Thursday, April 05, 2012

F-35 - Kissing America's Arse Takes Wings

I'm reposting this piece from 12 December, 2010.  It adds some useful context to the depths of Harper's perversion of our federal government and its insitutions.

What's not to like about the F-35?    Just about everything.   That includes how Harper & Company, aided and abetted by a military willing to ditch its integrity, bent over backwards to make Washington see Canada as a player.  PostMedia's David Pugliese has an eye-opener about the F-35 hard sell in the Ottawa Citizen.

The article reveals how the military dummied up as the Harper regime lied their asses off about the F-35 selection:

Conservative messaging insisted there had indeed been a competition back in 2001 when the Pentagon selected Lockheed Martin's F-35 over Boeing's Joint Strike Fighter to be America's new fighter aircraft. " There was a competitive process held under the previous government to choose this plane,"  said Prime Minister Stephen Harper. MacKay said the same thing. Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose accused the Liberals of  "spreading misinformation."

While there was a competition in the U.S., Canada had no role in it, say aerospace industry representatives, military sources and a former assistant deputy minster in charge of procurement at DND.

""That claim is a total fabrication,"  says Alan Williams, who as DND's assistant deputy minister for materiel was a driving force behind Canadian participation in the JSF program. " We didn't play any role in selecting the JSF. We didn't even know who would win. We watched the press conference on TV like the rest of the public."

 ...Other DND documents note that Canada's requirements for a new fighter weren't drawn up until early 2010, raising the question of how Canada could have selected the F-35 as the plane it wanted back in 2001.

Aerospace industry representatives say the Conservatives' claims about competition are laughable. At the time Lockheed Martin's F-35 was selected, Canada had $10 million invested in a $300-billion project. That kind of money buys no influence in a program designed to create 9,000 U.S. jobs, they say.

There's nothing Harper likes better than lying his greasy ass off by blaming the Liberals:

The Conservatives also had to confront charges that the JSF purchase demonstrated fiscal irresponsibility. The solution? " It was the Liberal government that in 2002, committed Canada to the development of this aircraft,"  Prime Minister Stephen Harper said, a point frequently echoed by his Conservative ministers.

But DND briefing notes and other government documents obtained by the Citizen make clear participation in JSF research did not lock Canada into buying the plane.

 And then there was Harper's 'Bear bomber bullshit,' another testament to this prime ministerial greaseball's ethical depravity:

On July 28, two Russian "Bear" bombers flew 400 kilometres east of Goose Bay, N.L., prompting the military to launch two CF-18s to check out the aircraft. Details were leaked to the Sun newspapers, a media chain that counted Harper's former communications director among its top executives.

" Canuck Flyboys Intercept Bombers — Ruskies (sic) Sent Packing,"  read a headline in the Ottawa Sun. In the article, an unnamed defence expert speculated the Russian aircraft might have been carrying nuclear warheads while another analyst said the flight proved the need to buy new fighter jets.

The Conservatives circulated " talking points"  to their MPs on how to use the incident to embarrass Ignatieff and bolster support for the F-35s.

" Embarrassingly for him, Russian bomber flights over the Arctic — just two days ago — underscore why our men and women in uniform need modern equipment to do their jobs,"  the memo noted.

Russian officials in Ottawa were puzzled by the government's decision to release information about a routine flight outside Canadian airspace.

 " I don't see anything special here,"  said Sergey Khudyakov, the press secretary for the Russian Embassy in Ottawa. He pointed out that the aircraft were well off Canada's shores and out of Canadian airspace. Khudyakov noted that past media stories had linked routine patrols to " domestic politics."

With the news about the intercept making the rounds, MacKay, who denied leaking the information to the Sun, started to do TV interviews. He called the Russian flight " alarming"  and said the Canadian aircraft were launched to send a tough message to Russia.

The report reveals a "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" posture on the part of Canadian defence officials and an extremely pliable defence minister readily submissive to those he is supposed to lead.   Together they shirked off reservations and concerns spreading from Washington and into Europe:

 At DND headquarters, however, there were no such concerns. Bureaucrats and officers were moving to position the plane as Canada's new fighter aircraft.

They had a strong ally in Peter MacKay. The personable minister was well liked by senior officers and he was also seen in headquarters as a politician who didn't ask too many questions or challenge the military's equipment requests.

Then again, why would MacKay waste time with questions.  The Tories' and their military's support for the F-35 is, after all, ideological:

Government documents would later reveal the military wanted the purchase to show Washington that Canada was committed to defence.

The Harper government tightened security as the procurement wound its way through the bureaucracy. Parliamentarians received few details about the JSF. DND would not allow those involved in the JSF program to speak to the news media, insisting that any release of details would jeopardize the procurement.

Small wonder the Canadian military dummied up.  Like their Tory masters they had a lot to conceal from the Canadian public:

In the 1980s, when Canada's Air Force was looking for a new fighter jet -- eventually picking the CF-18 -- it gathered the competing aircraft at Cold Lake, Alberta, for rigorous flight tests. One military participant recalls tens of thousands of pages of aerospace evaluation data and flight test details. Among those taking part was then military pilot Laurie Hawn, now the Conservative point man on the JSF file.

But Canada decided on the JSF without testing it against competing planes. Boeing and French aircraft manufacturer Dassault would later confirm DND never asked nor received high-level performance data from them.

The developmental nature of the JSF, in itself, violated DND's criteria for a replacement aircraft. In 2006, department officials stated that any CF-18 replacement would have to be an aircraft in operation with an allied force, according to records obtained by the Citizen.

And, of course, the F-35 is years away from being operational.   Worse yet, Harper's eagle is turning out to be a turkey.   The Pentagon's favourite think tank, the RAND Corporation, has evaluated the F-35 and concluded it can't out turn, out climb or out run any of the current stable of Russian aircraft.   In any real war where the F-35's stealth technology was conceivably relevant, the JSF would be quickly outnumbered, overwhelmed, and eliminated.   But none of that really matters, does it?  Not when the selection of the aircraft is really just a grand gesture to demonstrate we're faithful allies.

One reason I began this blog was because I saw evolving an undemocratic Canadian government that steamrollered a hapless opposition and manipulated the Canadian public with a toxic sludge of secrecy, fear and outright lies.

When Harper moved to gag the public service and the armed forces, channeling their communications with the public through a gaggle of political commissars in the PMO to filter and warp the message the opposition should have brought the whole, rotten house down.   The opposition should have stood up for Canada and for the Canadian people.   The Citizen article demonstrates what happens to our democracy when you couple an authoritarian, morally corrupt government with a lazy, weak opposition.

When will you Liberals learn that "schoolboy" is not a prime ministerial skillset and that, if you can't lead an effective opposition you don't have what it takes to lead the country?  When will you face reality?  Christ this country needs an election.


Beijing York said...

The latest poll results are frightening with Harper getting close to majority territory.

We need new opposition party leaders post haste. These parties have also got to hammer out a world view that Canadians can support. Why do they continue to act so freaking wishy-washy on key issues?

The Mound of Sound said...

Unfortunately the argument holds that a party leader is "entitled" to lead that party in at least one election. To me that's like telling someone they have to stay in the car when it's stalled on a level crossing with a freight train bearing down on it.

Why with the performance Ignatieff has put in over the past two years would any Liberal even want him to become prime minister? I think he'd be a disaster from Day One. If you can't attack while in opposition, you can't defend a government.

As I read this article I wondered why this succinct summary of Harper's and our military's duplicity had to come from a newspaper reporter instead of the opposition. Did the Liberals not bother to go after the same documents the Ottawa Citizen obtained? If not, why not?

Lately I've also begun to wonder whether Ignatieff hasn't soured on politics altogether? I think he sees the writing on the wall but when he blunders he turns churlish.

One thing that made Lester Pearson a great prime minister was that he recruited his successors. He left the Liberal Party stronger than he found it. By contrast Ignatieff seems disengaged, perhaps indifferent to the Liberal Party's fortunes.

Those who've had a good deal of courtroom experience, who have fought for a living, can instantly spot Ignatieff's glaring weaknesses. That's a dog that can't hunt. You either find a new dog or you go hungry.

It was no accident that Diefenbaker and Trudeau were such powerful leaders. They came into politics with well honed skills in advocacy.

Schoolboys don't advocate, they lecture. And that's really only relevant to someone searching for a good grade.

thwap said...

I would think that a strength of a philosopher is that they can defend their principles.

Ignatieff's problem is that he doesn't really have any coherent principles that he wants to defend.

(Aside from his appallingly childish belief that the USA and other imperialist powers are the "good guys" who deserve to go about invading other countries righting wrongs and saving lives.)

It's also the case that he agrees with most of the harper agenda, hence the idea of the "Librocon" party.

The Mound of Sound said...

Yes they can host great arcane debates but they're bereft of strategy, tactics and aggression. A good litigator constantly searches for ways to find and exploit his adversary's weaknesses.

Iggy has weak political instinct and Harper knows it. Again and again Harper manages to neutralize the Liberals when he most needs it. Iggy & Co. don't know how to land a punch. When Harper falters in the polls it's always of his own doing and it quickly passes.

What I cannot grasp is why the Libs are devoid of policy? If an election was imminent that might be understandable but two whole years?

My guess is that Ignatieff fears Harper would run a Dion on him and turn an election into a referendum on Iggy himself. I can understand why he would fear that but the Liberal Party will go nowhere with that sort of leadership.

Anonymous said...

I find it sad that many a good civil servant has to be sacrificed to try and uphold the law in Canada.

Once again, Elections Canada are taking the Cons to task...

crf said...

Maybe the campaign strategy of the Liberals is to keep all their policies secret, and unveil them only during the campaign, so that Harper cannot attack and neutralize them before an election is even called.

It's probably just a vain hope, but we'll see.

Anonymous said...

Recently in Seoul there was a conference called "The Fair Society and Global Leadership". The opening speaker was Gerald Hyman and he spoke about what constitutes a democracy. He produced a coloured coded map of the world showing which contries practiced the best democracy. Blue represented the best, yellow second best and red third best in the developed world. What was so interesting was the fact the Scandinavian countries where blue. France, Germany and others were yellow and America was red. Where was Canada in all of this? We were not even on the map and the only country that was not. Now I know this didn't look good for Mr. Hyman who is a senior adviser and president of the Hills Program for making such a blunder. For me and other Canadians who watched this conference we were dumb founded. This mistake certainly made this a farse of "The Fair Society and Global Leadership" conference. However, the question has to be asked, "Why was such a mistake not caught before the conference began"? Does Canada not matter? Is the rest of the world looking upon us idiots within a so called democracy? We don't have to wonder why President Obama made the comment to Harper at the G20 Summit to be "careful not to fall in" into a computer produced picture of a pond with fish swimming around on the floor. Anyong

saskboy said...

I think it's a dream that Iggy will leave politics before the next election. And I don't know what's scarier, the devil we know, or the one yet to be elected. I think a sufficient number of Canadians are now desensitized to having immoral/corrupt politicians in government, that elections can't be won on issues.