Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight

Posts Tagged ‘Lloyd Goodrow News Highlights – 28 May 11

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  • Libya Mission:  Stephen Harper is planning to extend Canada’s controversial military intervention in Libya and will ask the Commons, which he controls, to approve this. He announced this Friday at the Group of Eight leaders’ meetings in France. It’s not clear yet how long Mr. Harper intends to extend Canada’s involvement ….”  More here, here, here and here – more on Operation Mobile here.
  • Karl Manning, 5 RALC, R.I.P.:  A Canadian gunner was found dead from non-combat related wounds at approximately 5:30 a.m. local Kandahar time on 27 May 2011 at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Zangabad, southwest of Kandahar Airfield.  More here and here – condolences thread at here.
  • Afghanistan:  Meanwhile, work – including on roads – goes on.  “The Taliban tried to crash the Canadian army’s party Friday by launching an attack on the ceremonial opening of a road in the heart of the perilous Panjwaii district. The speakers weren’t even finished and pieces of the ribbon had just been picked up when a pair of explosions rang out, followed by small-arms fire. “Nothing like a few fireworks,” said Brig-Gen. Dean Milner, who was still speaking when the first muffled explosion occurred. Milner, unfazed, carried right on talking. “Like a good day in Afghanistan, there’s still lots of things that happen out there,” he said. “I think we even heard a couple of bangs. To make good things happen, you still have to challenge those bad guys, those insurgents.” ….”
  • Afghanistan: Reservists remember.Cpl. Scott Hahn came under fire for 20 minutes on his first patrol in Afghanistan. “You think right away you’re going to die,” he says. Then his infantry training kicked in. He started breathing properly, getting oxygen to his head, thinking straight. Ten minutes into the firefight he felt confident enough to start cracking jokes. “I’m glad it happened,” he says. “You learn your mistakes and how to correct them.” The war in Afghanistan left its mark on five soldiers from the local Royal Highland Fusiliers who completed tours of duty last year. Each went for up to eight months, undertaking different jobs in different places ….”
  • Manitoba Flooding: The Canadian Forces flood-relief mission in Manitoba is over, the military said Friday, having deployed 1,800 troops over the past 2½ weeks to pack and place sandbags, monitor dikes and help evacuate communities. “From coast to coast, the men and women of the Canadian Forces have proven they are ready and willing to assist Canadians in times of crisis,” Defence Minister Peter MacKay said in a written statement. “I’m very proud of their efforts to protect the people of Manitoba and their property from the flooded Assiniboine River.” This year’s seasonal flooding on the Assiniboine resulted in some of the highest water levels in a century. In Brandon, Man., about 1,400 people were forced from their homes more than three weeks ago and will return this weekend. The province’s second-largest city suffered the highest river crest since 1882 ….”  More from Postmedia/Global News here and QMI here, from the CF in its latest update here and its fact sheet here.
  • Quebec Flooding (1):  Defence Minister drops by.  “Defence Minister Peter MacKay toured the flood zone in southern Quebec’s Monteregie region Wednesday, meeting with area mayors and residents and clarifying the role of the Canadian Forces in the area. MacKay expressed pride in the work of the soldiers, saying they proved their versatility and efficiency but also made it clear that they were there only to provide emergency support and not to help in the cleanup. “We’ve taken the decision with the mayors and soldiers we will stay for the weekend and make day to day,” he said ….”
  • Quebec Flooding (2):  More on why militaries don’t tend to help clean up AFTER floods:  The Canadian army isn’t the only military force that doesn’t do cleanup. Local mayors and residents in flood-stricken areas near Montreal have been trying to get soldiers to stick around and help once waters eventually subside. But they need only look south of the border to see they’re not alone: the Vermont National Guard, which comes under the control of the state governor, is not allowed to help out on private property, either. Spokesperson Lt.-Col. Lloyd Goodrow says U.S. federal law doesn’t let National Guard members help people with their flooded basements. “That’s why people have insurance,” he told The Canadian Press on Friday. Goodrow says the National Guard is not allowed to provide any services that compete with the private sector ….”
  • Canadian, American and British intelligence troops practice their skills together in Arizona at Exercise Empire Challenge (hat tip to Bruce Ralston at Flit for sharing this).
  • Still MORE reading of the Julian Fantino tea leaves.  “Winning a majority government doesn’t make everything easier. Take, for example, the headache facing the Conservatives as they negotiate to buy the cost overrun-prone F-35 fighter-bomber from the United States, where a top Pentagon official recently called the jet-building program unaffordable without revisions. Helping sort this out and defend Canada’s purchase will now be Julian Fantino’s yoke to bear as the newly minted associate minister of defence with responsibility for procurement. Mr. Fantino will contend with two constants in his new job: Buying military hardware is infuriatingly complicated, and it gets more difficult during an era of belt-tightening. The retired cop’s appointment as Ottawa’s No. 2 defence minister after Peter MacKay gives the military a second voice at the cabinet table to promote and defend its big spending plans during a period of restraint when others might be inclined to delay. It also provides Stephen Harper with a point man to shepherd military procurement decisions through Ottawa’s frustrating and delay-plagued buying process – an assignment that may leave the Prime Minister feeling better-served on this file than in recent years ….”
  • A former radar site on Hudson’s Bay is about to be cleaned up. “Six decades after the radar operators gave up their search for Russian bombers streaking across the Northern Ontario sky, a massive cleanup effort will finally begin to erase a ghost town that was very briefly one of Canada’s most important military installations. The town doesn’t even have a formal name – military documents simply refer to it as Site 500. It was the operations centre for the Ontario portion of the Mid Canada Line Radar installation, a network of 17 sites built as part of a national network in the 1950s to monitor the skies for foreign invaders. Site 500 is now at the centre of the largest environmental remediation project ever undertaken in Ontario. Its scale is dwarfed only by the national cleanup of the Distant Early Warning radar line – a more northern string of radar installations that the federal government has already spent half a billion dollars cleaning ….”  More on the multiple tries to find a successful bidder for the work here.
Advertisements News Highlights – 16 Feb 11

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  • Canada-US Border Security:  This gives you a sense of how seriously American legislators take the border security issue (and how likely Canada is to have to give up loads in any coming joint security negotiations?) “Every inch of the Canada-U.S. border and the American boundary with Mexico should be under “operational control” of American border officials, a U.S. lawmaker told a congressional hearing into border security on Tuesday. “The acceptable level for the American citizen is total control of our southern border, our northern border, our natural ports of entry,” said Republican Jeff Duncan, a South Carolina lawmaker and a member of the House of Representatives Subcommittee on border and maritime security. Such control would allow Americans to protect “this beacon of freedom,” Duncan said, “where we determine who comes into this country, how many folks come here through legal means annually, what they come for, whether they’re seeking citizenship.” ….”
  • Oopsie….. “…. A hankering for Tim Hortons after a hard day of training went horribly wrong for some of Canada’s super-secret commandos, who wound up handcuffed and face down along a major highway. The elite special-forces soldiers, travelling in a convoy of civilian vehicles, were pulled over in late 2009 along Highway 401 in southern Ontario after a panicked member of the public spotted the burly men at a coffee shop. Ontario Provincial Police were called, though it’s not clear whether it was because someone had spotted a weapon or some other reason. Officers from the Brighton detachment, west of Belleville, Ont., followed the vehicles east along the highway, where they executed “a high-risk takedown,” with weapons drawn. The incident came to light through military records obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act ….”
  • F-35 Fight: “The gruelling political battle over the government’s decision to purchase 65 F-35 fighter jets has drawn a line in the sand, with opposition parties standing on one side, and the government and Canadian Forces on the other. In many ways, the military is the government’s most valuable asset in the fight, with current and retired senior officers coming out strongly in favour of the stealth aircraft, arguing it is the best plane for Canada’s future needs. Yet largely overlooked in the debate is that military officials recommended the F-35 in 2006—four years before they completed what is called a “statement of requirements,” the centerpiece of any military procurement process. Even now, the whereabouts of that statement is crucial because the Conservative government has repeatedly cited military officials’ public statements as proof that their decision to commit to the F-35 is the right one. They have also criticized the Liberal Party for not listening to the country’s armed forces. But experts and former defence officials say that until a statement of requirements is released—if one even exists—the entire effort to purchase the F-35 will be subject to politicking based on speculation and allegations ….”
  • Yet MORE on the PM’s Plane’s Paint Job: “…. The reported tussle is interesting in other ways. MacKay is arguably among the most visible and qualified replacements for Harper, should his quest for a majority government fail next time round. What does it say about the internal dynamics of the Conservatives’ top leadership, if MacKay’s wishes are continually rebuffed by the PMO? If Stephen Harper doesn’t like the advice he is getting from his defence minister, he should shuffle the cabinet. Granted, that would be an unpopular move given MacKay’s high visibility in the Conservative Party. Such a move would also further expose the PM to allegations that he is a micromanager ….”
  • Agreed. “…. A group of students at the University of Toronto are trying to stop the Canadian Forces from holding information sessions on campus on the grounds that they felt it was wrong to recruit students to be trained “to kill and to fight wars.”  With all due respect to the 30 students who felt strongly enough about the issue to show up and protest the information seminar: you’re all wrong.  The seminar being protested was being held behind closed doors and only students interested in hearing the information were in attendance. Recruiters did not station themselves in the middle of campus with megaphones, they did not stage drills in the quad as demonstrations of active duty and they did not interrupt class time.  What they did do was provide information on a legitimate career option for interested students ….”
  • A Canadian researcher is lending credence to the idea that the Cold War-era concept of deterrence can and does work against terrorists. In an article to be published this month in the Journal of Strategic Studies, Alex Wilner rejects the post 9/11 theory that serious threats of punishment without use of force won’t work against an enemy whose assets aren’t defined by geography. Rather, he argues that by incorporating deterrence theory into the war on terror by undermining the cost-to-benefit ratio of executing an attack, “we might not only be able to defeat terrorist groups, but we may be able to manipulate their behaviour pre-emptively …. he argues, terrorist groups like al-Qaida are comprised of individuals who are vulnerable to manipulation. For example, future leaders might be deterred from engaging in terrorism if they see current leaders being punished by death or incarceration ….”
  • A Facebook and Skype scammer used the name and photo of a high-ranking U.S. National Guard general to steal $3,000 from a Toronto woman in what’s believed to be one of a number of frauds that exploit the authority of the military. The woman made two wire transfers to London, believing she was helping Maj. Gen. Michael Dubie of Vermont pay for a shipment of money to Canada after a tour in Iraq. At least two other women, in Taiwan and Germany, have responded to pleas from someone they believed to be Dubie, the guard said. In October, a Skype user claiming to be Dubie asked to the Toronto woman to be friends, she said Tuesday, asking that her name not be used because she fears for the safety of her family. “I was kind of in awe of the whole thing, that someone like that was contacting me,” she said. “I wanted to help someone like that who is an honest, trustworthy person.” The person claiming to be Dubie refused to talk on the phone or video chat. “He was so adamant that it was him,” she said. “He said no, he can’t talk to me because he is in Iraq.” …. “…. “It has come to my attention that there are people using my identity to solicit money on FB and Skype,” Dubie wrote Friday on his legitimate Facebook page. “I will never ask for money from anyone in cyberspace.” …. Vermont guard spokesman Lt. Col. Lloyd Goodrow said the case has been referred to the FBI. Dubie, through Goodrow, declined to comment.  “He is quite upset by this,” said Goodrow.” “