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MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – November 1, 2014

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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 – 30 Jul 11

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  • Libya Mission  Canada has joined an air war of a different kind in the skies over Libya, one where persuasion and sometimes insults are the weapons. Canadian CP-140 Aurora surveillance planes recently started broadcasting propaganda messages aimed at forces loyal to Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi. “It’s a psychological warfare operation, or PSYOPS, initially started by the Americans but now overseen by NATO _ the kind of mission western militaries are reluctant to talk about openly. The Canadian broadcasts are relatively benign in comparison to some of the harsher messages NATO has aimed at Gadhafi’s troops, in which women’s voices are telling them to stop “killing the children.” The Canadian messages, in English, are read hourly during patrols along the Libyan coast over AM/FM frequencies that Libyans usually monitor. “For your safety return to your family and your home,” says the message, which can be heard over unencrypted frequencies the military uses to broadcast basic information. “The Gadhafi regime forces are violating United Nations resolution 1973.” The message goes on to urge Gadhafi’s troops not to take part in further hostilities and not to harm their fellow countrymen …. ”
  • Afghanistan (1)  CF Info-Machine is starting to share more info on the new mission.  “In every practical sense, the Consolidated Fielding Centre (CFC) is the birthplace of the Afghan National Army. Located in the expansive Pol-e-Charki military reserve in Kabul’s eastern outskirts, the CFC is where the ANA forms its units, equips and trains them, and then validates that training before deploying them to operational corps. More than 100 Canadian Forces members deployed in the Kabul area on Operation ATTENTION serve at CFC. Most of them are advisors to the experienced Afghan soldiers of the CFC training staff ….”
  • Afghanistan (2)  More from the CF Info-Machine on the training mission (video transcript). 
  • Afghanistan (3)  It’s not just military folks leaving Afghanistan.  “A contractor for the Canadian military will be bringing its 370 employees home from Afghanistan as the Canadian mission there winds down. More than 60% of those employees call eastern Ontario home. “I would be lying if I said a lot of our folks weren’t looking for jobs online, even though they’re stationed in Afghanistan,” Derek Wills said from his Inverary home yesterday. Wills is a human resources manager with SNC-Lavalin PAE Inc. — the company with a $600- million contract to support Canadian Forces missions overseas. The company started with an office in Kingston in 2003. Since then, it has expanded from a one-person operation on Queen Street to the main civilian support system for the Canadian mission in Kandahar. Wills said employees in Afghanistan know their jobs will be terminated, but they don’t know when ….”
  • Canada’s military police received 784 complaints of physical and sexual assault, death and other incidents causing physical harm in 2010 — more than in any of the past four years, according to the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal’s annual report. The force received 176 reports of sexual assault and 518 of assault during the year — numbers one military expert says are worrisome. “Here, we have individuals who are well-paid, disciplined and operating within a hierarchical system,” said Michel Drapeau, a retired colonel who now practises and teaches military law. The numbers are up from 2009, when the police force received 166 reports of sexual assault and 514 of assault, according to the report. “Forces are there to protect Canadians and Canada . . . . Men and women are working alongside each other. There’s cause for alarm there.” ….”  The latest annual report is accessible here.
  • A Congolese man accused by the Canadian government of being complicit in war crimes, and facing deportation, says he’s never so much as killed a cat. Abraham Bahaty Bayavuge says he was a simple computer technician in his native land and has denied any wrongdoing during a detention review Friday before the Immigration and Refugee Board. Bayavuge is the fifth person arrested from a list of 30 alleged war criminals publicly posted last week by the Conservative government. But he scoffed at the attempt to depict him as a threat to society. In the seven years he lived here, openly and freely between 2000 and 2007, he said the worst thing he ever did was get parking tickets for failing to move his car. “Not yesterday, not today, not tomorrow, can anyone prove that I killed even one cat, one cat, he told the hearing. “I wouldn’t take a human life, I respect human beings” ….”
  • Chilling admissions of machine-gunning villages, assisting in torture and throwing bodies from a helicopter were made by one man on the government’s recently released list of most-wanted suspected war criminals. And he’s still at large in Canada. “In November 1987 I was part of a helicopter crew involved in the murder of two civilians. They were shot in my helicopter, in my presence, by army personnel on suspicion of being terrorists,” Jose Domingo Malaga Arica admitted to immigration officials. “Their bodies were weighted down with rocks and pushed out of the aircraft into a river.” Malaga, a former soldier in the Peruvian army, described his years of service in a written statement to a Convention Refugee Determination Division board ….”
  • Niiiiiiiice….Emotions are running high in Forest Lawn where a group with ties to known white supremacists seems intent on recruiting like-minded people through a poster campaign. The black-and-white posters, with statements like “Immigration costs Canadian taxpayers $23 billion annually” coupled with statistics purporting to reflect Canadian immigration and unemployment, have been glued to bus stations, light standards and telephone poles throughout the southeast neighbourhood. At the bottom, the words “Does this seem right to you?” are followed by “If not, contact.” A phone number and e-mail address are printed, along with the website to the international white supremacist group known as Blood and Honour ….”
  • A watchdog has given Canada’s overseas eavesdropping agency a good report card, but has hinted that the secretive organization may occasionally push the boundaries when it comes to collecting information on Canadians. Communications Security Establishment Canada collects foreign intelligence for Ottawa, but is not allowed to spy on Canadians, whether they’re living at home or abroad. But an annual report by CSEC commissioner Robert Decary suggests the agency “may use information about Canadians” when seeking new sources of foreign intelligence. Decary says CSEC only pursues such methods “when other means have been exhausted” and when it believes they are likely to turn up new sources of information. “CSEC conducts these activities infrequently, but they can be a valuable tool in meeting Government of Canada intelligence priorities,” Decary writes in his latest report, which was released last week ….”  Full report available here.
  • Canada’s ability to comply with its international obligations could be compromised if a decision staying the extradition of Abdullah Khadr is allowed to stand, the federal government said Friday. In asking the Supreme Court of Canada to take up the case, Ottawa argues the lower courts were wrong to prevent an “admitted” terrorist from facing trial in the U.S. “This case raises issues of national importance that require consideration by this court,” Ottawa states in its leave-to-appeal request obtained by The Canadian Press. Principles of fundamental justice “should not be used to impose the technicalities of our criminal law on a foreign partner.” ….”  More on this here.

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 29 Jul 11

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  • 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 – 15 Jan 11

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MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 23 Dec 10

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