Thursday, April 05, 2012

There it is. They are all a pack of liars

Harper and all his cabinet ministers involved in the F-35 deal are liars.
If Auditor General Michael Ferguson's word is to be believed — and there is no reason to think that it isn't — then the federal cabinet and by extension the prime minister, and not just the anonymous gnomes in the Department of National Defence, are directly on the hook for the F-35 boondoggle, in the most egregious sense.

They knew before the last federal election that the jets would cost billions more than had been stated by DND — at least $10-billion more, around $25.1-billion. They allowed the department to publicly table an estimate of $14.7-billion.

"I can't speak to individuals who knew it, but it was information that was prepared by National Defence," Ferguson told reporters Thursday. "It's certainly my understanding that that would have been information that, yes, the government would have had."

He continued: "That $25-billion number was something I think that at that time was known to government." And, critically: "It would have been primarily members of the executive, yes."

So, this is no longer a matter of "it happened on their watch." It's a matter of whether there was outright deception, deliberate and premeditated, during an election campaign, on an issue of great national import, by the prime minister and members of the cabinet.
I knew that. I said it yesterday. As I pointed out, it would have been near impossible for the military to have produced a set of numbers so totally skewed as to be unbelievable. The information available through a myriad of public sources before the last election provided estimates on purchase cost alone that put the figures Harper was offering to the lie. Of course, there's more.
Ferguson's remarks do not occur in a vacuum: to anyone familiar with the inner workings of DND, they will ring true. DND Deputy Minister Robert Fonberg and assistant deputy minister (materiel) Dan Ross typically handled matters related to the F-35 procurement. It was standard practice for all information on major procurements, including costing, to be passed on to the inner cabinet. It is highly unlikely, on its face, that anything as important as these numbers would have been withheld from the PMO.
And more. (Emphasis mine)
The initial estimate of $75-million (U.S.) per plane did not include the cost of drag chutes for landing on short runways, or modifications to the refuelling system that DND knew would be necessary. But more important, the estimates of life-cycle costs — including the higher and real number of $25.1 billion, which DND and apparently the cabinet withheld — were for 20 years only. 
"This practice understates operating, personnel, and sustainment costs, as well as some capital costs, because the time period is shorter than the aircraft's estimated life expectancy. The JSF Program Office provided National Defence with projected sustainment costs over 36 years."
Got that? The JSF Program Office is the fact clearing house to all countries involved in the F-35 development project. Undiddled numbers that got diddled somewhere up the line. And those numbers would only be projected maintenance and sustainability costs. In a procurement, such as a US FMS case, it is up to the end-user country to ADD operating, personnel and unique modification costs.

Top all of this off with the shucking and jiving of Rona Ambrose. She too, is a liar.

Bob Rae not only noticed, he handed the government a bomb with a short, burning fuse.

And now, I have to digest some information I have acquired. Some past comrades-in-arms are furious and before they let themselves get hit by an oncoming bus, they intend to stop it before it gets to them.

Before I get to that though, I would like you to consider this. Remember when Ibbitson wrote this about Harper and others in relation to electoral fraud in the last federal election?
As a general rule, politicians never openly lie, because the consequences of being caught in one just aren’t worth it. (Think Watergate, Monica Lewinsky.) Neither of these men would take that risk.
We have absolutely no further reason to accept that premise in any way. Harper is a liar; his minister of national defence is a liar; his associate minister of national defence is a liar; and his minister of public works is a liar. 

Hands up if you think Harper didn't know about the voter suppression effort in May 2011. Because he says he didn't?

Right. Thought so.



The Mound of Sound said...

Dave a lot of people are calling for heads to roll at NDHQ. I just refreshed my memory of QR&Os and the National Defence Act and it strikes me that these are court martial offences for which the punishment is dismissal with disgrace and possible imprisonment, fines and forfeiture.

These guys have disgraced the Canadian Forces and punishing them is about the only way to make that right.

I also suspect that only through court martial proceedings will we be able to get to the bottom of Harper's perfidy in the F-35 fiasco including how fully he corrupted our military institution.

Dave said...

Hang in there. I don't think anyone in the RCAF line is going to go down without a huge fight. They're mad as hell.

Dana said...

I'm going to break my self imposed silence to say that I will be gobsmacked, thunderstruck and gleeful if anyone currently serving in the CF stands up and behaves with courage and fortitude in this melee.

In battle, of course, without question.

In politics? Not fucking likely.

Dave said...

If someone tries to court martial any of them they will.

These guys are getting a lesson that seems to have faded after the Mulroney era.

The Mound of Sound said...

"They're mad as hell"? For what, following orders to mislead Parliament? Sorry, Dave, you can't do that and cry "victim." You swore your oath of allegiance to the Crown, Canada, not to our Fuhrer, Harper. Those who saw fit to serve Harper at the expense of the nation won't get any sympathy from me. They betrayed the country and disgraced the armed forces and they deserve to be held to account. There's a culture of this sort of thing at National Defence and it has to be rooted out.

Dave said...

First off, it isn't the uniformed CF side of the house of defence that does the number crunch. It's the boffins on the civvy DND side. You can't court martial a boffin.

I have some interesting stuff in front of me. From the look of it the serving officers did exactly what they were supposed to do.

Did they cheerlead for the sexiest plane in the shiney magazines? Of course they did. When I wanted a new piece of kit for a frigate I didn't ask for anything less than the best. (I never got it, but that doesn't mean I don't ask anyway).

Did the CF falsify or withhold numbers? They couldn't. They don't provide them. That's DND - The DM and the ADMs. This post points out the diffence.

I have an interesting bit here from someone who was in on this early on. The original submission from the air force was optioned with several aircraft. It came back down the food chain with all but the F-35 stroked out.

The lifecycle management group had submitted the requirement for a multi-role next generation fighter based on the known experience with the CF-188. Projections included a standard 2 year lead in, 30 year operational life-span, mid-life upgrade and a 2 - 3 year phase out. That's 35 years. It came back from the policy shop (civilians) reduced to a 20 year "support/maintenance" statement.

The CF did not mislead parliament. DND did. One's a dog. The other is a cat.

I have another little bit here. "MacKay is lying. He was briefed with the original life-cycle projections and he had them changed."

Another little bit. "Look to Hillier." I'm not certain what that means ... yet.

Boris said...

"It came back down the food chain with all but the F-35 stroked out."

Why did my mind just go to that thing where Enbridge stuck their person with Harper, and Harper then stuck that person in Victoria?