28 March 2005

Sex, biological weapons and not a condom in sight

Flip around the net long enough and other things appear on the Jennifer Murphy case. Flip down to the end of this post for some really interesting information about what is housed at Borden.

Here's the text of another Star story. Seems the "minor, unrelated matter" was Jennifer Murphy being in the single persons quarters at Camp Borden. Single quarters, known colloquial as the shacks have limitations on who can be there and when. As this Star story indicates, Ms. Murphy had been detained for "trespassing".

Former Canadian Forces members may be surprised to see the lackadaisical attitude that is taken to single quarters these days, since at least one person is quoted as saying that the shacks are like college dorms with lots of casual sex going on. Ms. Murphy is alleged to have gone from room to room in the shacks wearing nothing but panties and boots - here's that same story again but in another locale. Does anyone think there might just be tons of rumour going on here and not much fact?

Personally, as a former DND public affairs officer, I am gobsmacked by the freedom with which people are making comment, like the woman identified as Private Trisha Harnett. Canadian Forces members can speak to the media based on something called Defence Administrative Orders and Directives, specifically the 2008 series covering public affairs. The main thing that used to be taught was to "stick to your lane" meaning comment only on things you know about. Private Harnett's comments strike me as being damned close to rumour and gossip, not something she can attest to as a matter of fact.

It would seem that in DND/CF these days anybody is free to say anything to anyone at any time.

Consider this part of a CP story: "Borden resident Wanda Seymour, whose husband is a military police officer, recalled seeing Murphy at a local Tim Hortons dressed in only a miniskirt and tube top - in minus 20 C weather."

Now think about that. The woman who made that comment is married to a military police officer. Aside from the fact that Ms. Murphy's attire at a Timmy's had nothing at all to do with the charges against her - let's go back to my consistent comment that there is more gossip here than fact in the rapportage - one wonders what else this woman told reporters that didn't get into the actual story. She did manage to tell them she was married to a meathead so even her own gossip and speculation could be mistaken for something more credible than it is.

The more I see of this story, the more I am thinking there is a public affairs disaster brewing here - and it isn't just about the matter of sexual promiscuity and the threat of AIDS among CF personnel.

Nope. I am starting to think there has been a general breakdown in discipline in the CF to the point where public affairs officers have no idea what is being said by anyone and no one feels obliged to be circumspect in their comments to media (including PAOs).

Beyond that there is a complete breakdown of fundamental common sense to the point where this issue could mushroom into a major crisis in the CF. Forget Somalia. Apparently, Borden has turned into the CF's very own little Sodom and Gomorrah.

Take the sum total of all the stuff you have seen posted here over the past couple of days and you have this:

- rampant sexual activity on DND property contrary to good order and discipline (the old section 129 of the National Defence Act); Contrary to a comment from one soldier, DND shacks should not be like the mythical college dorm from Animal House.

routine trespassing by civilians in personnel quarters on a base that includes the Canadian Forces Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Weapons Defence School and the Canadian Forces nuclear emergency response team. This bit of the story alone makes me wonder what is going on. It's not like NBC defence is a minor issue in these days of global terror; and,

- mature adults who have never heard of condoms. Talk about your Homer Simpson moment. Even if Jennifer Murphy was the skank some people are making her out to be, the phrase "unprotected sex" is enough for me to charge every single male who comes forward and confesses to having unprotected sex with her with:

- conduct prejudicial to the good order and discipline of the Canadian Forces (Sect 129 of the NDA); and,

- an offence related to willfully self-inflicted wounds since acquiring HIV will render the person unfit for active service (deployment overseas) in most instances.

There could be other things but that is a start.

I am thinking that as this story spreads, it will only get worse for DND/CF. It might be time for some Rick Hillier common sense to apply here.