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by John Helmer, Moscow 

A new press release in Ottawa reports that the court martial announced for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) Colonel Robert Kearney for his disagreement with Canadian, American, and British military planners of  Ukrainian battlefield operations against Russia may not proceed.

The Canadian government news slip reveals the allegations of disloyalty against Kearney announced publicly last month are now likely to be abandoned.

On April 29 a CAF press release was issued in Ottawa claiming that as a senior planning officer based in the UK and in Romania for Ukraine war operations, Kearney had made “derogatory and disloyal comments about Senior CAF [Canadian] and NATO [US, UK] members. The first offence allegedly occurred in December of 2021 and four subsequent offences ranged from January 2023 to November 2023. The offences are alleged to have taken place in the United Kingdom and in Romania.”  

Kearney was at the time of his “disloyal comments” the assistant chief of staff at the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) in Innsworth, United Kingdom. In this role, Kearney supervised more than 400 staff officers from the armies of the UK, US, Canada, Italy, Denmark, and other NATO states.

ARRC and NATO press releases claim Kearney’s unit has been operating against Russia in Estonia  and in Romania    “in its primary role as a war fighting Corps Headquarters.”  

Under Section 129 of Canada’s Defence Act – the provision of military law reportedly being applied against Kearney —  prosecution of soldiers is allowed for an undefined “act, conduct, disorder, or neglect to the prejudice of discipline”. The penalty for conviction is “dismissal with disgrace”, which includes loss of pension. This law has not been tested — no officer of Kearney’s rank has been charged and prosecuted for a Section 129 offence in a court martial before.  

Canadian military sources believe Kearney is being threatened with court martial now because the Canadian government’s policy to finance, arm, train, plan, and direct Ukrainian operations against Russia is being defeated; and that the military collapse east of Kiev now risks loss of more territory and the lives of Canadians currently working in the Ukraine and at cross-border bases in Poland and Romania.

At least one thousand Canadians have been counted by the Russian Defense Ministry on the battlefield since the start of the Special Military Operation; by March of this year, 422 had been confirmed killed in action.    

Loss of confidence in the Ukraine war has become increasingly public in the military staffs of the US, France and Germany, but this is being kept secret in the UK and Canada.

On May 15, a new Canadian government press release was issued acknowledging that, in fact, no charges have been filed against Kearney, and that the “military [have] yet to decide on court martial for the colonel accused of making derogatory comments about Canadian Forces leaders”.  

The new press release, issued ten days ago in an email to an Ottawa journalist, reversed the meaning of the earlier government announcement. The new message divulges that Kearney has been accused by officers he had criticized for their professional incompetence, but he has not been charged with a military offence.   “National Defence spokeswoman Andrée-Anne Poulin noted the charges against Kearney have now been referred to the Director of Military Prosecutions. ‘The prosecutor assigned to review the case will first complete the post-charge analysis,’ she explained in an email. If the prosecutor prefers charges, and once the counsel for the accused indicates they are ready to proceed, the case will be brought before the Chief Military Judge, at a scheduling conference.’ Once the dates for the trial have been identified, the court martial administrator will issue a convening order, and a summons to the accused, which will specify the date for the court martial, Poulin added.”  

Canadian lawyers point out that the conditional “if” and “once” in this defence ministry statement are a new sign that the political costs of prosecuting Kearney have become too high to proceed against him.  

A reporter named David Pugliese, who works for the Ottawa Citizen, has been the single source of the publicity against Kearney. According to his newspaper, Pugliese is “an award-winning journalist covering Canadian Forces and military issues in Canada.”  

A veteran with service in Afghanistan believes there has been an official cover-up of what Kearney has told his superiors during the Ukraine operations planning process, including warnings from Kearney of the future risk of Canadian casualties and military equipment losses. The source notes that no Canadian reporter has followed up on Pugliese’s publications. “I’ve seen nothing [else] on the Kearney case. Pugliese has allowed himself to be used as a tool, not only against Kearney, but against anyone else in the CAF considering speaking out against stupid and dangerous war plans and operations.”

Another Canadian military source says the Kearney case shows how weak Canadian generals and politicians have become now,  compared to their counterparts during World War II when Canadian General Harry Crerar successfully opposed British General Bernard Montgomery to claim  Canadian control over Canadian military forces and resist sacrificing Canadian troops in operations Montgomery was planning against the Germans in 1944 which Crerar told Montgomery were foolhardy.*  

Kearney’s supporters in the Canadian military are hoping that if the case against him collapses, he will sue Pugliese and the Ottawa Citizen for collaboration in defaming Kearney.

Since the Kearney case first surfaced publicly in April, read the full report here:  

Source: https://www.canada.ca/
Esprit de Corps, a widely read internet magazine on Canadian military affairs, has reported in detail on military police and prosecutor investigations of sexual misconduct by senior CAF officers. The magazine, edited by former CAF infantryman Scott Taylor, has ignored the Kearney case.  Comments a Canadian veteran, “Taylor is afraid of [Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia] Freeland and the pro-Ukraine politicians, as well as of alienating the CAF command if he delves too deeply.” Taylor and Pugliese are friends. The risks in their coverage of the Kearney case have been explained to them, the source adds. “They are scared.”  

Left: Colonel Robert Kearney from a social media posting; right, Kearney’s Meritorious Service Medal citation of May 2012. An earlier MSM was awarded to Kearney in October 2008.  This medal is a US military award to foreign, allied soldiers. Following his first medal citation Kearney was promoted from command of a CAF training base for snipers, tankers, and artillerymen to a divisional headquarters in Toronto.  

In fact and in legal procedure, Kearney has not been formally charged at all. Instead, at the direction of British, US, and other NATO generals, the Canadians were pressured to publish accusations against Kearney without revealing what he had said or done; and the Canadian media persuaded to publicize the allegations in an attempt to deter other Canadian officers from airing their dissenting views inside the military planning process.

The original press release claims: “Col Kearney faces the following charges:  Five (5) x counts of Conduct Prejudice to the Good Order and Discipline pursuant to section 129 of the National Defence Act. On November 29th, 2023, Military Police, Detachment Geilenkirchen received a complaint of a senior CAF officer allegedly making derogatory and disloyal comments about Senior CAF and NATO members. The first offence allegedly occurred in December of 2021 and four subsequent offences ranged from January 2023 to November 2023. The offences are alleged to have taken place in the United Kingdom and in Romania. This case will now proceed through the Military Justice System and no further information can be released at this time.”

In fact, Kearney was facing publicity of alleged disloyalty; he was not facing Section 129 charges.

No clarification or comment has been given to the press on the Kearney case by government officials, led by Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland who is an ethnic Ukrainian promoter of war against Russia. Pugliese refuses to answer questions about his own involvement in the case.

Kearney and his lawyers are saying nothing to the press. Behind the scenes, Canadian legal sources believe Kearney’s attorneys are making it clear to the Department of National Defence (DND) and to the CAF Defence Staff that unless the accusations against Kearney are withdrawn, they will require disclosure in public of the details of Kearney’s operational work on the Ukraine war; the names and nationalities of his accusers; and the operational issues involved in Kearney’s conflict with the other officers.

This is a powerful threat to expose the widening gap between Canadian field officers risking their lives in the Ukraine and the Freeland group in Ottawa who are profiteering from the war against Russia.

In his May 15 newspaper report, Pugliese claims to have found support for Kearney from retired CAF Colonel Brett Boudreau in a tweet. Boudreau was reported as having “pointed out that Chief of the Defence Staff Gen. Wayne Eyre, as well as Defence Minister Bill Blair, have spoken publicly about the failures of military leaders. ‘It will be interesting to see CAF trying to prove how this officer’s (Kearney’s) remarks are chargeable, while those by a succession of MNDs [Ministers of National Defence] (Sajjan, Anand, Blair) and CDS [Chief of the Defence Staff] Eyre are just fine,’ Boudreau wrote.”  

Source: https://x.com/WHMTE 

No trace of this tweet by Boudreau can be found currently. Instead, on May 4 Boudreau attacked the CAF military police for their violations of Canadian law and their lack of public accountability. “[There is] an egregious lack of oversight and accountability by DND [Department of National Defence]/senior CAF leaders of the military police function. After years of providing disclosure to the MPCC [Military Police Complaints Commission] in public interest investigations, the CFPM [Canadian Forces Provost Marshal] now considers that he has no legal duty to disclose relevant information to the MPCC in such cases, citing that the National Defence Act contains no express provision requiring him to do so.”

Read more on the breakdown of civilian and legal control of the military police in this report of March 26, 2024, by the Military Police Complaints Commission to the Canadian Defence Minister Bill Blair.  

“Our most significant challenge this year was the erosion of the MPCC’s ability to exercise civilian oversight of the military police. The MPCC used a great deal of resources and effort to obtain relevant documents from the CFPM to enable it to conduct fair and fulsome investigations. In too many instances, we have seen resistance or refusal to disclose information the MPCC needs to investigate complaints”, reported the MPCC chairman Tammy Tremblay, a civilian lawyer.  

Canadian military sources believe the Ottawa Citizen and Pugliese had the duty to check the military police allegations against Kearney before they damaged him by misreporting what was going on. “Since the Army and Provost Marshal aren’t exactly stupid, they knew all this in advance. So,  to deter colonel and general staff-level officers from doing what Kearney said, they used bastards like Pugliese to publish the story of the prosecution that won’t go anywhere. In doing so, they denied a senior CAF officer his constitutional and legal right to the presumption of innocence. It’s a very dirty game.”

[*] Crerar (right) fought to preserve the independence of  Canadian military command  against Montgomery (left), triggering the latter’s effort to get Crerar dismissed,  and later to denigrate him in his war memoirs. Read the report here.  The efforts of nationalist Canadian officers like Crerar and Andrew McNaughton pale by comparison with Canadian generals today, comments a military source. “If Crerar and McNaughton were in command today, they would have just as little use for US control as they had for the British. They would see Ukrainian command of the CAF and the likes of Freeland as an abomination.”

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