Oct 09

…a fool and his money…serves ‘em right:

Supporters of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange ordered to pay his bail

Mark Collins is a prolific Ottawa blogger

Aug 16

Much though I believe Mr Assange should be subject to the current judicial process, I completely agree with this former British Ambassador (disclosure: I am an erstwhile Canadian diplomat):

FCO ‘risks breaching international law’ over Assange embassy crisis
The Foreign [and Commonealth] Office risks breaching international law if it carries out its threat to revoke the status of the Ecuadorean Embassy in order to arrest Julian Assange, a former ambassador to Moscow has warned.
[see Article 22 here of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations]

Just let the bugger rot in the Ecuadorean embassy. Or, if one really wants to get one’s hands on him, break off diplomatic relations, close the embassy and nab him as people leave the building. It is not contrary to the Vienna Convention, as far as I can see, to stop diplomatic vehicles and remove people–including dips–from them. If the Ecuadorians give Mr Assange an Ecuadorean diplomatic passport in an effort to secure immunity, just ignore it as it would be so patently bogus [see Article 8 here].


Latest:

WikiLeaks: Ecuador grants Julian Assange asylum despite UK ‘threats’
Julian Assange has been granted political asylum by Ecuador over fears he could be extradited to the US [by Sweden?] and face the death penalty.

Oh sure.

Mark Collins is a prolific Ottawa blogger

Jun 19

A conservative columnist expresses his displeasure in the Washington Post:

WikiLeaks, meet ObamaLeaks
By

Imagine there was an organization that serially leaked the nation’s most highly protected secrets — exposing intelligence sources and methods, and sharing classified information with the press that put lives at risk.

Sounds like WikiLeaks [more here, latest here]? Think again. It’s ObamaLeaks.

The difference, of course, is that WikiLeaks releases information that it believes will be embarrassing for the United States, while ObamaLeaks releases information intended to make President Obama look good. But ObamaLeaks has done damage to U.S. national security on a scale of which WikiLeaks only dreams…

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has said the recent leaks are the worst he has in his 30 year intelligence career. Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) recently declared, “I’ve been on the Intelligence Committee for 11 years, and I have never seen it worse.”

It is clear that these leaks originated in the White House…

The White House has no one to blame but themselves for this mess. From getting Osama bin Laden to killing Anwar al-Awlaki, they had a compelling story to tell on national security. But they overreached — releasing classified information in order to paint a glowing portrait of the president as a strong commander in chief. The irony is the disclosures have had the opposite effect — giving the president’s opponents a potent issue with which to attack his record…

Related:

Killing by Drone, Decision-Making, and the Decider-in-Chief, Part 3

Mark Collins is a prolific Ottawa blogger

May 02

Further to this post (and “Comments”),

Canadian F-35 Documents

excerpts from a US document (via Colin Horgan of iPolitics.ca):


SOURCE: A. (C/NF) //6 815 0199//SENIOR HOST NATION MILITARY OFFICER WITH DIRECT ACCESS TO THE INFORMATION REPORTED. PREVIOUS REPORTING HAS BEEN RELIABLE.

B. (C/NF) //6 815 0357// SENIOR HOST NATION MILITARY OFFICER WITH DIRECT ACCESS TO THE INFORMATION REPORTED. PREVIOUS REPORTING HAS BEEN RELIABLE…

3. (C) EVEN WITH THE MODERNIZATION PROCESS STILL UNDERWAY, CONCERNS HAVE ARISEN ON FLEET AVAILABILITY AND ESTIMATED LIFE EXPECTANCY(ELE). OF THE EIGHTY MODERNIZED AIRCRAFT, ONLY HALF WILL RECEIVE CENTER BARREL FUSELAGE REPLACEMENTS GIVING THEM A SUBSTANTIALLY INCREASED ELE [see” “Canada’s New Fighter: Over a Barrel?“]. BECAUSE OF COSTS, OF THE 80 MODERNIZED AIRCRAFT ONLY 48 WILL ASSIGNED TO FOUR OPERATIONAL SQUADRONS (TWO AT CFB COLD LAKE, ALBERTA AND TWO AT CFB BAGOTVILLE, QUEBEC [now just one at Cold Lake and one at Bagotville). GIVEN EVEN OPTIMISTIC READINESS RATES OF 70  PERCENT AND NO OVERSEAS DEPLOYMENTS, THIS MEANS THAT CANADA WILL ONLY HAVE A MAXIMUM OF 34 F/A-18 AIRCRAFT AVAILABLE ON ANY GIVEN DAY. ACCORDING TO SOURCE A, 34 AIRCRAFT HAS BEEN RATIONALIZED AS A NUMBER WHICH COULD SUPPORT FOUR 24/7 POINT DEFENSE PATROLS (CAPS) – AT EIGHT AIRCRAFT REQUIRED PER 24/7 CAP – TO DEFEND FOUR POPULATION CENTERS OR FOR CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE PROTECTION. ACCORDING TO SOURCE B, IF CUED AND PRE-POSITIONED AT A HIGH STATE OF READINESS, THE CANADIAN AIR FORCE COULD COVER VANCOUVER, EDMONTON/CALGARY, OTTAWA/MONTREAL, AND TORONTO. THIS WOULD LEAVE ALMOST NO CAPABILITY TO PROVIDE ALERT AIRCRAFT FOR WINNIPEG, HALIFAX, OR QUEBEC CITY…

5. (C) CANADA IS A LEVEL ONE PARTICIPANT IN THE JOINT STRIKE FIGHTER (JSF) PROGRAM, BUT DELAYS IN THAT PROGRAM MAKE CANADA’S DESIRE TO REPLACE THE CF-18S IN 2015-2018 SEEN VERY OPTIMISITC [sic] AND NO ONE SEES CANADA COMMITTING TO JSF UNTIL AT LEAST 2012. INTERNAL AIR FORCE DOCUMENTS CALL FOR A NEW GENERATION FIGHTER CAPABILITY (NGFC) STUDY TO BEGIN IN 2008, ALLOWING SELECTION OF A REPLACEMENT FIGHTER BY 2011, AND PLACING A CONTRACT BY 2012 FOR 2015 DELIVERIES…

COMMENTS…

4. (C/NF) FLYING HOURS FOR CF-18 PILOTS HAVE BEEN IN STEADY DECLINE FOR A NUMBER OF YEARS FALLING FROM 240-270 HOURS IN THE 1980S TO AN AVERAGE OF 182 HOURS IN CY2003. NUMBER OF PILOTS HAS DROPPED FROM 92 TO 68 AND THE AIR FORCE IS HAVING TROUBLE RECRUITING EVEN VERY SMALL NUMBERS TO TRAIN EACH YEAR. THE YEARLY F/A-18 FLYING PROGRAM HAS DROPPED FROM 28,045 HOURS IN FY93/94 TO LESS THAN 17,000 HOURS FOR FY03/04. LESS FLYING MEANS LOWER PILOT MORALE; LACK OF SPARE PARTS AND MAINTENANCE SUPERVISORS QUALIFIED FOR INSPECTIONS INCREASES PERSTEMPO; AND NEW TRAINING ON THE MODERNIZED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS ALL STRESS THE CANADIAN AIR FORCE FIGHTER FORCE…

One wonders about current flying hours. Note this from March this year:

F-35 delivery could be delayed to save money

A former CF-18 pilot and operational fleet manager says it will cost a lot of money to use the CF-18s past 2017.

Steve Fuhr [scroll down here] says the Canadian Forces originally extended the life of the CF-18s to 2017, giving the jets upgrades to systems, weapons and sensors, as well as structural upgrades. But other parts of the aircraft, like the engines and fuel tanks, weren’t addressed.

“Aircraft fatigue is probably the most significant factor when determining the life of an aircraft,” he said in an email to CBC News.

Officials thought some of the planes could last until 2020 if fatigue is managed very carefully, Fuhr said. But making it to 2023 is “a stretch” that is most likely to come at the cost of reduced flying hours.

“This is significant because pilots are already flying the minimum hours to meet their mandatory requirements,” he said.

“In my opinion, stretching the CF-18 to 2023 will have significant operational consequences in terms of aircraft availability. It will also cost a pile of money.”..

Mark Collins is a prolific Ottawa blogger

Feb 20

From an intimately involved NY Timesman:

WikiLeaks, a Postscript
By BILL KELLER

Here’s the paradox the documentaries have overlooked so far: The most palpable legacy of the WikiLeaks campaign for transparency is that the U.S. government is more secretive than ever.

More: “WikiLeaks“.

Mark Collins is a prolific Ottawa blogger

Oct 24

Good.

Mark Collins is a prolific Ottawa blogger

Sep 06

Terry Glavin is not best pleased with a certain abominable Aussie:

Julian Assange, the Wikileaks archgeek, radical-chic avatar, the Chinese Communist Party’s nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize, Michael Moore’s joint-venturer, absconding debtor, American celebrity pornographer Larry Flynt’s fair-haired boy, darling of Cindy Sheehan, Medea Benjamin, Bianca Jagger, and of Heather Mallick, for “lo, he hath made truthful information available unto citizens of the planet.”

Lo, Assange hath now been found to have released more than 1,000 cables outing individual political activists - several thousand tagged as sources who could be placed in danger - and more than 150 cables outing whistleblowers, people persecuted by their governments, and victims of sex crimes…

Now, Assange’s enablers in the mainstream media, the corporations Assange’s supporters relied upon to cloak their hero in a patina of muckraking legitimacy, are frantically bailing. In an unprecedented joint statement issued by the Guardian, the New York Times, El Pais, Der Speigel and Le Monde, we read: “We deplore the decision of Wikileaks to publish the unredacted state department cables, which may put sources at risk. . . We cannot defend the needless publication of the complete data – indeed, we are united in condemning it. The decision to publish by Julian Assange was his, and his alone.”

Fair enough. Should death come to any one of the innocents, the brave dissidents, the journalists and rape victims and democrats to have been exposed by this vulgar spectacle in onanistic avante-garde exhibitionism, perhaps a not-guilty plea to the charge of accessory to murder might have some merit…

Mr Glavin does have a way with words. By the way, one Canadian Conservative “staffer” has been outed and an NDP MP is going bananas in a most silly fashion:

Wikileaks cable shows contempt, Dewar says as he calls for hearings

NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar is calling for parliamentary hearings into the Wikileaks revelation that a Conservative government aide advised the U.S. embassy of Canada’s plan for Afghanistan long before Parliament was informed.

“It shows a contempt for Parliament, contempt for due process and contempt for the men and women who work in our public service,” said Dewar.

Dewar said he wants the House of Commons foreign affairs committee to hold hearings into the revelation that the U.S. embassy was informed in February 2010 of plans to scale back assistance while Parliament was only told in November 2010. Among those he wants to summon to testify are former foreign affairs minister Lawrence Cannon, officials with the department of foreign affairs and Regan Watts, an aide to Cannon who gave the information to U.S. embassy officials…

Dewar’s call comes after iPolitics revealed that a diplomatic cable obtained by Wikileaks reveals that long before Canada ended its military mission in Afghanistan, an aide to Canada’s foreign affairs minister tipped off U.S. embassy officials that Canada would be significantly scaling back its assistance to the country…

In fact the main thing the government said in November 2010 was very different from what the US embassy was told in February; instead of bugging almost all CF out of Afghanistan in 2011 as had been the well-announced plan, the government reversed course mightily and announced a new, major training mission for the forces. Mr Dewar might do well to get a life.

Mark Collins is a prolific Ottawa blogger

May 24

I saw Prof. Timothy Garton Ash interviewed on BBC World television May 24 about President Obama’s visit to Britain, in particular the statement in a joint newspaper piece with Prime Minister Cameron that “Ours is not just a special relationship, it is an essential relationship – for us and for the world [the article was in the Times, pay firewall; the text is here at the No. 10 website]”. The professor quite realistically pointed out that the relationship was essential only for the UK, merely “important” for the US - along with quite a few other countries including France, Germany and Mexico. Look who’s missing. The Brits really do tend to find Canada invisible, in large measure a hangover of imperial arrogance. See also this WikiLeak:

British opposed Canadian’s nomination to top NATO military post: U.S. diplomatic cables

Mark Collins is a prolific Ottawa blogger

May 24

A collection of some of them is available here.  Background:

Sixth Estate’s Top Picks from the Canadian WikiLeaks Cables

…Sixth Estate is going to maintain a list of documents relevant to Canadian politics and foreign affairs at the Sixth Estate Watchlist. Note: this is not a mirror of WikiLeaks. It is a collection of documents specifically related to Canada…

Soon, I’ll expand the Watchlist database to include the rest of what WikiLeaks has released from the cable archive, as well as a number of other important sets of documents which are increasingly difficult to find online. For the moment, however, you can find links to around half of the WikiLeaks documents from Canada, sorted by subject area. As anyone who has worked in diplomatic history will not be surprised to learn, the vast majority of the documents are unclassified summaries of public news…

Mark Collins is a prolific Ottawa blogger

May 18

This will certainly get jumping up and down all those suspicious of security perimeter negotiations with the Americans:

Canadians secretly added to U.S. security list: WikiLeaks
CSIS continues to pass along names in secret to the U.S.

On the other hand this should not be contentious:

Canada to share border radar data with U.S.
Effort to track low-flying aircraft used to smuggle drugs

More on what the US is doing:

Meanwhile, Concerning What Used to Be the World’s Longest Undefended Border

Mark Collins is a prolific Ottawa blogger