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BREAKING: Iran attacks US forces in Iraq as the powers move closer to war

The Iranian military has attacked a US airforce base as the two powers move towards war.

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Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean

This is a developing story and is being updated as information becomes available.

Jonathan Hoffman, Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs has confirmed the attacks on U.S. military and coalition forces in Iraq at approximately 3:30 p.m. (MST) on Tuesday (1:30 a.m. Baghdad local time).

“Iran has launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles… it is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al-Asad in Irbil (Erbil),” read a statement from Hoffman.

“We are working on initial battle damage assessments. In recent days and in response to Iranian threats and actions, the Department of Defense has taken all appropriate measures to safeguard our personnel and partners.”

“We are aware of the reports of attacks on US facilities in Iraq. The President has been briefed and is monitoring the situation closely and consulting with his national security team,” said a statement from the White House.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has claimed responsibility for the attacks. Quds Force, the unit Qassem Soleimani commanded, is within the IRGC.

“Iran says it has launched “tens” of surface-to-surface missiles at Iraq’s Ain Assad air base housing U.S. troops over the killing of Soleimani,” NBC News Tehran Bureau Chief Ali Arouzi wrote on Twitter.

“IRGC says this is sever(e) revenge for the killing of Soleimani. Iran says any countries that allow US attack(s) from their soil will also be attacked.”

CNN is reporting confirmed Iraqi casualties at the bases but there is no word yet on the status of American military.

5:43 p.m. (MST): IRGC reporting a second wave of missiles have been launched and that Ayatollah Khhamenei is in the “control centre coordinating attacks.” Iran has reportedly deployed its Air Force.

At this time two locations have been hit with rocket fire, Al-Asad and Erbil, confirmed by the Pentagon and also IRGC, who has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

6:00 p.m.: Reports surfacing that American airplanes have been deployed from their base in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

6:10 p.m.: “Iran is warning that if there is retaliation for the two waves of attacks… their third wave will destroy Dubai and Haifa,” reports Aliz Arouzi on Twitter. Dubai is in the UAE and Haifa is in Isreal.

6:26 p.m.: “Iran is making threats of mass escalation; to attack more bases in Iraq. To unleash Hezbollah. To unleash Shiite militias in Iraq. To attack Isreal and Dubai.” Richard Engel, NBC Chief Foreign Correspondent.

Reports that Iran has said they will escalate or de-escalate equal to the American response to the base attacks in Iraq.

6:40 p.m.: There have been NO American casualties in Iran’s attacks. President Trump will not be giving an address tonight.

6:47 p.m.: Arouzi reporting that Iraqi Shi’a militia under Iran patronage “have launched operations against U.S. presence in Iraq.”

Secretary Michael Pompeo visited Iraq in May 2019 to discuss the more than 60,000 fighters, Iran-backed members of ‘special groups’ (organized militias), in Iraq.

6:56 p.m.: The United States federal aviation administration has banned all U.S. civil aviation operators from operating over Iran, Iraq, the Persian gulf and the gulf of Oman.

Iranian state media says the Iran military is “fully battle-ready” and is arming their underground missile depots.

7:07 p.m.: Global news reports Canadian forces are present at bases targeted in Tuesday’s attacks. No reports so far of Canadian casualties.

General Jonathan Vance took to Twitter on Tuesday night to reassure families and friends of Canadian Air Force members in Iraq. “CAF families, I can assure you that all deployed CAF personnel are safe and accounted for following missile attacks in Iraq. We remain vigilant,” he wrote.

Canadian troops were beginning to move out of Iraq prior to the missile attacks.

Danish news reports 130 Danish soldiers were stationed at the Al-Asad air base and also that none were injured in the attacks.

The attack comes days after the U.S. used a drone strike to kill Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, who the U.S. has accused of organizing state-sanctioned terrorism and the recent attack on the American embassy in Baghdad.

Soleimani, whose funeral was held on Monday, was interred on Tuesday evening, after the attacks took place. Iranian state media claims the attacks were launched at “the same time as the missile that killed Soleimani”.

“We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression,” Foreign Minister of Islamic Republic of Iran Javad Zarif said.

7:45 p.m.: President Trump said the assessment of damages and casualties was ongoing and he would make a statement Wednesday morning. “All is well!” the President tweeted Tuesday evening.

More to come.

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Third pastor arrested in Alberta for breaking COVID lockdowns

Pastor Tim Stephens, of the Fairview Baptist Church, was arrested by city police on Sunday afternoon.

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A Calgary baptist preacher has become the third religious leader arrested in Alberta for breaking COVID-19 regulations over church attendance.

Pastor Tim Stephens, of the Fairview Baptist Church, was arrested by city police on Sunday afternoon. He had been the subject of repeated warnings from Alberta Health Services for having too many people at his services.

Earlier this month, on the church’s website, Stephens vowed to contiue services.

“Our actions are borne out of theological commitments to the Lordship of Christ and his instruction to the church as revealed in Scripture,” wrote Stephens.

“This, above all, is the reason why we have been gathering and will continue to gather … the consequences may be severe. But we stand before Christ rather than bend before consequences.”

Pastor James Coates, of the GraceLife Church, outside Edmonton, spent a month in jail after he was arrested by the RCMP for breaking lockdown regulations repeatedly. His case is still before the courts.

Last week, Pastor Art Pawlowski was arrested in Calgary for continuing to flout the regulations at his street chruch.

Calgary police at the AHS issued a joint statement saying Stephens was “arrested this afternoon for organizing a church service that was held today at Fairview Baptist Church, located at 230 78 Ave. S.E., that did not comply with public health orders, including masking, physical distancing and attendance limits. Police did not enter the church during today’s service.

“CPS has received repeated calls from concerned citizens regarding church services held at Fairview Baptist Church over the past several weeks. Last weekend, Pastor Stephens was proactively served a copy of the Court of Queen’s Bench Order obtained by AHS,” the statement said.

“The pastor acknowledged the injunction, but chose to move forward with today’s service, ignoring requirements for social distancing, mask-wearing and reduced capacity limits for attendees.

“For several weeks, AHS has attempted to work collaboratively with leadership at Fairview Baptist Church to address the ongoing public health concerns at the site. It is only when significant risk is identified or continued non-compliance is noted that AHS resorts to enforcement action.

“Once again, CPS acknowledges it is important to understand that law enforcement recognizes people’s desire to participate in faith-based gatherings as well as the right to protest. However, as we are still in a global pandemic, we all must comply with public health orders in order to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing.”

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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LETTER: Hypocrisy in high school rodeo approval

I see the hypocrisy Premier Kenney, can you?

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RE: Hinshaw grants approval for high school rodeos

Dr. Hinshaw approved school rodeos after Premier Kenney thought the rodeo near Bowden was a bad idea. It’s the mixed messaging these two are giving that is making me mad. A lockdown with very minimum exemptions is what I thought Hinshaw wanted, but apparently not. A school rodeo can bloody well wait until after the lockdown is completed!! Let up on the Whistle Stop Cafe then, Dr. Hinshaw. What a bully.

It’s a real kick by Hinshaw, at the Whistle Stop Cafe owner. With his cafe now in chains, while Dr. Hinshaw gives out approvals during this so-called circuit breaker lockdown.

I see the hypocrisy Premier Kenney, can you?

Steven Ruthven
Calgary, AB

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Opposition calls for crackdown on animal activists

A proposed private members bill, C-205, would amend the Health of Animals Act to punish trespassers on farms with a maximum $250,000 fine and/or a maximum two-year prison sentence.

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By EMMA GREGORY

A coalition of federal Conservatives, NDP and Bloc MPs want to increase punishment for animal rights activists trespassing on farms, because they might make the animals sick.

A proposed private members bill, C-205, would amend the Health of Animals Act to punish trespassers on farms with a maximum $250,000 fine and/or a maximum two-year prison sentence.

Chief Veterinary Officer for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said there are no proven instances of an animal rights activists spreading a disease to animals while protesting at a farm.

“To our knowledge, there are not many documented cases from trespassing or from people having demonstrations. The one that I heard is the one in Quebec, but I’m not actually sure if there is evidence of transmission from the activists to the pigs. So in the scientific literature, we have not seen much evidence of transmission of disease from these activities,” said Dr. Jaspinder Komal, to the agriculture committee earlier this month.

The one instance Komal mentioned was an allegation made by Porgreg, a pig breeding facility in Saint Hyacinthe, Que.

The activists involved in that protest, members of the group Direct Action Everywhere, are charged under the Criminal Code with breaking and entering and mischief. Whether or not they gave pigs rotavirus is a matter before the court.

Rotaviruses are common amongst pig herds and typically are transmitted from pig to pig, via the fecal-oral route.

If a human were to spread a novel rotavirus to a pig it would be in a similar fashion.

When asked if she or any of her associates pooped in the barn, activist Jenny McQueen said, “No.”

Komal said the CFIA does not police activists.

“The CFIA enforces the Health of Animals Act and regulations which address disease and biological, chemical, physical agents that may affect animals or be transmitted to persons and in the same way to protect animals from these risks…CFIA inspectors are public officers they are not peace officers… In contrast, peace officers are generally police officers, their powers include the ability to detain or arrest individuals. Peace officers may also be armed where public officers such as inspectors are not,” he said.

There are several new provincial laws that seek to lay blame for disease outbreaks in farmed animals on activists.

The Canadian Biosecurity Guideline lists an intentional act of contaminating animals with a disease is considered a possible threat of bioterrorism.

Gregory is a Vancouver-based freelance reporter

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