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Posts Tagged ‘Troops’

Canadian Special Forces on Ground in Mali

In Canada, Mali, News on January 30, 2013 at 4:14 PM

 

01/28/2013

Canadian special forces are on the ground inside the troubled West African country of Mali to protect Canadian assets there, CBC News has learned.

The special forces are not there to train Malian troops — and they are not involved in any combat role, as the government has repeatedly stressed and Prime Minister Stephen Harper repeated again Monday in the House of Commons.

The Department of National Defence would not confirm or deny the special forces are in Mali due to issues of security of personnel.

But a spokesperson for Foreign Affairs told CBC News, “Steps have been taken to ensure our mission and Canadian personnel are protected.”

Evan Solomon, host of CBC News Network’s Power & Politics, reports the special forces on the ground are protecting Canadian assets such as the Canadian Embassy in the capital Bamako, according to sources.

The forces are not related to Canadian Forces crews who have been piloting and supporting Canadian C-17 transport planes in support of French troops since Jan. 18. That mission was extended last week until Feb. 15.

It is not known how many special forces are on the ground in Mali, what are their rules of engagements and what assets they are protecting.

During their training mission in Niger, Canadian special forces learned from their training partners about fighting in a specific region of Niger close to the border with Mali.

Maj. Doug MacNair, a spokesman for Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, said that “this information was reported to Canadian Special Operations Forces Command headquarters, and since the passage of such information can serve to minimize both civilian and allied force casualties, the information was relayed to France.”

The Canadians were worried apparently that if the fighting spread they might be mistaken as targets — a source said passing the information to the French was simply “prudent.”

Opposition NDP Leader Tom Mulcair told Solomon that if the special forces are protecting Canadians, the embassy and embassy staff, that is “simply normal protection” and not military involvement.

Mulcair pointed to the need to avoid a situation such as that in Benghazi, Libya, last summer, when the American ambassador and others were killed during an attack on the U.S. Consulate there.

“We would never want to see something like that — we’d want to have proper protection for Canadian personnel at the embassy.

“We’re simply talking about protecting people in the embassy,” Mulcair said.

But Mulcair repeated his position that Parliament be consulted before Canada makes any military or combat commitment beyond the C-17 missions.

In response to a question from Mulcair earlier Monday, Harper confirmed Parliament will be consulted on Canada’s next steps, but didn’t provide any additional details about either military assistance or humanitarian funding Canada may be considering.

“We will not undertake a Canadian combat mission in Mali,” Harper told the Commons, reiterating his government’s message over the past two weeks.

“We will through this chamber and through committees … be consulting with Parliament on any further steps that need to be taken,” the prime minister told MPs in the first Commons sitting after MPs’ winter break.

Via CBC

Guantanamo Magazine “The Wire” Warns Troops Not to Read WikiLeaks

In Guantanamo, News, Other Leaks, USA, WikiLeaks on January 28, 2013 at 11:12 AM

01/27/2013

As the trial of Khalid Sheik Mohammed moves forward, journalists are at Guantanamo to cover the latest proceedings in person.

Huffington Post’s Ryan J. Reilly was one of the reporters selected to go, and tweeted an interesting photo of Guantanamo’s magazine “The Wire,” which shows a warning to troops saying, “ALERT Don’t go to the website WikiLeaks.”

An example of U.S. government compartmentalization and damage control, trying to prevent soldiers from learning the truth about what they’re really fighting for.

U.S. Deploying Troops to 35 African Countries

In News, NWO, Other Leaks, USA on December 24, 2012 at 1:36 PM

12/24/2012

InfoWars:

Following a decision last week by the United Nations Security Council to send thousands of soldiers into Mali to combat “Islamist” and “Qaeda” extremists, the Pentagon has announced it will dispatch “small teams” to more than 35 African nations next year.

“The teams will be limited to training and equipping efforts, and will not be permitted to conduct military operations without specific, additional approvals from the secretary of defense,” reports the Associated Press.

The U.S. military presence in Vietnam began when the United States Military Assistance Advisory Group established a presence in Saigon to assist French legionnaires battling Viet Minh forces. Over the next decade, the Pentagon turned this modest advisory role into a full-blown war that claimed the lives of nearly 60,000 Americans and more than 3 million Southeast Asians.

According to the political establishment in Washington and its military counterpart at the Pentagon, North Africa is threatened by al-Qaeda affiliated groups, particularly with the rise of Boko Haram in Nigeria. The West African nation is vitally important due to its vast oil reserves.

The Pentagon insists the Salafist group Boko Haram is associated with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Boko Haram is widely condemned by numerous Muslim groups that say its campaign of terror and murder of Christians is contrary to the teaching of Islam.

In addition to countries such as Libya, Sudan, Algeria and Niger where the U.S. says there is an al-Qaeda presence, the brigade assignment will assist Kenya and Uganda in fighting against al-Shabab militants. The group was formed in war-torn Somalia by Abu Mansoor al-Amriki, described as an ex-U.S. soldier who fought in Bosnia in the early 1990s. The CIA’s role in perpetuating war in the Balkans and funding the Bosnian Muslim mujahideen is well documented.

Gen. David Rodriguez, the head of U.S. Army Forces Command, told the Associated Press that if the African nations involved in the operation want the Pentagon to participate in military operations against al-Qaeda, they will have to petition Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta. “If they want them for (military) operations, the brigade is our first sourcing solution because they’re prepared,” Rodriguez said.

The Pentagon currently has plans for over 100 military and training exercises across Africa as part of its touted Africom effort.

The “carefully calibrated” plan to move into Africa was announced in 2007 despite “misgivings across the continent that it could spawn American bases or create the perception of an undue U.S. military influence there,” according to the AP.

“AFRICOM’s goal is to eliminate China and other countries influence in the region,” writes Timothy Alexander Guzman. “Africa’s natural resources is another important element to consider because it includes oil, diamonds, copper, gold, iron, cobalt, uranium, bauxite, silver, petroleum, certain woods and tropical fruits.”

The Tuareg Rebellion in Mali and the participation of Ansar Dine have provided the latest pretext for the United States and the United Nations to intervene in Africa. The Islamists group Ansar Dine aligned with AQIM and eventually displaced the Tuareg and imposed Sharia law in the northern part of Mali.

Last week’s United Nations resolution states that “military intervention will not happen until Mali’s own dysfunctional army is adequately trained and a framework for political stability and elections is restored in the country,” according to the New York Times.

Military intervention in Mali is being pushed by France, the former colonial occupier of the country, and the United Nations resolution calls for a 3,300-soldier force to be sent next year.

For now, the United States and France will work on getting the Malian military, described as “vital to ensure Mali’s long-term security and stability,” adequately trained to fight al-Qaeda, the vexatious militant force that appears like clockwork in strategically important areas of the world prior to the involvement of the United States, its European partners, and the United Nations.

Related Link: John Pilger: Full-Scale Invasion of Africa Under Way, US Deploying Troops in 35 African Countries

4 Afghan Boys Shot Dead by British Forces While Drinking Tea

In Afghanistan, News, NWO, Other Leaks on December 5, 2012 at 2:45 PM

12/04/2012

TheGuardian:

The defence secretary, Philip Hammond, has been asked to launch an urgent inquiry into claims that British forces led a counter-insurgency operation in Afghanistan during which a 12-year-old boy and three teenagers were shot dead while they were drinking tea.

Lawyers acting for the brother of two of the victims have written to Hammond describing an incident on 18 October in the village of Loi Bagh in Nad Ali, Helmand province, where British forces have been based since 2006.

According to statements given to the lawyers by other family members and witnesses, the operation involved Afghan and UK forces, but it was British soldiers – possibly special forces – who were said to have been in the lead.

“We submit that all of the victims were under the control and authority of the UK at the times of the deaths and ill-treatment,” states the letter to Hammond.

“The four boys killed all appear to have been deliberately targeted at close range by British forces. All were killed in a residential area over which UK forces clearly had the requisite degree of control and authority.”

The four victims are named as Fazel Mohammed, 18, Naik Mohammed, 16, Mohammed Tayeb, 14 and Ahmed Shah, 12.

Britain contributes soldiers to Nato’s International Security and Assistance Force (Isaf), which has already confirmed that an operation took place in the village on that date.

The incident has been reported in the Afghan media. Major Adam Wojack, a spokesman for Nato-led forces in Afghanistan, confirmed the “joint Afghan-coalition forces” operation in Nad Ali on 18 October. He said the result was the “killing of four Taliban enemies in action”. That claim is rejected by relatives of the victims.

Military sources also said it was unusual for UK forces to take the lead in operations of this kind because the Afghans are supposed to be in control as part of the transition process. The MoD said it would give the claims “full consideration before responding”.

According to a statement sent to Hammond on Tuesday by Tessa Gregory, lawyer for Noor Mohammad Noorzai, brother of two of the dead youths, the boys were “shot and killed at close range” in a family guesthouse. Gregory, of the law firm Public Interest Lawyers, obtained written sworn statements from witnesses in a visit to Afghanistan last month. They allege that British soldiers, who were engaged in a joint operation with Afghan forces, hooded some of those arrested despite a ban on the practice.

“The soldiers walked through the village calling at various houses asking to be told where the claimant’s brother Fazel Mohammed lived”, says Gregory’s statement. “It is alleged that the soldiers entered the house of a neighbour dragged him from his bed, hooded him and his son and beat them until under questioning they showed the soldiers the house of Fazel which was across the street.”

According to the document sent to Hammond, the families and neighbours “reject outright any suggestion that any of the four teenagers killed were in any way connected to the insurgency. All four were innocent teenagers who posed no threat whatsoever to Afghan or British forces”.

Gregory told the Guardian: “On 18 October 2012, during a joint British-Afghan security operation, four innocent Afghan teenagers were shot whilst drinking tea in their family’s mud home in Helmand province. Our client, the elder brother of two of the teenage victims, wants to know why this happened. As far as we are aware no investigation into these tragic deaths has taken place. We hope that in light of our urgent representations the Ministry of Defence will act swiftly to ensure that an effective and independent investigation is carried out without any further delay.”

In her statement to Hammond, Gregory says: “After the soldiers left, the claimant’s family and some neighbours entered the “guesthouse” where they found the bodies of the four teenagers lying in a line with their heads towards the doorway”.

The statement adds: “It was clear that the bodies had been dragged into that position and all had been shot in the head and neck region as they sat on the floor of the guesthouse leaning against the wall drinking tea..”

Gregory says the British soldiers involved in the operation are bound by the European Convention of Human Rights which enshrines the right to life and outlaws inhumane treatment. Unless the MoD could show it has carried out a full investigation, lawyers representing the victims’ families will ask the high court to order one.

An MoD spokesman said: “The Ministry of Defence received details of these allegations on Tuesday in a letter from a UK firm of solicitors on behalf of an Afghan national and will give them full consideration before responding. The ‘letter before action’ is the first stage of seeking a judicial review and requires the MoD to reply within 14 days, providing a reasonable opportunity to consider the claim and whether there is a case to answer.”

The MoD said protection of the Afghan civilian population is at the core of Isaf’s military strategy in Afghanistan and, that unlike the insurgency they are supporting the Afghan people to defeat, Isaf and UK forces place a high priority on protecting civilians during combat.

2,500 U.S. Marines Set for Deployment to Australia

In News, NWO, Other Leaks on April 6, 2012 at 10:25 PM

04/05/2012

The first rotation of about 200 US marines has arrived in Australia on a six-month training deployment. A total of 2,500 troops are expected to arrive over the next few years in Darwin to enhance the US’s military presence in the Asia-Pacific.

­In November, US President Barack Obama and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced plans to expand the US military presence in Australia. The two leaders had agreed to increase bilateral military cooperation and training in this way.

Despite the fact that the US’s final military presence in the country is to grow into a 2,500-person Marine Air Ground Task Force, Australia’s defense minister Stephen Smith insisted Wednesday morning that the marines and their entourage cannot be qualified as a military base.

”We don’t have United States military bases in Australia and we’re not proposing to,” he told ABC radio from Darwin, where he greeted the marines together with the US Ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey Bleich.

The first group of marines is scheduled to conduct joint military exercises with the Australian Defence Force as well as traveling to some neighboring nations for the same purpose.

The US contingent in Australia is expected to be a rotational force. Its different units will be moving through for short periods of time and will not be based in Australia permanently.

Chinese officials have already questioned whether the US’s new military alliances in the region are aimed at encircling China in order to prevent it from becoming a global power.

Barack Obama dismissed these fears when announcing the deployment. Back then, he stressed that it was not an attempt to isolate China, adding that Washington welcomes “a rising, peaceful China.”

However, Stephen Smith did mention the rise of China and India in his speech, saying that the world needs to “come to grips” with this fact and respond adequately. He also added that having the US marines in Australia would enhance such efforts.

The tropical port of Darwin of Australia’s Northern Territory is located 500 miles from Indonesia. The location is seen as being of the highest strategic importance in view of the escalating disputes over sovereignty in the South China Sea.

New Zealand-based Asia specialist, Tim Beal, says the hospitality may backfire on the nations involved.

“Obviously, the United States is very worried about the rise of China and is taking moves to counter that,” he told RT. “Now, we have the marines going into Darwin — this is in effect an American base. It may not have the legal basis of the base, as we might have had 20-30 years ago, but that’s essentially what it is.”

One of the fundamental problems here, Beal explains, is that a number of states willingly get themselves caught between the declining United States and rising China. In this way, Japan, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand become subordinate to the complicated ties between the two giants.

“They have to work out how they are going to cope with this. These countries are foolishly getting themselves into this long-term deteriorating relationship between the United States and China, and they really need to think more seriously about it,” he concluded.

 

The first rotation of about 200 US marines has arrived in Australia on a six-month training deployment. A total of 2,500 troops are expected to arrive over the next few years in Darwin to enhance the US’s military presence in the Asia-Pacific – it adds to America’s military footprint in such countries as Japan, the Philippines and Singapore – all in China’s backyard. For more on the story RT talks to Asia Times roving correspondent Pepe Escobar.

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