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A soldier of conscience: Canadian veteran Dillon Hillier’s book reveals he killed ISIL fighters in Iraq

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Re: A soldier of conscience: Canadian veteran Dillon Hillier’s book reveals he killed ISIL fighters in Iraq

Post by Dannypaj on Tue 22 Aug 2017, 09:45

Lived it and hated every minute of being tossed aside!
Let alone having to face VRAB and VAC like an injured slave; begging for mercy and understanding of my medical conditions!!
How many people have looked at your file?
Invasion of privacy to the fullest.
I've had so many different VAC people and outside agencies come into my home, but yet.........
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Re: A soldier of conscience: Canadian veteran Dillon Hillier’s book reveals he killed ISIL fighters in Iraq

Post by Dannypaj on Tue 22 Aug 2017, 09:35

Rome is burning and the fiddler keeps playing,
Robert P. W. just like all the rest who have been failed, only those who have the ability to fight back against the disgusting, impersonal treatment that pales in comparison to how we treat illegal immigrants, terrorists and the like who come here and are wined and dined and provided training, education, a place to live, medical and dental care without delay, meanwhile most folks tossed aside on a 3 b release are repeatedly denied compensation for the very same conditions they were released for. The different agencies such as DND, VAC, SISIP, workers compensation, CPP, and revenue Canada are all federal agencies but do not operate on an even playing field. They all have various depts. but they do not communicate only to halt your payments. you need different medical forms completed at your expense by a doctor and specialist that know you and understand. all this for various depts., completed at your expense, then waits months or year for a denial or low compensation as per the norm until you appeal, appeal, appeal. no wonder so many just give up. and at the same time you are supposed to figure out what to do for voc rehab and realize that you need to use your final move within a year of release unless you get a royal blessing to extend, but it isn't a sure thing, so, start a two year sisip voc rehab program, but wait, applications need to be in at a certain time per semester, you need to move after one year or lose it, sisip and vac will not allow you to carry over your program funding wise, so in the end, it is useless to most and by the time the spin slows down enough for you to make a reasonable informed decision on your future it is too late. The federal government and all of its agencies are putting every medical releasing member into financial distress, often resulting in violence, marital breakdown, suicide by truck, overpass, swimming accident or falling off a boat as their last escape, taking note these aren't real suicides in the eye of the life insurance companies. sad but w see it weekly and the stats don't catch this stuff. what a rant, but if you read it all you will hopefully agree, you are your own best help, no one else gives a shit, especially the generals, politicians and their ass licking cronies, oops bad word, kick me out if you must. lets not forget Shawn B. who died alone in his house in small town newfoundland a couple years ago after his med release, he wasn't found until months later in the house he died in, not a very pleasant time for the family, imagine a young man in a town dying and decomposing for months, people should be charged and jailed for such abuse and neglect, but the buck gets passed as always, I am so ashamed of the organization I gave 32 years of my life to.
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Dannypaj
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Re: A soldier of conscience: Canadian veteran Dillon Hillier’s book reveals he killed ISIL fighters in Iraq

Post by Dannypaj on Tue 22 Aug 2017, 09:29

1.....Asked about the government’s policy on Canadian citizens and permanent residents fighting with the YPG, a federal official sent a Global Affairs Canada statement that said it was illegal to leave Canada to join a terrorist group.


2.... Canadians fighting with or participating in the activities of an entity that has carried out terrorist activities or who individually facilitates such activities may be guilty of an offence under the Criminal Code.”

$10,500,000 QUESTION

READ Between the lines!!!

TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOUR MILITARY GOC!

BIG BROTHER/SISTER CANADA IS WATCHING AND SOCIAL MEDIA IS KEY !!!
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‘We were cut to pieces’: First eyewitness account of how a Canadian died in Syria

Post by Guest on Mon 21 Aug 2017, 16:17

‘We were cut to pieces’: First eyewitness account of how a Canadian died in Syria



By Stewart Bell Aug 21, 2017


Andrew Woodhead, right, with Canadian anti-ISIS volunteer Nazzareno Tassone in northern Syria.

“His last words to me: ‘If I get out of this, I’m through, I don’t want to die in Syria.’”


Eight months after a Canadian anti-ISIS fighter and his British comrade were killed in northern Syria, a member of their unit who survived the deadly clash has come forward with the first eyewitness account of what happened.

In an exclusive interview with Global News, Andrew Woodhead said he was with Nazzareno Tassone, a 24-year-old from St. Catharines, Ont., and Ryan Lock, 20, when they came under fierce attack from the so-called Islamic State.

Hours later, Tassone and Lock were dead. The Iraqi doctor who examined Tassone’s body said he had been tortured with cigarette burns. A U.K. coroner concluded that Lock shot himself to avoid being captured by ISIS.


But Woodhead, 44, a Regina truck driver who recently returned to Canada after fighting in Syria, where he was injured in a landmine explosion, said almost nothing that has been said about their deaths was true.

Formerly in the British Army, Woodhead said he was upset with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG, which he said did not provide proper training or use basic fighting tactics.


“I’m angry at the way the YPG operates.”




Like Woodhead, Tassone and Lock were international volunteers who had enlisted with the YPG so they could join the fight against ISIS. Two Canadians who also served in the YPG confirmed that Woodhead fought in Syria.

Woodhead said he met Lock, a West Sussex chef, at the Dolphin Hotel in Sulaymaniyah, Iraq. They shared a hotel room before crossing into Syria last September. “I liked him from the moment we met.”

He ran into Tassone later, on the way to the town of Sarrin and they stayed together until the latter’s death.

“He could make you laugh even when you didn’t want to,” Woodhead said. Tassone was in awe of the special forces, he said. “They were like pop stars to him.”


But neither Tassone nor Lock had military experience and the YPG training academy they attended upon their arrival in Syria was focused mostly on indoctrinating international fighters in Kurdish nationalist ideology.

At about 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 21, Woodhead, Tassone, Lock and a German who called himself Andok Cotkar, entered a village in Raqqa district, on the West bank of the Euphrates River. They were with about 20 Arab fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces, a U.S.-back alliance of Kurdish YPG, Arab and other militias, Woodhead said.

They swept the village in about three hours but then started taking heavy fire. An Arab fighter went down behind Woodhead, shot in the shoulder, and Andok left with him as a medic. Andok confirmed the sequence of events up until his departure.

When the gunfire picked up, they took cover behind the scattered farmhouses. It was cold. A Kurdish commander arrived and spoke to Tassone, but he couldn’t understand the orders. Did he want them to withdraw or attack? They weren’t sure, Woodhead said.

The gunfire was coming from the front and the left. They moved back to a road. Woodhead had his machine gun. Tassone was preparing ammunition and grenades. Woodhead heard an explosion and saw Tassone huddled over, having taken grenade shrapnel in the right hand.

“It looked pretty bad, it looked pretty messy,” he said.


The ISIS fighters were close. They were well-equipped and good fighters.

“We were cut to pieces,” he said. “Daesh (ISIS) were a lot better than we were.”

By contrast, he said, the YPG went into combat with no plan, other than to fight and then call in airstrikes. He said he met good people in the Kurdish region. “But the way that the YPG treats its own soldiers, the lack of training, its unforgivable.”

Tassone bandaged his hand but couldn’t fight and he was going in and out of shock. “I kept saying to Nazz, ‘You need to get out of here,’ but he wouldn’t leave.” He wasn’t sure why Tassone stayed with him.

“Fear I’m guessing, or he didn’t want to leave us,” said Woodhead. “Sometimes you want to stick with your mates.”


The bullets were flying. The SDF fighters were running out of ammunition. “It became clear that nobody was coming behind us.” After an SDF fighter made it across a clearing and took cover behind a house, Tassone decided to follow after him. “His last words to me: ‘If I get out of this, I’m through, I don’t want to die in Syria.’”

While Woodhead provided cover with the machine gun, Lock also pulled back, trying to reach a different house. The last time Woodhead saw Lock, he was crawling backwards, firing his rifle. He believes Lock was doing so because he had been wounded in the leg.

Everyone was retreating by then so Woodhead ran for a house. Once he got there he saw two figures about 100 metres away. He believes they were Tassone and the SDF fighter. But he couldn’t get to them, the gunfire was too heavy, and he ran out of the village.

Told Tassone and Lock were at a hospital, he went to look for them but they weren’t there. Then he was informed they were dead, along with five Arab SDF fighters. ISIS had posted gruesome photos of Tassone and Locks’ bodies on social media, calling them “crusaders.”


Andrew Woodhead fought with Nazzareno Tassone in Syria.

A British coroner ruled earlier this month that Lock, wounded in the leg and about to be captured, had shot himself. But Woodhead disagreed. “No, I do not think Lock killed himself.” He believes Lock was fatally shot in the head by ISIS.

An Iraqi autopsy concluded Tassone had been tortured with cigarettes and killed with a fatal blow to the back of the head. But an Ontario coroner later told the family what the Iraqi doctor thought were burns were insect bites. He also found a piece of shrapnel lodged in Tassone’s head, which he said caused his death. That is consistent with Woodhead’s account of ISIS’ use of grenades in the village, although he said when he last saw Tassone he was wearing a helmet.

Exactly a month after Tassone and Lock were killed, Woodhead suffered a shoulder injury in a mine blast. A British citizen and Canadian resident, he returned to Canada in August and visited Tassone’s mother Tina Martino in St. Catharines.

Martino said she was reassured to hear Woodhead’s account of what happened, and relieved that her son and Lock weren’t ambushed at night, as she had been told. “It was just a choice of which building he went in and happened to pick the wrong one,” she said.

Hundreds of Western volunteers have joined the fight against ISIS, including several dozen Canadians, some of them military veterans, but Guillaume Corneau-Tremblay of Université Laval, who has been studying the phenomenon, said the numbers have tapered off.

Asked about the government’s policy on Canadian citizens and permanent residents fighting with the YPG, a federal official sent a Global Affairs Canada statement that said it was illegal to leave Canada to join a terrorist group.

“The YPG is not currently a listed terrorist entity. However, Canadians fighting with or participating in the activities of an entity that has carried out terrorist activities or who individually facilitates such activities may be guilty of an offence under the Criminal Code.”

Woodhead said he was done with Syria and looking forward to getting back to work behind the wheel of a truck.

“I’ve had enough of it,” he said.

http://globalnews.ca/news/3676959/canadian-died-syria-eyewitness-account/

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Foreigners who sign up to fight ISIS now face wrath of Turkish army

Post by Guest on Fri 06 Jan 2017, 07:13

Foreigners who sign up to fight ISIS now face wrath of Turkish army

Turkish ambassador to Canada says government should stop Canadians from joining Kurdish groups

By Evan Dyer, CBC News Posted: Jan 05, 2017 7:28 PM ET Last Updated: Jan 06, 2017 12:25 AM ET


Canadian Nazzareno Tassone died fighting ISIS militants in Syria, according to the Kurdish People's Defence Units, also known as YPG. The Turkish government considers YPG an offshoot of a terrorist organization.

The death of Edmonton's Nazzareno Tassone in a Syrian skirmish is another reminder — if one was needed — of the dangers of volunteering as a freelancer in the fight against ISIS.

Tassone, who was killed in December but whose family only learned of his death this week, is the second Canadian to die in the ranks of the Kurdish YPG, or People's Protection Units. Several veterans of the Canadian Forces have fought alongside the group.

Canadians who travel to fight for the Syrian Kurdish YPG have already accepted the dangers inherent in battling a group like ISIS. But now they also risk finding themselves embroiled in a conflict with the region's most powerful military: Canada's NATO ally Turkey.

Turkey views the YPG as a mere "franchise" of the Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK, banned as a terrorist organization in both Turkey and Canada. The PKK is a secular, socialist group fighting for an independent Kurdish homeland in eastern Turkey.

But Canada has not listed the YPG as a terror group, and the U.S. has actively supplied it with arms and sent American soldiers to fight alongside it, infuriating the Turks.


Syrian YPG militants wave a flag bearing the image of PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan just metres from the Turkish border. The Kurdish militant group has done little to distance itself from the Kurdistan Workers' Party, which Turkey considers a terrorist group.

YPG itself has done little to conceal its PKK connections. Last spring it renamed a Syrian airbase it captured after the PKK's imprisoned leader Abdullah Ocalan.

Ocalan's face features prominently on posters at YPG camps, and glares from banners at the swearing-in ceremonies of new YPG recruits.

The YPG's ties to Ocalan go back to the 1990s, when he was a guest of the Assad regime. In 1998, Syria reached a secret deal with Turkey and Ocalan lost his safe haven, only to be captured a few months later. But his followers remained active in Syria's Kurdish community, and in 2003 founded the PYD or Democratic Union Party. YPG is the party's armed wing.

Kurds seen as the good guys

It's not clear how much of that history is known to the idealistic young Westerners who have flocked to join the YPG's ranks. They are drawn by the YPG's fierce struggle against ISIS, its undeniable egalitarianism (reflected in its fearless and glamorous female fighters), as well as its tradition of protecting non-Kurdish and non-Muslim minorities.

Indeed, since the days of Saddam Hussein's pogroms against them, the Kurds have come to be seen by many Westerners as the region's only real "good guys."

But to the government of Turkey's Islamist President Recep Erdogan, the YPG is merely the most successful branch of its deadly enemy, the PKK.


Turkey's ambassador to Canada, Selcuk Unal, says his government wants Canada to stop its citizens from signing up to fight with alongside Kurdish militants.

Kurdish militants have staged a number of attacks in Turkey this year, and Turkish officials are also pinning Thursday's attack in Izmir on them. Unlike ISIS, which aims for soft targets, Turkish civilians and foreigners, the PKK's attacks target Turkey's security forces.

Turkey's ambassador to Canada, Selcuk Unal, says his country has traced two major 2016 bombings targeting soldiers and police back to YPG camps in northern Syria. Unal says Turkey wants Canada to do more to stop Canadians from joining the group.

"In order to fight a terror organization you don't need to be allied to another terror organization," says Unal. "This is something we have been asking of our NATO allies, including Canada, for a long time."

There have already been many clashes between Turkish forces and the YPG, beginning with firing across the Turkish border. One of the best-known foreign YPG volunteers, American army vet Jordan Matson, says Turkish tanks within Turkey fired on his position while he was fighting ISIS forces in Kobani. (Other Western volunteers have also accused the Turkish government of assisting ISIS in its fight with the Kurdish militia.)

Then in late August, the Turkish army launched Operation Euphrates Shield, driving into northern Syria with the declared aim of pushing both ISIS and the YPG away from its borders. Since then, clashes between the Turks and the YPG have become more frequent.

Excluded from peace talks

The YPG's position was greatly complicated on Dec. 30 when a Syrian ceasefire brokered by Turkey and Russia came into effect. Syria-wide talks are scheduled to begin later this month in Kazakhstan. Specifically excluded from the peace process are two jihadi groups, ISIS and Al Nusra (al-Qaeda's franchise in Syria), and at Turkey's insistence, the YPG.

The agreement between Turkey and Russia represents a tacit recognition by Turkey's leadership that its goal of deposing President Bashar al-Assad and replacing him with a Sunni Islamist government is no longer within reach. In return for Turkey dropping its support for the rebel side, Russia and Syria appear to be giving the Turks a free hand to turn its guns on the Kurdish YPG.


Turkish forces including heavy armour have pushed into Syria as part of Operation Euphrates Shield, aimed at both ISIS and the YPG.

Erdogan has pledged that Turkey's army will force the group to withdraw to the east of the Euphrates River, giving up the territory it has won from ISIS. YPG appears unlikely to cede that territory without a fight.

Ambassador Unal warns that foreigners serving in YPG's ranks will not be immune from the wrath of the Turkish army. "If we are fired at by YPG, it's only natural that we will retaliate."

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-turkey-kurds-1.3923287

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Kurdish forces announce Canadian died fighting ISIL in Syria, calling him a martyr and a hero

Post by Guest on Tue 03 Jan 2017, 17:52

Kurdish forces announce Canadian died fighting ISIL in Syria, calling him a martyr and a hero

Stewart Bell | January 3, 2017 5:36 PM ET


Nazzareno Tassone, left, with Ryan Lock. Both were killed in Syria on Dec. 21, according to the Kurdish YPG militia.

TORONTO — Eager to “do something about the scourge of ISIS,” Nazzareno Tassone left Edmonton in late June and made his way to Syria to join Kurdish fighters on the frontlines against the terrorist group.

In updates he sent to friends on Facebook, the former parking lot company employee spoke about the camaraderie he had found among the Kurds and international volunteers, and posted photos of himself in his battle gear.

“He expressed great pride in what he was doing and said that no matter how tense things got, he was not going to leave his brothers,” said Mike Webster, a former Canadian reservist who was in regular contact with Tassone.

But on Dec. 22, an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant propaganda outfit posted photos of the bodies of two Western-looking fighters it said had been killed in western Syria. One of them looked like Tassone.

On Tuesday, the Kurdish YPG militia announced that Tassone had indeed died on Dec. 21, along with a British volunteer fighter, Ryan Lock. Those familiar with the incident said their position had been overrun by ISIL.


The 23-year-old is the second Canadian volunteer fighter to die in Syria, after John Robert Gallagher was killed on Nov. 4, 2015, while fighting with a secretive unit of all-Western fighters called the 223, led by an American veteran.

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/kurdish-forces-call-canadian-a-martyr-and-a-hero-after-announcing-he-died-fighting-isil-in-syria

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Finishing what he started: Canadian veteran fights ISIS years after brother's death

Post by Guest on Sat 17 Dec 2016, 15:25

EXCLUSIVE -  Finishing what he started: Canadian veteran fights ISIS years after brother's death

Michael Kennedy volunteered to fight in Iraq and Syria, but was arrested in late November

By Garrett Barry, CBC News Posted: Dec 17, 2016 8:00 AM NT Last Updated: Dec 17, 2016 8:00 AM NT


Kevin (left) and Michael Kennedy are shown in this undated image. Michael Kennedy says his brother's death in Afghanistan in 2007 filled him with guilt for a number of years.

Kevin Kennedy's death in a roadside bomb in Afghanistan shook his older brother, Michael, to his core.

Kevin had followed Michael into the Canadian Forces; two years younger, he had enlisted after his older brother did. He even admitted his older brother was his inspiration.

So Kevin Kennedy's death in 2007 changed Michael's life forever — and eventually led him to take up arms against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq (ISIS) this year.

Kennedy — the 32-year-old Navy veteran from Newfoundland and Labrador who was detained overseas last month — spoke exclusively to CBC News on Friday night, recounting his fight against the ISIS and what led him there.

"I would say just to finish something that my brother started when he went over there," Kennedy said from his mother's home in St. Vincent's, N.L., where he returned Wednesday.

"My brother had a pure heart and he had good intentions and he just wanted to help people … and I guess that was a big part of it."

'My inspiration'

Kennedy travelled to Iraq on June 1, less than three months after he signed his release papers from the Royal Canadian Navy. His detention by Iraqi Kurdish authorities in late November brought his story into the public eye.

During his six-month stint in the Middle East, he said he fought alongside the Peshmerga military forces, the YPG militia in Syria and the Sinjar Resistance Units.


Michael Kennedy poses for a photo in Sinjar, Iraq.

After the Peshmerga, where he worked to train fighters in first aid, Michael moved to a "direct assault unit" in the YPG, which was filled with Western soldiers and where it was easier to get onto the front lines.

He said he played a part in an operation south of Sinjar, in Northern Iraq. He called his unit "very effective."

"I could feel Kevin with me in what I did," Kennedy said. "Kevin was also my inspiration as I was there. Like I was early on, when Kevin followed me into the military."

It was not always so easy; Kennedy admits he was struck with guilt for years following Kevin's death.

"It's a hard pill to swallow knowing that my little brother died. It molded my life after his death. And changed my outlook on my life," he explained.


Michael Kennedy poses for a photo with a wreath laid in memory of his brother.

"Kevin never got to come home and experience life at home after deployment. You know, experience home and just being around family and friends again."

The pair were "very much alike, in most ways," Kennedy said.

Kevin was a joker with a big heart who was very kind to his friends; Michael was more the quiet one.

Kevin died just two months into his deployment in Afghanistan. But that never caused Kennedy to question his decision to go back to the Middle East. Leaving his mother behind in Newfoundland, however, weighed on his mind.

"I thought about my mom back at home," he said. "I always remember how my mother talked about the phone call that she got from the Canadian military when my brother had died.

"I tried not to let it impact the way I operated over there."


Michael Kennedy, middle, sits at a military position near Sinjar, Iraq. Kennedy says this position was completely destroyed by a mortar, which sent rocks and debris flying all over his soldiers.

'Living on another planet'

Kennedy said being over there was like "living on another planet."

Life with the militia groups was "very primitive," he said, sometimes lacking food and often times lacking sleep. Local recruits were typically young, inexperienced men. One of his colleagues, American Michael Israel, was killed in an airstrike, he said.

Still, Kennedy isn't ruling out going back.

"Part of me still wants to be over there," he said, in part because some of his colleagues are still detained by Iraqi Kurdish authorities.


Kay Kennedy is shown with her son Michael.

But his group, imprisoned after crossing a Kurdistan Democratic Party checkpoint with other fighters who had let their visas expire, had also planned to reunite in the new year to continue their mission.

"I thought about going back after Christmas, but I guess the way things ended, I guess a lot of the guys are just going to go home and … try to move forward with their lives."

Kennedy was released after eight days in prison, he said, after a visit from Canadian diplomatic officials. His possessions were seized.

But he said he does not regret his experience.

"We just went over and we fought against evil," Kennedy said. "I just wanted to be able to be one of the guys who could say, you know, I went over there with all this in my heart."

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/michael-kennedy-veteran-arrested-isis-iraq-syria-1.3901351

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Kurdish authorities defend detention of Canadian Michael Kennedy

Post by Guest on Wed 07 Dec 2016, 09:57

Kurdish authorities defend detention of Canadian Michael Kennedy

Canadians who fight ISIS in Syria face increasingly hostile reception from Iraqis and Kurdish authorities

By Murray Brewster, CBC News Posted: Dec 07, 2016 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Dec 07, 2016 5:20 AM ET


Kay Kennedy with her son Michael Kennedy. She says her son, who was held in Erbil, Iraq, by Kurdish authorities has now been released.

Michael Kennedy's decision to travel to Syria with Kurdish forces ultimately got him into trouble with authorities in Iraq and contributed to his extended detention, says a senior official in the Kurdish regional government.

The former Canadian soldier has now been released after almost a week in custody, but his story is a dramatic illustration of how severe both the Iraqis and Kurdish officials have become about border security.

According to his mother, Kennedy was arrested along with five other foreign fighters, who had expired visas.

Kay Kennedy says her son's visa was still valid and he voluntarily entered custody in order to stay with the group.

"Michael would not let them go to prison without him," she told CBC News. "He said there was no way he was letting them end up in prison and he abandon them. He was given the option not to be taken into custody, but he refused it."

But Kurdish authorities, while not disputing the account, say Kennedy's side-trip into Syria was a serious violation that warranted his detention.

"He is arrested because he came from Syria and crossed [the] Iraq and [Kurdish Regional Government] borders illegally [at] Shingal," Dindar Zebari, the assistant head of foreign relations in the semi-autonomous region, told CBC News on Tuesday.

Zebari said Kennedy had been dealt with under Iraqi law.


Dindar Zebari, assistant head of Kurdistan's Department of Foreign Relations, says Kennedy had 'illegally' crossed from Syria into Iraq.

A spokeswoman in the Kurdish prime minister's office added that other countries do not allow foreigners to cross boundaries at will and the arrest was a matter of "the rule of law."

The other foreign fighters — including some U.S. and German citizens — were not released with Kennedy on Tuesday.

There are reportedly dozens of Canadians, many of them military veterans, among the volunteers assisting Kurdish militias on the front lines against the Islamic State in both Iraq and Syria.

Kennedy, who served 13 years in the Canadian navy, had been in touch with his family last week and told them he was on his way home to Newfoundland for Christmas when he was detained.

He had fought with People's Protection Units, or YPG, a Kurdish group in northern Syria, but was most recently operating in the Dohuk area of northern Iraq.

In an earlier, separate interview, Kay Kennedy confirmed her son crossed from Syria into the Shingal area of Iraq, which is primarily Yazidi territory, where ISIS murdered hundreds of people and kidnapped thousands of others.

An expert in the conflict says the regional government — aside from telling foreigner volunteers to stay home — has made it a practice to detain foreigners who leave and then return to the country.

"He is not the first Canadian to be detained under these circumstances," said Ian Bradbury, of the 1st North American Expeditionary Force. The group is a non-profit, peace support and humanitarian aid organization with extensive contacts in the war-torn region.

"The Kurdish regional authority looks specifically at combatants who traverse the border with Syria," Bradbury said.

Several Canadian army veterans have fought with Kurdish forces in Syria and not all have been detained, but Bradbury says he knows of at least three other instances.

One of the ex-soldiers, Kenneth Chen, says he spent 45 days in custody in Iraq, according to published reports.

"I've not heard of any instances of any western fighters being over there being detained for any extended period of time," said Bradbury, who added he was pleased to see the matter resolved. "They all get turned over to their consulates and sent home."

Often, Canadians returning from the ISIS battlefields are interviewed by Canadian intelligence and law enforcement.

It is unclear whether Kennedy will face that kind of reception.

In late 2014, the intelligence branch of Transport Canada produced a report that warned Canadians fighting alongside some Kurdish factions could potentially be in violation of the former Conservative government's anti-terror laws.

The report cited the Kurdish Workers Party, or the PKK, as an example. The organization — an offshoot of the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons — has conducted a steady campaign of major bombings across southern Turkey and has been labelled under Canadian law as a terrorist entity.

The PKK maintains outposts and headquarters in the Qandil Mountains of northern Iraq.

It is unclear how many Canadians — if any — are fighting with the PKK.

The YPG, which Kennedy fought with, has not been labelled a terrorist organisation.

Even still, Amnesty International called last year for close vetting of returning Canadian foreign fighters.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canadian-kurdish-released-1.3884457

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Newfoundland veteran Michael Kennedy released from Iraq prison

Post by Guest on Tue 06 Dec 2016, 18:18

Newfoundland veteran Michael Kennedy released from Iraq prison

By Garrett Barry, CBC News Posted: Dec 06, 2016 5:50 PM NT Last Updated: Dec 06, 2016 7:08 PM NT


Kay Kennedy with her son Michael Kennedy.

Newfoundland veteran Michael Kennedy has been released from jail in northern Iraq, his mother confirmed Tuesday afternoon.

Kay Kennedy said she received a call from Michael at about 4 p.m. NT on Tuesday afternoon, telling her that he was free.

'I'm just so overcome with relief, I mean it's just unbelievable.'

Michael Kennedy had been arrested by authorities in the Kurdistan region last Tuesday, as he was leaving to return home for the holidays.

"I'm just so overcome with relief, I mean it's just unbelievable," Kay Kennedy said. "I'm really overwhelmed at this point in time. Knowing that he's safe is my biggest concern."

Kennedy was fighting with the Peshmerga forces in Iraq and Syria against the Islamic State.

According to his mother, Kennedy was arrested with five other foreign fighters. While his visa was not expired, a number of visas belonging to people in his group were.

Kay Kennedy said Michael Kennedy voluntarily entered custody in order to stay with the group.

"Michael would not let them go to prison without him," she told CBC News. "He said there was no way he was letting them end up in prison and abandon them."

"He was given the option not to be taken into custody, but he refused it."

A huge relief

Kay Kennedy told CBC News on Monday that it was a huge relief to learn her son had been released from custody.

She said the call on Monday afternoon was emotional, but the veteran told his mother he was in good spirits and was healthy.

The pair chatted about his family and family pets who are in Newfoundland and Labrador.

"Knowing he's coming home, you know, I just feel so relieved. It's unreal," she said.

'It's unbelievable how much he appreciates our Canadian government'

The details aren't worked out yet, but Michael Kennedy will be home for Christmas, she said. The veteran is still in northern Iraq.

Though the other fighters have yet to be released, Kay Kennedy says their governments — Germany and the United States — have begun to work on the file.

She said Christmas at her home will be a "big celebration, for sure."

"It's unbelievable how much he appreciates our Canadian government, and our country of Canada," she added. Kay Kennedy thanked Public Services and procurement Minister Judy Foote and Global Affairs Canada for their help.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/retired-newfoundland-veteran-michael-kennedy-released-1.3884210

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Canadian embassy trying to win release of former soldier arrested in Iraq, minister says

Post by Guest on Tue 06 Dec 2016, 06:28

Canadian embassy trying to win release of former soldier arrested in Iraq, minister says

A former Canadian soldier being held in Iraq is in good health and officials are working to win his release, federal cabinet minister Judy Foote confirmed.


From left, Michael Kennedy, Myles Kennedy, Kay Kennedy and a Canadian Forces chaplain stand behind the granite memorial to fallen soldiers in Afghanistan in 2010. Kay Kennedy's son Kevin was killed in 2007, while Michael has been arrested in Iraq.

By MICHAEL MACDONALD The Canadian Press
Mon., Dec. 5, 2016

A former Canadian soldier being held in Iraq is in good health and Canadian Embassy officials are working to win his release, federal cabinet minister Judy Foote confirmed Monday.

Foote, the senior minister responsible for Newfoundland and Labrador, spoke to Mike Kennedy’s mother in Newfoundland earlier in the day, said press secretary Jessica Turner.

Kay Kennedy told radio station VOCM her son was arrested in Erbil in northern Iraq while taking part in what she called a humanitarian mission. She said she was speaking with him on Tuesday evening when she realized something was wrong.

“He wasn’t his upbeat self,” she told VOCM. “He was very abrupt in his answers to me. Then, all of a sudden, he said, ‘Mum, I gotta go.’”

The woman told VOCM she hasn’t heard from her son since then, but she said a friend of his later confirmed via text message from northern Iraq that her son had been arrested after returning from a mission in northern Syria.

Kay Kennedy told the radio station it appeared there was a problem with some documents, suggesting some had expired. She said she was sure her son’s visa was good until January.

The stress of having a son in a war zone is nothing new for Kennedy.

On April 8, 2007, her son Kevin was one of six Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan when their light armoured vehicle struck a roadside bomb. The six were all members of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, based at Canadian Forces Base Gagetown in New Brunswick.

“It’s not easy, especially after losing a son in 2007 in Afghanistan,” she said. “I haven’t been sleeping, just pacing the floors. I’m strong. I’m not falling apart … I’m doing what I got to do to get my son out of there.”

Global Affairs Canada told The Canadian Press it was aware of a Canadian citizen being detained in Iraq, and spokeswoman Kristine Racicot confirmed in an email that Canadian officials are providing consular assistance and are in contact with local authorities.

However, Racicot said she could not disclose more details because of privacy considerations.

Racicot said Global Affairs Canada is advising against all non-essential travel to Iraq, including the provinces under the control of the Kurdistan regional government in northern Iraq. The department said the security situation in Erbil and a few other towns “could deteriorate quickly.”

“All Canadians who travel to Syria and Iraq must do so at their own personal risk,” the email said. “Due to the unpredictable security situation, providing consular assistance in all parts of Iraq and Syria is severely limited.”

Kennedy is believed to be among hundreds of foreign volunteers, including other Canadians, assisting Kurdish forces in the area.

In October, former Canadian soldier Dillon Hillier released a book in which he recounts the three months he spent in a volunteer effort accompanying the Kurdish army in a series of battles against Daesh in northern Iraq.

The veteran said he headed to the front lines because he was horrified by headlines showing the havoc wreaked by Daesh (also known as ISIS or ISIL), including the capturing of Yazidi women as sex slaves, and a violent campaign of rape, torture and killing.

Hillier, who served a tour in Afghanistan as a corporal in the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, also said he was stunned by the fact that about 90 Canadian citizens were, at the time, “participating in these atrocities.”

“That made me think: ‘OK, I may be able ... to at least show people, the Kurds and everyone, that there are Canadians willing to do the right thing as well — even though they’re not being asked to,” he said in an interview with The Canadian Press after One Soldier was published.

Canada deployed special forces troops to work with Kurdish forces in October 2014.

During the federal election campaign in the summer and fall of 2015, the Liberals promised to end Canada’s combat mission in Iraq.

Once in power, Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau withdrew six CF-18 fighter jets previously deployed by the Conservatives, but he also expanded the number of troops on the ground to more than 200 from 69.

At the same time, there has been a clampdown on information about the mission with fewer briefings.

Last month, the Liberal government faced fresh accusations of misleading the public after the country’s top soldier, chief of defence staff Gen. Jonathan Vance, said Canadian troops have been allowed to fire first in Iraq. Government and military officials have previously said Canadian troops can and have fired in self-defence.

Vance cited as an example a situation where Kurdish forces might not have the weaponry to destroy a Daesh suicide bomber driving a heavily armoured vehicle. He said if Canadian troops fired on the vehicle, it would meet the definition of defensive fire.

https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2016/12/05/former-canadian-soldier-arrested-in-northern-iraq-mother-says.html[/b]

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Canadian Embassy Officials Contact NL Veteran Arrested In Northern Iraq

Post by Guest on Mon 05 Dec 2016, 15:58

Canadian Embassy Officials Contact NL Veteran Arrested In Northern Iraq

December 5, 2016 | 9:46 am                    Last Updated:December 5, 2016 | 1:46 pm



This province's representative at the federal cabinet table says Canadian Embassy officials have been able to make contact with a military veteran from Newfoundland who was arrested in Northern Iraq last week.

Judy Foote told VOCM News that it is a sensitive situation, but they are working hard to get Michael Kennedy released.

Foote says Michael has been visited by embassy officials and is in good health. Foote has been told Canada Global Affairs know where he is and are working hard to bring him home.

Minister Foote was unable to shed any light on why Michael Kennedy was arrested.

Kennedy's mother, Kay Kennedy says her son was part of a humanitarian mission in the region as a volunteer working to fight ISIL.She has not spoken with him since last Tuesday.

She says when she spoke to him on Tuesday evening, she could tell something was wrong. She asked if he was ok, and he said yes, but he abruptly hung up the phone and she has not heard from him since.

Kennedy, who lost another son, Pte. Kevin Kennedy to a roadside bomb in 2007 in Afghanistan, says it has been a difficult time , but she has a great support system around her.



Kennedy says it's not easy, especially after losing one son and now going through this. She says it is very worrisome and she has been pacing the floor, not getting much sleep. She says she is strong and is not falling apart and she is doing whatever she can to get her son out of there.

http://vocm.com/news/nl-mother-desperately-awaiting-word-on-son-arrested-in-northern-iraq/

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Veteran Michael Kennedy in 'good health' after arrest in northern Iraq

Post by Guest on Mon 05 Dec 2016, 15:53

Veteran Michael Kennedy in 'good health' after arrest in northern Iraq

Veteran wanted to fight ISIS as 'sort of a humanitarian thing,' mother says

By Lukas Wall and Anna Delaney, CBC News Posted: Dec 05, 2016 9:12 AM NT Last Updated: Dec 05, 2016 2:23 PM NT


Kay Kennedy with her son Michael Kennedy. She says her son is being held in Erbil, Iraq by Kurdish authorities.

A military veteran from Newfoundland and Labrador, who had been fighting ISIS in Iraq, is reportedly in good health after being arrested.

Michael Kennedy, 32, spent the past six months as one of hundreds of foreign volunteers assisting Kurdish forces, said a report published Sunday in the National Post.

"We're focused on getting Michael home. He has been visited by embassy officials in Iraq. He's in good health and I've been in regular contact with his mom," MP Judy Foote said.

Foote, who knows the Kennedy family well, said she is being optimistic about his return.

"We're working really hard to get Michael home and give her the relief that she needs."

She also said due to privacy considerations, she cannot provide many details.

It is not known why Kennedy was arrested.

"The embassy officials there on the ground are working with him through Global Affairs Canada and [are] making sure that the consular assistance is there for Michael to make sure that he is in good health, and he is."

Kennedy's mother, Kay Kennedy, told the National Post that her son was on his way home for Christmas when he was taken by Iraqi Kurdish authorities. She found out from a friend of her son's in Iraq.

"All I know is he's been arrested and he's in Erbil," Kennedy told the National Post. "Nobody knows the reasons."

Brother killed in 2007 roadside bomb blast

Kennedy declined an interview with CBC News Monday morning, and said she had been advised not to do any more interviews about her son's situation.

She said the situation is particularly hard on her, as her son Kevin, 20, was one of six Canadian soldiers killed in a roadside bomb blast in 2007.

Take time to remember, says mother of slain soldier

Foote said it was not her office who advised Kay Kennedy not to do any more interviews.

"Clearly this is a woman who has had a difficult time and I think she needs the respect and the time that comes with trying to deal with this situation," Foote said.

"We're working really hard to get Michael home and give her the relief that she needs."

Michael Kennedy served in the Canadian Forces for 13 years, his mother told the National Post, but after leaving the military in March, he made his way to northern Syria three months later.

Kay Kennedy said he later crossed into Iraq and has been fighting around Shingal since.


Kay Kennedy's son Kevin Kennedy was 20 when he was killed by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan in 2007

She told the National Post he volunteered to fight the ISIS forces after hearing the experiences of people in northern Iraq, as "sort of a humanitarian thing."

The federal government has discouraged Canadians from travelling to fight ISIS, but has not stopped them or arrested them upon their return.

Global Affairs Canada is aware a Canadian citizen is currently detained in Iraq, a spokesperson with Global Affairs confirmed.

"Canadian officials are providing consular assistance to the individual and are in contact with local authorities. Due to privacy considerations, further details cannot be disclosed at this time," the statement from Global Affairs read.

Canadians are being advised by Global Affairs against non-essential travel to Iraq, "including the provinces under the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government, Dahuk, Erbil and Sulaymaniyah, as the security situation could deteriorate quickly."

Because of the unpredictable security situation and the limitations of providing consular assistance, Global Affairs Canada is also warning Canadians that travelling to Syria is done at personal risk.

#keepthelightsonformike

Meanwhile, a hashtag campaign has started on social media encouraging people to keep their back porch light on, as a symbolic beacon of support.

Lori Roul lives in Airport Heights in St. John's and has her light on to show "support for Michael and Kay."

"This woman has been through for so much," she said. "She lost her first son, and now her second son is in crisis as well."

Roul grew up in Lawn but said she knows the family.

"We're just praying a lot for him to get home. It's sad, plus it's unbelievable. So I got the lights on over our front door and back door." said Roul.

"People from that area of the Burin Peninsula, everybody is so concerned. I think about his mom, I think about the tragedy she's gone through. And no mom should have to go through that. It's horrendous."

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/nl-veteran-arrested-in-iraq-1.3881401

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Canadian veteran fighting ISIL has been arrested in Iraq, his mother says: ‘Nobody knows the reasons’

Post by Guest on Sun 04 Dec 2016, 16:11

Canadian veteran fighting ISIL has been arrested in Iraq, his mother says: ‘Nobody knows the reasons’

Stewart Bell | December 4, 2016 2:52 PM ET


Michael Kennedy was taken into custody Tuesday, his mother says

TORONTO — A Canadian military veteran who has spent the past six months fighting ISIL alongside Kurdish forces has been arrested in northern Iraq, his mother said in an interview Sunday.

Michael Kennedy, 32, was on his to Sulaymaniyah, trying to make it home to Newfoundland for Christmas, when he was taken into custody by Iraqi Kurdish authorities, said his mother Kay Kennedy.

“All I know is he’s been arrested and he’s in Erbil,” she said from Saint Vincent’s, Nfld. She said she got the news from a Kurdish friend of her son’s. “He said nobody knows the reasons.”


Michael Kennedy is a military veteran

He has been held since Tuesday in Erbil, said Kennedy, adding the affair has been hard on her because she lost another son, Pte. Kevin Kennedy of the 2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, to a roadside bomb in Afghanistan on April 8, 2007.

It is not unusual for the Kurdistan regional government of Masoud Barzani to arrest Western volunteer fighters as they are leaving Iraq on the grounds they have overstayed their visas and must pay fines.

But Kennedy’s visa was valid until January, said his mother. She said she last spoke to her son Monday when he was in Dohuk and he told her he was coming home through Sulaymaniyah, Dubai and Toronto.

She said he was at a restaurant with friends and sounded upbeat but when she called him back later that night, his mood had changed. “I could tell by his voice there was something off.”

Several dozen Canadians, many of them military veterans, are among the hundreds of foreign volunteers assisting Kurdish militias on the frontlines against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Ottawa has verbally discouraged Canadians from taking up arms against ISIL but has not stopped them from traveling or arrested them upon their return, although some have been questioned by the RCMP.

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canadian-veteran-fighting-isil-has-been-arrested-in-iraq-his-mother-says-nobody-knows-the-reasons

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Re: A soldier of conscience: Canadian veteran Dillon Hillier’s book reveals he killed ISIL fighters in Iraq

Post by Bruce72 on Fri 07 Oct 2016, 19:12

You have my support Mr. Hillier.  You're a veteran and a Canadian to be proud of.


Last edited by bruce72 on Fri 07 Oct 2016, 19:15; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : grammar)

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A soldier of conscience: Canadian veteran Dillon Hillier’s book reveals he killed ISIL fighters in Iraq

Post by Bruce72 on Fri 07 Oct 2016, 19:04

http://www.nationalpost.com/m/wp/news/canada/blog.html?b=news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/a-soldier-of-conscience-canadian-veterans-book-reveals-he-killed-isil-fighters-in-iraq

TORONTO — Fresh off the plane from northern Iraq, where he’d just spent two months at the front lines of the fight against ISIL, Dillon Hillier sat in his parents’ stone farmhouse near Perth, Ont., last February talking about the bold things he’d done.

He talked about going into combat alongside Kurdish fighters almost immediately after arriving in Iraq, about the ISIL sniper who missed him by inches and about the menial chores he sometimes had to perform, like buying furniture for the general.

The one question he would not answer was whether he had killed during his time as an international anti-ISIL volunteer. But in a book to be released Tuesday, the 28-year-old Canadian infantry veteran acknowledges that he did.

Nine days after arriving in Iraq, Hillier came under fire from two Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant fighters. Alone, exposed and outnumbered, he shot back, killing them both. He then “stood over the two bearded corpses,” according to the book.

“The Peshmerga credited me with two confirmed and four other probable kills at Tal al-Ward. Whether it was two or six doesn’t really matter. What matters is that there are a few less ISIS fighters because of my actions, and that’s something I’ll be proud of and carry forever.”

The book also reveals that, at the time, Hillier was with a platoon of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which is considered a terrorist organization under Canadian law. But he said he left the “murderous band of thugs” at the first opportunity.

Co-authored with his brother Russell, One Soldier: A Canadian Soldier’s Fight Against the Islamic State, is the raw, personal memoir of a Canadian driven by conscience to stand against the inhumanity of terrorism. “I felt it was my duty to fight ISIS,” wrote Hillier, using another common acronym for the terror group.

In an interview this week, Hillier, now working at an investment bank in Toronto, said he was initially hesitant to disclose the killings at Tal al-Ward because he wasn’t sure how people would react. He was also concerned about how Canadian authorities might respond. But he said he was no longer worried.

As for the PKK, he said he was unsure about the possible legal ramifications when he first returned to Canada. But he said all the factions in Iraq were fighting ISIL and even U.S. soldiers shared a base with the PKK. “They may be a terrorist organization on paper but we still support them, the West.”

Hundreds of Western volunteers, many of them military veterans, have joined the fight against ISIL, including about 20 Canadians. But Hillier was the first Canadian veteran to go, and the first to return. None of the Canadians have faced criminal charges, although some have been questioned by the RCMP.

Like the others, Hillier was outraged by the October 2014 killings of two Canadian Forces members in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., and Ottawa. Having grown up near the capital, the attack on Parliament Hill hit close to home.

“It felt like an assault in my own backyard,” he wrote. “I knew I had to do something against these butchers. With my unique set of military skills learned in the Canadian army, I felt that I was well positioned to help those who could not help themselves.”

After making contact with the Kurdish Peshmerga forces through Facebook, he bought a plane ticket and sent his parents a message telling them to read the National Post for an interview he had given the newspaper before leaving. “This is what I have to do,” he told them.

He landed in northern Iraq on Nov. 17, 2014, and, after discovering the Peshmerga had not yet approved his deployment to the front, he instead contacted the PKK, which took him in — although he soon realized he had made a mistake.

The PKK took away his computer and tried to indoctrinate him into its brand of “militant socialism,” a waste of time considering Hillier was a libertarian, not to mention the son of Conservative Ontario MPP Randy Hillier.

His disdain for the PKK aside, Hillier found himself attracted to a female guerrilla named Zende whom he bedded, breaking the group’s strict celibacy rule. “I’m not sure what was more reckless — some of the things I did under fire while in Iraq, or having sex with a woman of the PKK,” he wrote.

Hillier is candid about the confusion he felt standing over the bodies of the Iraqis he killed, but he is not remorseful. “To be honest, I’m proud that I killed jihadis in Kurdistan,” he wrote. “At some level they were men, just like me, but at the same time they were something entirely different. They belonged to one of the most vile and sadistic groups the world has ever known.”

His dislike of the PKK deepened when he watched members confront a man during a mop-up operation. Thinking he might be a suicide bomber, the Kurds killed him. The screams of his wife and children haunted Hillier.

Having not only witnessed the killing but recorded it with a GoPro camera, Hillier feared for his safety and got hold of his Peshmerga contact, who arrived with heavily armed gunmen to rescue him from the PKK base, he said.

From then on, he was with the Peshmerga, but he said the Canadian government was pressuring the Kurdistan Regional Government to release him from service. Ottawa was apparently afraid ISIL would abduct Hillier and release a video of him in an orange jumpsuit.

Meanwhile, the book reveals that Hillier’s family was harassed by ISIL supporters. Death threats came in the form of emails, tweets, Facebook posts, letters and phone calls. The RCMP got involved and according to Hillier, a man was taken into custody.

But aside from the “atrocious” reader comments posted below CBC’s reports about him, Canadians were mostly supportive, Hillier said, and donated almost $20,000 so he could buy night vision goggles, body armour and medical supplies. He gave the surplus funds to the families of the two soldiers killed in the 2014 terror attacks.

On January 27, 2015, Randy Hillier released a statement saying his son had returned safely from the Middle East. The following week, a Post reporter asked Dillon Hiller the question about whether he had killed anyone in Iraq. As he wrote in the book, “Whenever a soldier is asked if he has killed anyone and he answers that he doesn’t want to talk about it, it means, ‘Yes, I have.’ ”

National Post

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Re: A soldier of conscience: Canadian veteran Dillon Hillier’s book reveals he killed ISIL fighters in Iraq

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