Michael's Dispatches

Canadian Cover Up?

04 January 2010

(Unfortunately, this news comes as I wait to board a flight from Hong Kong to the United States.  It must be written quickly and without editing.)

A reporter at Canwest News Service emailed Saturday asking for information on the four Canadian soldiers and the journalist who were killed on December 30 in Afghanistan.  I supplied a portion of the unpublicized information, and the reporter emailed Sunday that the Canadian military is “trying to suppress our telling of your information.”

The reporter also wrote, “While the Canadian military confirmed to me much of the information you provided, they are trying to prevent us from publishing it, saying it would breach our agency's embedding agreement.”

There is nothing classified or sensitive about the information supplied to Canwest.  This smells of a classic cover-up that has nothing to do with winning or losing the war, but more likely something to do with saving embarrassment.

Some information provided to Canwest:

According to my sources, the attack happened during late afternoon on 30th.  At least some of the Canadian soldiers had been dismounted doing an “engagement patrol” in district 2 of Kandahar.  The soldiers and Canadian reporter Michelle Lang were in the area of the district center and the Dand district border.  On the way out (apparently) a LAV (armored vehicle) was hit by the bomb on route “Molson,” flipping the LAV.

Four apparently died on scene.  Sgt. Kirk Taylor apparently died at KAF or on the way to KAF (Kandahar Airfield).  Five wounded were flown to Germany.  One soldier was apparently thought to be dead, but was pulled from the wreckage about three hours after the blast and may have started showing signs of life during helicopter flight.

The five Canadians were killed with about 500lbs of explosives, apparently made from fertilizer, buried under route Molson in Kandahar. A wire approximately 150m long was used to command detonate the bomb using a radio receiver.  The radio receiver was outside the ECM bubble.

For more discussion, please see.

Insofar as the apparent censorship attempts by the Canadian military, any censorship of non-classified information is fraught with peril.  Both the British and U.S. military have at times done the same, leading to non-productive confrontations for everyone involved.  To whit, regarding American stonewalling: CENSORING IRAQ

Immediately after that dispatch, General Petraeus emailed to me.   When the matter was brought to his attention, the matter was solved.  The censorship stopped.  His openess with the media – good, bad, or ugly – has been incredibly productive for everyone.  Of course there are lumps involved.  Everyone gets lumps in this fight.  The upshot is that media overwhelmingly trusts General Petraeus, as do I.

Then came the British, to whit: BULLSHIT BOB

Many of the British officers know that censorship is counterproductive, but they’ve still got too many monkeys in the cockpit to fly straight.  Many Americans are under British command in Afghanistan, and so British censorship in Afghanistan becomes American business, just as any censorship by us is rightfully British business. 

Though I have been around British enough to trust and admire their fighting abilities and moral compass, censorship from MoD is steaming toward severe confrontations during 2010.  The MoD is not of high IQ; British soldiers are something to brag about.  British troops are national treasures and should be in the news every day, yet their MoD is dumbed-down and is not tough enough to handle the media.

According to my communications from inside the Canwest News Service camp, Canwest feels censored and realizes the Canadian military is covering up the situation in Kandahar.

Today, U.S. troops are under Canadian leadership, so any hint of Canadian censorship suddenly and jarringly makes Canadian business in Afghanistan into U.S. business.  With U.S. blood under Canadian command, the Canadian military is on limits.  U.S. families and citizens have a right to know who is leading their troops.  This is very serious.  In this war, especially in southern Afghanistan, the British have a right to know what’s going on with the U.S. and Canadians.  The Canadians and U.S. have that same right, as do other partners.

Access is a two way street.  The Canadians can freely give access and gain a chance to tell their side of the unfolding stories, or they can deny access and access will be taken without terms.

 

Comments   

 
# Annie 2010-01-03 19:04
We can't believe anything we hear about Afghanistan, terrorism in our own country or anything else now days Mike. Somehow your experience doesn't surprise us. Our Military men, the ones not dancing on the administrations strings, are the only people we trust and they don't seem to be being supported by the powers that be. Sorry, but that does seem to be the truth. Half the country are turncoats now days, another quarter are ignorant (because of all the lies we are getting) and the quarter that aren't blind and care what is happening can't figure out what to do. So don't feel frustraited on your own...We all are. Thanks. The truth will keep us free...possibly why we aren't getting it. Good luck.
Annie and Neatie
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# Bob Anderson 2010-01-03 19:32
This isn't that surprising. Canada's population is basically isolationist and won't stand for any combat loses. After all someone will protect them if it really comes down to it; right?
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+1 # john francis 2010-01-03 20:23
Canada has never been isolationist Bob.You must check your history dating back to the Boar War.I believe you'll find that Canadian volunteers have died at a higher rate as a percentage of there overall fighting force than any other Western nation.Save the disparaging remarks please,it's an insult to the little known,but well respected, Canadian fighting history.John, US Airborne Infantryman.
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# Doug Wright 2010-01-03 20:25
I have asked one of my Canadian cousins to let he son know about this article. He's retired from the Canadian Forces, after about 26-years, and feel he'd be interested in knowing what's happening to his former mates. He retired, to the best of my fleeting memory about 7 or 8-years ago.

Michael, you're absolutely correct about censorship. Unless there's a compelling reason to secure opsec or operational information, then the article you've got above must not be censored.

During WWII, it took over 2-weeks to the Navy and Marine brass to realize that withholding the casualty reports from Tarawa didn't make sense. Initially, they'd been shocked by the large numbers on that miserable island and finally came to the understanding that America needed to know what price was being paid by its sons and husbands.
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# Douglas Shimizu 2010-01-03 20:50
Complaining that there is some insidious cover up campaign by DND is a bit of an over reaction, isn't? The CBC report says, " The group's light armoured vehicles were struck by an improvised explosive device in the city of Kandahar... The huge blast at about 4 a.m. local time occurred just 1,500 metres from the Dand district centre, which Canadian soldiers helped rebuild after a suicide bombing in April. The attack came during a community security patrol to gather information on the pattern of life and maintain security in the area." Pretty much the same except the time is different, missing info on who died where and when and details of the bomb (with information like the detonator being outside ECM range probably not best publicized). I don't think the addition of details of the deaths would add anything to the story except some gruesomeness. Embarrassment because of taking out the one soldier 3hrs late? If he had died because of it, maybe, but in your story it sounds like he was a survivor. More detailed reports will probably come out in the days ahead. Calm down.

Isolationist? Is that why we're in about a dozen military operations worldwide and a member of almost every international organization in existence?
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# Bob Devine 2010-01-03 21:14
I have no idea why the govt would want to censor the news from there as it always ends up coming out anyway. I do understand why they might be apprehensive about it due to the fact a female reporter from Calgary was one of the victims. The socialist political parties & MSM in Canada are very anti A`ghstn war. They will be on this story like sh!t on a blanket and it is going to be difficult to calm it all down. Lets wait and see what happens. Do not make more of it than there really is.
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# Terry Mulcahy 2010-01-03 23:22
You say that "...the Canadian military is covering up the situation in Kandahar..." Oh, really? What did they cover up about this fatal attack against Canadian soldiers - that 4 soldiers and one civilian journalist were killed by an IED attack? I think not. I guess the question is, why are you trying to get something going?
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# Flemming Hansen 2010-01-03 23:32
@Douglas: But the lack of the information about the fact that the enemy defeated the ECM counter-measure s is exactly what they seem to be censoring, since it could be taken as a failure of a piece of DND equipment to protect Canadian soldiers. So your comment is just trying to justify the censorship. The details show that the anemy is improving on their skills, and that when Canada pulls out in 2011, we'll be retreating from an active fight. This is probably what the DND and politicians don't want the Canadian public to think about. Most true Canadians wouldn't leave a fight and leave to our friends to take over, but nobody is pointing that out to the general public.
And about "information like the detonator being outside ECM range probably not best publicized". That's just BS, how can an enemy activity like that ever be OpSec? They are doing it, so it's not a secret to them. OpSec is about denying the enemy operational information, but there can't be many cases where enemy activity would come under OpSec, since they are doing it, so they know about it. Assuming otherwise is underestimating the enemy, which is always very dangerous.
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# GGower 2010-01-04 02:28
Of utmost importance is the safety of our troops. We get wall to wall coverage of the deaths of our brave soldiers, and in this case civilian also. Your article has the breathless pitch to it that makes it seem that you are trying to create a drama to capitalize on, possibly to further your own career. Shame. Just because you are not on the militarys speed dial with all the tantalizing details to rake through, does not mean there is a cover up. A little more respect for our troops, and their families at this time please.
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# FHansen 2010-01-04 03:24
Why are everyone jumping on Mr. Yon just because he is trying to keep us informed? Mr. Yon only wrote this because a Canadian reporter told him that 'the Canadian military is “trying to suppress our telling of your information.”'.
Why does every Canadian get so defensive every time an American raises the least bit of criticism against anything in Canada? Grow up!

@Terry: According to a Canadian reporter from CanWest News Service, the DND _is_ trying to keep them from reporting certain facts. If all you want is the body count (which is all you mention) then just stick to the dumbed down news channels, there's lots of them around.

@GGower: Again, it was a Canadian reporter from CanWest News Service that brought this to Mr. Yon's attention. Respect for the troops is to not let anyone cover up anything.
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# S. Martin 2010-01-04 04:03
Okay Mike, I'm not sure i get your point about sensorship here. The soldiers were in or around a combat vehicle and they were blown up by an IED. What was there to sensor? I knew all of that yesterday, when I stood next to the 401 in the freezing cold watching 5 hearses pass by on their way for autopsies in Toronto. They, like all of our returning heros were escorted by police cars with flashing lights and a cleared highway. Canada's busiest by the way. The plane always arrives at about 3pm at Trenton Air Force Base. The motorcades then follow the same 2 hour route into the core of Canada's biggest city during rush hour. If the government is trying to hide something , they're doing a pretty lousy job.

...and yes I do understand that the govenrment hides stuff sometimes.

Besides...it is well known that US casulties are hidden as much as possible. At least they were under Bush.

As for Canada's population being isolationist... my god the American public's isolationism regarding the outside world tends to be what get us into these messes. I give you Iraq as ample evidence of that. Canada was first into help Britain in WW1 and II, they were in Korea with the UN and they were one of the first to step up to this fight in Afghanistan. Long before you or others were there. In WWII, a million Canadian soldiers faught for what was right. Considering that the country only had 11 million people, it was quite a sacrifice. In reality, Canadians have never made much noise about their war records. We don't make movies or allow soldiers to carry video cameras into combat...they just get the job done and move on.

As for you Mike, well you've made it clear that the Canadian military and government have rejected you for imbedding and you're not happy about it. It's that simple. I don't know why they are keeping you out, but I guess it might have something to do with the size of our military and the effort and resources required to protect your ass while in the field. In this particular instance, a reporter from Canada who was imbedded was killed. Again...I fail to see the sensorship.

And by the way, just like other news organizations around the free world, Canwest Global should not be considered unbiast. They've supported the Liberal party in Canada for years and are looking for any dirt they can find on the Conservatives.
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# Bob Anderson 2010-01-04 04:10
John - Canada has been drawn into British Empire wars. Now that the sun has set on the British Empire Canada has lost interest again in projecting power off Canadian soil; apparently without regard to the consequences. Canada has been like the little brother hiding behind its big brother to deal with the bullies. What was the last weapon system designed and deployed by the Canadians? Probably the Garand (M-1) during World War II and I'm not sure the Canadian government had anything to do with it: I think John Garand came up with it and marketed it to a nation that could and would put it to use.
A knowledge of history is essential to be avoid making the same mistakes made in the past, but that was then. Canada is a socialist country that will so be over flowing with Muslim's and all the problems that culture brings with it. Canada has lost it's independence and become a European (America disdaining) satellite.
The Canadian Military has been down sizing for years now and can't even protect their own fishery much less their nation.
So hearing that they are covering up losses is no surprise.
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# andycanuck 2010-01-04 04:45
Mr Yon,
Is Mr Hansen correct about what was supposed to be censored from the reports? Whether yes or no, would you confirm exactly what was supposedly covered up? Because it's not a coverup of their deaths as Mr Anderson mistakenly believes.

Ever since the Conservative Party formed its first minority government, Canada's MSM have been covering our war dead in detail, supposedly out of respect and concern for the troops whereas I suspect their newfound concern for the military comes from a desire to embarrass the government. Anyone making a claim that this was trying to coverup or downplay the four military deaths and the journalist's is badly mistaken.
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# Daniel 2010-01-04 04:55
Yes, how did the terrorists know how long to place the wire to ensure the receiver would be outside the ECM bubble????
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# Robert 2010-01-04 04:57
The Canadians have done thier share and more. They had the only tanks in A-stan that I know of, this is a while ago, thier Leo II's were very effective. They have shared our losses..more than I can say about some other NATO members, who just don't wanna fight. I have no hard feelings if the Canadians leave, Im angry at the Germans, French, Italians, Spanish..thanx 4 the help? DAMN!! They can do more, but won't. Europe is being overrun with moslems, look at the UK. At least the Brits are showing they are not gonna take it. The PC attitude BS has backfired, it will ruin us all..they will defeat us from within..
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# ScottTX 2010-01-04 04:58
Everyone needs to look past Yon on these accounts... this one statement suggests where you should be looking to find out the truth (whether it's as stated or not)

"According to my communications from inside the Canwest News Service camp, Canwest feels censored and realizes the Canadian military is covering up the situation in Kandahar"

and I'd urge every Canadian citizen to question it, again whether it's as stated or not. Let them (you're government) know you require to be informed properly and fully.
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# Mapson Burt 2010-01-04 05:00
@Flemming.. You obviously have no clue about what is and isn't OpSec... so please in future stick to your knitting. SOME of the enemy may well know about the fact that you can put the detonator outside of the ECM cloud... but now that it's in the open media - EVERYONE knows - even now Jihadists in other geographies - so thanks Mike - please in future remember who protects your freedom of expression. With a terrorist organization linked by cells, getting that kind of information out isn't easy... but in our quest to be "open" we make it easy for them. There is a need to know. Do Tom, Dick and Jane back in their living room need to know this kind of operational detail... hell no. Does it really have anything to do with a high level coverup? Absolutely not. The fact is that 5 very brave men and women died and WE owe it to them to not make it easier for the Jihadists to do it to more men and women - publishing the exact gory details will not accomplish that. You might as well publish a how to manual.
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# Greg from USA 2010-01-04 05:05
Hi,

What would it take to start a program to where experienced Anbar Tribal Leaders could come to Afghanistan and advise the local Tribes on resisting the Taliban?

I just read this story about the Taliban overplaying their hand in Shinkay.

http://afghanistan.blogs.cnn.com/2010/01/04/what-does-winning-look-like-in-afghanistan/

The Taliban murdered a tribal leader and member of the Shura. The town rallied against the Taliban and now they are on the run. It reminded me of the early days of the Anbar Awakening - when unbelievable stories surfaced of small towns across Anbar ejecting their Al Qaida opressors.

I would be willing to contribute for their travel and expenses. I apologize if you have already written about this idea.

Greg
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# Harry 2010-01-04 05:31
Thanks for reporting on Canadians. there is lots of good to say and i find nothing wrong with you reporting what will not end up in our own news. Canadian MSM is only interested in the body count and repeating every Taliban press release verbatim. Thanks Mike!
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# ScottTX 2010-01-04 05:52
Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't believe Mike had anything to do with the original 'releasing' to the taliban of the ECM bubble. And I'm sure it wouldn't take too long for the them to exercise a little trial and error to see how far they had to get to get out of it... Mike talking about it now is not releasing some top secret info that would've otherwise went down with the ship... they've known about it for a long long time at this point, it's nothing new.

Mapson, you are correct in your statements, but it's not Mike's fault the taliban do or don't know anything... he does a very very good job of following procedures, releasing pertinent information but not releasing intel that would be beneficial to the enemy; he'll leave that to CNN and FOX.
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# FHansen 2010-01-04 05:53
@Mapson: If I ever were to take up knitting, I'm sure you can offer some advice based on your years of experience. Unless information is classified, nobody should try to withhold information from the public, and it's not like it's the first time that this method has been used to defeat ECM. Thinking that your enemy is stupid is not only arrogant, it is extremely dangerous. You should try playing Chess instead of Monopoly.
Mr. Yon is a former Green Beret, so I think he knows what should be OpSec and what shouldn't. What's your credentials for knowing differently?
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# BL@KBIRD 2010-01-04 05:57
"This isn't that surprising. Canada's population is basically isolationist and won't stand for any combat loses. After all someone will protect them if it really comes down to it; right?"

Well Bob, where you you boys in 1914, where were you in 1939? We were there. Where were you at Kap-Yong when you buggered off and left us to face the Chinese alone? We stopped them cold and you slunk back offering us many thanks. We don't need you for our protection Bob, when you invaded Canada in 1775, in 1812, in 1866 we sent you home barefoot and empty handed. So Bob, we don't need you. And yes, after ten years of waiting for you fellows to take your thumbs out of your backsides and deal with Islam in the Afghan landfill is a little to god damned long. Canada destroyed 53 German divisions in one hundred days on the western front from August till November 1918. We have always fought to win, not hold Muslim nutsacks and hand out kissed korans. Our patience with your grand strategy of hugging Muslims for a hundred years has worn out our patience. There is still two years left in our tour, so how about beating the sons of bitches instead of having tea with them?
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# covan 2010-01-04 06:29
Is this all much ado about nothing? Seems the incident was extensively reported both here in the U.S. and Canada. If the CanWest reporter was embeded, as the article suggests, why is he asking Michael about the incident? The IED outside the ECM bubble was likely not necessary to discuss. On the other hand, publicizing it could pressure development of longer range ECM.

What bothers me most is this right-left politization of the war. Like it or not, we are all in it against a common enemy and should be supporting our governments in the fight. To do less is, in my mind, providing aid and comfort the enemy and there is a word for that.
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# Chuck 2010-01-04 07:16
Whoa Skippy, don't blow a seal there. You are correct, in that Canada has a long and proud history of fighting the good fight. But you long ago crossed the bounds of reason criticizing the US effort. First, the efforts made to invade Canada were half-assed and half-hearted, so they should have been defeated. Truly something we would rather forget not because of the outcome, but because it was not just. Second, you guys dropped "Armed" from your military title, what the hell does that say? For the men who serve in Afghanistan, I have nothing but respect and love, but let's face facts: Canada long ago decided that being a world player, one with force to back its ideas, was not worth it. Soft power was the watchword, and it shows in the state of your military. Though the light infantry are fantastic (training them is inexpensive), you have very little power projection capabilities. You complain that we are coddling the enemy, but let's look at any measure of effort and it will show that the US won in Iraq, not Canada. It will show that the US has shouldered the lions share of the burden in Afghanistan, not Canada. It will show that America, not Canada, dragged the West through the Cold War to victory. And it will show tha America's actions, not Canada's, will light the way either to victory or defeat.
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# Redball6 2010-01-04 07:19
Step back take a breath. We all need one another, and we especially need Michael. This is a long -low level war, no clash of titans. Its the nastiest yet. This is a religious war run by Terrorists-we all know that. So step back take a breath. We (americans) had to do the same with "Tillman" there will be other moments.

There will be another day when a predator will succeed, or a Canadian, or British, or American or Afghan soldier will draw a bead on one of those terrorists. No ones trying to get anything going. We're all trying to stop terrorists, with the possible of Eric holder, Janet Napalitano, "O" and a number or duderheaded senators and representatives .

We've always had isolationists, we also always had snipers, goes with our countries. We need both, we require both to keep us thinking about what we are about. Step back take a breath. Re-focus, its a religious war of terror, its going to be very long and very nasty.
Regball6
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# AlexC 2010-01-04 07:37
Information doesn't have to be "classified" to be sensitive. During my time in the desert there were a lot of things that were common knowledge of the local participants (ie, blank spots in the commo along the MSRs) but we didn't go around putting that in the paper and for good reason. Issues such as those were known by us and being worked on . Would they have been solved any sooner with massive public pressure? Probably not, at least not in a long lasting substantsive manner. And in the meantime international terrorists operatives would have had one more piece of actionable information.
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# BL@KBIRD 2010-01-04 07:41
@Chuck

I was responding to Bobs view of Canadians. Of course America is the major strength in the war on WTF? And they have no idea of what they are fighting or how to defeat it. When you stand on that ground you wind up where we are today. As to "victory" in Iraq...that fades with each passing moment. You cannot win with Muslims at your side and whispering in your ears. The institutions of America are infiltrated top to bottom with trust worthy Muslims directing your actions. The big kabui dance in the afghan landfill is just a glittery expensive distraction from the real Muslim incursions into our halls of learning, government and neighbourhoods. Its the long war because no one wants to face the enemy.
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# David M 2010-01-04 07:53
The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 01/04/2010 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

http://www.thunderrun.us/2010/01/from-front-01042010.html
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# Michael C 2010-01-04 08:33
Fantastic reporting about another unfortunate clash with the military and the media. The military is probably the slowest evolving organization on the planet, unless it is in war. Even in war, it takes its time to change and only when forced. GEN Petraues has changed many things in the Army and thankfully he has changed the culture with the media. Hopefully Canada can learn too.

Michael C
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# Armchair Warlord 2010-01-04 09:29
@BL@KBIRD

Canadians acting like their military history is anything special are hilarious.

You won a few battles. America was, is and will be fully responsible for winning the war. Come 2011, we'll still be fighting... where will YOU be?
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# MarkOttawa 2010-01-04 09:38
Americans might like to take a look at the Canadian group millog "The Torch" (to which I contribute--the re's also a lot of material on US forces, and other ISAF):
http://toyoufromfailinghands.blogspot.com/

For US forces at Kandahar (and how the Canadian media are ignoring them) see this post:

"Afstan: Typical Canadian reporting--bald erflippingdash, Part 2"
http://toyoufromfailinghands.blogspot.com/2010/01/afstan-typical-canadian-reporting.html

Mark
Ottawa
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# MarkOttawa 2010-01-04 09:41
With links:

"The Torch"

"Afstan: Typical Canadian reporting--bald erflippingdash, Part 2"

Mark
Ottawa
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# Maddy 2010-01-04 10:12
Thanks Michael for all that you have done and all that you are about to do reporting the war happenings in the mideast! Canadians and Americans are friends and have been friends for many years! What's in the past is just that and has NO bearing on what we are today. The truth is we are part of the coalition that is fighting trrorists in the mideast and around the world. True, there are many countries that have stood back and watched the mideast, but not the Canadians, nor the Brits and Americans, we are the leaders. Let's all fight together to end the tyrany that we face, to protect FREEDOM and our loved ones in all of our home countries! Fighting amongst ourselves serves no one, but our enemy! Let's turn ALL of our aggression against the Taliban and Al queda! Keep stirring it up Michael, we can't do without those of your ilk!
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# T.W 2010-01-04 11:09
What's up with some of the people who are posting comments?
The ignorance and the dumb ass flag waving is beyond lame, then again maybe you're tying to be ironic.
Victory in Iraq, staying in Afghanistan after 2011, fight on to the end, USA!, USA! Who are you trying to kid?
The US has been in Afghanistan for over eight years and Iraq for almost seven, and yet to some on this thread victory is just around the corner. Really?
This chest thumping and flag waving does not cover the fact that the US - as powerful as it is - is not winning this or any war lately.
Granted, you're very good at dropping bombs on brown people - a talent like no other - but that's not boots on the ground is it?
And yes Canada should be taken to task if they tried to cover this up, but no one here trying to argue the US doesn't do this as well right?
These comments are typical of certain US residents who assume they're two types of people in this world - Americans and those who want to be Americans.
Canada has a proud military history and has more then carried their weight not only in Afghanistan, but in The Boer War, WWI, WWII, Korea, especially in relation to our population, which is ten times less then the US. We're not comparing apples to apples here.
True we're not as gung ho as the Americans but hey, it's a different country, just because we're not aping your military culture does not mean we're wrong.
What we do share is the population of both countries just want to get the hell out Afghanistan as soon as we complete our commitments despite what some of our more uber patriotic posters may have to say.
I could go on but I'm sure a few of you are already late for your John Birch Society meetings.
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# Bruce 2010-01-04 11:25
"Canadians acting like their military history is anything special are hilarious"

On a per capita basis I think it is special. Considering we only were 11 million in 1945 we did well. 3rd largest Navy. 4th largest Air Force.

"Come 2011, we'll still be fighting... where will YOU be?"

At home, wishing some of you well. And hoping Obama hasn't destroyed your country and invited even more terrorist attacks iniode the USA with his weakness.
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# Deborah 2010-01-04 11:51
"One soldier was apparently thought to be dead, but was pulled from the wreckage about three hours after the blast and may have started showing signs of life during helicopter flight."

I am concerned about triage between theater and evac. I saw one young veteran on Outdoor Channel who said he woke up in a body bag. How often has this happened?

We have two possible interpretations : Either we are witnessing miraculous recoveries, or we are misreading signs of life/death. Eliminate human error as much as possible in order to bring home as many live troops as possible.

Our sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers are 'over there' and that is not likely to change in the near future. Let us lean hard on our elected officials to fund and support the military with improved technology and training...and it needs to be seen where the boots hit the sand. I'm sick of profiteers lining their pockets with gold while our troops are short of brass and lead.
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# Michael Holloway 2010-01-04 12:09
Thank you John (US Airborne Infantryman), for straightening Bob out. Saved me a paragraph or two.

Michael Holloway
Toronto
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# Bruce 2010-01-04 12:27
My short answer: To stop Al Queda from restablishing terrorist training camps.

My Longer answer: The coalition should communicate to the Tliban the idea that when casualties go too high, the alternative to staying is to pulverize Afghanistan back to thetone-age and cut it off from civilization. No flights. No trains. No roads through the passes.

We should threaten to do to Afghanistan what we did to Serbia.

As for Canadas contribution: We had our own beach at D-Day. Don't denigrate us! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juno_Beach
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# Geoff 2010-01-04 12:56
I'd like to point out that helicopters would be saving lives, but we don't have them.... Let's talk about preventing death. Also, there are OPSEC issues that were given out in that little story. Are we trying to help the enemy or what? We try not to give the enemy too much feedback on their successes, or our failures. AND YES, THIS INFORMATION SAVES LIVES. I don't give two hoots about your story if it will cost us one life.
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# Kasmir 2010-01-04 13:58
"you're very good at dropping bombs on brown people - a talent like no other"

Nice, but I'm sure you think the Israelis get extra points for trying harder then we do. I'd report you to your delightful Human Rights Tribunals for this piece of hate speech, but I'm sure there's a special dispensation excusing hate speech directed at American sand Israelis.
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# Tracy 2010-01-04 15:29
On New Year's eve a US soldier was stabbed to death on an FOB in NE Afghanistan. I heard this from a friend who is a medic based out of that FOB. They do not know who did it, but whoever it is is still walking around among them, whether it's another US soldier, ISAF, or an interpreter...i t should be news. I have searched and searched and found absolutely nothing about it anywhere.

BTW, the same friend says they could not get around if it were not for the Canadian helicopters...V IVA MOLSON AIR!
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# Britabroad 2010-01-04 18:07
The five Canadians died in an explosion on Tuesday, 29 December 2009. A quick search on Google News shows that the first news stories on the event came out the same day; see for example http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gEq_vF9TGYt-boPDLtm3Mq2Vn4jA. A search on Google News show that, between 29 December 2009 and 3 January 2010, 2,255 stories referenced the event. Your story alleging a "cover up" is dated 4 January 2010.

I note your caveat that your story was "written quickly and without editing". Perhaps in the future you should take the time to get informed about a story before publishing it. Suggesting that there's some sort of a "cover up" after more than 2,000 media stories have already been published about it worldwide is simply stupid.

I sincerely hope that the quality of your reporting improves. Publishing unsubstantiated rumours is not the sort of conduct that engenders trust and encourages people to support your work.
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# Gil 2010-01-04 18:34
First you might want to include an actual link that works. Second you might want to read the title which clearly has a ? after it and then as you read, Michael is talking about how a Canadian reporter is being pressured not to run the information. Sure the story has been covered no-one here is saying that. We are going on about everything else though. You really need to read through the entire article and then do a little looking in the archives here to see what other issues Michael has had with different Governments and their "ways" before you go off half cocked that Michael is alleging anything.

When i first read it i got that a journalist had contacted Michael about info-Michael gives it to him-then the journalist says he is getting pressure not to print. I then get that Michael has had similar issues in the past from several different governments including his own. You insinuating that a Government wouldn't and doesn't cover things up is naive. It is done everyday, everywhere, by all governments to one degree or another.

oh yeah and as far as the quality of reporting, go back and suck on the fumes of the main stream media a little more. Everyone here knows Michael tells it like he sees it. We may not always agree or like what he is saying but the quality of his work has never been an issue, to me anyway.

Gil
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# Armchair Warlord 2010-01-04 20:23
"At home, wishing some of you well. And hoping Obama hasn't destroyed your country and invited even more terrorist attacks iniode the USA with his weakness."

And that, my Canadian friend, is exactly the problem. I could very well be in Afghanistan in 2011, taking up some of your country's slack. I would be honored to fight alongside Canadian soldiers and I hope Prime Minister Harper will show the smallest fraction of Obama's strength and determination by continuing to lend us a hand in the decisive hour of this war.
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# Michael Waller 2010-01-05 04:43
I hope all you Folks are sending some money to Michael Yon! It's hard to voice your opinion when you have no one with the balls to spend six years speaking bibles of truth in two combat zones.
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# Kursk 2010-01-05 08:33
Armchair Warlord,

My brother has been to Afghanistan 4 times now.You 'may' be going sometime in the future.He volunteered all four times. I could ask, why aren't you there now? Don't denigrate our armed forces.We have held the line, in many cases, until your country can get its act together to come help. Even then, it was reluctantly(thi nk both world conflicts).

Perhaps we would not even be having this conversation if Afghanistan had been resourced to even one tenth the level that Iraq was, in terms of troops and equipment. We could have pissing contests all day long, but the fact remains that Canada's armed forces burnt out in the nearly ten years it took America to refocus on Afghanistan and commit more resources.

We have a fairly small armed forces, and the refit will come as a welcome respite.Do not mistake that as running away.We will be back into the fight soon enough, somewhere in the world.
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# MarkOttawa 2010-01-05 09:30
See the details that are provided in this story by Matthew Fisher, Canada's best war correspondent and just back to Kanadahar:

"Massive explosion killed Canadian journalist, four soldiers in Afghanistan, military says

IED 'deliberately' placed in a tunnel dug under road"
http://www.canada.com/news/Massive+explosion+killed+Canadian+journalist+four+soldiers+Afghanistan+military+says/2405242/story.html

Mark
Ottawa
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# MarkOttawa 2010-01-05 09:32
Should have pointed that out; he makes no complaint about any "censorship".

Mark
Ottawa
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# Ridgetop 2010-01-05 11:37
Michael,

I just saw that you were detained by our wonderfully trained and highly competent TSA. What a joke and unfortunately we're all stuck with it. Glad you made it back safely though. TSA is pretty much the same word as idiot.

http://biggovernment.com/2010/01/05/exclusive-interview-military-blogger-michael-yon-detained-by-tsa-in-seattle-airport/#more-55762
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# Rob 2010-01-05 17:41
The news said you were stopped at the US border for some reason. The report said they had asked you how much you earn and you did not respond so you were detained? No border person has ever asked me about my earnings in any of the 100 countries i travelled trough. Thats bizarre. What happened?
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# Armchair Warlord 2010-01-05 21:33
Kursk,

The idea of the Canadian armed forces being burnt out on your deployment tempo, which is a fraction of the American one, is ridiculous. The Canadian armed forces are not burned out, they are being ordered into a disgraceful retreat by a political leadership that has missed the bus. Talking about needing to "refit" is a poor excuse when American forces have been "refitting" on the battlefield for years now.

As for Canadians "holding the line" - go ask the Polish if anyone held the line for them. We at least were not in a position to do so. I also seem to recall that the American contribution to Afghanistan has always been at least as large as the rest of NATO combined, sinking the idea that Euro-NATO has somehow been manning the barricades in Afghanistan without a serious American commitment.

As for myself? I swore to serve my country and I go where my orders take me - Americans do not have the luxury of volunteering for deployments. I wish to remain civil, so I'll leave it there. Maybe you should ask your brother for his opinion on the subject instead of fronting your government's party line - I dare say you might learn something.
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# Danger Girl 2010-01-06 01:53
All the Canadian Military wanted from the CANADIAN PRESS was that the story didn't come from THEM directly as opposed to coming from Mike Yon, who is NOT a first hand source in this incident. That is why the MILITARY provided CANWEST with an interview on this event.

As for Canadian Censorship - that is nothing but pure BS and typical American hyperbole - the US and the Brits have tried to silence SOME things Mike wrote about, but the Canadian Military has NOT done the same, and the Canadian Media has excellently covered the war in AFG for 8 yrs. Some of the embed reports surpass anything from the American MSM embed reports. not to mention the coverage of the repatriation ceremonies. Canadians have no problem allowing media coverage honoring those who died in the line of duty.. Our media has always been respectful and Ive not seen any cases of the media politicizing the ceremony.

As for some of the comments made by SOME people on this page----sadly in the years I spent living in the US - I found plenty of people who exhibited arrogance wrapped in ignorance when it comes to all things Canadian..and most things globally. Somethings never change.
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# Arlene 2010-01-06 07:46
My sympathies go out to the families of these brave Canadian troops and the journalist. Commentors here who have not read anything about the long history of Canadian Military involvement in past and present wars are just ignorant (education, education, education) and I would suspect that Michael would agree with me. Michael's piece was run in a hurry (a good writer is going to give you a snippet of info on a subject in order to draw you in and keep you coming back to the blog, eh?) and I am sure that he will give us more information on this as soon as he takes care of the little mishap at the Seattle Airport. I will be waiting for more info on both subjects.
God Bless ALL the troops!
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# John CS 2010-01-06 07:51
Canadians have a proud heritage, just as US does. We share some of the same history. My Canadian and British Brothers and Sisters in arms share common bonds with the US Military. They are to be respected. Michael Yon did not say Canadians were isolationists and he has written about how much he respects thier warriors.
All the coalition do their share. And as Michael says: the war in Afghan has truly begun. That is not because of the Brits or Canadians. It is due to the US not taking that theater seriously (politically) until after Iraq quieted down. --USMC (Ret)
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# covan 2010-01-06 08:58
Just glad Michael did not first land in Canada!
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# Peter Gray 2010-01-07 07:01
Looks like this chestnut if out of the fire again. There could be a thousand reasons why M.Yon has had his embedments curtailed. I suspect none of them relating to censorship as any google search will clarify. Are you just trying to justify your reports? By the way, as a Brit I am a great supporter of USA and our Canadian, Australian, sub-continent et al commonwealth brothers in arms. History shows that we, the english speaking peoples, have stood firm against tyranny and oppression and the world is a better place for it.
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# Scaleyback 2010-01-07 08:54
Reading through the comments, I am disgusted at the attacks on Canada. I am a Brit, and have no axe to grind with the US or anyone else, (outside of Europe anyway). I do not live in Canada . Some of the commenters have very short memories. Canada was not drawn in war by the British 'Empire'. Canada fought along side us out of choice. They have done so consistently over the years, but always by choice. Canada is a member of NATO and has never hesitated to join a fight when she feels it right. My anger has at least been tempered by some of the latter comments in defence of Canada.
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# Chris Johnson 2010-01-09 08:44
Though a regular reader of Michael's work, I was "sensitized" to this post by the bit of a furor I encountered on a Canadian site. So, I read the article and all of the comments (seriously; some of you need to grow up).

Here's my near-worthless, but perhaps different perspective:

I see no journalistic purpose to having included the apparent length of the wire to the detonator, unless there had been an implication made by the Canadian authorities that the distance had been greater, and that had implied that they were providing greater force protection to their personnel than was actually the case. Had the authorities attempted to mislead the public, then this would have been important information to include, especially as the jihadists clearly knew how long the wire was.

Similarly, I see no journalistic purpose to include the approximate size of the explosive, unless the authorities had implied it was much larger. I see no journalistic purpose to include the type of vehicle the personnel had (apparently) been in, unless the authorities had implied they were protecting their personnel with a MRAP.

I guess I'm inclined to agree with our Canadian cousins that were upset with the publication of information that added little, if anything, useful for the public's awareness, especially if even one tiny bit of that information may have been of any use to our common enemy. Perhaps, many months from now, when things may have changed, these might be interesting details to learn. At this time, there is only one group of people that might benefit from knowing what vehicle is vulnerable, to what sized explosive, remotely detonated from what distance. I would not consider keeping that information out of the press (especially this soon, before any changes may have been made), to be censorship.
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+1 # Doug Moore 2010-01-24 14:11
The fact that the religion of Islam employs the Quran as it's primary teaching tool, and the fact that it consistently and specifically advocates the eradication of non-Muslims, is a powerful advocacy that non-Muslims would be wise to avoid issuing a pass on.

It is my strong belief that the Christian world has a very difficult time in comprehending the severity of the Islamic siren.

I have recently finished a very good book that deals with our first responder strike team that was sent to Afghanistan a few short weeks following 911 - It, along with a great deal of other literature and blogs I have investigated, gives a powerfully base of for understanding the conflict there, who the Afghanistan people are, what they are up against, what we are up against, and ultimately who we are.

[Note: url removed by webmaster}

I think a huge problem with the current generations that are living in America is a failure to understand "terror", origins, motivations, goals, and its advocates.

The advocates of Islam are telling us very specific things.
The onus is on the Muslim nation to police its advocates and terrorist appendages.

Just because we do not wish to believe what they are saying, does not make what they are saying less true.
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# Paul Michaelis 2010-01-24 17:57
I read many stupid comments here about Michael Yon, none of you critics has the balls to do what he's trying to do. I suggest that take note of what he said, It was information provided to him and he didn't have time to edit it. If your feathers get ruffled, get a life, none of what was said was intended as a put down to Canada. Certainly, no one doubts the bravery of anyone who sticks their head where bullets and bombs fly.
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# Canadian_Regular 2010-02-26 17:00
I rarely comment or argue here, but in response to "Armchair Warlord" I would like to make a few things clear to ensure his posts don't mislead others. The current Canadian Forces is having problems sustaining their deployment schedule- "burnout" is the current word. Having been a regular Army Infantryman for a long time I can say that this is clearly a fact. Everyone seems to forget that rotation schedules also require personnel to train and run courses between deployments. It boils down to this- Canada has 1/10th the population of the U.S., and until the recent troop surge, we had 1/10th the troops that the U.S. did in Afghanistan- BUT proportionally we have a MUCH smaller military- which is what is creating the problem of burnt out senior NCOs and destroyed equipment.

On the other hand- I personally DO NOT encourage leaving the war in Afghanistan, we just need a stronger political resolve to better fund the war.

As far as "volunteering" for deployments, this means someone ACTIVELY SOUGHT deployment. The idea that regular force soldiers can randomly pick and choose their tours is false, for us "volunteering" means that someone actively pursued a deployment when their unit could have replaced them with another available soldier.
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