Monday, April 27, 2015

US Senate Hearing focuses on northern border security

Lawmakers want more attention to be paid to security along the northern border

27 April 2015

Over the years, concerns over U.S. border security have largely focused on the southern border, where hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants have been apprehended and millions of dollars in illegal drugs have been seized by border patrol agents. U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-New Jersey) tried to shift lawmakers’ focus toward the U.S.-Canada border at last week’s Senatehearing on border security, “Securing the Border: Understanding Threats and Strategies for the Northern Border.” At one point during the hearing, Booker focused on a ditch which separates western Washington state and British Columbia, one of many weak spots along the border. Areas like the ditch are left unguarded, making it easy for drug smugglers, terrorists, and human traffickers to cross over without detection.

The hearing last week was a fifth in a series exploring the challenges associated with U.S. entry points. Drawing attention to the security risks on the Canadian border has been a challenge. “It’s kind of the forgotten border,” said Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota). The border is not associated with highly chared issues such as immigration, day laborers, and violent drug traffickers.

Heitkamp, who has been vocal on security concerns at the northern border, drafted two amendments during the Senate’s 2013 immigration reform debate. One amendment aimed to speed up commercial goods flowing between the two countries by allowing border patrol agents to work more closely together; another tried to ensure the northern border received adequate resources- financial and manpower- just as lawmakers flooded the southern border with more patrol agents and program funding. Neither of Heitkamp’s amendments received a vote....

There is much more here....

Pay attention, America, to the hordes of ne'er-do-wells flooding your northern border.

Omar Khadr granted bail

Omar Khadr   - sentenced to 40 years in a GITMO Military Tribunal - was granted bail in a Canadian civilian court last week:

From CBC:

Omar Khadr granted bail, but federal government to appeal

Convicted war criminal to remain at Bowden Institution in Alberta until bail conditions are set

CBC News Apr 23, 2015 
Convicted war criminal Omar Khadr, the Canadian transferred to an Alberta facility after serving time at Guantanamo Bay, has been granted bail.

Shortly after the decision was announced, the federal government said it would appeal the decision made by an Alberta judge.

Court of Queen's Bench Justice June Ross, in a 23-page decision, granted Khadr's bail request Friday morning. He will remain in custody until a May 5 hearing to set out his bail conditions.

"Even though the applicant has pled guilty to serious offences, he should be granted judicial interim release," the judge wrote, "because he has a strong basis for an appeal, and the risk to public safety is not such that it is in the public's best interest that he remain in pre-appeal detention in a manner that could render his appeal irrelevant."

Khadr's Edmonton lawyer, Dennis Edney, said the case will now go back before the courts to work out the conditions of his client's release, including where he will live and what he will do with his time. ..

Former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr, shown in this undated image from Bowden Institution in Innisfail, Alta., was granted bail by an Alberta judge Friday. (Bowden Institution/Canadian Press)

Khadr may be smiling in that undated picture, but not all are as thrilled with bail being granted. If you want to get a hint how I feel about it, check out the very first link above.

US LT. COL (retired) Allen West pretty much summed up:

Canadian government about to do something DISGUSTING with this jihadi murderer

Written by Allen West on April 27, 2015

There’s not much I need to say about this story, other than I am truly disgusted.
As reported by The Stripes, “A Canadian judge on Friday ordered the release of a former Guantanamo Bay inmate while he appeals his conviction in a Washington court for war crimes, including killing a U.S. soldier. Judge June Ross said the terms of Omar Khadr’s release will be determined May 5. Canada’s government said it would appeal the order. Toronto-born Khadr is in prison in Alberta, serving out an eight-year sentence handed down by a U.S. military commission in 2010. He was convicted of five war-crimes, including throwing a grenade when he was 15 years old that killed Army Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer in Afghanistan during a 2002 firefight. He spent a decade in Guantanamo Bay. Khadr, now 28, agreed to a plea deal in 2010 that stipulated he serve one year of his eight-year sentence at the U.S. naval base in Cuba. He has since said he only pleaded guilty to get out of Guantanamo and be sent back to Canada. Ross said Khadr has a strong basis for appeal and keeping him behind bars would not be in the public interest.”Omar is fortunate to be back in Canada where we have real courts and real laws,” said Nate Whitling, one of Khadr’s lawyers.”

I find Mr. Whitling’s comments disrespectful, disingenuous, and denigrating to the United States of America and to all the men and women — and their families — who have lost their lives fighting against Islamic jihadism. Mr. Whitling is indicative of the yellow-backed “coexist” crowd who extends constitutional rights and privileges to non-state, non-uniform unlawful enemy combatants captured on the modern 21st century battlefield.

I don’t give a doggone how old Omar Khadr was when he made the decision to throw a grenade and kill an American Soldier, SFC Christopher Speer. If anything, Khadr deserves to die. At the very least, he should never see the light of freedom for the rest of his life — SFC Speer certainly will not. And convicted of war crimes? I suppose in the true progressive socialist mantra, “what difference at this point does it make?”

You can be sure that Allen West has much more to say on this topic, and he doesn't hold back.   GO read it all.

SFC Christopher Speer is unavailable for comment.

Khadr and his supporters may be thrilled by this latest development, but I don't believe this IS a done deal.  The fat lady ain't singing, yet.

Pay attention.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Video: Falkland War Veterans share their weapons know-how

From British Forces News

Falklands Veterans Return To The Firing Range

17 April 2015

Veterans of the Falklands War have been sharing their knowledge of 1980's military equipment with British Army weapons specialists.


Saturday, April 25, 2015

ANZAC Day Honours Gallipoli Heroes

From the BBC:

Gallipoli centenary: Australia and New Zealand mark Anzac Day
25 April 2015

Australia and New Zealand have been remembering soldiers from the two countries who fought at Gallipoli in Turkey during World War One.

A series of events on Saturday marked the centenary of the Allied attack on the Gallipoli peninsula.

A dawn service was held at the landing. The two countries later remembered their dead at battlefield services.

More than 11,400 of Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac) troops were killed in the course of the campaign.

Australian PM Tony Abbott paid tribute to their selflessness, describing them as Australia's "founding heroes".

Anzac Day is arguably the most important national occasion for Australia and New Zealand.

Gallipoli holds a special place in Australian hearts. Many believe it was here Australians proved themselves the equal of any in the world, heralding the young nation's emergence onto the world stage....

Read more on international remembrance ceremonies here.
From ABC.Net (Australia):
Gallipoli 1915: The first Anzac ashoreBy Ross Kay

In the waters off Anzac Cove in the early hours of April 25, 1915, boats carrying Australian soldiers of the 9th Battalion made their way to shore. 

At the head of boat number one was Duncan Chapman, then a lieutenant, who led his men onto the beach and became known as the first Anzac to set foot on Gallipoli.

Duncan Chapman's name is one of many on the cenotaph in Maryborough, Queensland, but a new life-size statue has been unveiled in recognition of his special place in history.

But how do we know for certain he was in fact the initial Anzac ashore?

Anecdotal stories and letters have been passed down through to Chapman's grand-nephew, Grant Cook.

"I heard a lot from my uncles about Duncan Chapman," Mr Cook said.

"I've been told that [he was the first ashore] through family over all these years. It's only the letters that he sent home that reinforce that."

One of the letters from Chapman details the dawn landing and reinforces the idea that he was recognised by Army brass to have been the first ashore.

"To me was given the extreme honour of being actually the first man to put foot ashore on this peninsula, to lead a portion of the men up the hill in that now historic charge," the letter reads....

Lest we forget those who answered the call.

Video: LCpl Joshua Leakey Humble Hero of AFG awarded VC

"Highest award for battlefield gallantry"

LCpl Joshua Leakey Awarded Victoria Cross by The Queen

"giving first aid to a wounded US Officer"

British Forces News

Published on Apr 17, 2015
A paratrooper who risked death on three separate occasions during a battle with the Taliban has been awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) by Her Majesty the Queen.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Liberation of the Netherlands: Letter to Canada

From the fall of 1944 to the spring of 1945, the First Canadian Army played a major role in the liberation of the Netherlands and its people who had suffered terrible hunger and hardship under the increasingly desperate German occupiers. The warm friendship that Canada still enjoys with the Netherlands is a poignant reminder of the ultimate sacrifice made by thousands of Canadians and the enduring gratitude of the Dutch in ending the reign of tyranny in their country.
               Royal Canadian Army Service Corps (R.C.A.S.C.) personnel of the 4th Canadian Armoured Division examining a captured German dummy aircraft. October 28, 1944 / Huijbergen, Netherlands.
Credit: Harold G. Aikman/Canada. Dept. of National Defence/Library and Archives Canada/PA-176879

Letter from Holland:
Leeuwarden, Holland
27th April, 1945

Dear Mrs. Crofts,

Our town was liberated by the Canadians on the 15th of this month. Your son Joe was with them, and he stayed with us for a couple of days and so we made friendship. I promised him to drop you a few lines just to tell you that your son was doing well, everything O.K.

We have had an awfully bad time, these five years. The Germans came here on the 10th of May 1940. Their army was then nicely equipped, and they had quite a number of planes on the Leeuwarden airodrome. When they went on the 14th inst., they had very little left, no planes, their cars riding on wood-gas, for they have been out of petrol since a long time already. That is the end of Hitler’s army.

But a lot of harm they have done here. In 1941 they started picking up all the Jews. All our Jewish friends disappeared and were sent to Poland, and Germany, most probably to be butchered there. I wonder what will come back of them, I am afraid not many.

In 1942 they started sending all our young fellows to Germany to work as slaves for them. Those who could escape were hidden by friends or family. Often the Germans entered the houses and searched for young men, bu then they were put under the floor, so that in most cases the Germans could not find any. When a German wire was cut, they let all men of the town do some watching so that no more wires should be cut. When a German was killed, they picked out a number of civilians, ten, twenty-five, and in one case even 400, and shot them. You will understand how glad we were when at the end it was all up with them, and when the Canadians arrived here we gave them a cheery welcome where ever they came...

This personal letter to a Canadian family gives insights into what war in Europe during WW2 was like for the citizens facing Nazism.    It is part of an in-depth history of Canada's role in the liberation of Netherlands, which forged close ties that remain today.

Take the time to go search the government site here, for lots of interesting and - perhaps - little known, history.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Video: Renew James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act

YOUR MISSION for our 9/11 survivors:


Published on Apr 13, 2015

Tell your Representatives in Congress to Co-sponsor the renewal of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. Text 911 to 877877 to be connected to your representative.

 Please help us get the message out and share this video, by email, Facebook and Twitter.  Please join in telling your Member of Congress to join the bipartisan supporters and co-sponsor the  James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act.

Zadroga 9/11 Health Act to Expire Unless Congress Takes Action

“Without this program, thousands upon thousands of people will be devastated financially, emotionally, physically, and mentally.  They need the support of Congress.  They gave their lives to take care of other people and they deserve to be treated as long as they live.”

-- Dr. Ellen Koffler, Cancer Care Coordinator, World Trade Center Health Program
Today, advocates for 9/11 first responders and survivors released [the above] new video featuring Americans who are suffering from 9/11-related illnesses and need help from Washington.  The James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, which was signed into law in 2011, will expire unless Congress takes action now to renew it.  The legislation provides health care and economic compensation to those who lost their health as well as to the families of those who died since 9/11 from related injuries.
Please watch the video, tell others about it, and take action to help ensure the Zadroga law is renewed.

SIGN UP to take action at

TELL CONGRESS to renew the 9/11 health law by texting "911" to 877877, or by calling  888-701-7499  toll free to be connected to your representatives.

The video was produced by E-18 Media with the generous assistance of the International Association of Fire Fighters.

Citizens for the Extension of the James Zadroga Act is a coalition of advocates who are working to make sure that Washington does the right thing and renews and extends the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act.  More than 30,000 sick and injured 9/11 responders and survivors depend on the medical treatment and the compensation programs provided by this law.
# # #

I have written about the Zadroga Act many times.  For more background - to educate yourself - put 'Zadroga' in the top left search box...

[Related:  Why Rheumatoid Arthritis is plaguing so many 9/11 First Responders ]

Reauthorization of the Zadroga 9/11 bill is an American duty (editorial)