Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight

Posts Tagged ‘Malta News Highlights – 5 Mar 11

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  • In Libya, the Brits & Germans may have done it, and the Dutch tried it, but Canadians aren’t planning on doing it “The Canadian military has no plans to conduct extraction raids into Libya and citizens who want out of the chaotic North African nation should make their way to embarkation points, the commander of the mission said Friday …. “There are no current plans to extract Canadians,” Lt.-Col. Tony DeJacolyn told The Canadian Press in an interview from Malta.  “The current concept of operations is to move Canadian entitled persons and instruct them to move to points of exit, whether it be by sea or air.” ….”
  • Of course, this story focuses on the KEY element of the Libyan evacuation effort in the lead paragraph“Instead of rations, tents and makeshift showers, the command post for Canada’s military-assisted evacuation from Libya offers fruity drinks, poolside umbrellas and spa packages. Lt.-Col. Anthony DeJacolyn, the commander of that effort, has yet to indulge. Instead, the Pickering native and his team are pulling 21-hour days at Malta’s five-star Excelsior Hotel in an attempt to get to safety the Canadians remaining in Libya. Efforts in the early days of the crisis had mixed results. Charter planes were turned back midflight. Others that could land at the airport in the Libyan capital, Tripoli, were forced to return empty because no evacuees were ready to get on board ….” Have they run out of news angles so soon?
  • More whining (this time from the International Committee of the Fourth International) about Canada in Libya“…. Like the other imperialist powers, the Canadian government is depicting its plans to intervene militarily in Libya as born of altruism—of abhorrence at the repressive actions of Colonel Gaddafi’s regime, fear for the lives of ordinary Libyans as the country descends into civil war, and concern for the spread of democracy in North Africa and the Middle East. This is poppycock. If Canada’s government is plotting with the US and the European Union to intervene in Libya, it is because the popular upsurge that has toppled Mubarak in Egypt and Ben Ali in Tunisia, hobbled Gaddafi, and challenged governments throughout North Africa and the Middle East is threatening vital imperialist economic and geo-strategic interests ….” Riiiiiiiiiiight.
  • Meanwhile, remember the Canadian Peace Congress’ position on Canadian military forces headed to Libya, calling for less militarism and more “solidarity”? A good response from Patrick Ross over at the Propagandist“…. Muammar al-Gadhafi doesn’t pay attention to Canadian protest rallies. I know: crazy, right? But somehow he just doesn’t care about what I hope will be thousands of Canadians – conservative and progressive alike — coming out to show their support for Libyans fighting for freedom in their own country.  At times like this, solidarity can be a pretty great thing. But solidarity won’t stop a Libyan Mirage fighter jet from strafing a peaceful protest rally. But a Canadian CF-18 shooting it out of the sky sure as hell will.  So it’s really this simple: either the so-called “peace movement” needs to be prepared to accept some kind of foreign intervention in Libya – whether it ends with a no-fly zone, or merely begins there – or they will have to accept what Muammar al-Gadhafi has been doing to his people ….” Well, Canadian Peace Alliance, which is it?
  • A Toronto cop shares his story from Kandahar through Canada’s web page on Afghanistan.
  • Toronto Terrorist Gets Life Sentence Shareef Abdelhaleem, the final member of the Toronto 18 to be sentenced for his crimes, has been handed a life sentence with no chance of parole for 10 years. Abdelhaleem, 35, was sentenced Friday just before noon for his role in a homegrown terror plot to detonate bombs at the Toronto offices of CSIS, the Toronto Stock Exchange and an Ontario military base. He was found guilty last year of participating in a terrorist group and intending to cause an explosion. Ahead of his sentence, Shareef delivered a 23-minute rambling speech, in which he claimed he never intended to harm anyone. He also said that Canadians have been silent on the blatant injustice of his case…. ” More MSM coverage here.
  • Alleged Edmonton Terrorist Back in Court An Edmonton accused terrorist facing extradition to the U.S. is trying to block seized evidence from being sent south until the validity of the search warrant is examined. In a Court of Queen’s Bench hearing Thursday into the case of Iraqi-born Sayfildin Tahir-Sharif, defence lawyer Nate Whitling said an inquiry is necessary to make sure there were no Charter rights violations when police raided the 38-year-old’s north-side apartment on Jan. 19. “There has been an attempt to evade this inquiry,” said Whitling, suggesting authorities were attempting an “end run” by passing along evidence seized in the search to U.S. officials before ensuring the warrant was proper. “What we are saying is this was, in substance, a search and seizure and they should have followed the proper procedures,” said Whitling. Federal prosecutor Stacey Dej denied anything improper had taken place stemming from dual investigations by the American and Canadian authorities and said the RCMP had “acted responsibly” in its handling of the raid ….” More MSM coverage here.
  • Alleged Ottawa Terrorist Still in Court There is more than enough circumstantial evidence against former University of Ottawa professor Hassan Diab to justify his extradition to France, a federal Crown lawyer argued on Friday. Urging Justice Robert Maranger to ignore “emotional pleas” from Diab’s lawyer, prosecutor Jeffrey Johnston said the relatively “low standard” of evidence required by Canadian extradition law has been amply met during the protracted two-year proceedings against Diab. The Lebanese-born Canadian is wanted for murder and attempted murder by Paris police for his alleged role in the bombing of a synagogue in the French capital in October 1980. Diab, 57, says he is an innocent victim of mistaken identity ….”
  • The results of a sweeping federal review of veteran health services are being kept secret and former soldiers are losing out on benefits as a result, stakeholders say. “There’s something amiss,” said Liberal Sen. Percy Downe, who has been pressuring the government on the issue. “What we have is a cone of silence.” Since 2005, the Tories have been touting the Veterans Health Services Review as one of the most extensive ever undertaken by Veterans Affairs. It was meant to identify gaps in access to health programs plaguing this country’s vets – everything from spousal and burial benefits to the evolving needs of newer veterans.  In 2008, then minister Greg Thompson told a Senate committee the review was nearly complete. “It is going to provide us with a way forward in terms of how we provide services to our veterans,” he said. But when Downe pushed the feds for information from the report in 2010, he was told the recommendations were “protected information.” ….”
  • A hearty “well done” to Royal Canadian Regiment Colonel of the Regiment Walter Matheson Holmes for his work with those members of the regimental family needing help.  This, from a statement announcing his Meritorious Service Decoration (Military Division)“Since June 2006, Colonel of the Regiment Holmes has been providing leadership and has been dedicated to The Royal Canadian Regiment. He championed the development of the Regimental Veterans’ Care Cell, as well as the sourcing of private funds to support both wounded soldiers and the post-secondary education of the children of fallen soldiers. These initiatives have enhanced the quality of life for both serving and retired members of the regiment. His service has brought great credit to The Royal Canadian Regiment and to the Canadian Forces.” News Highlights – 1 Mar 11

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  • What’s next for Canada’s response to Libya? Canada pledges humanitarian aid to Libya (without explaining what kind) + CF reconnaissance and medical team in Malta (More) = DART deployment?  Time will tell.
  • Canada to Gadhafi:  Maybe it’s time to go? Canada is warning that the desire for freedom in Libya and across the region will overwhelm leaders who withhold democracy and abuse their citizens. After criticism of its reluctant embrace of the pro-democracy rebellion that toppled Egypt’s longtime ruler, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is now positioning itself squarely behind Libyan rebels who are massing on Tripoli’s doorstep and preparing for battle with their dictator. In Ottawa, Government House Leader John Baird tabled sanctions in the House of Commons and spoke openly of “regime change” to end Col. Moammar Gadhafi’s 41-year rule. At a meeting of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva Monday, Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon spoke hopefully of a “tide of change” sweeping through the Middle East and North Africa ….”
  • How about a no-fly zone over Libya?  No consensus, says Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister“A military no-fly zone over Libya is unlikely to get off the ground as several allies are balking at the plan, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said Monday. “In terms of the no-fly zone, there doesn’t seem to be consensus among our allies,” Cannon told a teleconference from Geneva, declining to offer Canada’s position. “There are too many elements still not known, so I would not want to offer an opinion at this time,” he said. “We still don’t have enough information.” Earlier, British Prime Minister David Cameron said Britain was working with its allies to draw up a plan for a military no-fly zone over Libya ….”
  • What Canada’s up to, 140 characters at a time from the PM’s chief spokesperson Dimitri SoudasHow many out so far? Brit warship gives some Canadians a lift to MaltaWhere’s Canada’s big military plane in the area?
  • 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 tidbits of information about missing Canadian Colin Rutherford in Afghanistan. This from “…. The police chief in Ghazni province confirmed that Rutherford was living in the region for almost a month and that he was seen dressed in local clothing several times ….” This from the Toronto Star:  “…. In late October, just six months into a new job as a media auditor in Toronto, Rutherford told his boss he was going on vacation. The 26-year-old wanted to learn Pashto, one of Afghanistan’s two official languages. “He went to Afghanistan and didn’t come back,” said Zia Hasan, manager of audit operations at the Toronto-based Canadian Circulations Audit Board. Rutherford had booked two weeks off. “We just thought he decided not to come back. Sometimes people do that. We’re obviously concerned for his welfare. We’re cooperating with the local authorities for any information that they require,” Hasan said ….”
  • How’re the Afghan troops being trained by Canadian and NATO troops doing?  Not all that great yet according to one journalist blogger: “…. The question on everyone’s mind these days is whether the OMLTs (Operational Mentoring Liaison Teams) can mould the Afghans into an independent fighting force by the time Canada’s military withdraws from combat operations in a few months. Based on my two days on foot patrol with the OMLT (which hardly makes me an expert), the short answer to that question is no. The Afghan company I observed showed a capability to orchestrate simple security missions, though not without some problems. Capt. Eric Bouchard believes Afghans are now at a point where they can successfully conduct searches of compounds and fields for weapons. They are also fast at responding to Taliban activity. But as for more complicated missions, the Afghans seem to be lacking a level of sophistication ….”
  • Taliban Propaganda Watch Attacks, assassinations alleged in Kandahar.
  • February highlights of what Canada’s buying.
  • Defence research paper (PDF): Soldiers identified good-vs-bad guys better with Combat ID (CID) System than without (bot both CID systems were the  same re:  effectiveness)