One Year Later – Part Three

My time since the fall of Kabul. – December 2021-January 2022

In mid-December, I received a message from a judge who, like everyone else, was in grave danger and looking for help fleeing the country. Then, in early January, I received a message that would change everything. It was from the judge, though from a new phone number. Upon reading the contents of the message, however, I knew that the judge was in all likelihood dead and that the message was being sent by a member of the Taliban.

Not known for their intelligence, however, the Taliban fail to account for patterns in speech when impersonating others. This particular genius blew it in three ways; first, at no point did the judge ever refer to me as “bro”, second, he also never misspelled the word “lawyer”, and third, at no point in time had I ever mentioned sending my personal information. That’s just not something that is done.

Grab a brain Mullah Meathead!

Hitting the wall.

I had to shut everything down, not only for the safety of the people I was trying to help but also for the sake of my own sanity. I had been going balls to the wall for the better part of seven months, foregoing sleep and food while spending hour upon hour formulating strategies, writing tens of thousands of words, smoking hundreds of cigarettes, and drinking gallons of coffee. I was emotionally drained and near physical exhaustion.

I finally just crawled into bed, and went into shutdown mode, sleeping and mindlessly watching videos on YouTube for the next few weeks.

Fighting an uphill battle against politicians.

I fought hard with my friend Stuart McCarthy as we waged a campaign to grab the attention of our respective governments and the public at large, trying to urge someone into action. We called out the likes of Australia’s Scott Morrison and his Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Justin Trudeau, Jens Stoltenberg from NATO, and “Sleepy” Joe Biden, who really shit the bed on this one in a spectacular manner.

Not only did he flee Afghanistan in the middle of the night when nobody would notice, he decided to leave billions of dollars worth of military hardware behind for the Taliban to use. Out of the complete disappointments and failures that this group is made up of, Joe Biden is by far the biggest one here. So thanks a whole hell of a lot you losers.

A message for Sonny Achakzai.

I don’t know where he is or if he’s even alive, but if he is, it is my fervent hope that Sonny Achakzai suffers for what he and others like him have done. It wasn’t enough for him that his fellow countrymen were exploited when the world came to Afghanistan, he had to get in on the action and exploit them too, leaving thousands for dead at the hands of the Taliban. So, Sonny Achakzai, fuck you too!!

Words and images that stay with you.

This is just a sample of the things that would get sent to me, desperate messages or images depicting the tragedy and suffering of a humanitarian crisis, or the last photos taken of people before they are killed.

There would also be plenty of videos sent my way, much of them graphic and horrific in nature, depicting the various ways the Taliban murdered their victims. Shooting, beheading, beatings, and all manner of brutality were sent to me to demonstrate just how very evil the Taliban were. I really didn’t need the reminders to be aware of this fact.

These are the things that haunt you in the night from time to time, hearing screams of terror and the words “please sir, help us” repeatedly. I have heard the question “why they did this to us?” so very many times and replied with “because they are assholes who used you and your country like toilet paper.”

Hearing the same thing repeatedly, day after day proves to be simply overwhelming. Eventually, it all comes to mean absolutely nothing to you and you feel as though you have started to lose your sense of humanity along the way.

They can’t all be saved.

Dr. Maya Hess was someone whom I could turn to for wise counsel throughout this months-long ordeal. She’s perhaps THE leading advocate for interpreters and translators in the world, but she’s also a very good listener, and I knew that I could rely on her to call me out whenever I started to get a little bit “rough around the edges”.

I messaged her one day, feeling a bit overwhelmed and frustrated, and told her that I felt as though these people were looking at me like I’m Oskar Fucking Schindler, when in fact I was more like Oscar the Grouch. She reminded me that I wasn’t going to be able to save them all if, in fact, we would be able to save any of them. I needed to shift my focus to trying to save just one because the efforts would be much more productive. We are, after all, human, and only capable of so much.

To those who have been trying to contact me, I’m sorry I suddenly disappeared.

I simply felt that there was likely a substantial risk to my network following the Taliban contact in early January, so I didn’t have time to explain. I have not forgotten you or my pledge to one day tell your stories to the world, and I hope that you will forgive me.

Hopefully, I’ll also be able to forgive myself.

Next: Part Four – February 2022 Special Edition

2022 Canadian Walk For Veterans Less Than One Month Away

For $25 you get this year’s coin and can virtually walk shoulder-to-shoulder with other Canadians.

Working in partnership with the Order of St. George Grand Priory of Canada and the Americas and True Patriot Love, the 2022 Canadian Walk For Veterans will raise awareness of the plight of translators, interpreters, cultural advisors and other locally employed people who were essential to Canada’s missions in conflicts throughout the world such as the Balkans, Somalia, Rwanda and Afghanistan.

Through their invaluable work, war zone interpreters, translators and cultural advisors enabled communication and understanding between parties. There was tremendous pressure on them to interpret accurately, remain calm, make decisions on-the-fly and be objective. As a consequence of their critical work, translators, interpreters and cultural advisors working in conflict zones placed their lives at risk, and, in many instances, were kidnapped, tortured and killed as traitors or prosecuted as spies. “A report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), issued in 2018, estimated that an interpreter is killed in a war zone every 36 hours.”

canadianwalkforveterans.com

This year the Canadian Walk For Veterans will be taking place over the weekend of September 24th and 25th in a number of cities across the country.

But did you know that you can do the walk virtually again this year? If you don’t live in or near a place that is having an organized walk, you can still contribute by doing the walk virtually, AND you also get this year’s commemorative coin.

Collectors can still get a coin.

A lot of people like participating in events like this in order to add to their coin collections, and this is a great opportunity to get this year’s Canadian Walk For Veterans coin, which features a Canadian soldier standing shoulder-to-shoulder with an interpreter.

Leave No One Behind.

It has been a tough year for a lot of people, and it’s important that we let those who are still in Afghanistan know that we haven’t forgotten about them. We made a promise that no one should be left behind, and some of us intend to uphold that promise to those still there.

Register today.

Visit https://canadianwalkforveterans.com/ for details and to register today.

One Year Later – Part Two

My Time Since the Fall of Kabul. November 2021.

November would produce a surprise that I certainly didn’t see coming, but by this point, I don’t think that there was much that could surprise me anymore.

Having stumbled onto something that I thought was pretty big, I figured that I was going to be needing some help because I wasn’t going to be able to do this by myself. I sent emails out to a number of organizations that I was hoping might want to run with this, but to no avail. That said it really shouldn’t have come as a great surprise either considering the subject matter. Below are some excerpts from this email.

For the last six months, I have been writing about the Afghan LEC crisis and have recently been involved in efforts to keep those who are still in Afghanistan safe and to ultimately try to get them to safety.

I became aware that a number of former LECs had been trying in vain to contact their former employer, International Management Services Inc. (IMS), in an effort to obtain proof of employment in order to apply for Special Immigrant Visas (SIVS) in Canada and the United States. These LECs were considered to be at risk because they had received threats of Taliban retribution for having worked for the West. Unfortunately, they were unable to provide any proof that they had served and were thus turned down for a SIV, leaving them trapped in Afghanistan and in very grave danger.

Last week I began an investigation into IMS and its owner, Sonny Achakzai, and although it is not yet complete, I have gathered enough information to come to the conclusion that this will require an investigation beyond what I am capable of given my very limited resources. I am therefore sending this to you to see if you might want to collaborate with me on this. 
The focus of my investigation is to attempt to determine:

– did Sonny Achakzai commit fraud against the Government of the United States, and

– did his actions contribute to the deaths of any former LECs

My investigation so far has primarily consisted of research, however, I have conducted an interview with a former LEC who was also employed by IMS.

Research

I conducted extensive online research and was able to find the following information:

Sonny Achakzai’s only social media presence appears to be a private Instagram account.

IMS and Sonny Achakzai were mentioned in Canadian newspaper articles, which reveal that IMS employed approximately 1,200 interpreters in 2008 and that there had been issues between the company and its interpreters with regard to immigration to Canada. The articles, which contain quotes from Achakzai, identify him as the owner of IMS. 

A search of corporate records in the US shows that there are a number of entities that have been registered under the name International Management Services, IMS, or some variation of the name. There are some commonalities among them such as the offices in Rumford, Maine, as well as email addresses (imservicesinc.com). Sonny Achakzai’s name doesn’t appear in any corporate records or documentation, and it would appear as though cutouts or strawmen are being used.

There are at least two Facebook groups dedicated to former IMS employees who have been unable to contact the company for proof of employment. They appear to have been without any activity since approximately 2015.

As luck would have it, I found a website belonging to the Jelani Group Companies in Afghanistan which has a page under “Projects” in which they showcase their “BAGRAM” project, in conjunction with a company called Worldwide Language Resources. In it, they identify the owner of Worldwide as sonny.achakzai@wwlr.com. This email address is consistent with others known to belong to WWLR employees. I can only assume that Mr. Achakzai is not aware that this information is disclosed on the Jelani website.

Interview

I also conducted an interview with a former employee of IMS who is currently still in Afghanistan, so for his safety, I will refer to him as “Muhammad”. He first contacted me in the early morning hours of August 28th (Mountain time), at around the same time that the last flights were leaving Kabul. I asked him about how things worked with IMS, first as far as when he was first hired. He told me that he met with someone who was either a manager or team leader and that this person was the one who presented Muhammad with a contract. He didn’t receive a copy of the contract for himself. I asked about when and how he was paid, and he told me that they were paid at the end of every month. They would have to go to the IMS compound, where they would be paid by a member of IMS management. There was a list with everyone’s names on it, and they would have to sign beside their name. They would then be paid in cash the sum of US$600 for the month. It actually works out to US$20 per day, as he tells me that they would make more in months with 31 days and less in February with 28 days, but for all intents and purposes, it was US$600 per month. They did not give him a pay slip, receipt, or any other type of documentation memorializing the transaction. 

I then asked him what he could tell me about Sonny Achakzai, and he didn’t have much good to say about the man. Muhammad told me that on one occasion, Achakzai called a meeting with the interpreters, a meeting that was also attended by a delegation that included a number of high-ranking US officers, he wasn’t able to provide any information as to ranks or branch of service. He stated that during the meeting Achakzai told the interpreters that if they were ever asked by a Canadian how much they were making, they were to say that they were making $1,400 per month.

He also told me that he heard about an incident that occurred in the Zhari district in which an interpreter who was working for the Canadians was killed on the job. The Canadian government was going to pay the family of the interpreter $60,000, but they never saw a nickel of it. Al told me that this was fairly common knowledge in the Zhari district.

Conclusions

While I cannot definitively state anything at this moment, given the evidence at hand I can say that there is a high probability that the following has taken place:

  • that Sonny Achakzai perpetrated a fraud against the United States government, and then later acted to conceal it,
  • that IMS did not perform any kind of record keeping whatsoever, meaning that there will be no record of anyone having been employed there,
  • that as a result, an unknown number of people have been unable to obtain a SIV, resulting in their lives being put in jeopardy due to Taliban retribution,
  • that a number of individuals have lost their lives as a result, and more will in the future.

What I can say is that this matter warrants further investigation, in order to determine whether or not this hypothesis is correct.

At the moment, I am both a journalist and an advocate, and there are times when their interests will not always be the same. I must always consider myself to be an advocate first and a journalist second, the stakes in this instance are simply too high to do otherwise.

As this has an effect on interpreters serving all NATO countries, I felt that it was important that you were aware of the situation at hand.

Ohhhh, shit.

Achakzai called a meeting with the interpreters, a meeting that was also attended by a delegation that included a number of high-ranking US officers.

This was my reaction upon being told this information because I knew that it could only mean one thing; there was a pretty good probability that Sonny Achakzai was an asset belonging to someone in US Intelligence. Which of the agencies isn’t really clear, but it didn’t really matter which one it was. I had really stepped in it this time, and it was really not something that I had been particularly looking for.

I was trying to get people the hell out of Afghanistan, not uncover American intelligence assets or rampant fraud against the United States Government, it just happened to work out that way. I had enough shit to deal with in my life as it was, I sure as hell didn’t want or need any of this nonsense.

It also left me disgusted at the fact that the “left-behinds” weren’t only getting screwed by NATO, they were getting it twice as bad from their own people. It didn’t come as any great surprise as there were plenty of stories like this circulating.

Payoffs are being offered.

Among the many messages that I was receiving, there were a few from guys who owned their own businesses or who came from well-to-do families, and I was offered compensation by some of them. I was told on at least a couple of occasions by different people that they had plenty of assets which could be liquidated and would be more than happy to send some of it my way if it would mean that they would be getting a little bit further ahead in the whole process than someone who had waited for a great deal longer.

If someone wanted to throw me a parade and give me a large cash reward for what I was doing, great, no problem. If however, you as someone in need of help should offer me a large cash payment to help “grease the wheels” for you to get out of Dodge, I wouldn’t accept a nickel of your damn money. That isn’t what I’m doing this for and if you don’t understand that, well, too bad.

Suspected contact by Pakistani intelligence.

I had also received a message from someone who I suspected was a member of Pakistan’s ISI, or Inter-Services Intelligence. While I couldn’t be absolutely positive, I knew that the possibility did exist that they might try to message me, along with Taliban agents, so I needed to be careful. By the end of November, I figured that I had several intelligence agencies from around the globe crawling up my ass. This was definitely not the way I had envisioned my life ever turning out.

Next: Part Three – December ’21 & January ’22

One Year Later – Part One

My time since the fall of Kabul. August-October 2021.

I have decided to write about some of the experiences that I had over the last year, particularly with regard to Afghanistan. It will be a five-part series, with Part One about the months of August to October 2021. Part Two will cover November 2021, Part Three December and January, Part Four will cover January through May 2022 with Part Five covering June 2022 to the present day. This will not be a comprehensive retrospective, but rather a look back at some of the highlights from this period.

For many people August 15th is the anniversary of the “Black Day” in Afghanistan, the day the Taliban entered Kabul. For me, the “Black Day” wouldn’t come for another 11 days, which is how long it took the Taliban to take Hamid Karzai International Airport, and with it complete control over Afghanistan.

One year on from these events, I am sharing with you for the first time some of what went on during this time.

August 25-26, 2021

After entering Kabul, It had taken the Taliban another eleven days to finally take the airport and claim ultimate victory, so why they chose the 15th to celebrate doesn’t make much sense. It would be like celebrating VE Day on April 23rd, the day the Red Army had completely surrounded Berlin.

The days that marked the end as far as I am concerned were August 25th and 26th, culminating with the fall of Hamid Karzai International Airport and the final flight out of Kabul on Thursday, August 26th, 2021. I remember it all too well because that was when I received the first of many more messages to come from a number of people in Kabul.

Hello sir

8/26/21, 3:31 AM Mountain Daylight Time

I was awake when the message came in, keeping an eye on developments in Kabul as they were happening. The sender was from Kabul, and I had a dreadful feeling about what this could possibly be about. They were likely desperate and in a panic, trying to get the hell out of Kabul and hoping that I would be able to help.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-62544867

Having allegedly packed the contents of the Afghan treasury into a set of matching luggage, in cold hard US Dollars, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had only hours before fled the country for the UAE.

The media was reporting that the last flight out of Hamid Karzai International Airport had left about three hours before I got the message from Kabul. Whoever it was that was sending me the message was now stuck, and there would be nothing that I or anyone else could do about it anymore.

Answering a plea for help.

I replied to the message and was soon engaged in a conversation that was going pretty much the way I had anticipated. I decided that I would call him Al since it was considerably shorter and easier to pronounce than his real name. He told me his story, that he had once worked as an interpreter for Canadian Forces personnel but he hadn’t received a letter of recommendation which would have verified his employment. This was necessary if he was to be approved for a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) to come to Canada.

I wasn’t sure exactly how I was going to be able to help this poor guy out, beyond offering him a few suggestions.

By this point in the conversation, I was starting to get more incoming message traffic from Kabul so I left the conversation for about ten minutes or so in order to check the other messages.

Immediately upon seeing this message from him, I burst into tears. I still have trouble looking at it to this day without wanting to cry. He had already been abandoned by Canada, just as thousands of others had been left behind by us and practically every other country to send troops to Afghanistan. He had been betrayed once by Canada, I couldn’t let that happen to him again, it just wasn’t right. I promised him that I would do whatever I could to help him and that I wouldn’t abandon him. I also decided to call him Al because it was way easier than his given name, which he was quite okay with.

From journalist to advocate.

I knew that I would have to make a choice at that moment, to be a journalist or to be an advocate because it wouldn’t be possible for me to be both at once. It was a pretty easy choice to make, considering the fact that there were a number of lives on the line. I had to act as an advocate for the people who had reached out to me looking for help because there was probably nobody else that they could turn to.

I had no idea what to do or who to turn to with this. This was something that the government would normally be taking care of, only the government was the root cause of this problem in the first place. All I knew was that this was DEFINITELY way above my pay grade, and I was going to have to be very careful from this point forward. People’s lives were suddenly in my hands, and I had to think very carefully about whatever moves that I would be making in the future.

August 29th, 2021

It had been several days since I had heard from Dave Lavery, the man who had been my contact in Kabul for several months, but on the 29th I finally received a message from him. I was finally able to breathe a sigh of relief, hearing that he had managed to get out of Kabul with the Germans on the very last flight out. He had ordered the rest of his team out of the country beforehand, so it was only him left, with his brave wife Junping by his side.

Photo: David Lavery
Photo: David Lavery
Photo: David Lavery

He told me that he hadn’t slept in days, but they had been successful in helping a number of people escape.

Photo: David Lavery

He would be spending a little bit of time in Germany to rest and recuperate.

Photo: David Lavery

After spending days walking untold miles back and forth without rest, Dave’s feet were simply thrashed and in need of medical attention.

Photo: David Lavery

September/October 2021.

“Canadian Dave”

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/canadian-dave-rescue-afghanistan-1.6168082

On the 9th of September, I would find out exactly what Dave had been through during those final days in Kabul. “Canadian Dave” as he had come to be known was instrumental in saving over 100 lives, along with many more saved lives credited to the members of his team.

Vetting an interpreter.

Anyone hoping to come to Canada on a Special Immigrant Visa would need to be thoroughly vetted as part of the process, so it only stood to reason that I should be performing my due diligence. I would of course want to know myself that anyone I was proposing to come to my country wouldn’t want to start blowing things up as soon as they got here.

I asked Al a number of questions about the time he had worked for Canadian troops, and, despite a little bit of a language barrier, I was able to put some things together. I then had to attempt to find someone who was there at the same time that Al was, in the hopes that I would be able to find someone who might be able to identify him as being there. After a few days, I was able to find someone who, despite not recognizing Al himself, was able to confirm as genuine the information that Al had given me.

Not only interpreters.

By the middle of September, the messages that were coming in were from more than interpreters and the other former Locally Employed Civilians (LECs). Now there were human rights activists, journalists, artists, academics, and even a former member of Ashraf Ghani’s staff contacting me.

Formulating a standard response.

I felt like I was going to be needing an introductory script to send to anyone looking for my help. It would need to contain such items as:

I am going to try to help you, however, you need to realize that in all probability I might not be able to. I won’t mince words here, your situation is dire and the odds are stacked up against you, however, if there is even the slightest chance that I can help you to stay alive, it’s slightly better than a zero chance, but still a chance. I cannot in any way guarantee success because everything is pretty much completely beyond my ability to control.

Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) whenever you communicate so as to make it difficult for the Taliban to track you. Also, stay off social media and make sure to delete ALL messages that you may send me. You should have NO ENGLISH on your phone whatsoever, the Taliban are checking.

You will need to remain inconspicuous, so men should refrain from shaving and women wear a burqa in public.

Men should check all of their identification to see if there are any pictures of them wearing a necktie. Any such identification must be destroyed, as it can and will prove to be problematic should the Taliban see it.

Compassion fatigue begins to set in.

By the end of October, I had started to notice that I was starting to exhibit the signs of “compassion fatigue”. I had been sent numerous messages from people who were for the most part hiding somewhere in Kabul. They all tended to start out the same, with an introduction followed by a statement about how bad things were in Afghanistan. I realized that the people sending me the messages weren’t aware to what extent I knew how bad things were in Kabul, but after a while, it all started to sound the same to me.

Gruesome images.

Along with some of the horror stories I was being told, I was also getting plenty of pictures. Pictures of people’s children were popular, in the hopes that they might somehow tug at my heartstrings and inspire me to help them. It got to the point that I just couldn’t look at another picture of a child, along with the occasional accompanying plea to save them lest they have to sell their children.

There were plenty of other pictures as well, pictures that laid out in very graphic detail what would await some people should the Taliban catch up with them. There was no way to authenticate the sources of any of these pictures, but what was authentic enough were the gruesome images that they depicted.

“You’re a journalist, you can help.”

For some reason, a lot of people seemed to think that journalists are possessed of some special kind of powers, the powers to do things that absolutely nobody else on Earth can do. What they didn’t understand was that even if I was some kind of “super” journalist, like Edward R. Murrow, Mike Wallace, and Woodward & Bernstein all rolled into one, I still wouldn’t be able to help. The only thing I could do was to refer them to the organizations that I knew were handling

Coming Next: Part Two – November 2021

Veteran’s Voices Unveils Limited Edition Commemorative Coin

Al Cameron honours the 158 Canadians who fell in Afghanistan.

Al Cameron, the driving force behind Veteran’s Voices, unveiled the special limited edition Veteran’s Voices of Canada commemorative coin. Remembering the 158 Canadians who made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan, this coin would look great in your collection.

A limited number of coins will be sold for $35 each, which includes shipping, and will come in its own decorative display box. Etransfer to acct@vetvoicecan.org with your mailing address and email address in the message box, please.

Support Al and Veteran’s Voices of Canada, as he works to keep our history and the stories of our heroes alive.

https://vetvoicecan.org/

Tafenoquine Stories: Dave & Alison

From a Facebook post made Sept. 20, 2019, by ADF veteran Dave Whitfield.

I was absolutely touched by this story, first sent to me by Alison Whitfield. Again, these are Dave’s original words and I haven’t made any edits to this.

Facebook: Dave Whitfield

THIS IS MY LIFE.

In 1997 I joined the Australian ARMY. In 2001 I was deployed to East Timor on warlike operations as a medic, I was beyond excited and was extremely proud to serve our country as we aided East Timor gain independence from Indonesia. When we first got in country we were told that we HAD to be involved in a malaria prophylaxis drug trial or be sent back home to Australia. As you could imagine nobody rejected the trial. The drug was Mefloquine. We were told that we could expect extremely vivid dreams for a week or so, Everyone’s dreams were extremely violent terrifying horror that was so vivid and so real.

The dreams never ever stopped nearly 20 years later and I hate going to sleep as the nightmares intrude when you’re awake. It’s extremely hard to tell the difference between reality and dream world. It was within the next year or so that I was discharged for medical reasons. My wife left and took my 5 children with her. Years and years of suicide attempts severe depression and psychotic events Extreme pain in every part of my body I can never get comfortable as every part of my body has to be moved as I can not be in one position for very long at all.

Facebook: Dave Whitfield

I suffer EXTREME seizures 2 to 5 or more times a week. Sometimes they last well up to the 10 min mark. If I’m lucky they last 4-5 minutes, I am fully aware during this. The pain is excruciating I have to try to remember to breathe. When I try to speak it’s just mumbling. My body jerks so violently that my already painful body is screaming at me the pain is so severe. When they stop I’m completely exhausted crying and hurting like fuck and I soon pass out cold where the nightmares continue and again I’m fighting for my life as I kick and thrash around all night.

When I wake my body doesn’t want to work my brain is mush. My hands which don’t work the best near refuse to do anything I have to be told what to do every moment for hours sometimes all day I forget what I’m talking about mid-sentence. Completing any task no matter how trivial is impossible. Remembering to eat shower go to the toilet any task is impossible. I have to be led around like I’m a little kid. As I am a man this makes me feel utterly useless and depression kicks in which leads to full-blown psychosis. My nightmares and reality are blurry to one. I’ve been prescribed anti-psychotics anti-depression and anti-anxiety medication and MS Contin morphine.

My lungs are ruined so I take meds for emphysema. I haven’t worked since I got out if the ARMY in 2004. I was once an extremely confident outgoing fit hard working man. Those days are long gone as I barely leave home. Going to doctors’ appointments I have to be taken and supervised by my wife Alison. An amazing lady who somehow loves and cares for me even though I can be extremely high maintenance with mood swings so severe they happen instantly for no reason. I can be the most loving to the most evil C@&t faster than Superman. Most days I have no idea who I am and I’m always whispering to myself to help me remember what it is I’m supposed to be doing. My memory is near nonexistent. My speaking hearing and eyesight are also badly affected plus so many other things too numerous to mention.

Facebook: Dave Whitfield

The untried drug they tested us with has killed so many of my mates through suicide the ones who are still with us are all distant shells of the once fit proud young men and women. This drug stole our lives and ruined them. I’m 47 and I haven’t worked in nearly 16 years. My symptoms are progressing so so fast that life at times is almost unbearable. They gave us this drug so they could earn hundreds of millions of dollars. The Australian defence force has offered no help no aid no compassion nothing. When I was discharged I was given a paycheck of $125 and a list of homeless shelters not even a thank you. I’m a veteran I deserved so much more. The government has to be held accountable for its actions. They are responsible for the lives that were destroyed and or taken. They robbed us of life. Without the help of my amazing wonderful loving wife I would no longer be here writing this. Alison my Funkin I love you so much I appreciate everything you have done for me. I pray that someday soon I will finally meet a specialist who will finally get me on the right treatment and pain management. Every day is a struggle for survival to try and see another tomorrow.

I Have Been Around For Over Three Years Now, and I’m Not Going Anywhere

But I will need your support to keep on going.

When I first ventured into the realm of veteran’s advocacy over three years ago, there were people who had doubts that I would stick around for very long, like a lot of others have done before. They had seen it many, many times. At that point, I wasn’t sure whether or not I’d be around for very long, not for lack of passion on my part, but for lack of the money to be able to continue further.

Over three years on, I’m still around and have accomplished a lot of things, thanks in very large part to a group of benefactors whom I refer to as my “guardian angels”. They have allowed me to pursue something that has not only provided me with a great sense of self-fulfillment but has also saved some lives. It has given me the chance to make a real difference in the lives of others.

I started a not-for-profit media company.

In those early days, I came to realize that the only way these stories were going to get told is if there was a separate media outlet to tell them on. There simply wasn’t enough interest on the part of the corporate media to run many of these stories, especially in Canada where the corporate media is now beholden to the federal government for millions of dollars in annual funding. They aren’t likely to be wanting to bite the hand that feeds them so very well.

From that point, I began to form a vision of what such an independent media outlet might look like, and how it would operate. After having a conversation with Stephen Beardwood at Veteran’s House Charity, things all started to fall into place, and soon after I started a not-for-profit media company and had a partner in Veteran’s House Charity.

https://veteranshouse.ca/

A unique and beneficial partnership.

I had and have a vision for Invictus Bellator Media Corporation (IBMedia Corp.), that one of its primary functions will be to share news and information with veterans in Canada and around the world. Much of this news and information will be related to the health and wellness of veterans, as well as legal issues that may impact them. By actively working to spread mefloquine awareness as much as possible, a number of lives will be saved, and/or people will see an improvement in the quality of their lives because of it.

Veteran’s House Charity

Veterans House helps provide funding and or development tools through partnerships to established NFP’s or organizations who want to connect with Veterans House Charity and its partners to provide programs or services for Veterans’ Mental Health and/or First Responders.

Veteran’s House Charity

Stephen Beardwood and the team at VHC worked incredibly hard, jumped through innumerable hoops, and had to meet a very strict set of criteria, but they would be able to give tax receipts for donations that were to be directed to one of its partner organizations, IBMedia being one of them.

You can get a Canadian tax receipt for your donation.

How to donate:

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to IBMedia, simply click Donate today below and you will be taken to the page on the VHC website where you can make donations.

Then, in the Order notes (optional) section, state that you would like your donation to be directed to IBMedia.

In the Order notes (optional) section, simply state that you would like your donation to be directed to IBMedia, this way you will be able to receive a tax receipt for your donation.

Note: tax receipts will only be issued to Canadian taxpayers or Canadian ex-pats who pay Canadian income taxes.

Donate via PayPal.

If you live outside Canada or don’t want a tax receipt you can also donate through PayPal in any post.

Other ways that you can show your support.

There are also a number of other ways to support IBMedia besides financially, perhaps the best way is to follow us on social media and click on our posts.

Click “Like” and share.

Click the Like button and share posts on social media.

By simply clicking on the “Like” button and sharing posts on social media, you can help us to grow our audience and spread the important, potentially life-saving, information that we want to reach as many people as possible.

Any way that you can support IBMedia will be very greatly appreciated!

Veterans For Healing 2022 International Song Camp

Aug. 22-29 Inverness, Cape Breton

About Veterans For Healing Global.


Veterans For Healing Global (VFHG) is a Canadian company committed to helping veterans and their families heal through trauma and PTSD by providing specialized treatment plans, pharmaceutical-grade plant medicine, and ongoing personal support.

Veterans for Healing Global

Mission Statement.

Our mission is to help Veterans and their families live healthy, happy, and sustainable lives by providing alternative solutions through natural plant medicine, personal assistance, access to medical experts, and ongoing community support.

We believe in optimal health and are dedicated to uncompromised quality products, vital research, helpful social programs, and innovative treatments. By standing alongside Veterans and their family members, we’re able to provide the necessary resources for coping with trauma through rehabilitation.

Veterans for Healing Global

Following the success of the inaugural songwriting camp for veterans last year, Veterans For Healing Global will once again hold their international songwriting camp in the beautiful surroundings of Inverness, Cape Breton. Together with director of music Keith Mullins, another group of veterans will tell their stories through song as they progress through their journeys of healing.

Veterans For Healing is one of the organizations that have partnered with Veterans House Charity in the effort to bring healing alternatives to veterans who are suffering from PTSD or other such service-related injuries. A musician himself, Stephen Beardwood of Veteran’s House has attended both camps to lend his talents towards helping others and to tell his own story through song.

Let the healing happen.

VFHG merch now available online.

Veterans For Healing Global now has merch available online for purchase, so you can now support and represent VFHG.

Mefloquine Awareness Merch Now Available

Show your support and represent for $25, including 6-10 business day delivery to your home.

T-shirts.

Mefloquine advocate Trina Jenkins has come up with a design for a sharp-looking mefloquine awareness T-shirt that will be printed and shipped within Canada only.

Ordering.

To order, message Kentrina Jenkins with the following:

– the size and number of shirts you would like

– your name

– phone number

– your mailing address

These shirts are made by a company and shipped directly to you. Orders will be placed upon receipt of payment. Email money transfer is preferred.

Pins.

Trina has also designed some mefloquine awareness pinned back buttons that she is selling to help cover the cost of her trip to the rally this year. The cost is $1/pin with a shipping cost of about $3 for 10 pins anywhere in Canada.

Send Trina a message to get your order in today, there’s still time for you to get it before the rally.

ScoMo Broke No Laws Says the Solicitor General

Ministry appointments were valid but inconsistent with convention. Meanwhile, what of GG David Hurley’s role in this dumpster fire?

Anthony Albanese will launch an inquiry into Scott Morrison’s secret ministries following advice from the solicitor-general.(ABC News: Matt Roberts

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-08-23/scott-morrisons-secret-appointment-valid-but-inconsistent/101352630

The spirit of the law was broken.

The letter of the law vs. the spirit of the law.

The “letter of the law” is quite literally the written laws and rules legislated in a particular jurisdiction, in this case, Australia.

The “spirit of the law” however refers to the actual intent behind the law.

Click on the link below to read an excellent honours thesis on the subject.

https://lsa.umich.edu/content/dam/orgstudies-assets/orgstudiesdocuments/oshonors/oshonorsthesis/Matt%20Gordon_Honors%20Thesis.pdf

While ScoMo might not have broken the letter of the law with his actions, it can be debated that he was in fact in violation of the spirit under which the makers of those laws wrote them. Think of it as a way of not being able to get away with something on a technicality.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese speaks during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2022, announcing that the government will launch a wide-ranging inquiry aimed at preventing a prime minister from secretly amassing new ministerial powers. Albanese’s predecessor Scott Morrison has been widely criticized over recent revelations that he had secretly appointed himself to five ministerial roles between March 2020 and May 2021, usually without the knowledge of the original minister. (Lukas Coch/AAP Image via AP)

https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/australia-prevent-prime-ministers-gaining-secret-powers-88725566

Hurley’s excuse doesn’t feed the bulldog.

Scott Morrison and David Hurley (Photos: AP/Kiyoshi Ota, Office of the Governor-General of Australia)

“The governor-general had no reason to believe that appointments would not be communicated.”

Excerpt from statement released by the Governor General’s Office.

This statement in and of itself is absolutely laughable. Didn’t Hurley find it odd that after several months there didn’t appear to be ANY kind of communication about the appointments, either in the press or through the political grapevine? Why didn’t he make any inquiries? In the words of the esteemed television jurist, Judge Judith Sheindlin, “It doesn’t make sense!”.

Quid pro quo?

It is up to the Prime Minister to recommend to the Queen whom she should select as her next representative in Australia and the other members of the British Commonwealth. While I’m sure that in the vast majority of instances there is no quid pro quo offered, it would be naive to think that in at least a couple of instances throughout the history of the Commonwealth there was.

Apart from being a personal honour granted to someone who has performed outstanding public service, the position of Governor General could also be seen as a political plum appointment. A way of rewarding those who were loyal and valuable to the PM or his/her political party.

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/australia-is-not-a-finished-product-general-david-hurley-sworn-in-as-27th-governor-general-20190701-p522xb.html

A thing with the Liberal Party of Australia?

Then Attorney-General Christian Porter and then Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull clashed over Turnbull’s last-ditch plan to bring in the Governor-General.CREDIT:ANDREW MEARES

https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/that-is-wrong-in-law-turnbull-tried-to-bring-in-governor-general-in-last-ditch-act-20190627-p521nz.html

Former Liberal PM Malcolm Turnbull attempted to politicize the Governor General’s office when he sought to have the GG interfere in an election result that would have seen his rival, Peter Dutton, ineligible to run for parliament, thereby negating him as the new party leader. He appears to have based his arguments around loopholes in the law, though this last-ditch effort borne of desperation would go nowhere.

The nuclear option.

If Anthony Albanese asked for Hurley’s resignation and this request was subsequently rebuffed, Albanese would then have the option of asking the monarch to replace the Governor General on his advice.

Queen Elizabeth II

Precedent.

Julie Payette, pictured on July 13, 2017, the day Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced she would be Canada’s 29th governor general. Ms. Payette’s five-year term is scheduled to run until at least 2022, but she is now facing calls to resign after multiple former Rideau Hall employees told the CBC that she had allegedly harassed them. The Hill Times file photograph by Jake Wright

https://www.hilltimes.com/2020/08/03/should-she-stay-or-should-she-go-experts-on-constitution-politics-split-on-governor-generals-fate/258539

On January 21st, 2021, Canada’s 29th Governor-General, former astronaut Julie Payette, resigned with several years remaining in her term amid a growing toxic workplace scandal. Justin Trudeau didn’t seem to have vetted Payette, and if he did it makes it an even worse mistake. He picked someone who wasn’t appropriate for the position simply because they had celebrity cachet. Payette was also resistant to step down initially but eventually caved in after realizing there was no other choice left, sensing Trudeau might be forced to petition the Queen to replace her, making things even more of an embarrassment for her.

A boon for journos in Australia and everywhere.

Meanwhile, as ScoMo and Hurley double down, journalists are secretly hoping they fight it out to the very bitter end because frankly, this is the type of gift that just keeps on giving for us. I’m also sure that deep down, Anthony Albanese and the ruling Labor government are hoping for the same thing as well, if for no other reason than it will all but guarantee them election victories for some time to come.

Stay tuned for more weirdness.

I’ll do my best to keep you up to date with this bizarre political saga as events happen, so make sure to keep some popcorn handy.