MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 8 Oct 11

  • “Canada’s top soldier is defending the use of Challenger jets in an email to all the staff at the Department of National Defence ….”  Here’s the text of the e-mail sent to all CF members this week – media coverage here, here, here, here and here.
  • Latest to the defence of the Minister, CDS on Challenger use:  former Ministers Graham and Pratt & former CDS’s Manson and Henault:  “…. We the undersigned, having served in the past respectively as ministers or chiefs of defence, view with concern the recent attacks regarding the use of government jets by the current incumbents. Alarming the Canadian public with dollar figures that dramatically inflate the real cost of using the Challengers, while misconstruing the context and realities of that use, does a disservice to the Minister of National Defence, the Chief of Defence Staff and the people they serve.”
  • Blogger/info curator Mark Collins on future missions for the CF (if the U.S. gets its way).
  • Afghanistan (1)  A timeline, ten years in – more here.
  • Afghanistan (2)  Quebec Senator welcomes Valcartier troops back from Afghanistan.
  • Afghanistan (3)  Khadr Boy on his way back to Canada?  “Omar Khadr has started the process to come back to Canada. Lawyers for Khadr, who is serving eight years in a U.S. prison for killing a U.S. soldier when he was 15, have filed the paperwork required to start the repatriation process. Corrections officials have received the request for transfer and now have to determine if Khadr is eligible to return to Canada to finish out his sentence. Once Canadian officials determine that, they send an official request to American officials. If U.S. officials agree, Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has the final say. He has the option of refusing the transfer if he decides Khadr is a risk to public safety. The process is expected to take about 18 months ….”
  • Taliban Propaganda Watch  Ten years after Americans hit Afghanistan, Taliban claim “divine victory is with us alike the previous ten years”.
  • One Naval Reservist’s job in the fight against pirates.  When she arrives at work each morning in a northwest suburb of London, Lt.-Cmdr. Susan Long-Poucher steps into the North Arabian Sea. Her windowless office at the the NATO shipping centre in Northwood is lined with maps of exotic locations such as the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Somali Basin and the Persian Gulf. From here, Long-Poucher, 49, helps keep tabs on pirates who, equipped with tiny speed boats and a handful of small arms, prey on a fortune of commercial shipping. “Even though I work in the United Kingdom, when I come to work I am in the gulf,” said Long-Poucher, commanding officer of HMCS Cataraqui, the local naval reserve unit. Long-Poucher is in the midst of a six-month assignment to the shipping centre as part of an international anti-piracy campaign. Long-Poucher is the senior of three Canadian officers assigned to the centre as part of Operation Saiph, Canada’s commitment to increasing maritime security in the waters around the Horn of Africa ….”
  • Changes proposed to military law, specifically in how courts martial are run and military judges get to be more independent – more here and here.
  • Talkin’ search and rescue way up north. “Delegates from eight circumpolar countries met in Whitehorse this week for a conference on Arctic search and rescue co-operation. The purpose of the meeting of members of the Arctic Council Oct. 5 and 6 was to study the Arctic Search and Rescue agreement signed in May in Nuuk, Greenland, and to examine ways to enhance search and rescue capability and response across the North. Besides Canada, the members of the Arctic Council are Denmark, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Russia and the United States. It took 30 hours for some of the delegates to get to Yukon ….”
  • “Come lookit our non-lethal weapon tech” conference and trade show scheduled for Ottawa 25-27 Oct 11.
  • What’s Canada Melting Down?  Loads of old pistols, apparently“Despite all its bluster about saving money and honouring Canada’s armed forces, the Conservative federal government is poised to melt down millions of dollars worth of military memorabilia. Specifically, the Department of Defence is planning to send 19,000 highly collectable Browning Hi-Power pistols made in Toronto more than 60 years ago to the smelter and destroy them, instead of allowing licensed firearm owners to buy them for hundreds of dollars each. As reported recently, the Canadian Forces are replacing the Browning Hi-Power semi-automatic pistols starting in the fall 2015. The decommissioned sidearms, the standard military issue pistol for the forces since 1944, are set to be destroyed ….”  Just a reminder – the process to replace the Browning HP has been “cancelled” – still no word from Public Works Canada re:  why.
  • Congrats on hour #3000“Major Miguel Bernard joined an elite club on Aug. 15, 2011 when he flew his 3,000th hour in the CF-18 Hornet fighter aircraft while transiting from Bagotville, Que. to Trapani, Italy, to support Operation Mobile. “It’s a significant milestone because not many people have it,” he said from Trapani. “It just takes time.” Maj Bernard is one of only two active CF-18 pilots with 3,000 hours in the aircraft ….”
  • Canada’s Veterans Ombudsman, Guy Parent, will travel to Quebec City to host a public town hall session (on 12 Oct 11) for Veterans, RCMP members, military members, families and other interested parties. Mr. Parent will deliver a short presentation outlining the mandate and services of the Office of the Veterans Ombudsman. This will be followed by a question and answer period with the audience ….”
  • (Alleged) Terrorist Bad Guy Update  Two men from a group accused of plotting terrorist attacks in Canada appeared briefly in court in Ottawa (this week) to learn some of the conditions of their upcoming trials. Misbahuddin Ahmed and Khurram Syed Sher and a third man, Hiva Alizadeh, were arrested and their homes raided last year in an RCMP investigation dubbed Project Samossa. All three were charged with conspiracy to facilitate terrorism. Police accused the three men of plotting with others in Canada and abroad to aid terrorism activities. Ahmed, an Ottawa X-ray technologist, is also charged with possessing an explosive substance with the intent to harm. On Wednesday, an Ontario court judge set aside a time from June 18 to July 13 next year for the pre-trial for both Ahmed and Sher ….”
  • (Maybe) (Alleged) Terrorist Bad Guy Update  The RCMP was last night interviewing a man in connection with a plot involving the national security of Canada. The man was first seen on Oct. 1 at a DocuServe Etc., store at 20 Dundas St. E., Mississauga, the Mounties. “We believe he can corroborate some information that we have received,” Const. Richard Rollings said. Rollings refused to comment on specifics citing an ongoing national security probe. Police said the man, who may be a suspect, holds answers regarding the legitimacy of a plot or where an incident may occur ….”  More from Postmedia News here, and a copy of the RCMP news release downloadable here (via Milnet.ca).
  • Oopsie…. “Researchers in Winnipeg’s National Microbiology lab must now obtain extra approval before they transport lethal pathogens, after a “miscommunication” three years ago left senior officials scrambling to find out why a shipment of Level 4 viruses was sent out of the secure lab ….”

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 13 Apr 11

  • Libya Ops – Let the protests begin! “Peace activists at a Halifax demonstration against military spending Tuesday questioned Canada’s military action in Libya — and the lack of discussion from candidates in an election campaign now in its third week. Tamara Lorincz, spokeswoman for the Halifax Peace Coalition, said she is worried about the silence of federal parties on Libya. “I’m concerned there wasn’t a debate,” said Lorincz. “Libya should be a topic that Canadian voters are questioning.” Helen Lofgren, an activist with the Quaker community, was hesitant to comment on Canadian involvement in Libya because she said the issue is complex and “we get so little information about it.” ….”
  • More on Canada’s mission to help protect Iceland from a CEFCOM fact sheet here (h/t to blogger Mark Collins).
  • Speaking of Mark, here he is on one of the “usual suspects” in Canadian defence commentary: “A perfectly progressive political professor, a former federal NDP candidate, can play very economically with the truth. His affiliation though is almost never, never identified in our major media for whom he is a go-to-guy for comment opposing any military Afghan mission, and for his views on most anything else to do with the CF ….”
  • Meanwhile, back in Afghanistan. “…. Warmer weather is settling in across the country, a change of season that generally announces the Taliban’s spring offensive. Coalition forces are at peak strength, with more foreign soldiers on the ground to hunt and kill insurgents than at any other point in the long war. As the tempo on the battlefield is set to pick up, spring has also brought fresh calls for a different kind of foreign intervention, this time to bring Afghans together in talks with the Taliban ….”
  • What’s Canada Buying? “…. The Department of National Defence (DND) has a requirement to provide an alignment capability to be used by Fleet Maintenance personnel to align all types of equipment on Canadian Forces (CF) warships and submarines. The objective of this Price and Availability (P&A) is to seek industry input and information on current Alignment Systems to enable DND to examine off-the-shelf (OTS) equipment that is in service with other navies or soon to be in service ….” More from the full bid package here (PDF):  “…. The Canadian Midas System equipment procured in 1988 consists of three complete systems but due to age, obsolescence issues, technological advances, and no longer being supported by the OEM it needs to be replaced by a system with digital capability and increased capacity for multiple tilt tests …. The aim of the project is to find an alignment system capability which will allow the Canadian Navy to align the next generation of advanced Combat Systems using conventional surveying techniques for aligning two parts of a structure on a vessel while she is afloat ….”
  • Sold:  One former Snowbird CT-114 Tutor (minus engine) for $48,400. More from the mainstream media here and here.
  • F-35 Tug o’ War – A former Canadian Chief of Defence Staff tells us what he thinks about a recent American visitor commenting on our fighter jet deal. “Winslow Wheeler’s piece on Canada’s plan to replace our CF-18 fighters with the F-35 should be seen for what it is: a low-credibility rant by an American visitor from a left-wing Washington organization renowned for its anti-defence posture. His highly questionable arguments for killing the F-35 program echo the thrust of his visit to Ottawa last week, hosted by the farleft Rideau Institute ….”
  • Months before the Conservative government dismissed talk of a perimeter security accord with the United States as hearsay, senior officials were quietly discussing a draft of the border agreement. Documents obtained by The Canadian Press show federal deputy ministers considered a version of the accord early last September — one of a series of internal deliberations that played out during the fall. The planned perimeter arrangement is intended to expand joint operations on security, creating a sort of continental fortress while allowing for smoother flow of goods, people and services across the 49th parallel. Critics of the process voiced fresh concerns after reading the heavily censored documents, which were disclosed under the Access to Information Act. “It is not healthy for the democratic process for this to be happening behind closed doors, in secrecy,” said Maude Barlow, national chairwoman of the Council of Canadians ….”

MILNEWS.ca News Highlights – 25 Jan 11