David Akin - January 26th, 2015
A member of the Force Protection team participates in a weapons handling drill in Kuwait, during Operation IMPACT on January 18, 2015. (Photo: OP Impact, DND)
During Question Period in the House of Commons on Sept. 30, Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair wanted some precision from Prime Minister Stephen Harper about the extent of the mission of Canadian Forces Special Operations Forces (CF SOF) who would be on the ground in northern Iraq.
Speaking in French, Mulcair asked: “ Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister said that the rules of engagement are to advise and assist the Iraqis, but the question is, assist them how? For instance, are Canadian soldiers currently going on patrols with Iraqis or Kurds?” (This English translation I’m using here is the one that is published in Hansard, FYI)
The Prime Minister began his reply in French — “Mr. Speaker, I said ‘advise and assist the Iraqis’ ” — but then he switched to his first language, English, to finish the answer. The emphasis here is mine: “If I could just use the terminology in English, it is quite precise. It is to advise and to assist. It is not to accompany. I think that was laid out before the parliamentary committee.” Read more…
David Akin - November 22nd, 2014
CFB PETAWAWA, Ont. – A graduating student of the 2014 Patrol Pathfinder course holds a position as a CH-147F Chinook helicopter departs Garrison Petawawa on November 10, 2014. (Cpl Mark Schombs, 4 CDSB Petawawa Imaging)
Ipsos Reid polled citizens of 26 countries about security threats and released the results at the Halifax security conference on this weekend. Here’s the Canada-only results from that poll: Read more…
David Akin - November 23rd, 2013
The New York Times reports on a jaw-dropping report produced by the U.S. National Security Agency — America’s spy agency — in which it pushes for even more powers:
…existing American laws were not adequate to meet the needs of the N.S.A. to conduct broad surveillance in what it cited as “the golden age of Sigint,” or signals intelligence. “The interpretation and guidelines for applying our authorities, and in some cases the authorities themselves, have not kept pace with the complexity of the technology and target environments, or the operational expectations levied on N.S.A.’s mission,” the document concluded.Using sweeping language, the paper also outlined some of the agency’s other ambitions. They included defeating the cybersecurity practices of adversaries in order to acquire the data the agency needs from “anyone, anytime, anywhere.”
Read the story: N.S.A. Report Outlined Goals for More Power – NYTimes.com.
David Akin - November 2nd, 2013
A chunk from a great Saturday read in today’s New York Times:
The agency’s Dishfire database — nothing happens without a code word at the N.S.A. — stores years of text messages from around the world, just in case. Its Tracfin collection accumulates gigabytes of credit card purchases. The fellow pretending to send a text message at an Internet cafe in Jordan may be using an N.S.A. technique code-named Polarbreeze to tap into nearby computers. The Russian businessman who is socially active on the web might just become food for Snacks, the acronym-mad agency’s Social Network Analysis Collaboration Knowledge Services, which figures out the personnel hierarchies of organizations from texts.
The spy agency’s station in Texas intercepted 478 emails while helping to foil a jihadist plot to kill a Swedish artist who had drawn pictures of the Prophet Muhammad. N.S.A. analysts delivered to authorities at Kennedy International Airport the names and flight numbers of workers dispatched by a Chinese human smuggling ring.
The agency’s eavesdropping gear, aboard a Defense Department plane flying 60,000 feet over Colombia, fed the location and plans of FARC rebels to the Colombian Army. In the Orlandocard operation, N.S.A. technicians set up what they called a “honeypot” computer on the web that attracted visits from 77,413 foreign computers and planted spyware on more than 1,000 that the agency deemed of potential future interest.
Read the rest at: No Morsel Too Minuscule for All-Consuming N.S.A. .
David Akin - October 31st, 2013
The newest ship in the Coast Guard’s fleet is named for Cpl. Mark Robert McLarenn, killed in action in Kandahar in 2008 and awarded the Medal of Military Valour. The CCGS Corporal McLaren M.M.V. was accepted into service today in Dartmouth, NS.