News Highlights – 28 Sept 11 News Highlights – 6 Sept 11

  • Afghanistan  Finally, a bit of info (from a visiting Canadian academic) from Herat, one of the spots where Canadian troops are helping train Afghan security forces during Operation Attention.  “…. Our participation in this training process, while likely the best course of action in a very challenging situation, simply adds to both the moral responsibility we owe Afghanistan and the strategic corner we have backed ourselves into. If we build this army, we had better be willing to fund it and support it long into the future. This will be added to the long-term development and humanitarian engagement we also have rightly committed to and have the obligation to maintain. Afghans, of course, have been taught to shoot RPGs before.”
  • Taliban Propaganda Watch  New statement (link to non-terrorist web site):  child suicide bombers?  What child suicide bombers?  We have rules against that kinda stuff, ya know….  Meanwhile, here’s what Human Rights Watch has to say about using kids to blow themselves up:  “The Taliban’s use of children as suicide bombers is not only sickening, but it makes a mockery of Mullah Omar’s claim to protect children and civilians. Any political movement or army that manipulates or coerces children into becoming human bombs has lost touch with basic humanity.”
  • Libya Mission  Sun Media columnist says time to go home, not extend mission.  “…. Do Canadians really need to be mixed up in another protracted foreign military effort with an uncertain outcome? We may be headed into another recession. The federal government should keep its powder dry and focus now on the home front.”
  • 9/11 Plus Ten (1)  “Canada is better positioned today to thwart a terrorist attack than before 9-11, but remains vulnerable to ever-evolving threats to national security — especially those targeted from within the country, says Public Safety Minister Vic Toews. Billions invested in beefed-up security measures, more information-sharing with allies and tighter controls on the movement of passengers, cargo and vehicles since Sept. 11, 2001, have all helped detect threats before they become too far advanced. But Canada must keep “alert” to new sources of danger — including home-grown terrorists and cyber-attackers. “Relatively speaking, we’re in a better position. I think back in 2001 we had no idea about the possibilities and types of threats,” Toews told iPolitics. “I think we’ve become much more sophisticated in recognizing potential threats than we were able to 10 years ago, so in that sense we’re in better shape. We’re also in better shape because we share information with our allies on a more regular and consistent basis.” ….”
  • 9/11 Plus Ten (2)  “…. The consequences of 9/11 are a bit like the tip of an iceberg.  What you see is less important than what lies below the surface.  The most visible reminder of 9/11 is the inconvenience travellers face crossing the border …. The other major legacy of 9/11 is the resuscitation of hard power in Canada’s foreign policy …. That horrible day 10 years ago is a lasting reminder that Canada needs both hard and soft power to advance its interests in the world.”
  • 9/11 Plus Ten (3)  EU, NATO:  World is safer post-9/11“…. A decade after Al-Qaeda traumatised the United States, the terror network has lost its leader, Osama bin Laden, and proved irrelevant in the revolutions sweeping the Arab world, said EU counter-terrorism coordinator Gilles de Kerchove. “The main finding is the real failure of the Al-Qaeda project,” he said. The once mighty group has been worn down by the NATO-led war in Afghanistan, which served as its safe haven prior to 9/11, and reinforced international cooperation, de Kerchove said. “Today an attack of the scale and sophistication of 9/11 is no longer possible,” he told a news conference. “Does it mean that we’re completely out of the threat? Probably not.” He added: “Are we safer today than before? I can say yes.” ….”
  • What’s Canada Buying? (1)  Wanted:  someone to plan and develop the next CF recruiting media campaign.  This from the bid document’s Statement of Work (PDF available here):  “…. the focus of advertising messaging will shift with the evolving focus of Canada’s military. Ongoing recruitment continues to be the priority and the emphasis will change to accurately reflect the reality of life in the CF. As Fight portrays the CF with a combat focus, and Priority Occupations promotes specific careers, future advertisement campaigns propose to showcase the CF’s readiness and proficiency in humanitarian efforts and domestic defence and support.  The readiness message should demonstrate that CF personnel are trained and the right equipment and necessary infrastructure are available when and where it is needed ….”  Check out the Statement of Work for suggested key messages and target audiences.
  • What’s Canada Buying? (2)  Jobs for east coast folks from one of the wanna-be TAPV competitors?  “A Dieppe company could be adding at least 120 new jobs to its roster if the Canadian government picks the Timberwolf as the newest tactical armoured patrol vehicle for the Canadian Forces. A prototype of the Timberwolf, a tactical armoured patrol vehicle designed specifically for the Canadian Forces, is seen in action. Dieppe’s Malley Industries Inc. will be the vehicle’s manufacturer if the design is selected. Specialty vehicle manufacturer Malley Industries Inc. will announce Tuesday that it has penned a deal with Force Protection Industries Inc., a leading United States designer and developer of military tactical vehicles. Malley Industries now joins a team of companies to potentially manufacture the Timberwolf – a tactical armoured patrol vehicle designed specifically for the Canadian Forces. There are at least three other teams vying for their vehicles to be picked. The government has until next July to choose a design. Up to 600 vehicles could be purchased ….”
  • What’s Canada Buying (3)  Wanted:  someone to build Joint Personnel Support Unit (JPSU) building in Petawawa.
  • What’s Canada Selling?  “CAE today announced that it has been awarded a series of military contracts valued at more than C$100 million, including a subcontract to design and manufacture four additional C-130J simulators for the United States Air Force (USAF) as well as contracts in Germany to provide support services for the German Air Force’s Eurofighter simulators and to upgrade Tornado flight simulators …. Under terms of a subcontract from the prime contractor, CAE will design and manufacture four C-130J weapon systems trainers (WSTs) to support the USAF’s Air Mobility Command (AMC), Air Combat Command (ACC), and Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC). Three of the simulators will be HC/MC-130J WSTs for ACC and AFSOC, and one will be a C-130J simulator for AMC ….”

Taliban “Human Rights”: Better Late Than Never

This from the New York Times:

International and local human rights groups working in Afghanistan have shifted their focus toward condemning abuses committed by the Taliban insurgents, rather than those attributed to the American military and its allies.


“NATO, in some cases they acknowledge their mistakes; to some extent they have taken positive steps in terms of reducing their impact,” said Ajmal Samadi, director of Afghanistan Rights Monitor. “On the insurgent side we don’t have any acknowledgment of the problem and instead we see a brazen continuation of their crimes.”


“We haven’t seen any change in the conduct of the Taliban since their code of conduct,” said Ahmad Nader Nadery, a commissioner of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission. “To the contrary, we’ve seen an increase in roadside bombs and suicide attacks in places where there are civilian populations.”


“NATO, with the tactical directives, they’ve moved a long way,” said Rachel Reid, Human Rights Watch’s Afghanistan analyst. “It’s very possible to engage with them, even organizations like mine, they’ll meet with us and listen to our concerns.”  “There is a real need for more pressure and open dialogue with insurgent forces for their violations of the laws of war,” she said.


Here here.

Some of my previous ranting on this one:

Update: American Security Project fellow and contributor Joshua Foust has this take on the NY Times coverage.  This leads to me clarifying a bit:  The NYT piece makes it look like the new development is human rights groups focusing on Taliban human rights issues.  To me, it looks more like the groups have been pointing out the Taliban’s misdeeds for some time, with MSM not reporting in proportion to the source of the problem.

TALIBAN PROPAGANDA WATCH: Taliban Complains About Human Rights

This appears to be a new tack for the Taliban Info-Machine:  pointing out everyone ELSE’s human rights violations.

This latest missive on the Voice of Jihad English-language site (PDF at non-terrorist site here) scolds Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the United Nations Human Rights Commission about being “tight lipped over what are (sic.) happening in Afghanistan.”

Yeah, we know the Taliban’s record on respecting human rights, don’t we?

The last time the Taliban called for help from the U.N. was over the air strike against hijacked fuel trucks in Kunduz.

Still, a few highlights jump out at me in the latest missive.

1)  NEW NUMBER OF DEAD IN KUNDUZ FUEL TRUCK STRIKE:  In earlier statements on this event, the Taliban mentioned 150 civilians dead (4 Sept 09 statement, at non-terrorist site) and 120 dead (Taliban investigation report issued 9 Sept 09, at non-terrorist site).  The latest “guesstimate”?

“In the first week of last September, American jets killed 140 poor villagers in Kunduz province when they were siphoning oil from tankers.”

2)  THE TALIBAN MISSED SOME OF THE LATEST MEDIA COVERAGE:  I’m drawn by this lead sentence:

“Last week, American forces in Helmand province killed 9 civilians by firing a missile late at night.”

Usually, the Taliban’s statements are reasonably timely, with recent news references included.  I guess Taliban Info-Central missed this 2 Oct 09 headline:  “Dutch jet accidentally bombs Afghan civilians”.  Then again, since previous Taliban statements have been known to be liberal with the facts, maybe they’re just drawing the eye to the key “crusader invaders”?

3)  WHAT MAINSTREAM MEDIA MIGHT PICK UP: There are several mentions (bolded and italicized, in fact) of the “war on terror”, further drawing the eye to America’s role in the fight by using its (old) phraseology.  A couple of other quotes that may pop up in MSM:

“When we try to inform the public of the world about the bloodshed, the violence, the genocide and the racial cleansing unleashed by Pentagon and its allies in Afghanistan, they suffocate our voice by blocking our websites and not publishing our news and statements.”

(Re:  the red bit – if I can find alternative sites for Taliban lies, they can’t be getting smothered too, too severely.)

“Our people have seen atrocities by foreign invaders from the time of Alexander down to Chengis khan, Tamerlane, the Red Army but the American atrocities are worst in terms of brutality and barbarism.”

(I don’t know enough about ancient history, but I’m looking forward to seeing the Taliban’s evidence of Americans, say, poisoning wells and fields.)

Keep enjoying the lies!