So why was he awarded the Distinguished Service Cross?

THE citation says it was “For distinguished command and leadership in action as Commander Joint Task Force 633 on Operation SLIPPER from January 2011 to December 2011.” By the way, General, there are no “victims” at this time. And taxpayers deserve to know whether allegedly murdered prisoners were in fact members of the Taliban before we give families a red cent.

General Campbell also apologised to the victims’ families, who will be compensated, and to the Australian people for the “shameful” findings.

He has also pledged to pursue commanders who looked the other way, declaring “all options are on the table”.

General Campbell is himself effectively exonerated in the report, which finds the post he held in 2011-12, as commander of Australia’s Middle East operations, known as Joint Taskforce 633, was too remote from the field to have a sufficient degree of command and control.

 
No real command and control of his theatre and remote from the field. Not exactly Teddy Roosevelt Jr on Utah Beach. It seems DSCs aren’t as hard to come by as they used to be. Our own Rex Anger calls bullshit.

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134 Responses to So why was he awarded the Distinguished Service Cross?

  1. Rex Mango

    Either he was a hopeless commander who didn’t know what was going on beneath him, in which case the medal should be rescinded, or was completely in charge and complicit in any alleged crimes.

  2. Natural Instinct

    repost from Brutal Truths
    .
    P495 – at back end of report
    .

    Discussion
    69. Not for want of trying, the Inquiry has found no evidence that there was knowledge, or even reasonable suspicion, at troop/platoon, squadron/company or task group command level, let alone at higher levels such as Commander JTF 633, Joint Operations Command, or Australian Defence Headquarters, that war crimes were being committed under their command. The possibility has been tested to the point of procedural fairness notices to several troop commanders, and having considered the available evidence as a whole, in the light of those responses, the Inquiry is reasonably satisfied that commanders at those levels did not have actual knowledge of, and were not recklessly indifferent to, the commission of war crimes. There may well have been a sense, at least up to Squadron level, not least because of the numbers of EKIA, and the number of them who were found to be unarmed, or armed with only a pistol, grenade or ICOM, but to have been ‘manoeuvring tactically against the FE’, that the ROE were being exploited, and lethal force was being used very readily when perhaps it was not always necessary. But that falls well short of knowledge, information, or even suspicion that prisoners were being killed.

    So that is that. Troopers and NCO’s done it.
    .
    Interesting reading why investigators could not get to “truth”, and thus why higher ups were “not accountable”
    And of course the all encompassing solution – more lawyers.

    P463 onwards
    .
    The Inquiry recommends members have access to an alternative safe reporting line, apart from their chain of command, to report or discuss concerns about suspected unlawful behaviour. Specialist legal, intelligence, medical, chaplaincy and other technical chains can provide one avenue for this. Whistle-blower protections to shield and support personnel who raise suspicions, including regarding potential breaches of the LOAC, should be reinforced and promulgated
    .
    The Inquiry recommends an independent tri-service multi-disciplinary specialist operations inquiry cell be established, for the conduct of administrative inquiries into operational incidents. The cell should comprise personnel with a mix of expertise drawn from Arms corps(to provide the requisite understanding of the battlespace and operations), lawyers (to provide the requisite forensic skills), investigators, and intelligence professionals, and be available as an independent resource for command in any military operation. Such a cell could reside in IGADF, where it would have available the powers of compulsion available under the IGADF Regulation (with the associated protections).

  3. stackja

    Contrast the ALP hated:

    Blamey, Sir Thomas Albert (1884–1951)

    He landed at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, with Major General (Sir) William Bridges and Colonel (Sir) Brudenell White, and next month led a small patrol behind enemy lines in a daring effort to locate Turkish guns.

    Working in close partnership with his commander, Blamey helped to plan the successful battle at Hamel in July, the offensive beginning on 8 August and the subsequent breaking of the Hindenburg line.

    Blamey did not waste Australian lives. And he always protected Australian interests. Brigadier (Sir) Kenneth Wills, controller of the Allied Intelligence Bureau, commented: ‘Few people realize how much of the credit of the successful Australian operations, both in the Middle East and in New Guinea, was due to the Chief’s personal control and planning’.

    After Menzies came to power, on 8 June 1950 Blamey was promoted field marshal. A few days later he fell gravely ill. On 16 September, in hospital, he received his field marshal’s baton from the governor-general. Survived by his wife and by his son Thomas, Blamey died of hypertensive cerebral haemorrhage on 27 May 1951 at the Repatriation General Hospital, Heidelberg, and was cremated. Crowds estimated at 250,000 lined the streets of Melbourne at his state funeral.

    And:

    Morshead, Sir Leslie James (1889–1959)

    On 13 September 1914 Morshead was appointed lieutenant, Australian Imperial Force. Posted to the 2nd Battalion, he served as a captain at the Gallipoli landings on 25 April 1915 and as a major in the bitter fighting at Lone Pine in August. His reputation for calmness and organization brought him promotion to lieutenant colonel and command (April 1916) of the 33rd Battalion, which he raised in Australia and trained there and in England. He made the battalion ‘one of the very best’ and took it to France in November. As the 33rd was part of the 3rd Division, Morshead developed under the eye of (Sir) John Monash. A successful leader in the battles of Messines (June 1917) and Passchendaele (October) in Belgium, and Villers-Bretonneux (April 1918) and Amiens (August) in France, Morshead was awarded the Distinguished Service Order (1917) and mentioned in dispatches five times; in 1919 he was appointed C.M.G. and to the French Légion d’honneur.

    During the withdrawal to Tobruk in April 1941, Morshead was the only general officer of Cyrenaica Command to avoid capture. That his division reached Tobruk almost exhausted but still an organized force and eager ‘to have a go’, was a commendable performance. Initially, he came under the command of Major General (Sir) John Lavarack. Morshead’s task was to hold the perimeter defences which he had inspected closely in January. ‘There’ll be no Dunkirk here’, he told his principal officers, ‘There is to be no surrender and no retreat’. He also issued instructions that, if German tanks penetrated the perimeter, the infantry should not engage them but deal with enemy infantry following the tanks which would be stopped by his own artillery. These tactics, new to the Germans, led to the failure of their assault on 14 April.

  4. thefrollickingmole

    Their ABC was sqeeeeeing!! with ecstasy over “it may be 10 year before anyone is brought to trial”.

    Thats 10 years of drip, drip poisoning as talib “witnesses” are interviewed.

    Next move will be to “leak” some footage, and edit for maximum impact.

  5. Perfidious Albino

    Get a load of the ‘official’ statement from Kevin Rudd, on letterhead, as the 2Xth Prime Minister of Australia expressing outrageous outrage and calling for justice for the poor Afghan families…

    (I found it via The Oz, yeeeees, I know, but…)

    FOAD Kevin you slimy POS.

  6. Perfidious Albino

    and f’ing shave your moonface while you’re at it

  7. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Australian Defence Force ‘war crimes’ inquiry: RSLWA CEO John McCourt warns against stripping of medals
    Caitlyn Rintoul
    The West Australian
    Thu, 19 November 2020 2:47PM
    Caitlyn Rintoul
    Stripping medals from soldiers accused of war crimes should wait until the legal process has played out, says RSLWA boss John McCourt, in the wake of the Australian Defence Force inquiry.

    Serious misconduct allegations after 39 deaths of Afghan prisoners and civilians and cruel treatment of two others during service between 2005 and 2016 have reverberated across the nation, including in WA — Australia’s home of the elite special forces unit.

    Mr McCourt — who served in Afghanistan — said a broadbrush approach shouldn’t be taken to removing declarations until “the proving of any alleged actions”.

    “The action of a few should not tarnish the rest,” the RSLWA chief executive officer said.

    He said many Afghanistan veterans would suffer a “negative impact” by association with those alleged to have been involved in the war crimes, despite not being involved themselves.

    “The vast majority have been deployed in service of country and have acted honourably and with integrity,” he said.

  8. Lee

    Their ABC was sqeeeeeing!! with ecstasy over “it may be 10 year before anyone is brought to trial”.

    The ABC can go f..k themselves.

  9. Bruce

    I wouldn’t get too excited about Blamey. His treatment of his senior officers and other-ranks fighting men in New Guinea was less than stellar.

    Then, there is Sir John Monash.

    Key figure behind the “quiet offensive” near the end of WW1 and the actual commander who shepherded and developed the large US contingent that arrived late, but whose numbers and fitness were desperately needed at that stage in that war. Monash was one of the key minds behind “combined arms” operations late in that war. A brilliant “4-D chess” player and a man whose name has been sullied by “lending” it to a shabby tertiary “institution”.

  10. stackja

    Another:

    Lieutenant Colonel Charles Hercules Green

    Date of birth: 26 December 1919 South Grafton, NSW.

    Commanding officer 2/11 Battalion, 6 Division, AIF. Green was the youngest commanding officer of an Australian infantry battalion during the Second World War.

    Died of wounds, North Korea.

    Honours and Awards:
    Unit
    3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment
    Conflict
    Korea, 1950-1953
    Rank
    Lieutenant Colonel
    London Gazette
    22 June 1951 on page 3411 at position 9
    Commonwealth Gazette
    22 June 1951 on page 1555 at position 2

    Unit
    2/11th Australian Infantry Battalion
    Conflict
    Second World War, 1939-1945
    Rank
    Temporary Lieutenant Colonel
    London Gazette
    06 March 1947 on page 1089 at position 35
    Commonwealth Gazette
    06 March 1947 on page 748 at position 26

    Roll of Honour:
    Unit
    3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment
    Conflict
    Korea, 1950-1953
    Rank
    Lieutenant Colonel

  11. stackja

    Bruce
    #3664820, posted on November 19, 2020 at 7:18 pm

    Read the whole story.
    Part:

    In retrospect it is hard to think of another Australian general with the prestige, force of personality and understanding of politics who could have filled his role.

    He had serious flaws in his character, but, as Curtin said, ‘when Blamey was appointed the Government was seeking a military leader not a Sunday School teacher’.

  12. PK

    OK. As many contributors have already pointed out, The Yamashita precedent should come into play, Top echelon charged first.

  13. H B Bear

    The standard you are too remote from is the standard you accept. Or something like that.

  14. stackja

    Alan Jones: The bravest of the brave Australians deserve better
    Australian soldiers who put their lives on the line to protect us are facing war crimes investigations that are based on a presumption of guilt, writes Alan Jones.

    Alan Jones
    November 19, 2020 – 9:53AM
    The Daily Telegraph

    With everything else the Morrison government has to deal with, could anything be more important than the report into the actions of some Special Forces Operatives, SAS, in Afghanistan?

    Because overarching what happens next is the certain truth that the ­defence of the nation is a critical ­responsibility of government, and one of the important roles of politicians must be not to undermine the morale of those who are sent by government into theatres of war.

    Any attack on morale is an attack on enlistment.

    The last thing we need are ­judgments made about our serving troops from airconditioned offices in ­Canberra.

  15. Ed Case

    Top man, Blamey.
    Meanwhile, the allegations sound more like the activities of a bikie gang ‘collecting’ drug debts rather than Australia’s finest soldiers.
    There’s Cold Blooded Murders and plain old cold blooded murderers.
    For an example of the former, but not the latter, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Stephen_Raikes_Hodson

  16. Boambee John

    Junior officers nd soldiers receive long service and good conduct medals.

    Senior officers receive DSCs and higher awards for time serving.

    On that subject, can onyone confirm a rumour which circulated 40 or so years ago, that one battalion commander in the unmentionable war was considered to have provided less than stellar service, so the award of the traditional DSO was delayed for a year or so?

  17. pete of perth

    Politicians, abc communists and other sycophants should be shunned at the next ANZAC day.

  18. NoFixedAddress

    crapweazels abound

  19. Mick Gold Coast QLD

    “The Inquiry recommends … an alternative safe reporting line … Specialist legal, intelligence, medical, chaplaincy … other technical chains … Whistle-blower protections to shield and support …

    … an independent tri-service multi-disciplinary specialist operations inquiry cell be established, for [lots of lawerly stuff]. … should comprise personnel with a mix of expertise drawn from … lawyers …, investigators, and intelligence professionals, … it would have available the powers of compulsion”

    Such encouraging news for Allen Allen Freehill Minters and Bode and their multi squillion dollar fee earning competitors – a post Chiaaanaaa Virus income recovery plan to see the partners through the next decade. That will secure the Law Society endorsement for Prime Minister Stupid Stupid Stupid – until Labor comes up with a better offer.

    All the important players emerge as winners!

  20. Archivist

    The possibility has been tested to the point of procedural fairness notices to several troop commanders

    What does “tested to the point of procedural fairness notices” mean?

  21. stackja

    Alan Jones Sky News Radio interview SAS leader.

  22. stackja

    Keep SAS families safe.

  23. Bear Necessities

    Do we know how many of the soldiers who may have committed an offense are NCO’s or Officers?

  24. cohenite

    Jones with Heston Russell ripping the cuck angus and brereton another arse.

  25. Perfidious Albino

    How can Campbell call for service awards to be rescinded for entire units under his direct command and sign off on an entire unit being ‘cancelled’ in shame, yet still insist on keeping his own DSC awarded for that period – morally bankrupt and disgusting.

  26. Fat Tony

    The only credible threat to our governments’ malice is the SASR.

  27. stackja

    Heston Russell: Ex-commando says alleged Afghan murder never happened
    An Australian soldier who was accused in an ABC report of executing an Afghan detainee because there was no room for him on a helicopter has strongly denied the allegation.

    Jonathon Moran
    October 28, 2020 – 6:21AM
    The Daily Telegraph

  28. Archivist

    The Yamashita precedent should come into play, Top echelon charged first.

    Yamashita had nothing to do with the atrocities in Manila in 1945. He wasn’t even there.
    Yet at the end of the war, the allies executed him for war crimes in Manila.

  29. Perfidious Albino

    Forget ‘secret’ whistle-blowing channels, they should start a petition seeking Campbell’s dismissal for having lost the confidence of the troops under his command.

  30. H B Bear

    The possibility has been tested to the point of procedural fairness notices to several troop commanders

    What does “tested to the point of procedural fairness notices” mean?

    Not 100% sure. In general, procedural fairness usually requires that people be informed of the specific allegations made against them and be given a reasonable chance to address them. May be some formal army disciplinary process required.

  31. stackja

    Archivist
    #3664889, posted on November 19, 2020 at 8:27 pm

    Hirohito was to be hung too. The Allies decided he was better alive.

  32. Archivist

    In general, procedural fairness usually requires that people be informed of the specific allegations made against them and be given a reasonable chance to address them.

    Yeah but “procedural fairness notices” sounds like a specific piece of jargon, probably referring to some bureaucratic process they’ve got.

  33. EllenG

    The righteous author neglects the principle. Even if they were Taliban, there is no justification for murder. The ADF has accepted that in each case there was no combat. The people involved will have a day in court if charged and all of this speculation will be open to scrutiny.
    It’s not usual for the ADF to describe its own soldiers’ actions as shameful. If it’s ultimately aired through prosecution this alleged criminal activity dishonours a great tradition and history.

  34. H B Bear

    Mick at 8:11. Big Law loves Big Government. You can be sure all the usual characters are represented at the trough … err I mean represented on the panel.

  35. pbw

    Campbell is not, not, not responsible. I think he’s singing to some bloke in red high heels.

  36. Perfidious Albino

    ‘Tested to the point of procedural fairness notices’ makes it sound as though in 4 years they did everything BUT allow those in the frame to defend themselves…

  37. maree

    There’s a reason some of these people rise like soufflés, sitting bend desks. One attended the funeral of my husband’s former CSM/RSM and good mate at Singleton a few years ago, only had his driver to speak to.

  38. H B Bear

    Yeah but “procedural fairness notices” sounds like a specific piece of jargon, probably referring to some bureaucratic process they’ve go

    May be an army thing. Never came across them in my pleasingly short civil legal career.

  39. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Hirohito was to be hung too. The Allies decided he was better alive.

    MacArthur decided Hirohito was more use alive – he calculated that, if Hirohito was hanged, he would have two or three years of low level rebellion and civil unrest, and he didn’t want to run the risk.

  40. Louis Litt

    Pathetic, the military bow to the idiot pampered foul mouths at the abc.
    How did this investigation get to this stag3 in the first place.
    This comes on top of the idiot investigation of police behaviour into the handling of the Melbourne murders – they were concerned about how they would be blamed for the chase.

  41. Boambee John

    Archivist
    #3664889, posted on November 19, 2020 at 8:27 pm
    The Yamashita precedent should come into play, Top echelon charged first.

    Yamashita had nothing to do with the atrocities in Manila in 1945. He wasn’t even there.
    Yet at the end of the war, the allies executed him for war crimes in Manila.

    Yamashita was for the long drop one way or another. If the Americans had not done it, the British would have, for the Sook Ching (cleansing of the Chinese) in the weeks after the surrender of Singapore. The total killed is unsure, but the Japanese are said to have admitted to around 5000, while totals in the multiple tens of thousands have been mentioned by various (usually unconfirmed) sources.

    Australian and British PWs helped bury some, other bodies were thrown into the sea.

  42. C.L.

    Thanks for Jones snippets, Stack.
    Will try to watch that later.

    Any links to that?

  43. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    The total killed is unsure, but the Japanese are said to have admitted to around 5000, while totals in the multiple tens of thousands have been mentioned by various (usually unconfirmed) sources.

    Lee Kuan Yew – never one to lose an opportunity to sink the boot into the Japanese – claimed 70,000 killed – of which he came very close to being one.

  44. BrettW

    Rex Anger, in the other thread, outlines the supervision of SF in Afghanistan.

    To look at one now infamous incident which was subject of the 4 Corners show. The one showing the SAS landing in a field and then helmet camera following trooper to the point he shoots unarmed civilian.

    Does the report cover the handling of helmet camera footage in general. When that patrol got back would they have been required to hand in camera and or footage. Is anybody in base monitoring the footage live ? In that specific incident the footage got “lost” as there was an initial investigation cleared the shooting so obviously did not have the footage. After that point the footage resurfaced and at least two now implicated in a muder hard to get out of.

  45. Snoopy

    TheirABC

    Australian Defence Force Chief Angus Campbell has conceded Australian special forces may have committed more illegal killings during deployments in Afghanistan than have so far been discovered by a long-running probe.

    I wonder if this xunt has considered that a trial may fail to prove that any illegal killings were committed by Australian special forces soldiers.

  46. Bronson

    WTF did he get a DSC for – ‘just turning up’? If that report is true then why does he still have a job, he’s apparently just a space saver. ‘was too remote from the field to have a sufficient degree of command and control’ here’s a Churchill quote that is particularly apt to this situation, ‘why didn’t I know, why didn’t I ask, why wasn’t I told’. He needs to hand his meddle back and resign along with all the high command for the last 20 year. To say they didn’t know is simply cover for they didn’t ask because they didn’t want to know a total abrogation of command and control!

  47. Perfidious Albino

    Even Joel FitzGibbon is making more sense on this matter than most of the politicians at the moment.

  48. Archivist

    Yamashita was for the long drop one way or another. If the Americans had not done it, the British would have, for the Sook Ching (cleansing of the Chinese) in the weeks after the surrender of Singapore.

    Regardless, he was hung for the actions of troops under his command, even though he was in Japan at the time, and didn’t know.

    If that’s the precedent, then it leaves the ADF in a tricky situation.

  49. candy

    I wonder if there will be any trials at all.

    PM Morrison and General Campbell have assured us they are guilty and the media have turned big time on the SAS saying the SAS soldiers are fuelled by “blood lust”, that they are monsters.

    How can a court find not guilty if the PM himself and General Campbell have apologised to the Afghanistan PM already for war crimes and misdemeanours by Australian soldiers.

  50. C.L.

    This attitude from currency lad strikes me as absolutist rather than nuanced.

    You’re welcome to explain what you think my “attitude” is and what sort of nuance you think is called for. It’s a free and open forum.

  51. Mick Gold Coast QLD

    The Australian front page:

    “Roberts-Smith puts VC up as collateral

    The former SAS corporal did so against a $1m loan from Kerry Stokes, which helped fund his legal action.”

    Stokes is a curious character. He is to be commended though for treating Ben Roberts-Smith with the respect he deserves, which is in stark contrast to his employer of 13 years, which profited mightily from his exceptionalism, and the Prime Minister and the Defence Minister (does my wide arsks look big in these fatigues, giggle giggle?)

  52. flyingduk

    I served in the MEAO on 3 separate occasions, one at the JTF633 HQ, twice ‘in country’ and can confirm that Campbell at HQ was not ‘in country’ and had only ‘observer’ status on operations in AFG. Having said that, no one who hasn’t been there has any idea what it is like to fight an asymmetric enemy who hides amongst the people one who does NOT follow our Western ideas about the laws of war. War is not a game, it isn’t ‘sport’ and there are no rules. The job of our military is to crush our enemies, before lunch, on day one, with a 100:1 kill ratio, then to go home. There is no fairness in war, regardless of what ‘scary eyes’ Campbell, or SCOMO might think 10 years later.

  53. Amortiser

    The Geneva Conventions apply and provide protections for people engaged in uniformed combat. There is no protection for combatants who are not uniformed. There is good reason for this as the risk to innocent civilians is increased exponentially when such warfare ensues.

    During the Vietnam War, North Vietnamese Army (NVA) regulars who had been captured or surrendered could not be executed or mistreated. They were uniformed combatants. The Viet Cong (VC) on the other hand had no such protection and their fate would have been determined by the “rules of engagement”.

    The fact that the war in Afghanistan is still ongoing after nearly 20 years just goes to show the difficulty of the task and/or the lack zeal on behalf of the high command to achieve its strategic objectives. The enemy are not uniformed combatants and they blend in with the local populations and in many cases are aided and abetted by them.

    The allegation made is that the alleged murders occurred in non combat situations. What a load of tripe. They are in country on operations. They don’t clock on and clock off combat especially with an enemy like that. One example given was a captured taliban fighter being executed because there was no room for him on the chopper. What were they supposed to do with him? Let him go? He is a un uniformed combatants. He has no protections under the Geneva accords.

    The second commando raid on Japanese warships in Singapore harbour during WW2 failed and all were captured. They were all summarily executed by the Japanese commander who was charged with war crimes. He was acquitted because they were un uniformed combatants. The Japanese commander who ordered the massacre of Australian nurses at Banka beach was charged and convicted because the victims were uniformed medical staff who are afforded specific protections.

    This is a disgraceful witch hunt which will destroy or seriously reduce the capability of out best military regiment. I fear that this was the purpose from the outset. Beware the enemy within.

  54. Infidel Tiger

    Curious that the media are saying “Special Forces soldiers could face prosecution”.

    Should be a certainty after all this shouldn’t it?

  55. C.L.

    The Geneva Conventions apply and provide protections for people engaged in uniformed combat. There is no protection for combatants who are not uniformed. There is good reason for this as the risk to innocent civilians is increased exponentially when such warfare ensues.

    Yes indeed, Amortiser. You summarise what I was just thinking.

    This is very likely to be a key issue here. I suspect these ‘prisoners’ were 100 percent Taliban terrorist turds. As such, I’m not sure whether it’s “murder” to shoot them. I’m also disgusted with the notion of rewarding their families with cash.

    Here’s what I think happened: desperate to survive rotation after rotation after rotation – and hamstrung by ROE written by bureaucratic cockheads – a mentality developed that every operator had to be hard core prepared to do what was necessary for the safety of all. That meant learning to kill terrorists – even as they played the P.O.W. game – before they were processed through a holding yard somewhere and released back into the field.

    Legal? Moral? I cannot judge. But I firmly believe this “warrior culture” was a survival strategy. These blokes were not, as you rightly say, playing a game. They were there to ruthlessly exterminate these vermin.

  56. flyingduk

    These blokes were not, as you rightly say, playing a game. They were there to ruthlessly exterminate these vermin.

    We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready to visit violence on our behalf….

  57. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    The Geneva Conventions apply and provide protections for people engaged in uniformed combat. There is no protection for combatants who are not uniformed

    Story goes that, when the British Army was deployed to Northern Ireland, in1968, a certain United States Senator, with a substantial Irish constituency, demanded that that any captured I.R.A. men would receive their just entitlements, under the Geneva Convention.

    A certain prominent Britsh soldier was supplied to have replied that, captured with no rights whatsoever under the Geneva Convention, all the I.R.A. were entitled to was a swift execution..

  58. Candy

    Apparently SAS soldiers massacred villages and kept men and boys in sheds for days abusing torturing them before slitting their throats. It sounds to me like something the Taliban would do not Aussies. Perhaps the journalists who got this information from Afghans got the translation wrong in their rush to get a story.

  59. MikeS

    Dad was a sapper in New Guinea during WW2, fought in a few nasty battles. He later joined the Para Battalion and narrowly avoided a bloody battle in Borneo to liberate POWs only because the bomb was dropped and MacArthur had other priorities. He sometimes said prisoners couldn’t always be taken or guarded and that it was a well known and unspoken fact of life in war. I’m sure he’d be revolted by those who think battle could be fought in a courtroom or differences settled by diplomats over a beer with creeps like the Taliban.

    The movie “A Few Good Men” is often underated and misunderstood. Many seem to think it is just about how Jack Nicholson’s militarist Colonel Jessop is brought to heel, yet it is also about how hopeless it is to guard the world with lawyers and soft cocks standing on the walls which always exist. The soft cocks seem to think bad guys can be tamed with an injunction and handcuffs. They have no idea how mad the world has always been or how bad it will get if they neuter the few capable of protecting us.

  60. Rex Anger

    The Zionist deceivers?

    Hi Graeme 🙂

  61. Old School Conservative

    From C.L’s link to Sky News:
    Liberal Senator Amanda Stoker says Australia cannot let the 39,000 soldiers who have “nobly and honourably served” in Afghanistan have their reputations tarnished “by the actions of a few”.

    She too is saying “they are guilty”.
    Damm I’m sick and tired of the shit being heaped on ordinary Australians by “the elite”.

  62. Old School Conservative

    Another vote for “Guilty”:
    This day of grievous shame and regret, not only for the Australian Defence Force but for the whole Australian nation Greg Sheridan, The Australian.
    Bastard.

  63. C.L.

    Yeah, I picked up on that too, OSC.
    Classic Liberal Party. Pretend your position is the conservative one when really it yields the field to the extreme left. That way, you can sound principled while being a total sell-out.

  64. Infidel Tiger

    This day of grievous shame and regret, not only for the Australian Defence Force but for the whole Australian nation

    What did I do this this time?

  65. Infidel Tiger

    There must have been secret trials.

    You can’t talk or report like this unless people have been found guilty after a due process.

    What the hell is going on?

  66. Rex Mango

    Watched Samantha Crompvoet on the Drum tonight so you don’t have to. Her story is she was sent in to sort sexual harassment in the army & ended up discovering special forces were war criminals. Bit like a copper turning up regards unpaid parking fines & discovering the perp is a serial killer. Highly unbelievable except if you work at the ABC & very similar modus operandi to Louis Milligan in the Pell case. Crompvoet said that soldiers would slip her notes, or make comments when the mike was turned off etc after interviews about war crimes. Following her complaint to Chief of Defence Force an enquiry was set up & now 420 odd witnesses later (most of whom are in Afghan with prospect of compo) we have a heavily redacted report which has leaked like a sieve from day one. Things that stand out include 2Commando who did more fighting than SAS seem to be immune & also the 19/25 perps killing 39. Odd that these psychos infesting the SAS would only kill one, or perhaps 2 civilians at best during their time for some thrill kill.

  67. Fred

    There’s a lot of senior officers in the Army swanning around with chests full of medals for their great leadership in the Afghanistan war.

    Yet this report finds that none of them had any idea what was going on.

    Surely there needs to be a review of all medals awarded to officers, starting with Bung Eyes Campbell’s DSC.

  68. Infidel Tiger

    Sheridan’s article is actually pretty good.

    He even defends “warrior culture”.

  69. Infidel Tiger

    The SASR sounds likes it’s a faction riddled mess of egos and politics too.

    Let’s hope we don’t need our military for another century or so. We don’t currently have one.

  70. Rex Mango

    Just to add to my point above, what are the chances of 19 professional soldiers killing 39 innocents over an extended period of time? Doesn’t make much sense unless they were Col Peiper’s Waffen SS.

  71. C.L.

    Sheridan’s piece is OK but he piles on the emotional crap – as usual.
    No, it isn’t a day of shame for the whole nation. Get a grip, Greg.

    He also says the problem was the SAS becoming distant from the “ethos of the broader ADF and the nation.” To my way of thinking, that’s exactly what you’d want in our special forces.

    The “ethos of the ADF” is total historical bullshit anyway. When it comes to soldiering, Australians reverence two groups: the great volunteer armies of the world wars; and the rip-in hard chargers and warrior jackaroos of the SAS. They couldn’t give a toss about the ADF – a corporate brand now associated with tampon commercials, sex change operations and the Mardi Gras.

  72. Rex Mango

    If you look at what the SAS were up to in Afghan, they would regularly kill 10 Taliban per soldier on each mission. Yet this report reckons that over 18 years, 39 innocent Afghans died at the hands of 19 soldiers.

  73. Rex Mango

    Haven’t watched this myself, but Jones is good on defence of the realm:

  74. Infidel Tiger

    Our lesbian sandbag squadrons should enjoy their next 2 decades in Afghanistan. That’s all we have left now.

  75. Rex Mango

    Going to bed, but might be time to remember the motto of the CIA:

    ‘He might be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch’

  76. C.L.

    There must have been secret trials.

    You can’t talk or report like this unless people have been found guilty after a due process.

    What the hell is going on?

    They haven’t been named – which means everyone feels free to say whatever they like.

  77. BrettW

    From the Report. Looks like a lot of medals might be revoked.

    The Meritorious Unit Citation
    87. The Meritorious Unit Citation is a collective group decoration awarded to a unit for sustained
    outstanding service in warlike operations. It was awarded to Task Force 66 (Special Operations Task
    Groups IV – XX) on 26 January 2015, ‘For sustained and outstanding warlike operational service in
    Afghanistan from 30 April 2007 to 31 December 2013, through the conduct of counter insurgency
    operations in support of the International Security Assistance Force’ The citation states:
    Over a six-year period, Task Force 66 rendered outstanding service on operations in Afghanistan
    where it conducted highly successful counter insurgency operations within Uruzgan and
    surrounding provinces in support of the International Security Assistance Force. The Task Force’s
    outstanding performance against an unrelenting, cunning and ruthless enemy, in an unforgiving
    environment, was achieved through the collective efforts of every member of the
    contingent over the duration of the commitment. The superior combat operations results of
    Task Group 66 further emphasised the Group’s exceptional courage and commitment.

    88. Although many members of SOTG demonstrated great courage and commitment, and
    although it had considerable achievements, what is now known must disentitle the unit as a whole
    to qualification for recognition for sustained outstanding service. It has to be said that what this
    Report discloses is disgraceful, not meritorious. Revocation of the award of the meritorious unit
    citation would be an effective demonstration of the collective responsibility and accountability of
    SOTG as a whole for those events. The Inquiry recommends that the award of the Meritorious Unit
    Citation to SOTG (TF 66) be revoked.

    The Distinguished Service decorations
    89. All but two of the SOTG Commanding Officers during the relevant period were decorated for
    their command, receiving the Distinguished Service Cross. Many squadron/company commanders,
    and some troop/platoon commanders, were also decorated.

    90. Of the two Commanding Officers who were not decorated, one was Commanding Officer at
    the time of the Commando civilian casualty incident in February 2009, and the other at the time of
    the severed hands incident in April 2013. That is unlikely to have been coincidental. Although there
    was no suggestion of personal responsibility on their part, the occurrence of those incidents ‘on
    their watch’ was enough to disqualify them. Those events were less grave and culpable than many
    referred to in this Report.

    91. In that light, it must be said that it is inconceivable that if what is now known about events on
    SOTG , SOTG , SOTG , SOTG , and SOTG had then been known, those in command at
    troop/platoon, squadron/company or task group level would have been decorated. One way of
    acknowledging command responsibility for what happened on those rotations would be to review
    the award of decorations to those in command positions during them.

    92. Although that observation applies to SOTG Commanding Officers, it does so not because of
    personal fault, but because they are responsible for what happened ‘on their watch’. The
    observation applies much more strongly to the Commanding Officers of SASR during the period
    under which the ‘warrior culture’ which enabled the criminal conduct flourished, because unlike the
    SOTG Commanding Officers they were in a position to influence and shape the culture of their
    commands. The evidence does not support a similar conclusion in respect of either Commando
    Regiment.

    93. The Inquiry sees the command responsibility of Commander JTF 633 in a different light to that
    of Commanding Officer SOTG, for a number of reasons. First, JTF 633 was not positioned,
    organisationally or geographically, to influence and control SOTG operations: its ‘national
    command’ function did not include operational command. While those who had operational
    command are rightly held responsible and accountable for the deeds of their subordinates, the
    principle that informs that is that ultimately they command and control what happens under their
    command. Without operational command, JTF 633 did not have the degree of command and control
    over SOTG on which command responsibility depends. Secondly, commanders and headquarters at
    JTF 633, JOC and ADFHQ appear to have responded appropriately and diligently when relevant
    information and allegations came to their attention, and to have made persistent and genuine
    endeavours to find the facts through QAs, following up with further queries, and Inquiry Officer
    Inquiries. Their attempts were frustrated by outright deceit by those who knew the truth, and, not
    infrequently, misguided resistance to inquiries and investigations by their superiors.

    94. Unlike a collective award such as the Meritorious Unit Citation, the cancellation of an
    individual award such as a DSC impacts on the status and reputation of the individual concerned,
    could not be undertaken on a broad‐brush collective basis, and would require procedural fairness in
    each individual case. However, it is difficult to see how any commander at
    SOTG, squadron/company or troop/platoon level, under whose command (or ‘on whose
    watch’) any substantiated incident referred to in this Report occurred, could in good
    conscience retain a distinguished service award in respect of that command. Without limiting that
    observation, the Inquiry recommends that the award of decorations to those in command
    positions up to and including SOTG Headquarters during SOTG , SOTG , SOTG , SOTG
    and SOTG be reviewed.

  78. John Comnenus

    This report catalogues a complete breakdown of discipline and good military order. The report is careful to distance the Generals at the top of the ADF and Army. However, as time goes on I think it will be harder for some senior leaders with a background in Special Forces to maintain that distance.

    Very poor decision making at the highest levels of Army and Defence set this train in motion right back at the beginning of Australia’s increase in operational tempo in response to the strife in the arc of instability and subsequently the war on terror. Risk aversion led our military leaders to use special forces for most operations where there was a high risk of contact with the enemy. In my experience few of the operations conducted by the Special Forces were in fact special operations as defined in military doctrine. Few were tactical actions that generated strategic effects and few were long range reconnaissance and surveillance operations. The only operations that came close to resembling special forces doctrine were raids.

    The reality is that most of the operations conducted by the Special Forces were cordon and search operations, a classical infantry operation that requires a large amount of manpower – the one thing Special Forces do not have. Special Forces were contemptuous of the infantry, who were rarely involved in these cordon and search operations. Many failed for lack of an adequate cordon – a task normally given to a company sized force of around 100 men. For example, Major Reinado was a rebel leader in Timor Leste whose revolt precipitated the second intervention by the ADF into Timor in 2006. Reinado went into hiding and ran a guerilla army against the government. In 2007 he was located at Same and Special Forces were tasked to capture him. The Special Forces decided that they didn’t need an outer cordon because there was no escape from Same, so they turned down an offer of an infantry company to provide an outer cordon. Reinado escaped and his fame grew. The same thing happened repeatedly in Afghanistan when the ADF started to enter the Mirabad area to the East of Tarin Kowt.

    Unfortunately, very early on, decisions were made to give any role that looked like it might require a fight to the Special Forces. This had two very deleterious outcomes, firstly the Special Forces troops were seriously over deployed and secondly they grew extremely contemptuous of everyone else in the Army. There was little to no respect for non Special Forces officers including Generals up to and including Chiefs of Army. Special Forces troops would lounge around in footy shorts and singlets and sit around on the floor when Generals visited – there was no coming to attention, getting into uniform or anything else associated with regular military discipline. Unfortunately this treatment was experienced by a number of Generals and nothing was done about it. I guess that was the standard they all walked past.

    Special Forces were treated differently, had different ration entitlements, were in segregated camps within the bases, had their own messes, gyms and had their own supplements programs. Whatever the Special Forces wanted they got, they often vetoed conventional operations that were planned if there was a likelihood of contact.

    All of these things were known to the Generals, Brigadiers and Colonels. Why did they think accepting this breakdown in normal military discipline would not result in trouble? It is too easy to blame the soldiers and their NCO. Who gave them that control and who let them loose? There are two serving Generals with a long history of service predominantly in the SAS and Special Forces – CDF General Campbell and Army Chief Lieutenant General Burr.

    There are a plethora of Brigadiers and Colonels who were troop and squadron commanders when this happened. What were they doing?

    If these allegations are true, and it would appear that many of the witnesses are Australian soldiers disgusted by this behaviour, then it won’t do to just blame the soldiers and there NCO. Sure, those directly involved have no excuse for their behaviour and those who pulled he trigger need to be charged with murder and tried in court. But where were their officers? and why did no one tell anyone else including people like the padre or the psychs who did post deployment screening? Why did the psychs not pick up indications of Anne rant behaviour during pre and post deployment screening? I find it very hard to believe that junior officers and senior warrant officers never heard at least some of the rumours? Why did they not act? It’s not as if these were rumours of someone knocking off early and going to the pub or sneaking back late. This behaviour shames all of us who served in the Army, but it particularly shames our officers with a Special Forces background because they were responsible for instituting good order and military discipline through effective leadership, and they clearly failed it that critical task. They must be held responsible.

  79. Clam Chowdah

    Has anybody here read the redacted report?

  80. Clam Chowdah

    Ah I see John has. It’s interesting that the period under examination starts late in the war. No doubt the terms of reference were set by generals who would have been troop and squadron commanders prior to the period under review.

  81. Crossie

    candy
    #3664969, posted on November 19, 2020 at 9:56 pm
    I wonder if there will be any trials at all.

    PM Morrison and General Campbell have assured us they are guilty and the media have turned big time on the SAS saying the SAS soldiers are fuelled by “blood lust”, that they are monsters.

    How can a court find not guilty if the PM himself and General Campbell have apologised to the Afghanistan PM already for war crimes and misdemeanours by Australian soldiers.

    I don’t see why anyone in the army would defend us when we don’t defend them.

    ScoMo just keeps on being a bigger and bigger disappointment, he never leads and always follows the wrong people.

  82. jupes

    There was little to no respect for non Special Forces officers including Generals up to and including Chiefs of Army.

    For very good reason. The generals have destroyed the army as an effective combat force.

    This behaviour shames all of us who served in the Army

    No. The report makes unproven accusations. The Brereton report shames all who have served in the army.

  83. Ed Case

    Slightly OT,
    One might think, “Gee, if the hung Yamashita for that, what did they do to the Commanders and Doctors/Medical Staff of Unit 731, who conducted medical experiments on living Chinese civilians?”
    Well, they sent the entire Unit to the United States to share their knowledge with the Military, and they all died in their beds U.S. citizens many years later.

  84. Ed Case

    One might also wonder why the IJA massacred Chinese civilians in Singapore.
    What was that all about?

  85. jupes

    Has anybody here read the redacted report?

    Skimmed it. Full of typos. Nothing on the release of POWs back into the fight. You’d have thought that that would be a pretty big factor into the alleged shooting of captured Taliban. But no.

    Also apparently the Taliban didn’t like being raided. Who knew?

  86. John Comnenus

    I have not read the report. I have been told about it by very senior officers still serving who I trust. The issues I spoke about related to General Leahy when he was Chief of Army and I know it happened to General Kelly when he was Commander Of JTF 633 at Tarin Kowt.

    The issue of discipline is very important regardless of whether these allegations are proven or not, and I am all for charging where there is sufficient evidence and giving people their day in court to establish guilt or innocence.

    I work with a person who went on numerous deployments with the SOTG and he confirms that there were numerous rumours about various individuals. So it wouldn’t surprise me if there is some truth to it. Either way, if there are rumours of murder, they should be investigated. If the allegations are corroborated, especially by Australian or Coalition troops, then people should be charged and given their due process rights in the criminal justice system. I was not a fan of seeking out victims in Afghanistan, but if these cases were raised by Australian and US troops, who do not gain from this, then I think we should investigate, be open and transparent and make sure that justice is be done and is seen to be done.

  87. John Comnenus

    Jupes,

    There is no reason not to respect authority and the chain of command. If you don’t respect these, well you might get to thinking you can do what you like. You don’t have to like these people, but you must respect what they represent in a Democracy – legitimacy and authority in the application of violence. Without the restraint that respect imposes, well look where we are now, at the very least a number of well founded allegations that need to be fully investigated and then tested properly in a court of law.

  88. jupes

    … but you must respect what they represent in a Democracy – legitimacy and authority in the application of violence.

    General Campbell:

    “As soldiers our purpose is to serve the state, employing violence with humility always and compassion wherever possible.”

    How can you respect that? How can you respect generals who have raised four enitities to prosecute diggers – ADFIS, Director of Military Prosecutions, Brereton Inquiry and the Office of the Special Investigator while allowing captured Taliban to return to the fight? How do you respect generals who are more concerned with recruiting women, gays and minorities than victory in war?

    If they want respect, then they should act like generals not social justice warriors.

  89. Mother Lode

    WTF did he get a DSC for – ‘just turning up’? If that report is true then why does he still have a job, he’s apparently just a space saver.

    He is there to aid the troops, but to aid the government. He is there to make sure that nothing negative blows back on the government. Right now, having thrown soldiers to the wolves, he is lying on his back getting belly rubs from his bureaucratic seniors.

    His uniform is camouflage so the government lackey he is blends in with soldiers.

    I hope Jones doesn’t just tear him a new one, but shines a light up it reveal all the other political spawn that hide in the dark.

  90. Herodotus

    How often does it need to be said that Geneva Conventions apply to national armies in uniform and not to dodgy combatants otherwise?
    As Flyingduk says above, there are no rules in asymmetric warfare except win, and win using all necessary force.
    Otherwise don’t go there at all.
    What we are seeing is totally inappropriate virtue signalling which damages the forces and the national interest.

  91. Mother Lode

    Haven’t watched this myself, but Jones is good on defence of the realm:

    There are only a few things the government has to do, like defence of the realm, the courts, effective policing (note – effective, not excessive) and such.

    But then there is the great snowballing mass of things that they want to do, that they like to do, gathering in size and momentum, careening throughout the nation, unstoppable, indefatigable.

    So focused are they on all the stuff they enjoy they pay scant attention to their real responsibilities, but even among those least attention is given to defence of the realm because it happens out of sight overseas. When something comes up they are angry at the intrusion, and like someone swearing at the ‘stupid chair’ they stubbed their toe on, they take out their anger on the troops.

    They have better things to do! They want to go back to snipping ribbons before cameras, opening roads that will be chocked in 12 months because they were designed not for the next 20 years, but instead for the opening ceremony.

    Or staying in 5-star hotels in premium vacation locations, being photographed hobnobbing with world leaders of varying degrees of democratic accountability, promiscuously exchanging ideas about new regulation like ants in a nest energetically exchanging pheromones they licked off the queen ant’s butt.

    It is amazing that any of them think they are actually held in any esteem by the public.

    If I found a politician on my window I would use a wadded insurance salesman to wipe them off – the remaining salesman smudge would be less polluting.

  92. Herodotus

    Have any of the Afghans in uniform who turned on their fellow soldiers (Australian or American) and killed them been executed as they should be?

  93. Boambee John

    Archivist

    Regardless, he was hung for the actions of troops under his command, even though he was in Japan at the time, and didn’t know.

    Check your archives. He was in another part of the Philippines at the time. However, you are correct that he didn’t know what was happening in Manila, even though it was part of his command. Bit like Campbell, actually.

  94. Boambee John

    Cash Machine Go Brrrrrrr
    #3665014, posted on November 19, 2020 at 10:43 pm
    The Geneva Conventions apply and provide protections for people engaged in uniformed combat. There is no protection for combatants who are not uniformed.

    Yes but this is all fake and homosexual in the current context. Because its not the Muslims who are the terrorists, we are on their territory, they can’t afford uniforms, the money for what they can afford is coming from outside sources,

    Good morning Graeme

    I was going to ignore this debate, as I have laid it out before, but just for you …

    Following new Protocols developed late last century, irregular combatants have some protections, if they meet four conditions.

    They must have a recognisable chain of command.

    They must carry their weapons openly.

    They must wear a uniform or an insignia recognisable from a distance, to identify them as combatants. and

    Their chain of command must enforce the rules of war on its subordinates.

    I leave it to others to comment on the extent to which Taliban fighters met all of these conditions.

  95. Mother Lode

    Small thing, but Yamashita as a name is pronounced with ‘a’ like in ‘car’, not ‘cat’, all syllables are equally stressed, except ‘shi’, where the ‘i’ is essentially ignored.

    Think:

    YAH-MAH-SH-TAH.

    Pedantic, I know. But there it is.

  96. Tel

    The RAAF has done bombing raids in Iraq and Syria, those always manage to hit a few bystanders and it’s a known thing that even with reasonably high precision bombing you can’t guarantee exactly who gets hit.

    Australia also partners up with the US drone program, and there’s been plenty of examples of civilians getting blown up by the regular drone raids in the Middle East.

    Overall the SAS would have a much better track record of precision when it comes to hitting their “targets” and not killing the wrong guy … but I’m sure they aren’t perfect. Point is that the intelligence they are acting on is also imperfect, and there’s no guarantee that the marked “target” was a genuine bad guy in the first place. They base it on phonecall metadata, network analysis, who his family and friends are. It’s not like anyone in a war gets a fair trial with a jury of his peers, appeals process or any of that.

    Then there’s the weapons deliveries to the “moderate” terrorists and the training programs where guys say “thank you for the gun”, then sell their gear to the local Taliban armoury. On top of that, we had private contracting companies that paid protection money to the Taliban while building some girl’s school or other social justice project. Western powers are supplying their opponents with guns and money, so how many “innocent civilians” died as a consequence of that?

  97. BrettW

    I spent a few hours gong through the report. Some random comments.

    Quite a few pages of the history of Australian deployments and allegations / incidents of war crimes starting with Breaker Morant and other Boer War examples and going through to Vietnam and Iraq. There was quite a bit of coverage about the sinking of Japanese in WW2 in a particular incident and the RAAF being instructed to strafe the survivors in the water. This continued for quite a time and there was discussion about some being on barges and others actually in life boats. The thought was if the survivors reached land they would return to the fight. The pilots were not happy with the job.

    There is a summary of investigations and trials involving other foreign forces in Afghsnistan plus a lot of legal background to such crimes etc.
    John C mentioned the special treatment of SF above. They had their own drinking establishment, Fat Lady, and report mentions this was contrary to the idea there should be no alcohol. It mentions that most senior officers could not fail to notice.

    I did not make notes but mention of 26,000 deployed to Afghanistan, with 3,000 being SF. The SF fatalities were nearly half the total. I presume this would also be the situation with wounded.

    It would appear the Commandoes had less turning on each other than the SAS. Guessing they did not have the “blooding” aspect either.

    Seems the helmet cameras were private gear as a recommendation is to have issued cameras like Police. Whilst there was sometimes air surveillance it was often not used when the SAS actually went in on the ground. The inquiry looks at a lot of drone footage and confirmed that was the case. Seems odd that was allowed as I recall drone footage of a battle involving SEALs where one was left behind and the coverage was for hours and covered whole engagement.

    SF legal officers often became very “protective” and hindered outside investigations. They did not have clear laid out instructions.

    The patrol leaders (ie.below Warrant Officer) were in charge on the ground. Any officers around usually on “over watch” duties so as to be able to call in extra support etc. When submitting after action reports it was basically a culture of don’t question the integrity of the fighters risking their lives. Hard for SF HQ and Task Force HQ to go against the “warriors”.

    Can’t identify even which rotation involved although there is a summary of incidents by year.

    Can’t see recommendations about bravery awards.

    Due to redactions hard to know how much evidence there is in each case. A major point is that they are going for those who gave the order rather than the shooter if there is such a scenario.

    A lot of legal stuff about Ben Roberts Smith VC’s defamation case.

    Just some random thought.

  98. Boambee John

    Ed Case
    #3665155, posted on November 20, 2020 at 6:45 am
    One might also wonder why the IJA massacred Chinese civilians in Singapore.
    What was that all about?

    Eliminating communists and possible communists. Recall that Japan had been fighting in China for years.

  99. Tel

    The job of our military is to crush our enemies, before lunch, on day one, with a 100:1 kill ratio, then to go home.

    Sorry buddy … that USED TO BE the job of our military but at some unclear point in time the mission changed. Now the job is to hang around forever and always be just about done, but oh dear never actually get to go home. We antagonize our enemies sufficiently to keep them militant … while we also encourage them to run opium as a cash crop, and indirectly provide supply lines for the bad guys.

    Our military are supposed to act like social workers, do nation building, win some hearts and minds, spread Freedom and Democracy (TM) to people who have no interest in changing their way of life. Oh yeah, this all falls under the legal definition of “national defense” as per the Australian Constitution … because words can mean anything don’t you know … the Parliament can declare the Constitution means what they say it means.

  100. Mother Lode

    Sorry buddy … that USED TO BE the job of our military

    Back in the days when we liked being winners.

    Now we like doting over ‘victims’.

  101. jupes

    They had their own drinking establishment, Fat Lady, and report mentions this was contrary to the idea there should be no alcohol.

    Fancy sending soldiers to war and not letting them drink. The generals running that shit-show really were clueless dickheads. Worse than useless.

  102. Tel

    He needs to hand his meddle back and resign along with all the high command for the last 20 year. To say they didn’t know is simply cover for they didn’t ask because they didn’t want to know a total abrogation of command and control!

    If General Campbell was “too remote from the field to have a sufficient degree of command and control” then who made the decision to keep him remote? If you are given a job to manage something then it’s your responsibility to make sure you have visibility, and demand the tools you need if they aren’t available.

    I don’t believe for a moment that none of these guys knew what was going on. Am I supposed to believe that the entire military has no reporting structure? Supposedly the Australian Government was fully allied with the Afghan Government in Kabul, so if there were war crimes going on, of the sort that need a public apology, surely the Afghan Government might have mentioned this in passing at some stage? There would be records of the official cables … does anyone believe they NEVER discussed issues like civilian casualties? They were sitting there for 20 years and NEVER studied the effectiveness of what they were doing? Bullshit.

  103. Richard

    This is the comment I submitted to the Australian which was rejected.

    Our soldiers are lions led by donkeys. Having met Angus Campbell myself 2 years ago after he was just made CDF, I was deeply unimpressed with what I assessed as his unflinching adherence to leftist institutional shibboleths, and this latest incident only deepens further my misgivings.

    However what I find extremely disappointing this time is the way even conservative commentators and media have joined in with this leftist pile-on of the brave Junior and Senior NCOs – the ones actually being shot everyday and seeing their mates killed – while falling over themselves to exonerate their incompetent, bureaucratic commanders. Disgraceful.

    I edited it three times, tried submitting just the the 1st para, then just the 2nd para. Nope. The mods have it in for me.

  104. Zatara

    what did they do to the Commanders and Doctors/Medical Staff of Unit 731, who conducted medical experiments on living Chinese civilians?”
    Well, they sent the entire Unit to the United States to share their knowledge with the Military, and they all died in their beds U.S. citizens many years later.

    Not only “Slightly OT”, but wrong.

    Twelve top military leaders and scientists of Unit 731 were tried and sentenced by the Soviet Union in the Khabarovsk War Crimes Trials including four Generals, two Colonels, two Majors and some assorted other ranks.

    Of those who made it back to Japan, the post-war American administration gave the scientists immunity from prosecution in return for details of their experiments. American occupation authorities and later the Japanese govt closely monitored the activities of all former unit members, including reading and censoring their mail.

    None were “sent to the US” and they most certainly weren’t given US citizenship.

  105. shatterzzz

    Apt comment from another blog …….

    Just a thought . . . Our special forces troopers should be instructed to yell out ‘Allahu Akbar’ before whacking Afghan civvies – apparently it ain’t murder if one does this . . . it’s merely a minor ‘cultural’ issue.

  106. BrettW

    A lot of coverage in the Oz today which is hardly surprising.

    There is a chronological list of incidents investigated. Based on time, 2006, I think the first one relates to the “Lone Survivor” scenario involving patrol led by Mathew Locke and in which he and Ben Roberts Smith VC took action against one or two civilians to avoid their position being compromised.

    No further investigation or action in that case.

    Yet it has probably been the most reported incident I have seen covered in the papers. The Oz must have forgotten about their multiple stories mentioning as not mentioned today.

  107. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    They must carry their weapons openly.

    From memory – it’s been a few years now – that section continues “and conduct operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.”

  108. Dr Faustus

    Possibly pumping the story, but it appears that Michelle Grafton and their ABC are not happy to let the officer class off the hook:

    Apparently rumours swirled:

    For a long time, there have been suggestions of bad behaviour by some Australians in Afghanistan.

    Indeed, even when I was there way back in 2002, and Australia had 150 special forces in place, there was chatter among the international media that the Australians were fast and loose.

    But:

    “The criminal behaviour in this Report was conceived, committed, continued and concealed at patrol commander level, and it is overwhelmingly at that level that responsibility resides,” Brereton writes.

    However:

    If senior officers did not pick up gossip and whispers, surely they should have been enough aware of the broad special forces culture to know that extensive checks should be in place to guard against the ever-present threat of misconduct.

  109. candy

    I still find it hard to believe that an SAS unit was running amok with “blood lust” with massacres in villages and torturing prisoners, boys and men, for days which was apparently in the Brereton report too, as well as “blooding” new soldiers by doing a kill. General Campbell said it was not “fog of war” and there probably many more murders than they knew about.

    Sure there would be psychopaths in every army in every country somewhere but it sounds like Australians are the worst in the world. Or it’s mostly lies. It’s a worrisome thing if you cannot believe the media or politicians, or even the top brass of the Military.

  110. Roger

    If senior officers did not pick up gossip and whispers, surely they should have been enough aware of the broad special forces culture to know that extensive checks should be in place to guard against the ever-present threat of misconduct.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Campbell suddenly becomes media shy.

  111. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Australian Defence Force report: Soldiers likely to argue mental health defences in legal case
    The West Australian
    Thu, 19 November 2020 8:00PM
    Annabel Hennessy

    Most of Australia’s coalition partners in Afghanistan have faced allegations of war crimes and it is likely that prosecutors here will face similar obstacles to those encountered overseas, including “mental health defences”.

    The Brereton inquiry report into allegations of war crimes committed by Australian troops in Afghanistan notes that most of the country’s coalition partners have had to deal with similar allegations, including the US, New Zealand, the UK and Canada.

    The report highlighted the case of British soldier Alexander Blackman, who in 2013 was found guilty of murdering a wounded Afghan insurgent. This made him the first British soldier since World War II to be convicted of a battlefield murder while serving overseas.

    As the Brereton inquiry report noted, this conviction was later overturned after multiple appeals. The conviction was replaced with “manslaughter with diminished responsibility” and Blackman was released from prison in 2017.

    The crux of his successful appeal was evidence from three psychiatrists that he was suffering from an abnormality of mental functioning at the time of the killing.

    Blackman’s father had died shortly before his deployment and he had also been traumatised by the death of one of his junior officers.

    A psychiatric report said he may have been suffering from an undetected combat stress disorder.

    The Brereton inquiry report stated it could be anticipated that given the frequency of deployments for troops who served in Afghanistan it was likely that mental health defences would also be argued by any Australian soldiers accused of murder.

    “Even where the evidence is apparently strong and clear, pitfalls have been encountered, both political and popular. It is predictable that Australian prosecutions could encounter similar obstacles,” the report said.

    “In particular, it can be anticipated that, in the light of the frequency of deployments, and conditions not dissimilar to those relied on in Blackman, mental health defences including adjustment disorder will be invoked.”

    The inquiry noted there was currently a proposed Bill in the UK for a five-year statute of limitations for some prosecutions of serving or former members of the armed forces deployed on overseas operations.

    In some coalition countries, while there have been inquiries into war crimes in Afghanistan there are yet to be any convictions.

    In Canada, there have been several inquiries into allegations of abuse of detainees and the transfer of detainees to Afghan forces with the knowledge they were at risk of being tortured.

  112. H B Bear

    If senior officers did not pick up gossip and whispers, surely they should have been enough aware of the broad special forces culture to know that extensive checks should be in place to guard against the ever-present threat of misconduct.

    Suggest they plead the Bungjourno Defence. That is working a treat.

  113. Mother Lode

    They try to present it as soldiers reverting to savages, as blood-eyed berserkers.

    That is absurd. A key part of their selection and training is keeping a cool head, thinking strategically and tactically, and handling stress at levels few can ever hope to match.

    If they gave in to psychopathic impulses there would be a whole lot of them dead.

    It looks ridiculous to see a gaudily coloured hot-house plant like Campbell weighing judgement on men who must conquer a jungle.

  114. BrettW

    Hence Campbell opening his press conference with acknowledgement to the local tribal owners of the land BS.

    “was deeply unimpressed with what I assessed as his unflinching adherence to leftist institutional shibboleths, and this latest incident only deepens further my misgivings”.

  115. John Comnenus

    Mathew Locke was once one of my corporals prior to going to special forces. He was one of the finest of men, and I would find it almost impossible to believe he would be a wrong doer.

    Every year there is a memorial rugby league game in Bellingham in honour of Matt Locke that raises funds for charity. Hopefully I will attend the game next year.

  116. Rococo Liberal

    If you want to help, make a donation to the Commando Welfare Trust

    https://www.commandotrust.com/

  117. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Special Air Service also have their own fund.

    https://www.sasresourcesfund.org.au/

  118. Rockdoctor

    Friend of mine served in Afghan, I asked last night his thoughts. He sent me a text that he was disgusted about how this has been handled and has it it on good hand through the veterans network it was 1 troop involved and even then only a few with clout. Also they have been going for 4 years investigating, aggressively solicited for claims and still only have a couple of dozen that may get to the trial phase. However the thing that disgusts him more than the trial by media is the fact that they are going to dole out millions to his former enemies in his words “who won’t give a shit by now that little Johnny got whacked by Aussies as it is likely others in the family have been whacked by other tribes, other ethnic groups or even cousins.” All while if he wants to claim for ADF injuries has to go through the wringer to substantiate a DVA claim.

  119. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    All while if he wants to claim for ADF injuries has to go through the wringer to substantiate a DVA claim.

    He could approach his State R.S.L. – they have professional advocates on the staff, well used to dealing with D.V.A. and he doesn’t have to be a member.

  120. PoliticoNT

    Hence Campbell opening his press conference with acknowledgement to the local tribal owners of the land BS.

    I used to work for Wali Wunnunmurra (dec), former Chair of the NLC. Quiet, decent guy. One of the original signatories to the original bark petition from the Yolgnu back in the 60s. I was at the Countrymen’s Concert in Frog Hollow in Darwin in 2012 and bumped into him (and about 3,000 other Territorians from indigenous heritage). Every mob that got up on stage made note of the local Larrakia. Wali’s view – this was entirely normal and within context. Like travelling from Yirrkala over to Peppimenarti to play a game of footy – you gave a shout out to the local mob.

    Otherwise though he used to slyly joke that watching precious white people use it ‘to rub their arses in front of other white people‘ made him laugh. The rest of the Land Council members I worked for had a similar view. In the right context it was fine, otherwise you were a bit of a goose.

  121. Clam Chowdah

    The SAS is broken and needs to be fixed. Murder of adolescent non combatants? Shame on all the fantasists here with war woodies over their romantic ideas of SF. What a bunch of oxygen thieves. Even the people with any army experience who have commented here are so out of touch it’s not funny, including that SASR dinosaur who made the floundering appearance on Sky a few weeks back. Harden up and clean it out, bitches. Murder of non combatants is cowardice. Dickheads.

  122. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    War crimes report: Immunity offer to pursue senior special forces scalps

    exclusive
    Ben Packham
    FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND DEFENCE CORRESPONDENT
    @bennpackham
    49 minutes ago November 20, 2020

    Special forces troopers who “pulled the trigger” could be given immunity from prosecution to convince them to testify against more senior soldiers, under a proposal to secure war crimes prosecutions against the most ­serious alleged perpetrators.

    Buried in his heavily redacted 465-page report, NSW Supreme Court judge Paul Brereton says eight lower-ranked soldiers should have charges waived if they gave evidence on those who ordered them to commit war crimes.

    His report, which found newly deployed soldiers were ordered to kill Afghan prisoners and civilians in a ritual known as “blooding”, says prosecutions should follow a “hierarchy of criminal responsibility”.

    Setting out a proposed ­approach for prosecutors and the government’s yet-to-be named war crimes special investigator, Justice Brereton says “those who bear the greatest criminal ­responsibility or culpability” should be pursued over those “whose culpability is less”.

    “In order to secure their testimony in such prosecutions … it is recommended that the sub­ordinate be granted immunity from prosecution should he agree to give evidence for the Crown in any relevant prosecution,” he says. “The evidence of such ­individuals is likely to be crucial in the prosecution of their superiors which … should take priority, both because of the greater criminal responsibility of the superiors, and because of the greater national importance in holding the superiors to account, and showing that they are held to account.”

    In his report for the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force, Justice Brereton recommends 19 soldiers face criminal investigations over the alleged murders of up to 39 civilians and prisoners in Afghanistan.

    It’s unclear how many of the eight lower-ranked soldiers he recommends be offered immunity are among those facing potential prosecution for murders he found were “commenced, committed, continued and concealed” by sergeants and corporals.

    The proposal is in part a ­response to high-level immunities granted to witnesses to IGADF ­inquiries, which have coercive powers to compel testimony.

    Prosecutors are unable to use “any information, document or thing” to prosecute a person that has been “obtained as a direct or indirect consequence” of evidence that person provided. But prosecutors can use evidence against a person that is the result of testimony to the inquiry by another witness, such as a soldier who is granted immunity.

    One legal source said: “You speak to the (person being prosecuted) at the end of the process so all the evidence being used is not derived from him. In order to make this work, you have to grant an immunity to the trooper who gives the evidence.”

    Attorney-General Christian Porter, under law, will have to provide written consent authorising any war crimes prosecutions.

  123. Mick Gold Coast QLD

    From Clam Chowdah at 10:45 pm:

    “… Shame on all the fantasists here … romantic ideas of SF [Aha! An insider code word perchance?]. … including that SASR dinosaur … floundering appearance on Sky a few weeks back [Another secret known only to you, the great communicator]. … clean it out, bitches. … Dickheads.”

    “bitches”. “bitches”? Are you Crips or Bloods? That’s how those ignorant drongos express themselves, isn’t it?

    Do go and sit in the corner and have another drink, champ.

  124. jupes

    However the thing that disgusts him more than the trial by media is the fact that they are going to dole out millions to his former enemies

    This while not one alleged murder has been substantiated.

    They didn’t give the “stolen generation” any compo until the case was proved in court. Only one has been in the 24 years since, thus proving that the Bringing Them Home Report was just a catalogue of fairy tales. Why would you believe that this report is any different?

  125. jupes

    The SAS is broken and needs to be fixed.

    What would you know?

    Murder of adolescent non combatants?

    Alleged murder you gullible fuckstick. Alleged non-combatants you sanctimonious tool.

    Shame on all the fantasists here with war woodies over their romantic ideas of SF. What a bunch of oxygen thieves. Even the people with any army experience who have commented here are so out of touch it’s not funny, including that SASR dinosaur who made the floundering appearance on Sky a few weeks back. Harden up and clean it out, bitches. Murder of non combatants is cowardice. Dickheads.

    Fuck off and get a clue.

  126. C.L.

    The SAS is broken and needs to be fixed.

    Yeah, thanks – we’ve all heard the ABC/feminist talking point.
    People don’t have any fantasies about special forces. They simply respect them as soldiers. They regard the ADF Mardi Gras marchers and flu troops as wankers.

  127. Clam Chowdah

    Enjoy your war woodies, you jack *****.

  128. Rex Anger

    Clam Chowdah, you are a posturing fool.

  129. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    They didn’t give the “stolen generation” any compo until the case was proved in court. Only one has been in the 24 years since, thus proving that the Bringing Them Home Report was just a catalogue of fairy tales. Why would you believe that this report is any different?

    Fair comparison, jupes.

    The Aboriginal Legal Service vetted the list of witnesses, who gave evidence to the “Bringing Them Home” commission. Anyone who didn’t “toe the line” – any ex police officers, or station managers who told a different story just wasn’t heard.

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