Afghanistan(2) “The international community’s 2014 exit strategy from Afghanistan rests on two pillars: training an Afghan security force that can stand on its own feet, and fostering regional co-operation on a conflict that defies borders. Forging a political settlement with the Taliban is considered by most to be the indispensable third pillar of this strategy, even if U.S. and NATO officials are reticent to recognize it as such. Unfortunately, an assessment of progress in all three areas gives cause for serious concern ….”
What’s Canada Buying? (1) East coast firm to get some work if their partners get the Tactical Armoured Patrol Vehicle (TAPV) contract. “L-3 Electronic Systems has teamed up with Elbit Systems Land in a bid to bring portions of two large military projects to Nova Scotia. L-3, which has about 170 employees in this province, could add another 30 people to the roster at its Enfield plant if it is successful in its bid to help put together and maintain the army’s new tactical armoured patrol vehicles. “We’re in the hundreds of millions of dollars for the total contract of dual (remote weapons systems),” Gerry Morey, a former air force officer who now works for L-3 in Nova Scotia, said Wednesday. “And then there’s the export options as well that we’re obviously interested in.” L-3, a subsidiary of New York City’s L-3 Communications, and Israel’s Elbit — working together as Canterra Solutions — are hoping to supply weapon systems for Force Protection’s contender in the race to provide the army with about $1 billion worth of new armoured vehicles. “Basically it’s a dual remote weapons system, which means it’s two guns, a 40-millimetre gun and a 12.76-(millimetre) gun with camera systems and laser-warning systems and 40-millimetre smoke grenades on it,” Morey said. “It’s remotely controllable from inside the cabin without any external exposure of personnel.” The work here would largely involve maintaining the weapons and then handing them over to an assembler in New Brunswick, he said. “A lot of the supply chain might be outside the province.” In September, Dieppe’s Malley Industries Inc. announced it could be adding 120 new manufacturing jobs if Ottawa picks Force Protection’s Timberwolf as the army’s new vehicle. Other companies competing to build Canada’s new tactical armoured patrol vehicles include Oshkosh, BAE Systems and Textron Marine & Land Systems ….” More info on the TAPV project here.
Permieter Security Deal (1) How this new deal is going to help Canada, via the Government of Canada Info-Machine (LOADS of backgrounders on various elements of the deal at the link, too): “…. “Billions of dollars worth of goods and hundreds of thousands of people cross our shared border every day,” said Prime Minister Harper. “Moving security to the perimeter of our continent will transform our border and create jobs and growth in Canada by improving the flow of goods and people between our two countries.” ….” More here, here,
Permieter Security Deal (2) How it’s helping U.S. President Obama: “…. Canada is going to help him achieve his political objectives thanks to the $1 billion border perimeter deal aimed at streamlining trade while protecting the continent from the type of terrorist attacks that still haunt Americans 10 years after Sept. 11, 2001. The deal will not only improve screening procedures for travellers and passengers before they arrive in North America, it will also create domestic jobs, the president said. “Canada is key to achieving my goal of doubling American exports and putting folks back to work,” Obama said. “Put simply, we’re going to make it easier to conduct the trade and travel that creates jobs, and we’re going to make it harder for those who would do us harm and threaten our security.” ….”
Afghanistan (3a) Toronto Star continues pressing story of Afghan interpreter rejected for “fast-track move to Canada” program. “An Afghan interpreter turned away from Canada says he has been hunted by insurgents on motorcycles because of his work with the Canadian military. Sayed Shah Sharifi disputes the accounts of Canadian officials who have played down the threat he faces for aiding allied forces in Kandahar. Indeed, Sharifi, 23, says he was forced to move his family out of Kandahar for more than two months last year for safety after motorcycle-borne insurgents left a chilling warning with his father. “Your son works with the Canadian Forces and we will kill him,” Sharifi recalled Wednesday in a telephone interview with the Star ….”
Afghanistan (3b) TorStar back stops coverage with letters.
Armenian media reports Canadians (military and/or civilian staff) helping NATO help Armenia. “The NATO-sponsored international expert group is in the Armenian capital Yerevan, from Wednesday to Saturday, within the framework of assistance to Armenia’s reforms in military education. The group comprises military and civil representatives from US, Canada, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Romania, Switzerland, and NATO ….”
Canadian plane engine company STILL gets some business from an American buy.“An unusual turn of events on a U.S. military procurement contract has lightly side-swiped three of Quebec’s largest aerospace firms. Wichita-based aircraft maker Hawker Beechcraft Corp. was excluded without explanation last week from a competition to supply 20 AT-6 Texan II light-attack and training planes to the Afghan air force. Its four main suppliers on the bid to the U.S. air force – which would then turn the aircraft over to the Afghan forces – were all Canadian: Longueuil’s Pratt & Whitney Canada for the PT6A-68D 1,600-horsepower engine, St. Laurent’s CAE Inc. for the crew training, St. Laurent’s CMC Esterline for the flight management system, as well as Burling-ton, Ont.-based L-3 Wescam, which was to provide day-light sensors, infrared cameras with zoom and various lasers. The elimination of Hawker Beechcraft apparently makes a winner of the Super Tucano trainer and light-attack aircraft produced by Brazil’s Embraer, the only other bidder for the contract. Matthew Perra, spokes-person for Pratt & Whitney Canada, said by email that “as with any competition there was some investment made, but this amount is not material to P&W Canada.” But it does not signify a loss for Pratt & Whitney Canada – it also supplies the same engine for Embraer’s Super Tucano ….”
My favourite bit from this piece from CBC.ca on monitoring efforts during the G8/G20: “…. (an undercover police officer) told the court about how he attended a meeting prior to the Toronto summit. There, a protest-planning group that included several of the 17 main G20 defendants was discussing whether to lend their support to a First Nations rally. Adam Lewis, one of the 17 accused conspirators in the G20 case, interjected, “Kill whitey!” The group chuckled. Lewis, like all but one of his co-accused, is white. When a Crown lawyer asked the officer what he thought Lewis meant, Showan said in complete seriousness, to “kill white people.” “Deliberately or accidentally, the undercover officers misinterpreted hyperbolic jokes as literal statements of belief,” said Kalin Stacey, a community organizer, friend and supporter of the defendants ….” Really? I’m guessing is a similar statement was made about the protesters, it would NOT be taken as “hyperbolic jokes”.
Credit where credit is due: CBC.ca shared the documents it’s writing about in the above-mentioned story via documentcloud.org (like here for example). Hello? Reporters? News outlets? Are you listening about sharing ATIP’ed documents?
Private Members Bill C-354, An Act respecting the establishment and award of a Defence of Canada Medal (1946-1989), makes it through First Reading in Parliament after being introduced by NDP MP Carol Hughes: “Mr. Speaker, I am proud to be able to reintroduce this bill for the establishment and award of a defence of Canada medal for the men and women who served in the defence of Canada during the cold war. This act represents the hard work and vision of one of my constituents, retired Captain Ulrich Krings of Elliot Lake, who presented me with this proposal shortly after I was elected in 2008. Its purpose is to formally honour the people who defended Canada from within Canada for the period from 1946 to 1989. As such, it is intended to be awarded to individuals who served in the regular and reserve forces, police forces, emergency measures organizations, as well as civil organizations, such as St. John Ambulance, all of whom were concerned with the protection of Canada from the threat posed by the countries behind the Iron Curtain. This medal will recognize the support of the men and woman who gave countless hours to Canadians as they trained and prepared in case of an attack on Canadian soil, which fortunately never took place. Their service to our country came at a time when we became aware of how fragile peace can be and how vulnerable we may become to advances in weapons of warfare. This medal would give something back to all those who worked in those years to keep us safe and prepared. I thank my colleague from Thunder Bay—Rainy River (John Rafferty) for his continued support on this bill and for seconding this item for a second time.” Caveat: most Private Members Bills do not end up becoming law. Discussion at Army.ca here.
Royal Military College Academic: Iran strikes might be the CF’s next shooting stint? “Canada may get pulled into military strikes against Iran if it comes to a showdown between western powers and the rogue state. And things could get messy considering a new report from the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog that’s expected to indicate Tehran is on the brink of being able to develop a nuclear warheads, said Houchang Hassan-Yari, an expert in military and strategic issues at the Royal Military College of Canada. “If it gets to a military campaign, I think Canada will participate with the Americans and their allies,” the international relations professor said. “If sanctions are the next avenue, Canada will participate in that.” ….”
What a surprise: the military appears to be planning and weighing how to deal with evacuating Canadians in trouble overseas. “Plucking Canadians out of the world’s hot spots is a growing area of concern and study for military planners, who until a few years ago didn’t have their own tools or the resources to carry out such missions. Internal Defence Department documents obtained by The Canadian Press show that in the aftermath of the Libyan crisis, the Canadian military is examining not only its war-fighting skills, but its newly enhanced ability to quickly organize evacuation and rescue missions. Planners have been quietly taking stock of the world’s flash points and considering how to get military forces into those troubled regions, while at the same time smoothly getting civilians out of harm’s way …. internally at the Defence Department there has been angst about future evacuations, especially in light of expected budget cuts, suggest the documents obtained under Access to Information. Among the most worrisome trouble spots is South Korea, where frequent and increasingly violent outbursts from the hermit kingdom in the North have military planners concerned and looking for guidance. “With over 20,000 Canadian citizens resident in the (Republic of South Korea), in the event of a full-scale crisis (censored) the evacuation efforts required could significantly exceed those of the Lebanon evacuation,” said a Nov. 30, 2010 briefing note prepared for Defence Minister Peter MacKay ….” I’ve asked if CP plans to share the obtained documents online for anyone interested to read – no word back yet.
Canada is taking part in U.S. Northern Command Exercise Operation Vigilant Shield ’12.“The U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, as well as the Canadian military, have begun an extensive annual field training exercise for the U.S. Northern Command. “Operation Vigilant Shield 12” is the biggest multi-spectrum, high-level exercise for the North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command. Northern Command is a Unified Combatant Command of the United States military, formed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001 to protect the United States homeland and support local, state, and federal authorities. Operation Vigilant Shield 12, or VS 12, is a joint exercise supported by the Joint Coalition Warfare Center and conducted as a command post exercise with a supporting field training exercise in Key West, FL. The exercise is also linked to a Canada Command exercise called “Determined Dragon,” and runs concurrently with the Arizona’s “Vigilant Guard” exercise. It runs Nov. 1-10 ….” More from the Pentagon Info-Machine here.
Remembrance Day (2) Unambiguously Ambidextrous on Remembrance Day and Canada’s newest vets. “…. There is a new generation of soldiers returning from war, something that has not been seen in Canada in about 50 years, or two generations. That’s not to trivialize Rwanda or Bosnia, but our country hasn’t had to deal with the reality of war dead in a half century and we have not handled their sacrifices very well. In fact, it would be fair to say we have broken faith with the dead, choosing not to carry on their torch and honour their sacrifices by seeing through the mission to success. It was a political decision made to pacify the pacifists created by two generations of peace. Today’s young people know nothing of war, and so their only reaction to it is revulsion ….”
“An audit into Veterans Affairs Canada and how it handles privacy issues will be released in early 2012, Canada’s privacy commissioner said Monday. The news came as a third veteran went public with complaints into the number of times civil servants accessed his file, and how his file was handled at the agency. Sylvain Chartrand, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Bosnia, says his file was accessed more than 4,000 times between 2003 and 2010. HIs complaint is similar to one by Sean Bruyea, another veteran who advocates for veterans’ rights, and whose private medical information was shared with both Liberal and Conservative ministers of veterans affairs. A statement by a spokeswoman for Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart says an audit into how Veterans Affairs handles private information is coming soon ….”
“A military veteran on a hunger strike collapsed momentarily during the third day of his protest against the federal government Monday. (Pascal) Lacoste is trying to convince the government to recognize that he and other soldiers were poisoned while serving overseas. The 38-year-old former soldier was leaving a camper lent to him by a friend and heading back to his SUV when he fell to the ground. An ambulance was called as his mother rushed to hold him, clutching him to her chest. Lacoste eventually recovered after taking gasps of air from an oxygen mask. But the exhausted-looking man refused to go to hospital. He decided to continue his hunger strike instead ….”
All of a sudden, Canada’s Liberal Party is keen on helping veterans – more in an online petition here and an e-mail soliciting signatures to said petition here (PDF).
CF looking for more military artists.“The Canadian Forces Artists Program allows Canadian artists the opportunity to record Canada’s soldiers in Canada and around the world. It follows the long-standing tradition of Canadian war artists and is designed to portray today’s Canadian military experience through art while providing artists with a taste of military life. These artists, all volunteers, are helping usher in a new era of Canadian military art …. A new competition is currently being held for the selection of a new group of Canadian artists who wish to participate in the program. Selected artists will be able to participate in a military-related exercise for a period of approximately seven to ten days. This opportunity is designed to springboard their creativity, create works of art depicting military life and to provide memorable military experiences. There is no payment for artists, who in turn are not required to provide works to the program. However, artists may be asked to lend some works for promotional art tours or other uses. Deadline for applications is November 30, 2011 ….”
Canada and Foreign Intelligence (1) “As the Harper government prepares to re-introduce the anti-terrorism measures that were allowed to lapse because of opposition concerns about privacy and Charter rights, there are whispers Conservative plans to expand the role of Canada’s spy service to operate overseas are being dusted off. Currently, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service is largely concerned with domestic intelligence and is able to conduct covert operations overseas only if there is a direct threat to Canada. In their 2006 election platform, the Tories promised to overturn this arrangement and set up a separate foreign intelligence service. Once elected, they were persuaded by the bureaucracy that it would be quicker and cheaper to allow CSIS to take on the role ….”
“A Canadian man has been indicted in Seattle for allegedly conspiring to support the Sri Lankan terrorist group the Tamil Tigers nearly six years ago. The single-count indictment against Ramanan Mylvaganam, 34, is the result of a jurisdictional dispute between federal prosecutors in New York City’s Brooklyn borough and Mylvaganam’s attorneys. Mylvaganam is a former Bellevue resident. Brooklyn prosecutors in 2006 had indicted Mylvaganam along with nine others in connection with an alleged plot to pay to import surface-to-air missiles and other military equipment to the Tamil Tigers. The charges also alleged the group was attempting to bribe U.S. officials to have the Tamil Tigers removed from the State Department’s list of terrorist organizations. Mylvaganam’s attorneys had argued that federal prosecutors in the Eastern District of New York had no jurisdiction over Mylvaganam’s alleged crimes because he was living at the time in Bellevue, according to court papers ….”
“Canada’s defence department must shed top military brass and bureaucrats today to focus on front-line troops for the priorities of tomorrow: the Arctic, cyber defence, space and special operations, says the author of a controversial report on transforming the armed forces. Retired lieutenant-general Andrew Leslie told senators on the national security and defence committee Monday it’s time to make “moderately tough choices to invest in the future.” National headquarters in Ottawa has become too bloated and overall structure has too much overhead and “tail,” Leslie said, recommending an administrative overhaul to trim $1 billion by cutting the number of full-time reservists, civilians and officers and slashing by 30 per cent of the $2.7 billion now spent on consultants, contractors and other service providers. “Transformation is all about the future – reducing the overhead and investing in the front-line troops, making the Canadian Forces and Department of National Defence leaner, better able to respond and more deployable,” Leslie said ….” More on this here and here.
Afghanistan (1) A bit more mainstream media coverage of the training mission, or at least part of it. “…. It’s amazing watching …. woman train in that they are not wearing veils and every day fly in the face of what radical Islam sees as the role of women. “They are very brave and we are proud of them,” said Canadian Major General Michael Day, who heads the training program here. “Back in their villages some of them would be killed for just coming here.” Day knows there is a long way to go. But you have to start somewhere. By the end of this year, there will be 195,000 members of the ANA and already in most parts of the country they are taking the lead in security here. Canadians, Americans, Danes, Georgians are here more as trainers and mentors.”
Afghanistan (3b) Tying in the planes with Afghanistan – this again from QP: “Mr. Matthew Kellway (Beaches—East York, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the Department of National Defence continues to spring leaks about the minister’s misuse of DND assets. By now we have all heard that the minister takes government jets like most Canadians take the bus. Now we find out that the Prime Minister personally kept the Minister of National Defence out of the loop on the Afghan war. Why is the Prime Minister defending a minister that he himself has so little confidence in? Hon. Peter MacKay (Minister of National Defence, CPC): Mr. Speaker, as I and the Prime Minister have said, we use government assets for government business. That is exactly what has happened. With respect to Afghanistan, we have made a magnificent effort on behalf of Canadians. They can be very proud of the work our men and women in uniform and our professional public servants have put forth in Afghanistan. As a government we have supported them. We have given them the resources. Unfortunately, the member’s party opposite cannot say the same thing …. ” More on the layest QP back & forth here.
F-35 Tug o’ War (1) One reporter doesn’t buy the $65M per plane price tag being promoted by the company.“…. the Pentagon, Lockheed Martin and allied governments around the globe are thinking hard now. The plan could still fly if buyers hang in. But will the bargain prices come true? For a clue, check the Israeli defence budget. The Israelis, like John McCain, know something about fighters, and currently their budget for 20 planes is not anywhere close to $65 million each. It’s more than double that: $137 million each. Perhaps they don’t believe in deals that seem too good to be true.”
F-35 Tug o’ War (2) Meanwhile, the company’s latest estimates? “The F-35s in low-rate initial production (LRIP) Lot 4 are expected to exceed their contracted cost target, but fall below the negotiated ceiling price, says Tom Burbage, vice president of F-35 program integration for Lockheed Martin …. The LRIP 4 per-unit cost targets are as follows: $111.6 million (CAD$ 117.7M) for the conventional takeoff-and-landing (CTOL) version; $109.4 million (CAD$ 115.4M) for the short-takeoff-and-vertical-landing (Stovl) aircraft; $142.9 (CAD$ 150.7M) for the first production carrier variant (CV) ….”
Afghanistan (2) Terry Glavin on negotiating with the Taliban: “…. In Washington, London and Brussels, the whole point now is to convince “war-weary” electorates that capitulation is compromise, that the whole nightmare was brought about by stupid neo-conservatives, and that the problem is an incorrigibly violent and uncivilized Afghan people in whom we need not see the basic human rights we ordinarily recognize in our fairer-skinned selves. In the world’s rich and comfortable countries, and perhaps especially in Canada, this is what it means nowadays to be on the side of the angels.” More here.
MacKay’s Helicopter Ride New Target: the Defence Minister. “Defence Minister Peter MacKay used one of only three search-and-rescue helicopters available in Newfoundland to transport him from a vacation spot last year, CTV News has learned. MacKay was picked up at a private salmon fishing lodge along the Gander River last July by a Canadian Forces Cormorant helicopter. Military sources said the order to collect MacKay came from the defence minister’s own office. “This is not a common practice . . . this is the only time a search-and-rescue asset was used as shuttle service,” a source told CTV News ….”
Natynczyk’s Plane Rides (1) Opinion, from former RCAF officer: “…. Any use of military aircraft by the chief, to my mind, is justifiable if he as the head of Canada’s military makes a decision to use them. Come on folks, the general is not out for a joyride on a Challenger aircraft ….”
Natynczyk’s Plane Rides (2) Opinion, from a blogger: “…. While Robert Fife should not be criticized for bringing the issue forward for debate, he should be taken to task by not providing a more through analysis of the Chief of the Defence Staff’s travelling costs, especially since they were pre-authorized or incurred to satisfy the obligations of his position as head of the military ….”
More on what one former officer says Canada’s Reserves should be looking like – the report here (PDF), and some more media coverage of the report here and here.
A bit of editorial comment on “what should be done with the Reserves” report: “…. The army likes a big standing army because it wants regular soldiers it can order around full-time, not part-timers who come and go. The smaller the standing army, after all, the less justification there is for a bloated bureaucracy. (Not that there’s ever a good justification for bureaucratic bloat, but it’s easier to dismiss for a large organization than for a small one). So they just didn’t do it ….”
What’s Canada Buying? (1) Nasty allegations over the contract to provide moving services to the CF and rest of the public service. “The losing bidder for a billion-dollar contract to relocate Canada’s military, RC-MP and public servants levelled allegations of bid-rigging and an ensuing attempt at a coverup against the federal government on the first day of a civil trial Wednesday. Bruce Atyeo, president of Envoy Relocation Services, is seeking $62 million in damages and is accusing Public Works of having a conflict of interest when it twice awarded a competitor, Royal LePage Relocation Services, the contract to provide the services in 2002 and again in 2004. The awarding of the contracts has been mired in controversy, internal probes and several investigations by the Canadian International Trade Tribunal ….”
What’s Canada Buying? (2) “The Canadian Space Agency in collaboration with Environment Canada, the Department of National Defence, Natural Resources Canada and the Communications Research Center (hereinafter referred to as the clients) is examining the potential for a communications and weather services satellite system referred to as the Polar Communications and Weather (PCW) Mission, a Mission which will in its operations, contribute to resolving some of the challenges and at the same time, leverage opportunities in the Arctic. This Mission is currently in Phase A (Concept study) of development with a launch date targeted for 2017. PCW will provide high capacity, continuous communication services throughout the Canadian Arctic as well as meteorological Earth observations leading to improved weather forecasting …. The purpose of this Request for Proposal is to …. perform a study that will quantify and delineate the socio economic benefits resulting from the proposed Polar Communications and Weather (PCW) Mission, in terms of the projected improvement in the quality of weather forecasts, including those associated with space weather events, and in terms of the benefits accruing from filling the gap in communications over the Canadian high Arctic region ….” More on the study and the PCW mission here (14 page PDF).
Letter to the editor writer seeks “balance” in submarine coverage. “…. The point is, these are not like the Chevy sitting in your driveway. Submarines are incredibly complex machines and require huge amounts of maintenance. The Royal Canadian Navy has four submarines. At the moment, none is operational, but one will be next year, followed by another the year after. With only four hulls, that is to be expected. When you talk of the submarines being laid up longer than expected, you also have to remember the huge expenditures (and rightly so) on military equipment acquired due to the war in Afghanistan, which obviously took funds away from the work on the boats ….”
A chunk of Canada’s aviation history to be paved over to make a hockey rink. “Second World War pilot Philip Gray says it is “immoral” that Downsview Park is evicting the Canadian Air and Space Museum. “This is a terrible way to repay young 21-year-old boys who went to war and never turned 22. I am disgusted that their heritage can be just wiped out,” the 89-year-old Gray said Tuesday as the museum was packing up artifacts. “I got the shock of my life when I heard this. We could lose all this history. It makes you wonder what these boys died for … a government that doesn’t care about heritage.” Downsview Park — which gave the eviction notice on Tuesday — is a federal park. There was no notice given for the eviction, museum CEO Robert Cohen said ….”
9/11 Plus Ten (1) Harsh, but worth considering?“…. This may seem beyond callous, and utterly cold: Total Canadian Forces deaths in Afghanistan since 2001: 157. Nearly 10,000 Canadians have died on the job since then. During the six years of the Second World War, 45,400 Canadians died in combat. The First World War took the lives of 67,000 Canadians at a time when the population of Canada was a quarter of what it is today. It’s not about the numbers. That is not how terrorism works. It is about what happens when numbers add up to nothing one day, and the next day two plus two equals five, and we end up telling ourselves in our fear that we can reason with Talibanism even though it is a revolt against reason itself, and that this is how to make it stop, to please make it just go away ….”
9/11 Plus Ten (2) Governor General’s 9/11 message: “On September 11, 2001, our neighbours to the south experienced one of the worst acts of terrorism perpetrated on American soil. Every year since then, on this date forevermore burned into our collective memory, Canada remembers those who perished in that terrible tragedy ….”
9/11 Plus Ten (5b) “Defence Minister Peter MacKay says he believes the lessons of 9/11 have made Canada and the United States “much more adaptive” and much better at sharing intelligence. “I believe we are safer,” he told reporters after a luncheon speech (in Washington, D.C.) to the Foreign Policy Association. “I believe the challenges are fluid, and we have to be agile and adaptive to circumstances.” He said part of his message on Thursday “was to remind them (Americans) that we are equally vigilant.” In his speech, MacKay listed Canadian efforts in Afghanistan and Libya as parts of the world where soldiers from both nations are working side by side, emphasized Canada’s role at NORAD and NATO and work on maritime security. MacKay was presented with the association’s “statesman” award. The inscription on the award reads simply, “A great friend of the United States.” ….”
Libya Mission One columnist’s view:“…. If the foreigners’ motives really were humanitarian — they wanted to stop Gadhafi’s atrocious regime from killing his own subjects, and thought that Libyans would be better off without him — then they actually were using force as an instrument of love. Not “love” as in the love songs, but love meaning a genuine concern for the welfare of others. Most resorts to force do not meet this criterion (although those using the force generally claim that they do). The United States did not invade Iraq out of concern for the welfare of Iraqis, for example. But once in a while there is a shining exception, and this is one of those times. The British, French, Canadians, Swedes, Qataris and so on would not have done it if it involved large casualties in their own forces. (In fact, they had no casualties.) Most Western soldiers didn’t think the operation would succeed in removing Gadhafi, and the outcome has been greeted with surprise and relief in most of the capitals that sent aircraft. But they did it, and that counts for a lot.”
9/11 Plus Ten (1) “Canadians are more concerned about a terrorist attack on Canada now than before 9/11, says a new (Ipsos-Reid poll conducted for Postmedia News and Global TV). Enhanced airport security, no-fly lists and Canada’s participation in the Afghanistan war are just some of the considerable measures taken after 9/11, but Canadians are still worried about potential terrorist attacks within our borders. Half of the respondents said they felt “no change” in safety levels with military intervention and just under half feel ‘more safe’ as a result of domestic security measures ….”
9/11 Plus Ten (2) The CSIS Info-Machine is sharing some stories from officers about their feelings about 9/11 here and here – a bit of a “Canadian milestones in counter-terrorism since 9-11” selected chronology here.
Wanted: some damned good number crunchers and technogeeks for breaking codes.“It boasts some of the top math minds in the country, it’s looking to recruit more, and you still won’t find its name listed among any universities. The Tutte Institute for Mathematics and Computing is like a school for spies – a government-backed “classified research institute” that exists to entice academics who can help the government create and crack codes in the service of national security. The federal government has actually employed a small stable of arms-length academic cryptographers for several years now, but this summer it opted to redouble and rebrand the effort. In doing so, Ottawa has stepped up its quiet drive to lure some of the smartest PhD-calibre mathematicians away from ivory towers and into applied government work ….” And where’d the name of the new institute, part of Communications Security Establishment Canada, come from? “…. In the 1940s, William Tutte, a math genius, figured out ways to spy on encrypted, high-level Nazi communications, a contribution so profound that some observers now credit him and his British colleagues for helping hasten the end of the Second World War. After the war, Mr. Tutte moved to Canada and had a distinguished academic career at the University of Waterloo ….”
Afghanistan (2a)7 Jul 11: CF Info-Machine tells us Canadian takes over command of Consolidated Fielding Centre in Afghanistan. ~6 Sept 11: Foreign Affairs Info-Machine sends RSS feed notice that it’s decided to share this “news” on Canada’s main web page about Afghanistan.
Afghanistan (3b) Terry Glavin reminds us to be wary, too. “…. The Taliban have made it quite plain, by word and deed, that they have no intention of negotiating anything except the general outlines of the civilized world’s capitulation to them and the forward-planning terms of NATO’s surrender of the Afghan people to their custody ….”
New Brunswick is looking for feedback on its ideas for job protection for Reservists.“Finding the right balance can sometimes be a tricky and nerve-testing procedure. But efforts to do just that are exactly what’s happening these days within the part-time military community as officials juggle ideas in an effort to find ways to make the lives of reservist soldiers in this province a little more secure. In April, residents were asked to participate in a provincial government consultation process and provide their views on how to offer better leave protection to reservists working in civilian jobs or pursuing post-secondary studie …. Ideas were collected by the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour and placed in a preliminary report called “What We Heard: Responses to the Review of Canadian Forces Reservist Employment and Education Leave Protection in New Brunswick.“ (PDF) …. If you have ideas on how you would like to see reservists protected in this province, now is the time to step forward. Contact the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour.” Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org, fax (506) 453-3618 or snail mail at Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, Review of Reservists Employment and Education Leave Protections, P.O. Box 6000, Fredericton, NB, E3B 5H1.
Canada has has new deal for annual defence think tank get together.“The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, announced …. that Canada is hosting the third annual Halifax International Security Forum from November 18th to 20th in Halifax, Nova Scotia. With Foreign Affairs as the media partner, this year’s Halifax International Security Forum features over three hundred politicians, academics, policy makers, and journalists from forty countries around the world. Following the 10th anniversary of the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks and Canada’s recent transition to a non-combat training role in Afghanistan, this year’s forum is especially poignant, focusing on key sensitive and emerging global issues …. As the only event of its kind in North America, the Halifax International Security Forum fosters discussions covering a wide range of topics, including the future of the transatlantic alliance, security initiatives in the Middle East, revolutions, responsibility to protect and making better use of resources to deliver on key security and defence commitments. The Halifax International Security Forum is even stronger with Foreign Affairs, the conference’s media partner. Minister MacKay took the opportunity to announce a three year funding partnership for the Halifax International Security Forum from both the Department of National Defence and the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency ….”
Remember the list o’ war criminals Canada was looking for your help in hunting down? Guess where one of the guys on the original list is?“An accused Serbian war criminal says his life has been ruined by an Ottawa-led manhunt, even though he left Canada for his homeland six years ago. Dimitrije Karic, also known as Dimitrije Mita, 51, of the Serbian municipality of Kovin, said he came to Canada in 2003 and filed a failed refugee claim. He complied with an order to leave Canada in 2005. “Is anyone, who was wearing a uniform in war in former Yugoslavia, a war criminal for you?” he said in an Aug. 30 e-mail to QMI Agency. “If it is so, there are several hundred thousand war criminals throughout Croatia, Bosnia and Serbia.” He lived and worked at two companies in Medicine Hat, Alta., during his time in Canada, documents show ….”
Remember Gilad Schalit, the Israeli soldier kidnapped by Hamas in June 2006? His folks are telling reporters Canada should get Hamas to let him go. What’s Canada saying so far? “…. Chris Day, director of communications for Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird, told the Tribune in an email, “Hamas is a listed terrorist organization. The government of Canada has no contact with Hamas.” Canadian aid is supplied to the people of Gaza through “established aid channels and with established organizations” and not via Hamas. Should Hamas and Fatah form a unity government, Day said, “Canada cannot support a government that includes Hamas.” In May, Canada was a signatory to the G8 Declaration of Renewed Commitment for Freedom and Democracy, which stated in part, “We demand the unconditional release of the abducted soldier Gilad Shalit [sic] without delay.” When asked what concrete action Canada can or will take in regard to Gilad Schalit, Day said, “Minister Baird has been very clear in calling – as G8 leaders did at Deauville – for Gilad Shalit’s [sic] release…. We will continue to press this case at every opportunity.” ….” But not directly to the folks holding him, given the bits in green.
“The re-incarnated NHL’s Winnipeg Jets (have) unveiled their new uniforms …. The Jets, who returned to Winnipeg with the sale of the Atlanta Thrashers to Manitoba’s True North Sports and Entertainment in May, held a news conference to unveil the team’s new uniforms at Royal Canadian Air Force base 17 Wing. The jerseys consist mostly of two shades of blue: Polar Night Blue, found on many of today’s RCAF aircraft, and Aviator Blue, which is similar to historical colours used by the RCAF ….”
Libya Mission (1) “Canada has a moral obligation to financially assist Libya’s transition towards democracy, a local expert says. “There’s a major chance that Canadians will be able to play a (huge) role,” said Christian Leuprecht, a fellow at the Centre for International and Defence Policy at Queen’s University, and an associate professor at Royal Military College. Providing assistance to Libya through funding giants such as the World Bank will be essential to the North African country when the revolution ends, he said ….”
Libya Mission (1a) “Politicians are preparing to discuss and vote on Canada’s role in combat efforts in Libya. A parliamentary debate on NATO military actions in the North African state will take place Tuesday and a vote will follow the next day. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has asked that the mission be extended by three and a half months, so the vote is expected to pass with ease now that the Conservatives have a majority. “It has a political significance,” said former United Nations ambassador Paul Heinbecker. “The government said it would put its decision to the House and that’s what happening … it’s easier to keep the support of the Canadian population if there is a bi- or tri-part consensus on a military intervention abroad.” ….”
Libya Mission (1b) From a Calgary Herald editorial: “…. readers -and the broader Canadian public -need to hear the position of our government. That position needs to be questioned, scrutinized and challenged to make sure we have thought through all the potential consequences before it is too late to easily back away. Parliament is a good place for that debate to begin.”
Libya Mission (2a) “The Conservative government will call for more diplomacy and humanitarian aid and will officially condemn the use of rape as a weapon of war as it moves to extend the military mission in Libya. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said the government has worked to make the Libya intervention a non-partisan one, reaching out to the opposition parties and incorporating some of their views in the motion to keep Canada involved in the UN-backed mission for another three and a half months. “The motion we’ll be presenting Tuesday will particularly speak to the need for greater diplomacy, for greater humanitarian aid and particularly to tackle the growing challenge of rape as an instrument of war,” Baird told CTV’s Question Period Sunday. “This is something that is morally reprehensible to Canadian values.” Baird said the military objective of protecting civilians has not changed, but conceded that citizens and rebels won’t be safe until dictator Moammar Gadhafi is gone ….”
Libya Mission (3) The Globe & Mail talks to the Canadian General in charge of the mission. “…. It’s a complex, 24-seven air and sea effort that can put a missile in a suddenly-spotted pickup truck or treat Col. Gadhafi, on his 69th birthday , to an intense series of daytime bombing runs in downtown Tripoli. Still, the general personally signs off on every last preselected target. It’s not just attention to detail, it’s a visceral sense of personal accountability. Gen. Bouchard may be determined but he is hardly gung-ho. He’s careful, deliberate and worries deeply about how to apply the big hammer of air power in the small circumstances of a brutal dictator clinging to power by indiscriminately killing and terrorizing his own citizens. “I must meet rules, the mandate, the political guidance,” but, he adds, and grows quietly pensive, “I look at every target … at the end of the day it’s a judgment call … and I’m accountable, I’m accountable to Canada, I’m accountable to NATO, and more importantly I’m accountable to myself,” he says. Make the wrong call and the wrong people, or maybe too many people, die. And, Gen. Bouchard adds: “I want those who know me best to be able to look at me and say, ‘you did the right thing.’” ….”
Afghanistan (1) Uh, it’s not really a NEW threat because Canadian troops have been working side-by-side with Afghan forces carrying rifles and ammunition before now.“When Canada’s last combat troops soon leave southern Afghanistan and the mission shifts to training Afghan security forces, Canadians will face a different, sinister enemy: the one from within. Taliban infiltrators are bringing the war inside the razor wire, and once reliably secure, northern compounds where Canadian troops and police will start work over the coming weeks in Kabul, Herat and Mazar-i-Sharif are increasingly vulnerable. Afghan insurgents, usually dressed in police and army uniforms, have launched several spectacular attacks recently. They are striking far from their ethnic Pashtun power base in the south, where a surge of U.S. troops has thrown the Taliban off balance. “It’s a very real threat and it’s very disconcerting,” Col. Peter Dawe, deputy commander of Canada’s new military training mission, told the Toronto Star. “But you just keep doing what you’re doing. We’re all military professionals and the vast majority of us have been here before. We know the risks.” ….”
Afghanistan (3) Program to lure Taliban out of the fighting ranks back into the mainstream still not without glitches yet. “…. The Afghan government’s reconciliation program is dismally starved of cash and overwhelmed with red-tape. Insurgents who come in because of promises of amnesty, money and a fresh start with a job are quickly disillusioned. Graan, 23, who carried a machine gun and like many Afghans goes by only one name, surrendered with Azizullah. He said they received a lumpsum payment off the top, which has had to last them since the fall. “I am ready to go back (to the Taliban),” he said. “At least there we could eat.” Howard Coombs, the special advisor to Canada’s task force commander, said NATO is at a critical juncture in Kandahar where military operations that started last summer have ground down the Taliban’s fighting ability. “We are definitely at a tipping point right now,” he said in an interview. “The more people that come in terms of reintegration and reconciliation, the better.” The program has the potential to start winding down the conflict at a time when Canada is just about out the door and the U.S. is looking at its options to draw down troops ….”
Afghanistan (4) A reminder from Terry Glavin:“…. Canada’s mission in Kandahar will wrap up in July, to be replaced by a scaled-down training mission in Kabul. Much of the aid money for projects like Ehsan’s will join the Canadian exodus from Kandahar. The Canadian government has announced that it will cut aid funding to $100 million per year through 2014, for a total of $300 million. Another $75 million will be handed out over five years as part of the G8 initiative on maternal, newborn and child health. During the combat mission aid levels hovered between $200 million and $250 million each year, much of it with a strong focus on the Kandahar region where the Canadians were fighting.”
You know things aren’t going well for the Libyan regime when they sic the air force on the crowds. PM Harper’s take? “Prime Minister Stephen Harper has denounced the violent crackdowns by security forces on anti-government protesters in Libya and called for them to stop immediately. “We find the actions of the government firing upon its own citizens to be outrageous and unacceptable,” Harper told reporters in Vancouver on Monday. “We call on the government to cease these actions immediately.” ….” More from the PM here.
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 small contingent of the Canadian military will remain at Kandahar Airfield for several months after Canada’s combat mission in Afghanistan comes to an end in July. A group of about 40 servicemen and women will continue to work for the commander of Kandahar Airfield until late October or early November. In that role, they are responsible for perimeter security, housing and runway maintenance at the sprawling military base, among other duties. The Canadian chief of airfield plans is hoping other countries will come forward and fulfil their roles ….” Hmmmm, does that meet the requirements of the March 2008 motion the government has been bringing up? It says, “…. Canada should continue a military presence in Kandahar beyond February 2009, to July 2011, in a manner fully consistent with the UN mandate on Afghanistan …”, defining that as troops to train Afghans, to protect development projects and to staff the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction team. Well, it seems KAF-ites not doing any of the above would be OK by my read.
Will Tim Horton’s leave with the last Canadian soldier from Kandahar?“…. The Canadian doughnut chain Tim Hortons at Kandahar Air Field was also allowed to stay, though it had to move from its prime location on the boardwalk to a more discreet locale near the Canadian section of the base. The fact that the U.S. was at the time trying to convince Canada not to pull its combat forces out of Kandahar in 2011 helped to keep Tim Hortons’ franchise there alive, said a coalition official at the time. He laughed when he explained the reasoning, but he wasn’t joking. Canadian forces are nonetheless leaving Kandahar this year. Whether Tim Hortons, which has become a favorite of all the uniformed doughnut lovers, will stay after the last Canadian soldier goes remains an open question ….”
Globe & Mail editorial warns Canada to help Afghan women. “…. Ottawa should heed the advice of CARE Canada, which has called on the government to measure its post-conflict engagement in Afghanistan through the lens of improved human rights. Specifically, Canada could help tackle the barriers girls face in attending primary and secondary school; help train Afghan police in human rights; protect female leaders; ensure women are included in public-policy debate and peace-building; and focus on maternal and child health ….” (Hat tip to Terry Glavin for spotting this one first).