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Author Topic: Military wives silenced by Canadian authorities
N.Beltov
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posted 09 December 2007 06:58 AM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Military wives' blogs forced shut down by Canadian Army

There are links to the French language story as well.

quote:
... at least two Quebec women, married to soldiers from the Valcartier military base, who put up blogs as soldiers' wives to interact with similarly-situated women, have been forced by Army authorities to close down their on-line discussion forums. Pressure was applied on their husbands to silence them, and these blogs are now off-line.

The issues, at least, include the following:

quote:
This (censorship) brings up the whole issue of these women's status. Are they part of the Army or are they civilians, just as any civilian in our nation? And if so, if they are civilians, their basic freedoms ought to be respected.

[ 09 December 2007: Message edited by: N.Beltov ]


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 09 December 2007 07:04 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by N.Beltov:
Pressure was applied on their husbands to silence them,

These husbands are killing civilians in Afghanistan in order to liberate the women. They are champions of feminism. No way would they try to silence their own wives!


From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
munroe
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posted 09 December 2007 07:09 AM      Profile for munroe     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Unbelievable! It makes a mockery of all of the constant insistence that "but for" our military in [you name the war] our freedoms would have been [would be] curtailed.
From: Port Moody, B.C. | Registered: Jun 2007  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 09 December 2007 07:16 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I've read the materials linked to in the OP. I must say I have a hard time believing the CAF "forced" anyone to stop posting anything. Unless someone comes forward to say, "I was blogging, and here's how they forced/persuaded me to shut it down", it's on the level of gossip.
From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 09 December 2007 07:34 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yeah, I don't get how they were "forced" either. Although I can see how, if their spouses were under pressure at work to get their wives to shut down their blogs, that the husbands might get on their wives' cases to do so.

And macho military culture being what it is, any guy who couldn't get his wife to shut down her blog might lose esteem among colleagues and superiors, resulting in shit jobs and no promotions.

So I can see how the pressure on their wives would be immense.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Loretta
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posted 09 December 2007 07:37 AM      Profile for Loretta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
In my 19 year experience as a military wife, Michelle's description of the method of application of pressure to end the blogs, is no doubt, quite accurate.
From: The West Kootenays of BC | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Webgear
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posted 09 December 2007 07:59 AM      Profile for Webgear     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Michelle:

And macho military culture being what it is, any guy who couldn't get his wife to shut down her blog might lose esteem among colleagues and superiors, resulting in shit jobs and no promotions.

So I can see how the pressure on their wives would be immense.


I have to disagree, my wife runs the family, I take my orders from her and I have not lost esteem among my peers or superiors. She is in control, she runs the family, she is the ruling power and that is the same in many families with my peers and superiors.

I think this view of the military being macho is a bit out of date, rude to people in the military and a very negative stereotype that should not be used.

[ 09 December 2007: Message edited by: Webgear ]


From: Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Loretta
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posted 09 December 2007 08:17 AM      Profile for Loretta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
She is in control, she runs the family, she is the ruling power and that is the same in many families with my peers and superiors.

As long as her approach falls in with the military culture, that's fine. Let her try speaking up against the powers that be and see what happens to your career and/or within your social circles.

I wish the net had existed when I was a military wife -- I may not have felt so alone in opposing the first bombing of Baghdad or feeling angry that colonels and above received a 10% wage increase when everyone else received 0% or when rent increased and fees for every club on the base had to charge comparable amounts to the civilian sector (because of unfair competition) even though our wages were considerably lower.

Instead, when I saw a counsellor (who was an officer's wife who had a great deal more privilege than me within that structure), the feedback was that these struggles were my personal problems and I should develop coping strategies.

Now that I'm an ex-wife of a military member, I am getting screwed by the division of pension legislation and since we (ex-wives of military members) are dispersed, we have no-one representing us with respect to the need for change in this legislation.

It's my belief, that it continues to be the old boys calling the shots and maintaining the status quo, in ever so subtle ways.


From: The West Kootenays of BC | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
N.Beltov
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posted 09 December 2007 09:13 AM      Profile for N.Beltov   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The substantive issue mentioned in the story is the living conditions of soldiers and the families of soldiers. That's what the rest of us would call "wages and working conditions". Many of us have these things covered by collective agreements if we happen to belong to a union. Perhaps I should have put this story in the labour thread to emphasize this angle.

In any case, if the story is true and these women have been silenced, this seems like a matter of civil, human and (especially) labour rights. It sounds like the bosses don't like it when the help gets organized and discusses their concerns. Bosses everywhere do this sort of thing ... and not just in the military. Outside of the military, and perhaps the police, these means would not be effective because of the public outrage it would generate. However, it seems that military authorities have more means in their toolkit to silence dissent ... perhaps due to the culture of silence, of "us" and "them", and so on.

This story needs to grow some legs. Right wing politicians would probably try to spin anything negative into propaganda for more money for the military in general, but that doesn't mean that there aren't legitimate work and living conditions issues for military families that the rest of Canadians would be very interested in hearing about.


From: Vancouver Island | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
Loretta
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posted 09 December 2007 09:26 AM      Profile for Loretta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Bosses everywhere do this sort of thing ... and not just in the military.

I totally agree. It's a mistake to look at "the" military as a monolithic structure -- it is, in my experience, complex in its reality. There is a privileged class (more money, more power, better pensions upon retirement, better housing when living on base...) and a working class.

As a working class military wife, I found the inequities within the system very difficult to take and, so apparently, do these women. At last there's a mechanism (blogs) where those people who are concerned can at least discuss the issues among themselves and possibly strategize. I'm sure the military doesn't like that since isolation by portraying individuals who protest as having personal problems means they don't have to address the issues.


From: The West Kootenays of BC | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
unionist
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posted 09 December 2007 09:33 AM      Profile for unionist     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Does anyone know what salary levels are like in the military? I assume (maybe I shouldn't) the benefit plans are the same as the NJC, which cover all federal public service employees, although the military isn't technically part of the public service.
From: Vote QS! | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged
Loretta
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posted 09 December 2007 10:04 AM      Profile for Loretta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Here is the current table for non-commissioned personnel in the CF.

No, the military is not subject to the NCJ however, members' medical and dental are covered while they are serving. If they have a family, they contribute to the Public Health Care plan and are covered through a Sunlife program. Incidentally, dental coverage was only offered to families in the mid-90s.

A person might be tempted to think that this is a good salary, however, given that military members are moved around fairly frequently, spouses often have trouble developing and/or maintaining a viable career. This often means that the majority of the family's financial obligations must be met by the serving member.

Also, members and their families are not usually residing in close proximity to extended family and close friends, therefore they lose out on having support from those family members and close friends during times of moves, illness, working...forcing them to have to pay for those kinds of supports if they are needed.

As well, since most military bases are in rural areas, access to educational opportunities is limited (although has improved with access to the internet), which further decreases a spouse's opportunity in career development.

[ 09 December 2007: Message edited by: Loretta ]


From: The West Kootenays of BC | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Peppered Pothead
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posted 09 December 2007 10:50 PM      Profile for Peppered Pothead        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Again, more Deep US-Canada Integration.

We are now stifling and repressing dissent, and closing the valves of informational free-flow, to serve the military-industrial complex and the imperialistic agenda. This is very much a twin of the related issue of deporting US deserters.

[ 10 December 2007: Message edited by: Peppered Pothead ]


From: Victoria, B.C. | Registered: Nov 2007  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 26 February 2008 02:08 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
More stifling of soldiers and their spouses.

quote:
The Canadian military is warning its members to be careful about using Internet social-networking sites such as Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family, CBC News reports.

The CBC says a Department of National Defence memo circulating through the ranks is advising soldiers not to appear in uniform online - or to disclose their military connection at all.


This article doesn't say so, but on CBC Radio, they've got a dissenting viewpoint, saying that the Canadian Government is going overboard with this restriction, in an attempt to control PR about the mission.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 26 February 2008 02:18 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Loretta:
As long as her approach falls in with the military culture, that's fine. Let her try speaking up against the powers that be and see what happens to your career and/or within your social circles.

Exactly. I come from a military family myself (not my immediate nuclear family - one of my parents was a base brat, and so are my cousins), and so I realize that military spouses (often wives, but let's not forget that people of both genders serve, not just men) are smart, resourceful, and strong. My grandmother and my aunt are great examples of that.

But that doesn't mean there isn't a macho culture in the military, and pressure for soldiers and their spouses to conform!

Here's the Toronto Star article, which is much meatier than that last one I posted.

[ 26 February 2008: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Rand McNally
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posted 27 February 2008 08:14 PM      Profile for Rand McNally     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I would like to comment on the article that Michelle posted, however do to new guidances on the use of the internet, public forums and blogs I don't feel I can. As AQ and the Taliban could be data mining this site and could use what I was going to say to bring about the defeat of Western Civilization. I have most likely already said too much and begun the spiral towards collapse.
From: Manitoba | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Slumberjack
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posted 28 February 2008 04:44 PM      Profile for Slumberjack     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Part of this latest dictate from above deals with the potentially sensitive content that could appear on blogs and forums where military personnel in theatre communicate with their friends and spouses back home. (I use the term spouse instead of 'wives' in the title because many military women in Afghanistan have left spouses and children at home in Canada)

Primarily, I believe the policy is meant to guard against any 'loose lips sink ships' concerns, although it's not too difficult to detect an intimidation aspect. The military has gone to extraordinary lengths to massage public opinion in support of the war through a variety of means, the latest incarnation delivered by the CDS in a recent speech that indicated a distain for democratic process. Hillier Calls For Afghan Mission Extension

Another effort to sway public opinion came in the form of Red Friday rallies, which have been debated here on Babble. One of the methods of guaranteeing a solid turnout for some of these events involved giving out the red t-shirts to union employees and soldiers who were expected to join in the rally, conveniently being let off normal work to boost the overall rally numbers. Public relations are paramount in light of the dwindling cross-country support for the mission. Military blogs where participants are questioning the mission, or spouses concerns that become part of the public domain would be detrimental to the overall PR campaign.


From: An Intensive De-Indoctrination, But I'm Fine Now | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged

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