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Troops' Internet postings pose security risk, warns military official

George Wallace

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It is rather interesting that many of you are complaining about videos shot by an American, inbedded with American Troops, who happened to film Canadians in action.  His videos, were processed through the American System and distributed by his Television Station back in the US of A.  Totally outside of any control by Canadian Censorship.  It does put a different twist on OPSEC and PERSEC. 
 

Teddy Ruxpin

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Exactly, George.

Dosanjh called on the Canadian Forces to investigate the source of the videos to ensure the troops' safety isn't in danger.

Well, here's the source for all to see...

http://www.beloblog.com/KGW_Blogs/afghanistan/

The videos were taken by a reporter for KGW News, a station in Oregon.  This took all of two seconds to find on Google.  Indeed, the source link was posted here on Army.ca a few days ago.  The reporter's name - Scott Kesterson - appears at the beginning of each video.

People, including our esteemed defence critic, need to suck back and reload. Tempest in a teapot... ::)
 

McG

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silentbutdeadly! said:
Yeah like on the ground fighting! risking my life , and if there's videos out that might educate future Infantry soldiers and show them how it is on the ground.
and if those videos are available on the internet, then both sides can get all training value from them.  If we need training aids, would we not be better served by combat videos designated for official use only (ie: kept within the CF and shown at units & schools)?
 

Petard

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I have to agree with Teddy's comments.

I think its very disingenuous for these critics and reporters saying how concerned they are for the troops safety, and then post links on their newspapers site to easily get to it. As for the liberal critics, I have some suspicions about their motivations too, if they were all that worried shouldn't they have addressed this in private to the military instead of blabbing in public and drawing more attention to the source?

One last comment though to those who believe the only source for Int should be the ALLC, there's problems with that and if you want to know my story drop by my office, (check my profile, I'm sure you'll be able to figure out where it is), I'll gladly give anyone who wants to sing the praises of the ALLC an ear full. Bring your ear defenders.
 

TangoTwoBravo

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The Lessons Learned process is, perhaps, slower than we'd like but it has changed recently.  Its been my job to collect observations over here for the last six months (I'm that Captain), and all ranks have been very open.  I try and get the info from the field.  A lot of info has gone back to Canada on a range of topics (IEDs, training, tactics, weapons, kit, etc).  Much of it is classified, so you won't see all of it in a snazzy booklet but it may well begin to influence change in the army.  Rotos getting ready see it, so they do have access to what has gone on in theatre. 

I forgot my ear defenders, but if anybody has suggestions go ahead and PM me if you like.

 

Colin Parkinson

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You also have to balance Opsec with educating the public with what is happening. To be blunt Canadians need to see our guys fight and win, it will help remove the perception that all they do is hand out candy and build wells. Keeping completely quiet allows the opposition (both internal and external) to fill the void. Canadians need to see our guys doing both the rebuilding stuff and the combat to ensure that they maintain support for the mission, otherwise the Bad guys will be able to dominate the PR battle and destroy support at home which is their intent.

As much as I understand the need for OpSec on a personal level it sucks to be on the outside not be able to follow the discussions and lessons learned.
 

GAP

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Colin P said:
You also have to balance Opsec with educating the public with what is happening. To be blunt Canadians need to see our guys fight and win, it will help remove the perception that all they do is hand out candy and build wells. Keeping completely quiet allows the opposition (both internal and external) to fill the void. Canadians need to see our guys doing both the rebuilding stuff and the combat to ensure that they maintain support for the mission, otherwise the Bad guys will be able to dominate the PR battle and destroy support at home which is their intent.

As much as I understand the need for OpSec on a personal level it sucks to be on the outside not be able to follow the discussions and lessons learned.

+ 10
It is frustrating to know a little of what is going on, and then turning around and seeing the public with "no clue".  There has to be a proactive effort made to inform the public over and over again, and what's coming out now isn't cutting it.




 

North Star

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I agree with the last two posts. To be blunt, PAff is failing in its job in getting the point across to Canadians while balancing that message with OPSEC. However, that should not be taken as carte blanche to begin spilling potentially damaging data and information on to public media.

Honestly, I'm surprised at the seeming lack of effort in producing PAff products outlining the ideology of the Taliban/HIG, Canada's role, and how that role ultimately makes the world a safer place. If I had my way, I'd have so many pictures of burned schools/atrocities pushed to the media that the mere mention of the word "Taliban" would conjure up images of arson, ignorance, and criminality. 
 

PPCLI Guy

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North Star said:
Honestly, I'm surprised at the seeming lack of effort in producing PAff products outlining the ideology of the Taliban/HIG, Canada's role, and how that role ultimately makes the world a safer place. If I had my way, I'd have so many pictures of burned schools/atrocities pushed to the media that the mere mention of the word "Taliban" would conjure up images of arson, ignorance, and criminality. 

The most important Information Operations campaign is, in fact, the internal one - and the that includes the "home front".
 

GAP

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PPCLI Guy said:
The most important Information Operations campaign is, in fact, the internal one - and the that includes the "home front".

I disagree. If the CF as an organization, is not prepared to make its' case to the people, then it should not complain when it needs the personnel and equipment. It has an obligation to inform the public about its' mission and needs, and that has not been happening.

The squeaky wheel DOES get the grease, but then it has to do the job.
 

paracowboy

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GAP said:
If the CF as an organization, is not prepared to make its' case to the people, then it should not complain when it needs the personnel and equipment. It has an obligation to inform the public about its' mission and needs, and that has not been happening.
that's what he's saying.
 

Colin Parkinson

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From what I have seen Combat Camera is capable of producing some nice stuff, but not good at getting it out there. the Military needs to make itself known to the public and supported the way a fire department does. It also needs to get a presence in the cities where there are no large bases.
 

Centurian1985

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My 2 cents:

I am all for the rights of soldiers to be proud of their jobs, show what they are doing, provide insight to the rest of the country, show the 'I was there photos'...  we shouldnt be afraid of showing what the job is about. 

I will disagree with the comments on OPSEC over tactics depicted in videos.  Canadians have been observed for months and years by the enemy forces, and 'observers' are present at every Canadian base area.  Anyone who thinks the 'enemy' is going to learn anything new from a video on 'youtube' is foolish (unless it is a video of an ops briefing or int office, of course that would be new, definately a non-no).

I will agree with comments about PERSEC.  Not everyone in your picture frame is a 'buddy'.  Someone walking in the background could be involved in sensitive work and would not appreciate your paparazzi efforts. 

Finally I will agree and emphasize that releasing film and images taken during duty is the complete right of the DND when that operation is still in progress and Canadian soldiers are still working in that area.  Approval of CoC is there for two very important reasons. 

1) Not all young soldiers who fight are going to use common sense when combining field work and imagery devices. Eventually someone is going to do or say something really stupid on tape or in an image, and let it get posted on the internet. This includes fighting engagements when emotions are high and the 4-letter count is at its maximum. 
Example: In an unspecified year, a young Private I knew was charged for punching out an officer.  Reason unimportant, result unimportant.  What was important was that the Private in question had a friend of his take pictures of him while he did it!!  Quote: "Are you ready? Are you ready?"  Pow! Flash!  Pictures of him beating an officer.  Im sorry, but how stupid is that? I asked him "Why would you take pictures of yourself doing that?" he said "I dont know, it seemed like a good idea at the time!"  Fortunately, at that time there was no internet access, so worldwide coverage wasnt a concern.  Point proven, case closed.  It is only a matter of time until something stupid gets done and released.

2) The entire deployment is dependent on political support from the Canadian people and your government.  They want to ensure that if they are paying for your services that you will represent them in the manner that they determine best.  Also known as 'loyalty to your employer'.  It is not up to the individual soldier to decide how best to depict the Canadian military, it is the governments decision. The soldier can be released and move on with his life if he does something stupid, but the rest of the military will have to live with the results of that one persons actions.

Of course, not everyone will agree with these ideas, so five recommendations for future posters:
1) Think twice before hitting the 'upload' button.  Would I be proud of this picture if it were on the front page of a newspaper?  Would my parents be proud?
2) Has everyone in that photo or film clip agreed to let you publish that picture/clip?  If not, it shouldnt be published on the internet.
3) Is there any sensitive material, or action in this image?  Do you have the skill and knowledge to actually judge that there isnt any?
4) Never publish 'voice'!!  Audio clips can be manipulated for propoganda purposes to an unbelievable level and takes forensic invetigation to prove "hey, thats not what I said!"
5) Ask yourself, "Why am I publishing this?" Is it really to 'inform the public and other soldiers" or for the "look at how cool I am" factor?
 

Petard

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2Bravo said:
The Lessons Learned process is, perhaps, slower than we'd like but it has changed recently...  Much of it is classified, so you won't see all of it in a snazzy booklet but it may well begin to influence change in the army.  Rotos getting ready see it, so they do have access to what has gone on in theatre. 

I forgot my ear defenders, but if anybody has suggestions go ahead and PM me if you like.

Ack'd to 2B
There were some specific incidents which my comments applly to, I'm currently on leave but will PM you later with my work e-mail so I can contact you WRT the specifics.

I should clarify my comments so they can be put in context, and 2B has indirectly alluded to one of the problems, ie those preparing for the mission  have access to the information, but those who work in a Centre Of Excellence (COE) responsible for updating the TTP's often have more limited access, if any.
The main point I was getting at was that it was implied in this subject thread, and some others, that the main source of information should only be the Army Lesson's Learned Centre. I suppose it is also implied in that there would be better control of information and compromising information would not be so vulnerable. While in genreal I agree with that, the problem at my level is that while the issues identified in some of ALLC's documents are vital and usually timely, they are very sparse in details, which are obviously needed in order to flush out the applicable procedures/drills to be changed. I don't expect the ALLC to be able to "get down in the weeds" for every COE, I don't expect they have the staff, the time or expertise to do that, which means other sources of information must be sought, in trying to do that some of us have had difficulty in getting any information from theatre, this is especially frustrating in developing training for new technologies for a unit pre-deployment. But people are resourcefull and manage to find ways to get the information, which unfortunately does sometimes leak out as shared e-mails and, while they can be entertaining, do present a problem if someone were to think they should act on the limited information these isolated pieces of information provide. This entire matter of sharing information has been recognized and is being addressed by those of a much higher pay grade than me.

2B I'm not trying to slam the ALLC, but those who want to say it is "the be all to end all" or the only approved source for any theatre int are grossly under-estimating the nature of the solutions required for the problems/changes needed identified in ALLC's research.
Cheers     
 

TangoTwoBravo

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Fire Support was actually the first report I generated here.  I don't get into the details of gun drills, which is perhaps frustrating to some.  I do get into employment and tactics.  My role here is to be a sensor.  I alert others to issues which can then be studied in more detail.

There is quite a bit from the recent battles that is coming through the pipe.  Most of it is classified.  That will slow things down, but the schools and CMTC will certainly have access, not to mention the units.  I'll be back at work fairly soon.  I'm gonna regret this, but if you are an Ops O or Trg O and you can't find something you're looking for you, can find me in about a month on the DIN.

Cheers,

2B
 

JasonH

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As many of you know with my experiance in makeing Military video's this is a very double edged sword of topic for me.  When it comes to pictures and video's I feel a great deal of hope they keep coming but at the same time in no way put the troops at risk.  I've seen the video's in question and really find it foolish in some parts to note where they were attacking and how but otherwise find no real reason why they should have a problem with it.  Except the embarresing way the Afghan military fights.
 

boondocksaint

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hello, 1st post here, a friend told me our footage was 'making waves', interesting comments about footage being released, the combat camera guy we had with us for the first few TIC's had his released fast obviously......army PR blah blah and all that

now the other video's.....filmed by an american freelancer, who did everything by the book and to the letter AND stayed with us for about 10 days of fighting, while the combat camera guy stayed very briefly, HE (the yank) cared more about OPSEC then anyone BECAUSE Americans GET IT,

those 3 short vid's from YOUTUBE are stolen from KGW.com where his stuff is hosted, and they are heavily edited for OPSEC sake, and of course his own copyright interests, bottom line he had permission to be there, and his film is his own, and unlike most journalists he wasn't out to fry us, just tell a story, odd i know

release the footage, let Canadians soak it up, i've read alot of reasons here as to why we shouldnt release it.....well Canadians, civies and military need to see what combat looks like, its messy- chaotic- fast- loud- scary- exhilirating -bonding-life altering-defining and oh by the way CANADIANS HAPPEN TO BE GOOD AT IT, so embrace it, we aint peace keeping anymore mom, the yanks loved us, the brits wanna adopt us, 

flame away

 

Jay4th

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Well  said Bndkst.  I am anxiously awaiting the release on the rest of his footage.  RED DEVILS
 
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