Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Minebusters Have Arrived

In May 2006, the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces announced the EROC ( Expedient Route-Opening Capability) consisting of three new vehicle types: the South African Husky mine detector vehicle, and two US types, the Buffalo and Cougar mine-protected vehicles. All three types are to be purchased through the United States military – the six Huskys through the US Army, and the five Cougar EOD team transports and the five Buffalo Mine Protected Clearance Vehicles through the US Marine Corps (the actual order being placed by the US Navy). Deliveries have started arriving (with direct deployment to Afghanistan) and run until 2008. They have arrived to protect our soldiers!

For months, Canadians troops have been trying to steer clear of roadside bombs. Soon, a group of Canadian engineers will hit the dirt roads of Kandahar province hoping to hit a few.
"We hope to detect them but if we set them off, that's just as good," said Capt. David Holsworth, of the 5th combat engineer regiment, based in Valcartier, Que.
Those engineers will be at the wheel of the Husky, Canada's newest tool in the fight against an insurgent weapon that has killed more Canadian soldiers than any other -- the roadside bomb.
"A lot of those guys could have been saved if we had these earlier," Holsworth said yesterday, as engineers put the new vehicles through their paces in a field next to the Kandahar airfield.
"The section is really eager to get out there because they'll be saving their buddies' lives."
The Husky -- which looks like a road grader on steroids -- is meant to be blown up. Its armoured v-shaped hull deflects any blast away from the driver, who sits high up in a protected cab. Its four wheel are designed to be knocked off and quickly replaced.
"It's one of the best vehicles to survive a blast," Holsworth said.
It carries electronic and metal detectors to find buried bombs. It tows three trailers behind it, each with a set of wheels that will roll across a patch of road wide enough for other vehicles to follow safely in its tracks.
The Canadians had been relying on the Americans and their equipment to clear routes. But the Americans weren't available as often as the Canadians wanted so Ottawa decided to spend almost $30 million to buy the 16 new vehicles.
The Defence Department will also be taking delivery of the five Buffalos, which have a remote arm to uncover and disable bombs discovered in the road. The Cougars will carry remote-controlled robots and other devices to disable and destroy bombs.

The three vehicles are meant to travel together to clear a route for other traffic. But since the Buffaloes and Cougars aren't expected for a few more months, the engineers have asked for approval to deploy the Huskies on their own as soon as possible.
"There's definitely a use for deploying these now," Holsworth said.
One of the Husky drivers, Cpl. Tom Reid of Marystown, N.L., said that, even though his job is to hunt for things that will blow up, "I feel a lot safer in this vehicle than any other. It is designed to protect the driver."
Meanwhile, Canadian military officials acknowledged there was an anti-Canadian demonstration in Kandahar City yesterday to protest the seizure of some Afghan homes. The officials added that Canadians did not witness the protest, and that neither Canadian nor other coalition troops had been involved in house seizures.
According to one news report, between 300 and 500 angry men shouted slogans against foreign troops in Afghanistan and blocked a key road for hours. They alleged that soldiers had killed an "innocent" Islamic cleric and his brother in the Taliban-dominated Zhari district, about 35 kilometres east of Kandahar City.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Corporal Nathan Hornburg ~

With sadness, it is confirmed. One Canadian soldier was killed and four others were wounded during Operation SADIQ SARBAAZ on September 24 at about 4:30 p.m. Kandahar time. The incident occurred approximately 47 km west of Kandahar City in the Panjwayi District.The identity of the Canadian soldier killed is Corporal Nathan Hornburg, a Reserve soldier from the King's Own Calgary Regiment, based out of Calgary, Alberta.

Corporal Nathan Hornburg

Both helicopters and road ambulances were used to evacuate the casualties to the Multinational Medical Unit at Kandahar Airfield. The wounded soldiers are in stable condition and have contacted their families.Brig. Gen. Guy Laroche, the head of the Canadian task force in Afghanistan, confirmed the sad news this afternoon in a briefing at the coalition base at the Kandahar airfield.“Cpl. Hornburg was involved in a mission he believed in,” Laroche said.The troops were taking part in Operation Sadiq Sarbaaz (Honest Soldier), a joint operation between Afghan and Canadian troops. Operation SADIQ SARBAAZ (Honest Soldier) is a joint Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) and ISAF operation that will set the conditions for a continuous security presence and the establishment of a new police sub-station in the northern part of Panjwayi.Canadian soldiers, backed by tanks and armoured vehicles, were pushing west into territory about 47 km west of Kandahar, in order to establish a new police substation and a more permanent presence to deter insurgents. Despite the death , the day-long offensive was deemed a success. In recent weeks, the Canadians and Afghans have been trying to reclaim and reinforce territory they won last fall, only to see it lost in this summer’s “fighting season,” a time when insurgent activity is typically the highest.

I send prayers to his family and friends both here and overseas as preparations are made for Cpl Hornburg's final journey home.

To view or send a tribute see:
CTV Video: Remembering Cpl. Nathan Hornburg

Ramp Ceremony - Kandahar, Afghanistan:

Hundreds of coalition troops gathered Wednesday morning at Kandahar airbase to bid a sad farewell and pay tribute to Cpl. Nathan Hornburg, Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan.

A coffin carrying Hornburg's body was placed on a plane heading home.A member of the King's Own Calgary Regiment, Hornburg was killed when he was hit by a mortar in southern Afghanistan. The 24-year-old Alberta native was repairing a tank at the time.Another soldier was injured in the attack. And in an ensuing firefight, three more infantry soldiers were wounded.Their injuries are not life threatening, according to Brig-Gen Guy Laroche, head of the Canadian military in Afghanistan.Meanwhile, a Canadian soldier was injured in a separate insurgent attack Tuesday. The soldier was ambushed while on a foot patrol. The injured soldier was listed in "serious condition."The soldier was on patrol with Afghan police officers west of Kandahar City when the group was ambushed by rocket-propelled grenades and small-arms fire.He was part of the Police Operational Mentoring Liaison Team -- a new police mentoring group meant to build up the local police force.The soldier, whose name was not released, is being treated at a military medical facility at Camp Bastion, a British base west of Kandahar.Prime Minister Stephen Harper mentioned Canada's latest loss on the battlefield during a speech in New York. Canada is in Afghanistan "because we believe it is noble and necessary," Harper said, "a cause completely consistent with our country's proud history of supporting international action to fight oppression and brutality, and to assist our fellow human beings.''"Since 2005 Canadian troops have been in one of the most violent regions in Afghanistan: the southern portion of Kandahar. And there has been a significant price -- as we were reminded yesterday with the death of a Canadian soldier'' and injuries to other soldiers, Harper said.Later in a statement, Harper said: "Canadians mourn the loss of Corporal Nathan Hornburg. Demonstrating courage and commitment, he gave his life serving his country and working to ensure a brighter future for the Afghan people.''Harper also expressed sympathies to the wounded soldiers.
Interview previous to deployment:Hornburg had been in Afghanistan for less than two months. He asked to be deployed to the country, telling CTV Calgary that he was nervous, but wanted to do his job."I'm excited to just see what it's actually like," he said in the days leading up to his deployment in August."I've just had various stories told to me, but I'm excited to just get my feet on the ground and start doing my job. What I'm scared of? I guess I'm just cautious of everything."Hornburg's friends say they warned him not to go to the troubled country. But they say he was determined to do his duty as a soldier."I honestly told him, don't go, don't do it," said his friend Dominic Levesque. "A lot of us were in that boat ... but that was his mindset, he wanted to do that and he felt maybe like it was his duty."In Afghanistan, Laroche said Hornburg went knowing the dangers that he faced."Corporal Horburg was involved in a mission that he believed in," said Laroche.

Repatriation in Trenton: (he's coming home)
Corporal Nathan Hornburg, Reserve soldier from the King's Own Calgary Regiment, based out of Calgary, Alberta, is scheduled to return home to Canada this Thursday. Citizens will once again be gathering on overpasses along "The Highway of Heroes" (401 east of Toronto to Trenton) as repatriation of Cpl Hornburg is tentatively scheduled for 5 p.m. this Thursday, Sept. 27. at CFB Trenton PLEASE NOTE: due to mechanical difficulties, scheduled date is now Friday, September 28 at 3:00 pm!
Where: 8 Wing Trenton, Canadian Forces Base Trenton, Ontario.
When: Thursday, September 27, at 5:00 p.m.
UPDATE: due to mechanical difficulties, scheduled date is now Friday, September 28 at 3:00 pm!

Repatriation - CFB Trenton, ON

Pallbearers carry the coffin of Canadian Cpl. Nathan Hornburg during a repatriation ceremony at CFB Trenton, Ont., Friday, Sept. 28, 2007.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Hayward CP

The body of a Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan was returned to CFB Trenton in eastern Ontario for a repatriation ceremony Friday afternoon.Cpl. Nathan Hornburg died in Afghanistan Monday while trying to repair the track on a Canadian Leopard tank while under fire.His parents, Linda and Michael, were there at CFB Trenton to greet the plane carrying the casket.Gov. Gen. Michaelle Jean, Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier were among the dignitaries who, along with about 100 military personnel, gathered on the tarmac to pay their respects.Hornburg's body was due to come home Thursday, but a mechanical problem with the plane used to repatriate fallen soldiers prompted a one-day delay.After the ceremony, a military cavalcade transported Hornburg's body to Toronto, where an autopsy will be performed.As part of the solemn homecoming for Canada's fallen soldiers, Canadians have gathered on highway overpasses that dot the stretch of Highway 401 between Trenton and Toronto. That was the case once again Friday.

Hornburg became the first Afghanistan casualty to officially travel the Highway of Heroes since the stretch of Highway 401 was renamed by the Ontario government."It's pretty meaningful for everybody, this isn't something the government organizes, this is something the people do," said Finance Minister Jim Flaherty who was among the several people gathered on one overpass.Honrburg grew up in Calgary, joining the reserves in high school. He studied history and anthropology before deciding to join the military full time, eventually requesting that he be sent to Afghanistan.Hornburg spoke to CTV News in July, just weeks before his deployment to Afghanistan. He said his family was nervous about him going to Afghanistan, but that he felt it was time to go.

Funeral of Cpl Nathan Hornburg - A Hero's Farewell
City Salutes a Fallen Soldier (Calgary)

Two friends at the public funeral Thursday for fallen soldier Nathan Hornburg share an emotional embrace at the Roundup Centre.
Hornburg is the third Calgary soldier to be killed in Afghanistan. Photo Credit: Jenelle Schneider, Calgary HeraldWhen he was five, Nathan Hornburg set up squadrons of battling green plastic toy soldiers across the living room floor and made up war stories.On Thursday, veteran soldiers with their own war stories to tell, joined Cpl. Hornburg's family and friends in honouring the 24-year-old reservist from Calgary, killed fighting a prolonged battle against insurgents in Afghanistan.A sombre fellow reservist told the more than 1,000 mourners gathered at his funeral that Hornburg died a hero."Under heavy enemy fire he did what only those with an iron will can do," said Sgt. Pablo Fernandez, who trained with Hornburg at the King's Own Calgary Regiment. "He charged forward."We didn't know it then, but the time we spent with Cpl. Nathan Hornburg we spent in the presence of a hero."Hornburg, killed on Sept. 24.Men and women in uniform joined boys and girls in jeans at the Roundup Centre in the heart of Calgary on Thursday afternoon for an emotional funeral, rich with military tradition.Korean War vets, with poppies pinned to their breast pockets, sat not far from Hornburg's high school friends.Decorated soldiers with watery eyes held their berets tight to their hearts, while mothers and fathers, many wearing yellow ribbons, hugged their young children.Calgary police, firefighters and paramedics joined local and provincial dignitaries, including Lt.-Gov. Norman Kwong, in paying respects.Abram Neustater, who as a young man served three tours with the Canadian Forces in the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, felt lucky to be there."The missions were as important, but we, as soldiers, were a lot safer then," said Neustater, now 73. "If there were suicide bombers in my day, I might not have come home, either."Hornburg was killed by mortar fragments after dismounting from the armoured recovery vehicle he was driving to repair a tread that had fallen off the tank.He was less than a month into a six-month tour."He lived and died like few people dare," said Fernandez.Hornburg's funeral honoured his love of the military, but also recognized his life outside the Canadian Forces.A photo tribute set to music showed images of a smiling Hornburg hanging out with friends, and as a toddler playing with his older sister, Rachel, she dressed like a princess, complete with a sparkling tiara.The last picture showed the soldier dressed in his camouflage fatigues waving goodbye, moving many in the crowd to tears.Growing up, all Hornburg ever wanted to do was join the army, said his longtime friend, Sara Leishman.He formed toy guns from tree branches and played war with his friends.In late August, before he left for Afghanistan, Hornburg told friends he was fulfilling his duty.He wanted girls in Afghanistan to be able to go to school, Leishman said."I am protecting my country and I am protecting the citizens of Afghanistan," said Hornburg.Rachel -- who kicked her brother the day the newborn came home from the hospital -- read from Robert Frost's poem The Road Not Taken.
I am posting a copy of the poem:
The Road Not Taken

By Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same.
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

"He chose to go down the road that not many in the nation do," she said.
Earlier, hundreds of mourners clasped hands and wiped away tears as Hornburg's casket, topped with the soldier's beret and bayonet, was shouldered by eight military pallbearers and slow marched across the Stampede grounds and into the Roundup Centre.Debora Lloyd, who taught Hornburg at the private Waldorf school in Calgary, was among those who arrived early to greet the procession."He died not only for our country, but for another country to make the world a better place," she said."There's a need for everyone that's been touched by this to be present and find their own way to accept what happened."His family, including mother Linda Loree and father Michael Hornburg, sat in the front row during the service, surrounded by family.Loree wore a Memorial Cross on her left lapel and a red poppy on the other.Hornburg's father also wore a Memorial Cross, an honour given to parents of fallen soldiers.Before her son's casket was taken from the Roundup Centre, a soldier presented the grieving mother with the Canadian flag that had draped her son's casket since it left Afghanistan more than a week ago.Cpl. Cade Seely, who is also part of the Edmonton-based Lord Strathcona's Horse squadron Hornburg was attached to while overseas, has spent every day with his comrade's casket.As per military protocol, the reservist was assigned to guard the casket from Khandahar to Calgary, until the fallen soldier is safely laid to rest in Nanton on Saturday.Seely, who was the only person at the funeral dressed in the full military fatigues worn by soldiers in Afghanistan, was emotional when asked how overwhelming the duty has been."It's been such an honour and a privilege," he said.

The procession escorting the body of Cpl. Nathan Hornburg makes its way through city streets to the Roundup Centre on Thursday for a public funeral.Photograph by : Lorraine Hjalte, Calgary Herald As Loree stoically followed her son's casket from the hall, she gripped his black beret and a service medal.Hornburg's best friend Michael Pederson held her arm as they headed toward the waiting hearse.Gunshots filled the silent afternoon air as a dozen Calgary soldiers fired three rifle volleys into the air to honour their fallen comrade.A lone trumpeter played the Last Post.Soldiers gave a final salute as a police motorcade led the procession away.It's the third time Calgarians have said goodbye to a soldier killed serving in Afghanistan since 2002.Strangers like Fonda Yang, who had never met the soldier, felt saddened by his death."I really appreciate his sacrifice; because of soldiers like him, we can live this life."

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Upcoming F.O.C.S.I.A. Meeting


7:30 P.M.


7:30 to 8:00 p.m. Arrival and Registration.

8:00 to 9:00 p.m. Guest Speaker, Qaseem Ludin
Perspectives on Afghanistan - Past and Present

9 p.m. - Questions and Answers, Upcoming Events, Socializing

About Our Speaker

Qaseem was born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan. He moved to Pakistan in 1993 and then immigrated to Canada in 2001. His experiences included working for CARE International, United Nations in Pakistan and for Canadian Immigration in the Settlement of Newcomer Afghans. In addition to his broad background, Qaseem has experienced life under Taliban rule.

Qaseem will provide a brief history on his country, sharing his personal experiences, and giving his opinions on the current mission.


From Kitchener or out-of-town: Take 86 North (Conestoga Parkway) and take the Northfield exit (one exit past King St.). Exit at Northfield, keep right and proceed over expressway. Turn left onto Parkside Drive (at lights), and then left onto Weber. Go over the hill and turn immediately left onto Dutton Dr. The facility is located at the end of the road.

From Waterloo or downtown: Follow Weber St. N. and go past Albert St. (traffic lights) and turn right onto Dutton Dr. before going over the hill.
RSVP: at by September 28, 2007

Friday, September 21, 2007

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Military Parents at the Drumbo Fair

Support Our Troops

Saturday September22, 2007

at the Drumbo Fall Fair

9:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Drumbo, Ontario

Look for the Military Van.
If you haven't purchased your red shirts for the next Red Friday,

Military Parents will have a Red T-Shirt Booth set up.

While there, sign the Support Our Troops Banner which will be sent to Afghanistan!
See you at the fair!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Year in Afghanistan - With Lt. Cmdr Wong

"A Year in Afghanistan"

Thursday, September 20th

6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

New Hamburg Legion

65 Boullee St., New Hamburg

Speaker: Lieutenant Commander Albert Wong

Communications Advisor, Canadian Strategic Advisory Team - Afghanistan

"The Toronto Times in association with AHEPA and the Canadian forces representative Lt. Commander Albert Wong (with assistance from US marines who volunteered their time and skilled labour) has raised funds and built a girls' orphanage and a school for disabled kids (first such school in Afghanistan) in Kabul. Without the Canadian army none of these projects would be possible. There are 200,000 disabled kids in Afghanistan who still need help. Lt. Commander Wong and the Canadian forces received an award of excellence for their work from the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. "- Toronto Times November 13, 2006

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sally Field's Speech at Emmy's

Well, did you watch the Emmy's?

At September 16th Emmy Awards show, the audience cheered Sally Field’s acceptance speech, which recognized the mothers of soldiers. “Surely this [award] belongs to all the mothers of the world,” she stated. “May they be seen, may their work be valued and raised. Especially to the mothers who stand with an open heart and wait. Wait for their children to come home from danger, from harm’s way, and from war. I am proud to be one of those women.”
Field then continued, “If mothers ruled the world, there would be no wars."

Unbeknownst to us, Fox Station censored the rest of her speech - no wonder the ending didn't make sense. Did you hear of and about it?... and what did you think?
It kind of is similar to the Retaliatory Battlegroup I had thought of earlier --> M.A.T.T. (Mothers Against Taliban Terrorists)

Friday, September 14, 2007

The New Battlefield

Canada, Afghanistan and the 3D approach
The New Battlefield: Canada and the Increasing Complexity of Military Operations
The Canadian Forces Learning and Development Centre will hold a symposium September 27, 2007 at the Campus du Fort St-Jean at St-Jean-Sur-Richelieu. Titled The New Battlefield: Canada and the Increasing Complexity of Military Operations, this public event will be the occasion for a dozen of specialists of different horizons to shed light on this subject of public interest and pertinent to current affairs.

Among the invitees and panellists, the Centre will have the honour and privilege of receiving Louise Frechette, ex Deputy Secretary

-General of the United Nations and Emeritus member of the Centre for International Governance and Innovation. Our guest of honour will be giving a speech at the moment of the Conference dinner.

The invitees are:

- Francois Audet, Care Canada;

- Francois Bugingo, Journalist and President of Reporter Without Borders-Canada;

- Yvan Conoir, Professor of Political science at the Universite du Quebec a Montreal;

- David Fairchild, Member of the Core Working Group on Afghanistan, Operations officer of the Provincial Reconstruction Team, DFAIT;

- Louise Frechette, ex Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations (1997-2006) and Emeritus member of the Centre for International Governance and Innovation;

- Colonel J.R. Giguere, CD, Canadian Forces Military Attache in Washington, former Chief of Staff of the Multinational Brigade in Kabul;- Remi Landry, Lieutenant-colonel (ret.);

- Louis Laframboise, Vice-president Garda Canada, Consultation & Investigations;

- Beatrice Richard, Professor at the Department of History, Royal Military College of Kingston;

- Stephane Tremblay, Ph.D. candidate at l'Ecole nationale d'administration publique and research agent for the Reseau francophone de recherche sur les operations de paix;

-Adrian Walraven, Development agent of the Provincial Reconstruction Team, Representative of CIDA;

- Wayne Martin, Superintendent RCMP, Operations support officer, branch of international peace operations.

Historic Flypast for Battle of Britain Parade

Once-in-a-lifetime formation of four WWII vintage aircraft to honour Canadian war dead.

Canada's Air Force, in association with the Air Force Association of Canada, invites you to witness a flypast involving Second World War aircraft commemorating the:

67th Anniversary

of the

Battle of Britain

Sunday, September 16th, 2007

Btwn 10:15 and 11:30 a.m.


The Canada Aviation Museum


The event will also feature fly-pasts by current Canadian Forces aircraft including CF-18 fighter jets and CH-146 Griffon helicopters. Second World War veterans will march alongside serving members of Canada's Air Force and Air Cadets, and the Air Command pipes and drums will provide musical accompaniment."I am honoured to have the opportunity to show my respects to these Canadian and Allied heroes. We owe each and everyone of them our deepest gratitude," said Lieutenant-General Angus Watt, Chief of the Air Staff and Commander of Air Command.Ottawa entrepreneur and founder of Vintage Wings of Canada, Michael Potter, has agreed to provide a Spitfire, a Hawker Hurricane and a P-51 Mustang for the event. An Avro Lancaster from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, Ontario, will also take part in the flypast.One hundred and three Canadians flew in the Battle of Britain between July and October 1940. Twenty-three Canadians lost their lives during the Battle of Britain. Historians have described the Battle, which involved a total of almost 3,000-Allied aircrew, as the turning point of the Second World War. The victory, described by Sir Winston Churchill as Britain's "finest hour" gave hope to a demoralized Britain and northern Europe. It was the first battle to be won purely by air power.

PARKING:- Museum parking is restricted to veterans. Free public parking is available at CFB Rockcliffe on Codd's Road, north of Montreal Road. Continuous shuttles to and from the Canada Aviation Museum will run from 9:15 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

ADMISSION AND SEATING:- Admission to the Canada Aviation Museum will be free from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. A limited number of seats are available to the general public on a first-come-first-serve basis. The public should be seated by 10:15 a.m. The Museum is located at the intersection of Rockcliffe and Aviation Parkway.

WEATHER- Weather permitting, the ceremony will proceed as planned with fly-passes and displays. Should it rain, the ceremony will be held inside the Museum without fly-passes or displays.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Bin Laden Wants 'Caravan' of Martyrs

Under my own preponderances, I had made a decision not to publicize this story on September 11th as that would only accommodate the subject's wishes for it to be. As well, I have refused to portray his? video here as that would be conforming to his wishes.
Therefore, I have published this post below on the 12th instead.
Am I being defiant?
The day, September 11th, belongs to the families and friends to reflect and memorialize their loved ones.

Photo Credit: AFP

By LEE KEATH (Forbes Magazine)

09.11.07, 7:14 AM ET
Osama bin Laden urged sympathizers to join the "caravan" of martyrs as he praised one of the Sept. 11 suicide hijackers in a new video that emerged Tuesday to mark the sixth anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
Al-Qaida traditionally issues a video every year on the anniversary, with the last testament of one of the 19 hijackers involved in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. This year's video showed hijacker Waleed al-Shehri addressing the camera and warning the U.S.: "We shall come at you from your front and back, your right and left."
The new message came days after the world got its first current look at bin Laden in nearly three years, with the release of a video Saturday in which the terror leader addressed the American people.
The latest videotape, of the hijacker's testament, had not yet been posted on extremist web sites. But IntelCenter, a monitoring group in suburban Washington, said it had obtained the 47-minute video and provided it to Associated Press Television News.
It begins with an audiotape introduction by bin Laden. While his voice is heard, the video shows a still image of him, raising his finger. In the image, bin Laden has the same dyed-black beard and the same clothes - a white robe and cap and beige cloak - that he had in Saturday's video.
But it was not known if the audiotape was recently made. In the past, al-Qaida has used footage and audio of bin Laden taped long ago for release later.
In the tape, bin Laden praised al-Shehri, saying he "recognized the truth" that Arab rulers were "vassals" of the West and had "abandoned the balance of (Islamic) revelation."
"It is true that this young man was little in years, but the faith in his heart was big," he said.
"So there is a huge difference between the path of the kings, presidents and hypocritical Ulama (Islamic scholars) and the path of these noble young men," like al-Shehri, bin Laden said. "The formers' lot is to spoil and enjoy themselves whereas the latters' lot is to destroy themselves for Allah's Word to be Supreme."
"It remains for us to do our part. So I tell every young man among the youth of Islam: It is your duty to join the caravan (of martyrs) until the sufficiency is complete and the march to aid the High and Omnipotent continues," he said.
At the end of his speech, bin Laden also mentions the al-Qaida leader in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who was killed in an U.S. air strike there. Al-Zarqawi followed in the footsteps of al-Shehri and his brothers who "fulfilled their promises to God."
"And now it is our turn," bin Laden says.
After bin Laden speaks, the video of al-Shehri appears. Al-Shehri - one of the hijackers on American Airlines Flight 11, which hit the World Trade Center - is seen wearing a white robe and headscarf, with a full black beard, speaking in front of a backdrop with images of the burning World Trade Center.
"We shall come at you from your front and back, your right and left," al-Shehri said, asserting that America would suffer the same fate as the Soviet Union.
He also praised the losses the United States suffered in Somalia in the late 1990s.
"As for our own fortune, it is not in this world," he said. "And we are not competing with you for this world, because it does not equal in Allah's eyes the wing of a mosquito."
Al-Shehri warned Muslims who strayed to return to their religion and deplored the state of those who abandoned Muslim holy war, or jihad.
"The condition of Islam at the present time makes one cry ... in view of the weakness, humiliation, scorn and enslavement it is suffering because it neglected the obligations of Allah and His orders, and permitted His forbidden things and abandoned jihad in Allah's path," he said.
Suicide attacks for al-Qaida and other militant groups often videotape last testaments before carrying out their attacks. Every Sept. 11 anniversary, al-Qaida has used the tapes in a bid to rally its supporters by glorifying its "martyrs."
Bin Laden's new appearances underline the failure to find the terror leader that President Bush vowed in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks to take "dead or alive."
On Sunday, Bush's homeland security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend sought to play down bin Laden's importance - and added a taunt, saying he was "virtually impotent."
But terrorism experts say al-Qaida's core leadership is regrouping in the lawless Pakistan-Afghanistan border region. The latest National Intelligence Estimate says the network is growing in strength, intensifying its efforts to put operatives in the United States and plot new attacks.
Bin Laden's video on Saturday was his first message in over a year - since a July 1, 2006 audiotape. The images came under close scrutiny from U.S. intelligence agencies, looking for clues to the 50-year-old's health and whereabouts.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

September 11th

September 11th
We shall always remember.

A U.S. soldier puts the Canadian flag at half-mast during a ceremony for marking the sixth anniversary of Sept. 11 at a U.S. base in Kabul, Afghanistan on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2007.
(Photo credit: AP / Musadeq Sadeq)

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Our Soldiers, Our Sons

Recently, I received link to a touching video created by and sent to me by Krista. A mother of 4 children, she wished to share her thoughts through this slide show with us. After meeting, Darlene Cushman, mother of fallen soldier Trooper Darryl Caswell, her drive became stronger as she weeps for the mothers who have lost their sons.

Thank you Krista for being there for fellow military families and sharing your heartwarming video with us. ~ m.m.

Video by: Krista Carruthers

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Happy Birthday

Today, I'd like to wish my son a very happy birthday!
I'm so proud of you and all you have accomplished for many throughout the world.
I'm always thinking of you and love you always.
"Happy Birthday Son!"
Love, Mom ox

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

NATO's Military Committee to Arrive in Ottawa

NATO's Military Committee arrives in Ottawa Thursday for a four-day visit, September 06-September 09 to Canada. After an overnight stop in Ottawa, the committee will fly to Victoria, B.C., on Friday for a series of meetings and interactive seminars.General Rick Hillier, Canada's Chief of the Defence Staff, will welcome the Chairman of the Military Committee, General Ray Henault, and NATO's 25 other chiefs of defence upon their arrival in Ottawa on 06 September where they will attend a State Dinner with the Governor General, before flying on to Victoria, British Columbia for a series of meetings and interactive seminars.These meetings will focus on how to improve providing resources and other capabilities to enhance operations.

Date: Thursday, Sept. 6th 2007
Time: 12 - 1:20 p.m.
Location: Ottawa (personally, and for security purposes, I'm going to refrain from submitting the location on this site)
A 50-person honour guard will be inspected by the Chairman. The Canadian Forces Central
Band will perform and there will be a CF Snowbird fly pass.

The annual meeting of the alliance’s military committee has been in the planning stages for the last two years and NATO officials stress it is not an emergency session to deal with the ongoing Afghanistan mission. While Afghanistan will be discussed, it will be in the context of longer-term planning, they said.
NATO’s military committee is the senior military authority in NATO, providing the alliance’s civilian decision-makers with advice on defence matters. The committee is currently chaired by Canadian Gen. Ray Henault.
Henault proposed the main focus of the meeting be “delivering coherent capabilities on future operations,” said a NATO official.
The discussions will concentrate on the level of resources available to the alliance, training and mounting military operations.
“It is our view that by taking a longer-term approach to planning for operations we stand a better chance of having the right capabilities, from more allies, at the right time,” said the NATO official.
Over the last year, some NATO nations have been at odds with each other over the level of involvement in combat by alliance members in Afghanistan. Some nations do not undertake night operations while others operate under caveats which prevent an active combat role.
About the Military Committee- What is it? :

The Military Committee (MC) is the senior military authority in NATO, providing NATO’s civilian decision-making bodies – the North Atlantic Council, the Defence Planning Committee and the Nuclear Planning Group - with advice on military matters.

The Military Committee is made up of senior military officers from the NATO member countries who serve as their country’s Military Representatives to NATO, representing their Chief of Defence.
The Military Representatives work in a national capacity, representing the interests of their countries while remaining open to negotiation and discussion so that a NATO consensus can be reached.

The Committee’s principal role is to provide direction and advice on military policy and strategy. It is responsible for recommending to NATO's political authorities those measures considered necessary for the common defence of the NATO area and for the implementation of decisions regarding NATO’s operations and missions.

ISAF'S Reconstruction

Credit: NATO Click on map to enlarge.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Soldier Back on Canadian Soil

A Repatriation ceremony was held 02 September 2007 at 8 Wing / Canadian Forces Base Trenton for fallen soldier Major Raymond Ruckpaul.
Major Ruckpaul, an armoured officer based at the NATO Allied Land Component Command Headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany, was serving in Kabul, Afghanistan with the International Security Assistance Force Headquarters (ISAF). In attendance to pay their respect were the Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunites Agency, The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay and the Chief of Defence Staff, General Rick Hillier and other dignitaries

Chief of Canada Defense Staff, General Rick Hillier, inspects a Canadian
flag belonging to Brenda Miller of Trenton Sunday afternoon at CFB Trenton.
Ms. Miller has placed the names of the 70 fallen Canadian armed Forces
personnel who died in Afghanistan.
Photo credit:
CFB TRENTON, Ont. -- The shroud of mystery surrounding the death of a Canadian soldier found shot in a secure compound in Afghanistan persisted yesterday as his remains were returned to Canadian soil.
No further details concerning Maj. Raymond Ruckpaul's death were offered as a casket bearing his remains was returned to his family at Canadian Forces Base Trenton in eastern Ontario.
The 42-year-old father of two was found in his barracks Aug. 29 after being "significantly injured" by a gunshot wound. He died about an hour later.
Since then, family members have reported the military has offered no explanation as to how Ruckpaul died.
Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier were similarly tight-lipped at yesterday's ceremony, offering no comment on the soldier's death.
Both men addressed the dozens of civilians who had gathered to show their support and shook hands with them through a chain-link fence. Chief of Canada Defense Staff, General Rick Hillier, inspected a Canadian flag belonging to Brenda Miller of Trenton Sunday afternoon at CFB Trenton. Ms. Miller has placed the names of all 70 Canadian armed Forces personnel killed in Afghanistan on the flag. She brings the flag to every repatriation ceremony at CFB Trenton. Sunday, while Ms. Miller and others waited CFB Trenton to pay respects to Major Raymond Ruckpaul, General Hiller and National Defense Minister Peter McKay went to the base fence line to talk with the public. When the men turned to return to the base tarmack, the public applauded.
Four unidentified family members gathered on the tarmac as the plane baring Ruckpaul's body arrived. They walked slowly behind the casket as it was carried to a waiting hearse.
Ruckpaul lived in Germany with his wife and two children.
The Hamilton native joined the Armed Forces prior to studying geology at McMaster University.
At the time of his death, he was serving at the headquarters of NATO's International Security Assistance Force.
In earlier media reports, Ruckpaul was described by friends and neighbours as a man with heartfelt dedication both to his job and his family.
"He was such a loving person, especially with his kids," said Valerie Bianchetto, a 40-year neighbour of the Ruckpaul family.
"He was so happy about his family. He loved everything in his life."
Ruckpaul's cousin Leona said the family's struggle to come to terms with the soldier's death is exacerbated by the military's silence.
"Everyone's in a state of shock," she said.
"Nobody knows what happened. It will be a very long time before we really know the truth." ...

Sunday, September 02, 2007

God Bless Major Raymond Ruckpaul

Dead soldier identified as armoured officer
August 31, 2007
The Canadian soldier who died of a gunshot wound this week in a secure compound in Kabul was Major Raymond Ruckpaul, a 41-year-old armoured officer who was working at the International Security Force to Afghanistan (ISAF) headquarters.
Major Ruckpaul died yesterday morning at ISAF's secure compound. He was found in his room injured by a gunshot wound. Efforts to save him failed, and he was pronounced dead about an hour later.
Major Ruckpaul was based at the NATO Allied Land Component Command Headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany.
The military did not identify Major Ruckpaul's regiment or home town.
The death is now under investigation by the military's National Investigation Service, which probes all cases of serious injury.
Only enemy action, because he was found within the perimeter of the compound, has been ruled out.
Major Ruckpaul's 55 colleagues at the headquarters held a memorial service for him yesterday, and a small ramp ceremony for him today.
John Ruckpaul, a second cousin of the dead soldier, remembered a man who was destined to be in the army.
"He had the right attitude and he loved it," the 71-year-old retired airman said from Kingston yesterday.
Major Ruckpaul grew up in Hamilton and attended McMaster University. He had been interested in the military since he was a young teenager, and after his first year at university, he entered the Regular Officer Training Plan.
"He was really an army type. He was fitted for the army. ... He knew where he was going; he had direction," Mr. Ruckpaul said.
Major Ruckpaul had been stationed in Heidelberg, Germany, where he met his wife and had a son and daughter.
Mr. Ruckpaul said he did not believe there was any chance his cousin was suicidal.
"He kept himself physically fit. Sound body, sound mind."

Major Raymond Ruckpaul, an armoured officer based at the NATO Allied Land Component Command Headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany who was serving in Kabul, Afghanistan with the International Security Assistance Force Headquarters (ISAF HQ), died on 29 August 2007. He was found significantly injured within the confines of the ISAF HQ in Kabul and later died of his injuries. The matter is under investigation by ISAF authorities and the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service

Statement by the Minister of National Defence
The Honourable Peter Gordon MacKay, Minister of National Defence and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, issued the following statement today on the death of Major Raymond Ruckpaul:"I would like to extend my condolences to the family of Major Raymond Ruckpaul who died in Afghanistan. My thoughts and prayers are with them during this difficult time.This is a challenging mission, but Canada's government is showing international leadership by working alongside our international partners and standing up for something that is just. We are committed to helping the Afghan people achieve peace and stability and rebuild their country and its institutions."

Statement by Prime Minister of Canada - Stephen Harper
"On behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Major Raymond Ruckpaul who died yesterday in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Major Ruckpaul was serving as part of an international coalition working to bring peace and security to Afghanistan. The Government of Canada stands proudly with our soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen as they strive to make a difference in this war torn country."
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