- Way Up North (1) As Canada says it’ll focus its northern presence on “disaster training” (fourth bullet), DND is looking for someone to train military personnel to plan arctic search and rescue operations – more in the Statement of Work downloadable here (4 page PDF)
- Way Up North (2) Speaking of search and rescue …. “The military has struck a handshake deal to have part-time volunteers provide first response search and rescue services in the Arctic, CBC News has learned. Military officials have been negotiating with the Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASRA), a national agency that promotes aviation safety and provides air search support. The new deal would see CASRA put volunteers aboard civilian planes to search for downed aircraft, missing hunters or lost adventurers, CBC’s James Cudmore said. The agency will even base planes in four locations across the North ….”
- Way Up North (3) And what kind of sled would be used for surveillance patrolling? “The future of Arctic sovereignty will be riding on traditional Inuit wooden sleds that are being assembled by a group of Canadian Rangers in Yellowknife. The nine Rangers have been tasked with building more than 30 qamutiks — sleds that are traditionally used to haul supplies over snow and ice — for use in guarding remote northern regions and promoting Canada’s claim of sovereignty over the Arctic. The Rangers, who were commissioned by the Canadian Ranger Patrol for the sled surveillance project, all hail from Nunavut and include six people chosen from Clyde River and three from Pond Inlet ….”
- From the MP that brought you the “let’s not have to pay for the military” bill, another Private Members Bill, this time on creating a Department of Peace. Caveat on both these bills: Private Members Bills have a miniscule chance of passing without government support.
- In spite of the recent unpleasantness in/around the U.K.’s embassy in Tehran, Canada’s keeping it’s facilities open for now.
- Credit where credit is due: Postmedia News says it will post ATIP-obtained documents with a recent story on the French-version “fracas” behind renaming Canada’s Air Force. I look forward to the documents being shared.
- Afghanistan (1) Welcome home TF Canuck folks! More here.
- Afghanistan (2) “Hundreds of sea containers stuffed with military gear that were supposed to be returning to Canada are instead languishing at an undisclosed location in Afghanistan because of Pakistan’s decision to close its border to NATO, a military spokesman said Wednesday. Lt.-Cmdr. John Nethercott said the border closure isn’t expected to affect the military’s imminent withdrawal from Kandahar, though he acknowledged there could be complications if Pakistan doesn’t reopen its borders soon. “We’re assessing the situation,” he said. “At this point, there’s no impact on our withdrawal of personnel and no immediate impact on our efforts to repatriate equipment back to Canada by land and sea.” About 1,200 troops are in Kandahar packing up for the imminent end of Canada’s military presence after six years in the southern Afghan province. They have until the end of the year to wrap up their work. High-priority and sensitive equipment is being shipped out by air, while the rest was to be sent by convoy across the Afghan-Pakistan border and down the 1,600-kilometre route to the Indian Ocean for transport by sea. Nethercott said there are containers already gathered at a port in Pakistan, where they were waiting to be loaded onto a ship once the remainder arrived. The containers being held in transit in Afghanistan are not at the Kandahar Airfield, he added, though he would not say where they are. It’s likely they are close to the Afghan-Pakistan border ….”
- “The families of at least four unmarried soldiers killed in Afghanistan have stepped forward to file human-rights complaints. The relatives allege Veterans Affairs discriminates in favour of married troops in the payment of a $250,000 death benefit, The Canadian Press has learned. The cases, which are at the investigation stage, follow the dismissal last week of a similar complaint by the parents of Cpl. Matthew Dinning, who died in an April 2006 Kandahar roadside bombing. A federal human-rights tribunal rejected the complaint of Lincoln and Laurie Dinning because Veterans Affairs abruptly decided to recognize their son’s girlfriend as his common-law spouse, technically making him no longer single. Errol Cushley, the father of Pte. William Cushley, and Beverley Skalrud, the mother of Pte. Braun Scott Woodfield, confirmed they have launched their own challenges of the death stipend, which was instituted as part of an overhaul of veterans benefits in 2006. The families of Trooper Jack Bouthillier and Trooper Marc Diab have launched similar complaints. “You have four men killed in the same battle, three of them are paid $250,000, (but) William does not qualify because he is single. It doesn’t make any sense to me,” said Errol Cushley, who lives near Wallaceburg, Ont. “I always understood you couldn’t discriminate on those grounds.” ….”
- Mark Collins reminds us Canada Command seems to cover more than JUST Canada anymore.
- What’s Canada Buying? Wanted: someone to help find better ways to see what shape the oil, fuel is in while the vehicle’s running.
- Hamilton’s Mayor is hiring a former Reserve CO to be (what appears to be) an on-call military consultant. “A military consultant and a municipal affairs expert are the two newest additions to Mayor Bob Bratina’s staff. In an email sent to councillors Tuesday afternoon, Bratina announced that Lieutenant Colonel Geordie Elms — a defeated Progressive Conservative candidate in October’s provincial election — will take on the role of senior adviser of military heritage and protocol. “Hamilton always has been, historically, a military town. It continues to be. We had 400 people from Hamilton in Kandahar,” Bratina said in an interview. “So it’s important to have a liaison between the mayor’s office and the city. Municipalities have a set of skills and it doesn’t usually include the military.” Former city clerk Kevin Christenson will take on the job of municipal analyst. Bratina said Christenson’s role will be to provide advice and guidance on city issues. “There’s not necessarily a focus,” Bratina said of Christenson’s role. “He may tell us that based on how our office is operating, it may be better to do that or do this,” he said. The two men will act as consultants on an as-needed basis, Bratina said. They will be paid, though the mayor declined to reveal their compensation ….”
- At one level, it appears the Cold War never really ended for some countries. “Picture it: a junior executive, excited to be travelling to Hong Kong representing his company at the table with potential Chinese investors. Little does he know, they’ll be the ones doing the courting — and the consequences, for his career, and his company, can cost millions. It happens all the time, says Brian McAdam, a former Canadian diplomat who now specializes in Chinese organized crime. “It’s the co-mingling of the oldest profession, and the second oldest profession: prostitution and espionage,” he said. McAdam, who spoke Wednesday at the Canadian Industrial Security Conference in Gatineau, said Canadian business people and government officials who frequently travel abroad are prime targets for “sexpionage” because, until now, Canadians have been “as babes in the woods,” only recently becoming aware that foreign spies will pay good money to steal our ideas. “Sexpionage is far more effective than any technological surveillance by satellite or anything else,” said McAdam. “It’s so easy and it doesn’t cost much: They hire a prostitute, she does her work, and they have a film — instead of complex spying.” Those who favour the technique — in particular, China and Russia — use hidden cameras and microphones to up their spygame ….” More here.
- “Abousfian Abdelrazik, the Canadian citizen labelled a national-security risk by the Harper government and kept in forced exile for years, was taken off the UN Security Council terrorist blacklist Wednesday, ending his nearly decade-long ordeal. On being told of the delisting, Mr. Abdelrazik “shouted for joy, and then he wept,” his lawyer, Paul Champ, said. “You could hear his children cheering and clapping,” at their home in Montreal. The delisting removes the stain of being labelled an al-Qaeda operative in the secretive UN process and vindicates Mr. Abdelrazik’s long-standing assertion that he was never a jihadist, nor the paymaster, plotter or terror-cell leader as portrayed by the United States and echoed by Canadian agencies. The removal from the UN’s 1267 terrorist blacklist represents a second significant victory for Mr. Abdelrazik. The first was his return to Canada after a federal court in 2009 ruled that the government had trampled his constitutional rights and said Canadian Security and Intelligence Service agents were complicit in his imprisonment abroad. The government still refused to pay for his return, leaving ordinary citizens to buy the airline ticket ….”
Main website’s on the fritz, so I’m sharing some Canadian military news tidbits that catch my eye here – enjoy!
- CBC’s Brian Stewart asks a vital question: “With our exit in sight, how will we honour those who served?”
- If one believes in reading tea leaves about Canada’s future mission in Afghanistan, Canada’s Ambassador to AFG drops by a northern AFG training centre (with no reference of any any Canadians working there). Also note all the other police-y stuff on Canada’s AFG page this week:
– “Questions from a Seventh Grader” (answered by a police Sgt in AFG)
– “My Experience at a Forward Operating Base” (Attributed to an RCMP constable)
– “Chiefs of Police Get the Scoop on Canada’s Civilian Policing in Afghanistan.”
Whatever could it all mean?
- Canada’s outgoing Commander-in-Chief announces bravery awards from action in Afghanistan , shortly before the new Commander-in-Chief is sworn in in Ottawa (text of his installation speech here).
- In Afghanistan, Canada’s TF Commander tells reporters the troops are “gaining momentum” in a push under way in Kandahar.
- Postmedia News’ Matt Fisher looks at Canada’s recent casualty stats: “While NATO has already suffered its worst year for deaths in Afghanistan, Canada’s fatality rate has dropped more than 40 per cent, according to calculations by Postmedia News. An analysis derived from statistics kept by iCasualties.org and other sources shows 14 Canadians have died so far this year, compared to 25 during the first nine months of last year, with the rate of decline accelerating throughout the so-called summer fighting season. Over the past four months, for example, six Canadians have died. There were 13 Canadian deaths during the same four months in 2009, when fighting usually peaks ….”
- Meanwhile, back home, an Ipsos-Reid poll conducted for Global TV has this to say from Canadians who responded: “Most Canadians support Ottawa’s plan to pull out of Afghanistan next year, according to an exclusive poll for Global News. Sixty-one per cent of respondents to the TV network’s “Canada’s Pulse” poll say all Canadian troops need to come home, while 28 per cent think Canada should leave some troops behind to train Afghan police and soldiers. Just 11 per cent want to extend the mission. As Canada prepares for its 2011 exit, 38 per cent of those polled also say the 152 Canadian soldiers who died there did so in vain ….”
- Adrian MacNair, owner of the Unambiguously Ambidextrous blog, is in Afghanistan – looking forward to reading what he shares.
- Canadian Helicopters is getting a good chunk of business from flying people, beans and bullets around Afghanistan for U.S. Transport Command.
- The Taliban’s latest lies: Load’s o’ attacks alleged around Kandahar and they deny even tentative approaches to the Kabul regime and NATO (as alleged by some).
- Meanwhile, let’s not forget the work Canadian troops are doing in Darfur and Kosovo.