PUBLICATION: WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
DATE: 2007.08.18
PAGE: A9
SECTION: World Wire
WORD COUNT: 563

New and old veterans meet on beach at Dieppe


CP Wire Murray Brewster ROUEN, France -- Maj. Stephen Gallager understands the gritty, gut-churning feeling of war after his eight months of fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

As he walks on the beaches of Dieppe, France, this weekend with a handful of elderly veterans of the failed Allied assault 65 years ago, Gallager's fervent hope is that one day he'll be able to make a similar peaceful trek to his former battlefields.

"Maybe in 15 years we'll be going back to Zhari and Panjwaii and doing one of these trips to Afghanistan," said Gallager, 42, a former artillery commander now a gunnery instructor at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, N.B.

"That's what I hope. If we do it then, that'll mean we achieved our job the way these guys did." He joined 15 former Second World War soldiers as they journeyed back, many likely for the last time, to where most of them fought a desperate -- some say futile -- battle to temporarily wrestle control of the northern French port from the Germans on Aug. 19, 1942.

More than 800 Canadian soldiers died in the raid and another 100 later succumbed to wounds, bringing the total death toll to 913.

More than 600 were wounded and 1,950 captured.

The troops Gallager fought with also spilled their blood in farmland, but it was in the vastly different grape and poppy fields west of Kandahar.

Since 2002, 66 Canadians soldiers have died in Afghanistan, nearly 300 have been wounded -- including two on Friday west of Kandahar.

The veterans treat Gallager as a brother in arms, someone of a younger generation with whom they can talk.

"I can relate to a lot of their stories," he said. "Funny enough, they're eager to talk and tell me their stories." "A lot of the veterans of Dieppe and the (Second World) War don't talk about their stories. But now we have young soldiers who can relate exactly to what their feeling were and what their thoughts are." Paul Dumaine, 86, listened attentively to tales of the dirty guerrilla fighting in Afghanistan.

"Our soldiers today have it very hard," said Dumaine, a former member of the Fusiliers Mont Royal. He was wounded and taken prisoner.

He still bears the scars of the head trauma he suffered.

"At least in our day we knew who we were fighting. There were mines, but not like today." "Back then we knew the Nazis had to be stopped. Today he knows the terrorists must be stopped." "If I were younger I would be there." Dumaine spent over two years as a prisoner. At one point, he was declared missing in action, possibly dead.

Tears welled up as he recounted finally getting in touch with his fiancee three months after the battle, to let her know he was alive and to tell his mother.

One of the things they have in common, Gallager said, was their ability to remember dates and what they were doing on particular days.

"We have memories we'll never forget, whether you're a veteran of 65 years ago or a veteran from last year," Gallager said. He cited May 17, 2006, as the date that stands out in his mind.

That was when Capt. Nichola Goddard was killed. She was a member of his unit and the first female Canadian soldier to die in combat.

"You remember it as though it was yesterday and it's always going to be that way." The debate about the usefulness of the Dieppe raid also strikes a chord with Gallager. The lives lost in Kandahar "have not been in vain as these veterans will say," he said.

"None of what happened in Dieppe was in vain because the lessons learned paid off in 1944" with the victorious Allied landings in Normandy, he said.

-- Canadian Press

====


IDNUMBER 200708180158
PUBLICATION: The Record (Kitchener, Cambridge And Waterloo)
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Front
PAGE: A2
SOURCE: Associated Press
COPYRIGHT: © 2007 Torstar Corporation
WORD COUNT: 644

U.S. ammunition shortage blamed on Iraq, Afghan wars


Troops training for and fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are firing more than one billion bullets a year, contributing to ammunition shortages hitting police departments across the United States and preventing some officers from training with the weapons they carry on patrol.

An Associated Press review of dozens of police and sheriff's departments found that many are struggling with delays of as long as a year for both handgun and rifle ammunition. And the shortages are resulting in prices as much as double what departments were paying just a year ago.

"There were warehouses full of it. Now, that isn't the case,'' said Al Aden, police chief in Pierre, S.D.

Departments in all parts of the country reported delays or reductions in training and, in at least one case, a proposal to use paint-ball guns in firing drills as a way to conserve real ammo.

Forgoing proper, repetitive weapons training comes with a price on the streets, police say, in diminished accuracy, quickness on the draw and basic decision-making skills.

"You are not going to be as sharp or as good, especially if an emergency situation comes up,'' said Sgt. James MacGillis, range master for the Milwaukee police. "The better-trained officer is the one that is less likely to use force.''

The pinch is blamed on a skyrocketing demand for ammunition that followed the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, driven by the training needs of a military at war, and, ironically, police departments increasing their own practice regimens following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The increasingly voracious demand for copper and lead overseas, especially in China, has also been a factor.

The mi litary is in no danger of running out because it gets the overwhelming majority of its ammunition from a dedicated plant outside Kansas City. But police are at the mercy of commercial manufacturers.

None of the departments surveyed said it had pulled guns off the street, and many departments reported no problems buying ammunition. But others said they face higher prices and months-long delays.

Unlike troops in an active war zone, patrol officers rarely fire their weapons in the line of duty. Even then, an officer in a firefight isn't likely to shoot more than a dozen rounds, said Asheville, N.C., police training officer Lt. Gary Gudac. That, he said, makes training with live ammunition for real-life situations, such as a vehicle stop, so essential.

"We spend a lot of money and time making sure the officers are able to shoot a moving target or shoot back into a vehicle,'' Gudac said. "Any time we have a deadly force encounter, one of the first things we pull is the officer's qualification records.''

The Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Mo., directly supplies the military with more than 80 per cent of its small-arms ammunition. Production at the factory has more than tripled since 2002, rising from roughly 425 million rounds that year to 1.4 billion rounds in 2006, according to the Joint Munitions Command at the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois.

Most of the rest of the military's small-arms ammunition comes from Falls Church, Va.-based General Dynamics Corp., which relies partly on subcontractors -- some of whom also supply police departments. Right now, their priority is filling the military's orders, said Darren Newsom, general manager of The Hunting Shack in Stevensville, Mont., which ships 250,000 rounds a day as it supplies ammunition to 3,000 police departments nationwide.

In Indianapolis, police spokesperson Lt. Jeff Duhamell said the department has enough ammunition for now, but is considering using paint balls for a training course, during which recruits fire normally fire about 1,000 rounds each.

"It's all based on the demands in Iraq. A lot of the companies are trying to keep up with the demands of the war and the demands of training police departments. The price increased too -- went up 15 to 20 per cent -- and they were advising us . . . to order as much as you can.''

====


IDNUMBER 200708180150
PUBLICATION: The Record (Kitchener, Cambridge And Waterloo)
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Front
PAGE: A5
ILLUSTRATION:Photo: CANADIAN PRESS / Liberal Leader Stephane Dion wantsPrime Minister Stephen Harper to make it perfectly clear to the U.S. that Canadian troops won't be in Afghanistan past February 2009. ;
DATELINE: OTTAWA
SOURCE: Canadian Press
COPYRIGHT: © 2007 Torstar Corporation
WORD COUNT: 298

Be clear on Afghan plans, Dion urges


Liberal Leader Stephane Dion says the prime minister should make it clear that Canada will soon withdraw from its current combat role in Afghanistan when he meets with U.S. President George W. Bush next week.

"The prime minister should notify to NATO, the Americans and the government of Afghanistan that our combat mission in Kandahar will effectively end in February 2009,'' Dion told a news conference yesterday.

"The more we wait, the less we are a good partner for our allies.''

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will meet with Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon for two days at the beginning of next week for a summit in Montebello, Que.

Harper will also hold separate, private talks with Calderon on Wednesday.

Harper has made it clear this summer that Canada's combat role in Afghanistan will end in February 2009. Initially, he said no decision on the future of the mission would be made without a parliamentary consensus.

Last month, he said NATO's failure to persuade other countries to take on combat duties in southern Afghanistan made it impossible for Canada to consider extending its fighting role there.

The prime minister should also use the summit to insist that no new trade deals be negotiated that would allow fresh water to be removed from Canada, Dion added.

"Prime Minister Harper must advise President Bush that Canada will not negotiate the bulk removal of water from any drainage basins in Canada.''

As well, Ottawa should insist that the United States crack down on gun smuggling into Canada, he said.

"It is estimated that more than half of gun crimes committed in Canada's major cities are with guns smuggled into our country from the United States,'' Dion said.

"Instead of weakening gun control in Canada, Mr. Harper should strengthen the control of illegal trafficking of guns across our border.''

Dion also insisted that Harper demand that terror suspect Omar Khadr be removed from the U.S. military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and transferred to the United States to be tried in a legitimate court.

Khadr is among 14 so-called "high-value'' detainees who were declared by the Pentagon earlier this month as enemy combatants.

====


IDNUMBER 200708180081
PUBLICATION: The Record (Kitchener, Cambridge And Waterloo)
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: D16
ILLUSTRATION:Photo: CANADIAN PRESS / Maj. Stephen Gallager (right), whojust returned from Afghanistan with the Royal Canadian Artillery, chats yesterday with Dieppe vet Paul Dumaine in Rouen, France. A group of veterans is in France to mark the 65th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid. ;
DATELINE: ROUEN, FRANCE
SOURCE: Canadian Press
COPYRIGHT: © 2007 Torstar Corporation
WORD COUNT: 512

Veterans of all ages find rapport discussing Dieppe, Afghanistan


Maj. Stephen Gallager understands the gritty, gut-churning feeling of war after his eight months of fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

As he walks on the beaches of Dieppe, France, this weekend with a handful of elderly veterans of the failed Allied assault 65 years ago, Gallager's fervent hope is that one day he'll be able to make a similar peaceful trek to his former battlefields.

"Maybe in 15 years we'll be going back to Zhari and Panjwaii and doing one of these trips to Afghanistan,'' said Gallager, 42, a former artillery commander now a gunnery instructor at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, N.B.

"That's what I hope. If we do it then, that'll mean we achieved our job the way these guys did.''

He joined 15 former Second World War soldiers as they journeyed back, many likely for the last time, to where most of them fought a desperate -- some say futile -- battle to temporarily wrestle control of the northern French port from the Germans on Aug. 19, 1942.

More than 800 Canadian soldiers died in the raid and another 100 later succumbed to wounds, bringing the total death toll to 913. More than 600 were wounded and 1,950 captured.

A handful of sailors and Royal Canadian Air Forces pilots were also lost in the raid, which was meant to test German defences.

Riding the tour bus through the rolling pastures of France, the old soldiers and Gallager were reflective.

The troops Gallager fought alongside also spilled their blood in farmland, but it was in the vastly different grape and poppy fields west of Kandahar.

Since 2002, 66 Canadians soldiers have died in Afghanistan, and nearly 300 have been wounded -- including two yesterday west of Kandahar.

The veterans are full of questions and have opened to Gallager as a brother in arms, someone of a younger generation with whom they can talk.

"I can relate to a lot of their stories,'' he said. "Funny enough, they're eager to talk and tell me their stories.''

"A lot of the veterans of Dieppe and the (Second World) War don't talk about their stories. But now we have young soldiers who can relate exactly to what their feelings were and what their thoughts are.''

Paul Dumaine, 86, listened attentively to tales of the dirty guerrilla fighting in Afghanistan.

"Our soldiers today have it very hard,'' said Dumaine, a former member of the Fusiliers Mont Royal. He was wounded and taken prisoner. He still bears the scars of the head trauma he suffered.

"At least in our day we knew who were fighting. There were mines, but not like today.''

"Back then we knew the Nazis had to be stopped. Today he knows the terrorists must be stopped.''

"If I were younger I would be there.''

Dumaine spent more than two years as a prisoner of war. At one point, he was declared missing in action and possibly dead.

Tears welled up as he recounted finally getting in touch with his fiancee three months after the battle, to let her know he was alive and to tell his mother.

One of the things they have in common, Gallager said, was their ability to remember dates and what they were doing on particular days.

It's almost as if the experience is seared into their memories.

"We have memories we'll never forget, whether you're a veteran of 65 years ago or a veteran from last year,'' Gallager said.

He cited May 17, 2006, as the date that stands out in his mind.

That was when Capt. Nichola Goddard was killed. She was a member of his unit and the first female Canadian soldier to die in combat.

"You remember it as though it was yesterday and it's always going to be that way.''

The debate about the usefulness of the Dieppe raid also strikes a chord with Gallager. People today are just as skeptical about the sacrifices in Afghanistan, he said.

The lives lost in Kandahar "have not in been in vain as these veterans will say,'' he said.

"None of what happened in Dieppe was in vain because the lessons learn-ed paid off in 1944'' with the victorious Allied landings in Normandy, he said.

====


IDNUMBER 200708180086
PUBLICATION: Times & Transcript (Moncton)
DATE: 2007.08.18
SECTION: News
PAGE: D7
COPYRIGHT: © 2007 Times & Transcript (Moncton)
WORD COUNT: 359

Veterans of past and present campaigns find rapport; Afghanistan soldier joins Dieppe veterans on trip to France to remember historic battle


Maj. Stephen Gallager understands the gritty, gut-churning feeling of war after his eight months of fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

As he walks on the beaches of Dieppe, France, this weekend with a handful of elderly veterans of the failed Allied assault 65 years ago, Gallager's fervent hope is that one day he'll be able to make a similar peaceful trek to his former battlefields.

"Maybe in 15 years we'll be going back to Zhari and Panjwaii and doing one of these trips to Afghanistan," said Gallager, 42, a former artillery commander now a gunnery instructor at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown.

"That's what I hope. If we do it then, that'll mean we achieved our job the way these guys did."

He joined 15 former Second World War soldiers as they journeyed back, many likely for the last time, to where most of them fought a desperate -- some say futile -- battle to temporarily wrestle control of the northern French port from the Germans on Aug. 19, 1942.

More than 800 Canadian soldiers died in the raid and another 100 later succumbed to wounds, bringing the total death toll to 913. More than 600 were wounded and 1,950 captured.

A handful of sailors and Royal Canadian Air Forces pilots were also lost in the raid, which was meant to test German defences.

Riding the tour bus through the rolling pastures of France, the old soldiers and Gallager were reflective.

The troops Gallager fought alongside also spilled their blood in farmland, but it was in the vastly different grape and poppy fields west of Kandahar.

Since 2002, 66 Canadians soldiers have died in Afghanistan, nearly 300 have been wounded -- including two on Friday west of Kandahar.

The veterans are full of questions and have opened to Gallager as a brother in arms, someone of a younger generation with whom they can talk.

"I can relate to a lot of their stories," he said. "Funny enough, they're eager to talk and tell me their stories."

"A lot of the veterans of Dieppe and the (Second World) War don't talk about their stories. But now we have young soldiers who can relate exactly to what their feeling were and what their thoughts are."

Paul Dumaine, 86, listened attentively to tales of the dirty guerrilla fighting in Afghanistan.

"Our soldiers today have it very hard," said Dumaine, a former member of the Fusiliers Mont Royal. He was wounded and taken prisoner. He still bears the scars of the head trauma he suffered.

"At least in our day we knew who were fighting. There were mines, but not like today."

"Back then we knew the Nazis had to be stopped. Today he knows the terrorists must be stopped."

"If I were younger I would be there."

====


IDNUMBER 200708180116
PUBLICATION: The Daily Gleaner (Fredericton)
DATE: 2007.08.18
SECTION: Opinion
PAGE: B10
BYLINE: CAREY WATT For The Daily Gleaner
COPYRIGHT: © 2007 The Daily Gleaner (Fredericton)
WORD COUNT: 497

South Asia's 60 years of borders, strife is still evident


When India and Pakistan achieved independence in August 1947, many skeptics said the new nation-states would not last more than a few weeks or months.

Yet, they are both still here 60 years later.

India, in particular, has been experiencing tremendous economic growth since it liberalized its economy and opened its doors to foreign investment in the early 1990s. It has become a major regional and international power.

The Indian Ocean was the globe's richest trading zone between 1000 and 1800, which explains why relatively poor Europeans such as Christopher Columbus tried so hard to tap into it.

Today, the United States is courting India as an ally and even signing controversial nuclear deals with it, in part, because Americans want to keep China in check.

But India has also been alarming many in Congress because it has been stealing some of the West's white-collar customer service, IT and accounting jobs. This is because India has a highly educated and English-speaking workforce.

India and Pakistan certainly have their problems, too.

Pakistan has alternated between military and civilian governments, and the military controls much of the economy. The current military leader, President, General, Pervez Musharaff, has been in power since 1999, and his government is in crisis. He is under attack from the press, the judiciary and Islamic extremists.

He also faces tremendous Western pressure to do more in the so-called war on terror in Afghanistan, which borders Pakistan.

India has had enormous difficulty in distributing the growing wealth that has come in the wake of liberalization, with too much going to urban residents of the middle-classes and upper castes. Meanwhile, rural farmers are committing suicide because of rising debt resulting from declining soil productivity and a host of marginalized groups including Dalits, former untouchables, and women voice their frustrations with the unfulfilled promises of Indian independence.

Global warming and climate change are becoming pressing issues as well.

Perhaps the biggest problems in South Asia today relate to the issue of borders and the violence they inspire.

During their hasty departure from the subcontinent in 1947, the British partitioned India with the help of the political elites of the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League. In just a few weeks, national borders were drawn between India and Pakistan.

The British proclivity to partition states, as they did in Ireland and Palestine, has led to much misery in the world.

The migration which followed India's partition was the world's largest and perhaps most horrific: as many as 17 million people were uprooted, one million killed and many more brutalized. Since 1947, however, it is Pakistan that has had to deal with the turbulence of the Afghan frontier.

NATO's ISAF force, which has a large contingent of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, is putting great pressure on Afghan and Pakistani governments to establish a hard, militarized border.

But there are at least two major problems with this unrealistic objective. One is that this border has always been porous.

The second issue is that, historically, the creation of hard borders in South Asia has not solved problems but rather created them.

It is also ironic that as, we in the West, gradually move away from the model of the bounded nation-state to looser economic and political unions, we continue to enforce dangerous frontiers in South and Central Asia, and other parts of the world.

Carey Watt works on South Asian and World History at St. Thomas University.

====


PUBLICATION: Kingston Whig-Standard (ON)
DATE: 2007.08.18
SECTION: National/World
PAGE: B1
COLUMN: In brief
WORD COUNT: 118

Soldiers wounded in Afghanistan


Two Canadian soldiers were slightly wounded yesterday after their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb, the Canadian military said. Both soldiers were riding in a Track Light Armoured Vehicle, or T-LAV, along Highway 1 as part of a supply convoy for Canadian troops when they drove over the bomb.

Both suffered upper-body injuries. One was quickly released from hospital while the other was being held for observation, military officials said. Neither soldier was identified by name, but both were members of the Lord Strathcona's Horse Regiment of Edmonton and have about two weeks remaining before the end of their tours, officials said.

====


PUBLICATION: Kingston Whig-Standard (ON)
DATE: 2007.08.18
SECTION: Religion
PAGE: 15
SOURCE: AP
BYLINE: Bradley Klapper
DATELINE: GENEVA
WORD COUNT: 432

Christians unite for conversion code


Evangelical groups have joined efforts spearheaded by Roman Catholic, Orthodox and mainstream Protestant churches to create a common code for religious conversions.

The code would preserve the right of Christians to spread their religion while avoiding conflict among different faiths, church leaders say.

The World Council of Churches, which joined the Vatican last year in launching talks on a code, said recently the process was formally joined by the World Evangelical Alliance at a meeting earlier this month in France.

The code aims to ease tensions with Muslims, Hindus and other religious groups which fear losing adherents, and which resort to punishments as extreme as imprisonment and even death for converts from their faith and foreign missionaries.

The Taliban kidnapping of 23 South Korean Christians and the killing of two of them in Afghanistan last month underscores the tensions.

The accusations against the South Koreans include wanting to meet with former converts from Islam, but the church has denied they were trying to spread Christianity. The hardline Islamic militants freed two women on Monday in a show of goodwill. Proselytizing also has caused concern among the branches of Christianity because of the vigour with which Pentecostal and evangelical-style congregations have led the drive for conversions around the world, outstripping the growth of older churches.

Pope Benedict's visit to Brazil in May was partly a response to the exodus of millions of Catholics to Protestant evangelical churches. Juan Michel, a spokesman for the Geneva-based WCC - which brings together about 350 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians - said the support from the evangelical alliance has given a big boost to efforts to agree on a set of guidelines by 2010.

"It is a very important Christian organization," he said.

Major evangelical groups were absent from a meeting last year of the Vatican and the WCC near Rome, where the idea for the code was initiated.

But at the five-day meeting which ended Aug. 12 in Toulouse, France, Geoff Tunnicliffe, head of the evangelical alliance of 233 conservative Protestant church groups worldwide, gave his "full approval" to the process, the WCC said.

"The code of conduct is not about whether' Christians evangelize, but 'how' they do it," said Rev. Tony Richie of the Church of God, a Pentecostal U.S.-based denomination, according to a WCC review of the meeting.

The next step in the process will be in 2008 when the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue meets its WCC counterpart to draft the guidelines.

The WCC said the code should establish what "needs to be banned when it comes to Christian mission, a daunting task given the many different contexts involved." But it should also provide guidelines for dealing with complicated issues such as interreligious marriages, the WCC added.

====


PUBLICATION: Kingston Whig-Standard (ON)
DATE: 2007.08.18
SECTION: Editorial page
PAGE: 8
COLUMN: Column
BYLINE: MacDonald, L.Ian
WORD COUNT: 823

Cabinet shuffle will help PM in Quebec and Atlantic region


Federal cabinet shuffles tend to play out on two stages, one national and the other regional, and this week's rearrangement of the chairs around Stephen Harper's big table was no exception. In moving Peter MacKay to Defence and Maxime Bernier to Foreign Affairs, the prime minister bolstered the communications flank of the Afghanistan mission in both official languages.

Where the national storyline had become one of collateral damage - the perceived differences between former Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor and Chief of the Defence Staff General Rick Hillier - it will now rotate to coverage of the mission itself. MacKay and Bernier will be expected to do what O'Connor couldn't do: communicate Canada's military and foreign policy objectives in Afghanistan.

And the regional storyline is one of Harper attempting to regain lost ground in the Atlantic provinces and Quebec by reinforcing his local political warlords.

In the Atlantic provinces, where the Tories have been pounded on the equalization-offshore resources issue, MacKay's job will be to rebuild and recoup between now and the next election, which under new fixed election legislation won't occur until October 2009, unless the minority government falls in the House in the meantime.

MacKay will also be home, in every sense of the word. He no longer will be physically conflicted by a schedule that puts him in Moscow one day and his home province of Nova Scotia the next. Support for the Afghan mission is high in the Atlantic region, with a disproportionate share of boots on the ground in Kandahar and assets on the ground in Atlantic Canada, notably the army base at Gagetown, N.B., and the naval base at Halifax.

MacKay also retains responsibility for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), which cuts a lot of cheques in the Atlantic region. MacKay will have his own boots on the ground, in his own region of the Atlantic provinces, in his own province of Nova Scotia and his own riding of Central Nova, where Green Party leader Elizabeth May will be running against him with a free pass from the Liberals as part of her non-aggression pact with Stephane Dion.

And in Quebec, the constant political flak on Afghanistan can only be expected to intensify as the famed Van Doos take the lead in Kandahar. There is finally an advocate of the mission, Max Bernier, who can make the case in French.

But leaving that aside, and looking down the political field, there are three Quebec byelections coming on Sept. 17, and in two of them off the island of Montreal, the Conservatives are the main opponent for the Bloc Quebecois.

Bernier, and Josee Verner at Heritage, will be significant assets to be deployed in the short term of the byelections. Verner also succeeds a minister, Bev Oda, who spoke no French. In Canada, a cultural minister who speaks no French isn't an asset to any government, and Oda was going in reverse in Quebec, where the cultural industries and lobbies are powerful and articulate vested interests.

Bernier and Verner are both media- friendly and media-savvy, and their promotions played as huge stories in the Quebec media. And while there are three other Quebec ministers in the Harper cabinet - Lawrence Cannon at Transport, Jean-Pierre Blackburn at Labour and Michael Fortier at Public Works - Bernier and Verner will be the main media actors in the month leading up to the byelections. Verner is particularly close to Quebec Opposition Leader Mario Dumont, whose conservative Action Democratique du Quebec will be helpful to les bleus in the two byelections in Quebec off Montreal island.

Beyond the byelections, there's a major year-long event coming up in Quebec 2008: the 400th anniversary of the founding of Quebec City by Samuel de Champlain.

Referring to this pending anniversary in his famous Quebec City speech during the last campaign, Harper called Quebec "the heart of Canada." He had made the same comment in English, in Ottawa, on the first day of the 2006 election campaign.

Quebec 2008 represents a major opportunity for Harper and the Conservatives to position themselves as champions of Quebec's interests within the Canadian federation. Harper has already delivered on the major promises of his Quebec City speech, including a role for Quebec in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and recognition of the vertical fiscal imbalance between Ottawa and the provinces.

Dignitaries from around the world will be coming to Quebec City next year. Greeting them on the tarmac, and toasting them at banquets, will be the two lead ministers from the province, Josee Verner from Quebec City and Maxime Bernier from the Beauce, across the St. Lawrence River.

In Quebec 2008, national and regional politics will be one and the same.

- L. Ian MacDonald is Editor of Policy Options, the magazine of the Institute for Research on Public Policy and a member of the Osprey Writers Group. Comments can be sent to writersgroup@ospreymedia.ca.

====


PUBLICATION: Kingston Whig-Standard (ON)
DATE: 2007.08.18
SECTION: Front
PAGE: 1
BYLINE: Harrison, Brock
PHOTO: Photo courtesy of Cpl. Terrence Fernandes
ILLUSTRATION:The state-of-the-art training facility at CFB Wainwright inAlberta has been dubbed "Notional Afghanistan."
WORD COUNT: 662

From Alberta to Afghanistan; Kingston reservists among 1,200 soldiers participating in huge training exercise for war


Reporter Brock Harrison is travelling to CFB Wainwright to examine how Canada's reservists are trained for deployment to Afghanistan.

The foreign chatter of a sun-baked marketplace. The chilling ripple of a rocket cutting through air. The bone-jarring blast of a roadside bomb.

For most of Kingston's 106 reserve soldiers in the Princess of Wales' Own Regiment, the sights and sounds of military life in Afghanistan are a world away.

But this week, a dozen local reservists have been dropped into a state-of-the-art training facility in CFB Wainwright, about 200 kilometres east of Edmonton, that military officials have dubbed "Notional Afghanistan."

The $5.9-million Exercise Maple Defender at Wainwright's Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre uses a full-scale replica of Kandahar Airfield, simulated Afghan villages with Afghan nationals as townspeople and Taliban insurgents to achieve a vivid re-creation of the conflict Canadian troops are currently engaged in 10,000 kilometres away.

"For all intents and purposes, these guys are in Afghanistan," said Capt. Julie Misquitta, a spokeswoman for 32 Canadian Brigade Group, the unit putting on the exercise.

"Everything is as close to reality as we could possibly get."

The exercise is already underway and will wrap up Monday.

There are 1,200 reservists from across Ontario taking part. The soldiers, split into three companies reflecting eastern, central/north and southern Ontario, have been immersed in a simulated war zone since Wednesday, performing patrols, executing raids, meeting with religious leaders and responding to mass casualty incidents caused by conventional weapons being used by Taliban insurgents.

The rules for participating reservists are strict. If "killed," soldiers must lie down, remove their helmets and await evacuation. "Dead" soldiers caught talking, exchanging ammo or making hand signals are disciplined. Killed soldiers are held at the morgue holding area for six hours before being released.

About 300 "actors" will be dispersed throughout the training grounds for the duration of the exercise as local Afghans, government officials, local police, aid workers, religious leaders and, of course, Taliban.

Journalism students from Edmonton have been hired to act as embedded reporters. They are producing newspaper and television reports based on interviews conducted with the reservists during the exercise.

"That gives our training audience an idea of how they're doing," Misquitta said.

As in real theatre, Taliban insurgents will blend in with the local population and will be indistinguishable to the reservists. They will use rocket-propelled grenades, rockets, mortars, mines, booby traps, improvised explosive devices and vehicle-mounted weapons to thwart Canadian troops. Weapons caches will also be hidden throughout the training area.

A sophisticated, high-tech weapons simulation system will discharge smoke, loud bangs and fire flashes using lasers to mimic rifle fire and artillery blasts.

Rather than live rounds, weapons will give off laser pulses that, when successfully shot at a target, will either indicate a hit if the target is human - with a series of flashing lights on the target - or trigger a simulated explosion if the target is a structure or a vehicle.

Reservists are continuously engaged in the theatre for the entire six-day exercise, sleeping in tents and eating the same individual meal packs troops in the real Afghanistan do.

"These reserve boys don't know what they're in for," said Lt. Mark Taggart, also with 32 Canadian Brigade Group.

In fact, reservists were told not to bother with packing civilian clothes. They travelled to Edmonton, where their flights from Ontario arrived, in uniform and won't get any time away from the exercise until they leave.

"It's not like they're leaving at the end of the day to go to the bar," Misquitta said. "This is the real deal."

Lt. Steven Dieter, spokesman for the Princess of Wales' Own Regiment, said interest in the exercise from members was high, but, because it required substantive travel, only 12 could go.

"Still, the fact that we have more than 10 per cent of the regiment going is a good representation for us," Dieter said.

The Kingston-area soldiers participating in the exercise are: Pte. Simon Berry, Pte. Simon Farrell, Pte. Matthew Ormsbee-Posthumus, Cpl. Graham Tymparon, Cpl. Daniel Jaques, Cpl. Sean Jump , Cpl. Matthew Young, Cpl. Jason Upton, Pte. Shan Indrakumar, Lt. Alexander Parker, Cpl. Joel Bruce and Pte. Andrew Moriarty.

At least one of the soldiers, Jump, is scheduled to be part of the next Canadian rotation in Afghanistan. Jump will begin his training next month at CFB Petawawa for the deployment.

bharrison@thewhig.com

Subsequent reports from Brock Harrison at CFB Wainwright will appear in Monday's and Tuesday's editions of The Kingston-Whig Standard.

====


PUBLICATION: The Chronicle-Herald
DATE: 2007.08.18
SECTION: Opinion
PAGE: A6
BYLINE: Stephen Maher
ILLUSTRATION:Peter MacKay has so far failed to live up to billing as NovaScotia's brightest hope in Ottawa. (JACQUES BOISSINOT / CP); Peter MacKay has so far failed to live up to billing as Nova Scotia's brightest hope in Ottawa. (JACQUES BOISSINOT / CP)
WORD COUNT: 862

New start in Defence just what MacKay needs


"Peter has no illusions about being a superior intellect. He has no outstanding talents that I know of. He's not a world-famous surgeon or he's not a concert musician but he loves sports, he loves the outdoors, he likes people. And most of all, he's a hard-working, conscientious, decent guy."

- Elmer MacKay, 2003

A LOT OF East Coast Tories, including many on Parliament Hill, are disappointed with Peter MacKay.

Mr. MacKay is their champion - the brightest hope produced by Atlantic Tories since John Crosbie - and they had high hopes for him when the Conservatives took power 18 months ago.

In power, Mr. MacKay has proven to be no John Crosbie.

As foreign affairs minister, ACOA minister and political minister for Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, he has worked like a dog, flying around the world, doing his best to represent Canada abroad, and to manage the politics of the region at home.

As foreign affairs minister, Mr. MacKay has stumbled from time to time. In his first weeks in office, he mistakenly blurted out information about secret efforts to free Canadian hostages. In his last weeks, he said in error that the North Pole is in Canadian territorial waters.

On the home front, Mr. MacKay has presided over the collapse of Conservative fortunes in Atlantic Canada.

He has managed to protect ACOA's regional development budget, although much infrastructure funding has been moved to another department, and continuing cuts imposed under Liberal expenditure reviews will shrink the department a bit every year.

But he did not stop something much more toxic to Atlantic Tory hopes. With the budget in March, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty put Mr. MacKay in the impossible position of having to sell the unsellable: the reversal of the Atlantic accord.

The budget gave Nova Scotia a choice: if it wanted any part of a huge increase in federal equalization money available to have-not provinces, it would have to accept the return of an equalization clawback on offshore oil revenue.

Mr. Flaherty and Mr. Harper do not seem to have realized how this would go over out East, and Mr. MacKay apparently did not know it was coming. On budget day, he showed no sign of thinking there was any problem. Provincial officials say it was weeks before he realized what a big problem he faced and started pushing for improvements to the deal.

This is ultimately Mr. MacKay's doing. It is his job to look after Nova Scotia, by pushing behind the scenes for fair treatment. Even now, he continues to insist that the government has respected the accord, which puts him at odds with his provincial government, Mr. Crosbie and most East Coast Tories.

The defection of Bill Casey meant that Mr. MacKay's strained arguments were suddenly falling on deaf ears. Nova Scotians didn't need to understand the murky details of the accord to understand that the province had been done over. They could just watch Mr. Casey stand and vote against the government.

This is also Mr. MacKay's doing. A regional power broker must look after the people under his wing. After the election, Mr. MacKay should have insisted on some kind of a job for Mr. Casey, even if just as a parliamentary secretary for ACOA. Mr. Casey got nothing, which made it easy for him to vote against the government on a point of principle.

So Mr. MacKay's problems appear to be largely of his own making.

The good news is that his new job as defence minister gives him a chance to start again, to take a higher profile nationally, look after his region and improve Tory electoral prospects in his own riding and throughout Atlantic Canada.

Mr. MacKay's main job now will be explaining Canada's Afghanistan mission, and he will be good at it. On camera, in committee and the House, Mr. MacKay speaks convincingly about the mission, since he believes in it, having seen first-hand the work Canadians are doing on the ground.

He is likely to be an effective cheerleader for the military, which is likely to endear him to Atlantic Canadians, given the region's strong family connection to the Forces.

With greater clout at the cabinet table, and more time in the country, he also ought to have more time to work on regional politics. There are billions of dollars in defence contracts up for grabs, including a $3.1-billion frigate refit that presents opportunities for the Irving shipyard in Halifax. It may not be possible for Mr. MacKay to actually steer contracts, but he can take credit for work done in the region.

With these opportunities, though, there are dangers. Defence is a tough job, and missteps can be career killers.

Mr. MacKay must deal with a vicious opposition, an overly controlling prime minister, a press gallery that makes tiny missteps look like pratfalls, bureaucrats and soldiers out to cover their own behinds, and a Canadian public that is divided and troubled by the Afghan mission.

Mr. MacKay is better equipped to deal with these players than poor Gordon O'Connor was, and he can likely count on having a better relationship with Gen. Rick Hillier, the chief of the defence staff. But handling this portfolio will require a degree of maturity and discipline that Mr. MacKay has sometimes lacked. Several times in his career he has appeared petulant, publicly betraying his anger at partisan criticism or personal betrayals.

He now has an opportunity to be a statesman, to show us, as his dad says, that he's a hard-working, conscientious, decent guy.( )

====


PUBLICATION: The Chronicle-Herald
DATE: 2007.08.18
SECTION: World
PAGE: A4
SOURCE: The Canadian Press
BYLINE: Martin Ouellet
WORD COUNT: 198

Bomb injures 2 more Canucks


KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Two Canadian soldiers were slightly injured Friday after their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb, the Canadian military said.

Both soldiers were riding in a Track Light Armoured Vehicle, or T-LAV, along Highway 1 as part of a supply convoy for Canadian troops when they drove over the bomb.

"I am relieved the track vehicle was armoured and protected their lives," said military spokesman Lt.-Cmdr. Hubert Genest.

"They're safe and sound and, hopefully, they're going to be able to return to work."

Genest said it's a relief their injuries are minor because the first report of the attack indicated serious wounds.

Both suffered upper body injuries. One was quickly released while the other was being held for observation, military officials said.

Neither soldier was identified by name, but both were members of the Lord Strathcona's Horse Regiment of Edmonton and have about two weeks remaining before the end of their tours, officials said.

Seven Canadian soldiers have been injured since Sunday in roadside attacks.

Friday's attack took place just inside Kandahar province's dangerous Zhari district, at a spot some 10 kilometres west of Masum Ghar. The village itself is in the province's Panjwaii district.

Canada has about 2,500 troops in the war-torn country as part of the NATO force supporting the Afghan government.

Sixty-six Canadian soldiers and a diplomat have died in Afghanistan since 2002.

The most recent Canadian fatalities occurred July 4 when a powerful roadside bomb killed six soldiers and an Afghan interpreter, ripping through their RG-31 armoured vehicle on a gravel road.

====


PUBLICATION: The Chronicle-Herald
DATE: 2007.08.18
SECTION: Canada
PAGE: A4
SOURCE: The Canadian Press
BYLINE: Terry Pedwell
ILLUSTRATION:Liberal Leader Stephane Dion holds up a Liberal partypamphlet in Ottawa on Friday that contains the party's blueprint for the North American Leaders Summit in Montebello, Que., next week. (FRED CHARTRAND / The Canadian Press)
WORD COUNT: 321

Dion warns PM: Tell Bush we're out in '09; Grit leader says combat role in Afghanistan must end on schedule


OTTAWA - Liberal Leader Stephane Dion says the prime minister should make it clear that Canada will soon withdraw from its combat role in Afghanistan when he meets with U.S. President George W. Bush next week.

"The prime minister should notify to NATO, the Americans and the government of Afghanistan that our combat mission in Kandahar will effectively end in February 2009," Dion told a news conference Friday.

"The more we wait, the less we are a good partner for our allies."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will meet with Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon for two days at the beginning of next week for a summit in Montebello, Que.

Harper will also hold separate, private talks with Calderon on Wednesday.

The prime minister has made it clear this summer that Canada's combat role in Afghanistan will end in February 2009. Initially, he said no decision on the future of the mission would be made without a parliamentary consensus.

Last month, he said NATO's failure to persuade other countries to take on combat duties in southern Afghanistan made it impossible for Canada to consider extending its fighting role there.

The PM should also use the summit to insist that no new trade deals be negotiated that would allow fresh water to be removed from Canada, Dion added.

"Prime Minister Harper must advise President Bush that Canada will not negotiate the bulk removal of water from any drainage basins in Canada."

As well, Ottawa should insist that the United States crack down on gun smuggling into Canada, he said.

"It is estimated that more than half of gun crimes committed in Canada's major cities are with guns smuggled into our country from the United States," Dion said.

"Instead of weakening gun control in Canada, Mr. Harper should strengthen the control of illegal trafficking of guns across our border."

Dion also insisted that Harper demand that terror suspect Omar Khadr be removed from the U.S. military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and transferred to the United States to be tried in a legitimate court.

Khadr is among 14 so-called "high-value" detainees who were declared by the Pentagon earlier this month as enemy combatants.

Khadr, now 20, was captured when he was 15 years old during a firefight with U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2002.

He was charged with homicide for allegedly throwing a grenade that killed a U.S. army medic.

====


PUBLICATION: The Chronicle-Herald
DATE: 2007.08.18
SECTION: Front
PAGE: A2
SOURCE: The Canadian Press
BYLINE: Murray Brewster
ILLUSTRATION:Maj. Stephen Gallagher, who just returned from eight monthsin Afghanistan with the Royal Canadian Artillery, chats with Dieppe veteran Paul Dumaine in Rouen, France, on Friday. A group of Canadian veterans is in France to mark the 65th anniversary of the Dieppe raid. (Paul Chiasson / CP)
WORD COUNT: 500

The more things change; During a tour 65 years after Dieppe, veterans share battle stories with soldier who served in Afghanistan


ROUEN, France - Maj. Stephen Gallagher understands the gritty, gut-churning feeling of war after his eight months of fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

As he walks on the beaches of Dieppe, France, this weekend with a handful of elderly veterans of the failed Allied assault 65 years ago, Gallagher's fervent hope is that one day he'll be able to make a similar peaceful trek to his former battlefields.

"Maybe in 15 years we'll be going back to Zhari and Panjwaii and doing one of these trips to Afghanistan," said Gallagher, 42, a former artillery commander now a gunnery instructor at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, N.B.

"That's what I hope. If we do it then, that'll mean we achieved our job the way these guys did."

He joined 15 former Second World War soldiers as they journeyed back, many likely for the last time, to where most of them fought a desperate - some say futile - battle to temporarily wrestle control of the northern French port from the Germans on Aug. 19, 1942.

More than 800 Canadian soldiers died in the raid and another 100 later succumbed to wounds, bringing the total death toll to 913. More than 600 were wounded and 1,950 captured.

A handful of sailors and Royal Canadian Air Forces pilots were also lost in the raid, which was meant to test German defences.

Riding the tour bus through the rolling pastures of France, the old soldiers and Gallagher were reflective.

The troops Gallagher fought alongside also spilled their blood in farmland, but it was in the vastly different grape and poppy fields west of Kandahar.

Since 2002, 66 Canadians soldiers have died in Afghanistan, nearly 300 have been wounded - including two on Friday west of Kandahar.

The veterans are full of questions and have opened to Gallagher as a brother in arms, someone of a younger generation with whom they can talk.

"I can relate to a lot of their stories," he said. "Funny enough, they're eager to talk and tell me their stories.

"A lot of the veterans of Dieppe and the (Second World) War don't talk about their stories. But now we have young soldiers who can relate exactly to what their feeling were and what their thoughts are."

Paul Dumaine, 86, listened attentively to tales of the dirty guerrilla fighting in Afghanistan.

"Our soldiers today have it very hard," said Dumaine, a former member of the Fusiliers Mont Royal. He was wounded and taken prisoner. He still bears the scars of the head trauma he suffered.

"At least in our day we knew who were fighting. There were mines, but not like today."

"Back then we knew the Nazis had to be stopped. Today he knows the terrorists must be stopped."

"If I were younger I would be there."

Dumaine spent over two years as a prisoner of war. At one point, he was declared missing in action and possibly dead.

Tears welled up as he recounted finally getting in touch with his fiancee three months after the battle, to let her know he was alive and to tell his mother.

One of the things they have in common, Gallagher said, was their ability to remember dates and what they were doing on particular days.

It's almost as if the experience is seared into their memories.

"We have memories we'll never forget, whether you're a veteran of 65 years ago or a veteran from last year," Gallagher said.

He cited May 17, 2006, as the date that stands out in his mind.

That was when Capt. Nichola Goddard was killed. She was a member of his unit and the first female Canadian soldier to die in combat.

"You remember it as though it was yesterday and it's always going to be that way."

The debate about the usefulness of the Dieppe raid also strikes a chord with Gallagher.

People today are just as skeptical about the sacrifices in Afghanistan, he said.

The lives lost in Kandahar "have not been in vain, as these veterans will say," he said.

"None of what happened in Dieppe was in vain because the lessons learned paid off in 1944" with the victorious Allied landings in Normandy, he said.

====


PUBLICATION: The Guardian (Charlottetown)
DATE: 2007.08.18
SECTION: World
PAGE: B12
COLUMN: Around the globe
SOURCE: CP
DATELINE: KANDAHAR, Afghanistan
WORD COUNT: 71

Two more Canadian soldiers injured in roadside attacks


Two Canadian soldiers were slightly injured Friday after their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb, the Canadian military said.

Both soldiers were riding in a Track Light Armoured Vehicle, or T-LAV, along Highway 1 as part of a supply convoy for Canadian troops when they drove over the bomb.

"I am relieved the track vehicle was armoured and protected their lives," said military spokesman Lt.-Cmdr. Hubert Genest.

"They're safe and sound and, hopefully, they're going to be able to return to work."

====


PUBLICATION: The Guardian (Charlottetown)
DATE: 2007.08.18
SECTION: World
PAGE: B11
COLUMN: Around the globe
SOURCE: CP
DATELINE: ROUEN, France
WORD COUNT: 180

Veterans find rapport over Dieppe, Afghanistan


Maj. Stephen Gallager understands the gritty, gut-churning feeling of war after his eight months of fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

As he walks on the beaches of Dieppe, France, this weekend with a handful of elderly veterans of the failed Allied assault 65 years ago, Gallager's fervent hope is that one day he'll be able to make a similar peaceful trek to his former battlefields.

"Maybe in 15 years we'll be going back to Zhari and Panjwaii and doing one of these trips to Afghanistan," said Gallager, 42, a former artillery commander now a gunnery instructor at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, N.B.

"That's what I hope. If we do it then, that'll mean we achieved our job the way these guys did."

He joined 15 former Second World War soldiers as they journeyed back, many likely for the last time, to where most of them fought a desperate - some say futile - battle to temporarily wrestle control of the northern French port from the Germans on Aug. 19, 1942.

More than 800 Canadian soldiers died in the raid and another 100 later succumbed to wounds, bringing the total death toll to 913. More than 600 were wounded and 1,950 captured.

====


PUBLICATION: The Guardian (Charlottetown)
DATE: 2007.08.18
SECTION: Opinion
PAGE: A7
COLUMN: The Meddler
BYLINE: Alan Holman
WORD COUNT: 764

Peter MacKay the big loser in shuffle


Prime Minister Harper was generally given high praise for removing the beleaguered Gordon O'Connor from the Defence portfolio because he wasn't perceived to be a communicator.

The prime minister was also given full marks for assigning the Defence role to Peter MacKay, a man thought to be a fine example of how to deliver the message.

But who can forget Mr. MacKay's television interview from his father's potato patch in Nova Scotia after he was dumped by Belinda Stronach? Mr. MacKay looked like a pouty, pre-pubescent teenager who'd lost his first girlfriend. She might have been his first billionaire, but Belinda was a long way from his first girlfriend. If Mr. MacKay was a matinee idol, this might have been a successful ploy, but for a politician of his stature, it looked silly.

Though how is it possible to determine if anyone in cabinet is a great communicator when all the messaging is created by, and controlled by, the prime minister and his staff? As an example of how dominant the prime minister is at controlling government communications, can you, without looking it up, name the ministers of Justice, Human Resources, Transport or Health? (see the end of the column.)

There were some winners in this week's cabinet shuffle, but Mr. MacKay wasn't one of them, in spite of all the talk of needing his communication skills in the Defence portfolio.

Josee Verner's move to Heritage minister is clearly a promotion for her, as is Jim Prentice's move from Indian Affairs to Industry. Gerry Ritz's move to a full cabinet position as minister of Agriculture is a huge step up for him.

It has long been considered that after the prime minister, the two most important positions in cabinet are Finance and Foreign Affairs. Maxime Bernier, from the Beauce region of Quebec, was first elected in 2006. This neophyte status didn't keep him from lobbying for one of the top jobs, even though it was occupied by a seasoned political veteran and former party leader.

The fact that he was successful in his pursuit of the Foreign Affairs portfolio makes him the biggest winner in this week's shuffle. Peter MacKay, no matter how nice a face you put on it, was the biggest loser, though Chuck Strahl, going from Agriculture to Indian Affairs and losing his role as the political minister for B.C., is a close second.

Peter MacKay is going into the department of Defence at a time when there is nothing left to do other than faithfully recite the scripts that will be prepared for him in the Prime Minister's Office.

He'll be on the front line explaining why Canada is in Afghanistan, or maybe, why Canada's pulling out. Either way, he'll have little or no say in the decision, but if it's an unpopular call, Mr. MacKay will be the front man collecting the criticism. If it's not, the prime minister will be there, taking the credit.

Jack Granatstein, a retired university professor and expert on Canada's military, was one of the few commentators to have a good word to say about Gordon O'Connor. He pointed out in a recent newspaper article that Mr. O'Connor accomplished a lot during his brief tenure as Defence minister. As minister, he played a major role in the recent plethora of military purchases - new aircraft, new tanks, new ships, new artillery pieces and new mine-resistant troop carriers. It was a $20-billion spending spree that will leave Peter MacKay with little more to do than issue purchase orders for replacement boot laces, and, of course, be the spokeman dealing with any criticism of the Afghan mission. Hopefully, he'll be given enough political muscle to wrestle Gen. 'Rambo' Rick Hillier out of the media spotlight he's come to love.

Most of the media, including the Maritime media, have generously praised Mr. MacKay's appointment. But those who saw a bright future for Mr. MacKay must be wondering how a man reputed to be an accomplished political operator and a veteran of the Conservative party's nasty internecine wars was out- manoeuvred by a rookie.

Mr. Bernier must wake up at night wondering if he is really the minister of Foreign Affairs, or if it is just a dream. Mr. MacKay likely lies awake trying to figure out what happened and where he went wrong.

(The ministers are: Rob Nicholson, Justice; Monte Solberg, Human Resources; Lawrence Cannon, Transport; and Tony Clement, Health. There are 32 ministers in Stephen Harper's new 'new' government, but only one face - his).

Alan Holman is a freelance journalist living in Charlottetown. He can be reached at: acholman@pei.eastlink.ca

====


PUBLICATION: The Telegram (St. John's)
DATE: 2007.08.18
SECTION: International
PAGE: D11
SOURCE: CP
BYLINE: Murray Brewster
DATELINE: Roven, France
ILLUSTRATION:Maj. Stephen Gallagher (right), who just returned form eightmonths in Afghanistan with the Royal Canadian Artillery, chats with Dieppe veteran Paul Duhaime in Rouen, France, Friday. A group of veterans are in France to mark the 65th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid. - Photo by The Canadian Press
WORD COUNT: 360

Veterans old and young find rapport over Dieppe, Afghanistan


Maj. Stephen Gallager understands the gritty, gut-churning feeling of war after his eight months of fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

As he walks on the beaches of Dieppe, France, this weekend with a handful of elderly veterans of the failed Allied assault 65 years ago, Gallager's fervent hope is that one day he'll be able to make a similar peaceful trek to his former battlefields.

"Maybe in 15 years we'll be going back to Zhari and Panjwaii and doing one of these trips to Afghanistan," said Gallager, 42, a former artillery commander now a gunnery instructor at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown, N.B.

"That's what I hope. If we do it then, that'll mean we achieved our job the way these guys did."

He joined 15 former Second World War soldiers as they journeyed back, many likely for the last time, to where most of them fought a desperate - some say futile - battle to temporarily wrestle control of the northern French port from the Germans on Aug. 19, 1942.

More than 800 Canadian soldiers died in the raid and another 100 later succumbed to wounds, bringing the total death toll to 913. More than 600 were wounded and 1,950 captured.

A handful of sailors and Royal Canadian Air Forces pilots were also lost in the raid, which was meant to test German defences.

Riding the tour bus through the rolling pastures of France, the old soldiers and Gallager were reflective.

The troops Gallager fought alongside also spilled their blood in farmland, but it was in the vastly different grape and poppy fields west of Kandahar.

Since 2002, 66 Canadians soldiers have died in Afghanistan, nearly 300 have been wounded - including two on Friday west of Kandahar.

The veterans are full of questions and have opened to Gallager as a brother in arms, someone of a younger generation with whom they can talk.

"I can relate to a lot of their stories," he said. "Funny enough, they're eager to talk and tell me their stories."

"A lot of the veterans of Dieppe and the (Second World) War don't talk about their stories. But now we have young soldiers who can relate exactly to what their feeling were and what their thoughts are."

Paul Dumaine, 86, listened attentively to tales of the dirty guerrilla fighting in Afghanistan.

"Our soldiers today have it very hard," said Dumaine, a former member of the Fusiliers Mont Royal. He was wounded and taken prisoner. He still bears the scars of the head trauma he suffered.

"At least in our day we knew who were fighting. There were mines, but not like today."

"Back then we knew the Nazis had to be stopped. Today he knows the terrorists must be stopped."

"If I were younger I would be there."

====


PUBLICATION: The Telegram (St. John's)
DATE: 2007.08.18
SECTION: International
PAGE: D10
SOURCE: CP
BYLINE: Martin Ouellet
DATELINE: Kandahar, Afghanistan
WORD COUNT: 281

Two more Canadian soldiers injured in Afghan roadside bomb attacks this week


Two Canadian soldiers were slightly injured Friday after their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb, the Canadian military said.

Both soldiers were riding in a Track Light Armoured Vehicle, or T-LAV, along Highway 1 as part of a supply convoy for Canadian troops when they drove over the bomb.

"I am relieved the track vehicle was armoured and protected their lives," said military spokesman Lt.-Cmdr. Hubert Genest.

"They're safe and sound and, hopefully, they're going to be able to return to work."

Genest said it's a relief their injuries are minor because the first report of the attack indicated serious wounds.

Both suffered upper body injuries. One was quickly released while the other was being held for observation, military officials said.

Neither soldier was identified by name, but both were members of the Lord Strathcona's Horse Regiment of Edmonton and have about two weeks remaining before the end of their tours, officials said.

Seven Canadian soldiers have been injured since Sunday in roadside attacks.

Friday's attack took place just inside Kandahar province's dangerous Zhari district, at a spot some 10 kilometres west of Masum Ghar. The village itself is in the province's Panjwaii district.

The soldiers were taken by helicopter to a hospital at Kandahar Airfield 30 kilometres to the east.

The T-LAV sustained extensive damage and will be towed from the scene later, military officials said.

On Sunday, five Canadian soldiers received minor injuries when their convoy hit a roadside bomb and was attacked by rocket-propelled grenades. They were treated mostly for leg and back wounds.

The Zhari district is considered one of the most dangerous in Kandahar province, according to army officials.

"What's going on in Zhari is very worrying," said Genest.

Zhari district's police chief and his three children were killed by a suicide bomber earlier in the day. Another daughter was injured.

The Canadian military says the two incidents were not related.

On Aug. 1, fresh troops from the Royal 22nd Regiment, also known as the Van Doos, arrived in Afghanistan from Quebec.

Canada has about 2,500 troops in the war-torn country as part of the NATO force supporting the Afghan government.

Sixty-six Canadian soldiers and a diplomat have died in Afghanistan since 2002.

The most recent Canadian fatalities occurred July 4 when a powerful roadside bomb killed six soldiers and an Afghan interpreter, ripping through their RG-31 armoured vehicle on a gravel road.

====


DATE: 2007.08.17
KEYWORDS: DEFENCE INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE POLITICS
PUBLICATION: cpw
WORD COUNT: 421

Tell Bush we're out of Afghanistan in '09, Dion tells Harper


OTTAWA (CP) _ Liberal Leader Stephane Dion says the prime minister should make it clear that Canada will soon withdraw from its current combat role in Afghanistan when he meets next week with U.S. President George W. Bush.

``The prime minister should notify to NATO, the Americans and the government of Afghanistan that our combat mission in Kandahar will effectively end in February 2009,'' Dion told a news conference Friday.

``The more we wait, the less we are a good partner for our allies.''

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will meet with Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon for two days at the beginning of next week for a summit in Montebello, Que.

Harper will also hold separate, private talks with Calderon on Wednesday.

The prime minister has made it clear this summer that Canada's combat role in Afghanistan will end in February 2009. Initially, he said no decision could be made on the future of the mission would be made without a parliamentary consensus.

Last month, he said NATO's failure to persuade other countries to take on combat duties in southern Afghanistan made it impossible for Canada to consider extending its fighting role there.

The PM should also use the summit to insist that no new trade deals be negotiated that would allow fresh water to be removed from Canada, Dion added.

``Prime Minister Harper must advise President Bush that Canada will not negotiate the bulk removal of water from any drainage basins in Canada.''

As well, Ottawa should insist that the United States crack down on gun smuggling into Canada, he said.

``It is estimated that more than half of gun crimes committed in Canada's major cities are with guns smuggled into our country from the United States,'' Dion said.

``Instead of weakening gun control in Canada, Mr. Harper should strengthen the control of illegal trafficking of guns across our border.''

Dion also insisted that Harper demand that terror suspect Omar Khadr be removed from the U.S. military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and transferred to the United States to be tried in a legitimate court.

Khadr is among 14 so-called ``high-value'' detainees who were declared by the Pentagon earlier this month as enemy combatants.

The decision means Khadr and the others will be held indefinitely at the detention centre and put on trial for war crimes in a military system mired in legal challenges and hampered by lengthy delays.

The trial system has been called into question by recent court rulings, including a decision by one military judge to throw out a case against Khadr over the wording of the ``enemy combatant'' designation.

Khadr, now 20, was captured when he was a 15 years old during a firefight with U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2002.

He was charged with homicide for allegedly throwing a grenade that killed a U.S. army medic.

Khadr must be given the same legal protection from Canada that would be offered to any other Canadian citizen, including help from Canada's consular officials in the U.S., said Dion.

====


DATE: 2007.08.17
KEYWORDS: INTERNATIONAL DEFENCE POLITICS
PUBLICATION: cpw
WORD COUNT: 93

5 civilians killed in clash in eastern Afghanistan


KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) _ Five civilians have been killed during a firefight between NATO soldiers and Taliban insurgents and three others were wounded in eastern Afghanistan.

A statement says the NATO troops were initially hit by a roadside bomb before coming under small-arms fire and mortar attacks.

The alliance did not disclose the exact location of the incident.

NATO says the ensuing firefight left five Afghan civilians dead and three others wounded.

Two Taliban fighters were also wounded.

There were no reports of alliance casualties.

``Such incidents are regrettable and our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of those killed and wounded in this very unfortunate incident,'' the NATO statement said.

``Every effort is being made to provide the best medical treatment to the injured Afghans.''

====


DATE: 2007.08.17
KEYWORDS: INTERNATIONAL DEFENCE POLITICS
PUBLICATION: cpw
WORD COUNT: 197

2 Canadian soldiers wounded in roadside bombing in Afghanistan's Zhari district


KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (CP) _ Two Canadian soldiers were injured Friday after their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb, the Canadian military said.

The attack took place just inside Kandahar province's dangerous Zhari district at a spot some 10 kilometres west of Masum Ghar. The village itself is in the province's Panjwaii district.

Both victims were riding in a Track Light Armoured Vehicle, or T-LAV, along Highway 1 as part of a supply convoy for Canadian troops when they drove over the bomb.

They were taken by helicopter to a hospital at Kandahar Air Field, 30 kilometres to the east.

Both suffered upper body injuries. One was quickly released while the other was being held for observation, military officials said.

Neither soldier was identified by name, but both were members of the Lord Strathcona's Horse Regiment of Edmonton and have about two weeks remaining before the end of their tours, officials said.

``I feel relieved because the earlier reports were announcing that there lives were in danger,'' said military spokesman Lt.-Cmdr. Hubert Genest.

``They are going to be safe and sound and they'll be able to, hopefully, return to work.''

The T-LAV suffered extensive damage and will be towed from the scene later, military officials said.

The Zhari district is considered one of the most dangerous in Kandahar province, according to army officials.

Zhari district's police chief and his three children were killed by a suicide bomber earlier in the day. Another daughter was injured.

The Canadian military says the two incidents were not related.

====


DATE: 2007.08.17
KEYWORDS: DEFENCE INTERNATIONAL
PUBLICATION: cpw
WORD COUNT: 1293

Ammunition shortage squeezes police across U.S., officer training curtailed


Troops training for and fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are firing more than one billion bullets a year, contributing to ammunition shortages hitting police departments across the United States and preventing some officers from training with the weapons they carry on patrol.

An Associated Press review of dozens of police and sheriff's departments found that many are struggling with delays of as long as a year for both handgun and rifle ammunition. And the shortages are resulting in prices as much as double what departments were paying just a year ago.

``There were warehouses full of it. Now, that isn't the case,'' said Al Aden, police chief in Pierre, S.D.

Departments in all parts of the country reported delays or reductions in training and, in at least one case, a proposal to use paint-ball guns in firing drills as a way to conserve real ammo.

Forgoing proper, repetitive weapons training comes with a price on the streets, police say, in diminished accuracy, quickness on the draw and basic decision-making skills.

``You are not going to be as sharp or as good, especially if an emergency situation comes up,'' said Sgt. James MacGillis, range master for the Milwaukee police. ``The better-trained officer is the one that is less likely to use force.''

The pinch is blamed on a skyrocketing demand for ammunition that followed the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, driven by the training needs of a military at war, and, ironically, police departments increasing their own practice regimens following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. The increasingly voracious demand for copper and lead overseas, especially in China, has also been a factor.

The military is in no danger of running out because it gets the overwhelming majority of its ammunition from a dedicated plant outside Kansas City. But police are at the mercy of commercial manufacturers.

None of the departments surveyed by the AP said it had pulled guns off the street, and many departments reported no problems buying ammunition. But others told the AP they face higher prices and months-long delays.

In Oklahoma City, for example, officers cannot qualify with AR-15 rifles because the department does not have enough .223 -calibre ammunition _ a round similar to that fired by the military's M-16 and M4 rifles. Last fall, an ammunition shortage forced the department to cancel qualification courses for several different guns.

``We've got to teach the officers how to use the weapon, and they've got to be able to go to the range and qualify with the weapon and show proficiency,'' said department spokesman Capt. Steve McCool. ``And you can't do that unless you have the rounds.''

In Milwaukee, supplies of .40 -calibre handgun bullets and .223 -calibre rifle rounds have gotten so low the department has repeatedly dipped into its ammunition reserves. Some weapons training has already been cut by 30 per cent, and lessons on rifles have been altered to conserve bullets.

Unlike troops in an active war zone, patrol officers rarely fire their weapons in the line of duty. Even then, an officer in a firefight isn't likely to shoot more than a dozen rounds, said Asheville, N.C., police training officer Lt. Gary Gudac. That, he said, makes training with live ammunition for real-life situations _ such as a vehicle stop _ so essential.

``We spend a lot of money and time making sure the officers are able to shoot a moving target or shoot back into a vehicle,'' Gudac said. ``Any time we have a deadly force encounter, one of the first things we pull is the officer's qualification records.''

In Trenton, N.J., a lack of available ammunition led the city to give up plans to convert its force to .45 -calibre handguns. Last year, the sheriff's department in Bergen County, N.J., had to borrow 26,000 rounds of .40 -calibre ammunition to complete twice-a-year training for officers.

``Now we're planning at least a year and a half, even two years in advance,'' said Bergen County Detective David Macey, a firearms examiner.

In Phoenix, an order for .38 -calibre rounds placed a year ago has yet to arrive, meaning no officer can currently qualify with a .38 Special revolver.

``We got creative in how we do in training,'' said Sgt. Bret Draughn, who supervises the department's ammunition purchases. ``We had to cut out extra practice sessions. We cut back in certain areas so we don't have to cut out mandatory training.''

In Wyoming, the state leaned on its ammunition supplier earlier this year so every state trooper could qualify on the standard-issue AR-15 rifle, said Capt. Bill Morse. Rifle rounds scheduled to arrive in January did not show up until May, leading to a rush of troopers trying to qualify by the deadline.

``We didn't (initially) have enough ammunition to qualify everybody in the state,'' Morse said.

In Indianapolis, police spokesman Lt. Jeff Duhamell said the department has enough ammunition for now, but is considering using paint balls during a two-week training course, during which recruits fire normally fire about 1,000 rounds each.

``It's all based on the demands in Iraq,'' Duhamell said. ``A lot of the companies are trying to keep up with the demands of the war and the demands of training police departments. The price increased too _ went up 15 to 20 per cent _ and they were advising us ... to order as much as you can.''

Higher prices are common. In Madison, Wis., police Sgt. Lauri Schwartz said the city spent $40,000 on ammunition in 2004, a figure that rose to US$53,000 this year. The department is budgeting for prices 22 per cent higher in 2008. In Arkansas, Fort Smith police now pay twice as much as they did last year for 500-round cases of .40 -calibre ammunition.

``We really don't have a lot of choices,'' Cpl. Mikeal Bates said. ``In our profession, we have to have it.''

The Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Mo., directly supplies the military with more than 80 per cent of its small-arms ammunition. Production at the factory has more than tripled since 2002, rising from roughly 425 million rounds that year to 1.4 billion rounds in 2006, according to the Joint Munitions Command at the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois.

Most of the rest of the military's small-arms ammunition comes from Falls Church, Va.-based General Dynamics Corp., which relies partly on subcontractors _ some of whom also supply police departments. Right now, their priority is filling the military's orders, said Darren Newsom, general manager of The Hunting Shack in Stevensville, Mont., which ships 250,000 rounds a day as it supplies ammunition to 3,000 police departments nationwide.

``There's just a major shortage on ammo in the U.S. right now,'' he said, pointing to his current backorder for 2.5 million rounds of .223 -calibre ammunition. ``It's just terrible.''

Police say the .223 -calibre rifle round is generally the hardest to find. Even though rounds used by the military are not exactly the same as those sold to police, they are made from the same metals and often using the same equipment.

Alliant Techsystems Inc., which runs the Lake City plant for the Army, also produced more than five billion rounds for hunting and police use last year, making the Edina, Minn.-based company the country's largest ammunition manufacturer. Spokesman Bryce Hallowell questioned whether the Iraq war had a direct effect on the ammunition available to police, but said there was no doubt that surging demand was affecting supply.

``We had looked at this and didn't know if it was an anomaly or a long-term trend,'' Hallowell said. ``We started running plants 24/7. Now we think it is long-term, so we're going to build more production capability.''

That unrelenting demand for ammunition will continue to put a premium on planning ahead, said Maricopa County, Ariz., Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who so far has kept his department from experiencing any shortage-related problems.

``If we have a problem, I'll go make an issue of it _ if I have to go to Washington or the military,'' Arpaio said. ``That is a serious thing ... if you don't have the firepower to protect the public and yourself.''

====


DATE: 2007.08.17
KEYWORDS: DEFENCE INTERNATIONAL
PUBLICATION: bnw
WORD COUNT: 159

Navy-Drones


MONTREAL _ The Canadian navy will soon be looking for a few good drones.

National Defence plans to conduct a study next year on how the country's frigates can safely launch and recover unmanned aerial vehicles -- known as U-A-V's -- at sea.

The army and air force have been using drones, which are controlled by technicians on the ground, for the last five years.

An entire flight of unmanned aircraft has been doing yeoman's service in Afghanistan, scouting the vast desert wastelands for threats to troops on the ground.

This represents the navy's first foray into the rapidly developing, high-tech field, where video, infrared images and a variety of other surveillance of targets can be beamed from the air back to commanders in real-time.

The country's 12 patrol frigates are equipped to carry helicopters and would require modification, depending upon the unmanned aerial vehicle chosen by the navy.

The federal defence research lab in Valcartier, Quebec will sort through the various U-A-V models on offer to pick the one that's best for the harsh conditions at sea.

(BN)

====


DATE: 2007.08.17
KEYWORDS: DEFENCE INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE POLITICS
PUBLICATION: bnw
WORD COUNT: 107

INDEX:Defence, International, Justice, Politics


OTTAWA - Liberal Leader Stephane Dion has issued a list of demands that he says Prime Minister Harper should make when he meets next week with U.S. President George W. Bush.

First and foremost, Dion says Harper should make clear to Bush that Canada will withdraw from its current combat role in southern Afghanistan in early 2009.

Dion also wants Harper to insist that no new trade deals be negotiated that would allow water to be taken from basins in Canada.

As well, Dion says Ottawa should insist that the United States crack down on gun smuggling into Canada.

Harper is to meet with Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon for two days next week for a summit in Montebello, Que.

Harper will also hold separate, private talks with Calderon on Wednesday.

(BN)

====


DATE: 2007.08.17
KEYWORDS: INTERNATIONAL DEFENCE
PUBLICATION: bnw
WORD COUNT: 88

INDEX:International, Defence


KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Two Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan have been lightly injured today after their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb.

The attack took place 10 kilometres west of Masum Ghar, a village in Kandahar province's Zhari district.

Both victims were riding in a Track Light Armoured Vehicle as part of a supply convoy when they drove over the bomb.

The military says wounded soldiers are being transferred by helicopter to a hospital at Kandahar Air Field.

Meanwhile, Zhari district's police chief and his three children were killed by a suicide bomber earlier in the day. Another daughter was injured.

The Canadian military says the two incidents aren't related.

(BN)

====


IDNUMBER 200708180064
PUBLICATION: Times Colonist (Victoria)
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Religion
PAGE: B4
DATELINE: GENEVA
BYLINE: Robert Evans
SOURCE: Reuters
WORD COUNT: 389

Drive for religious conversion code gets boost


GENEVA -- A drive by Christian churches to agree on a code of conduct on how they win converts has been boosted by the decision of a major evangelical movement to join in, the World Council of Churches said last week.

At a gathering in Toulouse, the Vancouver-based World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), which says it represents some 420 million believers in 128 countries, announced it would sign on to the project, the WCC reported.

"We see this as a major step forward on the way to getting the code agreed among organizations representing a huge body of Christians," said spokesman Juan Michel of the WCC, which is leading the project jointly with the Vatican.

Michel said a draft of the code, which will be voluntary but will establish what methods should be banned for Christians in missionary and proselytising work, was expected to be drafted at another meeting next year and finalized by 2010.

The WEA focuses on spreading the Christian gospel and was for years at odds with the WCC, which groups movements that emphasize ecumenism, or finding common language among faiths.

But recently it has moved closer to the WCC, whose member churches -- including the Greek, Russian and other Orthodox faiths as well as major Protestant movements like the World Lutheran Federation -- represent some 560 million believers.

There is mounting antagonism in some Islamic countries toward Christians suspected of trying to spread their faith among Muslims.

The fiercely Islamic Taliban seized 23 South Korean church workers in Afghanistan last month, killing two of them.

Officials involved in the code project say the rulebook would be meant to apply to all proselytising, both between and among faiths -- sometimes dubbed "sheep stealing." In Latin America, Africa and Asia, there has been tension setting Catholics and mainstream Protestant churches against evangelizing groups seen as unfairly competing to win souls.

When the WCC and the Vatican launched the effort last year they declared that although freedom to choose a religion was a "non-negotiable" human right anywhere in the world, what they called "the obsession of converting others" had to be cured.

The WCC report of the meeting did not specify which conversion methods might be banned, saying that deciding this was "a daunting task given the many contexts involved." These included "living as a Christian minority in India, preaching the gospel to Turks in Austria and being a Lutheran missionary to Muslim Nigeria." The code should also "address other religions' concerns about Christian proselytism."

====


IDNUMBER 200708180032
PUBLICATION: Times Colonist (Victoria)
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: A9
ILLUSTRATION:Colour Photo: Ahmad Masood, Reuters / Afghan policemen keepwatch near a truck after Taliban insurgents set it on fire on the Kabul-Ghazni highway yesterday. ;
DATELINE: KANDAHAR, Afghanistan
BYLINE: Andrew Mayeda
SOURCE: CanWest News Service
WORD COUNT: 323

Roadside bomb injures two more Canadian soldiers


KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- Two Canadian soldiers were slightly injured yesterday after a roadside bomb struck their supply convoy in the volatile Zhari district of Kandahar province. It is the second time in less than a week that Canadian soldiers have been injured while plying the roads west of Kandahar City on supply convoys.

The injuries to the two men are not life threatening, said military spokesman Lt.-Cmdr. Hubert Genest. They were evacuated to Kandahar Airfield for treatment.

Earlier yesterday, the chief of Zhari district, Khairuddin Achakzai, was killed by a suicide bomber in Kandahar City. Police said a suicide bomber wearing a vest packed with explosives was waiting outside the politician's home. Three of his children were also killed, while two of his other children were injured in the blast.

Genest said the timing of the two attacks was odd, but he said it was too early to say if they were part of a co-ordinated assault.

The attack on the military convoy occurred shortly after lunch, about 30 kilometres west of Kandahar City. The convoy was headed to the western Maywand district of the province to resupply troops stationed there.

The soldiers were travelling in a T-LAV, a heavily armoured vehicle with tank-like tracks. It is primarily used to transport personnel. Genest said he had no details on the nature of the bomb. But, he added, "I feel relieved that the vehicle saved their life."

The two injured soldiers were members of the Lord Strathcona's Horse, based in Edmonton. They were about two weeks from heading home, said Genest. They are not being identified, in line with military policy.

Early reports suggested the soldiers had been seriously injured, but Genest said they "will be hopefully able to return to work as soon as possible."

Canada's operations in southern Afghanistan are now under the command of Quebec's Royal 22nd Regiment, known in English Canada as the Van Doo.

Sixty-six Canadian soldiers and one diplomat have died in Afghanistan since 2002, but the mortality rate has increased in recent months.

====


IDNUMBER 200708180014
PUBLICATION: Times Colonist (Victoria)
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: A5
DATELINE: WASHINGTON
BYLINE: Norma Greenaway
SOURCE: CanWest News Service
WORD COUNT: 526

Bush has a lot riding on meeting


WASHINGTON -- Weighed down by an unpopular war in Iraq and declining political clout at home, U.S. President George W. Bush arrives at the Three Amigos summit in Canada on Monday with a slim agenda and little wind in his sails.

Still, U.S. analysts say, the two-day get-together with his Canadian and Mexican counterparts in the Quebec resort town of Montebello offers Bush a chance to show that his presidency has not stalled and that he is committed to enhancing trade and security in North America.

They also say Bush wants to be constructive and will try not to do or say anything that could backfire on Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his minority government.

"President Bush is trying to demonstrate that he is engaged with allies and engaged in international affairs and foreign policy outside of the prism of Iraq," said Scotty Greenwood, executive director of the Washington-based Canadian American Business Council. "He's trying to demonstrate that he's committed to getting it right in the neighbourhood."

Bush meets Monday and Tuesday with Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon, who, unlike Bush, will stay on for an extra day to spend private time with Harper at the prime minister's Harrington Lake retreat in Quebec's Gatineau Hills.

The summit agenda is loose and holds the prospect of discussion on everything from the war in Afghanistan and upheaval in the Middle East to climate change and controversial new passport requirements for anyone travelling into the United States from Canada and elsewhere.

A major topic will be how to make the continent "safer and more prosperous," White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe told reporters in Crawford, Texas, where Bush was relaxing before travelling to Canada.

He was referring to the Security and Prosperity Partnership, launched two years ago in 2005 in Waco, Texas. It involves negotiations among officials from the three countries on a package of regulatory reforms designed to improve the North American business climate and minimize border disruptions in the post-9/11 world.

Officials also are working on a continent-wide approach to managing flu pandemics and a co-ordinated emergency planning system, two issues about which the leaders could announce agreements at the summit.

The process, however, has been decried as overly secretive by critics in all three countries. And, after two years, it has little to show in terms of results.

Chris Sands, a specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, said Bush, eyeing the history books, wants the three leaders to inject new life into the SPP process.

"For a lot of other people, it is just an acronym," Sands said, "but for him, he's invested time in this. It stands out as potentially the most significant new initiative of Bush's second term and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere."

Bush and Harper, who will have a private session Monday, also will talk about the state of affairs in Afghanistan, where both countries have troops on the ground.

Harper has already said the current Canadian mission will not be extended beyond February 2009 without parliamentary consensus.

The view from Washington is that Bush, who would undoubtedly prefer that Canada stay the course beyond 2009, will be extremely careful not to stir up trouble on the subject.

"The president's people are well aware of the difficulties Harper has on this," said David Biette, director of the Woodrow Wilson Center's Canada Institute in Washington.

====


IDNUMBER 200708180197
PUBLICATION: The Toronto Star
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Ont
SECTION: News
PAGE: A18
BYLINE: Bruce Campion-Smith
SOURCE: Toronto Star
COPYRIGHT: © 2007 Torstar Corporation
WORD COUNT: 338

Dion: End combat by '09; Wants Canadian troops pulled from frontline role when engagement in Kandahar is over


Canadian troops should be pulled off the frontlines and kept far from any engagements with insurgents once the current combat mission in Kandahar ends in 2009, Liberal Leader Stephane Dion says.

Dion's vision of Canada's next role in Afghanistan, where troops wouldn't be in the line of fire, could be a major stumbling block in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's attempt to seek a political consensus on the future of the mission this fall.

The Prime Minister is unlikely to agree with Dion's demand that troops not be exposed to combat of any sort, even if they are helping mentor Afghan soldiers.

In the advance of next week's meeting of the leaders of Mexico, the United States and Canada, Dion yesterday called on Harper to tell U.S. President George W. Bush that Canada's "combat role" in Kandahar will end when the current commitment ends in February 2009.

Dion wants negotiations to begin with NATO to find another nation to take Canada's place.

"Clarity is needed," he told a news conference.

"After three years to be at the front, having so much of the burden to do, I think it would be very legitimate ... to say that we will do something else, but the combat mission in Kandahar as such ends."

He said he was open to another mission "in Afghanistan or elsewhere in the world ... we are always (ready) to help for development, always there to help for reconstruction, training.

"There are certainly different things that we may do in good partnership with the international community."

It's not the first time Dion has demanded an end to the combat mission. But yesterday, he went further in saying he doesn't want troops to see combat of any sort if they remain in the country.

A statement released later by his spokesperson seemed to place tight restrictions on what kind of military role the Liberals might agree to if another Afghan mission were authorized.

"It cannot involve a combat role," said the statement sent yesterday by email from Jean-Francois Del Torchio.

"That means, Canadian soldiers will in no way be involved in a mission where engagement with the Taliban or other hostile forces is proactively sought.

"That also means that our soldiers would not accompany any other country's forces (Afghanistan or other) as they engage in those types of operations."

In June, Harper said the military mission in Kandahar would continue only if he received a consensus from the opposition parties.

====


IDNUMBER 200708180183
PUBLICATION: The Toronto Star
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Ont
SECTION: Ideas
PAGE: ID01
ILLUSTRATION:DAVID GUTTENFELDER AP In this file photo, Afghan children watchCanadian troops and Afghan army soldiers patrol near the Mas'um Ghar base in Kandahar. ;
BYLINE: Thomas Walkom
SOURCE: Toronto Star
COPYRIGHT: © 2007 Torstar Corporation
WORD COUNT: 1337

Memo to Minister MacKay:; The hearts-and-minds campaign isn't working. It's time to talk peace with the Taliban


It is time to rethink Afghanistan. The war there is not working. Taliban insurgents are increasing the scope of their attacks. There is more crime, more drugs, more chaos and less patience among the populace for President Hamid Karzai's NATO-backed government.

In most of the West, political support for the war - never high - is dwindling.

Here in Canada, Afghanistan is viewed through the lens of domestic politics. The primary aim of all parties is to get Canadian troops out of danger. The opposition wants the combat mission in Kandahar wound up by at least February 2009. The Conservative government, while still nominally committed to combat, now talks of training Afghan forces so they can do the fighting instead.

Yet this domestic focus obscures the broader picture. When Karzai said this month that the security situation in Afghanistan has "definitely deteriorated" he was understating the problem. In three southern provinces, including Kandahar, terrorist attacks have increased more than 10-fold since 2002. In Kabul and surrounding areas, they have more than tripled.

All of this puts the Canadian debate in a different and more difficult context. It is not just a question of optics and spin, of replacing one defence minister (Gordon O'Connor) with another (Peter MacKay). If Canada pulls its 2, 500 troops out of combat by February 2009, as Prime Minister Stephen Harper has suggested, will anyone replace them?

True, 37 nations are involved in the NATO-led operation. But most have made only symbolic deployments. Austria, for instance, has contributed two soldiers; Iceland nine. Just 13 of the 37 have sent more than 500 troops; of these only four - the United States, Britain, the Netherlands and Canada - have been willing to take part in sustained, offensive ground combat. There is no indication that this reluctance is easing.

But if too few are willing to fight, what is to stop the insurgency from spreading?

And if the insurgency spreads, how safe will Canadian troops be after 2009 - even if their focus does shift to digging wells or training Afghan soldiers? Roadside bombs can kill peacekeepers as well as combat troops.

The latest Afghan war is a curious conflict. Launched by the U.S. in retaliation for the 9/11 terror attacks, its purpose was never clear.

Was it to simply oust the Taliban? Was it to capture Al Qaeda terror chief Osama bin Laden? Or was it to reconstruct Afghanistan, improve the lot of women and introduce liberal democracy?

At different times, different rationales were given. Initially, the U.S. fixated on Bin Laden. America welcomed allies, including Canada, in its combat mission. But it wanted a free hand to wage war as it saw fit.

For its part, the United Nations focused on creating a stable government.

In late 2001, it authorized the North Atlantic Treaty Organization members to form a separate international force to aid Karzai. These soldiers would not engage in offensive combat. Most important, they would stay out of America's way. Canada contributed troops to this, too.

Few worried about the Taliban in those early days. It seemed a spent force.

In fact it was not. As resentment against Karzai's warlord-dominated government grew, the Taliban found new recruits. The post-invasion renaissance of the opium trade provided the Islamist rebels with cash to pay these recruits.

Operating from safe havens in neighbouring Pakistan, Taliban leaders gradually reconstructed their lethal insurgency.

By 2005, the U.S., with its own forces bogged down in Iraq, had switched gears. Finding Bin Laden was no longer the priority. Instead, the main goal was to defeat the Taliban so Washington could draw down its troop strength.

Most important, the new U.S. strategy called for NATO to take over more of the fighting.

Canada signed onto that, too. In early 2006, Canadian combat troops arrived in Kandahar.

Under the new counterinsurgency doctrine, the aim was not just to kill Taliban fighters but to win what military analysts called "hearts and minds." Some soldiers would fight; others would build schools or dig wells.

Yet from the outset, the hearts and minds strategy was bedevilled by contradictions. On one day, soldiers might enter a village to hand out schoolbooks to children. On the next, different soldiers might enter the same village to arrest the fathers of these children as suspected Taliban sympathizers.

The fact that different troops operated under different commands did not help. A NATO-led reconstruction team reporting to one command might take weeks to build up trust with a village, only to see that trust evaporate as the result of an air strike ordered by U.S.-led counterterror forces reporting to another command.

Indeed, air strikes added a whole new layer of problems. To Western governments worried about voters at home, air power was politically crucial. It allowed Western forces to kill insurgents without putting their own troops at risk. However, air strikes also killed innocent Afghan civilians, thereby fatally undermining the entire hearts and minds campaign.

All of which has led to the impasse now faced by Canada and other NATO countries. We are waging a war that neither we nor our enemies can win. What is to be done?

The most common suggestion is to keep doing the same things but with more money and soldiers. In essence, that's what the Canadian government is saying when it tries - unsuccessfully - to pressure other NATO countries into sending more fighting troops.

In the U.S., the do-the-same-but-more idea is also gaining support. Democrats see the Afghan conflict as a convenient vehicle for bashing Bush's Iraq adventure without seeming anti-military. Under this storyline, Afghanistan is the war Bush should have fought, what The New York Times calls "the good war. "

Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama typifies this line of reasoning when he says he would bring U.S. troops out of Iraq and pour them into Afghanistan.

The assumption here is that sheer military power will be more effective in Afghanistan than Iraq. But is there any reason to think this is true?

Steven Metz chairs the regional planning department at the U.S. Army War College's strategic studies institute. His job is to think about war. His speciality is counterinsurgency.

In June, Metz published an intriguing paper called Rethinking Insurgency. His point is that American military planners mistakenly continue to view insurgents in terms of the Marxist national liberation struggles of the 1950s or '60s.

These 20th-century insurgents, writes Metz, wanted to seize power; America, therefore, allied itself with the governments it was trying to overthrow.

Modern insurgents, however, are more diffuse. Their interest lies less in running the state than in creating a space in which they can operate. Indeed, in such situations, both sides - insurgents and government - may want to keep the conflict alive. That's because the crime spawned by civil strife can make elites on both sides rich.

In this context, a quick end to violence quickly makes more sense than years of counterinsurgency warfare. The pathology of violence and national breakdown, Metz writes, poses a far greater strategic threat to the West than the victory of an insurgent group, even one like the Taliban that is demonstrably unfriendly.

To achieve this end, the U.S. and its friends should act as neutral mediators and peacekeepers, even if this means dealing with rebels that Americans find ideologically odious. In terms of protecting Western interests, a flawed peace is preferable to an endless war.

Metz is hesitant to apply his analysis to Afghanistan today. "I'm not trying to offer specific policy advice," he said in an interview.

But he did say that the U.S. made a fundamental mistake in 2001 by refusing to negotiate with the Taliban. "It may have made sense to draw the Taliban in, in 2001 or 2002," he said. "Give them a stake."

Now, he went on, it is probably too late. Attitudes on both sides have hardened.

"In Afghanistan, we are probably on as good a course as we could be."

Still, Metz' analysis raises a critical question. For Canada and other Western nations, what is more dangerous: failing to defeat the Taliban, or allowing the war and its accompanying social breakdown to continue indefinitely?

To Michael Byers, who directs the Liu Institute at the University of British Columbia, the answer is clear: It is time to end the counterinsurgency campaign. Now.

Byers, too, says the U.S. made a fundamental mistake by focusing on counterinsurgency. But the damage has been done. Now the least worst solution is a political accommodation with the Taliban and the warlords.

"We've got to accept that Afghanistan cannot be subject to centralized control. Instead, we have to acknowledge that in some parts of the country, the local warlords and the Taliban are in power," he says.

And instead of the NATO and U.S. counterinsurgency campaigns, he would have the UN directly run a more classic, peacekeeping mission.

"The optimal solution would be a proper UN development operation. It wouldn't be perfect by a long shot; it could fail.

"But it couldn't be worse than where we are now."

====


IDNUMBER 200708180134
PUBLICATION: The Toronto Star
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Ont
SECTION: Editorial
PAGE: AA08
COPYRIGHT: © 2007 Torstar Corporation
WORD COUNT: 397

When Harper plays host


As summits go, the Three Amigos meeting in Montebello is likely to be a snoozer. It is hard to imagine Prime Minister Stephen Harper, U.S. President George Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon sorting out the global stock meltdown, Mideast peace, Arctic sovereignty, drug cartels, China's shoddy exports and climate change when they get together Monday and Tuesday.

The Security and Prosperity Partnership compadres, all conservatives, may swap thoughts on these hot issues, but any deals they cut will focus on technical topics: cross-border co-operation on health issues such as avian flu, product labelling, labour mobility and the like.

And the summiteers will be carefully insulated from critics such as Maude Barlow of the Council of Canadians, who are pressing - with good reason - for more transparency when bureaucrats and business leaders hold clubby meetings under the SPP to step up continental security in the aftermath of 9/11, and to press economic integration.

Yet Harper as summit host can still leverage his brief bilateral session with Bush on Monday to flag a few 9/11-related issues that roil Canadians, before Bush's dwindling political capital runs out.

First and foremost, Harper should invite Bush to start strong-arming our North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies to signal readiness to step in and take over from Canadian combat troops in Kandahar, Afghanistan, when our mission ends in February 2009. We have been carrying a heavy load and taking disproportionate casualties.

As a matter of urgency, Harper should also reverse Ottawa's policy of neglect toward Omar Khadr and press Bush to release him. The young Canadian is the only Westerner still held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, facing a trial that would not meet Canadian, or American, standards of justice. That is a disgrace.

Harper should remind Bush that requiring passports at the border is burdensome and that secure drivers' licences should suffice.

And he should urge Bush to instruct U.S. officials that Maher Arar be allowed into the U.S. Arar is the Canadian who was wrongly detained in the U.S. as a terror suspect, then deported to Syria where he was tortured. Cleared in Canada, he is still denied entry to the U.S.

Bush may be in the twilight of his presidency, but Harper still hopes to connect with Canadians and to win a majority. He should be prepared to speak up for Canada's interests with his amigos.

====


IDNUMBER 200708180065
PUBLICATION: The Leader-Post (Regina)
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: B8
ILLUSTRATION:Photo: Reuters / Liberal Leader Stephane Dion speaks duringa news conference on the upcoming North American Leaders' Summit. ;
DATELINE: OTTAWA
BYLINE: Norma Greenaway
SOURCE: CanWest News Service
WORD COUNT: 394

Liberal leader makes demands


OTTAWA -- Prime Minster Stephen Harper should tell U.S. President George W. Bush during their planned meeting Monday that Canada's combat role in Afghanistan will definitely end early in 2009, Opposition Leader Stephane Dion said Friday.

Dion's call to end all ambiguity regarding the Afghan mission was among several demands the Liberal leader made of the prime minister in advance of Monday's start of a two-day summit involving the leaders of Canada, the United States and Mexico in the nearby Quebec resort town of Montebello.

"Clarity is needed," Dion told a news conference, adding it is only fair to give Canada's NATO allies plenty of notice that it is ending its combat mission in southern Afghanistan in February 2009, so that a replacement force can be lined up.

Dion did not, however, rule out supporting a different, non-combat role in Afghanistan beyond that date. He said, for example, the military could continue to help train Afghan soldiers and "provide security in certain provinces."

Harper has said extension of the combat mission would hinge on getting a parliamentary consensus. This would, however, require a stunning reversal in the current thinking of the opposition parties: The Liberals and Bloc Quebecois oppose extending the mission and the NDP has called for an immediate troop withdrawal.

The Liberal leader also accused Harper of embracing a "culture of secrecy" as the three countries continue their sprawling negotiations aimed at deepening continental integration. The process, initiated in 2005 when Liberal Paul Martin was prime minister, is known as the Security and Prosperity Partnership.

In an open letter, NDP Leader Jack Layton demanded the prime minister open the process to incorporate public consultations.

"Canadians need to know that our country's sovereignty won't be surrendered by moves to deepen continental integration," he wrote.

Dion, meanwhile, called on Harper to publicly state that Canada will "never" agree to negotiations on the bulk export of water south of the border. He said he had "information that I cannot share" that "secret" talks are going on, and that he does not believe the government's denials.

The Harper government has insisted repeatedly that water exports are not on the negotiating table, or even up for discussion.

Sandra Buckler, the prime minister's spokeswoman, reiterated Friday that the government "has no intention of entering into negotiations on bulk water exports."

Buckler added in an e-mail: "Dion conveniently neglects to mention the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act prohibits bulk removals from boundary basins. Our policy will preserve water for communities and ecosystems."

====


IDNUMBER 200708180048
PUBLICATION: The Leader-Post (Regina)
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: B5
ILLUSTRATION:Photo: CanWest / Amanda Wiebe (left to right) holds up aphoto of her deceased brother Private Joel Vincent Wiebe as widow Anna Thede sits next to her and mother Sherry Clark sits to the right of them at the Red Friday Rally to show support for the military Friday in Edmonton. Wiebe died in Afghanistan on June 20 right before his 23rd birthday. There was a small formal program and music by the Edmonton Police Services Pipe and Drum Band and the Royal Canadian Artillery Band. ;
DATELINE: KANDAHAR, Afghanistan
BYLINE: Andrew Mayeda
SOURCE: CanWest News Service
WORD COUNT: 581

Two Canadians injured by roadside bomb


KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- Two Canadian soldiers were slightly injured Friday after a roadside bomb struck their supply convoy in the volatile Zhari district of Kandahar province. It is the second time in less than a week that Canadian soldiers have been injured while plying the roads west of Kandahar City on supply convoys.

The injuries to the two men are not life threatening, said military spokesman Lt.-Cmdr. Hubert Genest. They were evacuated to Kandahar Airfield for treatment.

Earlier Friday, the chief of Zhari district, Khairuddin Achakzai, was killed by a suicide bomber in Kandahar City. Police said a suicide bomber wearing a vest packed with explosives was waiting outside the politician's home. Three of his children were also killed, while two of his other children were injured in the blast.

Genest said the timing of the two attacks was "odd," but he said it was too early to say if they were part of a co-ordinated assault.

The attack on the military convoy occurred shortly after lunch, about 30 kilometres west of Kandahar City.

The convoy was headed to the western Maywand district of the province to resupply troops stationed there.

The soldiers were travelling in a T-LAV, a heavily armoured vehicle with tank-like tracks. It is primarily used to transport personnel. Genest said he had no details on the nature of the bomb. But, he added, "I feel relieved that the vehicle saved their life."

The two injured soldiers were members of the Lord Strathcona's Horse, based in Edmonton. They were about two weeks from heading home, said Genest.

They are not being identified, in line with military policy.

Early reports suggested the soldiers had been seriously injured, but Genest said they "will be hopefully able to return to work as soon as possible."

Canada's operations in southern Afghanistan are now under the command of Quebec's Royal 22nd Regiment, known in English Canada as the Van Doo.

The prospect of casualties is a potentially explosive political issue in Quebec, where support for the Afghanistan mission is the lowest of any province. The attack came less than a week after a top military commander touted the progress Canada has made in securing the province. Military brass say the Taliban know they are no match for Canadian Forces in conventional head-to-head warfare.

Still, it is clear the insurgents have had some success using non-conventional tactics, such as suicide bombs and improvised explosive devices.

Sixty-six Canadian soldiers and one diplomat have died in Afghanistan since 2002, but the mortality rate has increased in recent months.

Twenty-two soldiers died in the last six-month rotation, of which all but four were killed in IED or suicide-bomb attacks.

Five Canadian soldiers incurred minor injuries last weekend after their supply convoy was struck while returning to Kandahar Airfield from forward operating base Ma'sum Ghar, on the border of the Zhari and Panjwaii districts.

Maj. Patrick Robichaud, commander of the operating base, this week characterized the security situation around Ma'sum Ghar as "fragile."

He said Taliban insurgents appear to have taken advantage of a change in command among the Canadians and the Afghan National Army to slip back into the region. The insurgents are looking to strong-arm local farmers for a piece of the action in the impending marijuana harvest, said Robichaud.

Genest also admitted the threat in Zhari district is a cause for "concern."

"We just had recently two incidents in the same kind of area, and we'll be looking into it very seriously in the near future."

Terrorist attacks have increased dramatically across Afghanistan since 2002, according to statistics compiled by the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism and the Rand Corporation.

In the three most dangerous provinces in the south -- Kandahar, Helmand and Uruzgan -- attacks have increased 11-fold during that time, according to the statistics, recently published by the New York Times.

About 2,500 Canadian troops are stationed in southern Afghanistan. Canada's military commitment is currently scheduled to end in February 2009.

====


IDNUMBER 200708180045
PUBLICATION: Edmonton Journal
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Ideas
PAGE: A19
ILLUSTRATION:Photo: Reuters, File / A Canadian soldier shakes hands withan Afghan boy during a joint patrol with Afghan National Army troops near Panjwaii village, Kandahar province, southern Afghanistan on July 13. Canadian soldiers have shown bravery and compassion while fulfilling their NATO role in Afghanistan, but their government hasn't been racheting up nearly enough money to build the Canadian Forces' military capacity to levels other NATO partners have. ;
BYLINE: Colin Kenny
SOURCE: The Edmonton Journal
WORD COUNT: 1300

Canadian military still shortchanged; The Conservatives talks the big talk, but the Senate stands on guard for soldiers


If there were a national contest to determine the most active, robust, blood-stirring institution in Canada, the Canadian Forces would probably win -- and deservedly so. While citizens are divided over the value of the current mission to Afghanistan, the image of Canadian soldiers hasn't glowed more brightly for a long time.

On the other hand, if there were a contest for the most passive, drowsy, turgid institution in Canada, the Canadian Senate would probably win. I firmly believe that senators often produce more useful work than those elected folks over in the Commons. But I can't deny that we had an image problem even before the prime minister began his campaign to discredit us.

Say, did I actually just have the audacity to claim that senators often produce more useful work than elected MPs? You want proof, you say.

Well, let's get back to that blood-stirring institution I mentioned off the top -- the Canadian Forces. Which institution has a more useful vision of Canada's military -- the Commons, or the Senate?

Our national government rules the country from the Commons. The primary role of that national government should be the physical protection of its citizens, plus the advancement of their interests at home and abroad. To do this effectively -- particularly in times of domestic or international crises -- a country needs a military with a little muscle on its bones.

Not everybody agrees. There are many Canadians who decry the use of military force generally. And given the number of stupid wars that have taken so many lives over the centuries, they have a point. But anyone who lives in the real world knows that tyrants don't bend to diplomatic pressure unless there is the threat of force behind that pressure. We're simply not going to help contribute to a better world by eviscerating our military.

I believe that the people who have been running our country for the past couple of decades -- be they Liberals or Conservatives -- have declined to invest reasonable amounts of public money into Canada's military. I also think that this is likely to leave the physical, economic and cultural protection of future generations of Canadians largely to chance.

How, you ask, can I lump the Conservative government currently ruling the country with the preceding Liberal governments that allowed our military to slip into such steep decline? Aren't the Conservatives out announcing that they intend to buy all kinds of expensive weaponry? Didn't they extend the Canadian mission in Afghanistan -- a mission that follows the sensible adage that threats to Canadians are best dealt with at a safe distance from our shores?

I acknowledge that "yes" is the honest response to both these questions.

But the greater truth is that Canada currently spends about half of what reasonable (and peace-loving) countries spend on defence, and the Conservative government's announced budgetary planning would do almost nothing to change that.

Countries like the Netherlands spend about two per cent of Gross National Product on their armed forces. That's pretty well the norm for mid-sized industrialized countries that use their military judiciously, rather than aggressively.

Back in 1991 Canada spent 1.6 per cent of GNP on defence. We're now down to about 1.1 per cent. Although the long-overdue "Canada First Defence Strategy" has yet to be released, spending options have been leaked and none of them would change that percentage by more than a hair.

Yes, the "new" government has set aside money for trucks, helicopters, transport planes and replenishment ships, and it has purchased tanks for Afghanistan. But nearly all of these are purchases that even the frugal Liberals would have to have made.

Meanwhile, the transformation and growth of the Canadian Forces promised under the stewardship of Gen. Rick Hillier is in disarray. Transformation can only take place if a lot of experienced, insightful officers are giving it their full attention. With Afghanistan at the centre of everything, this can't happen.

Growing the Forces requires more than recruitment -- it requires the training of recruits. With a rotation in Afghanistan every six months, a large part of the army is either in Afghanistan, returning from Afghanistan, or preparing to go to Afghanistan. That leaves a shortage of experienced personnel to train newcomers.

Growth and transformation will require a lot more personnel, more equipment, and most importantly, more money. If Prime Minister Steven Harper doesn't come through with the money, he is going to leave Gen. Hillier and his hamstrung plans for Canada's military out to dry.

Of course the Afghanistan mission is sucking vital funds away from the rebuilding initiative. The price tag for Afghanistan -- without salaries -- will undoubtedly be well over $4 billion by February 2009.

But while Afghanistan certainly contributes to the problem of rebuilding Canada's military, it is by no means the crux of the problem. The crux is lack of political will. This lack of will is based on what various national parties think they can get away with during elections.

One minority party -- the NDP -- is naive, bordering on pacifist. The other -- the Bloc Quebecois -- would undoubtedly be willing to spend plenty on creating viable armed forces for Quebec, but not for Canada.

The Liberals are not pacifists. But Jean Chretien and Paul Martin spent a decade fighting debt on the back of the Canadian Forces, and Stephane Dion has shown no sign that he considers military reconstruction a national priority.

The Conservatives have been clever, which certainly isn't the same as being honest or honourable.

By default, they have already won the votes of most people who pay attention to military issues -- people who believe that sovereign states need a reasonable military capacity to protect citizens against foreign and domestic threats.

These people may well understand that there isn't much of a chance that this government intends to spend the money required to bring Canada's military capacity up to respectable, Dutch-like standards. But what other party are they going to vote for? At least the Conservatives make the occasional gesture.

But the Conservatives have no intention of alienating that vast array of Canadian voters who believe that our nation should be peaceful, and friendly, and very unlike those war-mongering Americans. So the government refuses to commit to more than token increases in military expenditures -- it will honour its election commitment to spending approximately $1 billion a year over and above what its Liberal predecessors were spending.

Most, if not all of that money will be eaten up by Afghanistan.

Which brings us back to my mention of the Senate, which I claimed sometimes does things better than the Commons does.

One thing the Senate does better is not play these sleight-of-hand political games. Being (despicably) unelected, it doesn't have to. Nor, admittedly, does it have to balance military spending against other kinds of spending that voters demand.

So the Senate can be honest. The Senate -- through our Committee on National Security and Defence -- can tell you that if this government's military spending plans continue on course until 2011-12, Canada's defence budget will be about $21 billion in that budgetary year.

It can also add up the basic needs of the military by then -- without any frills -- and inform you that a more realistic budget for a reasonably-funded armed forces would be more than $30 billion -- perhaps $35 billion -- in 2011-12.

And I can tell you that our committee came to that conclusion (a) in a bipartisan, unanimous way, and (b) without taking the cost of the extended Afghanistan mission into consideration.

Nobody likes this kind of ugly honesty (which may be part of the reason that we senators have such a lousy reputation). But, like it or not, Canadians deserve to know what no Canadian political party seems brave enough to tell them: that if Canada is going to be prepared for the foreign and domestic crises that are likely to come at us, that preparedness is going to cost quite a bit more money than the politicians are pretending it is.

That's the message from the Senate. Hey, just trying to earn our keep.

Liberal Senator Colin Kenny is Chair of the Senate Committee on National Security and Defence: kennyco@sen.parl.gc.ca

====


IDNUMBER 200708180026
PUBLICATION: Edmonton Journal
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: A9
KEYWORDS: BOMBINGS; EXPLOSIONS; WAR
DATELINE: KANDAHAR, Afghanistan
SOURCE: CanWest News Service
WORD COUNT: 253

Two Edmonton-based soldiers injured by roadside bomb in Afghanistan


KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Two unidentified Edmonton-based soldiers were injured slightly Friday after a roadside bomb struck their convoy in the volatile Zhari district of Kandahar province. It is the second time in less than a week that Canadian soldiers have been injured while on supply convoys west of Kandahar City.

The injuries to the two men are not life threatening, said military spokesman Lt.-Cmdr. Hubert Genest. They were evacuated to Kandahar Airfield for treatment.

Earlier Friday, the chief of Zhari district, Khairuddin Achakzai, was killed by a suicide bomber in Kandahar City. Police said a bomber wearing a vest packed with explosives was waiting outside the politician's home. Three of Achakzai's children also were killed while two other children were injured in the blast.

Genest said the timing of the two attacks was "odd," but he said it was too early to say whether they were part of a co-ordinated assault.

The attack on the military convoy occurred shortly after lunch, about 30 kilometres west of Kandahar City. The convoy was headed to the western Maywand district of the province.

The soldiers were travelling in a T-LAV, a heavily armoured vehicle with tank-like tracks. It is used primarily to transport personnel. Genest said he had no details on the nature of the bomb.

The two injured soldiers were members of the Lord Strathcona's Horse, based in Edmonton. They were about two weeks from heading home, said Genest. They are not being identified, in line with military policy.

Canada's operations in southern Afghanistan are now under the command of Quebec's Royal 22nd Regiment, known in English Canada as the Van Doo.

====


SOURCETAG 0708180169
PUBLICATION: The Winnipeg Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: 12
ILLUSTRATION:7 photos
DATELINE: OTTAWA
WORD COUNT: 776

The three amigos Bush's whirlwind visit to Leaders' Summit on Monday promises media frenzy


Early Monday afternoon, U.S. President George W. Bush will touch down in Ottawa sparking a frenzied 24 hours of closed-door meetings, photo ops, pre-packaged announcements, protests, police blockades and breathless media coverage from start to finish.

By tea-time Tuesday, Bush will be headed back to American soil. The police batons and activists' bullhorns will be tucked away, Montebello residents will come out from hiding, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexico's President Felipe Calderon will hang around for one last meeting and the rest of Canada will be left to wonder what the hullaballoo was all about.

Depending whom you ask, the North American Leaders' Summit inside the nearby Quebec village's posh Chateau Montebello is either an undemocratic conspiracy aimed at giving up our sovereignty (and water) for the almighty greenback, or it's a series of negotiations too boring for words.

In all likelihood, the three leaders will make an announcement about better preparations in the likelihood of a widely predicted avianflu pandemic.

According to briefings from the White House and Prime Minister's Office, they'll also chat about climate change, lead-painted toys from China, border and security issues, trade, Afghanistan, the North Pole and a host of other issues.

What has protesters and critics from the left and right ends of the political spectrum in a tizzy is a two-year-old agreement between the three nations called the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP).

Established in Waco, Texas, under Bush, former prime minister Paul Martin and Mexico's past president Vicente Fox in 2005, the partnership was devised as a way to find better ways to ease trade concerns such as clogged border crossings while appeasing American security jitters in the post 9-11 world.

But in the past two years it has fallen under the same shadow of criticism as larger international gatherings such as the G8.

"Where's the parliamentary oversight? Where's the opportunity for ordinary people to know what's happening?" asks Maude Barlow, whose group the Council of Canadians was also a leading voice against NAFTA.

She and others warn that the SPP is a mechanism that allows cabinet and bureaucrats to water down environmental and safety standards for the sake of harmonizing regulations with our neighbours to the south -- all without an ounce of public input. Look far enough down the road, they warn, and the SPP could be the vehicle to truck Canada's water down to thirsty Americans.

Celeste Cote is one of the organizers of several large demonstrations in Ottawa and Montebello under the coalition banner of a Stop the SPP Committee. Expecting upwards of 1,000 people to march on their event tomorrow from Toronto, Montreal, other parts of Canada and the U.S., she warns that talks between the leaders threaten to victimize society's most vulnerable while a hand-picked group of each country's corporate elite personally advise the three leaders in an exclusive meeting Tuesday.

"This is going to affect every aspect of our lives, and it's absolutely appalling we have no say in this," she said.

But Thomas d'Aquino, who heads up the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, suggests everyone take a deep breath.

He dismisses arguments from the "lunatic left" and "lunatic right" as hysteria that his group and counterparts in the U.S. and Mexico are planning to turn Canada into the 51st state.

"All of this frankly is a gigantic load of B.S. and misinformation," said d'Aquino.

His group initially launched a similarly named security and prosperity "initiative" in 2003 in an effort to ensure the Canada-U.S. border continued to flow freely for commerce and travellers as American politicians pushed to tighten it up.

The three countries picked up on the theme in Texas.

Another hurdle toward meaningful progress in Montebello is Bush's waning power as a president headed for the White House exit. In the words of University of Toronto political economy professor Stephen Clarkson, it will be tough for Harper and Calderon to extract many gains in talks with an American president losing political steam.

"It's a big issue because Washington is more or less paralyzed," Clarkson says. "With Bush doing so badly in the opinion polls and losing control over the Republicans, it makes him more and more impotent."

One thing the protesters can cheer about come Tuesday: It's likely Bush's last presidential visit to Canada.

---

STEPHEN HARPER

CANADA

Population: 33 million

Area: 9.98 million square kilometres

Economic Might (GDP per capita in US$): $32,614

Canadian Primer Minister STEPHEN HARPER:

Conservative minority government leader since January 2006

Age: 48

Height: 6'2"(1.88 m)

Wife: Laureen

Kids: Ben and Rachel

Pets: A cat named Cheddar, along with fostering various homeless cats at 24 Sussex Dr.

Nickname: Steve (but don't let his mother hear you call him that).

---

GEORGE W. BUSH

UNITED STATES

Population: 302 million

Area: 9.6 million square kilometres

Economic Might (GDP per capita in US$): $44,190

American President

GEORGE W. BUSH:

Two-term Republican president since January 2001

Age: 61

Height: 5'11"

Wife: Laura

Kids: Twin daughters Jenna and Barbara

Pets: Scottish Terriers Barney and Miss Beazley, and a cat named India "Willie".

Nicknames: Dubya, Dumbya, 15-watt Fraud, Dictator in Chief, Deceiver in Chief, Pretender in Chief ...

Quotation from last visit to Canada:

"There's a prominent citizen who endorsed me in the 2000 election, and I wanted a chance to finally thank him for that endorsement. I was hoping to meet Jean Poutine".

FELIPE CALDERON

MEXICO

Population: 108.7 million

Area: 1.97 million square kilometres

Economic Might (GDP per capita in US$): $11,249

Mexican President

FELIPE CALDERON:

President since December 2006 as leader of the centrist-conservative National Action Party

Age: 45 on Aug. 18

Wife: Margarita Zavala, who served in Congress as a federal deputy

Kids: Maria, Luis Felipe and Juan Pablo

Description: "Dull" and "wonkish," according to the Washington Post.

Nickname: "The Disobedient Son," Calderon stuck the nickname on the front of his campaign bus after beating out the favoured candidate to win his party's presidential nomination. KEYWORDS=CANADA

====


SOURCETAG 0708180166
PUBLICATION: The Winnipeg Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
BYLINE: SALIM MANSUR
WORD COUNT: 511

Edging toward meltdown


The political situation in which Pakistan finds itself on its 60th independence anniversary, unlike that of India, is one of fear, and the question urgently being asked is if the country has the timber to withstand assaults of the organized religious extremists.

The fierce opposition of Taliban-supporting religious extremists against General Pervez Musharraf's military regime came to a head in the July showdown at the Red Mosque in Islamabad, the nation's capital.

The extremist vigilantism of the pro-al-Qaida clerics and students of the Red Mosque in the weeks before the bloody confrontation revealed the tip of the problem that has pushed Pakistan to the precipice of a possible new meltdown.

From the outset of Pakistan's creation the political class -- primarily elites from the military and civil bureaucracy -- has ridden the tiger of religious extremism for its own narrow authoritarian interests.

Indeed, the country's birth in August 1947 was a result of religious-sectarian bigotry exploited by Muhammad Ali Jinnah (Pakistan's founder) and supporters of the Muslim League to force Britain to partition India.

Sixty years following the partition, the dreadful aftermath in Pakistan of Britain's policy of appeasing religious bigotry continues without an end and cries out as a cautionary lesson to those who propose glibly or mendaciously -- as does the U.S. Senator Joe Biden seeking Democratic nomination for the 2008 presidential election -- in partitioning Iraq.

HOLLOWED OUT

For 60 years religious extremists like white ants hollowed out the timber of the Pakistani society, and now there barely exists stable foundation on which a modern democratic state might be built responsive to the people's needs while eschewing military confrontations with its neighbours.

The problems of rampant graft and corruption in the political system, and religious extremists so emboldened that they could mount an armed operation out of a mosque at the heart of the nation's capital, were not merely inherited by General Musharraf when he came to power by dismissing the civilian government of Nawaz Sharif in 1999.

General Musharraf is the fifth military dictator in the country where the armed forces view the state as its preserve. The military has ruled Pakistan for nearly two-thirds of its history and presided over the country breaking apart in 1971.

Pakistan's problems are symptoms of an ill-functioning society increasingly exacerbated by military rule.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal's editorial board, Benazir Bhutto observed there are two fault lines in Pakistan.

Bhutto said, "One is dictatorship versus democracy. And one is moderation versus extremism." She should know as a former prime minister living in exile, and daughter of a prime minister hanged by the previous military dictator.

The test of how serious Musharraf is in eliminating religious extremists will be disclosed by the military's resolve to clean out the al-Qaida and Taliban infested tribal lands of Waziristan on Afghanistan's borders.

BIN LADEN

Here, it is alleged, Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al Zawahiri have found safe haven with the knowledge, if not the connivance, of the Pakistani military intelligence.

The future of Pakistan remains bleak. But ironically the failed conditions of a nuclear-weapon state could still guarantee the West's continued support -- prudent, yet deservingly disdainful -- for the general and his soldiers in preventing Pakistan's rapid descent into the Taliban-type hell with a frightful terrorist headache for the region and beyond.

====


SOURCETAG 0708180165
PUBLICATION: The Winnipeg Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 10
BYLINE: LICIA CORBELLA
COLUMN: Editorial
WORD COUNT: 320

Disaster of Dieppe remembered


Sixty-five years ago tomorrow, some 5,000 young Canadian men stormed the beaches of Dieppe.

It was a bloodbath. On that one tragic day, 3,367 of those teens and young men were either killed, wounded or captured as prisoners of war. In all, 913 Canadians were killed because of that poorly executed storming of the heavily fortified, Nazi-occupied French beaches.

Stop and think about those numbers. To put it into perspective, in the five years Canadian troops have been in Afghanistan fighting the oppressive Taliban, 66 Canadian soldiers and one Canadian diplomat have been killed.

It is a terrible toll, to be sure, and helps to put into context the sheer cost of the freedom we enjoy.

On Canada's Veterans Affairs website the following report by Canadian Press reporter Ross Munro is transcribed and describes in part the horror our soldiers experienced all those years ago. "For eight hours, under intense Nazi fire from dawn into a sweltering afternoon, I watched Canadian troops fight the blazing, bloody battle of Dieppe," wrote Munro.

"I saw them go through the biggest of the war's raiding operations in wild scenes that crowded helter skelter one upon another in crazy sequence. There was a furious attack by German E-boats while the Canadians moved in on Dieppe's beaches, landing by dawn's half-light. When the Canadian battalions stormed through the flashing inferno of Nazi defences, belching guns of huge tanks rolling into the fight, I spent the grimmest 20 minutes of my life with one unit when a rain of German machine-gun fire wounded half the men in our boat and only a miracle saved us from annihilation."

Some surviving elderly veterans of that grim battle who were wounded and taken prisoner by the Nazis -- will be feted by the still grateful French citizens who, as Sun Media's Kathleen Harris' excellent weekend reports state, were given hope to continue to endure their oppression and hardships as a result of the failed raid.

The disaster of Dieppe provided valuable lessons that helped us eventually win that vital war.

As our veterans grow more frail and fewer, the need to remember and understand their sacrifice grows ever stronger.

====


SOURCETAG 0708180161
PUBLICATION: The Winnipeg Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: 9
ILLUSTRATION:2 photos 1. photo by Greg Henkenhaf, Sun Media Ron Beal was captured by the Germans in Dieppe and spent 33 months as a PoW. 2 photo provided by Veterans Affairs Canada Canadian and Allied prisoners are paraded as prisoners of war by their captors -- more than 1,900 Canadian soldiers were taken captive after the Dieppe raid turned to disaster.
BYLINE: KATHLEEN HARRIS
DATELINE: DIEPPE, France
WORD COUNT: 736

In the hands of the enemy Captured soldiers were often abused, despite international rules for humane treatment


They were shackled, marched to exhaustion and malnourished to the brink of starvation.

Prisoners of World War II were the "lucky ones" who survived bloody battle, yet many lived to wish they had died alongside their comrades.

It has been 65 long years since 1,946 Canadian soldiers were taken captive by the Germans after the Dieppe raid turned to disaster. But Ron Beal, 86, still vividly recalls every detail of the day his fellow troops waved a white handkerchief -- beginning the longest and most gruelling 33 months of his life.

"A German came and said, 'For you, the war is over,'" he said.

Surrounded by corpses and carnage, the magnitude of the casualties did not sink in until several weeks later. Every childhood friend Beal had from school, and the band where he played bugle, was killed in the slaughter.

After an initial holding at French barracks, prisoners were boarded on boxcars and taken to the Stalag 8B camp at Lamsdorf, Poland. Tied at the wrist for at least 12 hours a day for 15 months, Beal calls the treatment at the camp "degrading and embarrassing in every way you can imagine."

"The Germans were very handy with the rifle butts. We would talk about the Geneva Convention and they would say, 'Don't worry, we can shoot you any time and just say you were trying to escape.' We had that hanging over our heads all the time," he said.

Food was scarce, with soldiers often sharing a loaf of bread five ways and lucky to get one bowl of soup a week. Later in the war, Beal was put on a forced march away from advancing Allies, sleeping in open fields or the occasional barn on the long, exhausting trek across Germany.

Beal weighed 157 pounds the day he landed in Dieppe and 109 pounds when he was repatriated at the war's end.

Dieppe triggered a dark "shackling" period for PoWs, a practice in violation of the Geneva Convention that spells out international rules for humane treatment. The Germans had apprehended a Canadian plan for the raid that called for the temporary tying of prisoners as a means of control until they reached camp, and the Germans took it as a sign the Allies intended to mistreat prisoners.

There was retaliation. Jonathan Vance, a historian with expertise in prisoners of war at the University of Western Ontario in London, said Dieppe led to an escalation on both sides that lasted more than a year.

"The Germans saw in it a propaganda opportunity and the Dieppe prisoners became the victims of that escalating propaganda war," he said. "It was enormously demeaning when you are at the mercy of other people to do everything for you. It was a sign they were completely and utterly in the enemy's power, and that's a difficult thing to cope with. You can deal with it a couple of weeks in solitary confinement, but week in, week out, month in, month out, it starts to have pretty severe impact."

Canada was the first nation to recognize the psychological impact of long incarceration and shackling by awarding post-war pensions to PoWs without specific disabilities, Vance said. But as harsh and hostile the conditions were for Dieppe PoWs, treatment during wartime incarceration has been even worse for other soldiers and civilians.

From ancient days to modern times, physical and sexual abuse, torture and mass extermination has been rampant.

While legally binding international treaties are now in place to promote humane treatment, Vance said prisoners have historically been viewed as the "spoils of war." In past, PoWs were killed, released or sold on the slave market as their captors saw fit. In the 17th and 18th centuries, moral pressure mounted to treat prisoners more humanely and by the late 18th century, the common practice was to exchange carefully counted prisoners.

World War I was a time of highs and lows for PoWs; many were forced into gruelling labour, but others waited out the end of the war at seaside resorts. Treatment was more horrific and widespread during WWII, when appalling treatment occurred at the hands of the Japanese. Prisoners taken in by Germany were also starved, beaten and denied medical treatment.

A revised Geneva Convention strengthened rules in 1949. More protocols were added to deal with civil wars and internal conflicts in 1977, but abuses and even massacres of prisoners continued around the world.

Vance said the situation is "hugely more complicated" post-Sept. 11, when the status of suspected terrorists is unclear. Canada became embroiled in controversy this year, when allegations of abuse were levelled by Afghanistan detainees captured by Canadian troops.

Alex Neve, secretary general for Amnesty International Canada, said Sept. 11 led to grave concerns about treatment of detainees from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but it also led to greater awareness about human rights. KEYWORDS=WORLD

====


SOURCETAG 0708180159
PUBLICATION: The Winnipeg Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: 8
ILLUSTRATION:photo by Kathleen Harris, Sun Media Maj. Stephen Gallagher shares stories with Fred Engelbrecht, who was a prisoner of war after the Dieppe raid.
BYLINE: KATHLEEN HARRIS, NATIONAL BUREAU
DATELINE: ROUEN, France
WORD COUNT: 473

Common bond Modern soldier swaps stories with vets


Veterans of Dieppe and Kandahar share similar experiences of great loss and learning hard lessons from mistakes in war, says a modern-day soldier joining his predecessors on a pilgrimage to France.

Maj. Stephen Gallagher, 42, did an eight-month tour in Afghanistan last year and says the soldiers who fought and died in the Second World War, including those at Dieppe, serve as a great inspiration.

"What we're fighting for in Afghanistan is the same as they were fighting for in 1942, and that's to create a better world, to create a safer place wherever we're fighting," he said. "And it is a fight."

Veterans, youth ambassadors and politicians arrived in France yesterday to take part in solemn ceremonies of remembrance marking tomorrow's 65th anniversary of the Dieppe raid. The delegation will visit the shores of the botched raid that claimed 913 Canadian lives, and tour the cemeteries where the comrades are buried.

PRIVILEGE

Gallagher calls it a "privilege" to accompany the nine Dieppe veterans on the trip. He has swapped many war stories with the soldiers of the previous generation and, like them, has the dates of specific events and casualties forever burned in his memory.

"There are a lot of similarities we can draw together, including lessons learned from operations. That's still happening today in our operations in Afghanistan," he said.

While many historians regard Dieppe as one of the most catastrophic military disasters in Canadian history, Gallagher believes it helped prepare the Allies for subsequent battles -- and even played a role in better preparing modern-day troops fighting in Afghanistan.

"That served a greater purpose in the long run," he said. "To learn from what went wrong is something that happens today, whether it's equipment or tactics. The enemy we're fighting today is very adaptable. They don't wear uniforms and don't follow the same operating procedures each time. So we're in a different challenge to adapt quicker."

Minister of Veterans Affairs Greg Thompson, who is leading the delegation in France, said there's a strong connection between the Dieppe veterans and today's soldiers.

"I think there's a line you can draw between the past and the present and the fact that they are no different than those who preceded them," he said. "Some missions are sometimes tough and very demanding, but as I often say, we have the best-trained, the most professional and the most committed soldiers in the world.

"You ask them to do a job, and they do it 100%. I think that sense of them connecting with that previous generation is really important and just to have them here is important."

Thompson expects the weekend ceremonies will be "very emotional" for those taking part. For many of the veterans, now in their mid- to late-80s, this will be a final farewell to fallen friends.

"This will be the last opportunity for them to visit this site where they landed and where so many of their comrades paid the ultimate price," Thompson said.

Gallagher said he will be honouring his fallen comrade Capt. Nichola Goddard as he pays tribute to those killed at Dieppe. Goddard, the first Canadian killed in combat, died in Afghanistan in May 2006. KEYWORDS=WORLD

====


SOURCETAG 0708180155
PUBLICATION: The Winnipeg Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: 7
BYLINE: AP AND CP
DATELINE: KANDAHAR
WORD COUNT: 198

Afghan top cop, kids slain, 2 Canucks injured


Two Canadian soldiers were slightly injured when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb yesterday and a suicide bomber killed a district police chief and three of his children in southern Afghanistan.

Both soldiers were riding in a Track Light Armoured Vehicle, or T-LAV, along Highway 1 as part of a supply convoy for Canadian troops when they drove over the bomb.

"I am relieved the track vehicle was armoured and protected their lives," Lt.-Cmdr. Hubert Genest told reporters. "They're safe and hopefully, they're going to be able to return to work."

COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE

Genest said it was a relief their injuries were minor because the first report of the attack indicated serious wounds. Both suffered upper body injuries. One was quickly released while the other was being held for observation.

Neither soldier was identified by name, but both were members of the Lord Strathcona's Horse Regiment of Edmonton and have about two weeks remaining before the end of their tours.

Earlier yesterday, the Zhari district's police chief and three of his children were killed by a suicide bomber who blew himself up as Khariudin Achakzai left his home with five of his children. Achakzai, two of his sons and a daughter were killed instantly, while two other sons were wounded.

The two incidents were not related. KEYWORDS=WORLD

====


IDNUMBER 200708180025
PUBLICATION: Vancouver Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: A15
KEYWORDS: HOSTAGES; FAMILY REUNIONS; FOREIGN RELATIONS; SUMMITCONFERENCES; NUCLEAR WEAPONS
DATELINE: SEOUL
SOURCE: Agence France-Presse
WORD COUNT: 359

Two freed hostages return to Korea


SEOUL -- Two female aid workers freed by Afghanistan's Taliban returned home Friday to South Korea, after learning for the first time that two fellow captives were killed during the nearly month-long ordeal.

Kim Gi-Na and Kim Kyung-Ja looked shocked and traumatized when they briefly appeared before TV cameras after landing at Incheon airport west of Seoul.

"I'm sorry for causing so much concern for the people," Kyung-Ja, 37, said in mumbled remarks. "I hope all the remaining hostages return home at the earliest possible date."

Gi-na, 32, added: "I only hope all the remaining people will be immediately freed."

The pair were among a group of 23 South Korean aid workers, including 16 women, who were seized by the Taliban on July 19 while travelling by coach through insurgency-plagued southern Afghanistan.

The guerrillas shot dead two male hostages to press their demands for the release of Taliban prisoners, a demand rejected by the Kabul government.

The women, who were freed Monday, were told only when they started their journey home that the two men had been shot dead, a government official who accompanied them told Yonhap news agency.

"They learned of the two deaths only after they began heading for home on Aug. 16," the unidentified official said. "They were shocked and traumatized at the news and were lost for words for a while."

The hostages had been separated into small groups and moved frequently to frustrate any rescue mission.

The women met their brothers on board the plane before heading into the terminal, YTN TV reported. After their brief remarks, they were seen walking to an ambulance which took them to a military hospital for check-ups.

Gi-Na and Kyung-Ja were released in what the insurgents called a "goodwill gesture" after the Taliban had begun negotiating directly with South Korean representatives in Afghanistan.

The pair underwent medical checkups at a Korean military base at Bagram in Afghanistan before flying home.

Foreign media were barred from the terminal. Officials have said they want to limit the women's exposure to the media for fear of jeopardizing the safety of those still in captivity.

Negotiations Thursday for the release of the remaining 19 made no progress, according to the Taliban, and an aid agency official involved in facilitating dialogue said there was little chance of any talks Friday.

The South Koreans were on an aid mission organized by Saem-Mul Presbyterian church at Bundang in suburban Seoul. Its leaders have apologized for organizing what critics called a reckless trip.

South Korea has since made unauthorized travel to Afghanistan an offence punishable by a jail term.

====


IDNUMBER 200708180042
PUBLICATION: Calgary Herald
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: A20
KEYWORDS: POLITICIANS; POLITICAL PARTIES; GOVERNMENT; CANADA
DATELINE: OTTAWA
BYLINE: Norma Greenaway
SOURCE: CanWest News Service
WORD COUNT: 342

Dion demands Harper tell Bush of Afghan pullout


Prime Minster Stephen Harper should tell U.S. President George W. Bush during their planned meeting Monday that Canada's combat role in Afghanistan will definitely end early in 2009, Opposition Leader Stephane Dion said Friday.

Dion's call to end all ambiguity regarding the Afghan mission was among several demands the Liberal leader made of the prime minister in advance of Monday's start of a two-day summit involving the leaders of Canada, the United States and Mexico in the nearby Quebec resort town of Montebello.

"Clarity is needed," Dion told a news conference, adding it is only fair to give Canada's NATO allies plenty of notice that it is ending its combat mission in southern Afghanistan in February 2009, so that a replacement force can be lined up.

Dion did not, however, rule out supporting a different, non-combat role in Afghanistan beyond that date. He said, for example, the military could continue to help train Afghan soldiers and "provide security in certain provinces."

Harper has said extension of the combat mission would hinge on getting a parliamentary consensus. This would, however, require a stunning reversal in the current thinking of the opposition parties: The Liberals and Bloc Quebecois oppose extending the mission and the NDP has called for an immediate troop withdrawal.

The Liberal leader also accused Harper of embracing a "culture of secrecy" as the three countries continue their sprawling negotiations aimed at deepening continental integration.

The process, initiated in 2005 when Liberal Paul Martin was prime minister, is known as the Security and Prosperity Partnership.

In an open letter, NDP Leader Jack Layton demanded the prime minister open the process to incorporate public consultations.

"Canadians need to know that our country's sovereignty won't be surrendered by moves to deepen continental integration," he wrote.

Dion, meanwhile, called on Harper to publicly state that Canada will "never" agree to negotiations on the bulk export of water to the U.S.

He said he had "information that I cannot share" that "secret" talks are going on, and that he does not believe the government's denials. The Harper government has insisted repeatedly that water exports are not up for discussion.

Sandra Buckler, the prime minister's spokeswoman, said Friday that the government "has no intention of entering into negotiations on bulk water exports."

====


IDNUMBER 200708180032
PUBLICATION: Calgary Herald
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: A15
ILLUSTRATION:Photo: Reuters / Kim Kyung-ja, left, and Kim Ji-na, who wereamong the 21 Koreans kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan, arrive at Incheon international airport in Incheon, west of Seoul, on Friday. The two South Korean hostages were held for about a month by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan. Nineteen hostages are still being held. ;
KEYWORDS: 0
SOURCE: Reuters
WORD COUNT: 4

Two Korean hostages safely home


NO TEXT

====


IDNUMBER 200708180029
PUBLICATION: Calgary Herald
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: A15
KEYWORDS: WAR
DATELINE: KANDAHAR, Afghanistan
BYLINE: Andrew Mayeda
SOURCE: Canwest News Service
WORD COUNT: 496

Bomb injures two Canadians in Afghanistan; Heavily armoured transporter protected soldiers


Two Canadian soldiers were slightly injured Friday after a roadside bomb struck their supply convoy in the volatile Zhari district of Afghanistan's Kandahar province. It is the second time in less than a week Canadian soldiers have been injured while plying the roads west of Kandahar City on supply convoys.

The injuries to the two men are not life threatening, said military spokesman Lt.-Cmdr. Hubert Genest. They were evacuated to Kandahar Airfield for treatment.

Earlier Friday, the chief of Zhari district, Khairuddin Achakzai, was killed by a suicide bomber in Kandahar City. Police said a suicide bomber wearing a vest packed with explosives was waiting outside the politician's home. Three of his children were also killed, while two of his other children were injured in the blast.

Genest said the timing of the two attacks was "odd," but said it was too early to know if they were part of a co-ordinated assault.

The attack on the military convoy occurred shortly after lunch about 30 kilometres west of Kandahar City. The convoy was headed to the western Maywand district of the province to resupply troops stationed there.

The soldiers were travelling in a T-LAV, a heavily armoured vehicle with tank-like tracks. It is primarily used to transport personnel. Genest said he had no details on the nature of the bomb, but added, "I feel relieved that the vehicle saved their life."

The two injured soldiers were members of the Lord Strathcona's Horse, based in Edmonton. They were about two weeks from heading home, said Genest. They are not being identified, in line with military policy.

Early reports suggested the soldiers had been seriously injured, but Genest said they "will be hopefully able to return to work as soon as possible."

Canada's operations in southern Afghanistan are now under the command of Quebec's Royal 22nd Regiment, known in English Canada as the Van Doo.

The prospect of casualties is a potentially explosive political issue in Quebec, where support for the Afghanistan mission is the lowest of any province. The attack came less than a week after a top military commander touted the progress Canada has made in securing the province. Military brass say the Taliban know they are no match for Canadian Forces in conventional head-to-head warfare.

Still, it is clear the insurgents have had some success using non-conventional tactics such as suicide bombs and improvised explosive devices.

Sixty-six Canadian soldiers and one diplomat have died in Afghanistan since 2002, but the mortality rate has increased in recent months.

Genest also admitted the threat in Zhari district is a cause for "concern."

"We just had recently two incidents in the same kind of area, and we'll be looking into it very seriously in the near future."

Terrorist attacks have increased dramatically across Afghanistan since 2002, according to statistics compiled by the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism and the Rand Corporation. In the three most dangerous provinces in the south -- Kandahar, Helmand and Uruzgan -- attacks have increased elevenfold during that time, according to the statistics, recently published by the New York Times.

About 2,500 Canadian troops are stationed in southern Afghanistan. Canada's military commitment is scheduled to end in February 2009.

====


SOURCETAG 0708180376
PUBLICATION: The Toronto Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 18
BYLINE: SALIM MANSUR
WORD COUNT: 511

Edging toward meltdown


The political situation in which Pakistan finds itself on its 60th independence anniversary, unlike that of India, is one of fear, and the question urgently being asked is if the country has the timber to withstand assaults of the organized religious extremists.

The fierce opposition of Taliban-supporting religious extremists against General Pervez Musharraf's military regime came to a head in the July showdown at the Red Mosque in Islamabad, the nation's capital.

The extremist vigilantism of the pro-al-Qaida clerics and students of the Red Mosque in the weeks before the bloody confrontation revealed the tip of the problem that has pushed Pakistan to the precipice of a possible new meltdown.

From the outset of Pakistan's creation the political class -- primarily elites from the military and civil bureaucracy -- has ridden the tiger of religious extremism for its own narrow authoritarian interests.

Indeed, the country's birth in August 1947 was a result of religious-sectarian bigotry exploited by Muhammad Ali Jinnah (Pakistan's founder) and supporters of the Muslim League to force Britain to partition India.

Sixty years following the partition, the dreadful aftermath in Pakistan of Britain's policy of appeasing religious bigotry continues without an end and cries out as a cautionary lesson to those who propose glibly or mendaciously -- as does the U.S. Senator Joe Biden seeking Democratic nomination for the 2008 presidential election -- in partitioning Iraq.

HOLLOWED OUT

For 60 years religious extremists like white ants hollowed out the timber of the Pakistani society, and now there barely exists stable foundation on which a modern democratic state might be built responsive to the people's needs while eschewing military confrontations with its neighbours.

The problems of rampant graft and corruption in the political system, and religious extremists so emboldened that they could mount an armed operation out of a mosque at the heart of the nation's capital, were not merely inherited by General Musharraf when he came to power by dismissing the civilian government of Nawaz Sharif in 1999.

General Musharraf is the fifth military dictator in the country where the armed forces view the state as its preserve. The military has ruled Pakistan for nearly two-thirds of its history and presided over the country breaking apart in 1971.

Pakistan's problems are symptoms of an ill-functioning society increasingly exacerbated by military rule.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal's editorial board, Benazir Bhutto observed there are two fault lines in Pakistan.

Bhutto said, "One is dictatorship versus democracy. And one is moderation versus extremism." She should know as a former prime minister living in exile, and daughter of a prime minister hanged by the previous military dictator.

The test of how serious Musharraf is in eliminating religious extremists will be disclosed by the military's resolve to clean out the al-Qaida and Taliban infested tribal lands of Waziristan on Afghanistan's borders.

BIN LADEN

Here, it is alleged, Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al Zawahiri have found safe haven with the knowledge, if not the connivance, of the Pakistani military intelligence.

The future of Pakistan remains bleak. But ironically the failed conditions of a nuclear-weapon state could still guarantee the West's continued support -- prudent, yet deservingly disdainful -- for the general and his soldiers in preventing Pakistan's rapid descent into the Taliban-type hell with a frightful terrorist headache for the region and beyond.

====


SOURCETAG 0708180370
PUBLICATION: The Toronto Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 16
BYLINE: LICIA CORBELLA
COLUMN: Editorial
WORD COUNT: 320

Disaster of Dieppe remembered


Sixty-five years ago tomorrow, some 5,000 young Canadian men stormed the beaches of Dieppe.

It was a bloodbath. On that one tragic day, 3,367 of those teens and young men were either killed, wounded or captured as prisoners of war. In all, 913 Canadians were killed because of that poorly executed storming of the heavily fortified, Nazi-occupied French beaches.

Stop and think about those numbers. To put it into perspective, in the five years Canadian troops have been in Afghanistan fighting the oppressive Taliban, 66 Canadian soldiers and one Canadian diplomat have been killed.

It is a terrible toll, to be sure, and helps to put into context the sheer cost of the freedom we enjoy.

On Canada's Veterans Affairs website the following report by Canadian Press reporter Ross Munro is transcribed and describes in part the horror our soldiers experienced all those years ago. "For eight hours, under intense Nazi fire from dawn into a sweltering afternoon, I watched Canadian troops fight the blazing, bloody battle of Dieppe," wrote Munro.

"I saw them go through the biggest of the war's raiding operations in wild scenes that crowded helter skelter one upon another in crazy sequence. There was a furious attack by German E-boats while the Canadians moved in on Dieppe's beaches, landing by dawn's half-light. When the Canadian battalions stormed through the flashing inferno of Nazi defences, belching guns of huge tanks rolling into the fight, I spent the grimmest 20 minutes of my life with one unit when a rain of German machine-gun fire wounded half the men in our boat and only a miracle saved us from annihilation."

Some surviving elderly veterans of that grim battle who were wounded and taken prisoner by the Nazis -- will be feted by the still grateful French citizens who, as Sun Media's Kathleen Harris' excellent weekend reports state, were given hope to continue to endure their oppression and hardships as a result of the failed raid.

The disaster of Dieppe provided valuable lessons that helped us eventually win that vital war.

As our veterans grow more frail and fewer, the need to remember and understand their sacrifice grows ever stronger.

====


SOURCETAG 0708180361
PUBLICATION: The Toronto Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: 10
BYLINE: AP AND CP
DATELINE: KANDAHAR
WORD COUNT: 198

Afghan top cop, kids slain, 2 Canucks injured


Two Canadian soldiers were slightly injured when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb yesterday and a suicide bomber killed a district police chief and three of his children in southern Afghanistan.

Both soldiers were riding in a Track Light Armoured Vehicle, or T-LAV, along Highway 1 as part of a supply convoy for Canadian troops when they drove over the bomb.

"I am relieved the track vehicle was armoured and protected their lives," Lt.-Cmdr. Hubert Genest told reporters. "They're safe and hopefully, they're going to be able to return to work."

COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE

Genest said it was a relief their injuries were minor because the first report of the attack indicated serious wounds. Both suffered upper body injuries. One was quickly released while the other was being held for observation.

Neither soldier was identified by name, but both were members of the Lord Strathcona's Horse Regiment of Edmonton and have about two weeks remaining before the end of their tours.

Earlier yesterday, the Zhari district's police chief and three of his children were killed by a suicide bomber who blew himself up as Khariudin Achakzai left his home with five of his children. Achakzai, two of his sons and a daughter were killed instantly, while two other sons were wounded.

The two incidents were not related. KEYWORDS=WORLD

====


SOURCETAG 0708180360
PUBLICATION: The Toronto Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: 9
ILLUSTRATION:7 photos 1. photo of STEPHEN HARPER 2. photo of GEORGE W. BUSH 3. photo of FELIPE CALDERON 4. map
BYLINE: ALAN FINDLAY
DATELINE: OTTAWA
WORD COUNT: 770

The three amigos Bush's whirlwind visit to Leaders' Summit on Monday promises media frenzy


Early Monday afternoon, U.S. President George W. Bush will touch down in Ottawa sparking a frenzied 24 hours of closed-door meetings, photo ops, pre-packaged announcements, protests, police blockades and breathless media coverage from start to finish.

By tea-time Tuesday, Bush will be headed back to American soil. The police batons and activists' bullhorns will be tucked away, Montebello residents will come out from hiding, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexico's President Felipe Calderon will hang around for one last meeting and the rest of Canada will be left to wonder what the hullaballoo was all about.

Depending whom you ask, the North American Leaders' Summit inside the nearby Quebec village's posh Chateau Montebello is either an undemocratic conspiracy aimed at giving up our sovereignty (and water) for the almighty greenback, or it's a series of negotiations too boring for words.

In all likelihood, the three leaders will make an announcement about better preparations in the likelihood of a widely predicted avianflu pandemic.

According to briefings from the White House and Prime Minister's Office, they'll also chat about climate change, lead-painted toys from China, border and security issues, trade, Afghanistan, the North Pole and a host of other issues.

What has protesters and critics from the left and right ends of the political spectrum in a tizzy is a two-year-old agreement between the three nations called the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP).

Established in Waco, Texas, under Bush, former prime minister Paul Martin and Mexico's past president Vicente Fox in 2005, the partnership was devised as a way to find better ways to ease trade concerns such as clogged border crossings while appeasing American security jitters in the post 9-11 world.

But in the past two years it has fallen under the same shadow of criticism as larger international gatherings such as the G8.

"Where's the parliamentary oversight? Where's the opportunity for ordinary people to know what's happening?" asks Maude Barlow, whose group the Council of Canadians was also a leading voice against NAFTA.

She and others warn that the SPP is a mechanism that allows cabinet and bureaucrats to water down environmental and safety standards for the sake of harmonizing regulations with our neighbours to the south -- all without an ounce of public input. Look far enough down the road, they warn, and the SPP could be the vehicle to truck Canada's water down to thirsty Americans.

Celeste Cote is one of the organizers of several large demonstrations in Ottawa and Montebello under the coalition banner of a Stop the SPP Committee. Expecting upwards of 1,000 people to march on their event tomorrow from Toronto, Montreal, other parts of Canada and the U.S., she warns that talks between the leaders threaten to victimize society's most vulnerable while a hand-picked group of each country's corporate elite personally advise the three leaders in an exclusive meeting Tuesday.

"This is going to affect every aspect of our lives, and it's absolutely appalling we have no say in this," she said.

But Thomas d'Aquino, who heads up the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, suggests everyone take a deep breath.

He dismisses arguments from the "lunatic left" and "lunatic right" as hysteria that his group and counterparts in the U.S. and Mexico are planning to turn Canada into the 51st state.

"All of this frankly is a gigantic load of B.S. and misinformation," said d'Aquino.

His group initially launched a similarly named security and prosperity "initiative" in 2003 in an effort to ensure the Canada-U.S. border continued to flow freely for commerce and travellers as American politicians pushed to tighten it up.

The three countries picked up on the theme in Texas.

Another hurdle toward meaningful progress in Montebello is Bush's waning power as a president headed for the White House exit. In the words of University of Toronto political economy professor Stephen Clarkson, it will be tough for Harper and Calderon to extract many gains in talks with an American president losing political steam.

"It's a big issue because Washington is more or less paralyzed," Clarkson says. "With Bush doing so badly in the opinion polls and losing control over the Republicans, it makes him more and more impotent."

One thing the protesters can cheer about come Tuesday: It's likely Bush's last presidential visit to Canada.

---

CANADA

Population: 33 million

Area: 9.98 million square kilometres

Economic Might (GDP per capita in US$): $32,614

Canadian Primer Minister: STEPHEN HARPER:

Conservative minority government leader since January 2006

Age: 48

Height: 6'2"(1.88 m)

Wife: Laureen

Kids: Ben and Rachel

Pets: A cat named Cheddar, along with fostering various homeless cats at 24 Sussex Dr.

Nickname: Steve (but don't let his mother hear you call him that).

---

UNITED STATES

Population: 302 million

Area: 9.6 million square kilometres

Economic Might (GDP per capita in US$): $44,190

American President: GEORGE W. BUSH:

Two-term Republican president since January 2001

Age: 61

Height: 5'11"

Wife: Laura

Kids: Twin daughters Jenna and Barbara

Pets: Scottish Terriers Barney and Miss Beazley, and a cat named India "Willie".

Nicknames: Dubya, Dumbya, 15-watt Fraud, Dictator in Chief, Deceiver in Chief, Pretender in Chief ...

Quotation from last visit to Canada:

"There's a prominent citizen who endorsed me in the 2000 election, and I wanted a chance to finally thank him for that endorsement. I was hoping to meet Jean Poutine".

---

MEXICO

Population: 108.7 million

Area: 1.97 million square kilometres

Economic Might (GDP per capita in US$): $11,249

Mexican President: FELIPE CALDERON

President since December 2006 as leader of the centrist-conservative National Action Party

Age: 45 on Aug. 18

Wife: Margarita Zavala, who served in Congress as a federal deputy

Kids: Maria, Luis Felipe and Juan Pablo

Description: "Dull" and "wonkish," according to the Washington Post.

Nickname: "The Disobedient Son," Calderon stuck the nickname on the front of his campaign bus after beating out the favoured candidate to win his party's presidential nomination. KEYWORDS=TORONTO AND GTA

====


SOURCETAG 0708180354
PUBLICATION: The Toronto Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: 5
ILLUSTRATION:1. 1. photo by Greg Henkenhaf, Sun Media Ron Beal was captured by the Germans in Dieppe and spent 33 months as a PoW. 2. photo courtesy of Veterans Affairs Canada Canadian and Allied prisoners are paraded as prisoners of war by their captors -- more than 1,900 Canadian soldiers were taken captive after the Dieppe raid turned to disaster.
BYLINE: KATHLEEN HARRIS
DATELINE: DIEPPE, France
WORD COUNT: 737

In the hands of the enemy Captured soldiers were often abused, despite international rules for humane treatment


They were shackled, marched to exhaustion and malnourished to the brink of starvation.

Prisoners of World War II were the "lucky ones" who survived bloody battle, yet many lived to wish they had died alongside their comrades.

It has been 65 long years since 1,946 Canadian soldiers were taken captive by the Germans after the Dieppe raid turned to disaster. But Ron Beal, 86, still vividly recalls every detail of the day his fellow troops waved a white handkerchief -- beginning the longest and most gruelling 33 months of his life.

"A German came and said, 'For you, the war is over,'" he said.

Surrounded by corpses and carnage, the magnitude of the casualties did not sink in until several weeks later. Every childhood friend Beal had from school, and the band where he played bugle, was killed in the slaughter.

After an initial holding at French barracks, prisoners were boarded on boxcars and taken to the Stalag 8B camp at Lamsdorf, Poland. Tied at the wrist for at least 12 hours a day for 15 months, Beal calls the treatment at the camp "degrading and embarrassing in every way you can imagine."

"The Germans were very handy with the rifle butts. We would talk about the Geneva Convention and they would say, 'Don't worry, we can shoot you any time and just say you were trying to escape.' We had that hanging over our heads all the time," he said.

Food was scarce, with soldiers often sharing a loaf of bread five ways and lucky to get one bowl of soup a week. Later in the war, Beal was put on a forced march away from advancing Allies, sleeping in open fields or the occasional barn on the long, exhausting trek across Germany.

Beal weighed 157 pounds the day he landed in Dieppe and 109 pounds when he was repatriated at the war's end.

Dieppe triggered a dark "shackling" period for PoWs, a practice in violation of the Geneva Convention that spells out international rules for humane treatment. The Germans had apprehended a Canadian plan for the raid that called for the temporary tying of prisoners as a means of control until they reached camp, and the Germans took it as a sign the Allies intended to mistreat prisoners.

There was retaliation. Jonathan Vance, a historian with expertise in prisoners of war at the University of Western Ontario in London, said Dieppe led to an escalation on both sides that lasted more than a year.

"The Germans saw in it a propaganda opportunity and the Dieppe prisoners became the victims of that escalating propaganda war," he said. "It was enormously demeaning when you are at the mercy of other people to do everything for you. It was a sign they were completely and utterly in the enemy's power, and that's a difficult thing to cope with. You can deal with it a couple of weeks in solitary confinement, but week in, week out, month in, month out, it starts to have pretty severe impact."

Canada was the first nation to recognize the psychological impact of long incarceration and shackling by awarding post-war pensions to PoWs without specific disabilities, Vance said. But as harsh and hostile the conditions were for Dieppe PoWs, treatment during wartime incarceration has been even worse for other soldiers and civilians.

From ancient days to modern times, physical and sexual abuse, torture and mass extermination has been rampant.

While legally binding international treaties are now in place to promote humane treatment, Vance said prisoners have historically been viewed as the "spoils of war." In past, PoWs were killed, released or sold on the slave market as their captors saw fit. In the 17th and 18th centuries, moral pressure mounted to treat prisoners more humanely and by the late 18th century, the common practice was to exchange carefully counted prisoners.

World War I was a time of highs and lows for PoWs; many were forced into gruelling labour, but others waited out the end of the war at seaside resorts. Treatment was more horrific and widespread during WWII, when appalling treatment occurred at the hands of the Japanese. Prisoners taken in by Germany were also starved, beaten and denied medical treatment.

A revised Geneva Convention strengthened rules in 1949. More protocols were added to deal with civil wars and internal conflicts in 1977, but abuses and even massacres of prisoners continued around the world.

Vance said the situation is "hugely more complicated" post-Sept. 11, when the status of suspected terrorists is unclear. Canada became embroiled in controversy this year, when allegations of abuse were levelled by Afghanistan detainees captured by Canadian troops.

Alex Neve, secretary general for Amnesty International Canada, said Sept. 11 led to grave concerns about treatment of detainees from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but it also led to greater awareness about human rights. KEYWORDS=OTHER NEWS

====


SOURCETAG 0708180352
PUBLICATION: The Toronto Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: 4
ILLUSTRATION:photo of STEPHEN GALLAGHER With vets
BYLINE: KATHLEEN HARRIS, SUN MEDIA
DATELINE: ROUEN, France
WORD COUNT: 235

Vets of Dieppe, today bond


Veterans of Dieppe and Kandahar share similar experiences of great loss and hard-won lessons from war, says a modern-day soldier joining his predecessors on a pilgrimage to France.

Maj. Stephen Gallagher, 42, did an eight-month tour in Afghanistan last year and says the soldiers who fought and died in World War II, including those at Dieppe, serve as a great inspiration.

"What we're fighting for in Afghanistan is the same as they were fighting for in 1942, and that's to create a better world, to create a safer place wherever we're fighting," he said. "And it is a fight."

Veterans, youth ambassadors and politicians arrived in France yesterday to take part in solemn ceremonies of remembrance marking tomorrow's 65th anniversary of the Dieppe raid. The delegation will visit the shores of the botched raid that claimed 913 Canadian lives, and tour the cemeteries where the comrades are buried.

Gallagher calls it a "privilege" to accompany the nine aging Dieppe veterans on the trip. Already, he has swapped many war stories with the soldiers of the previous generation, and like them, has the dates of specific events and casualties forever burned in his memory.

"There are a lot of similarities we can draw together, including lessons learned from operations. That's still happening today in our operations in Afghanistan," he said.

While many historians regard Dieppe as one of the most catastrophic military disasters in Canadian history, Gallagher believes played a role in better preparing modern-day troops fighting in Afghanistan.

"To learn from what went wrong is something that happens today." KEYWORDS=CANADA

====


SOURCETAG 0708180697
PUBLICATION: The Ottawa Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 15
BYLINE: SALIM MANSUR
WORD COUNT: 511

Edging toward meltdown


The political situation in which Pakistan finds itself on its 60th independence anniversary, unlike that of India, is one of fear, and the question urgently being asked is if the country has the timber to withstand assaults of the organized religious extremists.

The fierce opposition of Taliban-supporting religious extremists against General Pervez Musharraf's military regime came to a head in the July showdown at the Red Mosque in Islamabad, the nation's capital.

The extremist vigilantism of the pro-al-Qaida clerics and students of the Red Mosque in the weeks before the bloody confrontation revealed the tip of the problem that has pushed Pakistan to the precipice of a possible new meltdown.

From the outset of Pakistan's creation the political class -- primarily elites from the military and civil bureaucracy -- has ridden the tiger of religious extremism for its own narrow authoritarian interests.

Indeed, the country's birth in August 1947 was a result of religious-sectarian bigotry exploited by Muhammad Ali Jinnah (Pakistan's founder) and supporters of the Muslim League to force Britain to partition India.

Sixty years following the partition, the dreadful aftermath in Pakistan of Britain's policy of appeasing religious bigotry continues without an end and cries out as a cautionary lesson to those who propose glibly or mendaciously -- as does the U.S. Senator Joe Biden seeking Democratic nomination for the 2008 presidential election -- in partitioning Iraq.

HOLLOWED OUT

For 60 years religious extremists like white ants hollowed out the timber of the Pakistani society, and now there barely exists stable foundation on which a modern democratic state might be built responsive to the people's needs while eschewing military confrontations with its neighbours.

The problems of rampant graft and corruption in the political system, and religious extremists so emboldened that they could mount an armed operation out of a mosque at the heart of the nation's capital, were not merely inherited by General Musharraf when he came to power by dismissing the civilian government of Nawaz Sharif in 1999.

General Musharraf is the fifth military dictator in the country where the armed forces view the state as its preserve. The military has ruled Pakistan for nearly two-thirds of its history and presided over the country breaking apart in 1971.

Pakistan's problems are symptoms of an ill-functioning society increasingly exacerbated by military rule.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal's editorial board, Benazir Bhutto observed there are two fault lines in Pakistan.

Bhutto said, "One is dictatorship versus democracy. And one is moderation versus extremism." She should know as a former prime minister living in exile, and daughter of a prime minister hanged by the previous military dictator.

The test of how serious Musharraf is in eliminating religious extremists will be disclosed by the military's resolve to clean out the al-Qaida and Taliban infested tribal lands of Waziristan on Afghanistan's borders.

BIN LADEN

Here, it is alleged, Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al Zawahiri have found safe haven with the knowledge, if not the connivance, of the Pakistani military intelligence.

The future of Pakistan remains bleak. But ironically the failed conditions of a nuclear-weapon state could still guarantee the West's continued support -- prudent, yet deservingly disdainful -- for the general and his soldiers in preventing Pakistan's rapid descent into the Taliban-type hell with a frightful terrorist headache for the region and beyond.

====


SOURCETAG 0708180693
PUBLICATION: The Ottawa Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 14
BYLINE: LICIA CORBELLA
COLUMN: Editorial
WORD COUNT: 320

Disaster of Dieppe remembered


Sixty-five years ago tomorrow, some 5,000 young Canadian men stormed the beaches of Dieppe.

It was a bloodbath. On that one tragic day, 3,367 of those teens and young men were either killed, wounded or captured as prisoners of war. In all, 913 Canadians were killed because of that poorly executed storming of the heavily fortified, Nazi-occupied French beaches.

Stop and think about those numbers. To put it into perspective, in the five years Canadian troops have been in Afghanistan fighting the oppressive Taliban, 66 Canadian soldiers and one Canadian diplomat have been killed.

It is a terrible toll, to be sure, and helps to put into context the sheer cost of the freedom we enjoy.

On Canada's Veterans Affairs website the following report by Canadian Press reporter Ross Munro is transcribed and describes in part the horror our soldiers experienced all those years ago. "For eight hours, under intense Nazi fire from dawn into a sweltering afternoon, I watched Canadian troops fight the blazing, bloody battle of Dieppe," wrote Munro.

"I saw them go through the biggest of the war's raiding operations in wild scenes that crowded helter skelter one upon another in crazy sequence. There was a furious attack by German E-boats while the Canadians moved in on Dieppe's beaches, landing by dawn's half-light. When the Canadian battalions stormed through the flashing inferno of Nazi defences, belching guns of huge tanks rolling into the fight, I spent the grimmest 20 minutes of my life with one unit when a rain of German machine-gun fire wounded half the men in our boat and only a miracle saved us from annihilation."

Some surviving elderly veterans of that grim battle who were wounded and taken prisoner by the Nazis -- will be feted by the still grateful French citizens who, as Sun Media's Kathleen Harris' excellent weekend reports state, were given hope to continue to endure their oppression and hardships as a result of the failed raid.

The disaster of Dieppe provided valuable lessons that helped us eventually win that vital war.

As our veterans grow more frail and fewer, the need to remember and understand their sacrifice grows ever stronger.

====


SOURCETAG 0708180684
PUBLICATION: The Ottawa Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: 8
BYLINE: AP AND CP
DATELINE: KANDAHAR
WORD COUNT: 198

Afghan top cop, kids slain, 2 Canucks injured


Two Canadian soldiers were slightly injured when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb yesterday and a suicide bomber killed a district police chief and three of his children in southern Afghanistan.

Both soldiers were riding in a Track Light Armoured Vehicle, or T-LAV, along Highway 1 as part of a supply convoy for Canadian troops when they drove over the bomb.

"I am relieved the track vehicle was armoured and protected their lives," Lt.-Cmdr. Hubert Genest told reporters. "They're safe and hopefully, they're going to be able to return to work."

COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE

Genest said it was a relief their injuries were minor because the first report of the attack indicated serious wounds. Both suffered upper body injuries. One was quickly released while the other was being held for observation.

Neither soldier was identified by name, but both were members of the Lord Strathcona's Horse Regiment of Edmonton and have about two weeks remaining before the end of their tours.

Earlier yesterday, the Zhari district's police chief and three of his children were killed by a suicide bomber who blew himself up as Khariudin Achakzai left his home with five of his children. Achakzai, two of his sons and a daughter were killed instantly, while two other sons were wounded.

The two incidents were not related. KEYWORDS=WORLD

====


SOURCETAG 0708180681
PUBLICATION: The Ottawa Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: 7
ILLUSTRATION:1. photo by Greg Henkenhaf, Sun Media Ron Beal, was captured by the Germans in Dieppe and spent 33 months as a PoW. 2. photo provided by Veterans Affairs Canada Canadian and Allied prisoners are paraded as prisoners of war by their captors -- more than 1,900 Canadian soldiers were taken captive after the Dieppe raid turned to disaster.
BYLINE: KATHLEEN HARRIS
DATELINE: DIEPPE, FRANCE
WORD COUNT: 736

In the hands of the enemy Captured soldiers were often abused, despite international rules for humane treatment


They were shackled, marched to exhaustion and malnourished to the brink of starvation.

Prisoners of World War II were the "lucky ones" who survived bloody battle, yet many lived to wish they had died alongside their comrades.

It has been 65 long years since 1,946 Canadian soldiers were taken captive by the Germans after the Dieppe raid turned to disaster. But Ron Beal, 86, still vividly recalls every detail of the day his fellow troops waved a white handkerchief -- beginning the longest and most gruelling 33 months of his life.

"A German came and said, 'For you, the war is over,'" he said.

Surrounded by corpses and carnage, the magnitude of the casualties did not sink in until several weeks later. Every childhood friend Beal had from school, and the band where he played bugle, was killed in the slaughter.

After an initial holding at French barracks, prisoners were boarded on boxcars and taken to the Stalag 8B camp at Lamsdorf, Poland. Tied at the wrist for at least 12 hours a day for 15 months, Beal calls the treatment at the camp "degrading and embarrassing in every way you can imagine."

"The Germans were very handy with the rifle butts. We would talk about the Geneva Convention and they would say, 'Don't worry, we can shoot you any time and just say you were trying to escape.' We had that hanging over our heads all the time," he said.

Food was scarce, with soldiers often sharing a loaf of bread five ways and lucky to get one bowl of soup a week. Later in the war, Beal was put on a forced march away from advancing Allies, sleeping in open fields or the occasional barn on the long, exhausting trek across Germany.

Beal weighed 157 pounds the day he landed in Dieppe and 109 pounds when he was repatriated at the war's end.

Dieppe triggered a dark "shackling" period for PoWs, a practice in violation of the Geneva Convention that spells out international rules for humane treatment. The Germans had apprehended a Canadian plan for the raid that called for the temporary tying of prisoners as a means of control until they reached camp, and the Germans took it as a sign the Allies intended to mistreat prisoners.

There was retaliation. Jonathan Vance, a historian with expertise in prisoners of war at the University of Western Ontario in London, said Dieppe led to an escalation on both sides that lasted more than a year.

"The Germans saw in it a propaganda opportunity and the Dieppe prisoners became the victims of that escalating propaganda war," he said. "It was enormously demeaning when you are at the mercy of other people to do everything for you. It was a sign they were completely and utterly in the enemy's power, and that's a difficult thing to cope with. You can deal with it a couple of weeks in solitary confinement, but week in, week out, month in, month out, it starts to have pretty severe impact."

Canada was the first nation to recognize the psychological impact of long incarceration and shackling by awarding post-war pensions to PoWs without specific disabilities, Vance said. But as harsh and hostile the conditions were for Dieppe PoWs, treatment during wartime incarceration has been even worse for other soldiers and civilians.

From ancient days to modern times, physical and sexual abuse, torture and mass extermination has been rampant.

While legally binding international treaties are now in place to promote humane treatment, Vance said prisoners have historically been viewed as the "spoils of war." In past, PoWs were killed, released or sold on the slave market as their captors saw fit. In the 17th and 18th centuries, moral pressure mounted to treat prisoners more humanely and by the late 18th century, the common practice was to exchange carefully counted prisoners.

World War I was a time of highs and lows for PoWs; many were forced into gruelling labour, but others waited out the end of the war at seaside resorts. Treatment was more horrific and widespread during WWII, when appalling treatment occurred at the hands of the Japanese. Prisoners taken in by Germany were also starved, beaten and denied medical treatment.

A revised Geneva Convention strengthened rules in 1949. More protocols were added to deal with civil wars and internal conflicts in 1977, but abuses and even massacres of prisoners continued around the world.

Vance said the situation is "hugely more complicated" post-Sept. 11, when the status of suspected terrorists is unclear. Canada became embroiled in controversy this year, when allegations of abuse were levelled by Afghanistan detainees captured by Canadian troops.

Alex Neve, secretary general for Amnesty International Canada, said Sept. 11 led to grave concerns about treatment of detainees from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but it also led to greater awareness about human rights. KEYWORDS=WORLD

====


SOURCETAG 0708180680
PUBLICATION: The Ottawa Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: 6
ILLUSTRATION:2 photos 1. photo by Kathleen Harris, Sun Media Gallagher said he will be honouring his fallen comrade Capt. Nichola Goddard, as he pays tribute to those killed at Dieppe. 2. Dieppe veteran Fred Engelbrecht, l is joining current Canadian soldier Maj. Stephen Gallagher in France to mark the 65th anniversary of the botched raid.
BYLINE: KATHLEEN HARRIS, SUN MEDIA
DATELINE: ROUEN, FRANCE
WORD COUNT: 470

That fighting spirit Modern-day Canuck soldier joins Dieppe vets in inspirational visit to battle site


Veterans of Dieppe and Kandahar share similar experiences of great loss and hard-won lessons from war, says a modern-day soldier joining his predecessors on a pilgrimage to France.

Maj. Stephen Gallagher, 42, did an eight-month tour in Afghanistan last year and says the soldiers who fought and died in World War II, including those at Dieppe, serve as a great inspiration.

"What we're fighting for in Afghanistan is the same as they were fighting for in 1942, and that's to create a better world, to create a safer place wherever we're fighting," he said. "And it is a fight."

Veterans, youth ambassadors and politicians arrived in France yesterday to take part in solemn ceremonies of remembrance marking tomorrow's 65th anniversary of the Dieppe raid. The delegation will visit the shores of the botched raid that claimed 913 Canadian lives, and tour the cemeteries where the comrades are buried.

'LESSONS LEARNED'

Gallagher calls it a "privilege" to accompany the nine aging Dieppe veterans on the trip. Already, he has swapped many war stories with the soldiers of the previous generation, and like them, has the dates of specific events and casualties forever burned in his memory.

"There are a lot of similarities we can draw together, including lessons learned from operations. That's still happening today in our operations in Afghanistan," he said.

While many historians regard Dieppe as one of the most catastrophic military disasters in Canadian history, Gallagher believes it helped prepare the Allies for subsequent battles -- and even played a role in better preparing modern-day troops fighting in Afghanistan.

"That served a greater purpose in the long run," he said. "To learn from what went wrong is something that happens today, whether it's equipment or tactics. The enemy we're fighting today is very adaptable. They don't wear uniforms and don't follow the same operating procedures each time. So we're in a different challenge to adapt quicker."

Minister of Veterans Affairs Greg Thompson, who is leading the delegation in France, said there's a strong connection between the Dieppe veterans and modern-day soldiers.

"I think there's a line you can draw between the past and the present and the fact that they are no different than those who preceded them," he said.

'DEMANDING'

"Some missions are sometimes tough and very demanding, but as I often say, we have the best-trained, the most professional and the most committed soldiers in the world. I think that sense of them connecting with that previous generation is really important and just to have them here is important."

Thompson expects the weekend ceremonies at Dieppe will be "very emotional" for all those taking part.

For many of the veterans, now in their mid- to late 80s, this will be a final farewell to their fallen friends.

"This will be the last opportunity for them to visit this site where they landed and where so many of their comrades paid the ultimate price," Thompson said.

Gallagher said he will be honouring his fallen comrade Capt. Nichola Goddard as he pays tribute to those killed at Dieppe. Goddard, the first Canadian woman soldier to die in combat, was killed in Afghanistan in May 2006.

"Remembering Nichola will bring up the same emotions as these veterans will be having," he said. KEYWORDS=NATIONAL

====


SOURCETAG 0708180677
PUBLICATION: The Ottawa Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: 5
ILLUSTRATION:7 photos
BYLINE: ALAN FINDLAY, NATIONAL BUREAU
DATELINE: OTTAWA
WORD COUNT: 778

The three amigos Bush's whirlwind visit to Leaders' Summit on Monday promises media frenzy


Early this Monday afternoon, U.S. President George W. Bush will touch down in Ottawa sparking a frenzied 24 hours of closed-door meetings, photo-ops, pre-packaged announcements, protests, police blockades and breathless media coverage from start to finish.

By tea-time Tuesday, Bush will be headed back to American soil. The police batons and activists' bullhorns will be tucked away, Montebello residents will come out from hiding, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexico's President Felipe Calderon will hang around for one last meeting and the rest of Canada will be left to wonder what the hullaballoo was all about.

Depending whom you ask, the North American Leaders' Summit inside the nearby Quebec village's posh Chateau Montebello is either an undemocratic conspiracy aimed at giving up our sovereignty (and water) for the almighty greenback, or it's a series of negotiations too boring for words.

In all likelihood, the three leaders will make an announcement about better preparations in the likelihood of a widely predicted avianflu pandemic.

According to briefings from the White House and Prime Minister's Office, they'll also chat about climate change, lead-painted toys from China, border and security issues, trade, Afghanistan, the North Pole and a host of other issues.

What has protesters and critics from the left and right ends of the political spectrum in a tizzy is a two-year-old agreement between the three nations called the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP).

Established in Waco, Texas, under Bush, former prime minister Paul Martin and Mexico's past president Vicente Fox in 2005, the partnership was devised as a way to find better ways to ease trade concerns such as clogged border crossings while appeasing American security jitters in the post 9-11 world.

But in the past two years it has fallen under the same shadow of criticism as larger international gatherings such as the G8.

"Where's the parliamentary oversight? Where's the opportunity for ordinary people to know what's happening?" asks Maude Barlow, whose group the Council of Canadians was also a leading voice against NAFTA.

She and others warn that the SPP is a mechanism that allows cabinet and bureaucrats to water down environmental and safety standards for the sake of harmonizing regulations with our neighbours to the south -- all without an ounce of public input. Look far enough down the road, they warn, and the SPP could be the vehicle to truck Canada's water down to thirsty Americans.

Celeste Cote is one of the organizers of several large demonstrations in Ottawa and Montebello under the coalition banner of a Stop the SPP Committee. Expecting upwards of 1,000 people to march on their event tomorrow from Toronto, Montreal, other parts of Canada and the U.S., she warns that talks between the leaders threaten to victimize society's most vulnerable while a hand-picked group of each country's corporate elite personally advise the three leaders in an exclusive meeting Tuesday.

"This is going to affect every aspect of our lives, and it's absolutely appalling we have no say in this," she said.

But Thomas d'Aquino, who heads up the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, suggests everyone take a deep breath.

He dismisses arguments from the "lunatic left" and "lunatic right" as hysteria that his group and counterparts in the U.S. and Mexico are planning to turn Canada into the 51st state.

"All of this frankly is a gigantic load of B.S. and misinformation," said d'Aquino.

His group initially launched a similarly named security and prosperity "initiative" in 2003 in an effort to ensure the Canada-U.S. border continued to flow freely for commerce and travellers as American politicians pushed to tighten it up.

The three countries picked up on the theme in Texas.

Another hurdle toward meaningful progress in Montebello is Bush's waning power as a president headed for the White House exit. In the words of University of Toronto political economy professor Stephen Clarkson, it will be tough for Harper and Calderon to extract many gains in talks with an American president losing political steam.

"It's a big issue because Washington is more or less paralyzed," Clarkson says. "With Bush doing so badly in the opinion polls and losing control over the Republicans, it makes him more and more impotent."

One thing the protesters can cheer about come Tuesday: It's likely Bush's last presidential visit to Canada.

---

STEPHEN HARPER

Canada

Population: 33 million

Area: 9.98 million square kilometres

Economic Might (GDP per capita in US$): $32,614

Canadian Primer Minister STEPHEN HARPER:

Conservative minority government leader since January 2006

Age: 48

Height: 6'2"(1.88 m)

Wife: Laureen

Kids: Ben and Rachel

Pets: A cat named Cheddar, along with fostering various homeless cats at 24 Sussex Dr.

Nickname: Steve (but don't let his mother hear you call him that).

---

GEORGE W. BUSH

United States

Population: 302 million

Area: 9.6 million square kilometres

Economic Might (GDP per capita in US$): $44,190

American President

GEORGE W. BUSH:

Two-term Republican president since January 2001

Age: 61

Height: 5'11"

Wife: Laura

Kids: Twin daughters Jenna and Barbara

Pets: Scottish Terriers Barney and Miss Beazley, and a cat named India "Willie".

Nicknames: Dubya, Dumbya, 15-watt Fraud, Dictator in Chief, Deceiver in Chief, Pretender in Chief ...

Quotation from last visit to Canada:

"There's a prominent citizen who endorsed me in the 2000 election, and I wanted a chance to finally thank him for that endorsement. I was hoping to meet Jean Poutine".

---

FELIPE CALDERON

Mexico

Population: 108.7 million

Area: 1.97 million square kilometres

Economic Might (GDP per capita in US$): $11,249

Mexican President

FELIPE CALDERON:

President since December 2006 as leader of the centrist-conservative National Action Party

Age: 45 on Aug. 18

Wife: Margarita Zavala, who served in Congress as a federal deputy

Kids: Maria, Luis Felipe and Juan Pablo

Description: "Dull" and "wonkish," according to the Washington Post.

Nickname: "The Disobedient Son," Calderon stuck the nickname on the front of his campaign bus after beating out the favoured candidate to win his party's presidential nomination. KEYWORDS=WORLD

====


SOURCETAG 0708180673
PUBLICATION: The Ottawa Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: 3
ILLUSTRATION:2 photos by Alex Hebert 1. Cpl. Jeffrey Louvelle holds his 16-month-old daughter Madison after a long trip home from Afghanistan. 2. Master Cpl. Kelly Mess was beaming to see his son, Koby, yesterday morning at CFB Petawawa. The two chatted with media after being reunited.
BYLINE: ALEX HEBERT, SUN MEDIA
DATELINE: CFB PETAWAWA
WORD COUNT: 367

Long wait finally over Children stay up until wee hours of morning to greet returning soldiers from Afghanistan


Five-year-old Blake Burwell trudged about a large, empty garage at CFB Petawawa early yesterday morning, clutching a juice box and a pack of cookies.

"I'm going to give these to daddy," he told his mom, Master Cpl. Deana Burwell.

"That's nice," she said, looking down at her son who was wearing blue pyjamas.

At 2:20 a.m., it was well past Blake's bedtime, but this was a special occasion -- Daddy was coming home.

He's been serving in Afghanistan for the past six months. Along with 46 other soldiers, mainly of the B Squadron of the Royal Canadian Dragoons (RCD), Master Cpl. Shon Burwell would finally see his family.

"Blake can't wait to see his dad," said mom, who also had one-year-old Joey in a stroller.

TOUGH ON TROOPS

Outside the garage, Natasha Forrest stood in the chilly night air, waiting nervously for her fiance to return.

Their 16-month-old daughter Madison was cradled in her arms, surprisingly placid.

Forrest's squeeze, Cpl. Jeffrey Louvelle, had been sent to Afghanistan as a replacement and was coming back after only two months.

It was his second tour.

"Last time, he drove a tank," said his mother, Mary-Ellen, who accompanied Forrest. "This time he's doing something else ... It's good because the drivers can get hurt by the roadside bombs."

The soldiers of the RCD are mainly tasked with armoured reconnaissance missions. Much of their work in Afghanistan involves searching for IEDs and car bombs.

The mission was tough for the troops as there were several deaths in the squadron.

This reality was substantiated for Tracy Wilson, 26, who was waiting for a long-time friend to return.

A high school teacher from Russell, Man., Wilson taught one of the six soldiers who was killed in Afghanistan in early July by a roadside bomb.

"It really makes me worry," she said. "You try to go day by day but it's really hard ... I'll probably ball my eyes out when I see the bus come in."

All around Wilson, friends and family of the soldiers waited anxiously for their loved ones. Many had small children with sleepy faces.

"You're never really relieved until you see them get off the bus," said Louvelle.

Maureen Maguire's husband had been overseas for six months. She hadn't seen him in two days.

ROCKET ATTACK

"We served together in Afghanistan," said the 43-year-old private who was a traffic tech at the Kandahar base. "It was really surreal when I first got there. (My husband) was waiting for me with a Tim Hortons coffee."

Maguire had just gotten back from her own four-day journey from Afghanistan and was anxious to get away to a cottage for a couple weeks with her hubby.

The two had been through quite a bit together, including a rocket attack in Afghanistan.

"We heard whistling, then there was a huge vibration," she said. "I wanted to grab my husband's hand and get close to him, but you're not allowed."

Finally, at 2:45 a.m. yesterday, a chartered bus entered the parking lot and friends and family flocked outside the garage.

A group of camouflage-clad soldiers descended the stairs of the bus to a standing ovation.

Family and friends rushed the vehicle, flying into the arms of the people they so longed to see.

Master. Cpl. Shon Burwell held his sons tight in his arms in what was likely the most emotional moment he had experienced since hugging them goodbye six months ago.

"It's great to be back," he said with a smile from ear to ear.

====


SOURCETAG 0708180290
PUBLICATION: The London Free Press
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Lifestyle
PAGE: C9
BYLINE: AP
DATELINE: GENEVA
WORD COUNT: 329

Easing tensions goal of common code for religious conversions


Evangelical groups have joined efforts spearheaded by Roman Catholic, Orthodox and mainstream Protestant churches to create a common code for religious conversions.

The code would preserve the right of Christians to spread their religion while avoiding conflict among different faiths, church leaders say.

The World Council of Churches, which joined the Vatican last year in launching talks on a code, said this week the process was formally joined by the World Evangelical Alliance at a meeting earlier this month in France.

The code aims to ease tensions with Muslims, Hindus and other religious groups which fear losing adherents, and which resort to punishments as extreme as imprisonment and even death for converts from their faith and foreign missionaries.

The Taliban kidnapping of 23 South Korean Christians and the killing of two of them in Afghanistan last month underscores the tensions. The accusations against the South Koreans include wanting to meet with former converts from Islam, but the church has denied they were trying to spread Christianity.

Proselytizing also has caused concern among the branches of Christianity because of the vigour with which Pentecostal and evangelical-style congregations have led the drive for conversions around the world, outstripping the growth of older churches.

Pope Benedict's visit to Brazil in May was partly a response to the exodus of millions of Catholics to Protestant evangelical churches.

Juan Michel, a spokesperson for the Geneva-based WCC -- which brings together about 350 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians -- said the support from the evangelical alliance has given a big boost to efforts to agree on a set of guidelines by 2010.

"It is a very important Christian organization," he said.

Major evangelical groups were absent from a meeting last year of the Vatican and the WCC near Rome, where the idea for the code was initiated.

But at the five-day meeting which ended Aug. 12 in Toulouse, France, Geoff Tunnicliffe, head of the evangelical alliance of 233 conservative Protestant church groups worldwide, gave his "full approval" to the process, the WCC said.

"The code of conduct is not about whether Christians evangelize, but how they do it," said Rev. Tony Richie of the Church of God, a Pentecostal U.S.-based denomination, according to a WCC review of the meeting. KEYWORDS=RELIGION

====


SOURCETAG 0708180244
PUBLICATION: The London Free Press
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: A10
BYLINE: SALIM MANSUR
WORD COUNT: 502

Edging toward meltdown


The political situation in which Pakistan finds itself on its 60th independence anniversary, unlike that of India, is one of fear, and the question urgently being asked is if the country has the timber to withstand assaults of the organized religious extremists.

The fierce opposition of Taliban-supporting religious extremists against Gen. Pervez Musharraf's military regime came to a head in the July showdown at the Red Mosque in Islamabad, the nation's capital.

The extremist vigilantism of the pro-al-Qaida clerics and students of the Red Mosque in the weeks before the bloody confrontation revealed the tip of the problem that has pushed Pakistan to the precipice of a possible new meltdown.

From the outset of Pakistan's creation the political class -- primarily elites from the military and civil bureaucracy -- has ridden the tiger of religious extremism for its own narrow authoritarian interests.

Indeed, the country's birth in August 1947 was a result of religious-sectarian bigotry exploited by Muhammad Ali Jinnah (Pakistan's founder) and supporters of the Muslim League to force Britain to partition India.

Sixty years following the partition, the dreadful aftermath in Pakistan of Britain's policy of appeasing religious bigotry continues without an end and cries out as a cautionary lesson to those who propose glibly or mendaciously -- as does U.S. Senator Joe Biden seeking Democratic nomination for the 2008 presidential election -- partitioning Iraq.

For 60 years religious extremists like white ants hollowed out the timber of Pakistani society, and now there barely exists a stable foundation on which a modern democratic state might be built responsive to the people's needs while eschewing military confrontations with its neighbours.

The problems of rampant graft and corruption in the political system, and religious extremists so emboldened that they could mount an armed operation out of a mosque at the heart of the nation's capital, were not merely inherited by Musharraf when he came to power by dismissing the civilian government of Nawaz Sharif in 1999.

Musharraf is the fifth military dictator in the country where the armed forces view the state as its preserve. The military has ruled Pakistan for nearly two-thirds of its history and presided over the country breaking apart in 1971.

Pakistan's problems are symptoms of an ill-functioning society increasingly exacerbated by military rule.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal's editorial board, Benazir Bhutto observed there are two fault lines in Pakistan.

Bhutto said, "One is dictatorship versus democracy. And one is moderation versus extremism." She should know as a former prime minister living in exile, and daughter of a prime minister hanged by the previous military dictator.

The test of how serious Musharraf is in eliminating religious extremists will be disclosed by the military's resolve to clean out the al-Qaida- and Taliban-infested tribal lands of Waziristan on Afghanistan's borders.

Here, it is alleged, Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al Zawahiri have found safe haven with the knowledge, if not the connivance, of the Pakistani military intelligence.

The future of Pakistan remains bleak. But ironically the failed conditions of a nuclear-weapon state could still guarantee the West's continued support -- prudent, yet deservingly disdainful -- for the general and his soldiers in preventing Pakistan's rapid descent into the Taliban-type hell with a frightful terrorist headache for the region and beyond.

====


SOURCETAG 0708180243
PUBLICATION: The London Free Press
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: A10
BYLINE: LICIA CORBELLA
COLUMN: Editorial
WORD COUNT: 308

Remember disaster of Dieppe


Sixty-five years ago tomorrow, about 5,000 young Canadian men stormed the beaches of Dieppe.

It was a bloodbath. On that one tragic day, 3,367 of those teens and young men were either killed, wounded or captured as prisoners of war. In all, 913 Canadians were killed because of that poorly executed storming of the heavily fortified, Nazi-occupied French beaches.

Stop and think about those numbers. To put it into perspective, in the five years Canadian troops have been in Afghanistan fighting the oppressive Taliban, 66 Canadian soldiers and one Canadian diplomat have been killed.

It is a terrible toll, to be sure, and helps to put into context the sheer cost of the freedom we enjoy.

On Canada's Veterans Affairs website, the following report by CP reporter Ross Munro is transcribed and describes in part the horror our soldiers experienced all those years ago.

"For eight hours, under intense Nazi fire from dawn into a sweltering afternoon, I watched Canadian troops fight the blazing, bloody battle of Dieppe," wrote Munro.

"I saw them go through the biggest of the war's raiding operations in wild scenes that crowded helter skelter one upon another in crazy sequence. There was a furious attack by German E-boats while the Canadians moved in on Dieppe's beaches, landing by dawn's half-light. When the Canadian battalions stormed through the flashing inferno of Nazi defences, belching guns of huge tanks rolling into the fight, I spent the grimmest 20 minutes of my life with one unit when a rain of German machine-gun fire wounded half the men in our boat and only a miracle saved us from annihilation."

Some surviving elderly veterans of that grim battle who were wounded and taken prisoner by the Nazis will be feted by the still grateful French citizens, who, as Sun Media's Kathleen Harris's excellent weekend reports state, were given hope to continue to endure their oppression and hardships as a result of the failed raid.

The disaster of Dieppe provided valuable lessons that helped us eventually win that vital war.

As our veterans grow more frail and fewer, the need to remember and understand their sacrifice grows ever stronger.

====


SOURCETAG 0708180232
PUBLICATION: The London Free Press
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: A5
DATELINE: KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN
COLUMN: News Digest
WORD COUNT: 158

Two Canadian soldiers injured by bomb


Two Canadian soldiers were slightly injured yesterday when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb, the Canadian military said. Both soldiers were riding in a Track Light Armoured Vehicle, or T-LAV, along Highway 1 as part of a supply convoy for Canadian troops when they drove over the bomb. "I am relieved the track vehicle was armoured and protected their lives," said military spokesman Lt.-Cmdr. Hubert Genest. "They're safe and sound and, hopefully, they're going to be able to return to work." Genest said it's a relief their injuries are minor because the first report of the attack indicated serious wounds. Both suffered upper body injuries. One was released while the other was being held for observation. Both were members of the Lord Strathcona's Horse Regiment of Edmonton. KEYWORDS=WORLD

====


SOURCETAG 0708180229
PUBLICATION: The London Free Press
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: A4
ILLUSTRATION:photo by Reuters CHALLENGE Liberal Leader Stephane Dion issued yesterday a list of demands that he says Prime Minister Stephen Harper should make when he meets next week with U.S. President George W. Bush.
BYLINE: TERRY PEDWELL, CP
DATELINE: OTTAWA
WORD COUNT: 228

Dion urges PM to greet Bush with tough talk


Liberal Leader Stephane Dion says the prime minister should make it clear Canada will soon withdraw from Afghanistan when he meets with U.S. President George W. Bush next week.

"The prime minister should notify to NATO, the Americans and the government of Afghanistan that our combat mission in Kandahar will effectively end in February 2009," Dion told a news conference yesterday.

"The more we wait, the less we are a good partner for our allies."

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will meet with Bush and Mexican President Felipe Calderon for two days at the beginning of next week for a summit in Montebello, Que.

Harper will also hold private talks with Calderon Wednesday.

The prime minister made it clear this summer that Canada's combat role in Afghanistan will end in February 2009. Initially, he said no decision on the future would be made without a parliamentary consensus.

Last month, he said NATO's failure to persuade other countries to join in southern Afghanistan made it impossible for Canada to consider extending its fighting role there.

The PM should also use the summit to insist that no new trade deals be negotiated that would allow fresh water to be removed from Canada, Dion added.

As well, Ottawa should insist that the United States crack down on gun smuggling into Canada, he said.

"It is estimated that more than half of gun crimes committed in Canada's major cities are with guns smuggled into our country from the United States," Dion said.

Dion also insisted that Harper demand terror suspect Omar Khadr be removed from the U.S. military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and transferred to the U.S. to be tried in a legitimate court.

Khadr is among 14 so-called "high-value" detainees who were declared by the Pentagon earlier this month as enemy combatants.

Khadr is now being held indefinitely at the detention centre KEYWORDS=CANADA

====


SOURCETAG 0708180228
PUBLICATION: The London Free Press
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: A4
ILLUSTRATION:4 photos 1. photo of STEPHEN HARPER 2. photo of FELIPE CALDERON 3. photo by Fred Chartrand, CP SUMMIT: Security cameras and motion detectors yesterday surround the inner grounds of Chateau Montebello, site of next week's North American Leaders Summit in Montebello, Que. Chateau Montebello is seen in the background. 4. photo of GEORGE W. BUSH
BYLINE: ALAN FINDLAY, SUN MEDIA
DATELINE: OTTAWA
WORD COUNT: 517

Bush visit raises thorny issues


Early Monday afternoon, U.S. President George W. Bush will touch down in Ottawa and spark a frenzied 24 hours of closed-door meetings, photo ops, protests and police blockades.

By tea-time Tuesday, Bush will be headed back to American soil.

The police batons and activists' bullhorns will be gone, Montebello residents will resume life and Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexican President Felipe Calderon will meet again.

Depending whom you ask, the North American Leaders Summit at the Quebec village's posh Chateau Montebello is either a conspiracy aimed at giving up our sovereignty or a series of negotiations too boring for words.

In all likelihood, the three leaders will make an announcement about better preparations in case of a predicted avian flu pandemic.

According to briefings from the White House and Prime Minister's Office, they'll also chat about climate change, lead-painted toys from China, border security, trade, Afghanistan, the North Pole and a host of other issues.

What has protesters and critics from the left and right ends of the political spectrum in a tizzy is a two-year-old agreement between the three nations called the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP).

Established in 2005 in Waco, Texas, under Bush, former prime minister Paul Martin and Mexico's past president Vicente Fox, the partnership was devised to ease trade concerns such as clogged border crossings while appeasing American security jitters.

But it's now heavily criticized.

"Where's the parliamentary oversight? Where's the opportunity for ordinary people to know what's happening?" asks Maude Barlow, whose group the Council of Canadians also protested against NAFTA.

She and others warn the SPP is a mechanism that allows cabinet and bureaucrats to weaken environmental and safety standards for the sake of harmonizing regulations with our neighbours to the south -- all without an ounce of public input.

Look far enough down the road, they warn, and the SPP could be the vehicle to truck Canada's water down to thirsty Americans.

Celeste Cote is one of the organizers of several large demonstrations in Ottawa and Montebello under the coalition banner of the Stop the SPP Committee.

She expects upwards of 1,000 people to march on their event tomorrow from Toronto, Montreal, other parts of Canada and the U.S.

"This is going to affect every aspect of our lives, and it's absolutely appalling we have no say in this," she said.

But Thomas d'Aquino, who heads up the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, suggests everyone calm down.

He dismisses arguments from the "lunatic left" and "lunatic right" as hysteria that the U.S. and Mexico are planning to turn Canada into the 51st state.

"All of this frankly is a gigantic load of B.S. and misinformation," said d'Aquino.

One hurdle toward meaningful progress in Montebello is Bush's waning power as a president headed for the White House exit.

In the words of University of Toronto Prof. Stephen Clarkson, it will be tough to extract many gains in talks with an American president losing political steam.

---

TALE OF THE TAPE

CANADA

- Population: 33 million

- Area: 9.98 million square kilometres

- Economic might (GDP per capita in US$): $32,614

Canadian Primer Minister STEPHEN HARPER:

Conservative minority government leader since January 2006

- Age: 48

- Height: 6'2"(1.88 m)

- Wife: Laureen

- Kids: Ben and Rachel

- Pets: A cat named Cheddar, along with fostering various homeless cats at 24 Sussex Drive.

- Nickname: Steve (but don't let his mother hear you call him that).

UNITED STATES

- Population: 302 million

- Area: 9.6 million square kilometres

- Economic might (GDP per capita in US$): $44,190

American President GEORGE W. BUSH:

Two-term Republican president since January 2001

- Age: 61

- Height: 5'11"

- Wife: Laura

- Kids: Twins Jenna and Barbara

- Pets: Scottish Terriers Barney and Miss Beazley, and a cat named India Willie.

- Nicknames: Dubya, Dumbya, 15-watt Fraud, Dictator in Chief

- Quote from last visit to Canada: "There's a prominent citizen who endorsed me in the 2000 election, and I wanted a chance to finally thank him for that endorsement. I was hoping to meet Jean Poutine."

MEXICO

- Population: 108.7 million

- Area: 1.97 million square kilometres

- Economic might (GDP per capita in US$): $11,249

Mexican President FELIPE CALDERON:

President since December 2006 as leader of the centrist-conservative National Action Party

- Age: 45 on Aug. 18

- Wife: Margarita Zavala, who served in Congress as a federal deputy

- Kids: Maria, Luis Felipe and Juan Pablo

- Description: "Dull," according to the Washington Post.

- Nickname: "The Disobedient Son," Calderon stuck the nickname on the front of his campaign bus after beating out the favoured candidate to win his party's presidential nomination. KEYWORDS=CANADA

====


SOURCETAG 0708180227
PUBLICATION: The London Free Press
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: A3
ILLUSTRATION:1. photo by Greg Henkenhaf, Sun Media SURVIVOR: Second World War veteran Ron Beal, 86, of Toronto, lost dozens of friends during the failed raid on Dieppe. While he survived, Beal had to then endure 33 months as a prisoner of war before coming home. 2. photo PROPAGANDA: Canadian and Allied prisoners are paraded as prisoners of war by their captors. More than 1,900 Canadian soldiers were taken captive after the Dieppe raid turned to disaster.
BYLINE: KATHLEEN HARRIS, NATIONAL BUREAU
DATELINE: DIEPPE, France
WORD COUNT: 689

The rules of war Nearly 2,000 Canadian soldiers were captured as prisoners of war after the failed raid on Dieppe. They endured a vicious existence as PoWs, before treaties were strengthened to promote humane treatment.


They were shackled, marched to exhaustion and malnourished to the brink of starvation.

Prisoners of the Second World War were the "lucky ones" who survived a bloody battle, yet many lived only to wish they had died alongside their comrades.

It's been 65 years since 1,946 Canadian soldiers were taken captive by the Germans as the Dieppe raid turned to disaster.

But Ron Beal, 86, of Toronto, still vividly recalls every detail of the day his fellow troops waved a white handkerchief -- beginning the most gruelling 33 months of his life.

"A German came and said, 'For you, the war is over,' " he recalled.

Surrounded by corpses and carnage, the magnitude of the casualties didn't sink in until several weeks later.

Every childhood friend Beal had from school and the band, where he played bugle, was killed in the slaughter.

After an initial holding at French barracks, prisoners were boarded on a boxcar and taken to the Stalag 8B camp at Lamsdorf, Poland. Tied at the wrist at least 12 hours a day for 15 months, Beal calls the treatment at the camp "degrading and embarrassing in every way you can imagine.

"The Germans were very handy with the rifle butts. We would talk about the Geneva Convention and they would say, 'Don't worry, we can shoot you any time and just say you were trying to escape.' We had that hanging over our heads all the time," he said.

Food was also scarce, with soldiers often sharing a loaf of bread five ways and lucky to get one bowl of warm soup a week. Later in the war, Beal was put on a forced march away from advancing Allies, sleeping in open fields or the occasional barn on the long, exhausting trek across Germany.

Beal weighed 157 pounds the day he landed in Dieppe and 109 when he was repatriated at war's end.

Dieppe triggered a dark "shackling" period for PoWs, a practice in violation of the Geneva Convention that spells out international rules for humane treatment.

The Germans had apprehended a Canadian plan for the raid that called for the temporary tying of prisoners as a means of control until they reached camp.

The Germans took it as a sign the Allies intended to mistreat prisoners.

And there was retaliation.

Jonathan Vance, a historian with expertise in prisoners of war at the University of Western Ontario, said Dieppe led to an escalation on both sides that lasted more than a year.

"The Germans saw in it a propaganda opportunity and the Dieppe prisoners became the victims of that escalating propaganda war," he said. "It was enormously demeaning when you are at the mercy of other people to do everything for you.

"It was a sign they were completely and utterly in the enemy's power, and that's a difficult thing to cope with.

"You can deal with it (for) a couple of weeks in solitary confinement. But week in, week out, month in, month out, it starts to have pretty severe impact."

Canada was the first nation to recognize the psychological toll of long incarceration and shackling by awarding post-war pensions to PoWs without specific disabilities, Vance said.

But as hostile as the conditions were for Dieppe PoWs, treatment during wartime incarceration has been worse for other soldiers and civilians during the Second World War, and throughout history.

From ancient days to modern times, physical and sexual abuse, torture and mass extermination have been rampant.

While legally binding international treaties are now in place to promote humane treatment, Vance said prisoners have historically been viewed as the "spoils of war."

In the past, PoWs were killed, released or sold on the slave market as their captors saw fit.

In the 17th and 18th centuries, moral pressure mounted to treat prisoners more humanely. By the late 18th century, the common practice was to exchange carefully counted prisoners.

The First World War was a time of highs and lows for PoWs, with many forced into gruelling labour but others waiting out the war at seaside resorts.

Treatment was surely more horrific and widespread during the Second World War, when appalling treatment occurred at the hands of the Japanese. Prisoners taken in by Germany were also starved, beaten and denied medical treatment.

A revised Geneva Convention strengthened rules in 1949. More protocols were added to deal with civil wars and internal conflicts in 1977, but abuses and even massacres of prisoners continued around the world.

Vance said the situation is "hugely more complicated" post-Sept. 11, with the status of suspected terrorists unclear.

Canada became embroiled in controversy this year, when allegations of abuse were levelled by Afghanistan detainees captured by Canadian troops.

Alex Neve, secretary general for Amnesty International Canada, said the Sept. 11 attacks on New York City led to grave concerns about treatment of detainees from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But it also led to greater awareness about human rights.

"Many now understand that if we abandon these kinds of treaties and legal provisions, we're not making ourselves more secure," Neve said.

"We're fostering greater lawlessness, more injustice and ultimately all that leads us toward greater insecurity."

OUR COVERAGE

The Free Press is featuring extensive coverage as Canadians commemorate the 65th anniversary of the disastrous Second World War raid on Dieppe on Aug. 19, 1942.

Coverage includes:

- Veterans make the pilgrimage to Dieppe, where they recall the bloodbath. For most, it will be their last trip there.

- Prisoners of War were deemed the lucky ones who survived the battle but many lived to wish they had been killed with their comrades.

- Historians and veterans talk about that fateful day. KEYWORDS=WORLD

====


SOURCETAG 0708180619
PUBLICATION: The Edmonton Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: 66
ILLUSTRATION:2 photos 1. photo by Greg Henkenhaf, Sun Media Ron Beal, above, was captured by the Germans in Dieppe and spent 33 months as a PoW. 2. photo by Veterans Affairs Canada Canadian and Allied prisoners are paraded as prisoners of war by their captors -- more than 1,900 Canadian soldiers were taken captive after the Dieppe raid turned to disaster.
BYLINE: KATHLEEN HARRIS
DATELINE: DIEPPE, France
WORD COUNT: 736

In the hands of the enemy Captured soldiers were often abused, despite international rules for humane treatment


They were shackled, marched to exhaustion and malnourished to the brink of starvation.

Prisoners of World War II were the "lucky ones" who survived bloody battle, yet many lived to wish they had died alongside their comrades.

It has been 65 long years since 1,946 Canadian soldiers were taken captive by the Germans after the Dieppe raid turned to disaster. But Ron Beal, 86, still vividly recalls every detail of the day his fellow troops waved a white handkerchief -- beginning the longest and most gruelling 33 months of his life.

"A German came and said, 'For you, the war is over,'" he said.

Surrounded by corpses and carnage, the magnitude of the casualties did not sink in until several weeks later. Every childhood friend Beal had from school, and the band where he played bugle, was killed in the slaughter.

After an initial holding at French barracks, prisoners were boarded on boxcars and taken to the Stalag 8B camp at Lamsdorf, Poland. Tied at the wrist for at least 12 hours a day for 15 months, Beal calls the treatment at the camp "degrading and embarrassing in every way you can imagine."

"The Germans were very handy with the rifle butts. We would talk about the Geneva Convention and they would say, 'Don't worry, we can shoot you any time and just say you were trying to escape.' We had that hanging over our heads all the time," he said.

Food was scarce, with soldiers often sharing a loaf of bread five ways and lucky to get one bowl of soup a week. Later in the war, Beal was put on a forced march away from advancing Allies, sleeping in open fields or the occasional barn on the long, exhausting trek across Germany.

Beal weighed 157 pounds the day he landed in Dieppe and 109 pounds when he was repatriated at the war's end.

Dieppe triggered a dark "shackling" period for PoWs, a practice in violation of the Geneva Convention that spells out international rules for humane treatment. The Germans had apprehended a Canadian plan for the raid that called for the temporary tying of prisoners as a means of control until they reached camp, and the Germans took it as a sign the Allies intended to mistreat prisoners.

There was retaliation. Jonathan Vance, a historian with expertise in prisoners of war at the University of Western Ontario in London, said Dieppe led to an escalation on both sides that lasted more than a year.

"The Germans saw in it a propaganda opportunity and the Dieppe prisoners became the victims of that escalating propaganda war," he said. "It was enormously demeaning when you are at the mercy of other people to do everything for you. It was a sign they were completely and utterly in the enemy's power, and that's a difficult thing to cope with. You can deal with it a couple of weeks in solitary confinement, but week in, week out, month in, month out, it starts to have pretty severe impact."

Canada was the first nation to recognize the psychological impact of long incarceration and shackling by awarding post-war pensions to PoWs without specific disabilities, Vance said. But as harsh and hostile the conditions were for Dieppe PoWs, treatment during wartime incarceration has been even worse for other soldiers and civilians.

From ancient days to modern times, physical and sexual abuse, torture and mass extermination has been rampant.

While legally binding international treaties are now in place to promote humane treatment, Vance said prisoners have historically been viewed as the "spoils of war." In past, PoWs were killed, released or sold on the slave market as their captors saw fit. In the 17th and 18th centuries, moral pressure mounted to treat prisoners more humanely and by the late 18th century, the common practice was to exchange carefully counted prisoners.

World War I was a time of highs and lows for PoWs; many were forced into gruelling labour, but others waited out the end of the war at seaside resorts. Treatment was more horrific and widespread during WWII, when appalling treatment occurred at the hands of the Japanese. Prisoners taken in by Germany were also starved, beaten and denied medical treatment.

A revised Geneva Convention strengthened rules in 1949. More protocols were added to deal with civil wars and internal conflicts in 1977, but abuses and even massacres of prisoners continued around the world.

Vance said the situation is "hugely more complicated" post-Sept. 11, when the status of suspected terrorists is unclear. Canada became embroiled in controversy this year, when allegations of abuse were levelled by Afghanistan detainees captured by Canadian troops.

Alex Neve, secretary general for Amnesty International Canada, said Sept. 11 led to grave concerns about treatment of detainees from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but it also led to greater awareness about human rights. KEYWORDS=WORLD

====


SOURCETAG 0708180604
PUBLICATION: The Edmonton Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: 54
ILLUSTRATION:7 photos
DATELINE: OTTAWA
WORD COUNT: 774

The three amigos Bush's whirlwind visit to Leaders' Summit on Monday promises media frenzy


Early Monday afternoon, U.S. President George W. Bush will touch down in Ottawa sparking a frenzied 24 hours of closed-door meetings, photo ops, pre-packaged announcements, protests, police blockades and breathless media coverage from start to finish.

By tea-time Tuesday, Bush will be headed back to American soil. The police batons and activists' bullhorns will be tucked away, Montebello residents will come out from hiding, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexico's President Felipe Calderon will hang around for one last meeting and the rest of Canada will be left to wonder what the hullaballoo was all about.

Depending whom you ask, the North American Leaders' Summit inside the nearby Quebec village's posh Chateau Montebello is either an undemocratic conspiracy aimed at giving up our sovereignty (and water) for the almighty greenback, or it's a series of negotiations too boring for words.

In all likelihood, the three leaders will make an announcement about better preparations in the likelihood of a widely predicted avianflu pandemic.

According to briefings from the White House and Prime Minister's Office, they'll also chat about climate change, lead-painted toys from China, border and security issues, trade, Afghanistan, the North Pole and a host of other issues.

What has protesters and critics from the left and right ends of the political spectrum in a tizzy is a two-year-old agreement between the three nations called the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP).

Established in Waco, Texas, under Bush, former prime minister Paul Martin and Mexico's past president Vicente Fox in 2005, the partnership was devised as a way to find better ways to ease trade concerns such as clogged border crossings while appeasing American security jitters in the post 9-11 world.

But in the past two years it has fallen under the same shadow of criticism as larger international gatherings such as the G8.

"Where's the parliamentary oversight? Where's the opportunity for ordinary people to know what's happening?" asks Maude Barlow, whose group the Council of Canadians was also a leading voice against NAFTA.

She and others warn that the SPP is a mechanism that allows cabinet and bureaucrats to water down environmental and safety standards for the sake of harmonizing regulations with our neighbours to the south -- all without an ounce of public input. Look far enough down the road, they warn, and the SPP could be the vehicle to truck Canada's water down to thirsty Americans.

Celeste Cote is one of the organizers of several large demonstrations in Ottawa and Montebello under the coalition banner of a Stop the SPP Committee. Expecting upwards of 1,000 people to march on their event tomorrow from Toronto, Montreal, other parts of Canada and the U.S., she warns that talks between the leaders threaten to victimize society's most vulnerable while a hand-picked group of each country's corporate elite personally advise the three leaders in an exclusive meeting Tuesday.

"This is going to affect every aspect of our lives, and it's absolutely appalling we have no say in this," she said.

But Thomas d'Aquino, who heads up the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, suggests everyone take a deep breath.

He dismisses arguments from the "lunatic left" and "lunatic right" as hysteria that his group and counterparts in the U.S. and Mexico are planning to turn Canada into the 51st state.

"All of this frankly is a gigantic load of B.S. and misinformation," said d'Aquino.

His group initially launched a similarly named security and prosperity "initiative" in 2003 in an effort to ensure the Canada-U.S. border continued to flow freely for commerce and travellers as American politicians pushed to tighten it up.

The three countries picked up on the theme in Texas.

Another hurdle toward meaningful progress in Montebello is Bush's waning power as a president headed for the White House exit. In the words of University of Toronto political economy professor Stephen Clarkson, it will be tough for Harper and Calderon to extract many gains in talks with an American president losing political steam.

"It's a big issue because Washington is more or less paralyzed," Clarkson says. "With Bush doing so badly in the opinion polls and losing control over the Republicans, it makes him more and more impotent."

One thing the protesters can cheer about come Tuesday: It's likely Bush's last presidential visit to Canada.

---

STEPHEN HARPER

Canada

Population: 33 million

Area: 9.98 million square kilometres

Economic Might (GDP per capita in US$): $32,614

Canadian Primer Minister STEPHEN HARPER:

Conservative minority government leader since January 2006

Age: 48

Height: 6'2"(1.88 m)

Wife: Laureen

Kids: Ben and Rachel

Pets: A cat named Cheddar, along with fostering various homeless cats at 24 Sussex Dr.

Nickname: Steve (but don't let his mother hear you call him that).

GEORGE W. BUSH

United States

Population: 302 million

Area: 9.6 million square kilometres

Economic Might (GDP per capita in US$): $44,190

American President

GEORGE W. BUSH:

Two-term Republican president since January 2001

Age: 61

Height: 5'11"

Wife: Laura

Kids: Twin daughters Jenna and Barbara

Pets: Scottish Terriers Barney and Miss Beazley, and a cat named India "Willie".

Nicknames: Dubya, Dumbya, 15-watt Fraud, Dictator in Chief, Deceiver in Chief, Pretender in Chief ...

Quotation from last visit to Canada:

"There's a prominent citizen who endorsed me in the 2000 election, and I wanted a chance to finally thank him for that endorsement. I was hoping to meet Jean Poutine".

FELIPE CALDERON

Mexico

Population: 108.7 million

Area: 1.97 million square kilometres

Economic Might (GDP per capita in US$): $11,249

Mexican President

FELIPE CALDERON:

President since December 2006 as leader of the centrist-conservative National Action Party

Age: 45 on Aug. 18

Wife: Margarita Zavala, who served in Congress as a federal deputy

Kids: Maria, Luis Felipe and Juan Pablo

Description: "Dull" and "wonkish," according to the Washington Post.

Nickname: "The Disobedient Son," Calderon stuck the nickname on the front of his campaign bus after beating out the favoured candidate to win his party's presidential nomination. KEYWORDS=CANADA

====


SOURCETAG 0708180579
PUBLICATION: The Edmonton Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: 12
BYLINE: CP AND AP
DATELINE: KANDAHAR
WORD COUNT: 198

Afghan top cop, kids slain, 2 Canucks injured


Two Canadian soldiers were slightly injured when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb yesterday and a suicide bomber killed a district police chief and three of his children in southern Afghanistan.

Both soldiers were riding in a Track Light Armoured Vehicle, or T-LAV, along Highway 1 as part of a supply convoy for Canadian troops when they drove over the bomb.

"I am relieved the track vehicle was armoured and protected their lives," Lt.-Cmdr. Hubert Genest told reporters. "They're safe and hopefully, they're going to be able to return to work."

COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE

Genest said it was a relief their injuries were minor because the first report of the attack indicated serious wounds. Both suffered upper body injuries. One was quickly released while the other was being held for observation.

Neither soldier was identified by name, but both were members of the Lord Strathcona's Horse Regiment of Edmonton and have about two weeks remaining before the end of their tours.

Earlier yesterday, the Zhari district's police chief and three of his children were killed by a suicide bomber who blew himself up as Khariudin Achakzai left his home with five of his children. Achakzai, two of his sons and a daughter were killed instantly, while two other sons were wounded.

The two incidents were not related. KEYWORDS=WORLD

====


SOURCETAG 0708180577
PUBLICATION: The Edmonton Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 11
BYLINE: SALIM MANSUR
WORD COUNT: 511

Edging toward meltdown


The political situation in which Pakistan finds itself on its 60th independence anniversary, unlike that of India, is one of fear, and the question urgently being asked is if the country has the timber to withstand assaults of the organized religious extremists.

The fierce opposition of Taliban-supporting religious extremists against General Pervez Musharraf's military regime came to a head in the July showdown at the Red Mosque in Islamabad, the nation's capital.

The extremist vigilantism of the pro-al-Qaida clerics and students of the Red Mosque in the weeks before the bloody confrontation revealed the tip of the problem that has pushed Pakistan to the precipice of a possible new meltdown.

From the outset of Pakistan's creation the political class -- primarily elites from the military and civil bureaucracy -- has ridden the tiger of religious extremism for its own narrow authoritarian interests.

Indeed, the country's birth in August 1947 was a result of religious-sectarian bigotry exploited by Muhammad Ali Jinnah (Pakistan's founder) and supporters of the Muslim League to force Britain to partition India.

Sixty years following the partition, the dreadful aftermath in Pakistan of Britain's policy of appeasing religious bigotry continues without an end and cries out as a cautionary lesson to those who propose glibly or mendaciously -- as does the U.S. Senator Joe Biden seeking Democratic nomination for the 2008 presidential election -- in partitioning Iraq.

HOLLOWED OUT

For 60 years religious extremists like white ants hollowed out the timber of the Pakistani society, and now there barely exists stable foundation on which a modern democratic state might be built responsive to the people's needs while eschewing military confrontations with its neighbours.

The problems of rampant graft and corruption in the political system, and religious extremists so emboldened that they could mount an armed operation out of a mosque at the heart of the nation's capital, were not merely inherited by General Musharraf when he came to power by dismissing the civilian government of Nawaz Sharif in 1999.

General Musharraf is the fifth military dictator in the country where the armed forces view the state as its preserve. The military has ruled Pakistan for nearly two-thirds of its history and presided over the country breaking apart in 1971.

Pakistan's problems are symptoms of an ill-functioning society increasingly exacerbated by military rule.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal's editorial board, Benazir Bhutto observed there are two fault lines in Pakistan.

Bhutto said, "One is dictatorship versus democracy. And one is moderation versus extremism." She should know as a former prime minister living in exile, and daughter of a prime minister hanged by the previous military dictator.

The test of how serious Musharraf is in eliminating religious extremists will be disclosed by the military's resolve to clean out the al-Qaida and Taliban infested tribal lands of Waziristan on Afghanistan's borders.

BIN LADEN

Here, it is alleged, Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al Zawahiri have found safe haven with the knowledge, if not the connivance, of the Pakistani military intelligence.

The future of Pakistan remains bleak. But ironically the failed conditions of a nuclear-weapon state could still guarantee the West's continued support -- prudent, yet deservingly disdainful -- for the general and his soldiers in preventing Pakistan's rapid descent into the Taliban-type hell with a frightful terrorist headache for the region and beyond.

====


SOURCETAG 0708180573
PUBLICATION: The Edmonton Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 10
BYLINE: LICIA CORBELLA
COLUMN: Editorial
WORD COUNT: 320

Disaster of Dieppe remembered


Sixty-five years ago tomorrow, some 5,000 young Canadian men stormed the beaches of Dieppe.

It was a bloodbath. On that one tragic day, 3,367 of those teens and young men were either killed, wounded or captured as prisoners of war. In all, 913 Canadians were killed because of that poorly executed storming of the heavily fortified, Nazi-occupied French beaches.

Stop and think about those numbers. To put it into perspective, in the five years Canadian troops have been in Afghanistan fighting the oppressive Taliban, 66 Canadian soldiers and one Canadian diplomat have been killed.

It is a terrible toll, to be sure, and helps to put into context the sheer cost of the freedom we enjoy.

On Canada's Veterans Affairs website the following report by Canadian Press reporter Ross Munro is transcribed and describes in part the horror our soldiers experienced all those years ago. "For eight hours, under intense Nazi fire from dawn into a sweltering afternoon, I watched Canadian troops fight the blazing, bloody battle of Dieppe," wrote Munro.

"I saw them go through the biggest of the war's raiding operations in wild scenes that crowded helter skelter one upon another in crazy sequence. There was a furious attack by German E-boats while the Canadians moved in on Dieppe's beaches, landing by dawn's half-light. When the Canadian battalions stormed through the flashing inferno of Nazi defences, belching guns of huge tanks rolling into the fight, I spent the grimmest 20 minutes of my life with one unit when a rain of German machine-gun fire wounded half the men in our boat and only a miracle saved us from annihilation."

Some surviving elderly veterans of that grim battle who were wounded and taken prisoner by the Nazis -- will be feted by the still grateful French citizens who, as Sun Media's Kathleen Harris' excellent weekend reports state, were given hope to continue to endure their oppression and hardships as a result of the failed raid.

The disaster of Dieppe provided valuable lessons that helped us eventually win that vital war.

As our veterans grow more frail and fewer, the need to remember and understand their sacrifice grows ever stronger.

====


SOURCETAG 0708180570
PUBLICATION: The Edmonton Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: 7
ILLUSTRATION:photo by Kathleen Harris, Sun Media Maj. Stephen Gallagher, who served in Afghanistan, shares war stories in France with Fred Engelbrecht, who was taken prisoner after the Dieppe raid.
BYLINE: SUN MEDIA
WORD COUNT: 465

Dieppe emotions high Soldiers of different generations remember together


KATHLEEN HARRIS

ROUEN, France -- Veterans of Dieppe and Kandahar share similar experiences of great loss and hard-won lessons from war, says a modern-day soldier joining his predecessors on a pilgrimage to France.

Maj. Stephen Gallagher, 42, did an eight-month tour in Afghanistan last year and says the soldiers who fought and died in the Second World War, including those at Dieppe, serve as a great inspiration.

"What we're fighting for in Afghanistan is the same as they were fighting for in 1942, and that's to create a better world, to create a safer place wherever we're fighting," he said. "And it is a fight."

Veterans, youth ambassadors and politicians arrived in France yesterday to take part in solemn ceremonies of remembrance marking tomorrow's 65th anniversary of the Dieppe raid.

The delegation will visit the shores where the botched raid claimed 913 Canadian lives and tour the cemeteries where the fallen are buried.

SWAP WAR STORIES

Gallagher calls it a "privilege" to accompany the nine aging Dieppe veterans on the trip. Already, he has swapped many war stories with the soldiers of the previous generation, and like them, has the dates of specific events and casualties forever burned in his memory.

"There are a lot of similarities we can draw together, including lessons learned from operations. That's still happening today in our operations in Afghanistan," he said.

While many historians regard Dieppe as one of the most catastrophic military disasters in Canadian history, Gallagher believes it helped prepare the Allies for subsequent battles - and even played a role in better preparing modern-day troops fighting in Afghanistan.

"That served a greater purpose in the long run," he said. "To learn from what went wrong is something that happens today, whether it's equipment or tactics. The enemy we're fighting today is very adaptable. They don't wear uniforms and don't follow the same operating procedures each time. So we're in a different challenge to adapt quicker."

Minister of Veterans Affairs Greg Thompson, who is leading the delegation in France, said there's a strong connection between the Dieppe veterans and modern-day soldiers.

"I think there's a line you can draw between the past and the present and the fact that they are no different than those who preceded them," Thompson said.

"Some missions are sometimes tough and very demanding, but as I often say, we have the best-trained, the most professional and the most committed soldiers in the world.

CONNECTING

"You ask them to do a job, and they do it 100%. I think that sense of them connecting with that previous generation is really important and just to have them here is important."

Thompson expects the weekend ceremonies at Dieppe will be "very emotional" for all those taking part. For many of the veterans, now in their mid to late 80s, this will be a final farewell to their fallen friends.

"This will be the last opportunity for them to visit this site where they landed and where so many of their comrades paid the ultimate price," Thompson said.

Gallagher said he will be honouring his fallen comrade Capt. Nichola Goddard as he pays tribute to those killed at Dieppe. Goddard, the first Canadian woman soldier to die in combat, was killed in Afghanistan in May 2006.

"Remembering Nichola will bring up the same emotions as these veterans will be having," he said.

KATHLEEN.HARRIS@SUNMEDIA.CA

IN ENEMY HANDS: PAGE 66

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SOURCETAG 0708180559
PUBLICATION: The Edmonton Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: 3
ILLUSTRATION:2 photos by Brendon Dlouhy, Sun Media 1. Ashley Cotswell, Amanda Wiebe, Sherry Clark and Anna Thede hold photos of Pte. Joel Wiebe during yesterday's rally in Sir Winston Churchill Square to show support for Canadian troops. Pte. Wiebe was killed in Afghanistan on June 20. 2. Lynne Wolford writes a message of support for the troops at yesterday's Red Friday Rally downtown.
BYLINE: CARTER HAYDU, SUN MEDIA
WORD COUNT: 229

Tribute to the troops


Anyone walking downtown yesterday during the noon hour probably noticed an unusually high number of red shirts.

Those shirts belonged to the couple of hundred people attending the Red Friday Rally at Churchill Square in support of Canada's military.

The rally fell on the same day two Canadian soldiers were injured when their vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Afghanistan.

A military helicopter took both soldiers to a Kandahar hospital with upper-body injuries, where one was quickly released and the other held for observation, military officials said.

Edmonton's Pte. Joel Wiebe wasn't so lucky when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on June 20.

The 22-year-old died along with two other members of the 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.

Members of his family attending yesterday's rally were moved by the Churchill Square turnout.

"I know he's looking down on us and smiling to see so many people out," Wiebe's mother, Sherry Clark, told Sun Media after the rally. "Way to go, Edmonton!"

Clark said all Canadians, regardless if they believe in the Afghanistan mission, should always show solidarity with the men and women in uniform.

"In any situation whatsoever, supporting troops is a no-brainer."

During the rally, Mayor Stephen Mandel said Edmonton military personnel are in Afghanistan doing what the government told them to do and everyone should stand behind the soldiers.

"Support the war or not, but we need and must support our troops," said Mandel.

Col. Alex Patch, commander in the Edmonton-based 1 Area Support Group, said supporting the troops means supporting the mission.

Patch said wearing red on Fridays is like giving the troops a big round of applause.

"When we all wear red together, it adds volume to our voices and speaks volumes to our support."

After the rally, Wiebe's common-law wife, Anna Thede, told Sun Media she supports Canada's Afghan mission because Wiebe believed in it.

"I stood behind him and I always will."

She said it's important Canadians know there's more to the mission than military defence, adding the army is improving all aspects of Afghan society and is helping rebuild the country. KEYWORDS=EDMONTON

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SOURCETAG 0708180491
PUBLICATION: The Calgary Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: 28
ILLUSTRATION:7 photos
BYLINE: ALAN FINDLAY, NATIONAL BUREAU
DATELINE: OTTAWA
WORD COUNT: 778

The three amigos Bush's whirlwind visit to Leaders' Summit on Monday promises media frenzy


Early Monday afternoon, U.S. President George W. Bush will touch down in Ottawa sparking a frenzied 24 hours of closed-door meetings, photo ops, pre-packaged announcements, protests, police blockades and breathless media coverage from start to finish.

By tea-time Tuesday, Bush will be headed back to American soil. The police batons and activists' bullhorns will be tucked away, Montebello residents will come out from hiding, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Mexico's President Felipe Calderon will hang around for one last meeting and the rest of Canada will be left to wonder what the hullaballoo was all about.

Depending whom you ask, the North American Leaders' Summit inside the nearby Quebec village's posh Chateau Montebello is either an undemocratic conspiracy aimed at giving up our sovereignty (and water) for the almighty greenback, or it's a series of negotiations too boring for words.

In all likelihood, the three leaders will make an announcement about better preparations in the likelihood of a widely predicted avianflu pandemic.

According to briefings from the White House and Prime Minister's Office, they'll also chat about climate change, lead-painted toys from China, border and security issues, trade, Afghanistan, the North Pole and a host of other issues.

What has protesters and critics from the left and right ends of the political spectrum in a tizzy is a two-year-old agreement between the three nations called the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP).

Established in Waco, Texas, under Bush, former prime minister Paul Martin and Mexico's past president Vicente Fox in 2005, the partnership was devised as a way to find better ways to ease trade concerns such as clogged border crossings while appeasing American security jitters in the post 9-11 world.

But in the past two years it has fallen under the same shadow of criticism as larger international gatherings such as the G8.

"Where's the parliamentary oversight? Where's the opportunity for ordinary people to know what's happening?" asks Maude Barlow, whose group the Council of Canadians was also a leading voice against NAFTA.

She and others warn that the SPP is a mechanism that allows cabinet and bureaucrats to water down environmental and safety standards for the sake of harmonizing regulations with our neighbours to the south -- all without an ounce of public input. Look far enough down the road, they warn, and the SPP could be the vehicle to truck Canada's water down to thirsty Americans.

Celeste Cote is one of the organizers of several large demonstrations in Ottawa and Montebello under the coalition banner of a Stop the SPP Committee. Expecting upwards of 1,000 people to march on their event tomorrow from Toronto, Montreal, other parts of Canada and the U.S., she warns that talks between the leaders threaten to victimize society's most vulnerable while a hand-picked group of each country's corporate elite personally advise the three leaders in an exclusive meeting Tuesday.

"This is going to affect every aspect of our lives, and it's absolutely appalling we have no say in this," she said.

But Thomas d'Aquino, who heads up the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, suggests everyone take a deep breath.

He dismisses arguments from the "lunatic left" and "lunatic right" as hysteria that his group and counterparts in the U.S. and Mexico are planning to turn Canada into the 51st state.

"All of this frankly is a gigantic load of B.S. and misinformation," said d'Aquino.

His group initially launched a similarly named security and prosperity "initiative" in 2003 in an effort to ensure the Canada-U.S. border continued to flow freely for commerce and travellers as American politicians pushed to tighten it up.

The three countries picked up on the theme in Texas.

Another hurdle toward meaningful progress in Montebello is Bush's waning power as a president headed for the White House exit. In the words of University of Toronto political economy professor Stephen Clarkson, it will be tough for Harper and Calderon to extract many gains in talks with an American president losing political steam.

"It's a big issue because Washington is more or less paralyzed," Clarkson says. "With Bush doing so badly in the opinion polls and losing control over the Republicans, it makes him more and more impotent."

One thing the protesters can cheer about come Tuesday: It's likely Bush's last presidential visit to Canada.

---

STEPHEN HARPER

Canada

Population: 33 million

Area: 9.98 million square kilometres

Economic Might (GDP per capita in US$): $32,614

Canadian Primer Minister STEPHEN HARPER:

Conservative minority government leader since January 2006

Age: 48

Height: 6'2"(1.88 m)

Wife: Laureen

Kids: Ben and Rachel

Pets: A cat named Cheddar, along with fostering various homeless cats at 24 Sussex Dr.

Nickname: Steve (but don't let his mother hear you call him that).

---

GEORGE W. BUSH

United States

Population: 302 million

Area: 9.6 million square kilometres

Economic Might (GDP per capita in US$): $44,190

American President

GEORGE W. BUSH:

Two-term Republican president since January 2001

Age: 61

Height: 5'11"

Wife: Laura

Kids: Twin daughters Jenna and Barbara

Pets: Scottish Terriers Barney and Miss Beazley, and a cat named India "Willie".

Nicknames: Dubya, Dumbya, 15-watt Fraud, Dictator in Chief, Deceiver in Chief, Pretender in Chief ...

Quotation from last visit to Canada:

"There's a prominent citizen who endorsed me in the 2000 election, and I wanted a chance to finally thank him for that endorsement. I was hoping to meet Jean Poutine".

---

FELIPE CALDERON

Mexico

Population: 108.7 million

Area: 1.97 million square kilometres

Economic Might (GDP per capita in US$): $11,249

Mexican President

FELIPE CALDERON:

President since December 2006 as leader of the centrist-conservative National Action Party

Age: 45 on Aug. 18

Wife: Margarita Zavala, who served in Congress as a federal deputy

Kids: Maria, Luis Felipe and Juan Pablo

Description: "Dull" and "wonkish," according to the Washington Post.

Nickname: "The Disobedient Son," Calderon stuck the nickname on the front of his campaign bus after beating out the favoured candidate to win his party's presidential nomination. KEYWORDS=WORLD

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SOURCETAG 0708180485
PUBLICATION: The Calgary Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: 24
BYLINE: CP
DATELINE: OTTAWA
WORD COUNT: 74

Dion urges PM to be clear on pullout in Afghan battle


Liberal Leader Stephane Dion says the prime minister should make it clear that Canada will soon withdraw from its current combat role in Afghanistan when he meets with U.S. President George W. Bush next week.

"The prime minister should notify to NATO, the Americans and the government of Afghanistan that our combat mission in Kandahar will effectively end in February 2009," Dion told a news conference yesterday.

"The more we wait, the less we are a good partner for our allies." KEYWORDS=NATIONAL

====


SOURCETAG 0708180484
PUBLICATION: The Calgary Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: 22
ILLUSTRATION:1. photo by Greg Henkenhaf, Sun Media Ron Beal was captured by the Germans in Dieppe and spent 33 months as a PoW. 2. photo provided by Veterans Affairs Canada Canadian and Allied prisoners are paraded as prisoners of war by their captors -- more than 1,900 Canadian soldiers were taken captive after the Dieppe raid turned to disaster.
BYLINE: KATHLEEN HARRIS
DATELINE: DIEPPE, France
WORD COUNT: 736

In the hands of the enemy Captured soldiers were often abused, despite international rules for humane treatment


They were shackled, marched to exhaustion and malnourished to the brink of starvation.

Prisoners of World War II were the "lucky ones" who survived bloody battle, yet many lived to wish they had died alongside their comrades.

It has been 65 long years since 1,946 Canadian soldiers were taken captive by the Germans after the Dieppe raid turned to disaster. But Ron Beal, 86, still vividly recalls every detail of the day his fellow troops waved a white handkerchief -- beginning the longest and most gruelling 33 months of his life.

"A German came and said, 'For you, the war is over,'" he said.

Surrounded by corpses and carnage, the magnitude of the casualties did not sink in until several weeks later. Every childhood friend Beal had from school, and the band where he played bugle, was killed in the slaughter.

After an initial holding at French barracks, prisoners were boarded on boxcars and taken to the Stalag 8B camp at Lamsdorf, Poland. Tied at the wrist for at least 12 hours a day for 15 months, Beal calls the treatment at the camp "degrading and embarrassing in every way you can imagine."

"The Germans were very handy with the rifle butts. We would talk about the Geneva Convention and they would say, 'Don't worry, we can shoot you any time and just say you were trying to escape.' We had that hanging over our heads all the time," he said.

Food was scarce, with soldiers often sharing a loaf of bread five ways and lucky to get one bowl of soup a week. Later in the war, Beal was put on a forced march away from advancing Allies, sleeping in open fields or the occasional barn on the long, exhausting trek across Germany.

Beal weighed 157 pounds the day he landed in Dieppe and 109 pounds when he was repatriated at the war's end.

Dieppe triggered a dark "shackling" period for PoWs, a practice in violation of the Geneva Convention that spells out international rules for humane treatment. The Germans had apprehended a Canadian plan for the raid that called for the temporary tying of prisoners as a means of control until they reached camp, and the Germans took it as a sign the Allies intended to mistreat prisoners.

There was retaliation. Jonathan Vance, a historian with expertise in prisoners of war at the University of Western Ontario in London, said Dieppe led to an escalation on both sides that lasted more than a year.

"The Germans saw in it a propaganda opportunity and the Dieppe prisoners became the victims of that escalating propaganda war," he said. "It was enormously demeaning when you are at the mercy of other people to do everything for you. It was a sign they were completely and utterly in the enemy's power, and that's a difficult thing to cope with. You can deal with it a couple of weeks in solitary confinement, but week in, week out, month in, month out, it starts to have pretty severe impact."

Canada was the first nation to recognize the psychological impact of long incarceration and shackling by awarding post-war pensions to PoWs without specific disabilities, Vance said. But as harsh and hostile the conditions were for Dieppe PoWs, treatment during wartime incarceration has been even worse for other soldiers and civilians.

From ancient days to modern times, physical and sexual abuse, torture and mass extermination has been rampant.

While legally binding international treaties are now in place to promote humane treatment, Vance said prisoners have historically been viewed as the "spoils of war." In past, PoWs were killed, released or sold on the slave market as their captors saw fit. In the 17th and 18th centuries, moral pressure mounted to treat prisoners more humanely and by the late 18th century, the common practice was to exchange carefully counted prisoners.

World War I was a time of highs and lows for PoWs; many were forced into gruelling labour, but others waited out the end of the war at seaside resorts. Treatment was more horrific and widespread during WWII, when appalling treatment occurred at the hands of the Japanese. Prisoners taken in by Germany were also starved, beaten and denied medical treatment.

A revised Geneva Convention strengthened rules in 1949. More protocols were added to deal with civil wars and internal conflicts in 1977, but abuses and even massacres of prisoners continued around the world.

Vance said the situation is "hugely more complicated" post-Sept. 11, when the status of suspected terrorists is unclear. Canada became embroiled in controversy this year, when allegations of abuse were levelled by Afghanistan detainees captured by Canadian troops.

Alex Neve, secretary general for Amnesty International Canada, said Sept. 11 led to grave concerns about treatment of detainees from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but it also led to greater awareness about human rights. KEYWORDS=WORLD

====


SOURCETAG 0708180479
PUBLICATION: The Calgary Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 15
BYLINE: SALIM MANSUR
WORD COUNT: 511

Edging toward meltdown


The political situation in which Pakistan finds itself on its 60th independence anniversary, unlike that of India, is one of fear, and the question urgently being asked is if the country has the timber to withstand assaults of the organized religious extremists.

The fierce opposition of Taliban-supporting religious extremists against General Pervez Musharraf's military regime came to a head in the July showdown at the Red Mosque in Islamabad, the nation's capital.

The extremist vigilantism of the pro-al-Qaida clerics and students of the Red Mosque in the weeks before the bloody confrontation revealed the tip of the problem that has pushed Pakistan to the precipice of a possible new meltdown.

From the outset of Pakistan's creation the political class -- primarily elites from the military and civil bureaucracy -- has ridden the tiger of religious extremism for its own narrow authoritarian interests.

Indeed, the country's birth in August 1947 was a result of religious-sectarian bigotry exploited by Muhammad Ali Jinnah (Pakistan's founder) and supporters of the Muslim League to force Britain to partition India.

Sixty years following the partition, the dreadful aftermath in Pakistan of Britain's policy of appeasing religious bigotry continues without an end and cries out as a cautionary lesson to those who propose glibly or mendaciously -- as does the U.S. Senator Joe Biden seeking Democratic nomination for the 2008 presidential election -- in partitioning Iraq.

HOLLOWED OUT

For 60 years religious extremists like white ants hollowed out the timber of the Pakistani society, and now there barely exists stable foundation on which a modern democratic state might be built responsive to the people's needs while eschewing military confrontations with its neighbours.

The problems of rampant graft and corruption in the political system, and religious extremists so emboldened that they could mount an armed operation out of a mosque at the heart of the nation's capital, were not merely inherited by General Musharraf when he came to power by dismissing the civilian government of Nawaz Sharif in 1999.

General Musharraf is the fifth military dictator in the country where the armed forces view the state as its preserve. The military has ruled Pakistan for nearly two-thirds of its history and presided over the country breaking apart in 1971.

Pakistan's problems are symptoms of an ill-functioning society increasingly exacerbated by military rule.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal's editorial board, Benazir Bhutto observed there are two fault lines in Pakistan.

Bhutto said, "One is dictatorship versus democracy. And one is moderation versus extremism." She should know as a former prime minister living in exile, and daughter of a prime minister hanged by the previous military dictator.

The test of how serious Musharraf is in eliminating religious extremists will be disclosed by the military's resolve to clean out the al-Qaida and Taliban infested tribal lands of Waziristan on Afghanistan's borders.

BIN LADEN

Here, it is alleged, Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al Zawahiri have found safe haven with the knowledge, if not the connivance, of the Pakistani military intelligence.

The future of Pakistan remains bleak. But ironically the failed conditions of a nuclear-weapon state could still guarantee the West's continued support -- prudent, yet deservingly disdainful -- for the general and his soldiers in preventing Pakistan's rapid descent into the Taliban-type hell with a frightful terrorist headache for the region and beyond.

====


SOURCETAG 0708180477
PUBLICATION: The Calgary Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: 14
BYLINE: LICIA CORBELLA
COLUMN: Editorial
WORD COUNT: 320

Disaster of Dieppe remembered


Sixty-five years ago tomorrow, some 5,000 young Canadian men stormed the beaches of Dieppe.

It was a bloodbath. On that one tragic day, 3,367 of those teens and young men were either killed, wounded or captured as prisoners of war. In all, 913 Canadians were killed because of that poorly executed storming of the heavily fortified, Nazi-occupied French beaches.

Stop and think about those numbers. To put it into perspective, in the five years Canadian troops have been in Afghanistan fighting the oppressive Taliban, 66 Canadian soldiers and one Canadian diplomat have been killed.

It is a terrible toll, to be sure, and helps to put into context the sheer cost of the freedom we enjoy.

On Canada's Veterans Affairs website the following report by Canadian Press reporter Ross Munro is transcribed and describes in part the horror our soldiers experienced all those years ago. "For eight hours, under intense Nazi fire from dawn into a sweltering afternoon, I watched Canadian troops fight the blazing, bloody battle of Dieppe," wrote Munro.

"I saw them go through the biggest of the war's raiding operations in wild scenes that crowded helter skelter one upon another in crazy sequence. There was a furious attack by German E-boats while the Canadians moved in on Dieppe's beaches, landing by dawn's half-light. When the Canadian battalions stormed through the flashing inferno of Nazi defences, belching guns of huge tanks rolling into the fight, I spent the grimmest 20 minutes of my life with one unit when a rain of German machine-gun fire wounded half the men in our boat and only a miracle saved us from annihilation."

Some surviving elderly veterans of that grim battle who were wounded and taken prisoner by the Nazis -- will be feted by the still grateful French citizens who, as Sun Media's Kathleen Harris' excellent weekend reports state, were given hope to continue to endure their oppression and hardships as a result of the failed raid.

The disaster of Dieppe provided valuable lessons that helped us eventually win that vital war.

As our veterans grow more frail and fewer, the need to remember and understand their sacrifice grows ever stronger.

====


SOURCETAG 0708180470
PUBLICATION: The Calgary Sun
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: 10
BYLINE: AP AND CP
DATELINE: KANDAHAR
WORD COUNT: 198

Afghan top cop, kids slain, 2 Canucks injured


Two Canadian soldiers were slightly injured when their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb yesterday and a suicide bomber killed a district police chief and three of his children in southern Afghanistan.

Both soldiers were riding in a Track Light Armoured Vehicle, or T-LAV, along Highway 1 as part of a supply convoy for Canadian troops when they drove over the bomb.

"I am relieved the track vehicle was armoured and protected their lives," Lt.-Cmdr. Hubert Genest told reporters. "They're safe and hopefully, they're going to be able to return to work."

COULD HAVE BEEN WORSE

Genest said it was a relief their injuries were minor because the first report of the attack indicated serious wounds. Both suffered upper body injuries. One was quickly released while the other was being held for observation.

Neither soldier was identified by name, but both were members of the Lord Strathcona's Horse Regiment of Edmonton and have about two weeks remaining before the end of their tours.

Earlier yesterday, the Zhari district's police chief and three of his children were killed by a suicide bomber who blew himself up as Khariudin Achakzai left his home with five of his children. Achakzai, two of his sons and a daughter were killed instantly, while two other sons were wounded.

The two incidents were not related. KEYWORDS=WORLD

====


IDNUMBER 200708180049
PUBLICATION: The Windsor Star
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: A9
DATELINE: KANDAHAR, Afghanistan
BYLINE: Andrew Mayeda
SOURCE: Canwest News Service
WORD COUNT: 402

Canadians injured in bombing; Soldiers hurt in Afghanistan


KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Two Canadian soldiers were slightly injured Friday after a roadside bomb struck their supply convoy in the volatile Zhari district of Kandahar province. It is the second time in less than a week that Canadian soldiers have been injured while plying the roads west of Kandahar City on supply convoys.

The injuries to the two men are not life threatening, said military spokesman Lt.-Cmdr. Hubert Genest. They were evacuated to Kandahar Airfield for treatment.

Earlier Friday, the chief of Zhari district, Khairuddin Achakzai, was killed by a suicide bomber in Kandahar City. Police said a suicide bomber wearing a vest packed with explosives was waiting outside the politician's home. Three of his children were also killed, while two of his other children were injured in the blast.

Genest said the timing of the two attacks was "odd," but he said it was too early to say if they were part of a co-ordinated assault.

MILITARY CONVOY ATTACK

The attack on the military convoy occurred shortly after lunch, about 30 kilometres west of Kandahar City. The convoy was headed to the western Maywand district of the province to resupply troops stationed there.

The soldiers were travelling in a T-LAV, a heavily armoured vehicle with tank-like tracks. It is primarily used to transport personnel. Genest said he had no details on the nature of the bomb. But, he added, "I feel relieved that the vehicle saved their life."

The two injured soldiers were members of the Lord Strathcona's Horse, based in Edmonton. They were about two weeks from heading home, said Genest. They are not being identified, in line with military policy.

Early reports suggested the soldiers had been seriously injured, but Genest said they "will be hopefully able to return to work as soon as possible."

Canada's operations in southern Afghanistan are now under the command of Quebec's Royal 22nd Regiment, known in English Canada as the Van Doo.

The prospect of casualties is a potentially explosive political issue in Quebec, where support for the Afghanistan mission is the lowest of any province. The attack came less than a week after a top military commander touted the progress Canada has made in securing the province. Military brass say the Taliban know they are no match for Canadian Forces in conventional head-to-head warfare.

Still, it is clear the insurgents have had some success using non-conventional tactics, such as suicide bombs and improvised explosive devices.

Sixty-six Canadian soldiers and one diplomat have died in Afghanistan since 2002, but the mortality rate has increased in recent months.

====


IDNUMBER 200708180033
PUBLICATION: The Windsor Star
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: A7
BYLINE: Anne Eldracher
SOURCE: Windsor Star
WORD COUNT: 303

Freedom not a gift to be taken for granted


Re: Drifting Toward Irrelevance/Col. by (Ret'd) Roger Cunningham. Thank you Mr. Cunningham for your excellent submission regarding the prospective of our Canadian troops becoming irrelevant or reduced to some strange notion of merely peacekeepers. Peace is always earned, and then, it is always defended, or it is lost.

Ideally, we must all be peacekeepers yet peace is based on a stable, just form of government and a population willing to "stand on guard" against others who do not share such ideals of fairness and freedom and who wish to promote their warped notions on ourselves and/or the planet we share; cherished notions so many of us take for granted as we do with much we cherish and do not appreciate until lost and left as some fond memory out of reach of recovery.

The Canadian way of life is exemplary as have been the attendance of our Armed Forces in both missions of combat and through auxiliary extensions at peacekeeping and infrastructure building in countries requiring as much.

Without the aid of the Canadian Armed Forces followed by the Americans in the Second World War, Europe would never have been liberated and would have likely either succumbed to the brutality of Hitler and some strange notion of a non-existent superior race or the similarly wonderful "ideals" of Stalin.

In following the attendance of our troops and their courageous yet endearing and respectful conduct in Afghanistan absent greatly of what appears to be a bunch of ungrateful European pussycat troops seemingly afraid to get involved in the areas of greatest need, it makes me wonder if Europe has learned one bloody lesson as to how their taken-for-granted freedoms were arrived at and will likely again be imminently threatened.

ANNE ELDRACHER

Amherstburg

====


IDNUMBER 200708180028
PUBLICATION: The Windsor Star
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: A7
BYLINE: D. Douey
SOURCE: Windsor Star
WORD COUNT: 66

Other's countries politics don't belong in Canada


In the Aug. 16 Star, Mayor Eddie Francis summed it up well when he said, "the politics of Lebanon belong in Lebanon, not on the streets of Windsor." May I extrapolate?

The politics of Afghanistan belong in Afghanistan, not on the streets of Canada. The politics of Iraq belong in Iraq, not on the streets of the U.S.

Something to think about.

D. DOUEY

Windsor

====


IDNUMBER 200708180019
PUBLICATION: The Windsor Star
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Editorial/Opinion
PAGE: A6
COLUMN: Guest Column
BYLINE: Bob Bergen
SOURCE: Special to The Windsor Star
WORD COUNT: 735

Will Iggy pull an about face on Afghanistan?


If Michael Ignatieff were any other Canadian intellectual who very publicly changed his mind on America's war in Iraq, now saying he thinks it was wrong for the U.S. to invade, there likely wouldn't be near the firestorm of debate over his mea culpa.

Since he has switched ideological horses midstream, Canadians need to know whether he has changed his mind on Canada's two most-pressing foreign policy issues: Canada's mission in Afghanistan and the Responsibility to Protect.

It is important to know that because the former Cambridge, Oxford and Harvard professor and widely published author is now the deputy leader of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Having been to northern Iraq in 1992 and seeing Saddam Hussein's destruction of Kurds' and Shia Muslims' marsh lands, habitat and 5,000-year-old way of life, Ignatieff publicly supported the U.S.'s 2003 invasion of Iraq.

But, that was three years before he entered Canadian federal politics aspiring to be the Liberal leader.

On the weekend, The New York Times published a two-page reversal of Ignatieff's position on Iraq and his reasons for it.

He wrote that emotion was behind his initial support for it, not the harsh light of cross-examination and argument which he has apparently discovered as a politician.

He wrote that he failed to ask whether Iraq's Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites could hold together in peace what Hussein held together by terror.

With Hussein's ethnic cleansing of nearly 200,000 Kurds in northern Iraq in 1988 - often using gas, the killing of up to 5,000 Kurd civilians in Halabja also in 1998, the 1990 invasion of Kuwait and the campaign against Kurds and Sunni Muslims in 1992, there are those who still think that the world is better off without Saddam Hussein.

But, agree with Ignatieff or not, all least elite American and some Canadian readers know what Ignatieff now thinks about the 2003 invasion.

The problem with Ignatieff's sudden change of heart is that it raises troubling questions among those who have read his works for years and thought that he had coherent foreign policy principles and positions.

Long before 9/11, in his 1998-book The Warrior's Honour, Ignatieff - who had been to Afghanistan - questioned how the Taliban's Islamic jihad could be squared with human rights, women's rights and how the laws of war could be taught to people who had never heard of the Geneva Conventions.

He had witnessed first-hand thousands upon thousands of Albanian refugees fleeing ethnic cleansing in Kosovo in 1999 and in 2000 argued in Virtual War for the decisive use of military force against nation states which massacre its own citizens.

The ethnic cleansing was halted in 1999 when NATO warplanes - without United Nations Security Council resolution authorization - bombed Slobodan Milosevic's Serbian troops and para-militaries in Kosovo and Serbia for 78 days.

Ignatieff was later a member of the Canadian-sponsored International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty which published The Responsibility to Protect in 2001.

It argued that the international community has a moral imperative to intervene militarily to resolve humanitarian crises in failed and failing states such as the ethnic cleansing of Albanians in Kosovo.

It also argued that if the United Nations Security Council fails to act, then regional coalitions like NATO, ad hoc coalitions or individual states ought to in its absence.

Ignatieff's thinking in Virtual War is marbled like seams of gold through rock in The Responsibility to Protect, which has now been endorsed by the United Nations and is central to Canada's International Policy Statement put forward by the previous Liberal government in 2005.

Then, last year in May when Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government introduced a debate in the House of Commons to extend Canada's mission in Afghanistan to February 2009, Ignatieff was among just 24 Liberals who supported the mission.

In September, 2006, he repeated his support for the mission even as the bodies of five Canadian dead returned home from the battlefield saying Canadians had to keep "their moral promise to Afghans."

At the time, 32 Canadians had been killed. Today, at 66, that number is more than double and the 40,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan are anything but the overwhelming military force Ignatieff advocates.

One wonders, with his sudden change of heart, if Ignatieff is asking himself some of the hard questions about Afghanistan that he thinks U.S. President George W. Bush should have asked about Iraq.

In the end, Ignatieff has ignored his own past personal empathy for the Kurds in Iraq, so why should he worry about Afghans?

Are the Afghans next on his switch list, despite Canada's moral promise?

What about our responsibility to protect?

Americans know what you think, Mr. Ignatieff, Canadians are waiting.

Bob Bergen is a research fellow with the Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute in Calgary. The opinions expressed in this document are those of the author and not necessarily those of CDFAI. Learn more about the CDFAI and its research on the Internet at www.cdfai.org

====


IDNUMBER 200708180061
PUBLICATION: The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon)
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: World
PAGE: C14
DATELINE: KANDAHAR, Afghanistan
BYLINE: Andrew Mayeda
SOURCE: Canwest News Service
WORD COUNT: 598

Roadside bomb injures two Canadian soldiers


KANDAHAR, Afghanistan -- Two Canadian soldiers were slightly injured Friday after a roadside bomb struck their supply convoy in the volatile Zhari district of Kandahar province. It is the second time in less than a week that Canadian soldiers have been injured while plying the roads west of Kandahar City on supply convoys.

The injuries to the two men are not life threatening, said military spokesperson Lt.-Cmdr. Hubert Genest. They were evacuated to Kandahar Airfield for treatment.

Earlier Friday, the chief of Zhari district, Khairuddin Achakzai, was killed by a suicide bomber in Kandahar City. Police said a suicide bomber wearing a vest packed with explosives was waiting outside the politician's home. Three of his children were also killed, while two of his other children were injured in the blast.

Genest said the timing of the two attacks was "odd," but he said it was too early to say if they were part of a co-ordinated assault.

The attack on the military convoy occurred shortly after lunch, about 30 kilometres west of Kandahar City. The convoy was headed to the western Maywand district of the province to resupply troops stationed there.

The soldiers were travelling in a T-LAV, a heavily armoured vehicle with tank-like tracks. It is primarily used to transport personnel. Genest said he had no details on the nature of the bomb. But, he added, "I feel relieved that the vehicle saved their life."

The two injured soldiers were members of the Lord Strathcona's Horse, based in Edmonton. They were about two weeks from heading home, said Genest. They are not being identified, in line with military policy.

Early reports suggested the soldiers had been seriously injured, but Genest said they "will be hopefully able to return to work as soon as possible."

Canada's operations in southern Afghanistan are now under the command of Quebec's Royal 22nd Regiment, known in English Canada as the Van Doo.

The prospect of casualties is a potentially explosive political issue in Quebec, where support for the Afghanistan mission is the lowest of any province. The attack came less than a week after a top military commander touted the progress Canada has made in securing the province.

Military brass say the Taliban know they are no match for Canadian Forces in conventional head-to-head warfare.

Still, it is clear the insurgents have had some success using non-conventional tactics, such as suicide bombs and improvised explosive devices.

Sixty-six Canadian soldiers and one diplomat have died in Afghanistan since 2002, but the mortality rate has increased in recent months.

Twenty-two soldiers died in the last six-month rotation, of which all but four were killed in IED or suicide-bomb attacks. Five Canadian soldiers incurred minor injuries last weekend after their supply convoy was struck while returning to Kandahar Airfield from forward operating base Ma'sum Ghar, on the border of the Zhari and Panjwaii districts.

Maj. Patrick Robichaud, commander of the operating base, this week characterized the security situation around Ma'sum Ghar as "fragile."

He said Taliban insurgents appear to have taken advantage of a change in command among the Canadians and the Afghan National Army to slip back into the region.

The insurgents are looking to strong-arm local farmers for a piece of the action in the impending marijuana harvest, said Robichaud.

Genest also admitted the threat in Zhari district is a cause for "concern."

"We just had recently two incidents in the same kind of area, and we'll be looking into it very seriously in the near future."

Terrorist attacks have increased dramatically across Afghanistan since 2002, according to statistics compiled by the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism and the Rand Corporation. In the three most dangerous provinces in the south -- Kandahar, Helmand and Uruzgan -- attacks have increased elevenfold during that time, according to the statistics, recently published by the New York Times.

About 2,500 Canadian troops are stationed in southern Afghanistan. Canada's military commitment is scheduled to end in February 2009.

====


IDNUMBER 200708180059
PUBLICATION: The StarPhoenix (Saskatoon)
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: National
PAGE: B8
ILLUSTRATION:Colour Photo: Reuters / Liberal Leader Stephane Dion speakson the upcoming North American leaders' summit, Friday in Ottawa ;
DATELINE: OTTAWA
BYLINE: Norma Greenaway
SOURCE: CanWest News Service
WORD COUNT: 386

PM must clarify Canada's new role in Afghanistan: Dion


OTTAWA -- Prime Minster Stephen Harper should tell U.S. President George W. Bush during their planned meeting Monday that Canada's combat role in Afghanistan will definitely end early in 2009, Opposition Leader Stephane Dion said Friday.

Dion's call to end all ambiguity regarding the Afghan mission was among several demands the Liberal leader made of the prime minister in advance of Monday's start of a two-day summit involving the leaders of Canada, the United States and Mexico in the nearby Quebec resort town of Montebello.

"Clarity is needed," Dion told a news conference, adding it is only fair to give Canada's NATO allies plenty of notice that it is ending its combat mission in southern Afghanistan in February 2009, so that a replacement force can be lined up.

Dion did not, however, rule out supporting a different, non-combat role in Afghanistan beyond that date.

He said, for example, the military could continue to help train Afghan soldiers and "provide security in certain provinces."

Harper has said extension of the combat mission would hinge on getting a parliamentary consensus. This would, however, require a stunning reversal in the current thinking of the opposition parties: The Liberals and Bloc Quebecois oppose extending the mission and the NDP has called for an immediate troop withdrawal.

The Liberal leader also accused Harper of embracing a "culture of secrecy" as the three countries continue their sprawling negotiations aimed at deepening continental integration. The process, initiated in 2005 when Liberal Paul Martin was prime minister, is known as the Security and Prosperity Partnership.

In an open letter, NDP Leader Jack Layton demanded the prime minister open the process to incorporate public consultations.

"Canadians need to know that our country's sovereignty won't be surrendered by moves to deepen continental integration," he wrote.

Dion, meanwhile, called on Harper to publicly state that Canada will "never" agree to negotiations on the bulk export of water south of the border. He said he had "information that I cannot share" that "secret" talks are going on, and that he does not believe the government's denials.

The Harper government has insisted repeatedly that water exports are not on the negotiating table, or even up for discussion.

Sandra Buckler, the prime minister's spokesperson, reiterated Friday that the government "has no intention of entering into negotiations on bulk water exports."

Buckler added in an e-mail: "Dion conveniently neglects to mention the International Boundary Waters Treaty Act prohibits bulk removals from boundary basins. Our policy will preserve water for communities and ecosystems."

(Ottawa Citizen)

====


IDNUMBER 200708180127
PUBLICATION: The Ottawa Citizen
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: City
PAGE: E3
ILLUSTRATION:Photo: John Tanguay, the Ottawa Citizen / Kyle Robinson, asoldier with the 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade, is welcome back from Afghanistan with a hug from Tanya Robinson early yesterday at CFB Petawawa. ;
DATELINE: CFB Petawawa
BYLINE: Katie Daubs
SOURCE: The Ottawa Citizen
WORD COUNT: 359

Families welcome troops home to Petawawa; 'It's fantastic. It's surreal,' soldier says after return from Afghanistan


CFB Petawawa - Every time a soldier from CFB Petawawa died in the sandy swelter of southern Afghanistan, a phone would ring a world away in the Ottawa home of Lynn and Jim Ward.

"You'd get the call and be relieved," Mrs. Ward said, "But you know someone else is getting the call. It's hard to be happy when someone else is hurting."

It was 2:30 in the morning yesterday, and Trooper Justin Ward and 46 other soldiers were about to arrive home after serving a six-month tour of duty in the Kandahar region of Afghanistan. The soldiers arrived at CFB Trenton at 11 p.m. Thursday night and were bused to CFB Petawawa to be reunited with their families.

Most of the soldiers were from the B Squadron of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, a squadron specializing in armored reconnaissance. In Afghanistan, their tasks included convoy escorts and constant vigilance for improvised explosive devices and car bombs.

As the commanding officer welcomed the soldiers back with hearty handshakes, there was another group that had been waiting longer and harder than anyone else. They were in pyjamas. Most were eating Oreos.

Five year-old Blake Burwell had been counting down the sleeps until it was time for his father to come home. He's used to waiting. His mother, Master Cpl. Deana Burwell, served a tour in Kabul two years ago. His younger brother, one-year old Joey, cries when she puts on her uniform.

As the bus pulled into the parking lot, Blake clutched his hands tightly and stood on his tiptoes. Joey happily kicked his feet.

When their father, Master Cpl. Shon Burwell, finally held the two boys in his arms, his words were simple, but his smile said it all.

"It's great to be back," he said.

Capt. Sean Boak, who was promoted from second lieutenant while in Afghanistan, hugged his parents Rick and Cathy of Wallaceburg.

"It's awesome. It's fantastic. It's surreal," he said as his eyes lit up to match the smile on his face. The answers to the common questions were obvious -- of course he missed his family and creature comforts. But on the other hand, the goat was delicious. Will he miss anything about Afghanistan?

"The camaraderie," he said. "Not much else."

Groups of soldiers have been returning since late July. By the end of August, all of those based at CFB Petawawa will be back on Canadian soil, and many will be training to return.

====


IDNUMBER 200708180030
PUBLICATION: The Ottawa Citizen
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: A7
SOURCE: The Ottawa Citizen
WORD COUNT: 189

South Korea. Freed hostages hope others will be released


Two weary-looking South Koreans held hostage for about a month by the Taliban in Afghanistan returned home yesterday, hoping for the safe return of 19 others who remain captive. The Taliban freed the two women Monday, the first captives to be released since insurgents seized 23 Koreans from a bus in Ghazni province on the main road south from the capital Kabul last month. "I only hope for the release of the others," Kim Ji-na, a 32-year-old animation instructor, said just after arriving at Incheon airport, which serves Seoul. Looking tense and tired, and with their heads held low, the two showed no signs of joy or relief. "Thank you so much and I'm so sorry for causing worries," said the other released hostage, Kim Kyung-ja, a 37-year-old software company employee, in comments carried by local TV broadcasters. After making brief comments, the two were taken to a military hospital for medical checks and to be reunited with relatives.

====


IDNUMBER 200708180018
PUBLICATION: The Ottawa Citizen
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Early
SECTION: News
PAGE: A5
DATELINE: KANDAHAR, Afghanistan
BYLINE: Andrew Mayeda
SOURCE: The Ottawa Citizen
WORD COUNT: 651

Roadside bomb injures two Canadians; Suicide attack kills Afghan politician, three of his children


KANDAHAR, Afghanistan - Two Canadian soldiers were slightly injured yesterday after a roadside bomb struck their supply convoy in the volatile Zhari district of Kandahar province.

It is the second time in less than a week that Canadian soldiers have been injured while plying the roads west of Kandahar City on supply convoys.

The injuries to the two men are not life threatening, said military spokesman Lt.-Cmdr. Hubert Genest. They were taken to Kandahar Airfield for treatment.

Earlier yesterday, the chief of Zhari district, Khairuddin Achakzai, was killed by a suicide bomber in Kandahar City. Police said a suicide bomber wearing a vest packed with explosives was waiting outside the politician's home. Three of his children were also killed, while two of his other children were injured in the blast.

Lt.-Cmdr. Genest said the timing of the two attacks was "odd," but he said it was too early to say if they were part of a co-ordinated assault.

The attack on the military convoy occurred shortly after lunch, about 30 kilometres west of Kandahar City. The convoy was headed to the western Maywand district of the province to resupply troops stationed there.

The soldiers were travelling in a T-LAV, a heavily armoured vehicle with tank-like tracks. It is primarily used to transport personnel. Lt.-Cmdr. Genest said he had no details on the nature of the bomb. But, he added, "I feel relieved that the vehicle saved their life." The two injured soldiers were members of the Lord Strathcona's Horse, based in Edmonton. They were about two weeks from heading home, said Lt.-Cmdr. Genest. They are not being identified, keeping in line with military policy.

Early reports suggested the soldiers had been seriously injured, but Lt.-Cmdr. Genest said they "will be hopefully able to return to work as soon as possible." Canada's operations in southern Afghanistan are now under the command of Quebec's Royal 22nd Regiment, the Van Doos.

The prospect of casualties is a potentially explosive political issue in Quebec, where support for the Afghanistan mission is the lowest of any province. The attack came less than a week after a top military commander touted the progress Canada has made in securing the province. Military brass say the Taliban know they are no match for Canadian Forces in conventional head-to-head warfare.

Still, it is clear the insurgents have had some success using non-conventional tactics, such as suicide bombs and improvised explosive devices.

Sixty-six Canadian soldiers and one diplomat have died in Afghanistan since 2002, but the mortality rate has increased in recent months.

Twenty-two soldiers died in the last six-month rotation, of which, all but four were killed in IED or suicide-bomb attacks. Five Canadian soldiers incurred minor injuries last weekend after their supply convoy was struck while returning to Kandahar Airfield from forward operating base Ma'sum Ghar, on the border of the Zhari and Panjwaii districts.

Maj. Patrick Robichaud, commander of the operating base, this week characterized the security situation around Ma'sum Ghar as "fragile." He said Taliban insurgents appear to have taken advantage of a change in command among the Canadians and the Afghan National Army to slip back into the region. The insurgents are looking to strong-arm local farmers for a piece of the action in the impending marijuana harvest, said Maj. Robichaud.

Lt.-Cmdr. Genest also admitted the threat in Zhari district is a cause for "concern." "We just had recently two incidents in the same kind of area, and we'll be looking into it very seriously in the near future," he said.

Terrorist attacks have increased dramatically across Afghanistan since 2002, according to statistics compiled by the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism and the Rand Corporation.

In the three most dangerous provinces in the south -- Kandahar, Helmand and Uruzgan -- attacks have increased elevenfold during that time, according to the statistics, recently published by the New York Times.

About 2,500 Canadian troops are stationed in southern Afghanistan. Canada's military commitment is currently scheduled to end in February 2009.

====


IDNUMBER 200708180014
PUBLICATION: The Ottawa Citizen
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: A4
BYLINE: Norma Greenaway
SOURCE: The Ottawa Citizen
WORD COUNT: 281

Dion to PM: Tell Bush we're out of Afghanistan by February


Prime Minster Stephen Harper should tell U.S. President George W. Bush during their planned meeting Monday that Canada's combat role in Afghanistan will definitely end early in 2009, Opposition leader Stéphane Dion said yesterday.

Mr. Dion's call to end all ambiguity regarding the Afghan mission was among several demands the Liberal leader made of the prime minister in advance of Monday's start of a two-day summit involving the leaders of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico in the nearby Quebec resort of Montebello.

"Clarity is needed," Mr. Dion told a news conference, adding it is only fair to give Canada's NATO allies plenty of notice that it is ending its combat mission in southern Afghanistan in February 2009, so that a replacement force can be lined up.

Mr. Dion did not, however, rule out supporting a different, non-combat role in Afghanistan beyond that date. He said, for example, the military could continue to help train Afghan soldiers and "provide security in certain provinces."

Mr. Harper has said extension of the combat mission would hinge on getting a parliamentary consensus, though the Liberals and Bloc Québécois oppose extending the mission and the NDP has called for an immediate troop withdrawal.

The Liberal leader also accused Mr. Harper of embracing a "culture of secrecy" as the three countries continue their sprawling negotiations aimed at deepening continental integration. The process, initiated in 2005 when Liberal Paul Martin was prime minister, is known as the Security and Prosperity Partnership.

Mr. Dion also called on Mr. Harper to publicly state that Canada will "never" agree to negotiations on the bulk export of water to the U.S.

Sandra Buckler, the prime minister's spokeswoman, reiterated yesterday that the government "has no intention of entering into negotiations on bulk water exports."

====


IDNUMBER 200708180196
PUBLICATION: Montreal Gazette
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Weekend: Books
PAGE: J6
ILLUSTRATION:Colour Photo: PAUL WATSON, COURTESY OF THE TORONTO STAR /U.S. airman's body is dragged through the streets of Mogadishu (1993). ; Colour Photo: PAUL WATSON, LOS ANGELES TIMES / Russian-led rescue team looks for earthquake survivors in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir (2005) ; Colour Photo: PAUL WATSON, LOS ANGELES TIMES / Yugoslav Red Cross worker holds a piece of an icon from a destroyed church in Kosovo (1999) ; Colour Photo: PAUL WATSON, LOS ANGELES TIMES / Relatives mourn a man whom they allege was killed by Indian security forces in Kashmir (2004) ;
KEYWORDS: 0
BYLINE: LEVON SEVUNTS
SOURCE: Freelance
WORD COUNT: 669

Haunting images of pain and loss; Canadian Reporter-Photographer Paul Watson has written a breathtakingly compelling and candid account of his experiences as a foreign correspondent


There are moments in every reporter's life when a story brings you to a moral conundrum. It can be something as simple as making that dreaded call to a grieving mother to get a quote about her dead child, or shoving a microphone into the face of a man who has just lost everything in a house fire.

But sometimes, the circumstances are so extreme, so outside the norm, that nothing in your previous life can prepare you for what you're about to do. Surrounded by an angry mob, Canadian foreign correspondent Paul Watson, then working for the Toronto Star, had only a split second to decide whether to strip a dead man of his last shred of dignity or walk away from a story that eventually won him a Pulitzer Prize.

He stayed with the story and the world came to know one of the most iconic images in war photography: the body of a U.S. soldier from a downed Black Hawk helicopter being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu.

Here's how, in his newly published memoir Where War Lives, Watson describes the moment - on Oct. 4, 1993 - that changed his life and haunts him to this day:

The crowd parted, forming a manic horseshoe around the corpse. My eyes panned the frenzy like a camera guided by invisible hands. I looked to the ground. And that is how I came to know Staff-Sgt. William David Cleveland. In less than the time it took to breathe, I had to decide whether to steal a dead man's last shred of dignity. The moment of choice, in the swirl of dust and sweat, hatred and fear, is still trapped in my mind, denying me peace: just as I was about to press the shutter on my camera, the world went quiet, everything around me melted into a slow-motion blur, and I heard the voice: "If you do this, I will own you forever."

And this paragraph sets the tone for the entire book.

Where War Lives is a breathtakingly compelling and candid account of Watson's career as one of Canada's premier foreign correspondents.

Watson, a former Toronto Star correspondent who later became the South Asia bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times, bares it all as he takes the reader along for a ride through some of the worst man-made and natural disasters in the last 15 years - from the dusty streets of Mogadishu, to killing fields in Rwanda, to Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and the aftermath of the Boxing Day tsunami.

The writing is edgy, sometimes chaotic and raw. It feels like you've jumped in for a bumpy ride with a war correspondent: You get the passenger-side view of the madness around you and the inside view of how journalists work and survive in humanity's hellholes.

Along the way, Watson shares his mental anguish, his feelings of guilt and his struggle with depression and the onset of post-traumatic stress syndrome. Yet he manages to avoid the "tortured soul reveals all" stereotype. Where War Lives is an emotional but also intelligent book. It takes the reader behind the headlines. Watson "unspins" lies and propaganda, shows the reader the connection between fighting in the streets of Mogadishu and the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.

The book also shows the power - sometimes unintended - of the media. Staff-Sgt. Cleveland's photograph changed history: Outraged and stunned by the loss of 18 soldiers, Americans demanded the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Somalia, handing Al-Qa'ida its first big victory. Almost 14 years later, Watson continues to live with a guilty conscience. "Over time, Staff-Sgt. Cleveland's power over me had weakened," Watson writes. "His voice had faded, his visits grown less frequent. But he was still there. I had just learned to live with him."

Levon Sevunts is a Montreal writer who has worked as a war correspondent.

On the Web: To read an excerpt from Paul Watson's Where War Lives, please go to Gazette Spotlights under Special Features on our website,

montrealgazette.com

Where War Lives

By Paul Watson

McClelland & Stewart, 367 pages, $34.99

====


IDNUMBER 200708180037
PUBLICATION: Montreal Gazette
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: A15
KEYWORDS: ARMAMENTS; NUCLEAR WEAPONS; NUCLEAR REACTORS; ASYLUM; FAMILYREUNIONS
DATELINE: SEOUL
SOURCE: Reuters
WORD COUNT: 133

South Korean hostages home


Two weary-looking South Koreans held hostage for about a month by the Taliban in Afghanistan returned home yesterday, hoping for the safe return of 19 others who remain captive.

The Taliban freed the two women on Monday, the first captives to be released since insurgents seized 23 Koreans from a bus in Ghazni province on the main road south from the capital, Kabul, last month.

"I only hope for the release of the others," Kim Ji-na, a 32-year-old animation instructor, said just after arriving at Incheon airport, which serves Seoul.

Looking tense and tired, and with their heads held low, the two showed no signs of joy or relief.

"Thank you so much and I'm so sorry for causing worries," said the other released hostage, Kim Kyung-ja, a 37-year-old software company employee, in comments carried by local TV broadcasters.

Authorities barred foreign media from covering their return at the airport, citing security concerns.

After making brief comments, the two were taken to a military hospital for medical checks.

====


IDNUMBER 200708180036
PUBLICATION: Montreal Gazette
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: A15
KEYWORDS: EXPLOSIONS; BOMBINGS
DATELINE: KANDAHAR, Afghanistan
BYLINE: ANDREW MAYEDA
SOURCE: Canwest News Service
WORD COUNT: 256

Canadians injured by road blast


Two Canadian soldiers were slightly injured yesterday after a roadside bomb struck their supply convoy in the volatile Zhari district of Kandahar province. It is the second time in less than a week that Canadian soldiers have been injured while plying the roads west of Kandahar City in supply convoys.

The injuries to the two men are not life-threatening, said military spokesperson Lt.-Cmdr. Hubert Genest. They were transported to Kandahar Airfield for treatment.

Earlier yesterday, the chief of Zhari district, Khairuddin Achakzai, was killed in Kandahar City. Police said a suicide bomber wearing a vest packed with explosives was waiting outside the politician's home. Three of his children also were killed, while two of his other children were injured in the blast.

Genest said the timing of the two attacks was "odd," but he said it was too early to say if they were part of a co- ordinated assault.

The attack on the military convoy occurred shortly after lunch, about 30 kilometres west of Kandahar City. The convoy was headed to the western Maywand district of the province to resupply troops stationed there.

The soldiers were travelling in a T-LAV, a heavily armoured vehicle with tank-like tracks. It is primarily used to transport personnel. Genest said he had no details on the nature of the bomb. But, he added, "I feel relieved that the vehicle saved their life." The two injured soldiers were members of the Lord Strathcona's Horse, based in Edmonton. They were about two weeks from heading home, Genest said. They are not being identified.

====


IDNUMBER 200708180031
PUBLICATION: Montreal Gazette
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: News
PAGE: A12
ILLUSTRATION:Colour Photo: CHRIS WATTIE, REUTERS / Liberal leaderStéphane Dion spoke during yesterday's news conference on the coming North American Leaders' Summit, urging Prime Minister Harper to end ambiguity regarding Canada's combat role in Afghanistan. Dion also accused Harper of embracing a "culture of secrecy" by debating behind closed doors the controversial proposals of the Security and Prosperity Partnership. ;
KEYWORDS: POLITICIANS; POLITICAL PARTIES; GOVERNMENT; CANADA
DATELINE: OTTAWA
BYLINE: NORMA GREENAWAY
SOURCE: CanWest News Service
WORD COUNT: 277

Dion calls for clarity on Afghan mission


Prime Minster Stephen Harper should tell President George W. Bush during their planned meeting Monday that Canada's combat role in Afghanistan will definitely end early in 2009, opposition leader Stéphane Dion said yesterday.

Dion's call to end all ambiguity regarding the Afghan mission was among several demands the Liberal leader made of the prime minister in advance of Monday's start of a two-day summit involving the leaders of Canada, the United States and Mexico in the nearby Quebec resort town of Montebello.

"Clarity is needed," Dion told a news conference, adding it is only fair to give Canada's NATO allies plenty of notice it is ending its combat mission in southern Afghanistan in February 2009, so a replacement force can be lined up.

Dion did not, however, rule out supporting a different, non-combat role in Afghanistan beyond that date. He said, for example, the military could continue to help train Afghan soldiers and "provide security in certain provinces."

Harper has said extension of the combat mission would hinge on getting a parliamentary consensus. This would, however, require a stunning reversal in the current thinking of the opposition parties: The Liberals and Bloc Québécois oppose extending the mission and the NDP has called for an immediate troop withdrawal.

The Liberal leader also accused Harper of embracing a "culture of secrecy" as the three countries continue their sprawling negotiations aimed at deepening continental integration. The process, initiated in 2005 when Paul Martin was prime minister, is known as the Security and Prosperity Partnership.

In an open letter, NDP leader Jack Layton demanded the prime minister open the process to incorporate public consultations.

"Canadians need to know that our country's sovereignty won't be surrendered by moves to deepen continental integration," he wrote.

Ottawa Citizen

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IDNUMBER 200708180133
PUBLICATION: The Hamilton Spectator
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Canada/World
PAGE: A2
ILLUSTRATION:Photo: File Photo / Americans and its police forces arefinding it tough to get bullets because the armed forces are taking them all. ;
BYLINE: Estes Thompson
SOURCE: The Associated Press
COPYRIGHT: © 2007 Torstar Corporation
WORD COUNT: 769

A billion bullets for soldiers leaves U.S. short on ammo


Troops from the United States training for and fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are firing more than one billion bullets a year, contributing to an ammunition shortage hitting police departments across that country and preventing some officers from training with the weapons they carry on patrol.

An Associated Press review of dozens of U.S. police and sheriff's departments found that many are struggling with delays of as long as a year for both handgun and rifle ammunition. And the shortages are resulting in prices as much as double what departments were paying just a year ago.

"There were warehouses full of it. Now, that isn't the case," said Al Aden, police chief in Pierre, S.D.

Departments in all parts of the country reported delays or reductions in training and, in at least one case, a proposal to use paintball guns in firing drills as a way to conserve real ammo.

Forgoing proper, repetitive weapons training comes with a price on the streets, police say, in diminished accuracy, quickness on the draw and basic decision-making skills.

"You are not going to be as sharp or as good, especially if an emergency situation comes up," said Sergeant James MacGillis, range master for the Milwaukee police. "The better-trained officer is the one that is less likely to use force."

The pinch is blamed on a skyrocketing demand for ammunition that followed the start of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, driven by the training needs of a military at war and, ironically, police departments increasing their own practice regimens following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The increasingly voracious demand for copper and lead overseas, especially in China, has also been a factor.

None of the departments surveyed by the AP said it had pulled guns off the street, and many departments reported no problems buying ammunition. But others told the AP they face higher prices and months-long delays.

In Oklahoma City, for example, officers cannot qualify with AR-15 rifles because the department does not have enough .223 -calibre ammunition -- a round similar to that fired by the military's M-16 and M-4 rifles. Last fall, an ammunition shortage forced the department to cancel qualification courses for several different guns.

"We've got to teach the officers how to use the weapon, and they've got to be able to go to the range and qualify with the weapon and show proficiency," said department spokesperson Captain Steve McCool. "And you can't do that unless you have the rounds."

In Milwaukee, supplies of .40-calibre handgun cartridges and .223 -calibre rifle rounds have gotten so low the department has repeatedly dipped into its ammunition reserves.

Some weapons training has already been cut by 30 per cent, and lessons on rifles have been altered to conserve bullets.

Unlike troops in an active war zone, patrol officers rarely fire their weapons in the line of duty. Even then, an officer in a firefight isn't likely to shoot more than a dozen rounds, said Asheville, N.C., police training officer Lieutenant Gary Gudac. That, he said, makes training with live ammunition for real-life situations -- such as a vehicle stop -- so essential.

"We spend a lot of money and time making sure the officers are able to shoot a moving target or shoot back into a vehicle," Gudac said. "Any time we have a deadly force encounter, one of the first things we pull is the officer's qualification records."

In Trenton, N.J., a lack of available ammunition led the city to give up plans to convert its force to .45 -calibre handguns. Last year, the sheriff's department in Bergen County, N.J., had to borrow 26,000 rounds of .40 - calibre ammunition to complete twice-a-year training for officers.

In Phoenix, an order for .38-calibre rounds placed a year ago has yet to arrive, meaning no officer can currently qualify with a .38 Special revolver.

In Wyoming, the state leaned on its ammunition supplier earlier this year so every state trooper could qualify on the standard-issue AR-15 rifle, said Captain Bill Morse. Rifle rounds scheduled to arrive in January did not show up until May, leading to a rush of troopers trying to qualify by the deadline.

The Lake City Army Ammunition Plant in Independence, Mo., directly supplies the military with more than 80 per cent of its small-arms ammunition.

Production at the factory has more than tripled since 2002, rising from roughly 425 million rounds that year to 1.4 billion rounds in 2006, according to the Joint Munitions Command at the Rock Island Arsenal in Illinois.

Most of the rest of the military's small-arms ammunition comes from Falls Church, Va.-based General Dynamics Corp., which relies partly on subcontractors -- some of whom also supply police departments.

Right now, their priority is filling the military's orders, said Darren Newsom, general manager of the Hunting Shack in Stevensville, Mont., which ships 250,000 rounds a day as it supplies ammunition to 3,000 police departments nationwide.

"There's just a major shortage on ammo in the U.S. right now," he said. Customers have 2.5 million rounds on back-order.

====


IDNUMBER 200708180071
PUBLICATION: The Hamilton Spectator
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Opinion
PAGE: A21
ILLUSTRATION:Photo: File Photo, the Canadian Press / Gordon O'Connor,right, seen here with Lieutenant-General Michel Gauthier, has had a stellar record as defence minister. ;
BYLINE: J.L. Granatstein
SOURCE: The Hamilton Spectator
COPYRIGHT: © 2007 Torstar Corporation
WORD COUNT: 849

O'Connor's demotion not deserved As defence minister made sure troops were well-equipped, well-trained


There was general media satisfaction at the demotion of Gordon O'Connor from minister of National Defence to Revenue minister on Tuesday.

O'Connor once again was labelled a former lobbyist and a lacklustre communicator, and the Globe and Mail noted acerbically that he "so mishandled the controversy surrounding Canada's treatment of Afghan detainees" that the prime minister grew reluctant to let him answer questions in the House of Commons. An almost total failure, in other words.

Frankly, this is grossly unfair, a complete concentration on form over substance. In O'Connor's year-and-a-half in the defence portfolio, the Canadian Forces received almost unprecedented funding for equipment purchases, well above $20 billion in all.

Yes, the prime minister wanted to rebuild the military. Yes, the chiefs of the air and naval staffs and the army's head, along with the chief of the Defence staff all had their officers producing the documents and memoranda to bolster the case. All true.

But ultimately it was defence minister Gordon O'Connor who had the job of persuading cabinet committees, the finance minister, and the clerk of the Privy Council, the government's key players, that the purchases were necessary.

None of the immediate post-shuffle assessments of O'Connor's tenure made this point. We all know that if the former brigadier-general had failed to secure funding for new equipment he would have been blasted by the media for his deficiencies. But he did get the money -- the first C-17 transport has already reached Canada -- and the successes must properly be credited to him.

Then there is Afghanistan. No one will argue that O'Connor did not mess up the Afghan detainees' file. He seemed ill-briefed on occasion, and his ready ability to keep his foot firmly in his mouth did him no good at all. But on the issue of fighting the war in Kandahar, the truly important matter, he was sound as a bell. The Canadian contingent in Afghanistan, the House of Commons Defence Committee said a few months ago, is the "most combat-effective, best- trained, best-led, best-equipped, best-supported mission of its kind that Canada has ever deployed." That is simply true, a judgment offered by a committee in which the opposition parties hold a majority. It is also one confirmed by commanders and soldiers alike.

Who gets the credit for this? O'Connor must receive it. When better artillery was required, new guns were acquired. When anti-mine vehicles proved necessary, the minister made sure they went to Kandahar. Tanks? Radar to track mortar shells? Unmanned aerial vehicles? Same thing. The only shortfall was in Chinook helicopters to move personnel and supplies (the Mulroney government sold Canada's Chinooks to the Dutch, who now use them in Afghanistan) -- they are on order.

This is a far cry from Canada's first deployment of an infantry battalion to Afghanistan in 2002 when the soldiers arrived with unprotected Iltis jeeps and the wrong camouflage uniforms and boots.

Then there is the "Canada First" defence plan, the emphasis on sovereignty in the Arctic that clearly resonates with the Canadian public. We may not go to the North much, but we don't want to lose it, and new naval vessels, an Arctic deep-water port, an army cold-weather training base and an improved, expanded Ranger force -- all those formed part of the O'Connor plan. If the Arctic and its riches remain Canadian, these measures will deserve some of the credit.

Finally, there were O'Connor's difficulties with Rick Hillier, the chief of the defence staff. Hillier is not a soldier like the others, not one of the grey faceless bean-counters who rule at Fort Fumble on the Rideau. Instead he is a superb communicator, a charismatic commander who can speak to young soldiers, old vets and business leaders, and charm the birds out of all the trees every time. He and O'Connor sometimes disagreed on policy, or so it appeared.

My own suspicion is that, while the two certainly did not get along well, the difficulties were sparked more by O'Connor's inability to communicate. The unfavourable comparisons kept being drawn in the media, and O'Connor readily found himself painted as a military retread, a clone of General George Pearkes, John Diefenbaker's first defence minister, preparing to go over-the-top, while Hillier, preaching Canadian Forces transformation, seemed the very model of a modern chief of the defence staff.

In his brief, anodyne news conference after the swearing-in ceremony on Tuesday, Prime Minister Stephen Harper talked about the months since January 2006 as a "historic period" for the Canadian Forces. He was right, and for all his flaws, the minister who directed the Department of National Defence deserves the lion's share of the credit. After all, someone who was so regularly denounced by Dawn Black and Denis Coderre, the know-nothing NDP and Liberal defence critics, couldn't be all bad.

Gordon O'Connor wasn't, and he handled the important matters well.

Historian and author J.L. Granatstein writes on behalf of the Council for Canadian Security in the 21st Century. ccs21.org

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IDNUMBER 200708180062
PUBLICATION: The Hamilton Spectator
DATE: 2007.08.18
EDITION: Final
SECTION: Discover
PAGE: D11
ILLUSTRATION:Photo: General Pervez Musharraf;
SOURCE: The Economist
COPYRIGHT: © 2007 Torstar Corporation
WORD COUNT: 796

Bush's war faces tough time in Afghanistan


Everyone can see that U.S. President George Bush's "war on terrorism" is coming to grief in Iraq. Now things are going awry in Afghanistan, too. The United States drove out the Taliban regime in order to deprive al-Qaeda of a safe haven. Nearly six years on, this aim has not been realized.

In large tracts of southern Afghanistan, the writ of the elected government of Hamid Karzai does not run and Taliban fighters operate more freely than the NATO forces that prop him up. Worse, this hostile territory crosses the border into Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), home to some 3 million people, where the writ of Pakistan's president, General Pervez Musharraf, hardly runs either. And now the general may be losing his grip on Pakistan as a whole.

Far from being caught in a pincer between pro-American governments in Kabul and Islamabad, al-Qaeda and its fellow travellers have consolidated a stronghold that encroaches on the territory and may, in time, threaten the survival of both.

It is important to stress that neither government is in immediate peril. The NATO force in Afghanistan is harrying the Taliban in the south and can certainly protect Kabul. The prospect of Pakistan, a country of 160 million people, falling to Islamist extremists is still just a nightmare.

But if America and its allies fail to take remedial action now, or if they take the wrong action, the danger of exacerbating the enmity of millions of Muslims in both countries is acute.

Afghanistan's needs are clear: more troops for a NATO effort that has always been under-resourced and so depends on air strikes that often kill civilians and make more enemies; more effort by the government to reach out to the remote Pushtun tribes who shelter the Taliban; less corruption; a consensual approach to poppy eradication that does not drive farmers over to the Taliban by threatening their livelihoods.

That is not to deny there is support for the Taliban (who were Pakistan's allies until General Musharraf's pro-American about-turn after Sept. 11). Parties with an ideology close to the Taliban's have won power in some areas. But they are a minority. In the 2002 elections, the Islamists won only 11 per cent of the popular vote. That would swiftly change if America blasted its way into Pakistan's sovereign territory.

For the past six years, General Musharraf has put on a brilliant show of being America's indispensable ally, holding out against the Islamist tide that would otherwise sweep Pakistan and its nuclear weapons into al- Qaeda's grateful arms. An anxious America accordingly pumps in aid, to the tune of about $1 billion a year.

Last month's storming of Islamabad's Red Mosque, which Islamists had turned into an extremist bastion in the heart of the capital, fitted seamlessly into the general's script.

This is not all a show. General Musharraf has indeed arrested many al-Qaeda types and handed some over to America. He sent the army into the tribal areas in an unsuccessful attempt to impose control.

Behind the scenes, however, the story has been murkier than the one onstage. General Musharraf has been careful not to alienate the Islamists entirely and has at times acted as their sponsor. The army and intelligence services try to root out the sort of jihadists who have tried three times to assassinate the general but, by most accounts, continue to hedge their bets against an American failure in Afghanistan by maintaining links to the Taliban.

Until recently America turned a blind eye: better the general you know than the deep green sea of jihadism. But to see General Musharraf as lone defender against the Islamic tide is to misread Pakistan. It is not the Islamists but the moderate mainstream that has lost faith in him. His sacking of the chief justice (since reinstated) and his desire to have himself re-elected by the existing legislatures before the next general election have disgusted voters.

America should not give uncritical support to a military ruler who is blocking the return of the democracy that Pakistan appears now both to want and to need. Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, was right last week to talk him out of declaring a state of emergency.

Democracy will not cure all Pakistan's ills: the democratic decade from the late 1980s was ruinous. Nor would an elected government necessarily find it any easier to tame the tribal areas. But with authority deserting the general, Pakistan is hungry for a way forward.

A democratic government would have to cohabit with the army and maybe also with a (downsized) President Musharraf. It may not do much more to help the West in Afghanistan. But it might start to tackle the grievances that have helped spread al- Qaeda's poison at home.

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PUBLICATION: GLOBE AND MAIL
IDN: 072300247
DATE: 2007.08.18
PAGE: A15
BYLINE: MARTIN OUELLET
SECTION: International News
SOURCE: CP STAFF
EDITION: Metro
DATELINE: KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN
WORDS: 352
WORD COUNT: 285

THE AFGHAN MISSION Two Canadians hurt in roadside bombing The vehicle the soldiers rode in is credited with saving their lives; a separate suicide blast kills four Afghans


MARTIN OUELLET Canadian Press, with a report from Christie Blatchford KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN Taliban insurgents struck twice in Kandahar's dangerous Zhari district yesterday, killing the district chief and his three young children in a suicide blast and injuring two Canadian soldiers with a roadside bomb.

The suicide bomber on foot killed Haji Kheerdin as he was washing for prayers along with two sons, 6 and 12 years old, and a three-year-old daughter. Two other civilians were also killed in the blast.

District leaders here, like police and interpreters, have been targets for suicide bombers.

Two Canadian soldiers were slightly injured after their vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb, the Canadian military said.

Both were riding in a Track Light Armoured Vehicle, or T-LAV, along Highway 1 as part of a supply convoy for Canadian troops when they drove over the bomb.

"I am relieved the track vehicle was armoured, and protected their lives," military spokesman Lieutenant-Commander Hubert Genest said.

The soldiers were taken by helicopter to a hospital at Kandahar Airfield, 30 kilometres to the east.

Both suffered upper body injuries. One was quickly released while the other was being held for observation, military officials said.

Neither soldier was identified by name, but both were members of the Lord Strathcona's Horse regiment of Edmonton and have about two weeks remaining before the end of their tours, officials said.

The T-LAV sustained extensive damage and will be towed from the scene later, military officials said.

The Zhari district is considered one of the most dangerous in Kandahar province, according to army officials.

"What's going on in Zhari is very worrying," Lt.-Cmdr. Genest said.

Seven Canadian soldiers have been injured since Sunday in roadside attacks.

On Sunday, five Canadian soldiers received minor injuries when their convoy hit a roadside bomb and was attacked by rocket-propelled grenades. They were treated mostly for leg and back wounds.

On Aug. 1, fresh troops from the Royal 22nd Regiment, also known as the Vandoos, arrived in Afghanistan from Quebec.

Canada has about 2,500 troops in the war-torn country as part of the NATO force supporting the Afghan government.

ADDED SEARCH TERMS:

GEOGRAPHIC NAME: Kandahar; Afghanistan

SUBJECT TERM:strife

ORGANIZATION NAME: Armed Forces

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PUBLICATION: GLOBE AND MAIL
IDN: 072300239
DATE: 2007.08.18
PAGE: M1 (ILLUS)
BYLINE: IAN COUTTS
SECTION: Globe Toronto
SOURCE: SPCL
EDITION: Metro
DATELINE:
WORDS: 1320
WORD COUNT: 1335

SOLDIERS: AUTOPSY A long road home for 'the fallen'


IAN COUTTS Special to The Globe and Mail 'Here is where they come in." The "here" that Jim Cairns, Ontario's deputy chief coroner, is referring to is a set of doors that leads out to a sloping driveway.

We are in a slightly eerie basement room dominated by a long double-sided bank of steel drawers, refrigerated compartments where bodies awaiting autopsy are kept. Apart from Dr. Cairns's voice, and the rapid click-click-click of the photographer's camera, the only sound is the low rumble of the room's cooling system.

The "they" in this case are the bodies of military personnel killed in Afghanistan, "the fallen," as one military spokeswomen called them. If you've watched television or read a paper in the last year, you know about the spontaneous ceremonies that have sprung up along the 401 between CFB Trenton and Toronto: the flags hung from overpasses, the cars stopped by the road, police and firefighters saluting.

By the time the convoys turn off the Don Valley Parkway on to the city's streets, the crowds stand two and three deep.

What is often not clear, though, is where the bodies are headed and, more important, why. Their immediate destination is the Office of the Chief Coroner, an anonymous, two-storey modern building on Grenville Street in downtown Toronto. It is just one more step on a long road home, from Afghanistan to Camp Mirage in the Middle East to Trenton and ultimately to towns and cities all across Canada.

Dr. Cairns, his colleagues and experts from the Canadian Forces will have the sad job of examining them.

Typically, a coroner hopes to answer five questions with an autopsy: who was the person, how did they die, when, where and by what means? Frequently they are dealing with a genuine mystery. Not in these cases, however, says Dr. Cairns. "It's not a mystery. In most cases the cause of death is quite clear. You've got a bomb going off or someone's shot." The tall, white-haired Ulsterman got his start as an emergency-room doctor in Belfast in the early years of the Troubles ("I did three years of bullets and bombs"). What he and his fellow experts are now looking for are lessons that may save other soldiers' lives.

In the early 1990s, when the Canadian army was involved in peacekeeping in the former Yugoslavia, the bulk of Canada's fatalities there were, says Dr. Cairns, "primarily in traffic accidents." That changed with Canada's mission in Afghanistan. Now the coroners are examining combat deaths.

When the word comes that a dead Canadian soldier or soldiers are on their way, Dr. Cairns's office starts getting ready. Once the convoy arrives from Trenton, the bodies in their flag-draped caskets are carried into the basement morgue by an honour guard.

Dr. Cairns shows me into the X-ray room, dominated by a large steel table with a machine mounted over it. "All the soldiers when they come in will be given a full body scan," he says, the purpose being to search for metal fragments, "so we'll know where to search when it comes to the autopsy." Military autopsies get priority, he adds. "The people who do the X-rays will come in the night before, and the pathologists will put on extra staff." Next door to the X-ray room is the actual autopsy room. In use the afternoon I visited (for a routine civilian autopsy), it was off limits, but Dr. Cairns described it: "It's very much like an operating room, with a tiled floor and walls and overhead lights." Although, he added, it also boasts something you'd not find in an operating room - a Canadian flag hung on one wall.

There are four pathologists who work on the autopsies, but there is a special protocol so that they're done the same way. "We want to be able to compare apples to apples." As Dr. Cairns explains it, the protocol is a series of questions: "Where were the injuries? Would you have considered these fatal or non-fatal? Were they due to shrapnel or a bullet? What direction was it going? All that in detail, right from the top all the way down.

"It's more important to look at the pattern of injuries, to document where they were, and to document whether their personal protective equipment [their helmets and their flak vests] failed or didn't fail and could there be improvements.

"Likewise for those who were killed inside an armoured vehicle: What were the injuries there? Could they redesign the vehicles to make the chances of injury less common?" The wounds are marked on a chart and the pathologist writes up his evaluation.

Working atop ladders over the table, military identification officers take pictures. "They will photograph all the pattern of injuries." Earlier in Dr. Cairns's office, I had noticed a helmet and flak vest in the distinctive CADPAT (Canadian Disruptive Pattern) camouflage worn by Canadian soldiers. They arrive in uniform, but, he says, "sometimes . . . if the medics tried to resuscitate them, they won't have any of their protective gear. We've got this here so we can put it on them and see what the wound pattern would be." After the autopsy, which takes between one and two hours, the military honour guard returns and takes away the caskets.

"The notes on where the various injuries were, and how severe they were, those all go to military. Then we give them the soldier's personal protective equipment." Any fragments detected by the X-rays and removed by the autopsy are also handed over. "That's important because you may be able to track where the explosive's coming from." Any information that may affect how the wounded should be treated to save lives is shared promptly with medical officers in Afghanistan.

Colonel Carl Walker is the head of the Canadian Forces Environmental Medical Establishment (part of the Toronto offices of Defence Research and Development Canada). According to Col. Walker, based on what they've seen, the military is looking at making some modifications to the personal armour, potentially a skirting for the neck to enhance protection. But "we haven't seen a penetration of the vest yet by fragments, which is very good," he says. Our armoured vehicles also seem to be performing well, although some have been severely damaged by IEDs (improvised explosive devices). "It takes a big, big bomb to breach one of our vehicles, and there have been some big, big bombs." To perform such an autopsy might seem intrusive, but, says Dr.

Cairns, as far as he knows no family has protested. "I think they understand the value of having it done. . . .

"I think it's true that we all - and this is a terrible thing to say - we feel sadder about these than we do about car crashes.

I don't know if that's because we are proud Canadians, but yes, there's this feeling that these were young healthy men who were over there trying to do their best, and here they're dead." ***** Why Toronto? The U.S. military boasts a vast mortuary unit at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, one capable of receiving 100 bodies a day. But Canada's military is a far more modest affair, without need for such an operation. Instead, since the early 1990s, that job has fallen to the Ontario coroner's office, largely at the suggestion of Allan Cole, director of the funeral service firm MacKinnon and Bowes Ltd., who serves as the contracted mortuary affairs person for the Canadian Armed Forces. Mr. Cole's suggestion was based partly on the Ontario coroner's relative closeness to the base at Trenton, home of the Canadian Air Force's transportation fleet, where any soldier who dies is returned to Canada.

Ian Coutts

ADDED SEARCH TERMS:

GEOGRAPHIC NAME: Canada; Afghanistan; Toronto

SUBJECT TERM:war deaths; medical profession; medical research

PERSONAL NAME: Jim Cairns

ORGANIZATION NAME: Armed Forces

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PUBLICATION: GLOBE AND MAIL
IDN: 072300189
DATE: 2007.08.18
PAGE: A17 (ILLUS)
BYLINE: CHRISTIE BLATCHFORD
SECTION: Comment Column
EDITION: Metro
DATELINE: Kandahar AFGHANISTAN
WORDS: 1194
WORD COUNT: 1201

'The Afghan Years: The Christie Blatchford Diaries' It's good to be back where everything and nothing has changed


CHRISTIE BLATCHFORD KANDAHAR I am reading The Blair Years: The Alastair Campbell Diaries , the superb account of former British prime minister Tony Blair's rise to, and exercise of, power. It's a whopper of a book - 900-plus pages - and though I lugged it through three airports and two countries to get it to Afghanistan, I doubt I'll be taking it with me on operational convoys.

Still, at the moment, I'm crazed about the diary format, and with your indulgence, if alas not with Mr. Campbell's skill or intelligence, I'll try it here now; it lends itself, I think, to the experience of being in Afghanistan.

Wednesday, Aug. 15 2:10 a.m. (local time) Check into Al Bustan Rotana Hotel which, like most in Dubai, is dripping with luxury.

3:30 a.m. Check out of Al Bustan Rotana Hotel. Have 4 a.m. check-in for 6 a.m. flight.

3:50 a.m. Share cab with delightful woman named Bobby from Sydney, N.S., whom I meet while checking out of hotel. She is returning from leave back home in Cape Breton to resume her civilian job as a cleaner at the big coalition base at Kandahar Air Field (KAF).

She is 61, almost 62, though she looks 15 years younger, and says of herself, "When I got married, I was scared to death; when I had my kids, I was scared to death; when I got divorced, I was scared to death." A few months ago, she decided that she had to do something to shake up her life. She applied for work as a hairdresser for the civilian agency that staffs the Canadian part of KAF. Turned down because she wasn't bilingual (huh?). Heard about the cleaning job and got it.

She loves it, too. Was chomping at the bit to get back, this woman who by her own description has never been anywhere else. And she's not scared of anything at Kandahar.

4 a.m. Bobby and I arrive at Dubai's smaller terminal to catch the flight to Kandahar on the cargo airline often used now by reporters. Airport is filled with the usual mix of large men with old eyes (usually former soldiers now working as private security contractors), civilians flying home to Baghdad or Kandahar, civilian workers and reporters.

Along the wall nearest the loos, men snooze on their prayer mats, waiting for the first call to prayer. Bobby is reunited with some of her pals from the civilian work force, who have also been on leave.

I am a tad anxious.

The last time I flew with these folks was last January, on the first leg of my trip home. The plane that time was an old Russian one, with Russian pilots. We entered through the cargo door, dropped our luggage and took our seats, and within moments, the engines started up.

We began to taxi out when, suddenly, the engines shut off, and the co-pilot-cum-steward emerged from the cockpit with a wrench in hand, walked past us and out the cargo door, there to pound upon the side of the plane with great vigour, yelling in Russian to the pilot all the while.

At one point, the co-pilot walked back up, grabbed a manual, and went back out, whereupon he resumed banging upon the plane and yelling while holding the manual - sadly, upside down, which was not confidence-inducing.

Then, without a word of explanation, he stopped, took his seat in the cockpit, the engines started up again and we were off, convinced that we'd survived Afghanistan only to perish on the flight.

This time, to my relief, it is a proper plane, with regular flight attendants, and all goes smoothly. In about two hours, we have gone from the monied excesses of Dubai to the grinding poverty and dust of southern Afghanistan.

Bobby, who is a nervous flyer, makes herself take a window seat and looks out the whole time.

10:30 a.m. (Kandahar time) Arrive at KAF, which has, like the overgrown northern mining town it resembles, boomed in my absence. Already I know, despite the little compass given to me by a friend that I wear around my neck, that all the familiar landmarks I used to guide myself around this place on three previous trips have been swallowed up amid the new construction, and that I will be wandering around, as lost as I was the first time I came here.

As usual, we are deposited on the dusty tarmac with our luggage, and met by a Canadian army public-affairs officer, who breaks the news to the Radio-Canada crew that he can't bring his truck onto the flight line and that they will have to tote their 16 pieces of gear and equipment to the pickup point a couple of hundred metres away. I drag my own luggage, a glamorous hockey bag, through the dust; the TV boys make five such trips. They are unimpressed.

11:45 a.m. Back at the D-FAC (which is U.S. army talk for dining facility) and am overcome with nostalgia as I open the door and am greeted by the familiar smells.

8:20 p.m. Go to first briefing, this about the impending arrival of the first of Canada's rented Leopard 2 tanks. I'd told CTV colleague that I've met some tankers before, and that if there were any present at this briefing, she'd recognize them immediately because they would be erect with excitement, tankers having been rescued from the brink of oblivion by the war in Afghanistan. Sure enough, there are some of them there, and they are wound up like tops at the prospect of their new baby.

Thursday, Aug. 16 4 a.m. Some of my colleagues get up to see the arrival of the new tank.

Alas, apparently as it came off the plane ("Tanks loaned from Germany, coming on a Russian plane," says a CP colleague, "it's so Canadian."), there was a glitch, everything was locked down, and the turret wouldn't turn properly for the waiting cameras.

7 a.m. I skip the arrival, since I've had only snatches of sleep for the past two days, and get up late. Go to Tim Hortons, get bagel and coffee. As predicted, get lost and spend 20 minutes wandering around base.

5 p.m. Meet a soldier, on his way home in two days, who has hit the usual Afghanistan cycle: Had an IED blow up in front of him, lost two friends, and been mortared himself. "It's not so bad," he says with a grin. He had to meet a mental-health counsellor after the IED blast, but says he told her he could deal with all that, no problem.

It's the fact that on a deployment, it's "the dickheads" you can't get away from that drives him nuts.

6:30 p.m. I realize that as everything has changed, so has nothing. It's good to be back.

cblatchford@globeandmail.com

ADDED SEARCH TERMS:

GEOGRAPHIC NAME: Canada; Afghanistan

SUBJECT TERM:journalists; strife; chronology

ORGANIZATION NAME: Armed Forces

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PUBLICATION: GLOBE AND MAIL
IDN: 072300188
DATE: 2007.08.18
PAGE: A19
BYLINE: REX MURPHY
SECTION: Comment Column
EDITION: Metro
DATELINE:
WORDS: 825
WORD COUNT: 874

Cabinet change: Why shuffle straw men?


REX MURPHY Commentator with The National and host of CBC Radio's Cross-Country Checkup If the senior or high-profile ministers of the cabinet were seen as significant forces in their own right, substantially in charge of their portfolios, a cabinet shuffle would be a big deal.

If cabinet ministers were recognized, within the boundaries of the parliamentary system, as being strong, independent, creative leaders of their own departments, then a reassignment of any core of them would be a change, in the playwright's words, of "some pitch and moment." But this is the Harper government, remember, and Stephen Harper has demonstrated a taste for control of all that goes on, and all that is said on its behalf, that is quite singular.

A not-so-trivial illustration of how much the cabinet is absolutely a Harper cabinet comes from a story in Thursday's Globe. Maxime Bernier goes to his new position as the Minister of Foreign Affairs without the benefit of chief of staff Michele Austin, who served him at Industry. It would seem an obvious consideration that a powerful minister would have both the wish to choose his own chief, and the clout to exercise that wish.

Not so. According to the news report, Michele Austin was told by the Prime Minister's Office to go join the demoted Gordon O'Connor over at National Revenue. What does it say for the independent stature of a very high profile minister when he doesn't even get to choose his own political staff? If the Prime Minister can't, or won't, trust Mr. Bernier's judgment when it comes to staffing his own office, if the PMO inserts itself at that level of detail in the functioning of a senior cabinet minister, what are the odds that Mr. Bernier will, in his own person, contribute significantly to that portfolio? That's the problem, politically, with this cabinet shuffle. In Mr. Harper's government, the brand is his own last name. His cabinet doesn't have any star performers. (It's an odd, but I think very interesting, note that the only star performer with any flair of independence we might associate with the Harper government is General Rick Hillier and, of course, the Chief of the Defence Staff isn't, as we say, in the government to begin with.) On the tight "good ship Harper," even the very best are only second mates.

On this understanding the thought conceived within the strategically fertile bowels of the PMO that changing the lineup would make a dent in the perception of the team is purely a self-flattering one.

Does it matter if there is a new Minister of Foreign Affairs if the real authority for foreign affairs stays with the PMO? The Prime Minister doesn't seem to understand that strong ministers actually enhance a government's appeal and, ultimately, the Prime Minister's own standing. A jealous hold on power is a signal of timidity and inexperience.

The shuffle that's really needed is with Mr. Harper himself. He is, emphatically and by choice, the symbol and centre of his government's appeal or lack thereof. In the early months of his tenure, this approach appeared to make political sense. He showed a gift for large and unexpected moves. He emanated a decisiveness that earned him dividends even from those who were ideologically uncomfortable with him. On a few large issues, Afghanistan in particular, he seemed to operate from a compass of strict principle, uninflected by the thought of political advantage. His briskness and clarity outweighed his brusqueness and unaccommodating intensity.

He had a touch of real gold - the politician who is seen as not just a "politician." Since then, however, the brusqueness has modulated into a public perception of churlishness. The clarity of principle has been deeply obscured, notably on income trusts and global warming (his conversion on this file both radical and sudden) and we're seeing a turn even on Afghanistan. Is he "just" a politician after all? In other words, he's been seen to bend and reverse just like every other politician, and to have a sense of political opportunity and flexibility every bit as artful as any of his predecessors as prime minister. All that coupled with his imperious dealings with the Ottawa press corps and a needlessly harsh manner in the House of Commons combines to present a persona that charms only his base, and, even there, with dwindling force.

It's a combination of bully with know-it-all, a salad if you will of the least attractive properties of (heresy) Jean Chretien and Pierre Trudeau on their bad days.

That said, this Prime Minister is smarter and better than the occasional bouts of pettiness and belligerence that are coming to define him. The public image of the Harper government is the image of Mr. Harper himself. Shuffling the cabinet without a change of style at the top will not significantly alter this government's prospects.

ADDED SEARCH TERMS:

GEOGRAPHIC NAME: Canada

SUBJECT TERM:government; political

PERSONAL NAME: Stephen Harper

ORGANIZATION NAME: Cabinet; Conservative Party of Canada

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PUBLICATION: GLOBE AND MAIL
IDN: 072300041
DATE: 2007.08.18
PAGE: A13 (ILLUS)
BYLINE: GRAEME SMITH
SECTION: International News
EDITION: Metro
DATELINE: KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN
WORDS: 1866
WORD COUNT: 1673

JUSTICE IN AFGHANISTAN: A TALE OF LOVE GONE TRAGICALLY AWRY The saddest story in Sarpoza prison How a poor young man followed his heart down a path to betrayal, then life in a Kandahar hellhole


GRAEME SMITH KANDAHAR, AFGHANISTAN "Have you ever heard the saddest story in this prison?" In the crumbling cell blocks of Sarpoza prison, on the western edge of Kandahar city, the question seems impossible to contemplate.

This is a place full of terrible stories, some true and others bred in the imagination of men who survive on little but gruel.

But the deputy warden, Nadi Gul Khan, has something specific in mind.

He looks over at Mohammed Nader, who nods in agreement. Mr. Nader, thuggish and meaty, serves as an informal boss in Sarpoza's national-security wing. A prisoner from a wealthy family, he has connections that give him influence in the worst corner of the prison, reserved for accused murderers, kidnappers and Taliban insurgents.

Many of the convicts here languish in dark cells where chunks of masonry fall from the ceiling as they sleep. Mr. Nader has a better room, with a bed, a television and windows that look out on a garden.

His cell is swept clean, his dishes washed and his tea carefully poured by a little man named Abib Rahman.

"Yes, it's true," Mr. Nader declares, solemnly. "My tea boy has the saddest story." Tea boys often suffer in places like this, where the role can require working as a sexual servant for other inmates. Maybe that is why the deputy warden feels it necessary to quickly add: "It involves a girl. It's a love story." The prison boss summons Mr. Rahman, and he scurries into the room like a hobbit.

Everybody else lounges on cushions, but the young man with downcast eyes takes a spot on the floor.

"Tell your story," the deputy warden says.

Mr. Rahman obeys, and begins, in a soft voice, the unravelling of a tale that starts a decade ago with a child fleeing the slums to find his fortune, and the love that lured him into prison. It's a tragedy rooted in the culture of Afghanistan, where violating the ancient codes - even for good reasons - can trigger a tribal imperative for revenge, for honour above mercy.

He introduces himself as the 22-year-old son of Mir Alam, of the Amirhil tribe, which makes him an ethnic Pashtun like most others here in southern Afghanistan but without any connections to the powerful tribes that hold sway in this region.

He lived in the slums of Kabul until he was 12 years old, he says, when his family sent him to Kandahar in search of work. The Taliban ruled the city in those days, and jobs were scarce.

A rich landowner from Panjwai took pity on the child. The farmer promised to pay Mr. Rahman the equivalent of $50 a month, he says, in exchange for menial work in his fields of wheat and grapes southwest of the city.

The boy moved into the farmer's house and spent his days watering the crops, driving a tractor, and tinkering with the irrigation pumps.

A year passed. Mr. Rahman started to feel accepted by the family; the daughters didn't cover their faces in his presence. He felt grateful for the work and the shelter, he says, but he grew worried about the fact that he hadn't yet been paid.

"He was like my father," Mr. Rahman says. "It was hard to talk to him about the money." When Mr. Rahman did broach the subject, the farmer was apologetic, saying he had little extra money. But he did have another kind of wealth: his daughters, who are worth about $5,000 each in southern Afghanistan, where brides are regularly purchased with cash, land or cattle.

The farmer said he noticed that Mr. Rahman had grown friendly with one of his daughters. He calculated that it would take the boy eight years to earn the bride price by working the land, after which he would give permission for them to marry.

"She was a year younger than me," he says, remembering her with a shy smile. "We were children together, we knew each other. We were very happy." Afghans usually keep their families hidden from strangers. Mr.

Rahman declines to say his sweetheart's name, or describe her. He says only this: "She is beautiful." More years passed. The girl started wearing a burka , the concealing blue shroud, after she reached puberty. Sweating in the fields added ropy muscles to the young man's frame. He grew a light-brown beard.

The teenagers were no longer allowed to meet in private, because of local traditions, but one night the girl visited the young man in secret. She begged him to take her away from her father's house, he says. She said that her mother had given her blessings, and she wanted to escape with him to Kabul. She never gave him details about why she wanted to get away from her father.

Horrified, the young man refused. He could not betray the man who had protected him like a parent, he says, and Pashtun tradition forbids marriage against a father's wishes.

Still, he says, the daughter persisted. She would often find ways of getting him alone, sometimes only for a minute, to repeat her request.

His willpower started to break when he was 20 years old, he says.

Eight years had passed and the farmer showed no interest in a wedding.

The daughter visited him again one evening, with a variation on her usual plea. This time she brought a bundle of money, 30,000 Pakistani rupees, or about $520. She had stolen the cash from her father, she said, and she wanted him to buy a motorcycle.

He picked out a red Chinese motorbike a few days later, paid cash, and stashed away the leftover money for their journey. Still, he hesitated. He told the farmer he'd purchased the bike with gift money from his family in Kabul, and the old man seemed pleased, sending him on errands along the dirt tracks that wind like brown streams around the green Panjwai valley.

Two months later, he finally worked up the nerve. The daughter packed a few dresses in a bag; he didn't own anything except the clothes he was wearing. In the West, their escape might have been shrugged off as an impulsive act by love-struck kids, but in Afghanistan they were committing a grave breach. There could be no going back.

They drove away at night, up the bumpy paths in Panjwai, onto the paved roads that lead through Kandahar. The city teems with traffic by day, but the streets are empty by late evening and noise of their little bike's engine would have echoed down the rows of shuttered shops.

They passed under the arched eastern gates of the city and took the northern fork in the road, puttering across the darkened scrublands.

Two hours later they reached Qalat, where truckers often stop on their way to Kabul, and hit a police roadblock.

It was September of 2005, and police were watching the highways carefully in hopes of preventing any disruption of the upcoming parliamentary elections. As usual in this country, the police also used the checkpoints to enrich themselves. Officers told Mr. Rahman it was forbidden to travel by motorcycle to Kabul because the road was too dangerous; instead, they would give him two seats in a shared taxi and hold his bike for safekeeping.

The young man had little experience with such situations, and didn't argue with the officers' logic. The young couple squeezed into an overcrowded taxi, a yellow-and-white Japanese sedan, and reached the capital city the next morning.

A cold welcome awaited them in Kabul. Mr. Rahman had not seen his hometown since boyhood, and his parents had died while he was away.

His three brothers were still living at home with their wives and children, a total of 16 people crowded into a modest five-room compound in the city's western slums.

The family was scandalized by his attempt to elope. He introduced the 19-year-old as his future wife, and his brother exploded in rage.

"My brother said, 'You don't have a wife! Who is this woman?' " Mr. Rahman says.

His brothers sent word to the Panjwai farmer that they had located his daughter. The landowner arrived quickly, all smiles, ate lunch with the family and spent a night in their home. In the morning he declared himself satisfied with the Rahman family and gave his consent for a wedding, on the condition that his daughter return home so they could prepare for the celebration.

The daughter wept at this news, Mr. Rahman says, because she didn't want to go back.

"I knew he was dishonest, but there was nothing I could do," he says. "I tried to argue with him, but I'm not so strong." Mr. Rahman watched his bride loaded into a car, and saw it disappear into the ramshackle slums. He was penniless, with nothing to show for his labour. His brothers tried to console him: As a healthy young man with no debts, they said, his prospects were good. The regime of President Hamid Karzai had brought prosperity to the capital; surely he could start again in the new Afghanistan.

The young man says he knew that returning to Kandahar wasn't a good idea. By promising a wedding, the farmer had taken back his daughter with a face-saving untruth, and everybody involved knew it. Asking the farmer to make good on his promise would only invite trouble.

But Mr. Rahman was in love. He caught a southbound bus a week later, and showed his naivete by stopping in Qalat to inquire with the local police about his motorcycle. In the course of his explanations about the missing bike, Mr. Rahman mentioned the name of his former employer. One of the officers phoned the farmer, Mr. Rahman says, and moments later he found himself under arrest.

He spent the following months shuffled from jail to jail, from Qalat to the secret police headquarters in Kandahar, and onward to the crumbling prison on the west side of the city.

He told his story countless times to police interrogators, he says.

The formal charge laid against him was kidnapping, but a prosecutor who listened to his story seemed sympathetic and predicted he would be set free within a month.

The poor and powerless often fare badly in Kandahar's justice system, however. Mr. Rahman says the farmer used his tribal connections to influence the case, and he was sentenced to 15 years in jail.

The young man goes silent. The prison cell is quiet for a moment, except for the clicking of the deputy warden's prayer beads. Birds sing in the garden. The prison boss stretches his heavy limbs and settles himself back on his bed with a chuckle at his tea boy's misfortune.

Mr. Rahman stares down at his dirty feet. He is asked whether he regrets coming back to chase after his love, and he looks up with a glance that suggests he couldn't have done anything else.

"Everything," he says, "turned out the way I expected."

ADDED SEARCH TERMS:

GEOGRAPHIC NAME: Afghanistan; Kandahar

SUBJECT TERM:prisons; prisoners; social structure; marriage; justice

PERSONAL NAME: Abib Rahman

====


PUBLICATION: GLOBE AND MAIL
IDN: 072300038
DATE: 2007.08.18
PAGE: F1 (ILLUS)
BYLINE: MICHAEL VALPY
SECTION: Focus
EDITION: Metro
DATELINE:
WORDS: 2599
WORD COUNT: 2456

THE FOCUS INTERVIEW: UBC'S MICHAEL BYERS ON AFGHANISTAN AND THE CABINET SHUFFLE 'This is Stephen Harper's war'


MICHAEL VALPY Michael Byers is becoming the angry academic voice of Canadian foreign policy.

He believes the United Nations was waiting a year ago for Canada to show interest in heading up a peacekeeping mission to Darfur.

Had Canada shown that interest, he says, there would have been a strong peacekeeping force in the savaged Sudanese region long before now - perhaps with hundreds, if not thousands, of lives saved.

One of the country's leading scholars on international law, he argues that Canada's presence in Afghanistan has become the football of electoral politics, with less and less concern being paid to analyzing the military and political reasons why Canadian soldiers are there and being killed.

He has written what he calls his coming-home book, Intent for a Nation: What is Canada For? It is also, according to the subtitle, "A Relentlessly Optimistic Manifesto for Canada's Role in the World." After 12 years at Oxford and Cambridge - where he was part of a group of scholars who worked on having former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet detained as a war criminal - and North Carolina's Duke University, where he was director of the Canadian studies program, he now is Canada research chair in global politics and international law at the University of British Columbia.

In the wake of this week's federal cabinet shuffle, he agreed to share his thinking with Globe and Mail readers.

MICHAEL VALPY: Let's start with your interpretation of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's cabinet moves.

MICHAEL BYERS: The minister of both foreign affairs and defence is Mr. Harper and I think that's widely recognized, and as a result I think one needs to look at this as a political move intended to do what any minority government seeks to do, which is to prepare for the next election. There's nothing cynical about that.

A couple of things have been accomplished here. We now have two of the better communicators in this government taking the two files that are most associated with this government's most prominent and problematic policy, which is the counter-insurgency mission in Kandahar.

It's noteworthy that they're both thoroughly capable in French, the Van Doos are in Kandahar right now, and certainly through the fall and into the new year the issue of how this war plays in Quebec will be central to determining Mr. Harper's future.

We're talking about domestic communication and not external communication?.

This comes back to my point that this is Stephen Harper's war.

It's probably a result of his centralized approach to government, but it's also a reflection of trends that are common in other Western democracies. Tony Blair centralized foreign and defence policy in 10 Downing Street to an enormous degree, and one of the things about Gordon Brown is that he's given some of those powers back to Parliament.

But the seating of the big foreign-policy and defence issues in a sort of West Wing- type leader's office is something that's been seen elsewhere and it's certainly been seen in Ottawa over the course of the last couple of decades.

In both cases, we're talking about domestic and not external communication? They have a major problem on their hands in that somewhere around 50 per cent of Canadians are opposed to their central policy - and it's higher than that in Quebec. And they've made it very difficult for themselves to back down on that policy.

So, I do think that this is mostly domestic. I think it's mostly electoral politics, and that actually is a crying shame, for the simple reason that young Canadian men and women are dying, and it's less serious to play politics with money but it's unfortunate and irresponsible to play politics with lives.

You ask in your book, "Where would we gain the most: Continuing with a failing counter-insurgency mission in Afghanistan or leading a humanitarian intervention to stop the genocide in Darfur?" Is that the choice? Could we lead a Darfur mission? Does the United Nations or anyone else even want us there? I put Darfur forward as an example. There are always going to be places like that. The UN is busier today than it has ever been in peacekeeping; it has more soldiers and more missions than ever before.

A couple of years ago, a very large UN peacekeeping force brought relative peace to the Congo, a country subject to intervention by seven different foreign armies over the last decade, with literally millions of people dying as a result. Peace was brought to that region not just because there was a large peacekeeping force but because there was a core, 2,000-soldier contribution from Germany.

And those 2,000 German soldiers act as a force-multiplier: They've got good equipment, good training; they're well disciplined, and they partner with the developing-country contributions who are there.

They train them, they support them, they go out on patrols with them, and they make the developing-country soldiers many times more effective than they would otherwise be. That's why you need developed-country peacekeepers, not to replace the developing country soldiers but to make them much more effective. That is arguably the one reason the Congo mission worked - the Germans were there.

So the need for developed-country, force-multiplying peacekeepers is very real in Darfur and elsewhere. [Retired Lieut.-General Romeo] Dallaire reported that the UN was looking to Canada [for a Darfur peacekeeping contribution] because Canada was not a geopolitical player in northern Africa. It didn't have any stake in the oil fields in the Sudan. It wasn't involved in the power play between Bush and Putin or Beijing. Canada was seen by the UN as the optimal developed-country middle power to lead a UN mission to Darfur. Had Canada stepped forward and said, "Look, we're ready to lead a mission," we would have seen a serious UN peacekeeping force in Darfur long before now.

The one thing that [the UN Security Council] had been casting around for was that component of well-trained, well-equipped, well-disciplined soldiers who could pull these different African [Union] forces together as an effective peacekeeping force. The lack of developed-country willingness to step in has been covered up by smoke and mirrors about how Khartoum isn't consenting and how the African Union wants it to be an all-African force. But beneath all that smoke-and-mirrors is the sad reality that there are no Canadas any more.

What is the debate that we have to have on Afghanistan? On whether the mission is succeeding. And realistically on what are the prospects for success and how do we measure success? And is it worth the cost inclusive of Canadian soldiers' lives? I've been pushing this point for a year, that you don't need to have any particular ideological or moral perspective to realize that any kind of decision like this should be analyzed in cost-benefit terms, and we haven't done that, largely because it's become so mixed up with domestic politics.

What would a cost-benefit equation look like - achieving Y is worth X number of Canadian lives? I don't want to put a price tag on Canadian soldiers' lives. But I do want to know if 22 soldiers who died in the past six months actually died in a mission that is accomplishing something. And if various indications are that the mission is failing rather than succeeding, then we do need to be questioning if we're being responsible to our soldiers and their families. I am proud of our soldiers because they're doing their damnedest, but the decision as to whether they should be there is not their decision, and it's not a decision that should be a political partisan electoral decision.

What should it be? It should be based on a clear-eyed assessment by ministers who are exercising their responsibility as decision-makers acting for the national interest. And I know it's very difficult - in a minority-government situation where a war has taken on these political overtones - to step back and to try to be objective.

But it does happen and I would point to the various countries that have withdrawn forces from Iraq as examples of that. It's not easy, it sometimes doesn't happen until there's a change in government.

Even Tony Blair was drawing down forces in Basra in Iraq and he was doing so partly because of the realization that the Iraq situation had become impossible to resolve through the presence of British soldiers.

The heaviest responsibility that any government carries is to place soldiers in harm's way and to keep them there.

What would you call success and what would you call failure in Afghanistan? Different criteria have been implicitly and in some cases explicitly put forward. Dealing with the terrorists is what we were told was the initial reason for going. I'm not sure that has succeeded.

We certainly haven't managed to pacify the tribal areas up against the border with Pakistan, and as far as we know, Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda are still happily ensconced in northern Pakistan .

. .

The indications now, if you believe the Strategic Counsel memo leaked recently, is that the government rhetorically is moving away from that.

Now we're there to support the democratically elected government of Afghanistan.

And in its own way, that's problematic because there are certainly components of the government of Afghanistan associated with atrocities committed prior to the Taliban coming into power.

I'm speaking here of the so-called warlords. I think it's appropriate for us to be supporting the attempt to bring stable and effective government to Afghanistan, but I'm not actually sure how much pursuing insurgents into the mountain valleys of Kandahar province is central to that task. I think what we were doing in Kabul for a number of years was a quite appropriate mission, providing security and stability in the national capital in what was essentially a peacekeeping mission.

But now we've moved into this counter-insurgency, aggressive search-and-destroy mission in Kandahar, and what, effectively, we are trying to do is secure centralized control over the entire territory of a country that's never been subject to centralized control before, and I think that's a fool's errand. I'm not convinced that anyone can do it.

The Soviet Union tried. The British Empire tried.

But the big point here is that we can support the government of Afghanistan and we can do a lot of good in large parts of the country, but I'm not convinced that this particular mission that we're involved in is directly contributing to that.

You write that our mission in Afghanistan could, over time, lead to the development of a Canadian Armed Forces that is focussed almost entirely - in its training, ethos and equipment - on aggressive missions conducted in concert with the U.S. What's the evidence of that happening, and why is that not a good idea? The evidence is widely manifest. One saw it in [Chief of Staff Gen. Rick] Hillier's comments about fighting "scumbags and murderers." One saw it in terms of the reluctance to deal with international law on detainees comparable to our European allies. We essentially embraced the American approach starting with Day One, certainly in terms of our embracing the search-and-destroy component.

Part of the reason the Dutch have not lost nearly as many soldiers is that they rejected that particular approach even though they're in the south. They're working on stabilizing and winning hearts and minds closer to their bases.

But the Canadian military has embraced the tough-guy approach.

You ramp up the aggressive nature of your equipment, your rules of engage- ment, your choice of mission, your rhetoric - and then, of course, it becomes more dangerous, and that in turn justifies ramping up some more, and the end result, I fear, is we wind up with a mini-version of the U.S. Marine Corps.

And quite frankly, the world does not need another U.S. Marine Corps. It needs soldiers who can do things the Americans can't or won't do. And that comes back to the remarkably successful specialization we had in military diplomacy - peacekeeping. And, as I say in my book, peacekeeping is not for wimps.

But purportedly our military never liked that role.

Certainly the current crop of generals didn't . . . and I think partly their dislike of that role is that it made it more difficult to argue for budget increases and new and better equipment [because] for some governments, peacekeeping was a way of having a military on the cheap.

I don't think that attitude was correct. I'm a supporter of substantial military spending. You need strategic aircraft, you need good helicopters, you need good armoured personnel carriers, and you need a good navy that can support peacekeeping operations.

I don't want to accuse anyone of setting out to Americanize the Canadian military as a goal. I think we're Americanizing the Canadian military because of a combination of factors that have contributed to a direction of development. [But] if we had a highly trained, well-equipped, fast-moving, peacekeeping-capable military that could put 4,000 to 5,000 soldiers into places like Darfur or Lebanon on a month's notice, the amount of good we could do in the world would massively outweigh any good that we are currently doing in Kandahar.

A last question on foreign policy. You say we continue to be an influential middle power - whatever that means - but whereas we once punched above our weight, we now pull our punches. Why is that? There are a number of reasons, but I think a lot of Canadians, particularly my gen- eration, bought into [philosopher] George Grant's thesis that Canada as an independent country has effectively ceased to exist. That has had a quite pervasive effect on how Canadians think about Canada's place in the world. And so, essentially, on the really big issues, we've been content to drift along on the slipstream of the United States.

Michael Valpy is a writer with The Globe and Mail. EXCERPT 'DARE TO DREAM' From the preface to Intent For A Nation (Douglas & McIntyre) by Michael Byers: It is a strange experience returning to one's country after an extended period abroad. Everything is familiar, yet so much has changed.

Returning can improve your understanding of where you come from, since you have seen how things are done differently elsewhere.

Returning can also help you see changes that, because they have occurred so slowly, are less visible to those who have stayed at home. For me the most shocking change was the dramatic increase in the number of homeless people on the streets of our cities, in this one of the wealthiest countries on Earth.

But my time outside Canada has also made me far more optimistic about this country's future.

It is time to assert our historical independence and take progressive action on the challenges facing Canada and the world today.

As Canadians, we should dare to dream great dreams. As Canadians, we should dare to make them happen.

ADDED SEARCH TERMS:

GEOGRAPHIC NAME: Canada; Afghanistan; Sudan

SUBJECT TERM:strife; foreign policy; peacekeeping forces; government; political; statements; books; intent for a nation: what is canada for?; text

PERSONAL NAME: Michael Byers; Stephen Harper

ORGANIZATION NAME: Armed Forces; Cabinet

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PUBLICATION: GLOBE AND MAIL
IDN: 072300012
DATE: 2007.08.18
PAGE: F2
BYLINE: MICHAEL KESTERTON
SECTION: Focus
EDITION: Metro
DATELINE:
WORDS: 612
WORD COUNT: 748

VERBATIM WHAT WAS SAID THIS WEEK, IN PUBLIC AND IN PRINT


MICHAEL KESTERTON Just another pilgrim "I will join those whom you meet in your travels, the ordinary Americans who tell you they are praying for you." Departing White House adviser Karl Rove, to U.S. President George W. Bush . . . And his sidekick "I'll be on the road behind you here in a bit." President Bush to Karl Rove Happy trails! "The risks are varied and omnipresent, from kidnapping to improvised explosive devices, from suicide bombing to land mines, from diseases to highway robbery." In a tourist guide to Afghanistan Keep that can of Raid handy "The problem with having cockroaches under the kitchen sink is that there is little way of knowing how many are left to come out." Howard Wheeldon, veteran analyst at British bond brokers BGC Partners, on the recent turmoil in world markets Surge protector "It is inconceivable that General Petraeus will say the surge has failed. So I think we're going to have a military stay-the-course strategy well into next year." Lee Hamilton, a former U.S. Democrat congressman and co-chairman of the Iraq Study Group, predicting the strategy of the U.S. commander in Iraq Going to Seaworld "Unless I see a shark or a whale go flying by, I'm good." Matt Sandlin of Amarillo, Tex., on his level of concern about Tropical Storm Erin Keep it beautiful "People keep chipping off pieces for souvenirs or they write their names across the paintings." Berlin city official Jorg Flahmig, noting the vandalism that's contributing to the deteriorating condition of the largest remaining section of the Berlin Wall, a major tourist attraction Another kind of cleansing "Do not hesitate with the use of a firearm, including when the border breakouts involve women and children, which the traitors have frequently taken advantage of." A 1973 order to East German guards, just discovered in the archives One hell of a team "I guess heaven must have needed a shortstop." George Steinbrenner on the death of baseball Hall of Famer Phil Rizzuto With a heavy artillery of lip service "Protecting secularism is one of my basic principles." Abdullah Gul, Turkey's foreign minister and the presidential candidate of the ruling Islamic AK Party Self-medicating "Now I don't have to eat mouldy bread when I get strep throat again." Tara Dalty of Cape Coral, Fla., reacting to news that the 684 pharmacies of Publix Super Markets will offer a selection of free generic antibiotics to customers with prescriptions Credibility gap "The fashion world don't trust me any more. And why should they? I looked like crap for years." Courtney Love Cartesian contrails "Why businessmen travel as much as they do in this electronic age is a mystery, but there seems little to be done about it when the mentality seems to be, 'I fly, therefore I matter.' " George Walden, former British Tory MP Cross walk "She still owns the land, it just has a road on it now. . . .

She can still get to the back of her garden quite easily." A spokesman for the local council in Lodz, Poland, addressing the complaint of Alicja Ziemowit, 48, who came back from holiday to find a road had been built running through her back yard Lady Crockett "She had the presence of mind to choke it. She is one tough lady." April Leiler, an animal-control officer is Connecticut, on a woman who was walking in the woods with a group of children when a rabid raccoon attacked one of the youngsters. She pulled the animal off the boy and throttled it.

Michael Kesterton writes the daily Social Studies column in The Globe and Mail.

ADDED SEARCH TERMS:

SUBJECT TERM:news; reviews; statements

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PUBLICATION: GLOBE AND MAIL
IDN: 072300002
DATE: 2007.08.18
PAGE: F1 (ILLUS)
BYLINE: OMAR EL AKKAD
SECTION: Focus
EDITION: Metro
DATELINE:
WORDS: 3747
WORD COUNT: 3788

PUBLIC RELATIONS FOR TERROR: EXTREMISM ONLINE MIND FIELD: Terror goes digital. With Canadian help Across the Internet, extremist Islamist propaganda is circulating to alienated, Western-born kids, trying to foster potential 'homegrown terrorists.' In Nova Scotia, a web-domain registration service unintentionally helps these terror proponents hide their tracks. Police, spies and lawyers are hamstrung: How to fight back without risking everyone's civil liberties? Omar El Akkad reports


Omar El Akkad Welcome to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia - pivotal battleground in the global jihad.

The town of 7,000 doesn't look the part. Its quietly beautiful downtown lives and dies by tourists. The coastline puts postcards to shame. The New York Islanders have held their training camp here for the past two years. But unwittingly, Yarmouth has become an example of the sort of unassuming places that are serving as relay stations in a virtual war.

The town is home to a branch of Register.com, one of its largest employers and one of the most popular Internet domain-name registration services in the world. For a fee, the company allows users to register website names - the .com, .net or .org addresses you type into your web browser to surf the Internet. Normally, when anyone signs up new domains, they have to provide a name, address and contact information, all of which become publicly available to anyone who's even remotely net-savvy. (The information is copied to one of the central databases that form the backbone of the Internet, to ensure there are no conflicts, such as two separate entities owning the same domain.) But for a few extra dollars, Register.com also offers an anonymous registration service: Try to find out who registered any one of these websites, and you'll be handed the same address and phone number in Yarmouth.

This service is hugely popular: Civil-liberties advocates and anyone else who values their privacy flock to it. But it's also very useful to another group of people, halfway around the globe: On one of the world's largest pro-Hamas websites, viewers can download martyrdom videos that feature the diatribes of masked men shortly before they launch deadly attacks. Look up the registration info for that site, and you'll get that Yarmouth address and phone number.

The challenge this situation poses is not unprecedented. Years ago, authorities noticed that child pornography websites, though often operated from outside North America, made use of North American anonymous-registration services. In response, a large number of watchdog groups began hunting down such sites to force the registration firms to shut them down.

"There's nothing near that level [of public monitoring] with terrorist websites," says Wade Deisman, Director of the National Security Working Group at the University of Ottawa. Government intelligence services don't have the resources to manage the scale of the problem.

"I haven't seen anything that comes even close to addressing this issue," he says.

The FBI estimates somewhere in the range of 6,000 terrorism-supporting websites are currently active. Last week, the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies published a report stating that, in terms of nefarious online activity, terrorism promotion had eclipsed hatemongering.

This is the new jihad - the evolution of a propaganda effort that, just a decade ago, consisted mostly of Osama bin Laden speeches on video tapes smuggled out of a hideout in Afghanistan. Today, the public-relations arms of terrorist organizations - run less by grizzled warriors than by 20-something computer geeks - deal in digital currency, getting their messages out instantly and universally using the scope and anonymity of the web.

The process is borderless. A beheading video moves from a hideout in Peshawar to a server in London to a computer screen in Toronto unhindered, fuelling a global radicalization juggernaut that intelligence agencies describe as perhaps the biggest threat facing the West today.

All manner of video, audio and even interactive propaganda have found an audience among many disaffected Muslim youth around the world. But while the majority of people who download such content may only fuel a passive resentment of the West, for others the audiovisual diatribes of Mr. bin Laden and his kin have served as a sort of gateway drug to a more violent worldview. That was the case among some of the alleged ringleaders of the Toronto terrorist group arrested during a sweep last summer - a trail led from some of those arrested to a massive, and now defunct, web forum where angry youth traded incendiary content.

In another case, a young British man named Younis Tsouli was arrested in England in 2005 and charged with "conspiracy to murder, conspiracy to cause an explosion, conspiracy to obtain money by deception, fundraising and possession of articles for terrorist purposes." Mr. Tsouli, now 23, had never so much as fired a rifle - his agitation was purely online. The computer hacker got his start moving propaganda videos around the web for al-Qaeda in Iraq and soon popped up in connection with at least three alleged terrorist plots, including one in Canada. For Mr. Tsouli, it was not a great stretch from posting beheading videos to sending out suicide-bomb-belt manuals.

Besides the anonymous registries, many effective terrorist-propaganda producers rely on the hugely popular public blogging and file-sharing sites used by millions to rant about their bosses and share barbecue recipes. That leaves law-enforcement officials in the uncomfortable position of trying to catch a wisp of an enemy without trampling on everyone else's civil liberties.

And so a battle rages in Ottawa, as Canadian police and spy agencies complain that the legislation governing online crime is a historical relic. Privacy advocates, on the other hand, fear a world where every 0 and 1 is visible to Big Brother.

Meanwhile, terrorist propaganda operations have come to rival the PR departments of multinational corporations, complete with publishing houses, movie-editing studios and video-game developers.

This is the ammunition in a battle of ideas that all sides agree may end up being more important than any blood-and-bullets conflict - a battle that, so far, the West is losing.

Al-Qaeda's spin doctor It started with a single memo, dated June 20, 2000. Abu Huthayfa, a member of al-Qaeda's inner circle, was writing to his mentor, Osama bin Laden, about the importance of public relations. The writer was struck by some of the tactics already in use by Hamas, especially the practice of videotaping statements of soon-to-be "martyrs." A year earlier, the Al Jazeera television network had aired an interview with Mr. bin Laden, and the public response convinced Mr. Huthayfa that there were many people around the world hanging on the soft-spoken Saudi's every word.

He asked his leader, why wasn't al-Qaeda taking better advantage? Why was it that two years after the U.S. embassy bombings in Dar Es Salaam and Nairobi, many people knew little about "the heroes of this magnificent undertaking"? Abu Huthayfa's solution to al-Qaeda's PR shortfalls would serve as the foundation for the single most important advance in the terrorist group's history. He proposed the creation of a separate informational branch of al-Qaeda. At the time, the group's communiques flowed freely around much of Afghanistan, but that was a form of preaching to the converted - elsewhere in the world, al-Qaeda was still a small fish.

To remedy this, Mr. Huthayfa set his sights on the Internet, especially e-mail and file-sharing websites. He touted the advantages of instant communication, the massive amount of information that could be sent around the world in a blink.

"The importance of establishing a website for you on the Internet in which you place all your legible, audible, and visible archives and news must be emphasized," he wrote. "It should not escape the mind of any one of you the importance of this tool in communicating with people." It didn't. Within a year, Mr. bin Laden would declare that up to 90 per cent of al-Qaeda's battles would be fought not with guns, but words and images. (The memo, recovered in a raid on an al-Qaeda hideout, is now a public document found on several terrorism-studies databases.) After the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a flood of videos glorifying the carnage began appearing online. In many cases the producer was al-Sahab ("the Clouds"), the newly created media arm of al-Qaeda.

The hijackers appeared superimposed over images of the planes crashing into New York's twin towers, reading their wills and issuing stern warnings to the U.S. This time, the propaganda opportunity would be fully exploited.

The post-9/11 videos showcased many of al-Qaeda's major talking points. Over and over, would-be martyrs and senior leaders glorified the attacks and the attackers - the idea of a fast-track to eternal paradise being a significant selling point for disaffected Muslim youth and other possible recruits. Another refrain was to warn of further attacks, citing a list of demands that combined legitimate and illegitimate grievances from across the Muslim world in a patchwork of outrage.

"If you look at the messaging and narrative, it's aimed at a Western audience," says Frank Cilluffo, director of the Homeland Security Policy Institute at George Washington University, and a former special assistant on security to the president. "I look at al-Qaeda as a brand, and you have to look at what makes brands flourish - there has been a big improvement in use of symbols." One of the most oft-repeated symbols is the Arabic word ummah , meaning "Muslim nation." Among many Muslims worldwide, it conjures halcyon images of a global empire ruled by religion, where borders of race, ethnicity and nationality are obliterated and the only common denominator is the word of God. But the ummah also has come to serve a second purpose, as justification for violence. If Muslims everywhere are one, the thinking goes, then a car bombing in Bali is a legitimate response to the killing of a child in Gaza.

In geographic reality, there is no ummah ; perhaps the most recent attempt at one was the Ottoman empire. But from another view, there is perhaps the largest ummah in the history of Islam, composed of chat rooms and file servers from Islamabad to Antigua. In this cyber-ummah , race, ethnicity and nationality are invisible; the common denominator is the digitized word of God. There are segments of the cyber-ummah that have nothing to do with terrorism: Many mainstream Muslim youth groups in Canada use web forums. But, as with neo-Nazi and child-porn rings, the qualities that make Internet forums legitimately useful also empower the bad guys.

After the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan scattered much of al-Qaeda's leadership - its literal Arabic name, "the base," was no longer apt. At that point, al-Qaeda morphed from a group into a mindset: Where there once was one well-defined organization, there sprung up dozens of relatively unconnected cells, not just in Iraq and Afghanistan, but in London and Madrid. The founders of those cells were, in many cases, Western-born young men whose parents were immigrants but who had never set foot themselves in any war zone. Instead, this new generation of jihadis had grown up watching the fruits of al-Sahab's labour - the propaganda and martyrdom videos floating freely across the cyber-ummah .

"You have a group of individuals who are distanced from their parents; don't necessarily feel fully embedded in their current society, so they look to one another to reaffirm their attitudes," says Mr. Cilluffo. "It really goads the bravado." A new generation has taken over the informational arm Abu Huthayfa suggested some seven years ago. As comfortable at the keyboard as the original mujahedeen were with rifles, they have swapped the grainy video of past terrorist communiques for a far more polished product. But it wasn't only the form of the message that took a generational leap forward. The target demographic also had come into focus: young, angry, Western kids.

Joystick jihad By almost any measure, Night of Capturing Bush is an unbelievably awful video game.

In the first-person shooter, released in September of last year, you play the role of a hardcore, AK47-toting Islamic warrior. Your goal is to mow down feeble, eerily identical U.S. troops in Iraqi settings - Iraq being composed mainly of various heavily pixilated shades of brown. The difficulty levels are skewed to the point where the cloned U.S. troops could unload entire armouries of bullets on you and still not make much of a dent. As war songs play in the background, you make your way through six levels, culminating, as the title suggests, in a showdown with U.S. President George W.

Bush. (Ironically, Night of Capturing Bush is a minor modification of Quest for Saddam , an equally mediocre 2003 game from right-wing U.S. activist Jesse Petrilla.) But glitchy game-play and atrocious graphics did little to hinder Night of Capturing Bush's primary purpose, which was strictly ideological.

In a press release hyping the game, its creators, an anonymous group called the Global Islamic Media Front, dubbed their desired audience "terrorist children." Within a few hours of its release, across thousands of online message boards, these "terrorist children" passed the game back and forth. The Media Front only had to initiate the craze; thousands of sympathizers around the planet did the rest.

It wasn't the first time Islamic extremist propaganda fused with pop culture. Two years previous, a young British man calling himself Sheikh Terra stepped in front of a camera, his face covered, carrying what appeared to be a pistol, and began dancing. The resulting rap video was called Dirty Kuffar (Kuffar is an Arabic word for disbeliever).

Since its release, Dirty Kuffar has been downloaded onto millions of computers and remixed by many like-minded web jihadists. You can find it on video-sharing sites such as YouTube.

"I saw a number of video games. I saw rap videos with a very good tune to them," says Mr. Cilluffo. "I can't tell you for a fact we're certain who's designing what, but I can tell you that when it comes to technology and its application, I think the younger generation has a leg up." One common method of disseminating anything from a terrorist video game to a bomb-making manual to a beheading video is to make copies available on dozens of free websites at the same time. On these sites, which were created to help people transfer data files too large to e-mail, anyone can quickly create an account - when barred by the administrators of one site, the user just jumps to another.

By the time all such sites wise up, the message is all over the world.

On the Global Islamic Media Front site, each newly produced video is quickly uploaded to a dozen or more free sites. The Front's own site is not hosted on an obscure or secret server, but on Wordpress, one of the most widely used blogging services in the world. Because registering with a blogging site such as Wordpress doesn't require domain registration, there is no publicly accessible address or phone number.

That's likely the same thinking behind Press-Release, a website chock full of communiques from "the Islamic State Of Iraq." There, users can download high-quality videos featuring attacks on U.S.

military vehicles, as well as detailed listings of American casualties.

Look up the registration info and you're handed an address in Mountain View, Calif. - far removed from the killing fields of Iraq, but near the headquarters of Google Inc., which owns the popular blogging domain Blogspot, on which "Press Release" is hosted.

Anonymity isn't enough, however. There's an intense emphasis on secrecy evident in the various password-protected forums and message boards where jihad-minded teens gather. One of the most widely visited extremist forums subscribes to the country-club model - the only way in is to have a current member vouch for you.

This security consciousness is in large part due to the new emphasis police and intelligence agencies are placing on infiltrating such forums. But today the level of infiltration is so high that intelligence agencies face a recurring problem: An agent goes undercover on a web forum and finds dozens of users making violent, extremists statements, but to the agent's dismay, it soon becomes apparent that many of them are undercover operatives from other intelligence agencies.

Joining the fray Frank Cilluffo sat before a dozen or so of the most powerful politicians in the world last May and told them they should consider broadcasting footage of dead children to the public.

Mr. Cilluffo had been called before the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee to talk about strategies for combatting online extremism. He presented a simple argument: Extremist videos often leverage footage of civilians killed by Israeli and U.S. troops. Why not show the world what happens to civilians - often Muslim civilians - when Islamic extremist groups carry out their attacks? "I don't remember exactly [the committee's] response," Mr. Cilluffo recalls. "I think we did have some silence. It's a pretty provocative statement.

"The idea behind that was to take off any filters and demonstrate that the consequences of terror have a real impact: People are killed.

This is not a theoretical set of issues." The recommendation was part of a broader argument that if the U.S. government and its allies attempt to fight a war of ideas on their own, they're going to lose.

"Much of the solution comes from people with credibility in these constituencies, I don't think that can come from Western governments," Mr. Cilluffo says. "We need people who are versed in the Koran, who can show how it's being distorted. We need people who appreciate cultural nuances and norms. I think that governments have a role to play, but by no means the primary role." What Mr. Cilluffo was pitching was the construction of a rival narrative to the one circulated in the cyber-ummah - one that would separate out the reasonable grievances from the specious ones circulated by extremists, and be delivered by someone credible. But his pitch wasn't an easy one to make, given that many Western governments, police and intelligence shops had long viewed the war on terror as just that - a war, which will be won or lost with old-fashioned techniques. Producing a rival message has been a low priority.

"This is the tip of a much bigger issue," says Mr. Deisman of the National Security Working Group in Ottawa. "The reason why we haven't matched the propaganda war is because we consider ourselves states characterized by tolerance and acceptance. For us to be saying what we stand for may be seen as infringing on someone else." In England, where the problem of "homegrown terrorism" is far more urgent, Mr. Deisman points out the propaganda war has intensified: "England truly is an embattled country. The government is producing videos about what Englishness means," he says. "Can you imagine if we did that in Canada? People would be up in arms." But even on the traditional counterterrorism front, law-enforcement officials are coming up against a major wall: For the most part, the legal system was not designed for cyberspace, as you can see by looking at the key case of the murder-conspiracy trial of Younis Tsouli in England this summer. Mr. Tsouli was alleged to have lived a double life on the Internet under the name "Irhabi007" (Irhabi means terrorist in Arabic), distributing tools of extremism. He had become one of the most important terrorism conduits in the world, and his trial marked a watershed moment in combatting cyber-crime.

However, in May, that trial hit an embarrassing bump. Justice Peter Openshaw, the supervising judge, turned to prosecutors and said: "The trouble is I don't understand the language. I don't really understand what a website is." A university professor was quickly brought into court to explain the Internet.

In the case of child pornography, Mr. Deisman points out, there was a lag of about five to seven years before independent groups began forming for the purpose of shutting illegal sites down. The delay might be equally long with terrorism sites.

"This stuff has happened so quickly," Mr. Deisman says. "Typically it takes a while to catch up." In Canada, the onus is largely on the public to point out such websites - such as the pro-Hamas one registered in Yarmouth - to the domain-name firms.

Register.com is based in New York but has offices in many places; the municipality and province provided hundreds of thousands of dollars in perks to convince it to locate operations in Yarmouth.

And it has a very specific policy for dealing with cases where someone reports a domain being used for illegal purposes.

"This policy includes reviewing the content to determine the validity of the report and, if applicable, disabling the domain and notifying the customer of the reason for this action," says Wendy Kennedy, the firm's manager of public relations and customer marketing. "At times, Register.com has also reached out to law enforcement to report suspicious activity." But the servers in Yarmouth are by no means the only ones in Canada where terrorist-related content may be residing. Until a few weeks ago, the website for al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, one of the most extensive and regularly updated of its kind, was registered to a building near downtown Toronto. The address belongs to Contactprivacy, the anonymous-registration arm of Canadian domain-name provider Tucows Inc.

After its web-hosting service in Germany was alerted to the Maghreb site and pulled the plug earlier this year, Tucows followed suit.

But in an environment where similar sites are popping up daily, it was a small victory.

It has been seven years now since Abu Huthayfa sent a memo to Osama bin Laden extolling the virtues of an online public-relations strategy. Their opponents have yet to catch up.

"We have been slow to recognize that we have to go beyond tactics and recognize there's a war of ideas," says Mr. Cilluffo. "I believe there's only one side that has stepped up to the battlefield, and it's not us." Globe and Mail writer Omar El Akkad shared the 2007 National Newspaper Award for investigative journalism with colleague Greg McArthur for their examination of online activities by accused terrorists.

ADDED SEARCH TERMS:

GEOGRAPHIC NAME: Yarmouth; Nova Scotia

SUBJECT TERM:internet; terrorism; websites; regulation; religion; muslims; anti-semitism; propaganda; pornography; political; marketing

ORGANIZATION NAME: Register.com; al-Qaeda; pro-Hamas