Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight

Posts Tagged ‘Sudan News Highlights – 1 Dec 11

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  • Libya Mission (1a)  Canadian jets have taken part in strikes against the Libyan capital of Tripoli. A Canadian Forces spokesperson says that CF-18 warplanes were involved in targeted strike missions over four days last weekend. The spokesperson could not say if Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi was close to any of the bombings. The CF-18s were involved in day and night raids on Tripoli. NATO has recently stepped up their attacks on targets in the city, which included depots housing armoured vehicles last weekend. Canada has six jets taking part in the NATO-led bombardment ….”  More here, here,
  • Libya Mission (1b)  More than a quarter of the money spent so far on the Canadian mission in Libya has gone toward bombs and other ammunition, the military says. The Canadian Forces broke down the $26-million costs of the military mission up to the start of this month, days after the House of Commons approved an extension through to the end of September. It is estimated the deployment will have cost Canadians $60-million by that time. The highest single cost so far, $7.23-million, was for ammunition, including the laser-guided bombs being dropped over Libya by a fleet of six CF-18 fighter jets that have flown 418 sorties as of June 15 (though not all of those flights involved bombs being dropped). The military hasn’t said whether the weapons aboard the HMCS Charlottetown, its lone ship involved in the mission, have been fired. It is likely, though, since the frigate has come under attack on several occasions including rockets fired from the Libyan coast and machine gunfire from several small boats found approaching the harbour in Misrata ….”
  • Libya Mission (2)  The current key message out of the Prime Minister’s office about the Libyan mission so far? “HMCS Charlottetown and CF-18 pilots and crews are keeping up the pressure on Gadhafi by defending the Libyan people.”
  • Libya Mission (3)  One of the usual suspects is calling for Canada to stop the bombing.  “Tell Stephen Harper and other party leaders that you do not support the current bombings by Canadian fighter-bombers in Libya. Send your letter, right away. ”  I wonder if anyone edits the online letter to say something entirely different before clicking “Submit”?  Just askin’….
  • Libya Mission (4)  What Canada’s long-range patrol planes are up to over the Mediterranean (courtesy of the CF Info-Machine).
  • Libya Mission (5)  Rebel organization 101“The National Transitional Council of Libya has become the governance arm of those fighting the forces of dictator Moammar Gadhafi. This week, Canada joined a growing number of countries in recognizing the group’s legitimacy — but few Canadians know much about it. So here’s a crash course. Established on March 5 in Benghazi, according to the group’s official website, it’s comprised of 33 members representing the cities and towns liberated from Gadhafi’s rule since the uprisings began. The council also includes delegates representing women, youth, political prisoners, political affairs, economics, legal affairs and military affairs ….”
  • Still in Africa, here’s what Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has to say about the latest fracas in Sudan:  “….Canada is deeply concerned by the recent violence in South Kordofan and its impact on civilian populations. Canada condemns the aerial bombings and attacks against civilians that have displaced more than 60,000 people, according to the UN. Canada calls for an immediate cessation of hostilities, and urges all parties to ensure the utmost protection of civilians, including by providing full, safe and unhindered humanitarian access to those in need. he issues at stake in South Kordofan must be resolved by consultation and negotiation, and not by violence ….”  More from mainstream media here and here.
  • Afghanistan (1)  “…. as Canada prepares to leave the war-weary country, families who have lost loved ones in a mission marked by little more than incremental successes are grappling with a cruel question: Did their son, daughter, father, wife or husband die in vain? ….”  More from families of the fallen here.
  • Meanwhile, a Private Members Bill has been introduced in the House of Commons calling for a national memorial wall in honour of all of Canada’s fallen in past wars and peacekeeping missions to be built in Ottawa.  More on the bill here.
  • Afghanistan (2)  Leopard tanks preparing for the long trip home.  “A potent symbol that Canada’s war in Afghanistan is almost over came roaring through the gates of Kandahar Airfield Thursday as the first echelon of battle tanks arrived for transport home. A line of Leopard 2A6M tanks, with accompanying armoured troop carriers and support trucks, streamed out of the desert leaving a plume of dust in the blinding morning sky. The lead vehicle, belonging to the Quebec-based 12e Régiment Blindé du Canada, sported a small Canadian flag from one of the antennas. It was followed further back by another tank where the regimental colours — light blue, red and yellow — were unfurled …. ” P.S. – It appears to be a unit camp flag, as opposed to the unit’s colours (called a guidon in this case), flying over the tank.
  • Afghanistan (3)  Figuring out what to sell as surplus as Canada takes down its presence in Kandahar.  “An army marches on its stomach, as Napoleon once observed. But the modern-day military needs more than just food. It needs everything from welding torches and duct tape to gun grease, computers, leaf blowers, inner tubes, generators, eye wash, sunscreen, fax machines, cellphones, video games and spare windshields. Those items make up just a fraction of the non-combat materiel that the Canadian military has accumulated during its years in Afghanistan. Now that it is pulling out and heading home next month, it is selling a sprawl of surplus stuff that is too expensive or insignificant to ship home. “It’s like bringing back a small city,” said, Lieutenant-Colonel Guy Doiron commanding officer of the Mission Disposal Unit, part of the transition task force that will remain at the Kandahar Air Field, packing up, until the end of the year ….”
  • Afghanistan (4)  A bit of detail about how one reporter covered the troops and Afghanistan. “…. I should also say that the reporting environment during my embed was open and accessible, and compared favourably to official circles in Ottawa. I slept in the same shipping containers or tents as soldiers in forward operating bases and talked to whomever I wanted about pretty much anything. International Security Assistance Force Afghanistan did send me a lengthy list of media rules. I admit I skimmed over these, but most made sense from a security perspective. (Don’t use flash cameras when on night patrols, for example; there are also restrictions on photographing or filming equipment.) I think it’s accurate to say that military personnel were more concerned with these rules at the Kandahar Airfield than at forward operating bases. There is nothing I wanted to include in my articles but could not. It was important to me, however, to leave the embed to spend more time with Afghans, and I did so — traveling first to Kabul and then elsewhere in Afghanistan. Once I got on a civilian flight from Kandahar to Kabul, my embed was over and ISAF and the Canadian Forces no longer had any responsibility for me. Maclean’s paid for everything from this point on ….”
  • F-35 Tug o’ War:  According to Mark Collins, when’ll Canada get those F-35s into action?  May 2020 is it?
  • The Canadian navy plans to spend about $1 million building a permanent nuclear decontamination centre this year at Canadian Forces Base Shearwater, CBC News has learned. The 250-square-metre concrete block and steel-sided building will house various decontamination equipment needed every time a nuclear-powered vessel visits Halifax and ties up at CFB Shearwater. CFB Halifax commander Capt. Brian Santarpia told CBC News that U.S. nuclear-powered submarines call on Halifax between five and six times each year. “We’re building a decontamination shelter here to do the work we have been doing for a long time, to be ready in case there’s an accident on a visiting nuclear vessel,” he said …”
  • Canadian company donates boots to troops preparing to march in Europe. “The feet of more than a dozen Canadian soldiers are receiving some tender loving care. Oromocto’s CPGEAR donated what’s known as Original S.W.A.T. boots to 15 soldiers. They will be worn in the annual 160-kilometre Nijmegen March, set for next month in the Netherlands. “It’s a hell of a hard march. I am hoping they’re going to help out,” CPGEAR president Mark Wheeler said. “They seem to be extremely popular with the soldiers.” The lightweight footwear was made available to CPGEAR from the Original Shoe Co. Ltd. of Georgetown, Ont., the exclusive Canadian distributor for S.W.A.T. boots. Cpl. Shawn Staszewski, a member of the local Nijmegen March team from Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, said the boots will be a huge help during the march, primarily because of the comfort difference ….”
  • A little bit out of the government regarding a law suit being brought by a soldier who lost both legs in Afghanistan and wants to stay in the military. “…. The military hasn’t filed a statement of defence yet, and neither the Defence Department nor Defence Minister Peter MacKay will comment on the case because it’s before the courts. However, the department does say soldiers who can’t serve in the regular force or reserves will be given a longer time to make the transition to civilian life, including health care and re-training for up to three years. (Ryan) Elrick says that’s not good enough. “I would like to create a situation where soldiers in the future don’t have to go through this,” he said. “Since 2006, it’s been a hellish experience.” “
  • Helping vets find a job.  “As any job-seeker knows, getting that one interview at a company is half the battle after firing the opening volleys of query letters, resumés and references. The hurdles are even greater for retiring members of the military. They may be searching while serving overseas. Even if they’re back home, they’ve been out of their networks for months, if not years. That’s where says it hopes to shine. It’s a small effort so far – just three volunteers, funding everything out of their own pockets – but so far, they have 30 companies listed on its website. Employers are guaranteed at least one qualified veteran an interview per job posting, providing an opportunity for each side to meet ….”
  • Column: It ain’t just guns that make Canada able to be Big(ger) Man on the World Campus. “…. I cannot remember a time when our once vaunted diplomatic corps, once one of the world’s best, has appeared more timid and more underappreciated by cabinet, not to mention under-strength and demoralized. Any real attempt to promote Canada as a purposeful new force in the world will require a full-scale rebuilding of Foreign Affairs to get it back to the point where its views are listened to and its skills are deployed to the fullest. A handful of CF-18 fighters and a frigate won’t suffice. That’s why taking the measure of Harper’s new foreign policy, if that’s what it is, will have to await a better sense of the new foreign affairs minister, John Baird. Harper’s appointment of the dynamic, rough and tumble Baird to a position occupied of late by more tranquil figures of little clout seems heavy with meaning. But what meaning exactly? Is Baird set to stand up loudly to revive Canadian diplomacy; or to bully it even further into the ground?”
  • Abousfian Abdelrazik would have a better chance of getting off the United Nations’ no-fly list if he were an avowed Taliban supporter, or even a Taliban leader, said a group of well-wishers in Montreal Wednesday as they announced their departure to New York to press the UN into removing Abdelrazik’s name from the terror blacklist — and giving him his life back. The UN sanctions committee is meeting Thursday to consider de-listing up to 18 members and supporters of the Taliban in Afghanistan at the request of the Afghan government, with support from the U.K and U.S. governments ….” News Highlights – 23 Feb 11

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  • Things don’t seem to be getting better in Libya, so Canada’s getting ready to fly people out of there. The federal government is sending flights to Libya to rescue stranded Canadians, Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said Tuesday. Evacuees will be flown to Europe and, as with flights arranged earlier this month to bring home Canadians in Egypt, Canada is working with “like-minded” countries to share flights. The first plane is expected to arrive in Tripoli, the country’s capital, on Thursday. At a news conference in Ottawa, Cannon said 331 Canadians are registered with the embassy in Tripoli, Libya’s capital, and 91 have told Canadian staff they plan to leave ….” More from Canada’s Foreign Affairs department on those flights here, as well as from Postmedia News, Reuters, Agence France Presse, the Globe & Mail and
  • More news on the latest in Libya here (Google News), here (EMM News Brief:  Libya),  here (NewsNow), here (BBC) and here (Al Jazeera English).
  • A 14-year-old gets it on Afghanistan“…. Afghan teachers and the girls they’re teaching tell us how grateful they are to have the chance to finally live a freer life, with access to education. These are the voices we must listen to. We obviously couldn’t do the work we do without security. But when NATO eventually leaves, Canadians must not abandon Afghanistan. We should continue to support the aid projects that are changing lives, especially the right to education – because that’s the only way we’ll create and sustain peace.”
  • What Canadian troops are up to in Southern Sudan“CF observers deployed on Operation SAFARI pack their kit and head out into the bush on five- or six-day patrols. They carry not only food, water and tents but also a generator, because there is no electricity or telephone service in small Sudanese villages. Op SAFARI is Canada’s contribution to the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS). It is also the military component of the Canadian whole-of-government engagement in southern Sudan that also includes activities by the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Canadian International Development Agency and the RCMP. “We spend six days in the bush,” says Major Ed Smith, a UN military observer (UNMO) at Team Site (TS) Rumbek in the Sudan. “Our job is to know what is going on everywhere in this state, and send reports back to the United Nations. There are no lines of communication, no phones, no electricity, no running water, nothing – not even paved roads in this state. The only way the UN has of monitoring situations is through the UNMO, so we go and spend our time in the bush, then write up reports on what we see.” ….”
  • Remember this MERX listing from 2008, looking for someone interested in providing consulting services to build a new helicopter hangar on Canada’s west coast to replace a 60-year-old one? The PM has announced the building should be finished “in the winter prior to the arrival of nine new CH-148 Cyclone Helicopters in the spring of 2014.” More in the backgrounder here, and media coverage here, here and here.
  • A Defence Department study says it’s risky for the air force to continue using Griffon helicopters for search and rescue in Central Canada. The review by the chief of air force development cites limitations of the CH-146, pressed into service in 2005 at Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ont., because the military’s principal search helicopter is often not available. The air force intends to keep using the Griffon at the base until at least 2014, say briefing notes for Defence Minister Peter MacKay. But the 2009 air force study, obtained under the Access to Information Act, said the helicopter’s “capabilities are challenged” when employed as a front-line rescue aircraft and its use constitutes a “risk.” The CH-146, a military version of the Bell 412 civilian chopper, is too small and lacks the range to reach wilderness sites in Northern Ontario and Quebec without refuelling. Having to stop for gas “increases the response time to an incident site, and the amount of time the helicopter can remain on the scene to perform rescue tasks,” said the 20-page censored report. It noted one incident where search-and-rescue technicians were lowered to a crash site “and the helicopter departed the scene to refuel before extracting the casualties.” ….” Re:  the bit in red, any chance of anybody reading the paper or the internet being able to read the report for themselves?  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Anyone?
  • F-35 Tug o’ War (1) “…. Stephen Harper threw down the gauntlet Tuesday to his critics who question his government’s military spending, including $16 billion for 65 F-35 stealth fighter jets. That purchase is expected to be a major election issue for the Liberals and NDP in the next campaign, whenever it’s called. While announcing a new $155 million helicopter base in B.C., Harper warned against “willful naivete” in national security, and said Canada has to be ready to defend itself from any and all threats. “If you don’t do that, you soon don’t have a country and you don’t have any of the other good things you once thought were more important,” he said. “Our country has certainly never gone and will never go looking for trouble. However, many times during the past 200 years, trouble has come looking for us. While Canada does not aspire to be an armed camp, neither is their any place in national defence for willful naivety.” ….”
  • F-35 Tug o’ War (2) The Department of National Defence says it is hiding a key F-35 document from the public because that type of document is classified. Yet its own website hosts many of these same types of papers for public downloading, almost all of which are marked as “unclassified.” This has prompted allegations the Harper government and military have “twisted” Canada’s procurement process so it can buy the billion-dollar planes. The document, called a “Statement of Operational Requirements,” is a well-established centerpiece of the military’s procurement process. Save for certain classified bits of information, it is typically released publicly so Canadians can examine what their armed forces need before their tax dollars are spent. However in an unusual step, the Harper government did not release an operational requirements statement before announcing its plan to replace Canada’s fleet of ageing CF-18 fighter jets with the F-35. In fact, the military has admitted it chose the F-35 before it even drew up the Statement of Operational Requirements. Despite this, the department has continued to hide the document from public view, saying in an email that “an Air Force project’s Statement of Operational Requirements is an internal Department of National Defence document.” “SORs are classified documents” that are “not disclosed publicly,” added spokesperson Evan Koronewski ….”
  • If this has been reported properly, apparently, the RCMP says a former military police officer (who’s served overseas in Bosnia and Cyprus) hasn’t been a Halifax cop long enough to qualify for a U.N. policing job in Haiti. “RCMP brass in Ottawa won’t allow a former Canadian military member and current Halifax cop who’s done two previous tours in wartorn countries to be a peacekeeper in Haiti. “It’s absolutely asinine,” said Dave Moore, president of the Municipal Association of Police Personnel, the union that represents the unnamed Halifax officer. “To me it’s making a statement that (he’s) substandard and that’s not true at all in our eyes.” The officer, who’s worked under the auspices of the UN in Bosnia and Cyprus, has been on the Halifax Regional Police force for more than two years. Before that, he spent 12 years in the Canadian military, seven of those as a military cop. “We’ve worked many, many years with the military police. They’re as well qualified as the federal force,” said Moore ….”
  • Over his 22 years in the Canadian Forces, Chris Hennebery saw not a single gunshot fired in anger. It’s only now, as a married father of two little girls and a successful software executive, that he’s going to find himself in a combat zone. Hennebery leaves at the end of next month to work as an artist in Afghanistan, capturing in his sketchbook and watercolours images of Canadian soldiers at war. After three weeks in NATO combat outposts and on patrols in the heartland of the Taliban insurgency, Hennebery will return to Canada to turn his preliminary works into a series of 10 large acrylic paintings. Accompanying the former professional artist will be photographer Shaun O’Mara, a former British commando and Canadian soldier whom Hennebery served with in the Royal Westminster Regiment ….”
  • Sigh….One of the doctors charged last week with drugging and sexually assaulting a woman in downtown Toronto hotel is a long-serving member of the Canadian military, CBC News has learned. Dr. Amitabh Chauhan, 32, of Ancaster, Ont., has been closely associated with the Canadian Forces since 1997, when he became a cadet. The following year he enrolled in the Royal Military College in Kingston, Ont., as an officer cadet. Chauhan, received his undergraduate degree from RMC in 2002 with an honours BA in politics and economics. “Following his education with RMC, he began his training to become a pilot in January 2004. He ceased training in July 2005 and undertook a variety of duties,” the Department of National Defence said in a written statement to CBC News. He did his pilot training at CFB Moose Jaw. On Monday, Toronto police said that when he was arrested Chauhan had a Saskatchewan driver’s licence. Chauhan left the military in 2007 but continued his association as a member of the naval reserve, which he joined three years ago. “Mr. Chauhan is a naval reservist who works part-time at the naval reserve division HMCS Star in Hamilton [Ont.] and holds the rank of acting sub-lieutenant,” according to the military. He is currently a post-graduate student in the plastic surgery department at McMaster University in Hamilton ….” I can’t wait for the CBC to start writing about the university history of future criminals.
  • Taliban Propaganda Watch: Taliban claim responsibility for killing translator for Americans in Mullah Omar’s (alleged) former compound in Kandahar City. News Highlights – 24 Jan 11

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  • The “Get Outta Dodge” clock is ticking for Canadian troops outside the wire in Afghanistan. “Canada’s last combat troops in Afghanistan are to begin withdrawing from “outside the wire” between “the middle and end of June” and all of them will be back at Kandahar Airfield or in Canada “by the end of July,” says their commander, Lt.-Col. Henri-Michel St-Louis. “I don’t have specific orders but what I have been telling my guys over the last couple of weeks is that we are now concentrating on that window,” St. Louis, who leads the last of 10 battle groups that have rotated through Kandahar since the spring of 2006, said in an interview Sunday. “Obviously the date that the individual soldier is to go home is foremost on his mind. As the plan is finalized we will be informing the guys.” ….”
  • 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron getting ready to head downrange.
  • End of Canada’s combat mission =/= end to mental, emotional trauma“The combat mission in Kandahar will soon be over for Canadian soldiers, but the legacy of pain and suffering will last a lifetime for thousands of wounded troops. Afghanistan veterans return to Canada to fight a new battle on the home front. Some have lost limbs, skin, hearing or sight. Others are traumatized from witnessing bloodshed or encountering close calls with their own death. Most are grieving fallen friends. Lt.-Col. Rakesh Jetly, adviser to the Canadian Forces surgeon general on mental health and psychiatry, said one of the biggest challenges is helping these troops adjust to “the new normal” — and ensuring they don’t fall off the radar after warfare ends ….”
  • Taliban Propaganda WatchAttacks alleged in Kandahar, Uruzgan.
  • Next stop for Canadian Forces:  Sudan? “A former Canadian diplomat to Africa said Canada’s next military deployment will likely be in war-torn Sudan. John Schram — who was Canada’s ambassador to Ethiopia, Eritrea and the Sudan from 1998 to 2002 — said now that Sudan has completed a referendum, big issues are being raised, and the fractured country will need international support to bring some measure of calm. Those issues include negotiations on frontiers and oil rights and revenues between country’s north and south, a second referendum in the oil-rich Abyei region and the ongoing peacekeeping/peacemaking effort to support the emerging state. The Canadian military’s presence in Afghanistan has prepared it for such a mission, he said. “We’re going to come under pressure from the Americans who have been in the lead all along,” said Schram, who is a senior fellow in international relations at Queen’s University and who spent almost four decades on the Africa file for the federal department of external affairs ….”
  • What’s Canada Buying? Wanted:  a $150,000 prefab hangar for Kingston, Jamaica (via
  • Wanted:  someone to move a load of RCMP crap“…. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has a requirement for the collection of horse manure and wood shavings from the RCMP Musical Ride Stables located at 1 Sandridge Road, Ottawa, Ontario. The Stables holds approximately 96 horses. Collection of waste will be done on an “as-and-when-requested” basis. The Contractor will be responsible for supplying two 20-yard containers to accommodate the waste; collection of the containers; disposal of the waste; cleaning of the containers; and returning the containers to the Stables …. ” Statement of work downloadable here (via  A hat tip to Postmedia News for catching this here. News Highlights – 4 Jan 11

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  • In spite of all the poking around Russia seems to do in Canadian airspace (recent examples here, here and here), all seems to have gone well in a joint Canadian-American-Russian air interception exercise. “A first-of-its-kind hijacking exercise involving the U.S., Canadian and Russian militaries went so well that a similar drill is planned for 2011, an American officer said. Jet fighters from Russia and the North American Aerospace Defence Command pursued a small passenger jet playing the role of a hijacked jetliner across the Pacific and back during the August exercise. The aim: To practice handing off responsibility for a hijacked jet between Russia and NORAD, a joint U.S.-Canadian command that for decades devoted its efforts to tracking Soviet forces. Officers reviewed the exercise in November at NORAD headquarters at Peterson Air Force Base, Colo. The verdict: It “was pretty much carried on flawlessly,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Lee Haefner, who was the lead planner. NORAD and Russian officers will meet in Russia in February to begin planning a second exercise, Haefner said ….” More on last year’s Exercise VIGILANT EAGLE here, here and here.  A reminder:  Canada bowed out of the exercise in 2008 because of Russia’s “visit” to neighbouring Georgia.
  • Some interesting discussion at here on what wounded warrior Paul Franklin suggests about Canada doing more in southern Sudan. Meanwhile, the Globe & Mail shares some of the factors to be considered if Canada wants to do more.
  • Only 32 veterans were interviewed in a University of Western Ontario study, so it may not be statistically robust, but some of the findings remain disturbing. “Dozens of largely middle-aged veterans in Southwestern Ontario are battling homelessness after years of valiantly fighting to stay off the streets, a first-of-its-kind study in Canada finds. Nationwide, the number of homeless vets may number in the hundreds or thousands. And despite improvements in care over the past decade, a London, Ont., researcher leading the study warns new veterans may face the same challenges. “Veterans Affairs is getting better, but many could still slip through the cracks,” said Susan Ray, an assistant nursing professor at the University of Western Ontario (UWO). “A lot of the veterans I spoke to said, ‘I don’t know if anything can help me, but maybe it could help somebody now’.” Her more immediate concern is the group of vets, average age 52, who find themselves homeless several years after leaving the military structure. “Everything is looked after for you. It is a big family with the commander who is the big father,” Ray said. “They found it difficult to make the transition to civilian life. They found it difficult to have freedom and make choices.” ….” Other research conducted by the same investigator:  “The Experience of Contemporary Peacekeepers Healing from Trauma,” “Contemporary Treatments for Psychological Trauma From the Perspective of Peacekeepers,” and “The Impact of PTSD on Veterans’ Family Relationships: An Interpretative Phenomenological Inquiry.”
  • Remember the several hearings into how Canada is said to have treated Afghan detainees?  Here’s an update on one of them“Whether the Military Police Complaints Commission makes findings that sizzle or fizzle, the panel will claim an important place in the Afghan detainees affair. The quasi-judicial commission is the only forum to conduct a methodical examination of any element of the detainees issue amid repeated rejections by the federal government of opposition calls for a full-scale independent public inquiry. After a year of public hearings end early February with final arguments by lawyers, the commission says its “top priority” will be writing a report on whether Canada’s military police should have investigated military officers’ orders to transfer suspected Taliban captives to Afghan authorities despite a risk of torture ….” Here’s a chronology to help you keep track of the different proceedings.
  • Troops in Winnipeg are getting ready to train in Canada’s far North. “Soldiers from the Arctic Response Company Group (ARCG) spent the first week of December building komatiks (wooden sleighs) in preparation for Exercise NORTHERN BISON 2011 from February 15–28. The Canadian Forces (CF) will be contributing to a top government priority—protecting the territorial integrity of the Arctic—and the komatiks will play a crucial role in ensuring that the soldiers can successfully move, shoot, communicate and sustain themselves in austere northern conditions. “We will be packing a komatik with the UMS [unit medical station] and another komatik will be like a snow ambulance,” said Master Corporal Calin Ritchie, a medical technician with 17 Field Ambulance. The komatiks will be pulled by snowmobiles throughout the exercise that will see both Regular and Reserve force soldiers work together with 1 and 4 Canadian Ranger Patrol Groups as they conduct a 300-km trek from Churchill, Manitoba to Arviat, Nunavut ….”
  • Remember those Coptic Christians named in jihadi forums not so long ago? Well, ever since a group of such Christians were suicide bombed in Egypt, Copts here in Canada have hired private security guards and want a wee bit more protection during their Orthodox Christmas season.
  • This, reportedly from a briefing note obtained by QMIThe RCMP wanted to stay involved with a controversial peace conference even as the minister in charge of the national police force ordered them out. Newly released documents also show that next time, the Mounties plan to stand their ground. A briefing note prepared for deputy commissioner Bob Paulson, the man in charge of federal and international policing, recommends that the Mounties not back out of future events deemed too hot to handle by the government. “It is recommended that in the future, the Minister of Public Safety supports the RCMP’s position with respect to National Security Community Outreach,” reads the memo. The conference in question was slated for the end of October at the Government Conference Centre, a federal building across the street from Parliament Hill. Among the participants were several Iranian academics tied to the regime of Mahmoud Ahmadinehjad and Dr. Davood Ameri of the Islamic World Peace Forum ….” Since QMI doesn’t share said document with the world anyplace I looked, does the note say “we’ll disobey the Minister next time” or “we’ll give him the same advice next time”?
  • The Toronto Star is doing a bit of catch-up, finally talking to members of a militia in Quebec where some members consider the Canadian Forces their “adversary”“There’s no sign, per se, but there is a shirt in the window silkscreened with the image of militant Quebec separatist Pierre Falardeau and the words: “Now it’s your turn to be scared.” Inside, past a rack of nationalist books, including one called Quebec Bashing, which can be found alongside one on Mao Zedong, there is a wall of white, winter balaclavas and camouflage gas masks, another wall of boots and, to the right, a counter behind which hang realistic-looking paintball rifles. They hope to soon have a permit to sell real guns. This is the new recruitment centre for the Milice Patriotique Québécoise, a shadowy separatist militia that, after nearly a decade of existence, is only now coming into the light. The centre opened its doors at the end of November in a working class neighbourhood of east Montreal. The founder and leader, “Major” Serge Provost, is not out to make friends with this venture. Indeed, even other separatists are uncomfortable with him, mindful of Quebec’s painful history with the murderous Front de libération du Québec. But Provost says his group operates in a defensive mode only, “to protect the people of Quebec.” “The only entity able to protect Quebecers now is the Canadian army,” says Provost, 42. “So, the only ones who can help us are our adversaries.” ….” A bit more on this group from a previous summary here.
  • To space, and beyond! “Canada has the technological capacity to build its own rocket to launch small satellites, officials and documents have revealed, highlighting a top priority for future research at the Defence Department as well as something that’s being studied at the Canadian Space Agency. Canada relies on other countries, such as the United States, India and Russia, to launch its spacecraft into orbit, but both the Defence Department and the space agency are looking at the option of constructing a Canadian-made launcher. The Defence Department’s science organization, Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), is examining what would be needed for a small rocket as well as looking at different potential mission scenarios ….”
  • Taliban Propaganda Watch: Attacks alleged in Kandahar, Uruzgan and Zabul. News Highlights – 3 Jan 11

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