Published: Monday, 04 January 2010 04:29
04 January 2010
(Unfortunately, this news comes as I wait to board a flight from Hong Kong to the United States. It must be written quickly and without editing.)
A reporter at Canwest News Service emailed Saturday asking for information on the four Canadian soldiers and the journalist who were killed on December 30 in Afghanistan. I supplied a portion of the unpublicized information, and the reporter emailed Sunday that the Canadian military is “trying to suppress our telling of your information.”
The reporter also wrote, “While the Canadian military confirmed to me much of the information you provided, they are trying to prevent us from publishing it, saying it would breach our agency's embedding agreement.”
There is nothing classified or sensitive about the information supplied to Canwest. This smells of a classic cover-up that has nothing to do with winning or losing the war, but more likely something to do with saving embarrassment.
Some information provided to Canwest:
According to my sources, the attack happened during late afternoon on 30th. At least some of the Canadian soldiers had been dismounted doing an “engagement patrol” in district 2 of Kandahar. The soldiers and Canadian reporter Michelle Lang were in the area of the district center and the Dand district border. On the way out (apparently) a LAV (armored vehicle) was hit by the bomb on route “Molson,” flipping the LAV.
Four apparently died on scene. Sgt. Kirk Taylor apparently died at KAF or on the way to KAF (Kandahar Airfield). Five wounded were flown to Germany. One soldier was apparently thought to be dead, but was pulled from the wreckage about three hours after the blast and may have started showing signs of life during helicopter flight.
The five Canadians were killed with about 500lbs of explosives, apparently made from fertilizer, buried under route Molson in Kandahar. A wire approximately 150m long was used to command detonate the bomb using a radio receiver. The radio receiver was outside the ECM bubble.
For more discussion, please see.
Insofar as the apparent censorship attempts by the Canadian military, any censorship of non-classified information is fraught with peril. Both the British and U.S. military have at times done the same, leading to non-productive confrontations for everyone involved. To whit, regarding American stonewalling: CENSORING IRAQ
Immediately after that dispatch, General Petraeus emailed to me. When the matter was brought to his attention, the matter was solved. The censorship stopped. His openess with the media – good, bad, or ugly – has been incredibly productive for everyone. Of course there are lumps involved. Everyone gets lumps in this fight. The upshot is that media overwhelmingly trusts General Petraeus, as do I.
Then came the British, to whit: BULLSHIT BOB
Many of the British officers know that censorship is counterproductive, but they’ve still got too many monkeys in the cockpit to fly straight. Many Americans are under British command in Afghanistan, and so British censorship in Afghanistan becomes American business, just as any censorship by us is rightfully British business.
Though I have been around British enough to trust and admire their fighting abilities and moral compass, censorship from MoD is steaming toward severe confrontations during 2010. The MoD is not of high IQ; British soldiers are something to brag about. British troops are national treasures and should be in the news every day, yet their MoD is dumbed-down and is not tough enough to handle the media.
According to my communications from inside the Canwest News Service camp, Canwest feels censored and realizes the Canadian military is covering up the situation in Kandahar.
Today, U.S. troops are under Canadian leadership, so any hint of Canadian censorship suddenly and jarringly makes Canadian business in Afghanistan into U.S. business. With U.S. blood under Canadian command, the Canadian military is on limits. U.S. families and citizens have a right to know who is leading their troops. This is very serious. In this war, especially in southern Afghanistan, the British have a right to know what’s going on with the U.S. and Canadians. The Canadians and U.S. have that same right, as do other partners.
Access is a two way street. The Canadians can freely give access and gain a chance to tell their side of the unfolding stories, or they can deny access and access will be taken without terms.