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MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 7 Sept 11

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  • Stuart Langridge, R.I.P  In late April 2011, the Military Police Complaints Commission (MPCC) said it was doing an initial probe into the 2008 suicide of Corporal Langridge of CFB Edmonton.  Now, the MPCC says it’s going to hold public hearings into the suicide – no dates set yet.  More from the media here (Google News search).
  • Libya Mission  One columnist’s view:  “…. If the foreigners’ motives really were humanitarian — they wanted to stop Gadhafi’s atrocious regime from killing his own subjects, and thought that Libyans would be better off without him — then they actually were using force as an instrument of love. Not “love” as in the love songs, but love meaning a genuine concern for the welfare of others. Most resorts to force do not meet this criterion (although those using the force generally claim that they do). The United States did not invade Iraq out of concern for the welfare of Iraqis, for example. But once in a while there is a shining exception, and this is one of those times. The British, French, Canadians, Swedes, Qataris and so on would not have done it if it involved large casualties in their own forces. (In fact, they had no casualties.) Most Western soldiers didn’t think the operation would succeed in removing Gadhafi, and the outcome has been greeted with surprise and relief in most of the capitals that sent aircraft. But they did it, and that counts for a lot.”
  • 9/11 Plus Ten (1)  Canadians are more concerned about a terrorist attack on Canada now than before 9/11, says a new (Ipsos-Reid poll conducted for Postmedia News and Global TV). Enhanced airport security, no-fly lists and Canada’s participation in the Afghanistan war are just some of the considerable measures taken after 9/11, but Canadians are still worried about potential terrorist attacks within our borders. Half of the respondents said they felt “no change” in safety levels with military intervention and just under half feel ‘more safe’ as a result of domestic security measures ….”
  • 9/11 Plus Ten (2)  The CSIS Info-Machine is sharing some stories from officers about their feelings about 9/11 here and here – a bit of a “Canadian milestones in counter-terrorism since 9-11″ selected chronology here.
  • Wanted:  some damned good number crunchers and technogeeks for breaking codes.  “It boasts some of the top math minds in the country, it’s looking to recruit more, and you still won’t find its name listed among any universities. The Tutte Institute for Mathematics and Computing is like a school for spies – a government-backed “classified research institute” that exists to entice academics who can help the government create and crack codes in the service of national security. The federal government has actually employed a small stable of arms-length academic cryptographers for several years now, but this summer it opted to redouble and rebrand the effort. In doing so, Ottawa has stepped up its quiet drive to lure some of the smartest PhD-calibre mathematicians away from ivory towers and into applied government work ….”  And where’d the name of the new institute, part of Communications Security Establishment Canada, come from? “…. In the 1940s, William Tutte, a math genius, figured out ways to spy on encrypted, high-level Nazi communications, a contribution so profound that some observers now credit him and his British colleagues for helping hasten the end of the Second World War. After the war, Mr. Tutte moved to Canada and had a distinguished academic career at the University of Waterloo ….”
  • Afghanistan (1)  Canadian Major General Michael Day talks to Army News about the Afghan training mission (video of phone interview here), saying he sees some progress:  “…. Two years ago, the army was shrinking, literally we were losing more people than we were gaining. Today, not only are we growing by four to five thousand every single month, but we now have selection process that vets those individuals that are not suited. So we are in great shape on that ….”
  • Afghanistan (2a)  7 Jul 11:  CF Info-Machine tells us Canadian takes over command of Consolidated Fielding Centre in Afghanistan.  ~6 Sept 11:  Foreign Affairs Info-Machine sends RSS feed notice that it’s decided to share this “news” on Canada’s main web page about Afghanistan.
  • Afghanistan (2b)  What the dental surgeon used to do in Afghanistan (via CF Info-Machine) – he’s been back for a couple of weeks now.
  • Afghanistan (3a)  A Macleans columnist reminds us to be wary about negotiating with the Taliban, even if that’s how things look to be unfolding. “…. In the event the Taliban do re-establish themselves in Kabul, those Afghans who go to the mountains will likely include those Afghans who most share our values and most desire our friendship. Then what will we do?”\
  • Afghanistan (3b)  Terry Glavin reminds us to be wary, too“…. The Taliban have made it quite plain, by word and deed, that they have no intention of negotiating anything except the general outlines of the civilized world’s capitulation to them and the forward-planning terms of NATO’s surrender of the Afghan people to their custody ….”
  • Taliban Propaganda Watch  English-language propaganda sites back online – for now.
  • What’s Canada Buying?  Wanted:  four-wheel light utility vehicles for 1 Canadian Division (more details in part of bid document here), and checking if CF is using the best test to see if patients receiving transfusions need more or not.
  • New Brunswick is looking for feedback on its ideas for job protection for Reservists.  “Finding the right balance can sometimes be a tricky and nerve-testing procedure. But efforts to do just that are exactly what’s happening these days within the part-time military community as officials juggle ideas in an effort to find ways to make the lives of reservist soldiers in this province a little more secure. In April, residents were asked to participate in a provincial government consultation process and provide their views on how to offer better leave protection to reservists working in civilian jobs or pursuing post-secondary studie …. Ideas were collected by the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour and placed in a preliminary report called What We Heard: Responses to the Review of Canadian Forces Reservist Employment and Education Leave Protection in New Brunswick. (PDF) …. If you have ideas on how you would like to see reservists protected in this province, now is the time to step forward. Contact the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour.”  Contact info:  labour-travail@gnb.ca, fax (506) 453-3618 or snail mail at Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, Review of Reservists Employment and Education Leave Protections, P.O. Box 6000, Fredericton, NB, E3B 5H1.
  • Canada has has new deal for annual defence think tank get together.  “The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, announced …. that Canada is hosting the third annual Halifax International Security Forum from November 18th to 20th in Halifax, Nova Scotia. With Foreign Affairs as the media partner, this year’s Halifax International Security Forum features over three hundred politicians, academics, policy makers, and journalists from forty countries around the world. Following the 10th anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks and Canada’s recent transition to a non-combat training role in Afghanistan, this year’s forum is especially poignant, focusing on key sensitive and emerging global issues …. As the only event of its kind in North America, the Halifax International Security Forum fosters discussions covering a wide range of topics, including the future of the transatlantic alliance, security initiatives in the Middle East, revolutions, responsibility to protect and making better use of resources to deliver on key security and defence commitments. The Halifax International Security Forum is even stronger with Foreign Affairs, the conference’s media partner. Minister MacKay took the opportunity to announce a three year funding partnership for the Halifax International Security Forum from both the Department of National Defence and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency ….”
  • Remember the list o’ war criminals Canada was looking for your help in hunting downGuess where one of the guys on the original list is?  “An accused Serbian war criminal says his life has been ruined by an Ottawa-led manhunt, even though he left Canada for his homeland six years ago. Dimitrije Karic, also known as Dimitrije Mita, 51, of the Serbian municipality of Kovin, said he came to Canada in 2003 and filed a failed refugee claim. He complied with an order to leave Canada in 2005. “Is anyone, who was wearing a uniform in war in former Yugoslavia, a war criminal for you?” he said in an Aug. 30 e-mail to QMI Agency. “If it is so, there are several hundred thousand war criminals throughout Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia.” He lived and worked at two companies in Medicine Hat, Alta., during his time in Canada, documents show ….”
  • Remember Gilad Schalit, the Israeli soldier kidnapped by Hamas in June 2006?  His folks are telling reporters Canada should get Hamas to let him go.  What’s Canada saying so far?  “…. Chris Day, director of communications for Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, told the Tribune in an email, “Hamas is a listed terrorist organization. The government of Canada has no contact with Hamas.” Canadian aid is supplied to the people of Gaza through “established aid channels and with established organizations” and not via Hamas. Should Hamas and Fatah form a unity government, Day said, “Canada cannot support a government that includes Hamas.” In May, Canada was a signatory to the G8 Declaration of Renewed Commitment for Freedom and Democracy, which stated in part, “We demand the unconditional release of the abducted soldier Gilad Shalit [sic] without delay.” When asked what concrete action Canada can or will take in regard to Gilad Schalit, Day said, “Minister Baird has been very clear in calling – as G8 leaders did at Deauville – for Gilad Shalit’s [sic] release…. We will continue to press this case at every opportunity.” ….”  But not directly to the folks holding him, given the bits in green.
  • The re-incarnated NHL’s Winnipeg Jets (have) unveiled their new uniforms …. The Jets, who returned to Winnipeg with the sale of the Atlanta Thrashers to Manitoba’s True North Sports and Entertainment in May, held a news conference to unveil the team’s new uniforms at Royal Canadian Air Force base 17 Wing. The jerseys consist mostly of two shades of blue: Polar Night Blue, found on many of today’s RCAF aircraft, and Aviator Blue, which is similar to historical colours used by the RCAF ….”

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 14 Jul 11

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  • Afghanistan (1)  Title of Canadian Ambassador’s statement on the assassination of Ahmed Wali Karzai is one word longer than the statement itself“Canada strongly condemns the killing of Kandahar Provincial Council Chair Ahmad Wali Karzai and extends its condolences to his family and to President Hamid Karzai.”  Am I the only one thinking of this Dilbert cartoon when reading a statement this brief?
  • Afghanistan (2)  CF Info-Machine’s take on the Vandoos packing up Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan, including three days of ceremonies.
  • Afghanistan (3)  One of the other victims?  “Dodging bullets from children, stumbling across a boy with his face blown off and grasping a dead friend in his arms — the horror was more than Stefan Jankowski could bear. Diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and hooked on prescription drugs, the 25-year-old Windsor soldier returned home from the war in Afghanistan to face a losing battle with his own demons. His family said he died Saturday from a prescription drug overdose, after getting little help from the military he dreamt of serving from boyhood. They want answers, saying the military “washed their hands of him” and didn’t give Jankowski the help he needed after he was discharged ….”
  • Afghanistan (4)  Canadian Senator, again, points out how he thinks the mission was not a success.  “…. the UN says 2,579 NATO troops have died in Afghanistan since 2001. UN figures show that 8,832 Afghan civilians have been killed as a result of military operations since 2007 (nobody had deemed it essential to count before then). I don’t think this adds up to success. Then again, if you believe that it is important to look at this war through rose-coloured glasses to make everyone feel better, I guess we should just forget about all these repugnant little numbers ….”  Note to the Senator:  on this stat alone, let’s remember that between 7 and 8 out of 10 of the civilians killed were killed by the Taliban – more on that here and here.
  • Libya Mission (1)  Media are invited to attend a video-teleconference (this morning) with the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, and Lieutenant-General Charles Bouchard, Commander, Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) Op Unified Protector, the NATO-led effort to impose on Libya the arms embargo and no-fly zone authorized for the protection of civilians in U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973 ….”
  • Libya Mission (2) “As part of Canada’s “enhanced engagement strategy” in Libya, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird will for the first time Friday meet with allies dedicated to mapping out the political future of the embattled North African country. Baird announced Wednesday that he’s headed to Istanbul for the fourth meeting of the Contact Group on Libya — a body that includes foreign ministers from Western and Arab countries, Libyan rebel leaders as well as representatives from the United Nations, NATO and various non-governmental organizations. “We need to maintain political and military pressure on the regime to end its violence against civilians as well as to continue to demonstrate international solidarity in support of the Libyan people,” Baird’s spokesman Chris Day told Postmedia News ….”
  • Ministers of Defence, Public Safety:  Thanks, troops, for the hard work in the Manitoba floods.  “…. A total of 375 Canadian Forces members, drawn from the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, the 1st Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery and Land Force Western Area Primary Reserve courses, assisted the Province of Manitoba in their operations to mitigate the effects of the flood, including the reinforcement of existing dikes and water embankments in the general vicinity of Souris. More than 1,800 Regular and Reserve Force personnel from the Navy, Army, and Air Force earlier assisted Provincial authorities by conducting extensive repairs to both the Assiniboine River dikes and the Assiniboine Diversion dikes, monitoring dikes on the ground and from the air, evacuating affected residents, producing more than 167,000 sandbags and placing more that 48 per cent of the total of 891,000 sandbags produced in the Province. More than 160 private residences were protected from flooding as a result of CF efforts …. On behalf of our government and all those Canadians who have been helped by Canadian Forces’ efforts this spring, we thank the men and women in uniform.”
  • More details about Canada’s (at least proposed) plans for the Arctic?  “It is costly to operate in the vast and inhospitable Arctic. But the Canadian military is exploring a way to cut costs and speed up the movement of troops and equipment by building several new northern bases. Along the way it could help to strengthen the country’s Arctic sovereignty claims by placing additional boots on the tundra throughout the year. The plan, sketched out in a study that was commissioned by the force’s operational support command, is a variation of the one put in place for overseas operations. Barebones transportation hubs — essentially a suitable landing strip and storage facility — at strategic spots around the globe make it more efficient when soldiers are called out to a global hot spot in a pinch …. The military is looking at a domestic variant of those overseas hubs. The plan could result in remote bases and a small-but-permanent military presence in far-off communities. Locations could include Alert, Inuvik, Whitehorse, Rankin Inlet, Iqaluit or Nanisivik, according to the technical memorandum prepared by the research wing of the military last year ….” The Canadian Forces says no decision has been made to go ahead with the construction of new hubs. That could change. “The hub concept referred to in this report is just one of many ideas being examined at the time to enhance our capabilities up in the North,” said Navy Lt. Greg Menzies….”  Since the Toronto Star isn’t sharing the full study, here it is (150 page PDF) if you’re interested (or here if the other link doesn’t work), and here’s a call from earlier this year (second-last bullet) for someone to summarize Canadian military research done in the Arctic.
  • F-35 Tug o’ War  This from “prolific blogger” Mark Collins: “Boeing is trying to take advantage of F-35 production delays ….”
  • Troops of Canada’s Army of the West prepare to practice mountain warfare.  “With its mountainous terrain and warm climate, Kamloops is an ideal place for the Canadian Armed Forces to conduct training exercises in anticipation of duties overseas. Which is why soldiers from the Third Battalion Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry will be in the region from July 17-28 to conduct mountaineering training. Capt. Tony Meier of 3 PPCLI said about 60 troops will form a base camp near the New Gold Mine site, west of Kamloops, but the majority of training will take place at Roche Lake. The contingent will grow to about 180 troops for a major exercise north of Lac Du Bois from July 24-28 ….”
  • The CF’s apparently having trouble recruiting Chinese and other visible minorities.  “More new Canadian citizens hail from China than almost any other country in the world, but military brass in Ottawa are facing an uphill battle in persuading a significantly greater proportion of Chinese-Canadians to embrace a career in the armed forces. Chinese-Canadians are among the fastest-growing visible minority groups in the country, and the People’s Republic of China has ranked first or second as a source of new citizens in recent years. But getting Chinese Canadians to don a uniform isn’t easy – part of the same challenge the military faces with all visible minorities even as the country becomes more ethnically diverse ….”
  • A send off parade was held today at the Canadian War Museum to mark the upcoming participation of a contingent of 205 Canadian Forces (CF) members in the 95th annual International Four Days Marches Nijmegen, to be held from July 19 to July 22. Canadian military contingents have participated in this prestigious long-distance marching event, held in the Netherlands since 1952 ….”  More on the March here.
  • What’s Canada Buying?  R&D sought for a new coastal radar facility (maybe two) in Nova Scotia and someone to cook/pouch LOADS (as many as “a minimum of one million pouches of entrées and fruit pouches totaling two million pouches within a six (6) to eight (8) month period”) of ration packs.
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