MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 21 Nov 11

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 14 Nov 11

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 3 Mar 11

  • CF to Libya (1a):  Canada’s Expeditionary Force Command (CEFCOM) now has a page with information on Operation MOBILE, Canada’s mission to LibyaThe Canadian Forces launched Operation MOBILE on 25 February 2011 to assist the departure of Canadians and other foreign nationals from Libya. Op MOBILE is part of a whole-of-government effort led by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) ….” The CF’s Combat Camera folks have pages with photos and video from OP Mobile, too.
  • CF to Libya (1b):  CEFCOM’s first feature story about the evacuation mission so far.
  • CF to Libya (2a):  So, what’s the job of the HMCS Charlottetown, exactly? “…. Cmdr. Craig Skjerpen, addressing his crew before departure, said they were heading into an “emerging humanitarian crisis” in North Africa, along with the navies of the United States, Britain and other Western nations. The country is in revolt over the 41-year reign of dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Skjerpen told reporters little is yet known about the Charlottetown’s actual role once it arrives off Libya, which will come following a week-long Atlantic crossing. He doesn’t know yet whether the ship will join an existing NATO fleet or a U.S. naval task force, both now in the Mediterranean. Skjerpen also said he has no orders to begin enforcing United Nations trade sanctions against Libya. Nor does the frigate have stocks of humanitarian aid on board. “It’s a very dynamic situation over there right now, so we’ll have to adapt to whatever happens.” ….” More from the Halifax Chronicle-Herald here.
  • CF to Libya (2b):  Well, here’s what SOME in Canada’s Libyan community want. “Edmonton’s Libyan community is calling for the removal of dictator Moammar Gadhafi, and has asked the Canadian government to take an active role in supporting the Libyan people. Zachariah Mansour, a second-year science student at the University if Alberta, was among 60 protesters calling for these measures at a recent rally at Churchill Square. “Basically we want to see a similar response to what happened in Haiti during the earthquake and in Sri Lanka during the tsunami; we want humanitarian aid not military intervention,” he says ….” (Note to Edmonton Libyan community:  a lot of the help sent to Haiti got there BECAUSE of the military.)
  • CF to Libya (3):  Toronto think-tanker John Thompson’s take“….Warships off the Libyan coast can be used to potentially interdict shipments to that country, provided that some sort of agreement between various nations decides to exclude — for example — shipping from Iran or North Korea, and can manage to do so under international law.  If the war continues, warships might be used to escort shipments of humanitarian supplies.  More interventionist roles, such as declaring that Libyan aircraft all remain grounded, or sending special forces to secure stocks of chemical weapons (which Libya has, and used in Chad in the 1980s) or to destroy Libya’s inventory of Scud Missiles to keep the conflict contained to Libya alone.  However, such interventions might cause lasting resentment that will outlive the current situation and could easily be used as for propaganda purposes by any faction.”
  • CF to Libya (4):  More “learning” of JTF-2 headed downrange. “…. the dispatch of Canada’s frigate HMCS Charlottetown, which sails Wednesday from Halifax with 240 Canadian Forces personnel aboard, represents a commitment of weeks or months of military presence. Its first job is to set up command-and-control for evacuation efforts if they’re still needed. Then it is likely to assist in aid operations to Libyans, and could finally end up as part of tougher international military “sanctions” against the regime, such as enforcing a blockade, Defence Minister Peter MacKay said. Canadian special forces troops are now based in Malta, The Globe and Mail has learned, and are believed to be playing an active role in assisting evacuation missions to rescue Canadians and citizens from other countries ….”
  • CF to Libya (5a):  Retired General Lew MacKenzie, in his own words, on Canada sending fighters to help in any no-fly zone that’ll be imposed on Libya “…. The immediate need for imposing a no-fly zone over Libya will only be achieved outside of the Security Council’s decision-making by a coalition of the willing. Some nation will have to assume a leadership role and as French President Nicolas Sarkozy was the first to recommend the idea, France would be an obvious choice. Canada should participate.”
  • CF to Libya (5b):  Retired General Lew MacKenzie, quoted & paraphrased, on Canada sending fighters to help in any no-fly zone that’ll be imposed on Libya: “…. Retired Maj.-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie said deploying CF-18s would be “logistically possible,” but “extremely difficult and somewhat time-consuming.” He foresees a more humanitarian role for Canada’s troops, although even that could be difficult since Canada doesn’t have a lot of assets already in the area ….”
  • Canada isn’t sending JUST military help to Libya. “…. “Canada is acting swiftly to help meet the humanitarian needs of the people of Libya which are a result of recent violence in that country,” said Prime Minister Harper.  “We are taking action to provide immediate humanitarian support to areas that need it most.” …. Canada, through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), will help to address urgent medical requirements, basic humanitarian needs, and the repatriation of people displaced into Tunisia and Egypt.  Canada’s help will include improving access to food, water, sanitation, shelter and emergency medical care.  The initial contribution being announced today will support humanitarian efforts through the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of the Red Cross and the International Organization for Migration ….” More on that from the Canadian Press, CBC.ca, Postmedia News, and QMI Media.
  • It didn’t take long for the usual suspects to come out against ANY kind of help for Libya involving people whose titles include ranks. “The Canadian Peace Alliance is opposed to any military intervention in Libya or in the region as a whole …. Western military deployment to Libya is a bit like asking the arsonist to put out their own fire. Far from being a shining light in a humanitarian crisis, western intervention is designed to maintain the status quo and will, in fact make matters worse for the people there ….  The best way to help the people of Libya is to show our solidarity with their struggle. There are demonstrations planned this weekend. The people united will never be defeated!” I’m sorry, but WTF does “showing our solidarity with their struggle” mean, exactly?  Ship over some freeze-dried, vacuum-sealed solidarity to drop on the masses?  If you’re going to whine, how about some concrete solutions?  Even the Libyan community in Edmonton was clear about what they want.
  • More news on the latest in Libya here (Google News), here (EMM News Brief:  Libya),  here (NewsNow), here (BBC) and here (Al Jazeera English).
  • Ottawa’s patience has run its course as the federal government is set to impose penalties of up to $8-million against Sikorsky for the latest delays in the delivery of a new fleet of maritime helicopters. The aircraft manufacturer is facing a financial hit after failing to meet a schedule that already has been pushed back from the original 2008 deadline. The amount of the penalty is largely symbolic, representing up to 0.15 per cent of the $5.7-billion contract, but the move highlights Ottawa’s decision to take a tougher stand against the U.S.-based company ….”
  • F-35 Tug o’ War:  Ceasefire.ca has posted a web page allowing you to send a letter to prominent politicians to oppose purchase of the F-35 here. One wonders how many people “personalize” the letter to make it say something COMPLETELY different than what’s already there before sending it?  Just sayin’….
  • Wanna buy an old Snowbird? “A rare chance to acquire an iconic piece of Canadian aviation history is up for grabs when a Snowbirds Tutor Jet is auctioned in Toronto next month.  The Canadian Forces’ Snowbirds team, which claims Moose Jaw as its home, has entertained millions of air show spectators as international ambassadors for Canada for more than 40 years …. Now one of these rare aircraft will be offered at public auction for the first time at the annual Classic Car Auction of Toronto from April 8 to 10 held at the International Centre in Mississauga, Ont., next to Pearson International Airport.  It is one of only four known CT-114s under private ownership …. Originally powered by the J85 jet engine, which has since been removed after being retired from service, the aircraft is expected to become a candidate for restoration or historical museum display.”
  • Know those pirates stealing boats and killing people around Somalia?  Now, ship owners here in Canada are starting to get more  worried, too. “The hijackings and kidnappings orchestrated by Somali pirates in waters halfway around the globe are rippling back to shores of this country, Canadian shipping companies say, and they’ve joined an international campaign urging world governments to do more to combat the problem.  Several international shipping associations and sailors’ unions have launched the Save Our Seafarers campaign, warning the “growing Somali piracy crisis” is threatening global trade and endangering those working on ships plying the waters off Africa’s east coast.  The campaign’s supporters include the Chamber of Shipping of B.C. and Fairmont Shipping (Canada) Ltd., which say Canadian companies have had to turn down business and make costly changes to shipping routes to avoid the precarious waters patrolled by pirates.  “This problem has been recurring and has been escalating to a degree that we don’t feel this is something the industry can resolve,” Samuel Tang, a Fairmont Shipping vice-president, said in an interview ….”

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 2 Mar 11

  • CF to Libya (1)  HMCS Charlottetown on its way (Prime Minister’s statement in the House of Commons, CF statement (1), CF statement (2), CTV.ca, Postmedia News, Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, Canadian Press, CBC.ca (1), CBC.ca (2), Agence France-Presse)
  • CF to Libya (2)  JTF 2 headed downrange? (Twitter from Le Devoir-iste Alec Castonguay, Agence France-Presse)
  • CF to Libya (3)  CF military plane turned back from Tripoli because there was nowhere to land, park (CP via Globe & Mail, Times of Malta)
  • Canada Grabs Libya by the Assets  Canada freezing Libyan assets (~$2 billion)“The Canadian government has frozen more than $2 billion in Libyan assets so far, and continues to target holdings of embattled ruler Moammar Gadhafi and his family, CBC News has learned.  The move to freeze the assets came after Canada learned the Libyan regime was planning to withdraw the funds from as-yet-unidentified Canadian banks ….” More from FINTRAC, Canada’s agency for tracking suspicious money movements, here, and from Reuters.
  • The Commentariat on Libya (1)  Bad news for Libya could be good news for Canada? “…. Canada is likely to be one of the few western beneficiaries of the uncertainty that is sweeping the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa.  The reason is, of course, oil. For decades to come the tarsands are going to be Canada’s trump card every time there is volatility in international energy markets …. The events of the past two months, and dramas still unfolding in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan and oil-rich countries such as Libya, Oman and a few of the Gulf sheikdoms, make it more and more obvious that there is going to be a keen demand for Canada’s so-called “dirty oil” for years to come.  Viewed through this prism, if the U.S. does not want the kind of oil that Canada has to offer, China and India, with huge economic ambitions to fuel, almost certainly will ….”
  • The Commentariat on Libya (2)  Help out, by all means, but be careful about too much military “help”. “…. For Western powers to involve themselves more deeply in Libya would be   counterproductive. It would suggest to pro-democracy elements in the Middle East that, if their opposition becomes violent, they will get help from the West. It would put non-Libyan lives at risk in a situation that is extremely difficult to assess from outside – without any clear benefit to Libyans themselves. Indeed, military intervention might eventually provoke an anti-Western reaction that could end up discrediting the democrats that the West rightly wishes to encourage and help.  By seizing assets abroad and imposing diplomatic sanctions, the West should indeed tighten the vise on Col. Gadhafi. But it should not use its military forces to depose him, in what is ultimately a matter that must be decided by Libyans.”
  • More news on the latest in Libya here (Google News), here (EMM News Brief:  Libya),  here (NewsNow), here (BBC) and here (Al Jazeera English).
  • More on Canada’s upcoming mission in Afghanistan (highlights mine): “The government’s plan to keep 1,000 Canadian troops near Kabul after their mission in Kandahar ends this year is looking increasingly unlikely after comments from the military’s second-in-command last week. “There will be no Canadian Forces units located in Kandahar province after 2011,” Vice-Admiral Bruce Donaldson, the vice-chief of the defence staff, told the Conference of Defence Associations in Ottawa on Feb. 25. “Rather, our training mission will be Kabul-centric, meaning that the main effort will be centered in and about the city of Kabul. “That said, a small number of CF personnel may be assigned to other areas of Afghanistan where the risks to our personnel is assessed to be no greater than that found in Kabul.” ….” Hmm, wonder where that might be?  And how safe, really, is Kabul these days?
  • One Canadian Corrections staffer’s story from working in Kandahar.
  • Taliban Propaganda Watch: Taliban claims to have RPG’ed a transport plane in Helmand.
  • Ooopsie“A Tutor jet, the plane assigned to the military’s aerobatic flying team known as the Snowbirds, was damaged during a landing at 15 Wing Moose Jaw Tuesday afternoon around 3 p.m. CT. Its two crew walked away from the plane and were to be evaluated by medical staff ….”
  • Accused terrorist Hassan Diab failed Tuesday in a last and crucial attempt to get handwriting evidence being used against him disallowed. The handwriting analysis by French forensic expert Anne Bisotti has been called the “smoking gun” by prosecutors, meaning that it is key to the French case. Paris authorities say Diab was a key player in a terrorist bombing outside a synagogue in October 1980 and that handwriting comparisons prove his involvement. A former University of Ottawa professor, Diab says he is innocent and the victim of mistaken identity ….”

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 13 Feb 11

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 12 Feb 11

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 7 Feb 11

  • Canada’s newest upgraded tanks arrive in Afghanistan to help in (what’s left of) the fight (via Army.ca).
  • Another way Canada’s helping in Afghanistan:  building secure quarters to protect Afghan public servants “Two weeks ago, Kandahar deputy governor Abdul Latif Ashna inspected a Canadian project to provide secure homes for 15 Afghan government officials and their families. Exactly one week later the Afghan lead on the Committee to Secure Civil Servants was dead when the car he was riding in was blown up by a suspected suicide bomber on a motorcycle. “Ashna’s death was very poignant,” said Philip Lupul, a Canadian diplomat who worked closely with Mr. Ashna on the housing project, which is to be completed by the end of next month. “He had pointed out some changes that he thought should be made to the houses and we had accepted them. “One of the tragedies of this is that he would certainly have been a candidate for one of these homes. We lost a good friend who was part of this project.” …. “
  • Canada spent more than $41 million on hired guns in Afghanistan over four years, much of it going to security companies slammed by the U.S. Senate for having warlords on the payroll. Both the Defence and Foreign Affairs departments have employed 11 security contractors in Kabul and Kandahar since 2006, but have kept quiet about the details. Now documents tabled in Parliament at the request of the New Democrats provide the first comprehensive picture of the use of private contractors, which have been accused of adding to the chaos in Afghanistan. The records show Foreign Affairs paid nearly $8 million to ArmorGroup Securities Ltd., recently cited in a U.S. Senate investigation (link to news release – 105 page, 23 MB PDF report downloadable here) as relying on Afghan warlords who in 2007 were engaged in “murder, kidnapping, bribery and anti-Coalition activities.” The company, which has since been taken over by G4S Risk Management, provided security around the Canadian embassy in Kabul and guarded diplomats. Tundra SCA stands on guard for the Defence Department outside Canadian military forward operating bases and has collected more than $5.3 million ….” A bit more on one of the bad boys turned good boys here.
  • A school that’s a hallmark of Canada’s struggle against Afghan insurgents is on the brink of getting rid of some teachers and classes as Ottawa ponders whether to toss a lifeline. The Afghan-Canadian Community Centre, where thousands of girls and women have braved Taliban threats to get an education, needs more than $500,000 by month’s end to avoid severe cutbacks, said Ryan Aldred, who heads a charity that supports the school.  Thousands of women, girls and men have learned skills such as how to use computers, start a business or speak English at the centre …. The Canadian International Development Agency has contributed $313,773 to keep the school open, but when Aldred applied for more money in late 2009, CIDA eventually turned him down.  “Although approved in principle, the grant was declined in May 2010 due to a ‘lack of resources to support new initiatives’ and ‘the priority currently placed on initiatives that directly support the attainment of (CIDA’s) benchmarks,’ ” Aldred said ….”
  • Meanwhile, a wounded warrior says in the reality that is Afghanistan, sometimes a good warlord can help keep a grip on things“The Canadian Forces have always been pragmatic in who it uses to help the CF in places like Kandahar. White western forces are at a disadvantage in a place where it is incredibly difficult to know who is on first. That’s why warlords and those on the ground are the way to ensure peace. Their troubled past will not make these people go away and in fact Col Toorjan is well known as the protector of the Provincial Reconstruction Team ….”
  • Taliban Propaganda Watch: Claims of civilian casualties in Kandahar.
  • F-35 Watch With all the buzz around Ottawa about a potential spring election, there remains a drought of hot-button political issues over which the coming campaign will be contested. One exception to this, of course, is the Conservative government’s controversial commitment to purchase the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Although no contract has been signed, the Harper Tories remain adamant that they will proceed with the purchase of 65 of the sophisticated aircraft, which, at an initial procurement cost of $9 billion and an estimated $7 billion in future maintenance expenses, makes this the largest military project expenditure in Canada’s history ….”
  • What’s Canada Buying? Translation cards (~$47,000 worth) that soldiers can point at when they don’t know the language of the locals (via Army.ca).
  • Canada’s lead weapons treaty negotiator has been removed from his post after American negotiators complained he was “too tough and aggressive” on behalf of Canada in disarmament talks. The Ottawa Citizen has learned that veteran Foreign Affairs arms treaty expert Earl Turcotte has also run afoul of his bosses after apparently objecting to key elements in long-awaited legislation that will see Canada ratify the international Convention on Cluster Munitions. Turcotte, widely respected and often publicly praised at international negotiations for his negotiating skills, has emailed colleagues across the world telling them he will soon resign from Foreign Affairs to independently advocate for the cluster treaty he helped to craft in Dublin in May 2008 ….”
  • Members of Canada’s civilian intelligence service are apparently being asked to be more discrete with the swag they can buy in their kit shop“Canadian spies are being warned not to wear their loyalty on their sleeve — or their wrist or lapel.  The hush-hush reminder to employees of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service advises keeping polo shirts, watches and pins emblazoned with the distinctive CSIS crest away from curious eyes.  The items are sold in a secret shop tucked away on the lower level of CSIS headquarters in Ottawa, and made available to employees posted elsewhere through the agency’s online memorabilia catalogue.  The souvenirs — which also include hoodies, key chains, mugs, pens and plaques — offer members of the intelligence service “a tangible sense of belonging to the organization,” says an internal CSIS article obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.  But in keeping with CSIS policy, it seems the stylish spy must be careful to keep the merchandise undercover.  “Although the clothing does not display the Service’s acronym, it does feature the emblem,” says the October 2010 publication, parts of which remain classified …. “The policy essentially states that employees should exercise discretion in disclosing employment outside the work environment. Furthermore, employees working in (deleted from document) must be particularly vigilant in concealing their employer or any association with CSIS.” ….”
  • Egypt Watch:  My guess is that someone with a rank in his title will be boss in Egypt before end of week. “…. Since it would be the army that finally tells Mubarak to leave, the military would dominate the interim regime. They would not want to put yet another general out front, so they might decide that ElBaradei is the right candidate for interim leader, precisely because he has no independent power base ….”

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 6 Feb 11

  • Egypt Watch:  Protests in Canada (Toronto, Montreal, Winnipeg, et al) call for Mubarak to GTFO.
  • Where Else is the CF Working? “The school serving the families of Sierra Leone’s largest military base has been substantially renovated under a project financed, launched and managed by Task Force Freetown, the Canadian contingent of the International Military Advisory and Training Team (IMATT). At the grand re-opening of Wilberforce Army Municipal School on 16 December 2010, task force commander Lieutenant-Colonel Steven Carr addressed an enthusiastic crowd of children, parents and teachers who loudly expressed sincere appreciation ….” More on the CF’s work in Sierra Leone on Operation Sculpture here.
  • Where Else is the CF (Still) Working? “Since 2006, Cyprus has welcomed Canadian Forces members on their way home from Afghanistan for the short break known as “third location decompression.” In November 2010, when Camp Mirage closed, the island also became the home of a Strategic Line of Communication Detachment (SLOC Det) deployed by Canadian Operational Support Command to provide a staging point for equipment and personnel en route to and from Afghanistan. These are only the most recent Canadian Forces arrivals in Cyprus. The CF actually has a long history on the island. From March 1964 to September 1993, Canada deployed one of the major contributors of troops to the United Nations Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) ….” More on Canada’s mission in Cyprus on Operation Snowgoose here.
  • More calls for Canada to get more involved in Africa. “The political volcano erupting in Africa continues to make headlines around the globe. In media terminology, it is the perfect time to say all roads lead to Africa, or better still, all eyes on Africa.  While Ottawa has not been as vocal as the United States, this silence cannot be indefinite for several reasons.  First, the current situation in Africa presents Canada with a golden opportunity to showcase the values that make it distinct among nations and upon which its civilization is based …. Second, the presence of a large African population in Canada with fresh roots back home means Ottawa owes an explanation to a people on its doorsteps …. Third, the current instability in North Africa constitutes a severe security threat not only to the United States but to Canada as well ….”
  • Taliban Propaganda Watch:  Attacks claimed across Kandahar, Uruzgan and an alleged shoot-down of a helicopter near Kabul.

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 5 Feb 11

  • How many Afghans did Canada nab in 2009? Here’s the stats and background information from the CF (with a PDF copy here in case that link doesn’t work).  Here’s the media coverage, from Postmedia News and the Canadian Press.
  • An exercise in the cold to get ready for a bigger exercise in the cold. “A military jet has crashed into a wooded field in Farnham in the Eastern Townships, injuring the pilots and severely wounding a passenger and two farmers on the ground. Screaming residents stumble through thigh-high snow, trying to get to their friends as smoke pours from the fuselage. One man lies face down, blood spattering the snow around his body. Then the army appears. Specifically, soldiers from the 200 members of the 5th Service Battalion of the Canadian Armed Forces who have travelled to the Eastern Townships this week from their base in Valcartier near Quebec City. They’re in the midst of a training operation called Frosty Soldier at the Farnham military base in preparation for one of the largest Arctic military exercises to be held starting this month in James Bay. More than 1,300 soldiers, along with 200 civilians, will be gathering for Exercise Guerrier Nordique (Nordic Warrior), to bolster the military’s northern mandate of search and rescue operations, reconnaissance patrols and “sovereignty patrols,” protecting that part of the Arctic that Canada considers ours ….”
  • Canada-U.S. border security:  After a meeting in Washington between PM Harper and President Obama yesterday, here’s a joint statement they issued (with more info here).  Here’s how the media are covering it so far:  “Border talks ‘not about sovereignty:’ Harper” (CBC.ca)  “2 nations join forces to meet U.S. – Canadian border challenge” (Detroit Free Press “U.S.-Canada pact borders on great” (Toronto Sun editorial)  “PM’s border scheme mired in past” (Toronto Star column)  “US, Canada Announce New Joint Border Effort” (Voice of America) “Canada could be a very different place” (National Post column)  My guess:  we’re going to hear the CBC.ca version of messaging in the House of Commons this week during Question Period.
  • Canada on how quickly Mubarak should get outta Dodge: “The Harper government has endorsed the go-slow transition plan set out by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, signalling that Mideast stability and peace with Israel are its paramount concerns while other Western nations push for faster change.  Canada’s warnings that a rushed change in power could lead to instability – Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon insisted that “a vacuum does not mean transition” – came on a day of bloody confrontations in Cairo on Thursday …. In Ottawa, though, Mr. Cannon had emphasized that Canada’s chief concern is for a stable transition, one that protects Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel, and indicated support for Mr. Suleiman’s plan for months of step-by-step changes while Mr. Mubarak remains.  “I think the question is what’s next. A vacuum does not mean transition. The transition must be orderly, we have said it from the beginning. And these things must be settled by the Egyptians themselves,” Mr. Cannon told reporters outside the Commons.  “There were steps, I understand, that were undertaken this morning by the vice-president. I think these steps form part of this orderly transition effort toward reforms, and ultimately an election.”  Mr. Cannon did call for a transition to democracy, but did not emphasize speed. When asked whether he wants an “immediate transition,” he replied: “An orderly transition that should bring us to the reforms we’ve talked about.” ….”

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 4 Feb 11

  • A U.S. army brigade from Alaska is to replace Canadian troops when their combat mission in southern Afghanistan ends this July. About 4,000 troops of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 25th Infantry Division from Fort Wainwright, near Fairbanks, Alaska, are to “backfill” for Canada’s 2,800-member battle group, according to the Stars and Stripes, which cited a U.S. army colonel as its source. The “Arctic Wolves,” who served in Iraq in 2009, are to train in the Californian desert for their impending 12-month tour, said the independent daily newspaper funded by the U.S. Department of Defense ….” More from Stars & Stripes here.
  • Canadian choppers head to Arizona to prepare for Afghanistan.
  • They also serve who bring up the bullets & beans.“The men and women on forward operating bases (FOB) and in platoon houses do not have access to stores and cannot buy even simple items such as a package of gum. This is where members of the National Support Element (NSE) come in. Their crucial task is to supply all Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, whether they are at Kandahar Airfield (KAF) or outside of the main camp. “Everyone here is working for the guy out in his tank in the middle of the desert with only water and rations,” says NSE Commander Lieutenant-Colonel Sébastien Bouchard ….”
  • Egypt (1)  Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister says it’s time to go if you’re a Canadian still in Egypt these days“…. In total, 449 have been evacuated in five flights since Monday, with another scheduled to land here Friday morning with 40 Canadians aboard. The government meanwhile encouraged Canadians still in Egypt to board the flights. In a statement issued Thursday Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon said any Canadians remaining in Egypt should leave as soon as possible as the North African country geared for a 10th consecutive day of increasingly violent protests. “All remaining Canadian citizens who wish to depart Egypt on a Canadian government chartered flight and who are able to do so should immediately proceed to the airport, terminal 1, departures area, as soon as possible on Feb. 3,” the statement said. “We strongly urge all Canadians to leave Egypt.” ….”
  • Egypt (2) “…. The minister said Ottawa was aware of the detention of two Canadian journalists working in Cairo for the Globe and Mail newspaper, as well as others from CBC, Radio-Canada, CTV and TVA who were “targeted and intimidated.” The Canadian government is “particularly disappointed and concerned that the protests that began with hope, order and enthusiasm are now fraught with violence, havoc and fear,” he said. “We are particularly concerned at reports of arrests of journalists. All detained journalists should be immediately released and their media equipment returned.” Cannon said he expressed his “grave concerns” regarding the targeting of foreign journalists to his Egyptian counterpart, Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit, and to his envoy in Ottawa, urging Egypt’s government to “ensure that the army guarantees their safety.” ….”
  • Canadian troops will be taking part in a joint exercise in Africa – this from U.S. Africa Command: “Flintlock 11, the latest iteration of U.S. Africa Command’s premier Special Operations Forces exercise, kicks off February 21, 2011 in Thies, Senegal, and runs through March 11.  Conducted by Special Operations Command Africa, Flintlock is a joint multinational exercise to improve information sharing at the operational and tactical levels across the Saharan region while fostering increased collaboration and coordination. It’s focused on military interoperability and capacity-building for U.S., North American and European Partner Nations, and select units in Northern and Western Africa …. Approximately 800 personnel will be involved in Flintlock 11. This includes participants from the U.S., Canada, Spain, France, The Netherlands and Germany, as well as from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria and Senegal …” Who’s going from Canada?  More on that here.