Media CTV Interviews

CTV Interviews

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Canada will fight to protect Libyan civilians: Harper – CTV News
www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/…/harper-leader-talk-gadhafi-paris-1103…19 Mar 2011 – Walter Dorn from Canadian Forces College says limited military action is possible in Libya but it depends on what Gadhafi’s next move is …

►Baird ‘impressed’ after meeting with Libyan rebels – CTV News
www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/…/baird-canada-trip-libya-rebels-benghazi-110627/27 Jun 2011 – CTV News Channel: Walter Dorn, professor. A professor of defence studies at the Canadian Forces College says Moammar Gadhafi has alienated …

Pro-Gadhafi forces shell western city of Misrata – CTV News
www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/…/aisha-gadhafi-issues-defiant-message-110415/15 Apr 2011 – CTV News Channel: Walter Dorn, professor. A professor of defence studies at the Canadian Forces College says although Gadhafi’s forces are …

Gadhafi’s forces control skies, but rebels fight back – CTV News
www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/…/libya-migrant-workers-110314/14 Mar 2011 – CTV News Channel: Walter Dorn, professor. A professor at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto says a no-fly zone over Libya would make a …

CTV Edmonton – Bodies of 2 RCMP killed in quake return home from …
edmonton.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/…/Police_Haiti_100122?… – Cached22 Jan 2010 – Former UN peacekeeper Walter Dorn discusses Canada’s contribution as peacekeepers worldwide as the bodies of two RCMP officers slain in …

CTV Edmonton – Canada rejects G8 action on Libya no-fly zone – CTV …
edmonton.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/…no…/20110316/?… – Cached16 Mar 2011 – CTV News Channel: Walter Dorn, professor. A professor at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto says a no-fly zone over Libya would make a …

Libya Journal: A revolution, then and now – CTV News 
 www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/…/libya-journal-a-revolution-then-and-now-1103
19 Mar 2011
Walter Dorn from Canadian Forces College says limited military action is possible in Libya but it depends on what Gadhafi’s next move is …
 
Gadhafi’s forces control skies, but rebels fight back – CTV News 
www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/World/20110314/libya-migrant-workers-110314/
14 Mar 2011
CTV News Channel: Walter Dorn, professor. A professor at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto says a no-fly zone over Libya would make …
 
Ottawa told to brace for WikiLeaks release – CTV News
www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Canada/…/wikileaks-release-canada-101125/25 Nov 2010 – Walter Dorn, an associate professor at the Royal Military College of Canada, said the leaked documents could “provide a window into the …

Afghan challenger drops out of election – CTV News
www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20091101/afghanistan_election_091101/CTV News Channel: Walter Dorn, professor. A professor at Canadian Forces College says challenger Abdullah Abdullah realizes that he would not win in a …

Read More… – Top Stories
 m.ctv.ca/topstories/20101125/wikileaks-release-canada-101125.html25 Nov 2010 – Walter Dorn, an associate professor at the Royal Military College of Canada, said the leaked documents could “provide a window into the …

►As Libya reaches stalemate, Gadhafi switches tactics – CTV News
www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/…/gadhafi-switches-tactics-amid-stalemate-110415/15 Apr 2011 – CTV News Channel: Walter Dorn, professor. A professor of defence studies at the Canadian Forces College says although Gadhafi’s forces are …

Bodies of two slain soldiers on their way home – CTV News
www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/20081228/afghanistan_soldiers_081228/28 Dec 2008 – CTV Newsnet: Walter Dorn, Canadian Forces College on the casualties in Afghanistan. The recent rise in deaths of Canadian soldiers in …

Libyan forces bombard rebels in the east and west – CTV News
www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/…/libya-forces-bomb-rebels-110316/16 Mar 2011 – CTV News Channel: Walter Dorn, professor. A professor at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto says a no-fly zone over Libya would make a …

CTV Edmonton – Libyan forces bombard rebels in the east and west …
edmonton.ctv.ca/servlet/an/…/libya-forces-bomb-rebels-110316?… – Cached16 Mar 2011 – CTV News Channel: Walter Dorn, professor. A professor at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto says a no-fly zone over Libya would make a …

CTV Edmonton – France officially recognizes Libyan opposition …
edmonton.ctv.ca/servlet/…/libya-gadhafi-protests-fighting-110310?… – Cached10 Mar 2011 – CTV News Channel: Walter Dorn, professor. A professor at Canadian Forces College states there are big challenges to the no-fly zone. …

Nine Afghans die in ‘mistaken identity’ airstrike – CTV News
www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/World/20081022/afghans_airstrike_081022/22 Oct 2008 – CTV Newsnet: Walter Dorn, CF College. The situation in Afghanistan may get worse , as NATO forces waver in their commitment to the mission. …

Western forces launch assault on Gadhafi regime – CTV News
www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/TopStories/…/libya-fighting-saturday-110319/19 Mar 2011 – Walter Dorn from Canadian Forces College says limited military action is possible in Libya but it depends on what Gadhafi’s next move is …

Canadians may play role in Karadzic war crimes trial – CTV News
www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/Canada/20080804/cda_karadzic_080804/4 Aug 2008 – And, Canadians like Rechner, who watched the war unfold, could be potential witnesses at Karadzic’s trial, says Walter Dorn, a professor of …

Teaching at Other Universities

TEACHING AT OTHER INSTITUTIONS

 

CIVILIAN UNIVERSITIES

Professor Dorn taught courses at Cornell University and the University of Toronto. He has also gave guest lectures at these universities:

Canada: Carleton University;  Dominican University College; Humber College;  McMaster University; Mount Saint Vincent University; Queen’s University;  Quest University; Université d’Ottawa (en français); Université de Montréal (en français); University of Ontario Institute of Technology; University of British Columbia (UBC); University of Western Ontario (UWO); and Wilfrid Laurier University.

USA: Cornell University; City University of New York (Graduate Centre); Long Island University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; National Defence University; State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland; and University of California at San Diego.

Abroad: Cambridge University (UK); Hochschule für Politik München (Germany); Munich University (LMU, Germany); Soka University (Japan); Udayana University (Indonesia); Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM, Mexico); and University of Konstanz (Germany).

 

MILITARY INSTITUTIONS

In addition to the Royal Military College and the Canadian Forces College, he has lectured in courses at the following military institutions: Centro de Estudios Superiores Navales (CESNAV) (Mexico City); Joint Forces Staff College (Norfolk, Virginia); Canadian Land Forces Command and Staff College (Kingston, Ontario); Canadian Forces School of Military Intelligence (Kingston, Ontario); and the Virginia Military Institute (Lexingon, Virginia).

 

Media: Interview with The Independent

Media Interview: “Why are UN Peacekeepers so badly equipped for modern conflict?” The Independent

Source: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/why-are-un-peacekeepers-so-badly-equipped-for-modern-conflict-2334052.html

 

Independent.co.uk

Why are UN Peacekeepers so badly equipped for modern conflict?

UN Peacekeepers have been seen as a vital force for good for more than 60 years and are preparing for possible action in Libya.

By Mark Piesing
Tuesday, 9 August 2011

The footage could have come from Congo or Sudan – young men in jeans and T-shirts with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenades slung carelessly over their shoulders, leaning on the side of a lorry with a machine gun welded on the back.

But the tank, still smouldering from a missile strike and the soldiers already posting the news on Twitter, meant that it could only have come from Libya.

With “forward teams of UN peacekeepers already on standby to be deployed”, Walter Dorn, a Professor at the Royal Canadian Military College who is also a regular consultant to the UN’s Department for Peacekeeping Operations, believes a peacekeeping mission in Libya would present the UN with an opportunity to overcome its surprisingly outmoded attitude to new military technology.

It is an attitude that, according to Dorn, has often left UN commanders in the field with little option other than to tell villagers “to bang their pots and pans together if they are being attacked”, while UN officials sit in Manhattan with state-of-the-art communications equipment. It is also at odds with the increasingly tech-savvy populations they are meant to be protecting.

Dorn, the author of Keeping Watch: Monitoring, Technology, and Innovation in UN Peacekeeping Operations, who has himself served with the UN in Africa, South-east Asia and the Americas, believes that this attitude has endangered the lives of the peacekeepers and the civilians, UN commanders having been left “blind and deaf” in the middle of conflicts whose complexity means that “subtle responses are often the best responses”.

He says: “Peacekeeping is no longer about the blue berets sitting between two sides, but rather a much more complex, multidimensional challenge that involves the UN in counterinsurgency, policing, intelligence gathering and nation building, for which new military technology is essential.”

If it gets the go-ahead, the UN mission to Libya will be the 64th peacekeeping operation the UN has run, or the 65th if a mission to South Sudan is launched first. In fact, the first mission, the 1948 UN Truce Supervision Organisation to monitor the Arab-Israeli ceasefire, is still active more than 60 years later.

Despite the apparently unending nature of some of the missions, and allegations of corruption and even child sexual abuse that have blighted recent missions, peacekeeping has grown into an $8bn (£5bn) business worldwide, employing more than 120,000 soldiers, police and contractors mainly from developing nations such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Nigeria, with just over 5 per cent from the European Union and the United States.

According to Dorn, despite the urgings of the UN’s Special Committee on Peacekeeping, the blue berets may face going into Libya without the military technology that most developed countries take for granted, whether this is real-time satellite imagery, “big boy’s toys” such as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS), simple pressure pads to warn of intruders, or even “high street” smartphones to improve communications in the field.

“The public does not realise how underequipped the UN is when the world organisation sends peacekeepers into dangerous conflict areas. Unlike in the UK, there is no Daily Mail that demands that its soldiers be properly equipped,” Dorn says. “While the UN’s internal communications are world-class, the military are stuck back in the Eighties, if not earlier, due to a lack of understanding by the civilians in the UN Secretariat of the importance of this new technology, how cheap it’s actually becoming or how many off-the-shelf solutions there are.”

There is also a lingering fear, Dorn says, of “exporting technology”, which prevents the developed nations from sharing their latest kit with the developing nations whose soldiers make up the bulk of the peacekeepers. For example, the US has recently blocked UN efforts to get third-generation night-vision goggles from Canada, while the West is already on to the fourth generation.

The lack of investment has repeatedly had horrible consequences on the ground, Dorn says. In the Congo in 2008 more than 150 villagers were killed by rebels, while only a mile away 100 UN peacekeepers without any intelligence capability struggled to make sense of what was going on.

For Dorn, while big-ticket items used under contract – such as the Mi-35 helicopter gunships that the UN used in the Congo – can have an immediate impact through providing capabilities such as night vision, cheaper technology can have just as substantial an impact, whether paid for or subsidised by the UN, or even bought by member states. “In Cyprus, remote cameras that have been placed along the Green Line to film violators have actually increased compliance, as in the past both sides would challenge reports of violations, while now with the footage they don’t,” Dorn says.

Yet the fact that these remote cameras have neither audio nor night-vision capabilities shows the challenges that remain. Colonel Kevin Shelton-Smith, the chief of Aviation Projects and Planning at UN Peacekeeping, a veteran of UN operations from Kosovo to Sudan and “likely to be in the first wave into Libya”, agrees that “the introduction of new technology has been difficult in the past” owing to the “need to make sure that everyone politically is on board first” and that this had the effect of “reducing peacekeeping to almost always a daylight activity, even though most camps are attacked at night”.

Such difficulties are exacerbated by the way each mission has to be organised on an ad hoc basis, usually with little more than two weeks’ notice and with a size and budget decided by a sometimes distant Security Council, he says.

But there is now a “broader acceptance as to how important new technology is”, so much so that there is a “new technological revolution coming down the pipeline”, he says. This might be – almost indirectly – through the use of more advanced Western helicopters with, for example, built-in night-vision kit or video surveillance, or more directly through the UN purchasing its own UAVs, which “can carry out more surveillance in a month than a man in a helicopter with a camera can in a day”.

One unintended effect is that “the more we use new technology to improve our information-gathering, the more others see it as spying”, inevitably raising UN fears of an “international incident”, Colonel Shelton-Smith says. On the ground in the eastern Congo, Olivia Kalis, Oxfam’s Policy and Advocacy co-ordinator for the Democratic Republic of Congo, notices the difference in the technological might of the countries that comprise the Security Council and the capabilities of the Bangladeshis and Moroccans who make up much of the 17,000-strong force in what is the UN’s second largest [current] peacekeeping mission. “There isn’t very much doubt that the UN don’t use the latest technology here,” she says.

Despite perceptions that the peacekeepers are generally ineffective and distant, as highlighted in the recent Oxfam report We are entirely exploitable: The lack of protection for civilians in Eastern DRC, Kalis says that “communities want the presence of the peacekeepers in their midst and want them to engage with them and listen to them”. And mobile phones or even local radio can help “communities feel more secure, as they can break down their isolation by increasing the flow of information, and help them to help themselves by allowing one village to warn another of the risk of an attack”, which is one reason why more than 300,000 people have been displaced by the conflict. As a result, very small-scale trial warden schemes using high-frequency radios have been set up in eastern Congo.

But Kalis strikes a note of pessimism. “The UN here are struggling to get enough helicopters, let alone new technology, into an area without even basic infrastructure,” she says.

In the end, while Dorn “jokes with UN staffers that the UN needs to come at least into the 1990s in its technology”, he believes that Libya could offer the peacekeepers a chance not only to catch up but to leap ahead. “The technology behind Twitter and Facebook can be of immense help for peacekeeping by encouraging local people to create imagery databases that allow the UN to get the bigger picture.

“The UN has a limited number of peacekeepers it can send out to cover emerging hotspots. So crowdsourcing can help peacekeepers make better decisions in the fog of war and other complex situations.”

And in the end, we may finally become better at making peace than war.

 

Some of the peacekeepers’ key roles

When: 1948
Where: Israel/Palestine
Role: Supervising the truce in the Arab/Israeli war, caused by the partition of Palestine in 1947.

When: 1949-present
Where: India/Pakistan
Role: Supervising fighting between the two newly independent nations.

When: 1958
Where: Lebanon
Role: Monitoring interference from Syria during the 1958 Lebanon crisis.

When: 1964-present
Where: Cyprus
Role: Preventing further problems between Greek and Turkish Cypriots after Turkish military invasion in 1974.

When: 1973-1979
Where: Egypt/Israel
Role: Stabilising the situation after the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

When: 1989-1991
Where: Angola
Role: Overseeing the withdrawal of Cuban troops, who had – along with the Russians – used the conflict as an ideological surrogate in the Cold War.

When: 1991-2003
Where: Iraq/Kuwait
Role: Monitoring the demilitarised zone on the border after the first Gulf War.

When: 1993-1994
Where: Uganda-Rwanda
Role: Verifying that no military assistance was provided across the international border between the two countries during Rwanda’s civil war.

When: 1995-2002
Where: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Role: Exercising functions related to law enforcement, police reform and humanitarian relief after the Bosnian war.

When: 2002-2005
Where: East Timor
Role: Providing assistance to devolve all operational responsibilities to local authorities after the country had gained independence.

Viola Caon

The technology the Peacekeepers need

You just need to look on the shelves of B&Q for much of the technology that Walter Dorn believes could transform peacekeeping, even if you have to go elsewhere for attack helicopters:

Pressure pads or infra-red beams to detect traffic along bush tracks or even warn of an attack; CCTV to monitor green lines and refugee camps. And beyond that the now-ubiquitous UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and more James Bond style “peacekeeping satellites” to provide surveillance.

Kevin Shelton-Smith can add to the list the Bell 2012 helicopters used by the LAPD to hunt criminals, synthetic aperture radar that can see through trees and even remote-controlled paragliders for resupply.

Ultimately, he hopes for a UN helicopter as manufacturers wake up to the peacekeeping business. Although the last-minute cancellation of a $90m (£55m) project to provide the UN with drones in Congo suggests that the UN may have to wait longer for that.

Visit to Cyprus

Visits to Peacekeeping Operations: CYPRUS

January 2009

 
On the Green Line in the divided capital Nicosia, in a no-man’s land between Turkish and Greek Cypriot Guard forces, accompanied by an Argentine Naval officer and a UK reservist. Maple House was the former dwelling of Canadian army contingent of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) but it has been abandoned since the Canadian withdrawal from the mission in 1993 after 30 years of service. As a British Colonel told me, “Canada is written all over this mission” even after the withdrawal. (Only one Canadian soldier is currently serving in the mission. Canada still calls its contribution “Operation Snowgoose”).  

UNFICYP_MapleHouse-Gate_DSCN0484

With the Argentine naval officer who served as the J6 Communications, at a communications relay station along the Green Line.

UNFICYP_DSCN0552

Evidence of No-Man’s Land (frozen in time since the 1974 Turkish invasion):

UNFICYP_DSCN0474

 

Remote camera placed on the Green Line to warn the UN of any violations of the cease-fire or other agreements:

UNFICYP_DSCN0480

 Other field work: Timor; Haiti; and Congo.

Timor Tribute

Tribute of a Timor Lover

A. Walter Dorn, 20 September 1999

 O Timor, how great has been your suffering!
 How many sons and daughters you have lost in your struggle!
 How many fruits you have been denied through the centuries!

 Still, the fairest fruit is soon to be yours: independence.
 You have paid the price with the sweat of your brow,
 with the blood of your people,
 under the whip of foreign taskmasters.
 Struggle, cry and work — all these you did.   
 Finally the world heard your cry and recognized your struggle.

We, the United Nations, came to help you determine your future.
We said: “Your choice, your vote, your future.  We are with you.”
But we were wrong.   We allowed ourselves to believe that your
oppressor would become your protector.
We led you to the pasture but forgot that it was the location of a slaughterhouse.
It WAS your vote.  It WAS your choice but it WAS NOT your
future all together.
We stood by and then left you as the forces of darkness and prejudice
enveloped your land.
Now we return to count the dead and to help the living.
Still, many of your people remain in the jaws of terror, in another
land under the control of another power.  May they return
quickly to be embraced by you, O Timor.

Through the darkest hours, you have kept the flame of hope alive
in your heart.
You dared against fate and foreign oppression to believe in your future.
Now from the spirits of your fallen and the hearts of your living will
surely spring the goal supreme:  freedom.

Those of your admirers who love your natural beauty, cherish your humility,
will pledge to do what we can to make your independence dream a reality,
your freedom a celebration and your security a matter of  our own.  
May God give us the strength never to fail you again!
Viva Timor Leste!

 


When I left for East Timor at the beginning of summer 1999, little did I realize that my life would become inextricably intertwined with the lives of so many East Timorese and, indeed, with the life of an entire people.  This poem pays tribute to those remarkable, resilient, wonderful people. 

I served as a UN District Electoral Officer in the summer of 1999 leading up to the Referendum (“Popular Consultation”) of 30 August 1999.  I was stationed in Suai and registered many people at the Ave Maria Church in Suai, the site of the subsequent massacre (6 September 1999).  This poem is dedicated to my friends, the late Padre Francisco and the late Padre Hilario, of Zumalai and Suai, who died in the massacre. At the request of the Vicar of the Dili Cathedral this poem was translated into Tetun and Bahasa Indonesia for display in the foyer of the Cathedral.
 
Writings, presentations and photos from the deployment to Timor.

East Timor 1999

EAST TIMOR 1999:  Experiences as a UN Electoral Oficer

Writings

East Timor: Personal Encounters with Militias (Peace Magazine)
 Tribute of a Timor Lover (poetry)

PowerPoint Presentations

UN Electoral Operations: Case Study East Timor 1999 (pdf, 1.6 MB)


Photos

 

In the summer of 1999, I served as a UN electoral officer in East Timor, the half-island occupied by Indonesia.  I was part of the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNAMET) whose mission was to administer a free and fair referendum so the Timorese people could choose their future: integration with Indonesia or independence. After a few days of pre-deployment training by UN staff stationed in Darwin, I was sent to Timor aboard a Hercules aircraft provided by South Africa.

Here is my first view of the enchanting island of Timor in June 1999:

1a_FirstViewOfTimor_HercWindow_June1999_72dpi

My view out the small round Herc window of Dili, the capital.

1b_HercTrip-FirstViewOfDili

Before landing, we were told to be prepared for press photographers on the runway. There were none, so we did the next best thing … we took pictures of ourselves!

2b_ArrivingTimor_DiliAirport_ACDSee-Brighter

Here is a fellow electoral officer, the Liberian gentleman Gongolo, who posed for this photo before we entered the Dili Airport building. The inspiring banner reads “WELCOME. If you love East Timorese, LOVE BOTH the pro integration and the pro independence.”  Gongolo later became a member of my electoral team.

3_DiliAiport-WithGongolo

 

Then we were sent to our region (Suai, which borders West Timor) aboard Puma helicopters.

4_TakingHelicopterToSuai

At the Suai headquarters, I was assigned a police officer from Malaysia. That was quite handy since his language (Bahasa Malaysia) was very close to Bahasa Indonesia, which was widely spoken in East Timor (along with local languages, especially Tetun)

5_Suai_UN-Reg-Hq

 

The Indonesian police were to escort us “for our security” but we felt their main job was to make sure that we didn’t do anything “improper,” and to keep an eye on us. It also promoted the charade that Indonesia was the protector of the Timorese people, when in fact it was an oppressor.

6_IndonesianEscortsOrWatchers

Here’s one of my teams in blue, along with the Indonesian soldiers assigned to escort us on one particular trip.  The driver is squatting and one of my translators is on the far right.

6_MyTeam_UnderArmedEscort

Some scenery from one of many trips.

6_Traveling

 

Some beautiful scenes …

7a_TimorVillage_07-08-2011 12-12-03 AM_0012

 

Always enjoyed seeing the children of Timor. The two shown here are in school uniforms bearing the Indonesian colours.

7b_Children

 

Children were also a joy to hear … “Hello Meester” they would shout while waving and smiling.

7b_Children2

 

Visiting a village near Suai, I spoke with the elders. When I asked how the crop was going that year, the man without a shirt told me that they had not planted seeds that year. I was surprised because the people were subsistence farmers. Without a crop they might starve! He said that if they planted the militiamen would come and take the crop by force, so they decided not to plant!

7_DiscussionsWithVillageLeaders

 

The UNAMET mission had 500 electoral officers and only 50 military advisers (all unarmed). Below you see four of them. In this photo, I also managed to capture the profile (right) of a notorious militia leader. At one point, his militiamen threatened that “my security and that of my team could not be guaranteed.” I was called a “spy.” (For whom, they did not say.) A few days later, the Irish colonel (second from the right of the four) convinced the Indonesian military to tell the militia leader to withdraw the threat. I was much relieved when the militia leader said it had been a “mistake.” I was not a spy after all!

7_UN-MilitaryAdvisers

 

In the town of Zumalai, the church was boarded up. The priest, Padre Francisco, had been told by the local militia that if he preached any more there, he would be killed. So he took refuge in the Suai church complex.

7_Zumalai_ClosedChurch

 

Here is Gongolo with some Indonesian soldiers and a militia leader (far right).

8_IndonesianAuthorities_Gongolo

 

Indonesian police, which only a year or two before had been separated from the military …

8_IndonesianMilitary

Entrance to a military base. I took a little risk to take this picture …

8_IndonesianMilitary_Dili

Myself with some junior Indonesian soldiers:

8_IndonesianPolice

8_IndonesianPolice_Suai

 

The militia parading through the streets of Suai to show their support for “integrasi” (integration with Indonesia).

8_Militia1

 

8_Militia2

 

The militia in and around Zumalai was named MAHIDI, said to stand for “Integration dead or alive!”

8_MilitiaLeader

 

After the people rejected integration and voted 78% for independence, as announced by the UN on September 6, the militia took their revenge. They burned 90% of the building in the capital, including these ones.

99_BurnedBuildings2_Dili_2001_resize

99_BurnedBuildings_Dili_2001_resize

 

Fortunately, the Australian-led international force INTERFET was permitted entry, after the US (Pres. Clinton) and the international community put heavy pressure on Indonesia. Only a thousand lives were lost. Unfortunately it included 200 civilians who were slaughtered in the Suai Church complex. Among the dead was a member of my team, Frederico, who had taken refuge at the church after militiamen saw him informing me of their attempts to falsely register.  Padre Francisco was shot in cold blood as he pleaded for the parishioners in the church, who were also murdered.

 

Below is an image I I took this image from a UN helicopter in July. It shows the Suai church complex, including the Ave Maria church (top left) and the unfinished cathedral (centre) that Indonesia had begun to build but stopped when the referendum process had begun. The Indonesians claimed to have built more churches in East Timor (Timor Timur or TimTim, as they called their 27th province) during their 24 years there than the Portuguese had in almost four centuries of colonialism there.

9a_SuaiChurchComplex_FromHelicopter

The cathedral viewed from the grounds of the associated school:

9b_SuaiChurch_Children_July1999

 

Some IDPs (internally displaced persons) made their home inside the roofless cathedral structure after they had to leave for villages because they were deemed pro-independence by the militia.

9c_SuaiCathedral_IDPs_Inside

 

Many live in tents made from tarps given by UN relief agencies.

9d_SuaiChurch_IDP-tents_Suai

 

After playing soccer with the kids, I took their picture. The young man in black is giving the fisted salute of FALANTIL, the rebel force.

9e_SuaiCathedral-IDPs

 

The late Padre Francisco:

9f_SuaiChurch_PadreFranciscoOFZumalai-InSuaiCathedralComplex_Crop

 

Voter education was part of the UN mission. I spoke to some 700 Timorese after a mass at the Ave Maria Church. I said that their individual votes would be secret (something new for them) and that no matter what the outcome of the “popular consultation” (referendum), the UN would not leave Timor.

9g_VoterEducationAtSuaiCathedral

 

But shortly after the “reign of terror” started on 6 September 1999, the UN evacuated all its person (except a dozen uniformed personnel holed up the Australian consulate in Dili). Back in North America, I could not help but feel that I had betrayed the people in Suai who were massacred without UN protection. Take God, about 10 days later, the Australian-led force entered to establish peace and oversee the Indonesian withdrawal. The United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) took over governance of the half-island for almost two years before handing over the reins to officials who won the UN-run elections. Here is a banner flying outside the location of some killings in Dili:

99_SiteOfKillings1999_Dili_2001_resize

 

Before I left in August, I had promised my Timorese friends of team members that I would return. I kept that promise in 2001. Here I am with the family of my translator Teresa Immaculada Galhos, who several years later got a university education in Australia, married an Australian, and now has a child of her own.

Translator-Family_Dili

 

Two young members of the extended family giving me the peace sign:

zz_Children_Dili_2001

 

For those who have known oppression and war, the message above the licence plate on this truck in Suai is particularly poignant.

zz_TruckInSuai_07-08-2011 12-13-18 AM_0014

 

One of my favourite photos from the UN deployment in 2000 (after the Timor tragedy) can be found here.

My feelings about Timor are best expressed in poetry: Tribute of a Timor Lover.

 

Media

Media Interviews and Publications (Selected)

For recent media interviews, see Google News. Here is a sampling of past interviews (hopefully links still work!).

 
Television

CBC, The National, on Canada’s proposed mission to Mali, 27 February 2018: CBC link

CBC Mali 2 19K Mar2018

The Debate on “Killer Robots”, CTV News Network, 19 April 2015.(video clip) (clip link | Facebook)
Mali: French forces in Timbuktu, CTV News Channel, 28 January 2013
UN Action/Inaction in Syria and the Annan resignation, CTV News Channel (see box, 2), 2 August 2012
Older
CTV News Channel themes: ICC issues arrest warrant for Gaddafi, 27 June 2011; The end of the Gaddafi regime, CTV News Channel, 22 August 2011

CTV interview with Jacqueline Milczarek about the use of chemical weapons in Syria, 26 April 2013
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
CTV News Channel interview with Jacqueline Milczarek about the use of chemical weapons in Syria, 26 April 2013
 

Radio

CBC, World at Six, interview with Susan Bonner about Canadian peacekeeping (mp3)

World at Six CBC 33KB Apr2018

Developing or banning killer robots?, CBC’s Ontario Today, 16 April 2015 (mp3, 10 MB, 21 min;
    appearance at 30:00 min of complete show: CBC site mp3)
Congo Intervention Brigade, CBC’s The World At Six, 21 June 2013 (mp3, 3.4 MB)
National peacekeepers’ day, CBC’s The World This Weekend, 7 August 2011 (mp3, 3.3 MB)

 

Print

Peacekeeping should be the next mission, Embassy newsweekly, 5 October 2011
Canada should have eyes, ears in Libya: Defence expert, Postmedia News / Ottawa Citizen, 31 August 2011
Why are UN Peacekeepers so badly equipped for modern conflict?
(copy) The Independent, 9 August 2011

Entrevues en français
L’OTAN défiée au coeur même de Kaboul, Le Devoir, 14 September 2011

 

Opinion pieces

Give the Peacekeepers Tools They Need,National Post, 26 September 2011 (html)
It’s Time to Keep the Peace Again (with Dominic Leger), National Post, 6 June 2011
Where are Our Peacekeepers? (with Peter Langille), Toronto Star, 8 August 2009
Canada Pulls Out of Peacekeeping, Globe and Mail, 27 March 2006
…. Get the public messaging about Canadian peacekeeping? ….

 

Net media

Wired UK (online) “Smartphones, drones and social media: peacekeeping’s technological armoury”, 1 August 2012
Smartphones for Smart PeacekeepingThe Mark, with Nicholas C. Martin and  Charles Martin-Shields, 2 June 2011

Will Canada be a UN Peacekeeper Again?, video excepts on CPAC’s Public Record and youtube (1:26), presentation PPT, 11 February 2011
How Tech Can help Prevent Violence, Innovation News Daily & LiveScience.com, 27 April 2012

Podcast interview about book Keeping Watch: Monitoring, Technology and Innovation in UN Peace Operations, interviewed by Dr. Alistair Edgar, Executive Director, Academic Council on the UN System, BookTalk Podcast, 7 June 2012.

 

Freelance journalists

Jane Kokan, Canada’s Peacekeeping Legacy (interview, 2012)