Last week former defense minister Jason Kenney said if re-elected the Conservatives would significantly expand Canada’s special forces. Kenney said they would add 665 members to the Canadian Armed Forces Special Operations Command (CANSOFCOM) over the next seven years.
Why? What do these "special forces" do? Who decides when and where to deploy them? For what purpose? These are all questions left unanswered (and not even asked in the mainstream media).
What we do know is that since the mid-2000s Canada’s special forces have steadily expanded to 1,900 members. In 2006 the military launched CANSOFCOM to oversee JTF2, the Special Operations Aviation Squadron, Canadian Joint Incident Response Unit and Special Operations Regiment. Begun that year, the Special Operations Regiment’s 750 members receive similar training to JTF2 commandos, the most secretive and skilled unit of the Canadian Armed Forces. After having doubled from 300 to 600 men, JTF2 is set to move from Ottawa to a 400-acre compound near Trenton, Ontario, at a cost of $350 million.
Saturday afternoon, I read about how the U.S. had bombed the only hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, which was being staffed by the French volunteer group, Doctors without Borders.I recalled the 2004 U.S. bombings of a hospital in Fallujah. So I tossed out a tweet –
Blowing up that Kunduz hospital is a small price to pay in the greater campaign to rid the world of extremist violence.
With Russian planes bombing ISIS and al-Qaeda targets this week, the air traffic on a piece of land smaller than the state of Oregon is getting crowded. The danger of a tragic accident that could escalate in unknown directions is ever-greater. The US and its Gulf allies are warning the Russians against bombing the terrorists without also trying to overthrow Assad. Saudi Arabia is warning Russia against civilian casualties in Syria even as the Saudis have killed nearly 3,000 innocent Yemeni civilians over the past five months. US-paid NGOs are pumping out the anti-Russian propaganda. What could possibly go wrong? Today’s Liberty Report is on the Syrian powder keg:
More than 50 intelligence officers from the Defense Intelligence Agency have formally complained that their work is being altered before it is sent to senior Obama Administration officials – and even to the president himself. Concerns over the effectiveness of the year-long new US war in Iraq and Syria are being covered up and a more rosy picture is being painted. The media has largely ignored this replay of the kind of lies fed the run-up to the 2002 Iraq war and, as could be expected, Congress is totally uninterested. Today’s Liberty Report is not uninterested, however. Ron Paul’s take below:
During the discussion on the Iran nuclear deal, it has been strange to hear US politicians fiercely condemn Iranian human rights abuses while remaining silent about worse abuses by US ally Saudi Arabia. Not only is the Saudi regime repressive at home and abroad, but US weapons and US support for the regime make Americans complicit. So let’s look at the regime the US government counts as its close friend.
1. Saudi Arabia is governed as an absolutist monarchy by a huge clan, the Saud family, and the throne passes from one king to another. The Cabinet is appointed by the king, and its policies have to be ratified by royal decree. Political parties are forbidden and there are no national elections.
2. Criticizing the monarchy, or defending human rights, can bring down severe and cruel punishments in addition to imprisonment. Ali al-Nimr was targeted and arrested at the age of 17 for protesting government corruption, and his since been sentenced to beheading and public crucifixion. Raif Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for writing a blog the government considered critical of its rule. Waleed Abulkhair is serving a 15-year sentence for his work as a human right attorney. New legislation effectively equates criticism of the government and other peaceful activities with terrorism. The government tightly controls the domestic press, banning journalists and editors who publish articles deemed offensive to the religious establishment or the ruling authorities. Over 400,000 websites that are considered immoral or politically sensitive are blocked. A January 2011 law requires all blogs and websites, or anyone posting news or commentary online, to have a license from the Ministry of Information or face fines and/or the closure of the website.