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SASR "Execute" unarmed Afghan

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
From the accounts that I've read, the former members of CAR who talk about it tend to say "it was all the fault of a few guys from a different parent regiment". They all got tarred with the same brush however.

That was the sense I got. I'm told that all the guys in the unit got shipped to the north of Canada for an exercise while the disbandment parade was held with stand-ins to avoid it kicking off. That can't have helped the sense of anger.
 
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That was the sense I got. I'm told that all the guys in the unit got shipped to the north of Canada and the disbandment parade was held with stand-ins to avoid it kicking off. That can't have helped the sense of anger.
I just pulled out a book written by one of the former CAR members, and the version of the story you related doesn't accord with his own. According to him all the members were at the disbandment parade. They put on a big show with a regimental parachute drop, a display of rappelling down from helicopters, and other things. Visitors arrived for for the occasion, including Brigadier Hill, the British officer who commanded Canadian Paratroopers in WWII, General Lewis MacKenzie (Ret'd), and others. General John de Chastelain showed up to take the salute of the regiment.

He said it was a very sad occasion and they had tears running down their faces when the colours were laid up, but t\hey were determined to do it all correctly as they didn't want to provide more sensational stories for the press.

He also mentions that 3 Commando (RCR) were kept on for a while after the official disbandment of the CAR, while 1 (Van Doos) & 2 (PPCLI) were sent back to their parent regiments right away. He also said that it was 1 & 2 who had been the ones responsible for all the bad publicity. I would take that latter bit with a grain of salt however without a more neutral reference to confirm it.

However, he also said that a couple of months after the official disbandment, he went on a training course with the SAS at Hereford, and enjoyed it greatly. He said that 3 Commando members were trying out for selection in what appears to be JTF-2, although he doesn't mention it by name. He however was sent back to the RCR and his CO suggested that he take a commission. He however decided he'd had enough after 8 years in the army and before the end of the year had signed off and become a "security consultant".

So, I'm not sure where the story that the regiment got shipped "to the north of Canada" (where?) and the parade held with stand-ins came from. You might want to question what else you may have been told by the people who related that to you.
 
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Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
So, I'm not sure where the story that the regiment got shipped "to the north of Canada" (where?) and the parade held with stand-ins came from. You might want to question what else you may have been told by the people who related that to you.

Interesting. That was from a member of the unit who was serving when it got disbanded. I wonder if that's either a story of his invention, or referred only to a select few who they thought would be troublemakers. He seemed generally pretty reliable and was still serving in a punchy role so I'm not inclined to believe he invented it completely, but the version he related (at least as I understood it) doesn't seem to be quite right.
 
"And they shall remember with advantage"...
 
Interesting. That was from a member of the unit who was serving when it got disbanded. I wonder if that's either a story of his invention, or referred only to a select few who they thought would be troublemakers. He seemed generally pretty reliable and was still serving in a punchy role so I'm not inclined to believe he invented it completely, but the version he related (at least as I understood it) doesn't seem to be quite right.
Let's put it this way. If the CAR disbandment parade was a potemkin village, it would have leaked. There would have been too many people involved to keep it quiet.

If it leaked, it would have been a massive scandal. The press would have had a field day with it. And yet somehow it's a story known only by a few, and by a few I mean apparently one guy.

So ...
 

riksavage

Old-Salt
From the accounts that I've read, the former members of CAR who talk about it tend to say "it was all the fault of a few guys from a different parent regiment". They all got tarred with the same brush however.

As said by @par avion however, their role as SF essentially got taken over by JTF-2, who seem to be somewhat better at remaining discrete about what they get up to.
I did a training exchange with the RCMP SERT in the early 90’s. The SERT lost their role and very nice facility (converted horse ranch) to JTF-2.
 
Was their any particular reason why the Canadian government turned the role over to the military?
I think it was a combination of a variety of reasons. One is they wanted something like JTF-2 anyway, as it does a lot of things other than just domestic anti-terrorism. For example they've done a lot of work in Iraq.

The CAF also offered a bigger pool of potential recruits of the correct type (age, health, motivation), and there was concern that SERT just wouldn't be big enough on their own to take on a really big anti-terrorist operation.

The CAF had been already supporting SERT with things like helicopters, so they were already involved anyway.

The CAR was being disbanded, but then immediately replaced with JTF-2. JTF-2 being more like the SAS than a traditional para regiment or commandos was more in line with what the government were looking for in the post-cold war era when we were less concerned about stopping the red hordes and more concerned about terrorism and third world instability.

And there really weren't many major terrorist incidents in Canada requiring the sort of speciality that SERT offered. The FLQ were long dead, had no obvious successors, and had only been of limited capability anyway. Sikh, Tamil, and Islamic terrorists were, at the time, more of a security intelligence problem.

Since JTF-2 did things other than just domestic counter-terrorism, there was a lot more potential to make use of them, and they would have a lot more manpower to apply to big problems.

So taken all together, I suspect that giving the job to JTF-2 seemed like the logical thing to do.

Security intelligence by the way had been taken away from the RCMP earlier when it turned out that their way of disrupting radical groups was to burn down the building they were scheduled to meet in, and various other things of that flavour.

The RCMP had gotten into the security intelligence game when the Dominion Police were merged with the NWMP (North-West Mounted Police) in 1920. The Dominion Police trace their roots back to the mid 19th century when they were formally formed to deal with Fenian terrorism from the US, and to the Western Frontier Constabulary before that, who were focused on security intelligence along the US border in general.

To take it back to more modern days, the scandals surrounding the RCMP's security intelligence work resulted in a Royal Commission being formed to inquire into how these came about. The conclusion was to split off security intelligence into a separate organisation (CSIS - Canadian Security Intelligence Service), and this was done in the mid 1980s.

Now while I can't draw a definite link between these, it was quite likely that the frame of mind at the time was to have the RCMP focus on policing and leave the specialist things like security intelligence and "kinetic" counter terrorism to organisations which were less visible to the public and this may have contributed to the disbanding of SERT as well.
 
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riksavage

Old-Salt
Was their any particular reason why the Canadian government turned the role over to the military?
The SERT selected from the RCMP, they were more like the FBI HRT and GSG9. Very limited overseas capacity, very much focused on domestic terrorism and complex organised crime. They had a very good offensive dems capability in the form of an attached EOD cell.

One of the team members assigned to me as a liaison officer had spent years undercover in a biker gang. His photos were incredible, you wouldn’t have recognised him. Biker gangs were running a lot of the narcotics trade between the US and Canada.

I have a few phots of training at their base (Dwyer Hill), lovely place, surrounded by (what I can recall ) endless forests and greenery.
 
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Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Let's put it this way. If the CAR disbandment parade was a potemkin village, it would have leaked. There would have been too many people involved to keep it quiet.

If it leaked, it would have been a massive scandal. The press would have had a field day with it. And yet somehow it's a story known only by a few, and by a few I mean apparently one guy.

So ...

I'm beginning to wonder if he was in the dodgy company, and only they (or maybe just some of them) were kept well away from proceedings. He didn't mention that, but then I suppose you wouldn't... A very selective truth seems more likely than him totally inventing the story about being dispatched elsewhere while the parade happened. He was otherwise a reliable kind of guy and not obviously prone to invention.
 
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The SERT selected from the RCMP, they were more like the FBI HRT and GSG9. Very limited overseas capacity, very much focused on domestic terrorism and complex organised crime. They had a very good offensive dems capability in the form of an attached EOD cell.

One of the team members assigned to me as a liaison officer had spent years undercover in a biker gang. His photos were incredible, you wouldn’t have recognised him. Biker gangs were running a lot of the narcotics trade between the US and Canada.

I have a few phots of training at their base (Dwyer Hill), lovely place, surrounded by (what I can recall ) endless forests and greenery.
The RCMP are still very much involved in investigating organised crime, and the biker gangs can be quite dangerous. The biker gangs are involved in many facets of organised crime, and are really very little different from the mafia other than the mafia keep a low profile while the biker gangs show off in public.
 
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