Canada,” she said.  Defence lawyers said their client should get no more than 10 years, given the collapse of his marriage around the time he offered to give information to Russia in 2007 ….” – more here.
  • What the Delisle case means for Australia  “Western intelligence agencies including Australia’s top secret Defence Signals Directorate and Defence Intelligence Organisation are tightening security after a Canadian naval officer passed a huge trove of top secret data, including Australian intelligence reports, to Russian spies.  The international security clampdown was disclosed by Canadian security officials on Thursday at the sentencing hearing in Halifax, Nova Scotia, of Sub-Lieutenant Jeffrey Delisle, who pleaded guilty to passing classified information to Russian military intelligence agents over 4½ years from 2007 until his arrest last year.  The head of internal security with the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Michelle Tessier, testified that Delisle’s espionage had caused ”exceptionally grave damage” that could include exposing the identity of sources, leading to potential loss of life, and disruption of co-operation with Canada’s intelligence partners.  Delisle, who worked as an intelligence analyst at the Canadian Navy’s Trinity intelligence facility at Halifax, had wide-ranging access to signals and human source intelligence shared by the ”Five Eyes” intelligence community of the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.  In an interview with police after his arrest on January 14 last year following a tip-off from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, Delisle confessed to downloading top secret intelligence reports onto a USB stick and using an anonymous email account to pass the material to his Russian handlers.  ”It was never really Canadian stuff,” Delisle told police. ”There was American stuff, there was some British stuff, Australian stuff – it was everybody’s stuff.” ….”
  • One analyst’s take on the Delisle case  “…. The sentence that Judge Curran eventually comes up with will be closely scrutinized at home and abroad. Our allies will no doubt look for signs of Canadian toughness, so too will Canadian intelligence agencies, smarting from the betrayal of one of their own, and so might a broad swath of the Canadian public. This is a bit of a stacked deck.  Our allies have demanded that Canada make some security fixes or else — and who can blame them? The security lapses revealed by the Delisle affair were appalling. But we shouldn’t be doing this simply to appease our intelligence friends. We need a hard look at how security works in an age of electronic intelligence gathering and cyber aggression. We might start with the creation of more tightly controlled and monitored sensitive data systems with a “memory” of who accessed them and why. Such systems might have ultimately prevented the kind of casual trolling of highly classified records that Delisle conducted and might also have provided a counter-intelligence tool that could really assess and mitigate damage ….”
  • Aside from the snow, ice and sub-zero temperatures, Canadian Forces Base Kingston played the role of a Caribbean island this month for the latest phase of a major military exerciseMore than two years in planning, JointEx 2013 is to culminate in May in Alberta with a live exercise.  But before that, members of the 1st Canadian Division Headquarters and their support personnel gathered in Kingston to go through a computer simulation.  Since Jan. 14, more than 300 Canadian Forces personnel have been working in tents surrounded by concertina wire next to the headquarters building.  The exercise is designed to train army, navy and air force elements plus special forces personnel to work together as a single, combined force and to work with other government agencies and allied foreign nations.  Communication between the participating units across the country is being conducted through a new computer system being used for the first time.  The exercise includes participants from allied countries, including the United States and Canadian government agencies such as the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Canadian International Development Agency ….” – more on Jointex from the Info-machine here.
  • The Honourable Steven Blaney, Minister of Veterans Affairs, (yesterday) issued the following statement to recognize Black History Month“As February marks Black History Month, Canadians are invited to take part in activities that commemorate the legacy of black Canadians, past and present.  “Black Canadians have a long history of service in our Armed Forces. Their contributions run the gamut from the War of 1812 and even earlier, to serving in the trenches or with the No. 2 Construction ‘Black’ Battalion during the First World War, to fighting far from home during the Second World War and in Korea, to peacekeeping operations and our efforts in Afghanistan in more recent years ….” – more on Blacks in Canada’s military through history here.

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2 February 13 at 9:00

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