MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 29 Jul 11

  • Libya Mission  What CF-18 pilots are up to“They are wars apart but while he never pounded the hard-baked fields of Panjwaii on foot, Lt.-Col. Daniel McLeod shares more with Canadian soldiers returning from Kandahar than he cares to admit. As a career fighter pilot flying the air force’s premier CF-18 jets, McLeod recently got a cold introduction to the stark choices that have to be made in the electronic-twilight environment of today’s wars. High above the vast deserts of Libya, McLeod spotted what he thought was rocket fire in the distance — an impression quickly confirmed by drones or other surveillance aircraft that crowd the sky near the embattled country in north Africa. He was what the air force calls “feet dry” over the coast on a interdiction mission _ an armed air patrol that looks for targets of opportunity on the ground. It’s a task that makes up about 80 per cent of the missions flown by Canada as part of the NATO operation to dislodge Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi. And on that day, McLeod thought he had a target ….”
  • Canadian paratroopers jumping out of Ukrainian planes on Exercise Rapid Trident 2011more on the exercise in Ukrainian and in Google English.
  • Three white P-3 Orion aircraft, each bearing an eye-catching red disk on the side near the fuselage, carrying over 60 members of the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force recently landed at the 19 Wing Comox Valley airstrip. They taxied down the Valley on Thursday afternoon, and upon embarking from the planes, they were welcomed by LCol. David Robinson along with other military personnel of the 407 MP Squadron. There was also a group of Japanese Canadian civilians from Comox Valley, Courtenay and the Mainland who came out to welcome the visitors from the Far East. The Japanese contingent stayed in the Comox Valley for a week, spent time with the Canadian Air Force as well as experiencing the local culture. “We came here to deepen the friendship as well as to train with Canadian Air Force,” said commander Hajime Urata, of the VP3 Atsugi in Japan, through an interpreter. “The other purpose is to understand the missions of both.” …. “
  • Reconnaisance course training in the woods and rocks of northwestern Ontario near Kenora.
  • What’s Canada Buying:  Big Honkin’ Ship Buliding  Quebec City’s Davie Yards’s bid for the federal government’s multi-year, $35-billion National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy has been approved by Ottawa. Davie’s eleventh-hour detailed bid was submitted just before the July 21 deadline expired. Its Lévis yards had just been acquired by a consortium of Upper Lakes Group, Korea’s Daewoo Shipbuilding and Montreal engineers SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. The major $25-billion portion of the government contract will be awarded to build about 20 warships. Another $8-billion contract will go to building Coast Guard icebreakers and navy supply ship replacements. Finally, $2 billion is to be spent on small craft and repair work. Davie’s bid is expected to focus on the $8-billion contract to build non-military vessels. The federal agency in charge of bid tendering accepted the Davie offer ….”  Public Works Canada news release on this here, and more from CBC.ca here.
  • What’s Canada Buying? (x)  “…. Cheryl Gallant, Member of Parliament for Renfrew–Nipissing–Pembroke, on behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, and the Honourable Julian Fantino, Associate Minister of National Defence, announced the awarding of a contract for integrated heavy bomb suits to Allen-Vanguard Corporation of Ottawa, Ontario. Ms. Gallant made the announcement at the company’s manufacturing facility in Pembroke, Ontario …. Under the five-year contract, the company will provide 94 complete Med-Eng bomb suits. The Med-Eng bomb suit will provide Canadian Forces members with chemical and respiratory protection and cooling to mitigate heat stress before, during and after missions. The contract is valued at approximately $7.5 million and most of the work to produce the suits will be done at Allen-Vanguard Corporation’s manufacturing facility in Pembroke, Ontario. This contract will maintain more than 50 local Canadian jobs.”
  • F-35 Tug o’ War:  How’re the F-35’s doing in the U.S.?  Check Popular Mechanics here.
  • UpdateThe “From the Investigator” (FTI) initial flight safety report for the November 17, 2010, crash of CF-18 aircraft number CF188789 near Cold Lake, Alberta, is available on the Air Force Directorate of Flight Safety website …. This initial report indicates that the pilot was conducting a night training mission using Night Vision Goggles and became disoriented during an instrument approach when his landing light reflected off the falling snow. The reflected light also washed out the instrument indications in his Head Up Display. The pilot ejected safely without injury, and was recovered by a Search and Rescue crew. The aircraft crashed and was destroyed on impact. The Flight Safety investigation team continues to focus on human factors associated with the accident, including disorientation, organizational pressures, and training practices. 1 Canadian Air Division has already put in place measures to ensure that pilots have more night flying experience before undergoing Night Vision Goggle training ….”  More from mainstream media here and here.
  • A member of the so-called Toronto 18 terrorist cell who is scheduled to be released from prison this fall has renounced his right to a parole hearing. Ali Dirie exercised his right to cancel his appearance, officials with the Parole Board of Canada said Thursday. That means the board will now render a decision without hearing from Dirie, said spokeswoman Carole Menard. “The decision will be rendered on file,” she said. “At any time, it’s the right of all offenders (to renounce if) they don’t want to be seen in the time frame that we’re proposing.” Dirie was among 18 people named in 2006 for plotting to cause bloodshed and panic in Canada by bombing nuclear power plants and RCMP headquarters and attacking Parliament ….”
  • A government spy agency that’s prohibited from monitoring Canadian citizens is now using “information about Canadians” to zero in on foreign threats. The ambiguous statement, found in a new government report detailing the activities of Communications Security Establishment Canada, could sanction a range of intelligence-gathering activities – including the controversial practice of mining “metadata” from digital communications. Metadata – often called data about data – are found in e-mails and their attachments, and contain digital signatures that can reveal when, where and by whom documents were created. The collection of metadata has caused controversy in other countries, but never in Canada, where the Communications Security Establishment Canada operates as an ultra-secretive agency. About the only thing that is known about the classified practices is that they were halted and resumed after some “major changes,” including directives signed by Defence Minister Peter MacKay. “I cannot comment on specific operational activities,” Adrian Simpson, a CSEC spokesman, told The Globe. He stressed that reviews upheld that the activities in question were “carried out in accordance with the law, ministerial requirements and CSEC’s policies and procedures.” ….”
  • After training generations of Canadian submariners, a proud warrior is on her way to a new life as car parts or razor blades. HMCS Olympus, one of Canada’s four retired submarines, was floated by special barge into Hamilton Harbour Thursday morning on her way to a “ship breaking” yard on Lake Erie to be turned into scrap metal. The sub’s journey from Halifax to Hamilton and on to Port Maitland was accomplished by two Hamilton companies, McKeil Marine and Heddle Marine Services Inc. Heddle provided a floating dry dock on which the sub was loaded while McKeil provided the tugboats that pushed and pulled the warship up the St. Lawrence River and across Lake Ontario ….”

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 14 Mar 11

  • Interested in being heard about a proposed joint border security deal between Canada and the United States Here’s your chance! “…. The Government of Canada will engage with all levels of government and with communities, non-governmental organizations and the private sector, as well as with our citizens, on innovative approaches to security and competitiveness. This consultation will inform the development of a joint Canada-United States action plan that will set out a range of initiatives in four key areas of cooperation to promote security and support trade and economic growth ….” You have a bit more than five weeks (until 21 Apr 11, just before Good Friday) to send your ides in writing on these topics in to the government.  If you can keep it to 10,000 characters (about 2,000 words) or less, you can send it via this page.  Need a bit more scope?  Here’s some ways to share files no larger than 4MB.
  • Canada’s offering all sorts of help to Japan to help deal with its earthquake problems. “The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, outlined an array of expertise and technical assistance that the Government of Canada has offered to the Government of Japan as part of international efforts to help Japan respond to and recover from the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck the country on Friday, March 11. “Our government has been actively engaged since learning of this tragic event,” said Minister Cannon. “As Prime Minister Harper stated, Canada stands ready to provide any and all possible assistance to the people of Japan. Canada has put a range of capabilities at Japan’s disposal, including a 17-member Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) team, which is currently on standby and ready to be deployed. “In addition, we are offering chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) technical expertise and equipment, Canadian Forces assets—including strategic airlift and personnel—to facilitate humanitarian relief efforts, Government of Canada relief stocks, and emergency medical and engineering capabilities,” added Minister Cannon ….” Why aren’t these assets moving out yet?  Because Japan hasn’t asked for anything specific yet.  More on a potential DVI team that could head to Afghanistan here, Canada’s Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) here, and a lesser-known part of Canada’s special forces who might be able to help, the Canadian Joint Incident Response Unit (CJIRU), here.
  • Arab League:  UN, approve a no-fly zone over Libya, please.  Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister:  Way to go, Arab League: “Canada welcomes the decision by the Arab League calling for a no-fly zone over Libya. In light of the grave and deteriorating situation in Libya, and Muammar Qadhafi’s reckless disregard for the lives of the Libyan people, this resolution clearly signals that Qadhafi does not have support in the region. He is isolated and ignoring the will of the international community. Canada again calls on the Qadhafi regime to cease its appalling attacks on the Libyan people. We reiterate our call that Qadhafi step down immediately. Canada will continue to work closely with our like-minded partners to explore the full range of options that might be available to us.” More from QMI here.
  • Canada’s military in Afghanistan has agreed, despite some initial discomfort, to help launch a controversial program in the Panjwaii district that will enlist and arm local civilians to defend their villages against insurgents. Canadian soldiers may even assist with training for the Afghan Local Police initiative, despite the fact Canada’s commander in Kandahar, Brig.-Gen. Dean Milner, previously expressed hesitancy about the program. Brig.-Gen. Milner told media back in November that ALP forces might not be necessary in Panjwaii if the coalition could build up the numbers of Afghan National Police, who are better trained, better paid and fall under a more formal command structure. Four months later, with Afghan National Police recruitment still behind target, Brig.-Gen. Milner says he is now fully behind the idea of community-based forces to help protect areas recently cleared of insurgents ….”
  • Taliban Propaganda Watch More attacks alleged in Kandahar, Uruzgan and Zabul.
  • What’s Canada Buying? Wanted:  Someone to train west coast Search and Rescue (SAR) Technicians about “mountain (and) glacier climbing and rescue”.
  • Another one of the Khadr lads makes the news again. “A terrorist collaborator is walking the streets because a Canadian judge wrongly decided to stay extradition proceedings against him, the federal government asserts. In documents filed with Ontario’s highest court ahead of an appeal hearing, Ottawa maintains Abdullah Khadr should be handed over to the United States to face terror-related charges. Instead, by ordering the stay, Ontario Supreme Court Justice Christopher Speyer put Canada’s security at risk and damaged the fight against terrorism, the government argues on behalf of the U.S. “Because of the extradition judge’s errors, an admitted al-Qaida collaborator walks free,” the documents state. “The security of Canada and the international community is put at risk, Canada’s fight against terrorism is undermined, and the interests of justice are not served.” The U.S. wants to try the Ottawa-born Khadr, whose younger brother Omar is serving time in Guantanamo Bay for war crimes, on charges of supplying weapons to al-Qaida in Pakistan ….”