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clip Server Availability

January 11, 2018, 10:12:12 by Mike Bobbitt
Folks, for the first time in a long time, good news.

According to our monitoring tools, had 100% uptime in December. That means that for the entire month of December, the server was never unavailable.* For the keeners in the group, our monitoring report from 30 Nov to now is attached.

Thanks to everyone for your patience through our past frustrations... I can't guarantee it is all behind us, but I will take the good news while I can!


* Some caveats, early every Sunday morning the server reboots to keep it fresh as a daisy. This usually takes less than 1 minute.
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xx Report obtained by CTV News shows lack of confidence in military justice system

January 11, 2018, 11:16:14 by Inspir

Report obtained by CTV News shows lack of confidence in military justice system

The military justice system, operated by the Canadian Armed Forces, is where troops are supposed to find justice, but an internal report obtained exclusively by CTV News reveals a lack of confidence that extends to the highest levels.

Ordered in May 2016, the 560-page draft document titled “Court Martial Comprehensive Review Interim Report” was completed in July 2017 but it still has not been released to the public.

Senior commanders have criticized the military justice system for being slow, light on punishment, and failing to protect victims’ rights.

The head of Canada’s special operations forces, Maj. Gen. Mike Rouleau, who has had first-hand experience with the military justice system, called it “intolerably slow,” and Canada’s most elite operators raised concerns that the system is run by officers (lawyers and judges) with no combat experience.

Other senior military commanders said the system is “broken” and often hands down “lenient” sentences for those convicted.

Sailors on one Canadian ship noted that the court martial process is seen among the ranks as “a way to escape the consequences of misconduct.”

The report also outlined concerns about the speed of military justice. It takes, on average, 434 days from when charges are laid to completion of the court martial, compared to the median 112 days from first appearance to completion of the trial in civilian criminal cases.

One alleged victim of sexual assault says she has been waiting nearly two years since charges were laid against the man she says attacked her for him to appear in court.

“I felt like I’ve been failed by the system, they forgot about me. I felt like I’m not important in that process, there was nothing that was geared towards helping me… and knowing that it’s so long, you can never move on,” she told CTV News.

Another issue raised in the report is the cost of the military justice system. Calculations in the report show that the cost of conducting a trial within the current court martial system is approximately 30 times more expensive than conducting a trial in civilian criminal courts.

Some senior military brass told the report’s authors they believed some serious offenses would be better handled in the civilian justice system.

With a report from CTV’s Mercedes Stephenson in Ottawa

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xx Edmonton soldier awarded second Medal of Bravery

December 27, 2017, 09:10:04 by Eye In The Sky
Article Link

In late November, four formerly Edmonton-based Canadian Armed Forces members were presented with Medals of Bravery for their actions in hazardous circumstances by rescuing a family from their burning home in Lancaster Park.

These heroic acts were recognized during a ceremony in Ottawa on November 23 with Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada. While being recognized with a Medal of Bravery could be considered a crowning achievement of a career or lifetime, it was the second time Sergeant Dale Kurdziel was awarded the Medal of Bravery.

In the early hours of July 20, 2015, a fire broke out in a PMQ on Mons Avenue of Edmonton Garrison. A neighbour, Master Warrant Officer John Dunbar (a Warrant Officer at 1 Service Battalion at the time), awoke to the smell of smoke and was first to arrive on the scene. After determining a young child was stranded on the roof of the burning home, MWO Dunbar rushed to his home to fetch a ladder and was able to retrieve one of the children from the roof.

While one child was able exit the home on their own, it became clear that there were still residents inside the burning building.

Next on the scene, Sgt Kurdziel rushed into the smoke-filled residence to locate and recover another child. Accompanied by Master Corporal Alexander Keightley (Corporal at the time) and MCpl Shawn Thorn, Sgt Kurdziel then entered the house once again to locate the unresponsive mother and moved her to safety.
Since the start of the Decorations for Bravery program in 1972, only 26 individuals have received more than one Bravery decoration (which includes the Cross of Valour, Star of Courage, and Medal of Bravery).

“While it’s an honour to be recognised for something like this, the main thing is that the family is safe,” says Sgt Kurdziel. “It’s what I think most people would try to do when faced with the similar situation of a neighbour in trouble.”

His first Medal of Bravery was awarded for actions while deployed with 1 Combat Engineer Regiment to Afghanistan as a member of the Task Force Counter-Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED) Squadron for Roto 3-09.

On February 19, 2010, Sgt Kurdziel (then Corporal) placed himself at great risk in order to defuse a large IED. With the IED located in a confined space, Sgt Kurdziel volunteered to dismantle it by hand. Equipped with a flashlight, he used his feet and elbows to propel himself inside. It took nearly two hours for Sgt Kurdziel to successfully remove all the IED components.

Now developing his second language skills as a French student at the Edmonton Garrison language school, Sgt Kurdziel also recently deployed to Ukraine on Operation UNIFIER to teach C-IED skills. MCpl Keightley is now posted to 12 All Source Intelligence Centre in Petawawa, while MWO Dunbar is the Sergeant-Major for the Canadian Forces Postal Unit Atlantic Detachment. MCpl Thorn is a medical technician with 1 Field Ambulance.

BZ to all!
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xx Former marine planned Christmas Day terror attack: FBI

December 23, 2017, 16:47:26 by jollyjacktar
Former Marine wanted to shoot up Pier 39 area of San Francisco on Christmas day.  Good work in stopping him.
0 comments | Write Comment

xx Russian submarines are prowling around vital undersea cables. It’s making NATO n

December 23, 2017, 10:25:53 by Eye In The Sky
Article Link

Russian submarines are prowling around vital undersea cables. It’s making NATO nervous.

BRUSSELS — Russian submarines have dramatically stepped up activity around undersea data cables in the North Atlantic, part of a more aggressive naval posture that has driven NATO to revive a Cold War-era command, according to senior military officials.

The apparent Russian focus on the cables, which provide Internet and other communications connections to North America and Europe, could give the Kremlin the power to sever or tap into vital data lines, the officials said. Russian submarine activity has increased to levels unseen since the Cold War, they said, sparking hunts in recent months for the elusive watercraft.

"We are now seeing Russian underwater activity in the vicinity of undersea cables that I don't believe we have ever seen," said U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Andrew Lennon, the commander of NATO's submarine forces. "Russia is clearly taking an interest in NATO and NATO nations' undersea infrastructure."

NATO has responded with plans to reestablish a command post, shuttered after the Cold War, to help secure the North Atlantic. NATO allies are also rushing to boost anti-submarine warfare capabilities and to develop advanced submarine- ­detecting planes.

Britain's top military commander also warned that Russia could imperil the cables that form the backbone of the modern global economy. The privately owned lines, laid along the some of the same corridors as the first transatlantic telegraph wire in 1858, carry nearly all of the communications on the Internet, facilitating trillions of dollars of daily trade. If severed, they could snarl the Web. If tapped, they could give Russia a valuable picture of the tide of the world's Internet traffic.

"It's a pattern of activity, and it's a vulnerability," said British Air Chief Marshal Stuart Peach, in an interview.

"Can you imagine a scenario where those cables are cut or disrupted, which would immediately and potentially catastrophically affect both our economy and other ways of living if they were disrupted?" Peach said in a speech in London this month.

The Russian Defense Ministry did not respond to a request for comment about the cables.

The Russian sea activity comes as the Kremlin has also pressed against NATO in the air and on land. Russian jets routinely clip NATO airspace in the Baltics, and troops drilled near NATO territory in September.

Russia has moved to modernize its once-decrepit Soviet-era fleet of submarines, bringing online or overhauling 13 craft since 2014. That pace, coming after Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimean peninsula set off a new era of confrontation with the West, has spurred NATO efforts to counter them. Russia has about 60 full-size submarines, while the United States has 66.

Among Russia's capabilities, Lennon said, are deep-sea research vessels, including an old converted ballistic submarine that carries smaller submarines.

"They can do oceanographic research, underwater intelligence gathering," he said. "And what we have observed is an increased activity of that in the vicinity of undersea cables. We know that these auxiliary submarines are designed to work on the ocean floor, and they're transported by the mother ship, and we believe they may be equipped to manipulate objects on the ocean floor."

That capability could give Russia the ability to sever the cables or tap into them. The insulated fiber-optic cables are fragile, and ships have damaged them accidentally by dragging their anchors along the seabed. That damage happens near the shore, where it is relatively easy to fix, not in the deeper Atlantic, where the cost of mischief could be far greater.

Lennon declined to say whether NATO believes Russia has actually touched the cables. Russian military leaders have acknowledged that the Kremlin is active undersea at levels not seen since the end of the Cold War, when Russia was forced to curtail its submarine program in the face of economic turmoil and disorganization.

"Last year we reached the same level as before the post-Soviet period, in terms of running hours," said Adm. Vladimir Korolev, the commander of the Russian Navy, earlier this year. "This is more than 3,000 days at sea for the Russian submarine fleet. This is an excellent sign."

The activity has forced a revival of Western sub-hunting skills that lay largely dormant since the end of the Cold War. Lennon said NATO allies have long practiced submarine-hunting. But until the last few years, there were few practical needs for close tracking, military officials said.

In recent months, the U.S. Navy has flown sorties in the areas where Russia is known to operate its submarines, according to aircraft trackers that use publicly available transponder data. On Thursday, for example, one of the planes shot off from Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily, headed eastward into the Mediterranean. It flew the same mission a day earlier.

The trackers have captured at least 10 missions carried out by U.S. submarine-tracking planes this month, excluding trips when the planes simply appeared to be in transit from one base to another. November was even busier, with at least 17 missions captured by the trackers.

NATO does not comment on specific submarine-tracking flights and declined to release data, citing the classified nature of the missions. But NATO officials say that their submarine-tracking activities have significantly increased in the region.

Submarines are particularly potent war-fighting craft because they can generally only be heard, not seen, underwater. They can serve as a retaliatory strike force in case of nuclear war, threaten military resupply efforts and expand the range of conventional firepower available for use in ­lower-level conflicts.

The vessels are a good fit for the Kremlin's strategy of making do with less than its rivals, analysts say: Russia's foes need vast resources to track a single undersea craft, making the submarines' cost-to-mischief ratio attractive. Even as Russia remains a vastly weaker military force than NATO, the Kremlin has been able to pack an outsize punch in its confrontation with the West through the seizure of Crimea, support for the Syrian regime and, according to U.S. intelligence, its attempts to influence the U.S. election.

"You go off and you try to add expense for anything that we're doing, or you put things at risk that are of value to us, and submarines give them the capability to do it," a senior NATO official said of the Russian approach, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence assessments.

Russian military planners can say, "I can build fewer of them, I can have better quality, and I can put at risk and challenge and make it difficult for NATO," the official said.

Still, some analysts say the threat to cables may be overblown.

"Arguably, the Russians wouldn't be doing their jobs if they couldn't threaten underwater cables. Certainly, NATO allies would not be doing theirs if they were unable to counter that," said Adam Thomson, a former British ambassador to NATO.

Russian military planners have publicized their repeated use of submarine-launched Kalibr cruise missiles during their incursion into Syria, which began in fall 2015. (In Syria, the missiles have not always hit their targets, according to U.S. intelligence officials, undermining somewhat the Russian claims of potency.)

NATO's hunts — which have stretched across the Baltic, Mediterranean and Atlantic — have mobilized submarine-tracking frigates, sonar-equipped P8 Poseidon planes and helicopters, and attack submarines that have combed the seas.

"The Russians are operating all over the Atlantic," said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. "They are also operating closer to our shores."

Russia's enhanced submarine powers give urgency to NATO's new efforts to ensure that it can get forces to the battlefront if there is a conflict, Stoltenberg said. In addition to the new Atlantic-focused command, the alliance also plans to create another command dedicated to enabling military forces to travel quickly across Europe.

NATO defense ministers approved the creation of the commands at a November meeting. Further details are expected in February. The plans are still being negotiated, but they currently include the North Atlantic command being embedded inside the U.S. Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, which would transform into a broader NATO joint force command if there was a conflict, a NATO diplomat said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss plans that have not been finalized.

"Credible deterrence is linked to credible reinforcement capabilities," Stoltenberg said. "We're a transatlantic alliance. You need to be able to cross the Atlantic."
19 comments | Write Comment

xx 1 arrested in pipe bomb incident NYC 11 Dec 2017

December 11, 2017, 10:43:55 by jollyjacktar
4 injured as bomber had pipe bomb strapped to his person.  He has non life threatening injuries and has been arrested.
12 comments | Write Comment
Military Quote
There was a valid distinction between an offensive and a defensive weapon; if you were in front of it, it was offensive; if you were behind it, it was defensive.

- Lester B. Pearson

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Today in Military History

January 23


Oberleutant Franz von Warrna escapes from a train near Smiths Falls, ON and returns to Europe: he is believed to be the only Axis prisoner of war from Canada to make it back across the Atlantic.


Tripoli taken by Eigth Army


The Attack on Montforterbeek. (45 Cdo RM)


The Royal Canadian Air Force takes delivery of its first De Havilland Vampire jet fighter (destined for No. 410 Squadron)

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