Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Going To War -- Secretly

The Harper government doesn't like to release information -- on Afghan prisoners, on the cost of fighter jets, on budget cuts. It has now applied the same strategy to Canada's involvement in Mali. Tom Walkom reports:

But then everything about Canada’s role in Mali is treated by Ottawa as a state secret. Canadians learned of the initial C-17 deployment only after Mali’s president tweeted the information on the internet.

When that initial, one-week deployment was extended, we were first told not by our own government but by Mali’s ambassador to Canada.

The pattern continues. On Tuesday, International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino announced that Canada will give Mali $13 million. He said it was for humanitarian aid.

But he made the announcement from Ethiopia where, at a summit hosted by the African Union, other nations had just pledged $455 million to fund a military expedition against Malian rebels.

What are our special forces doing in Mali? Some reports say they are there to protect the C-17 crews. Others say they are guarding Canada’s virtually empty embassy.
 If the government follows past practice, it will never say. It claims that commando operations must be secret.

A democracy can only function when citizens know how their money is being spent. For the last six years the Harper government has insisted that the public doesn't have the right to that information. An election was fought on the issue.

But you know you are in a dictatorship when the government sends citizens off to war but won't tell you why.

A line has been crossed. The future is ominous.


Anonymous said...

It is not a war in Mali.

When the objective is to kill religious 'extremists' who are not of your religion, then it is a Crusade.

Harper's true colours are shining through.

Owen Gray said...

Somehow, Anon, it's hard to picture Stephen Harper as Richard the Lionhearted -- even though I suspect he would enjoy the comparison.

the salamander said...

What a brave, thoughtful and heroic example our country's leaders set. ...

..... too much political secrecy, obstruction and outright deceit (lying) have muddled with National Security posturing, sky is falling we think.. in the addled heads of state, defense and propaganda

We know more about Peter Mackay's newfie helicopter ride from a fishing trip.. than we do about our Canadian Special Operations Regiment suddenly surfacing in Mali. Hello Peter ? Is anyone there ? John Baird ? Hello ? This is Canada calling .. Hello ?

Perhaps one of our vaunted submarines suddenly dropped them off nearby, and they swam ashore there, despite it being landlocked. Thus our surprise to see images of them, feet dry in Mali, Gee ? D'ya think they flew in or jumped? Air Canada travel points ?

We got the tweetybird day in the contrived life of Harper, thank you. We missed though.. any communication to the nation re the grave and important day Canadian troops landed in Mali.. a decision you claimed you'd seek consensus on in Parliament..... ..... but you were scheduled that day to tweet yer breakfast with a cat & start to your day .. uh .. OK .. and you rode in a big black car to work and had a nice lunch .. well, that's nice.

What twit of the year fools you are Mr Harper.. and John Baird. What terrible leaders you are.. and what limpid insipid failed communicators as well. Do you wait for polls, a full moon or Sun TV for direction or confirmation? before trying to hoodwink or spin and sleaze to the population?

This is the new age, where 'after the fact' Freedom of Information requests by curious and concerned journalists are the only believable source that informs a nation re 95% of the actions of a government they elected ..

Owen Gray said...

Your characterization of Mr. Harper is on the mark, salamander.

The Romans had a phrase to describe such a person -- miles gloriosus -- the braggart soldier.

But when things get difficult, he tweets.

The Mound of Sound said...

Lionheart? No, hardly. More like Richard's errant sib, John.

It sounds as though the rebels have gone insurgent in any case, evaporating before French tanks and jets. It remains to be seen whether the Tuareg will reprise the role of the Talibs in Afghanistan. Unless we're prepared to declare the Sahara a "free-fire" zone and wipe out anything that moves across the sands, they might give western forces a run for their money.

They're like Sand Kurds. They want - and deserve - their own country except that Euros carved up the place and their territory in the process of colonization.

Just as the Kurdish problem is intractable, so may be the Tuareg.

Owen Gray said...

As a number of commentators have pointed out, Mound, we know nothing about the place.

Yet we have a habit of rushing in, convinced that it is our destiny to make the world safe from Islam.

This is another chapter in The March of Folly.

The Mound of Sound said...

Actually that's not right, Owen. Enduro motorcycle freaks like yours truly (BMW), devotees of the Paris-Dakar Rally, saw this coming years ago.

That was when the Saharan Dakar was canceled and relocated, instead, to South America. The world's most arduous endurance race, known simply as "The Dakar", had to be moved because of the threat to the racers by al Qaeda groups. The race organizers didn't move the classic race until they absolutely had to.

Even now, the logo of "The Dakar" is a stylized Tuareg with Saharan headress. Shit, how cool is that?

Owen Gray said...

There are folks like you, Mound, who follow pursuits which require a global perspective.

Unfortunately, most of us live in our self imposed cocoons -- and we're horrified when something which has been boiling on the stove for a long time starts a fire.

e.a.f. said...

so lets see. stevie slime has $13M and the cost of armed forces to go to a war in Africa but doesn't have $13M to provide clean water and adequate shelter in Canada for F.N. children? Sounds about right.

No one gave approval for this little adventure of stevie's and its our tax dollars. I want a refund!

Every time stevie and the slimers go out and wage war where we aren't wanted by the local people, it always is against a group of non european people. then I sit back and think about history and how the Nazi's got to try out all the equipment in Spain first. Maybe stevie slime is just out and about working on a plan to wage war on Canadians who don't agree with him, when the time comes.

The question becomes will Canadian troops fire on their own citizens?

Owen Gray said...

Harper claims that law and order is one of his top priorities, e.a.f.

We saw what that means during G20 demonstrations a couple of years ago.

By now, we should have a pretty good idea of what the man means when he talks about priorities.