Media Restricted to Talk as Iraq-bound Military Personnel Depart

The Department of National Defence time disallowed media from taking interviews and photographs of Canadian military personnel en route to Iraq to help fight Islamic State militants, explaining that it is for their safety and the safety of their families. This is a first-time move, since earlier journalists were allowed to record expressive scenes of military personnel and families saying goodbye while Canadian Forces members were also allowed to speak openly about their jobs and experiences.

In his remarks, Defence Chief Gen. Tom Lawson mentioned on Friday that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has “made it clear that they would aspire to present a threat to the people of the nations who are providing forces that will be part of the efforts against them.” It was referred that ISIL spokesperson, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, has called on its group’s supporters to even kill Canadian civilians and military personnel due to its participation in the U.S.-led bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria. However, Lawson stressed that “there is no indication of direct threats, yet, but we are doing everything we can to ensure that we minimize any threats at all.”

Consequently, media only covered the departure of 120 Canadian Forces members to Iraq from Canadian Forces Base Trenton without talking to any of them. Lawson stated that “the typical sendoff that you would have seen in the past that would have been so open, we narrowed that down a little,” adding that “just to make sure that our individuals on their way (to Iraq) aren’t identifiable.”

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