Anonymous Cat: Problems on the Brereton Inquiry front

Post-script Preamble

I wrote the opinion piece below a month before the release of the Brereton Report.  The language is harsh and unforgiving, but offers the best expression of my values I could muster.  In the aftermath of last week’s public announcements, have my views changed?  No, they have not, and Rex (Mango) and John (Comnenus) in particular have offered sane observations that reflect the best of the Cat family.

 CDF’s presentation was a trainwreck.  When you sit atop a chronically distracted organisation that more often seems obsessed with the whistles and bells of politically correct virtue signalling than keeping focused on your sole mission of providing operational capability to the government of the day; things fall apart.  I rate General Campbell very highly, but can’t see how his position remains tenable.

 Either values mean something, or they don’t.

For several years an investigation (or ‘Inquiry’) has been held in secret into the potentially illegal conduct of an unspecified number of Australian Special Forces personnel during our operations in Afghanistan.  The investigation was from the beginning based on rumours as reported in the Nine/Fairfax press and on the ABC.  This has in part been leveraged by Nine/Fairfax into a series of questionable legal actions against a highly decorated former member of the SAS.  All the while our ADF, Defence and Ministerial leadership have (when asked before Committee) voiced confidence in the process, and in the office and person of the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force (IGADF) who is leading the investigation.

The only evidence presented in public during this long process that comes close to providing something the Australian public could assess for themselves was the 4Corners footage of the apparent execution at close range of an Afghan national who likely posed no threat at all.  The footage is stark.  But there is little or no context of any detail provided with the vision.  Unfortunately, the political, uniformed, departmental and media classes in this country often forget the ADF belongs to all of us – not just their privileged circle.  In their eyes though we do not rate an explanation.  This is a significant cultural failure and does not bode well.

Worse will be the likely impact on our special forces.  When the highly redacted version of the investigation is handed down it will initiate a feeding frenzy of ethical training and awareness courses, reviews and reorganisations; all at great expense to the taxpayer.  This will make the unforgiveable run-around of meaningless reviews and elite hand-jobbery in the aftermath of misbehaviour by three fresh off-the-street ADFA cadets a decade ago; look like an episode of Playschool.  Our privileged circle will lead a years-long, look-at-me process of outdoing each other at converting Australian special forces from what they are now (highly capable) to something almost certainly lesser and definitely media allergic. On the IGADF website under the Afghanistan Inquiry’s Frequently Asked Questions there is a reason provided for the secrecy under which the investigation has been conducted.

The Afghanistan Inquiry is being conducted in private because it involves matters of operational security, protected identities and the reputations of individuals which may be unfairly harmed by publication.

‘Operational security’ and ‘protected identities’ are reasonable.  As a result of the length, focus and publicity of the Inquiry ‘the reputations of individuals which may be unfairly harmed,’ does not pass the pub test.  Not even close.  Primarily because our leadership have allowed the ABC, and to a lesser extent Nine/Fairfax, to drive the public narrative around the investigation.  This has been partisan, sensationalist and largely free of assessable evidence.  The ADF leaderships’ silence in the face of this is concerning.  The ADF’s reputation, let alone its people, is being trashed.  Or ‘unfairly harmed’ to quote IGADF.  Not going in to bat for our chaps while our domestic enemies endlessly put the boot in is a very bad look.  Perhaps at the 18 month mark it was reasonable not to comment on the basis of the ongoing investigation – but depending on who does the math – it’s now been running between four and five years.  This is now more of an irremovable stain on the ADF’s reputation than a wound which will heal with time.

That the ABC is leading the ‘get the Special Forces’ charge is of no surprise.  The ABC is a deeply partisan organisation with editorial instincts towards the far left.  The ABC regularly takes a position which is not only at odds with the national interest, but in sharp contrast to the values the ADF is explicit about its adherence to.  Evidence, fact, context – these are not principles that interest the ABC.  Nor is conducting themselves in line with the law.  Despite the decision of the AFP not to prosecute the ABC for being in receipt of classified information (in relation to Afghanistan); what the ABC did in that matter remains illegal.  The seeming refusal to publicly question and condemn the ABC is not a sign of restraint or discipline or respect for a process not yet complete.  It is a demonstration of moral cowardice; and that does not play well with the Australian public.  Certainly not the part of the Australian public who willingly and for many generations have provided their sons, and increasingly their daughters, for service under arms.

No appropriate explanation has been provided as to why the investigation has dragged on for so long.  A senior SES officer (from a department other than Defence) has privately observed the length and ‘thoroughness’ of the investigation primarily aims to prevent our personnel being hauled before the International Criminal Court (ICC).  This with a tenor of objective righteousness.  Meaning the officer involved did not make the claim with any degree of rancour towards the ADF personnel involved.  Rather the implication was around their belief in the righteousness of this foreign body to which we have signed up and are therefore subject to holus-bolus.  Better to dodge that legal bullet if we can, and behind closed doors if possible.  I do not agree with our membership of an organisation whose member states will not intervene to prevent an atrocity, but will then aggressively pursue those responsible long after the act.  The ICC is the creation of the European elite and not to be trusted because it is morally duplicitous.  (Although of interest the Clinton Administration had the sense to keep the US out of it, and briefed the incoming Bush Administration to do the same.)

During the years-long investigation it has been publicly reported that a (very) small number of uniformed personnel may have acted illegally.  With this has come a gentle hint that perhaps we were rotating our people into theatre on too regular a basis, and this may have contributed to the actions potentially under question.  This hint has morphed into a talking point, then opinion, and now statement of fact.  There’s nothing wrong with discussing a potential issue that could impact negatively on our fighting capability, but where is the evidence or data to provide context in which to objectively consider?  Contrary to what is being opined publicly I suspect operational personnel were more than capable of dealing with the tempo of deployment.  It is their professional raison d’etre.  And likely personnel spent sufficient time out of theatre between deployments, receiving appropriate levels of debriefing and support.  But this is not a view you will hear raised in public.  The thought our people may retain the robustness required for this service, and on an ongoing basis; sits poorly with those whose own raison d’etre seems to be focused on bending others to their will.

It is likely the Special Forces member featured in the execution footage was selected for higher service on the basis of supreme physical robustness, and a level of unconscious self-belief rare amongst the general population.  In other words exactly the kind of individual required for the extreme nature of the work involved.  That doesn’t forgive or condone what he did, if it is what it almost certainly appears to be.  The issue it does raise is how the Army’s leadership in the vicinity lacked the clarity of mind to remove him.  The suggested argument that ‘things slid away from us due constant deployments’ doesn’t bear scrutiny when you’re dealing with a witnessed murder in broad daylight.  Nor would it be rational to allow the unravelling of our Special Forces capability due the psychopathic behaviour of one individual, if it is what it appears to be.  Unfortunately ‘unravelling’ what may or may not have occurred on our watch in Afghanistan by a tiny percentage of all those who deployed is proving impossible for the public at large.  This is despite the fact it is the court of public perception which is the final arbiter in all matters.

If personnel are found guilty of criminal behaviour then they should be dealt with appropriately.  But how to deal with the moral intransigence of our leadership who appear unwilling to defend the reputation of our people from two media organisations with clear anti-ADF agendas in play?  Due the secretive and interminably long nature of the Inquiry we have learned nothing of what may or may not have happened in Afghanistan, but that there are elements of our own society only too willing to attack us from within.  In a practical, risk management sense, the digital recording of operations will need to cease because there is (in Defence terms) an extreme risk that combat footage will be wilfully misrepresented for use against our people.  The only variance to that option might be (and I stress might be) the recording of an operation if assessed as critical to operational interests or training and then when examined and analysed would be deleted in the immediate aftermath.

The dubious editorialising of the ABC and Nine/Fairfax in relation to our people who served in Afghanistan means the length and secret nature of the Afghanistan Inquiry has become a liability for the ADF.  It may now be appropriate for IGADF to seek the Inquiry’s conclusion and to publish its findings.  Concurrently leaders within the ADF and Government must not allow our Special Forces capability to be degraded as a result of whatever response may be made to the Inquiry.

This entry was posted in Australian Story, Guest Post. Bookmark the permalink.

168 Responses to Anonymous Cat: Problems on the Brereton Inquiry front

  1. jupes

    Which Cat wrote this Rafe?

  2. W Hogg

    Did my post get censored for mentioning the followers of Mo?

  3. A Lurker

    Think about the timing of the release of this report. Released when China is belligerent towards our country. Perhaps timed to reduce morale in our armed forces. Perhaps timed to make people suspicious of the activities our armed forces. Who does this report help? Not the ADF. Not the Australian people. Not Australia.

    In my opinion this report weakens our ADF and gives comfort to our enemies.

  4. jupes

    A good post overall, however I have a couple of quibbles:

    I rate General Campbell very highly …

    Why FFS? He has probably done more to destroy the army as an effective fighting force than Morrison and Hurley combined.

    That doesn’t forgive or condone what he did, if it is what it almost certainly appears to be.

    I disagree. In my view, it is almost certainly NOT what it appears to be. I banged on about this on the post about the gormless Chris Barrie if you want an alternative opinion.

  5. Fair Shake

    Our forces wearing combat cameras. What happens when the person falls and Is recovered by the enemy? Surely there is a risk the camera data will be used against us? Or is it live-streamed back to HQ ? In which case there is a risk for hacking, tracking or fracking.
    Please do not let our State Premiers be in charge of the inquiry response.

  6. Mother Lode

    We should remind all people that these higher-ups in the defence hierarchy wringing their hands for the tragic victims and bemoaning the villainous troops are in fact responsible.

    I don’t suppose there is anyone in the Federal Parliament with the mettle to stand up for the troops and denounce this show trial – since no one else, not their strutting peacock senior officers or bureaucrats supposedly dedicated to procedures, is of a mind to look out for them.

  7. jupes

    On the other hand you have raised a couple of very good points:

    A senior SES officer (from a department other than Defence) has privately observed the length and ‘thoroughness’ of the investigation primarily aims to prevent our personnel being hauled before the International Criminal Court (ICC).

    This is not the first time they have dragged out this excuse for prosecuting diggers. The same argument was used to prosecute the commandoes who were charged with murder for throwing grenades at a Talib shooting at them. They got off but it was three years of investigation and legal torture before the judge threw it out.

    I am not sure whether Australia signed up to the ICC so they could virtue signal at UN gabfests, or so they could expand the investigatory and prosecution entities in the ADF. Most likely the former, but boy has it turned into a great excuse for the latter. Since Australia cravenly signed up to the ICC, they have established the ADF Investigatory Service, the position of the Director of Military Prosecutions, the Brereton Inquiry and the Office of the Special Investigator. All with the express purpose of sending diggers to jail.

    In a practical, risk management sense, the digital recording of operations will need to cease because there is (in Defence terms) an extreme risk that combat footage will be wilfully misrepresented for use against our people.

    Of course. And yet, Campbell is considering the exact opposite. To make it mandatory for ever digger to carry body-cam on all combat operations.

    The cost in equipment would be millions. The cost in storage would be millions. The cost in training would be millions. They cost in the extra man-power to watch it all would be millions. Extra laws would have to be made and enforced against turning off the devices. The cost in lives lost due to hesitation in combat could be profound. And all this for the SOLE purpose of sending diggers to jail!

    The stupidity of ADF leadership is beyond belief.

  8. Mak Siccar

    From today’s Oz.

    There is much to be troubled by … SAS must put honour before glory
    ‘Grieved’ and ‘shamed’ by the Brereton report, soldier turned federal MP Andrew Hastie writes that ‘we ignored the true nature of war and sanitised it’.

    By ANDREW HASTIE

    (Photo)
    SAS soldiers in vehicles from the Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) during an operation in Oruzgan Province, Afghanistan, 2007.

    Red rocky earth cut into our flesh, numbing our hands. It was well after midnight, perhaps 3am. Floodlights lit up the group.

    Cadence push-ups on bleeding knuckles in the dead of night is the sort of misery that either consumes you, or clarifies your sense of mission.

    Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith, fresh back from the Battle of Tizak, towered over us, the 25 officer ­candidates on the 2010 Special Air Service Regiment selection course, his displeasure writ large in his menacing body language. He switched out our hand position from palms down to knuckles.

    “You f..king officers. You always take the easy option. Lower. Hold!”

    An eternity passed as our ­fatigued muscles trembled close to the ground.

    “Raise!”

    The irony might have been lost on him, but not on me. Humbling myself before Ben Roberts-Smith was not easy. Nor would be serving in the SASR in the weeks, months and years ahead. SASR selection is an exacting experience. For an officer, your command, leadership and character is closely scrutinised for 21 days. They break down your body to see who you really are and what you are like when you’re tired, hungry and dejected.

    (Photo)
    Corporal Benjamin Roberts-Smith, VC and MG trained Hastie and fellow officer ­candidates on the 2010 Special Air Service Regiment selection course

    Moments like this over the following fortnight thinned the ranks of officers. Men, gifted in command and planning, departed on their own terms, withdrawing quietly. Others were removed by the directing staff.

    The rest of us pressed on, reaching a point of insanity in the final week. No food for days, almost no sleep, impossible physical tasks. What was the point of it all?

    The last week posed this question for those candidates remaining: when there is nothing left to give, who can go beyond and finish the mission? For the first time I understood Clausewitz’s dictum that war is a contest of wills.

    Finish the job, or fail.

    We finished selection on Friday August 13, 2010. When I called my wife to tell her, I wept. I was cold, shivering and spent. I’d lost 12kg in three weeks and I had no emotional reserves. That day, SASR Trooper Jason Brown died bravely — under fire — in Afghanistan serving with the Special Operations Task Group. It was a subdued mood back at Swanbourne. There were no high fives.

    Starved, physically exhausted and emotionally shattered, we sat around a radio cleaning our rifles the next morning. We quietly listened to the voices of our prime minister Julia Gillard and leader of the opposition Tony Abbott express their condolences at the death of another digger in Australia’s longest war.

    That day set a course for me. I served in the SAS for the next five years, deploying to Afghanistan as a Troop Commander in 2013 as part of the Special Operations Task Group. I did not anticipate that 10 years later I would be a member of parliament, explaining how we found ourselves in a dark place.

    Like all of us, I am grieved by the findings of the Brereton Report, handed down by the Chief of the Defence Force.

    (photo)
    Andrew Hastie and a colleague in Afghanistan in 2013.

    There is much to be troubled by: the report details credible information regarding allegations of unlawful killings by Australian soldiers. Specifically, 23 incidents of alleged unlawful killings of 39 people, perpetrated by 25 Australian special forces soldiers — mainly from the Special Air Service Regiment.

    The report is hard reading. It is comprehensive, detailed and unsparing in its judgment on those ­alleged to have committed war crimes. As a former officer of the SASR and someone who believes in regimental honour, I feel great shame in what has occurred.

    We were sent to Afghanistan in a double trust: to defend Australia’s values and interests by force, but also to uphold those values in our battlefield conduct. Many good soldiers honoured that trust; a small number of soldiers did not.

    Many people want to know: how did this happen? Here are some personal observations on the

    Brereton inquiry that are shaped by five years of service in SASR and five years as a member of the federal parliament.

    First, we have forgotten basic truths about human nature that previous generations of Australians better understood. We live in a bent world. We all carry man’s smudge: people do bad things. Christians call it sin in a fallen world. Enlightenment thinkers like Immanuel Kant called it the “crooked timber” of humanity. Whatever name we give our condition, we should always guard against the reality of people doing bad things when they are left unaccountable.

    The Australian Constitution aligned our system of government to this realist view of human nature. The drafters understood the importance of the rule of law, the separation of powers and the need for accountability among those who serve in government. Our soldiers and officers are no different: they need accountability and firm leadership in the degrading cockpit of war. It appears this did not happen from the very top to the bottom of the command chain.

    (Photo)
    SASR Trooper Jason Brown died under fire in Afghanistan

    Second, we ignored the true ­nature of war and sanitised it. We pretended it was no different to any other form of unilateral government policy. But the reality is that war is inherently violent, escalatory and degrading. It is a modern conceit to pretend that war can be managed with a set of safe technocratic hands. The brutal reality is no plan ever survives the first shot. People lose their way and ­become hard of heart, especially after multiple deployments.

    During World War II, the Churchill government commissioned Laurence Olivier to make a technicolor film version of Shakespeare’s Henry V to boost wartime morale. Olivier edited out one third of the play, excising Henry’s violent speech demanding the ­surrender of the Governor of Harfleur. King Henry, understanding the nature of “impious war” once unleashed, posed the question:

    “What rein can hold licentious wickedness when down the hill he holds his fierce career?”

    Shakespeare paints violent imagery of the “blind and bloody soldier with foul hand” committing all sorts of atrocities. He saw that war has its own dark energy. He knew that it consumes people in ways that modern society cannot comprehend, largely because we have packaged it up nicely for the evening news.

    (Photo)
    Hastie in Afghanistan in July 2009.

    The Australian Defence Force was very effective at sanitising our longest war with its legions of public affairs officers. The United Kingdom and the United States took a liberal approach, allowing reporters to see their soldiers at war. However, we stage-managed Australia’s contribution to the ­Afghanistan war through a carefully crafted information operation. This approach stifled public interest reporting. Perhaps with greater access for the Australian media, some of the events alleged by the Brereton Report might never have happened.

    Third, parliamentary scrutiny of Defence is broken and needs fixing. Politicians routinely visited Aussie troops in Tarin Kot. I first met Malcolm Turnbull and Julie Bishop in 2009, on my first deployment with the 2nd Mentoring and Reconstruction Task Force.

    I harangued a Labor MP in 2013 about Defence budget cuts when he visited the Special Operations Task Group. Each of them were interested and supportive, but it seemed they didn’t know what questions to ask. I now realise this is partly a function of a deficient parliamentary committee system.

    There is no independent Joint Defence Committee where tough questions can be asked in a classified, protected space. Parliamentary scrutiny these days is surface level. It amounts to senior Defence leadership presenting a few PowerPoint slides and giving parliamentarians a pat on the head.

    This is an area of urgently needed reform. If we are serious about increased accountability and transparency, then we need proper parliamentary scrutiny of the Department of Defence and the Australian Defence Force. Without it, our parliament cannot exercise proper civilian oversight of our military.

    Fourth, the Brereton Report rightly condemns a warrior culture that fused “military excellence with ego, entitlement and exceptionalism”. Sometimes, SAS operators carried themselves like modern incarnations of Achilles, Thor or Mars. I reject that culture, too. But I believe a warrior culture is an important part of an elite combat unit. It all depends on the beliefs and values you build it on.

    When I posted to SASR as a non-qualified captain in January 2010, I was befriended by the unit chaplain, a bloke by the initials of SB. He had an Irish temperament and liked to box, often with the ­operators. He was refreshingly confrontational, not a social worker in uniform. SB confronted what he called a “pagan warrior ethos”, shorn of any connection to the Just War tradition that has shaped our approach to warfare.

    As Saint Augustine wrote near the end of the Roman Empire, we must “in waging war, cherish the spirit of a peacemaker, that by conquering those whom you attack, you may lead them back to the advantages of peace”.

    Our boxing chaplain was right. The warrior ethos I sometimes saw was about power, ego and self-adulation. It worshipped war itself. It was the opposite of the humility that I expected to find at SASR.

    But there was a competing, more positive warrior culture at SASR; it just wasn’t the prevailing one at the time. If you looked closely, you’d find humble, quiet operators. Tough as nails. Fiercely competitive. Supremely competent at arms. The sort of bloke that you’d want next to you in a gunfight. They never thought themselves bigger than the team or the mission. They were humble. They were committed to truth.

    They were the ones who blew the whistle and repudiated the dark toxic personalities that have shamed the SASR in Afghanistan. Many are still serving quietly in the shadows.

    So before people cry for a repudiation of all warrior culture, they should first understand what you need in an elite special operations unit. You need people who run to the sound of the guns. Who are prepared to fight and destroy Australia’s enemies. Who will die doing so, if necessary. Those men exist. They are serving at present. They have done nothing wrong.

    We need to uphold them and their vital mission. They will not be helped by soulless modern cultural theory, derived from the academic ivory tower. It may well diminish our effectiveness if shoe-horned and institutionalised.

    Fifth, in the hierarchy of virtues, moral courage remains paramount to physical courage. The public record doesn’t reflect this because our military honours and awards system preferences the recognition of physical courage. Acts of conscience are hard to write up in vigorous prose, and people rarely thank leaders who make unpopular decisions.

    (Photo)
    Hastie’s last job as troop commander in Afghanistan in July 2013

    Yet there were acts of command moral courage during the period investigated by the Brereton inquiry. History won’t record these good deeds the way it will the battlefield criminality of a few, but there were junior leaders at SASR who made hard decisions to uphold the sacred trust reposed in them by the Australian people. Leaders who took responsibility for their command. They know who they are and we honour them.

    Finally, despite the Brereton Report, I still believe the profession of arms is a noble one. In any case, a survey of history shows us that war is part of the human ­experience. Australia has fought wars in the past; we will fight them in the future. We must be ready. And we cannot afford to lose.

    As Ernest Hemingway wrote: “I have seen much war in my lifetime and I hate it profoundly. But there are worse things than war, and all of them come with defeat.”

    In July, the Prime Minister spoke of the post-pandemic world being poorer, more dangerous and more disorderly. We cannot afford to draw the wrong lessons from the Brereton Report. The mission of the ADF remains unchanged: to win our wars.

    We must prepare ourselves for the challenges ahead. But we must always hold ourselves to high moral standards. When wrong is done, we must hold ourselves to account. That’s why I have supported the Brereton inquiry. I love my country and I want to protect it from those who would harm us, both from without and within.

    Andrew Hastie is the Liberal member for Canning and a former SAS officer. He served in the Australian Defence Force from 2003 to 2015. He is chair of the Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security.

  9. min

    I have just been watching an investigative reporter Joshua Philipp commenting on evidence that Trump lawyers are collating and the apparent fall out with Sidney Powell . He gives as example the difference between , propaganda, disinformation and misinformation and how they are used to program us like Pavlov’s dog . It applies to this inquiry and also how we are being manipulated by MSM , as well as social media . It backs up what I have been writing about Andrews and why he appears to have such positive ratings but also covers much that is happening in Australia as well .

  10. jupes

    As a former officer of the SASR and someone who believes in regimental honour, I feel great shame in what has occurred.

    Alleged to have occurred.

    But we must always hold ourselves to high moral standards … That’s why I have supported the Brereton inquiry.

    The conduct of the Brereton inquiry was the most immoral act in the history of the ADF and it’s recommendations and persecution of diggers will destroy the regiment that you love. You, Andrew Hastie, are an idiot.

  11. thefrollickingmole

    Reminder:
    We are releasing the murderer of some of our men by a piece of shit to advance the “peace process” with a bunch who have never followed the rules of warfare.

    Whats the odds most, or all those “murdered” where catch and release caught a second time or similar?

  12. Rex Anger

    @ Jupes-Having started to read the Brereton Report as made ‘fit’ for public consumption, I am fascinated how the acronym SOTG ‘subtly’ morphed exclusively into ‘SASR’ over the course of just a few pages. Along with the seeming admission that 1 and 2CDO members did not engage with them much.

    Which leads one to question- Was the investigation as wide-ranging as is alleged and reported? Was SASR deliberately and disproportionately targeted because that was where most of the rumours seemed to come from?

    Or do the media types just not care for Commandos?

  13. FelixKruell

    Now that the report is out, surely issues around the length of the inquiry, the media reports leading up to it, and defences response, are secondary?

    The reports seems to vindicate the length of time the inquiry took. It identified potential criminal actions, and cultural issues, with the special forces. They need to be addressed.

    Andrew Hastie had a good article in today’s Oz.

  14. min

    As I had been sent Andrew Hastie’s interpretation of the report I wrote to him as psychologist who had been around long enough to have counselled WWII before PTSD was listed in DSM IV but subsequently trained in therapy to help the condition including EMDR.
    I was wondering about the use of psychological testing in choosing those suitable . During the Gulf War I was in America training for a higher level The course covered Personality disorders and we had to have one of our clients on tape ( with permision) to play in group with Professor for discussion etc . There was an air force psychologist from Waco present and when he played his client’s tape I remarked “i hope he doesn’thave a finger on the Red button” We were told all personnel were given a Millon Test well known for reliability and validity for testing the mads bads and says ie mental disorders, personality disorders , emotional disorders .
    He told us to get into American Air Force you had to score high on zNarcissism , sadism and Aggressiveness as you had to be able to press a button and kill people, i wondered what was used in Australia .

  15. Mak Siccar

    From two days ago. The bold emphasis is mine.

    https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/qed/2020/11/the-one-word-were-not-hearing-alleged/

    The One Word We’re Not Hearing: ‘Alleged’
    22nd November 2020 Comments (22)

    Peter Smith
    Frequent contributor

    To put it mildly, “alleged” is an all-important word and concept in Australian jurisprudence, as is its companion phrase, “the presumption of innocence.” Together they safeguard our very freedom. When those alleged to have committed a crime are presumed guilty, when complainants become victims, and when the atmosphere is poisoned against those accused by the high and mighty, then justice is put in jeopardy and no one is safe from lynch mobs.

    I don’t know what happened in Afghanistan and neither does the Prime Minister. We were not there, putting our lives at risk in the most awful of circumstances. We need to reserve judgment until evidence is put before a court; the court weighs the evidence and reaches a verdict. And even then, we need to wait until avenues of appeal have been exhausted.

    Surely, the experience of Cardinal Pell — persecuted by the mob, damned by the ABC, yet innocent and, thankfully, if belatedly, exonerated — taught even the most prematurely censorious a lesson. Apparently not. “Brereton report on Australian war crimes,” read the ABC headline.

    Even the more balanced leapt to conclusions.

    I watched Andrew Bolt when the Brereton report first came out. It took him roughly fifteen minutes of treating the report as gospel before he uttered the word “alleged”. At least he uttered it, which is more than most I saw and read. And did I miss the prime minister injecting that caveat into his national-flagellation performances? Maybe. Let me know, if anyone spotted it.

    I can do no better than to quote from paragraphs 22 and 23 of the Brereton report. I have underlined three telling passages for the edification of those rushing to judgment from their comfortable armchairs.

    From paragraph 22:

    Consistently with the terms of reference and legal principles which define the Inquiry’s jurisdiction, in respect of potential criminal conduct, the highest the Inquiry’s findings rise in respect of potential criminal conduct of an individual is that there is credible information that a person has committed a certain identified war crime or disciplinary offence. This is not a finding of guilt, nor a finding (to any standard) that the crime has in fact been committed. A finding that there is ‘credible information’ of a matter – for example, that a particular person has committed a particular war crime – is not a finding, on balance of probability let alone to a higher standard, that the person has committed that crime.

    From paragraph 23:

    A finding that there is credible information of a matter is not a finding that the matter is proved, to any particular standard. It is entirely consistent with such a finding that ultimately there may not be admissible evidence to prove the matter, beyond reasonable doubt, in a court of law.

    The Inquiry is not a criminal trial. The Inquiry is not confined to evidence that would be admissible in a court of law, but can inform itself as it sees fit, and has done so, as is appropriate for an inquiry of this nature. Witnesses who have given evidence to the Inquiry under compulsion may not be willing to give it to prosecutorial authorities. Witnesses on whose evidence the Inquiry has relied have, while tested by the Inquiry, not been cross-examined by an opposing party.

    For all these reasons, as is common experience with commissions of inquiry, it does not follow from a finding in this Report that there is credible information of a war crime, that there will be a prosecution, let alone a conviction.

    In passing, I note that the Inquiry seemed to ignore its own expressed limitations (in paragraph 77) by concluding there had been a “disgraceful and a profound betrayal of the Australian Defence Force’s professional standards and expectations,” and by recommending a collective revocation of the Meritorious Unit Citation. Go figure, presumed innocent but guilty, I suppose.

    I want to branch off a bit and go to a couple of fairly recent movies. In one, Saving Private Ryan, a small group of American soldiers operating in enemy territory capture a German soldier who had been part of a machine gun nest, which they had wiped out at the cost of one their own. They simply can’t take him with them so their choice is to kill him or let him go. Luckily for him, the captain (Tom Hanks) decides, against the wishes of most his men, to let him go. Later on, re-joined with his comrades, he kills one of the American soldiers. And the moral?

    In Fury, Wardaddy (Brad Pitt) leads a tank platoon inside Germany near the end of WWII. Norman is a raw recruit unused to the idea of killing. After one deadly battle, Norman is challenged by one of his tank crew: “Why didn’t you shoot that shithead when you had the chance?”

    “It happened so fast. He was just a kid,” Norman replies.

    Wardaddy gestures at Lt. Parker’s burning tank. “See what a kid can do? That’s your fault. Next f*****g German with a weapon you see, rake the dogshit out of him. I don’t care if it’s a baby with a butter knife in one hand and mama’s left titty in the other. You chop him up.”

    It is a bloody movie. However, a WWII veteran was reported as saying that it was “very realistic, but it can’t show the full horror of war.” And my purpose is not to pass off fiction as real life. As the veteran says, real life is far grislier than anything the screen can depict. How can the screen depict the full horror of a soldier having his legs blown off with an IED made by a “civilian.” Make-believe blood and screams don’t come close. But maybe the screen can provide at least a sanitized insight into the moral dilemmas that war inevitably throws up.

    We, who aren’t soldiers in a theatre of war, must try to put ourselves in their place; day in and day out, facing the risk of grisly death. Australian soldiers in Afghanistan face potential enemies all around them; they might be evidently Taliban, but they might also be ostensibly comrades-in-arms, dressed as Afghan soldiers; and they might be civilians, young or old, male or female. I want their side of the story told before any rush to judgment on ‘rough men’ (warriors), who are prepared to risk their lives and kill the enemy, so that we can sleep peacefully in our beds. We owe them that.

  16. sabena

    Mak,
    I refer to your comment in particular the words in bold.
    I would add-if the case gets that far.
    The last saga of war crimes trials was Polyukhovich.He was sent to trial,but before trial,a lot of the charges were dismissed.He was acquitted.
    The War Crimes Investigation unit was disbanded on 30 June 1992 without one successful prosecution.
    That is a likely result here.

  17. Roger

    Our soldiers and officers are no different: they need accountability and firm leadership in the degrading cockpit of war. It appears this did not happen from the very top to the bottom of the command chain.

    But those at the top have already been let off the hook.

  18. Rex Anger

    Additional thought for Cats- The ADF and Government never really responded well to the PR and Information Warfare campaugn successfully waged against it during the Vietnam War.

    Having learned that cameras everywhere and nosy journalists simply meant salacious and unfounded ‘war crimes’ allegations, wilfully misrepresented situation reports and victory all but handed to the other side on a platter, by ideological default, the ADF decided it had to treat all media reporting as an Information Warfare Op.

    This has been the case since 1999. Instead of adopting the more liberal and muscular US and UK policy of embedding journalists and using their narratives (and those of the soldiers themselves) to challenge bias against their forces (while accepting that the journalists’ own biases will come into play as well. Yay humans! 😕), the Australian government and ADF did that classically Australian thing of engaging in a legalistic overreaction.

    Hiding behind the extra veil of OPSEC granted by SF operations, legions of Public Affairs Officers turning even the most benign and unremarkable comments and operations into painfully propagandised boilerplate, and jumping furiously down even the slightest suggestion of impropriety by the troops. This is the Australian way of war in the 21st century.

    The practical fighting soldiers’ and officers’ reactions to this legalistic overreach can be seen in the scolding language used in relation to ‘thowdown’ weapons and radios. While sort of offering an excuse to troops by suggesting these maybe evolved out of a desire to avoid difficult questions over the death of a legitimately engaged enemy, who subsequently was found to be unarmed. Not a ‘mea culpa.’ Oh no, Comrade…

    So while it would be nice to pin this all on our ‘Elite’ bugman classes since 2010, this is a shitty cultural development some 50-60 years in the making. Exacerbated by the ‘cultural changes’ brought about by the Skype Scandal, and the Gillardian distraction squirrel that was the whole Broderick and Crompvoets ‘inquiries.’

  19. Tintarella di Luna

    But those at the top have already been let off the hook.

    Not in the court of public opinion they haven’t

  20. Rex Anger

    Now that the report is out, surely issues around the length of the inquiry, the media reports leading up to it, and defences response, are secondary?

    The reports seems to vindicate the length of time the inquiry took. It identified potential criminal actions, and cultural issues, with the special forces. They need to be addressed.

    Flatus, given your record on identifying ‘potential criminal actions, and cultural issues’ and ‘credible’ evidence or witnesses of same stands Seven-Nil against you, I think you may not be very well placed to make any judgement at all on this matter…

    Kudos to your efforts here, but your trolling is wasted outside of the US Election threads.

  21. Tintarella di Luna

    Did anyone see the Editorial on Sky by Alan Jones last night — here it is

    He reads a letter out from a Vietnam veteran, David, I know the writer of the letter, a dear friend of my family — his wife is my best friend and I personally know the trauma that has beset the family over the last 40 years — he was a medic in Vietnam and was involved in an action as a medic which was misreported in the records and he has been fighting for decades to have the correct version acknowledged and recognised, I don’t know how that battle is going but he is a very determined man so I know he would continue his battle with the brass.

    Andrew Hastie’s letter to his subscribers quotes Earnest Hemingway:  “I have seen much war in my lifetime and I hate it profoundly. But there are worse things than war, and all of them come with defeat.”

    Indeed and there are worse things than war and death –and that is coming home after being sent to kill in war by the politicians and army higher-ups to then be tried, convicted and publicly executed by a Star Chamber of media ne’er-do-wells, envious cyphers, craven politicians and spineless military brass — the SAS in this country has been Pelled — advertising for complainants indeed — where have we seen that before?  

    As for the graceless politicians and be-ribboned desk generals – what a disgrace- I believe one politician in particular is feeding on the souls, lives and reputations of our soldiers to fatten approval ratings expecting to placate the enemy of the people the ABC and mainstream media — you know riding the tiger hoping he’ll be eaten last. I have absolutely no respect the politicians and military brass piling on – to a wimp- they’ve shown themselves duplicitous, treacherous and vainglorious.  

    Alan Jones’ editorial is gut-wrenching, he is standing by the men and women crushed by a war to which they were sent by politicians and generals.  They should be in the dock not the soldiers.

    I am so disgusted.

  22. Roger

    Not in the court of public opinion they haven’t

    Alas, the court of public opinion doesn’t lead to reform of a broken system.

  23. Jim Rose

    I’m sure if you asked to few old soldiers after they had a couple of beers, they would talk about operations and battles where they didn’t have time to take prisoners. Things were moving forward to quickly.

  24. Mak Siccar

    Another excellent article.

    https://spectator.com.au/2020/11/dont-our-special-forces-need-a-fierce-warrior-culture-general-campbell/

    Don’t our special forces need a fierce warrior culture, General Campbell?
    Lily Steiner

    22 November 2020

    2:00 PM

    I do not know of anyone currently in the armed forces or anyone who has done a tour of duty in Afghanistan, but have always respected these people who have chosen to go into harm’s way for us, to leave their own families and commit to one of the most rigorous and structured 24/7 lifestyles imaginable. Love and respect for our regular soldiers and the elite forces even more so.

    When I heard the allegations of impropriety and the outrage of the media all over the news and the apology made to the Afghani citizens I realized that I consider them like family, because I am totally outraged. There are things that you keep within the family, so to start with I absolutely believe the current war crime furore should have been kept out of the media and totally dealt with within the confines of the military.

    The complexities of other cultures and the wars our troops are thrown into are more complex than right or wrong. Especially with the very best that are part of our elite forces. The training and mindset of these very young men is something most of us will never truly understand, and as I am compelled to defend my immediate family, in the same way, I feel compelled to defend these very special men and women most of whom have the superhuman powers that are required in their testingtours of duty. Not only are their lives on the line, but they feel a bond and responsibility for those they serve with.

    When I heard Chief of Defence Force General Angus Campbell, apologize for what was done before a trial was even held, I was sickened. How dare he speak in my name! .

    Without casting a single aspiration on any citizen of Afghanistan, this is an area and region that on its own is totally brutal and of a very different culture to ours. Our brave troops go into this environment to protect the good citizens from their own kind who have joined the Taliban and the religious zealots and warlord bands. Our troops are there to make their lives easier. And they do.

    Over and above their duty to the army, I know troops have befriended and brought relief through their own donations and others of toys, clothes, food supplies to families they have met. There are good people there on both sides.

    Whatever charges were levelled and whatever happens need to be dealt with there and in a context of those that are there and by people who understand all the complexities that need to be considered. Murder and killing are not the same as here in Australia or America. When faced with dangers and attacks in a place far from home with the experiences and responsibilities each soldier has, I am not the one to judge any of them and neither are you or the media. The mindset that needs to be developed to stay safe and alive is not to be judged by outsiders.

    SAS soldiers are being attacked for having a toxic warrior culture, but I would say that was mandatory to effectively do what they are expected to do. Something the majority of them do in an outstanding manner. If there are improprieties, deal with them within the family, not out in a public that has very little true understanding of the truth of the situation, especially as presented by those that are attacking it.

    When I heard the apology, I googled ‘Afghanistan thanks Australia’. Zero, nothing. How many years have we been there? How many of our precious lives have been lost? How many stories of individual kindness? Zero thanks, zero gratitude. Not just to Australia, but also America, but that’s another issue.

    A news broadcast last week featured a story about a girl murdered by her cousin. The whole thing was filmed on security footage. The judge saw fit to find her not guilty, when the murder was actually filmed. I’m sure I was no less horrified than the military offering these so-called atrocities into the public arena. The main difference is in Afghanistan, in combat conditions, in an area where life threatening dangers exist moment by moment, we are being told that these brave young men, who are actually our SAS, so performed over and above, outstandingly even, to get into these units, these soldiers are to be judged by the same judiciary that makes ridiculous decisions in clear cut local cases?

    Integrity, honour, responsibility, our soldiers are indoctrinated with these attributes because they are vital to their survival in combat.

    I am certainly not saying everything and anything done is a combat situation is acceptable. But I am certainly saying we who have never served should not be permitted any type of opinion unless and until there has been a military trial and report from that. Everyone is allowed an opinion on everything, but do not say a word, do not judge my boys unless and until you know the whole story.

  25. Dot

    The reports seems to vindicate the length of time the inquiry took. It identified potential criminal actions, and cultural issues, with the special forces. They need to be addressed.

    You are completely and utterly wrong.

    Coronial and judicial hearings can make recommendations to indict parties, Brereton did not and could nit.

    This was a political exercise to defund the SASR.

  26. thefrollickingmole

    Ricardo makes the good point, its a failure of leadership.
    Shit things happen when you have shit oversight.
    I strongly suspect certain people chose not to exercise too much oversight”.

  27. FelixKruell

    Rex:

    Flatus, given your record on identifying ‘potential criminal actions, and cultural issues’ and ‘credible’ evidence or witnesses of same stands Seven-Nil against you, I think you may not be very well placed to make any judgement at all on this matter…

    Not another imbecile who can’t understand nuance. I thought it was just JC?

    I never said Pell was guilty (or innocent), or that the trial or appeals decisions were right.

    The report in this case identified potential criminal behaviour, and recommended police investigation. Simple facts. And identified cultural issues. Simple facts. No judgement required on my part.

  28. FelixKruell

    Dot:

    Coronial and judicial hearings can make recommendations to indict parties, Brereton did not and could nit.

    No, I never said he did. He did recommend criminal investigations be carried out on some of the people/actions identified in his report.

  29. Mother Lode

    Don’t our special forces need a fierce warrior culture, General Campbell?

    Remember when the military declared scary motifs and icons out of bounds?

    We have a worrier culture.

  30. Mother Lode

    Ricardo makes the good point, its a failure of leadership.

    It is why they so quickly joined in pointing fingers at the troops – in the hope that people would not notice their culpability.

    Of course they could have said ‘If people broke with acceptable behaviours then we must respond, but remember that these men are in dangerous and fluid situations against an enemy that has no respect for any rules of war, and where they must make quick decisions with access to sub-par information. You can’t expect it to play out like a game of monopoly.”

  31. Dot

    No. You are wrong Felix.

    If there was any evidence, people would have been indicted already.

    An investigation on top of an inquiry, on top of investigations that rely on hearsay evidence and questioning a wartime enemy in large scale assymetric warfare.

    The SASR does not need to change at all.

    If it changes, we are worse off as nation state.

  32. jupes

    Ricardo makes the good point, its a failure of leadership.

    At the highest levels. For years they sent the men to risk their lives on kill / capture missions, however the majority of captured Talibs were released back to the fight within a few days.

    This may go some way to explain any reluctance to take prisoners.

  33. FelixKruell

    Dot:

    They can either indict, or recommend a criminal investigation take place. Both are valid responses to the findings of the inquiry.

    The inquiry has recommended the chief of the defence force refer 36 matters to the Australian Federal Police for criminal investigation. Those matters relate to the 23 incidents and involve a total of 19 individuals.

    Campbell confirmed those who are alleged to be involved in unlawful criminal conduct will be referred to the special investigator.

    The aim of this inquiry was to get to the truth. No mean feat in an insular group like the ADF, let alone special forces. It looks like it did that. And it has resulted in changes to the way the ADF and special forces operate. Great.

    A criminal court has a different task, with different standards when it comes to evidence etc. All, some, or none of the 36 matters identified may result in criminal convictions. Whatever the outcome, it has no bearing on the systemic issues that are now being addressed from the report.

  34. Dot

    You imbecile the inquiry took four years and turned up nothing but more witch hunting.

    They got to the truth? Which is why they need to investigate more? The inquiry and prior investigations got what? Hearsay evidence from some American who heard gunfire and interviews with…Talibani.

    And it has resulted in changes to the way the ADF and special forces operate. Great.

    No, that’s terrible. No one has even been convicted yet and anyway that is a silly reason to change operations.

  35. FelixKruell

    Dot:

    They got to the truth? Which is why they need to investigate more? The inquiry and prior investigations got what? Hearsay evidence from some American who heard gunfire and interviews with…Talibani.

    No, eye witness accounts form Australian Special forces soldiers.

    No, that’s terrible. No one has even been convicted yet and anyway that is a silly reason to change operations.

    The threshold for – we have evidence someone is wrong, is a lot lower than the threshold for a criminal conviction.

  36. Maj

    https://youtu.be/sgZECgoyn64
    Ricardo Bosi lets rip.

    Pastor Mark Powell warned us about “Old Mate Angus” way back in 2018:

    Sky News Australia @SkyNewsAust 7:44 PM·Apr 29, 2018

    [email protected]’s Mark Powell: many ordinary servicemen are ‘disgusted’ with Angus Campbell’s decision to ban the army from displaying ‘death symbols.’

    https://twitter.com/SkyNewsAust/status/990527316131397634

  37. Rex Anger

    Not another imbecile who can’t understand nuance. I thought it was just JC?

    What nuance, Flatus? You have consistently demonstrated in every post you have made, that if an institution or investigation produces findings consistent with your ideology, you declare it above board and unimpeachable. While loudly deriding anyone who disagrees with you as being mentally defective

    If t does not, you consider it wrong and forever suspect and malicious. While loudly deriding anyone who disagrees with you as being mentally defective.

    This is a consistent pattern, whether related to a Preside t you have been told not to like, a Cardinal you have been told not to like or a Regiment you have been told not to like…

    The aim of this inquiry was to get to the truth. No mean feat in an insular group like the ADF,

    Whose truth, Flatus?

  38. FelixKruell

    Rex:

    You have consistently demonstrated in every post you have made, that if an institution or investigation produces findings consistent with your ideology, you declare it above board and unimpeachable. While loudly deriding anyone who disagrees with you as being mentally defective

    If t does not, you consider it wrong and forever suspect and malicious. While loudly deriding anyone who disagrees with you as being mentally defective.

    Got even a single example of that?

  39. Mother Lode

    What nuance, Flatus?

    Nuance is the term urgently deployed by leftists when they have been revealed to hold contradictory positions. They pretend that there is a distinction that they can discern that resolves the conflict, and that those who cannot perceive it must be stoopid!

    Thus they can pretend their weakness is actually strength.

    Some of them even believe it. They are the funniest ones.

  40. Vicki

    It is not easy to get a handle on all that has led to the Brererton Inquiry. There is so much self-interest, politicisation, internal rivalry, and general bastardry that has gone on.

    To begin with, the media would have us believe that this is a peculiarly Australian disgrace. It is not. Most of the western countries involved in the operations in Afghanistan – particularly forward command operations – have had allegations of war crimes against their forces. In my opinion, this stems directly from the contemporary rules of engagement that derived from the Geneva Conventions following WWII. Historically, we all understand why they evolved (from the horrors of the last two Great Wars), but we will now never escape from the possibility of allegations of war crimes in war zones such as the Middle East.

    Further, it is clear from various accounts of veterans of Afghanistan that there was significant inter unit rivalry and animosity. I venture that this has contributed to the “eye-witness” accounts that have incriminated individuals. This is not to say that such accounts were accurate or distorted – but they have played a significant role in the outcome of investigations, and the pre-Inquiry release of material to the ABC and various media.

    In relation to the above, I do take some issue with the previous post:

    You, Andrew Hastie, are an idiot.

    Hastie is no idiot. He is intelligent, patriotic, exceptionally courageous, has a strong belief system (Christian) & was a damn good soldier. He is one of the few in this government who is prepared to call out China & their perfidious influence in this country. And he has risked his career to do it.

    Having said all that – I will say that I disagree with much that he wrote today in that very fine article in The Australian. His enormously strong moral and religious conviction essentially prevents him from accepting the transgressions of human decency and compassion that inevitably sometimes accompany mortal combat. I respect that, but having lived a fair few years – cannot agree that survival, in the face of evil, does not justify extreme response. For heaven sake – our fathers carpet bombed whole cities of civilians in Germany to extinguish an evil regime. How we forget.

    Finally, I have to say that I am gutted by this whole issue. It means so much more than the prosecution of some special forces soldiers for “war crimes”. It has significance for our stature as a fighting machine before our enemies, and seriously undermines their efficacy in the field. It robs our youth of the traditional hero of the soldier fighting for their values. And it undermines our belief in the government as the defender of “our defenders”.

    Every day I see the Left triumph over the last bastions of western values – our education system, our media, our values deriving from centuries upon centuries of western civilisation. Nothing, democratic traditions or the even our defence forces which protect us, are safe from their attacks.

    I am profoundly distressed to see this collapse of our way of life escalate.

  41. Rex Anger

    Got even a single example of that?

    Yep. And none of it I will bother posting here Flatus.

    Look upon ye mendacity in the last Three 2020 Election threads, Flatus, and despair.

    And don’t pull that Pr0vE iT! schtick again- It makes Numbers look intelligent…

  42. JohnL

    This the reply I sent to Andrew Hastie to the email and the article he sent me:
    Andrew,
    the article you sent me is the greatest tripe and codswallop I have ever read, no matter how you dress it. That article convinces me that you are a waste of space and oxygen thief in the parliament as you were in the SASR. You obviously did not read the article from Quadrant that I sent you. So I am sending you just one paragraph from the article that may interest you:
    The Yamashita Standard states that:
    The highest-ranking officer is accountable for and should be prosecuted and convicted of the crimes of every officer and soldier under his command, even if he/she is unaware of that the crime, or was aware and actually gave orders to stop it. Ignorance of the actions of his/her subordinates and failed attempts to stop them are not a defence.

    Can you answer then why was “Shifty Eyes” especially exonerated from the Brereton Report that you so worship?!?!
    This one point alone convinces me that the Report, by an “armchair warrior” who would cream his pants to the sound of a blank shot from a pop gun, is the loaded bullshit, instigated by another warrior from ABC and clearly designed to destroy not only our great SASR but also the whole of the ADF as an effective fighting force.
    And “Shifty Eyes” is doing a very good job of it.

  43. Mother Lode

    That article convinces me that you are a waste of space and oxygen thief in the parliament as you were in the SASR.

    Ummmm…do you know something? Or was that just being caught up in your own momentum?

  44. Infidel Tiger King

    Any charges laid yet?

    Has a single soldier been stood down?

    Very strange.

  45. Lee

    No. You are wrong Felix.

    If there was any evidence, people would have been indicted already.

    Like all true lefties, Felix flip-flops and performs verbal gymnastics all over the place when it comes to “evidence.”

  46. FelixKruell

    Mother:

    Nuance is the term urgently deployed by leftists when they have been revealed to hold contradictory positions. They pretend that there is a distinction that they can discern that resolves the conflict, and that those who cannot perceive it must be stoopid!

    Yes, you’re right. Everything is black and white. The rest of us are just pretending.

  47. FelixKruell

    Rex:

    Yep. And none of it I will bother posting here Flatus.

    How convenient.

  48. Rex Anger

    @ Lee-

    Like all true lefties, Felix flip-flops and performs verbal gymnastics all over the place when it comes to “evidence.”

    And as demonstrated above, snarks, smarms, misquotes, feigns offence and behaves as though no record exists anywhere else on this blog if his carry-on.

    As if it needs to be quoted afresh to be relevant.

    Stale Flatus. The worst flatus of all…

  49. FelixKruell

    Rex:

    You made a claim. Back it up. It’s pretty simple.

  50. kaysee

    Alan Jones’ editorial is gut-wrenching, he is standing by the men and women crushed by a war to which they were sent by politicians and generals. They should be in the dock not the soldiers.

    Alan is speaking on behalf of decent and grateful Australians. As well as people all around the world who value their freedom. He is right when he says:

    “The public won’t readily forget those responsible for the pile on against our troops who serve and sacrifice.

  51. Dot

    No, eye witness accounts form Australian Special forces soldiers

    So we have multiple, possibly corroborating witnesses to war crimes and no indictments, not even a single arrest or charge laid?

    Four years of this, and the truth is they need to…investigate more.

    Outrageous.

  52. kaysee

    From Alan Jones’ Editorial on Sky News, this poem:

    It Is The Soldier

    It is the Soldier, not the minister
    Who has given us freedom of religion.

    It is the Soldier, not the reporter
    Who has given us freedom of the press.

    It is the Soldier, not the poet
    Who has given us freedom of speech.

    It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
    Who has given us freedom to protest.

    It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
    Who has given us the right to a fair trial.

    It is the Soldier, not the politician
    Who has given us the right to vote.

    It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
    Who serves beneath the flag,
    And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
    Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

    ©Copyright 1970, 2005 by Charles M. Province

  53. FelixKruell

    Dot:

    So we have multiple, possibly corroborating witnesses to war crimes and no indictments, not even a single arrest or charge laid?

    Yes. Mainly because those witnesses apparently can’t be used in a trial. So the criminal investigation would need to find its own evidence.

    Nicely summarised here:

    The way the IGADF inquiry was set up allowed it to work in a sort of bubble — what came out of it can’t be directly used in any further disciplinary matters within the ADF or criminal proceedings, and people who gave evidence were protected from criminal and civil liability.

  54. BrettW

    Going to have to go against the flow on the Yamashita standard. What the Japanese did in the Philiipines was far more widespread and organised than allegations in the SF inquiries. Even then he was held to an unrealistic level of accountability as he had no direct command of some of the troops. The American Chief of Army would be losing their jobs at a very high rate based on incidents in Iraq and Afghanistan

  55. Dot

    Mainly because those witnesses apparently can’t be used in a trial. So the criminal investigation would need to find its own evidence.

    There is no legal reason they cannot be cross examined in a closed albeit otherwise ordinary trial.

    If you give evidence that is self incriminating under exemption from liability, you cannot be “investigated” again.

    What a crock of shit Felix. It is an exercise to weaken the fighting arm of the military.

  56. FelixKruell

    Dot:

    There is no legal reason they cannot be cross examined in a closed albeit otherwise ordinary trial.

    Their existing testimony can’t be used though. And there would be nothing compelling them to give evidence.

  57. Dot

    They can never be validly tried.

    That’s not the purpose of the Brereton Inquiry though

    It is to emasculate the SASR.

  58. Rex Anger

    Rex:

    You made a claim. Back it up. It’s pretty simple.

    No Flatus.

    This blog contains all your BS and gambits. You know what you’ve done. So do the Cats

    Why repeat for your amusement and sophistry?

  59. FelixKruell

    Dot:

    They can never be validly tried.

    Why not?

  60. FelixKruell

    Rex:

    This blog contains all your BS and gambits. You know what you’ve done. So do the Cats

    I do. So do they. You seem a little confused though. Is it FDS?

  61. Dot

    You should know Felix, I know why.

    It is in the common law now and IIRC Gaegler wrote the judgment.

  62. FelixKruell

    Dot:

    You should know Felix, I know why.

    It is in the common law now and IIRC Gaegler wrote the judgment.

    Is this another secret you can’t share? Sigh…

  63. Rex Anger

    I do. So do they. You seem a little confused though. Is it FDS?

    I am not playing your bullshit games, Flatus.

    Any substantive allegations of war crimes would have been dealt with quite quickly if they were credible. At the time. Otherwise the entire ADF investigative apparatus and Chain of Comand has failed to do its job. For some 15 years.

    All MAJGEN Brereton and the IGADF have said is that they think about 23 alleged incidents could potentially be sufficent for further investigation, with intent to go to criminal trial.

    They are not empowered to judge them criminal acts. Nor determine the guilt or innocence of the alleged perpretrators.

    You have. And you are wrong to have done so.

    And all the sophistry, wilful misinterpetation of fact and facetious arguments you keep trying to cause with the other commenters not going to change that.

    Now spack off and derail something else.

  64. Dot

    No Felix.

    You don’t know what you are talking about.

    The judgment of Assistant Commissioner Condon v Pompano Pty Ltd [2013] HCA 7; (2013) 252 CLR 38 is what you need to familiarise yourself with.

  65. FelixKruell

    Rex:

    Any substantive allegations of war crimes would have been dealt with quite quickly if they were credible. At the time. Otherwise the entire ADF investigative apparatus and Chain of Comand has failed to do its job. For some 15 years.

    They weren’t known (apparently) – that’s what this inquiry was necessary. So yes, someone hasn’t been doing their job properly.

    All MAJGEN Brereton and the IGADF have said is that they think about 23 alleged incidents could potentially be sufficent for further investigation, with intent to go to criminal trial.

    That’s right. A pretty significant finding, wouldn’t you say?

    They are not empowered to judge them criminal acts. Nor determine the guilt or innocence of the alleged perpretrators.

    You have. And you are wrong to have done so.

    I haven’t. Quite the opposite. You can’t even get what I said straight in the same thread. Wow.

  66. FelixKruell

    Dot:

    Huh? That case doesn’t come close to preventing a soldier from being tried.

  67. Dot

    You don’t know what you are talking about Felix.

    Telling people they have immunity to self incrimination, then trying them with other evidence is an abuse of process and therefore a fair trial cannot be guaranteed (obviously).

    I know you are intellectually lazy, the statement regarding abuse of process is right down at the bottom of the decision.

  68. Rex Anger

    I haven’t. Quite the opposite. You can’t even get what I said straight in the same thread.

    Here we go at the ‘George Pell is not innocent, no matter what the 7-0 High Court acquittal says,’ and
    the ‘The meeja and Democrats say there was no provable election fraud, so there was none! So ner!’ gag gain, Flatus…

    All your The reports seems to vindicate the length of time the inquiry took.

    And The aim of this inquiry was to get to the truth. No mean feat in an insular group like the ADF, let alone special forces. It looks like it did that. And it has resulted in changes to the way the ADF and special forces operate. Great.

    And They weren’t known (apparently) – that’s what this inquiry was necessary. So yes, someone hasn’t been doing their job properly…A pretty significant finding, wouldn’t you say?

    Says you have decided that something must be wrong with the SF organisations, and thus the soldiers identified and slimed (justified or not) in the Brereton Report. If you have read the Brereton Report, once the boilerplate and mealy-mouthed platitudes about ‘collective responaibilty’ are stripped away, you will understand that the whole exercise of blame-apportioning has been very tightly targeted at the lowest possible level, and is then seeking to collectively punish the whole of SOCOMD for the alleged (and still currently unproven) actions of a very few.

    If you have read and understood what Bereton was actually getting at (I.E. beyond the MSM headlines and commentary), and considering his conclusions and intent in the context of a world in which mere allegation alone is sufficient to convict (Pell) or the denial of same sufficient to assure innocence (USA elections), you have chosen to side with the accusers, before any actual criminal investigation has commenced.

    Regardless of whether you agreed or not upthread that only ‘potential’ criminal activities were identified, you picked your side against the accused individual SF members the moment you agreed with the report’s posited claim that something was ‘wrong’ with the whole organisation. Just as planned by its writers, framers and reporters…

  69. Spurgeon Monkfish III

    The public won’t readily forget those responsible for the pile on against our troops who serve and sacrifice

    Jones now laying into that foul gutless hypocrite Campbell.

  70. FelixKruell

    Dot:

    Telling people they have immunity to self incrimination, then trying them with other evidence is an abuse of process and therefore a fair trial cannot be guaranteed (obviously).

    The ones who were witnesses aren’t the ones being recommended for criminal investigation. Different people.

  71. FelixKruell

    Rex:

    George Pell is not innocent, no matter what the 7-0 High Court acquittal says,’

    Nope, didn’t say that.

    The meeja and Democrats say there was no provable election fraud, so there was none! So ner!’ gag gain, Flatus…

    Nope, didn’t say that.

    The reports seems to vindicate the length of time the inquiry took.

    Because they got first hand accounts from witnesses within special forces. That’s pretty big. Then verified it on the ground in Afghanistan.

    Says you have decided that something must be wrong with the SF organisations, and thus the soldiers identified and slimed (justified or not) in the Brereton Report.

    I think we can happily conclude from this report that there’s something wrong with special forces. But not with any individual soldier (that should be up to a court).

    See the difference?

  72. Dot

    Then you’re completely full of shit Felix.

    There is no reason why non-self incriminating third parties who give evidence to inquests and judicial commissions cannot give the same evidence at a criminal trial of an accused arising out of such an inquiry.

    The only real reason would be that the evidence is laughably weak or non existent.

    You are repeating the utter nonsense written by a non legally trained ABC journalist.

    If there is evidence of crimes, the Commonwealth DPP can indict away.

  73. EllenG

    All of this written in the absence of facts which are withheld to allow court proceedings to make their way. We can be fairly sure that the SAS should never have been deployed with foreign troops who have a different culture. We can be certain that rotations are no substitute for limited exposure. But the facts have to be faced and it is essential to the standing of Australian military personnel that we deal with this straight up. We have every right to be proud of our defence forces and we should be extremely careful to keep it that way.

  74. Dot

    Because they got first hand accounts from witnesses within special forces. That’s pretty big. Then verified it on the ground in Afghanistan

    It may not be prudent to prosecute yet, but you halfwit, you are saying there is a legal bar on prosecution until there are more investigations and new evidence turns up!

    You are a greasy, dishonest turd, Felix. You are simply a hardcore leftist, fake centrist and utter loon that wants to make it the most potent, competent and ready component of our land forces into an ineffective joke.

  75. Jupes:

    The stupidity of ADF leadership is beyond belief.

    I wouldn’t term it stupidity – it’s close to being treasonous when a senior officer makes decisions and conducts their affairs in office for their own benefit.
    No, I’m over it all.
    Sick to death of the moral bankruptcy, intellectual cowardice, and sheer mindless officiousness of the top 50% of our ruling class.
    Purge required now.

  76. FelixKruell

    Dot:

    There is no reason why non-self incriminating third parties who give evidence to inquests and judicial commissions cannot give the same evidence at a criminal trial of an accused arising out of such an inquiry.

    They may not wish to. And they can’t be compelled to.

  77. FelixKruell

    Dot:

    you are saying there is a legal bar on prosecution until there are more investigations and new evidence turns up!

    Nope. Didn’t say that. Try again.

  78. FelixKruell

    As the report itself noted:

    A finding that there is credible information of a matter is not a finding that the matter is proved, to any particular standard. It is entirely consistent with such a finding that ultimately there may not be admissible evidence to prove the matter, beyond reasonable doubt, in a court of law.

    The Inquiry is not a criminal trial. The Inquiry is not confined to evidence that would be admissible in a court of law, but can inform itself as it sees fit, and has done so, as is appropriate for an inquiry of this nature. Witnesses who have given evidence to the Inquiry under compulsion may not be willing to give it to prosecutorial authorities. Witnesses on whose evidence the Inquiry has relied have, while tested by the Inquiry, not been cross-examined by an opposing party.

    For all these reasons, as is common experience with commissions of inquiry, it does not follow from a finding in this Report that there is credible information of a war crime, that there will be a prosecution, let alone a conviction.

  79. Dot

    And they can’t be compelled to.

    Yes they certainly can. They can be subpoenaed and there isn’t a reasonable ground to object.

    You were saying there was a legal bar to prosecution. You didn’t say it directly but you were bullshitting and you were caught out.

    You don’t care because you are a leftist fruit loop and demand the SASR be emasculated over crimes that never happened.

  80. Dot

    Oh look a motherhood statement! Let’s disband the SASR without any real evidence, but our flunkies can say it was credible even though our witch hunt turned up nothing and no one may ever be prosecuted!

  81. Rex Anger

    I think we can happily conclude from this report that there’s something wrong with special forces. But not with any individual soldier (that should be up to a court).

    See the difference?

    No Flatus. The collective membership of SOCOMD and the Australian Army is being shamed, publicly smeared and punished to protect a few senior officers, political appointees and a toxic Departmental culture.

    Regardless of determined guilt or innocence for any and all identified paries, the Army is again slimed. Regardless of cultural ‘changes’ or ‘improvements,’ the SASR is slimed in the public psyche for at least a generation.

    This is something you have chosen to cheer on. Your ideological leanings are again on full display, Flatus.

    You are as wrong to do this as you are to engage in any further sophistry or facetious argument regarding any identified individual soldiers, processes or legal proceedings.

    The Regiment’s own members are more than capable of identifying and improving themselves and solving their own problems. They have been doing so since 1957. The Commandos even longer.

    They do not need the leftist bloviating of one Flatus Skrollpast to determine or agree if something is ‘wrong’ with them. Nor millions of dollars spent on feminist academic ‘sociologists,’ nor Pashtun-speaking ambulance-chasers. Nor politicised fishing trips sanctioned at the highest levels, leakier than a sieve and dropping more salacious and lurid headlines than the average celebrity tabloid..

    End of Argument, Flatus.

  82. Bloody good interview with Ricardo.

    Its a failure of leadership.

    And I get bloody irate when some tosser who has never known leadership, tries to tell me their ‘job’ involves having leadership qualities, when all they’ve ever done is manage people.

  83. cohenite

    I never said Pell was guilty (or innocent), or that the trial or appeals decisions were right.

    Yes you did; you’re a lying kunt; no surprise you’d support this witch-hunt. You’re a disgusting human being.

  84. Rex Anger

    @ Winston-

    +1

    Far too many people confuse the latter for the former.

    And then wonder why their organisations fail…

  85. candy

    I think it’s very hard on the spouses, children, parents, families of SAS soldiers to have their family member lumped into the category of murderer and any medals won not deserved and to be taken away.

    With no trial. Just judged by General Campbell and PM Morrison and the media.

  86. FelixKruell

    Dot:

    Yes they certainly can. They can be subpoenaed and there isn’t a reasonable ground to object.

    Did you even read the quote from the report?

    You were saying there was a legal bar to prosecution. You didn’t say it directly but you were bullshitting and you were caught out.

    A legal bar to using the evidence gathered as part of the inquiry for a criminal prosecution. As the quote above shows.

    You don’t care because you are a leftist fruit loop and demand the SASR be emasculated over crimes that never happened.

    We have an inquiry with plenty of evidence that crimes likely did occur. Your evidence that the crimes never happened is your….feels?

  87. FelixKruell

    Cohenite:

    Yes you did; you’re a lying kunt; no surprise you’d support this witch-hunt. You’re a disgusting human being.

    Then back it up. Show me what I said.

    So many empty accusations here, covered up with puerile insults. I may as well go to the guardian.

  88. Rex Anger

    So many empty accusations here, covered up with puerile insults. I may as well go to the guardian.

    Don’t let the door hit you on your flapping *mouth* on the way out, Flatus…

  89. FelixKruell

    Rex:

    The Regiment’s own members are more than capable of identifying and improving themselves and solving their own problems. They have been doing so since 1957. The Commandos even longer.

    Clearly not, given the events reported, and the lack of action by witnesses or command.

    Then again, given the number of soldiers who gave testimony about the events, maybe they just needed a little time to find their courage.

    They do not need the leftist bloviating of one Flatus Skrollpast to determine or agree if something is ‘wrong’ with them.

    I didn’t determine it. The judge did, that spent 4 years investigating this. He backed up his conclusions with lots of evidence, from soldiers themselves, and people in Afghanistan.

  90. Dot

    You have to be kidding me. A “report” can legally bar subpoenas being issued? No, that’s fantasy. The report can say what it likes. Brenton can’t write laws. It doesn’t matter what the terms of reference are. No legislation exists to back your brain dead claims.

    There is no restriction in subpoenaing witnesses who have given evidence in a judicial inquiry. You are full of shit Felix.

    The evidence that the crimes did not occur is the ABC making up a lie that evidence gathered in the inquiry cannot be adduced as evidence in a trial.

  91. Rex Anger

    What part of End of Argument, Flatus did you not comprehend, you capering fool?

  92. Dot

    Another ABC article produced 1 day ago claims that soldiers were compelled to incriminate themselves; see above it is an abuse of process to then prosecute them with other evidence obtained later on, see the Pompano principles.

    See here:

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-11-22/lieutenant-general-rick-burr-speaks-on-afghan-report/12909166

    Note that Felix quoted an earlier (?) ABC article which claimed that evidence was in a bubble and Felix claimed that third parties willingly testitified but could not be compelled to testify later on in a civilian court because of the report’s description of the terms of reference.

    It is smoke and mirrors. If there was evidence, people could be indicted right now, not perhaps years later from now, as the ABC says.

  93. FelixKruell

    Dot:

    You have to be kidding me. A “report” can legally bar subpoenas being issued? No, that’s fantasy. The report can say what it likes. Brenton can’t write laws. It doesn’t matter what the terms of reference are. No legislation exists to back your brain dead claims.

    Sigh. No. I didn’t say that.

    A witness can refuse to give evidence. Plenty of grounds, including for reasons of self incrimination.

    The evidence that the crimes did not occur is the ABC making up a lie that evidence gathered in the inquiry cannot be adduced as evidence in a trial.

    Riiiiight.

    So the ABC, and the report itself, is making that up?

  94. FelixKruell

    Rex:

    What part of End of Argument, Flatus did you not comprehend, you capering fool?

    Err the same one you didn’t?

  95. Rex Anger

    Hey Dot, do you remember I said this earlier?

    What nuance, Flatus? You have consistently demonstrated in every post you have made, that if an institution or investigation produces findings consistent with your ideology, you declare it above board and unimpeachable. While loudly deriding anyone who disagrees with you as being mentally defective

    If it does not, you consider it wrong and forever suspect and malicious. While loudly deriding anyone who disagrees with you as being mentally defective.

    This is a consistent pattern, whether related to a President you have been told not to like, a Cardinal you have been told not to like or a Regiment you have been told not to like…

    Then have a look at everything that ol’ Flatulence himself has put up since. And all the twists and turns and legalese he has put on in support of same, and try (and fail) to bamboozle you in the process…

    I claim victory right here. Flatus wanted proof of my statement, then most obligingly provided it.

    I like smarmy, uppity leftists… 😁

  96. Dot

    So now Felix is saying there might be self incrimination. Which wasn’t the problem before; the problem was any witnesses from the inquiry could not be subpoenaed (which was bullshit, of course).

    Now if the prior testimony is self incriminating, the subsequent trial is an abuse of process.

    If there are third parties with credible testimony, there is no reason why indictments cannot be made right now; prudence may dictate arrests and further investigation.

    The idea that these different lies are all true at the same time or at all individually is laughable, the only reason not to act now is to facilitate a brain dead witch hunt to disband the SASR and make the ADF slide towards impotency and irrelevance.

  97. Zulu Kilo Two Alpha

    Question from the gallery.

    How are you supposed to take any testimony in a court of law seriously, when it’s given by someone who’s religion regards lying to unbelievers as a central principle of that religion?

  98. Rex Anger

    @ Dot-

    For all the fuss, I think you will find SOCOMD has a higher proportion of actual warriors than first appears. Ditto even the Big Green Army. All of whom have longer vision than the next media cycle or grant period (Looking at you, Sammy Crompvoets…)

    That, and even the most ideologically-inclined and Flatus-like bugmen within Cabinet and the Defence Department recognise the need for rough men like the SASR.

    You can’t just cancel such people. And you cannot magic up a replacement unit with the same background and experience, but a nicer image. Regiments are not buses- A freshly slapped-on coat of new and fancy paint will not fool the punters. It would also be a catastrophically stupid move as far as PR with we plebians are concerned. Let alone taking self-preservation into account.

    The disbandment of 2 SQN will have been a hard-fought and successful reduction from the endstate you feared. It will still be 2 SQN for everyone who served in it, and a reminder of the duplicity and mendaciry of those who threw them under the bus. It is a symbolic scalp for a pack of Felixes, nothing more.

    The rescinding of decorations (esp. the SOTG/TF66 Distinguished Unit Citation) is very likely going to collapse under intense public pressure. Ditto individual medals to NCOs. But again, it looks good to the Felixes.

    Despite the sliming and the bugmen’s best efforts, there will still be a Regiment. And the 2 Commando regiments. There has to be.

    You can’t have a Defence Department any more without them… 😉

  99. Rex Anger

    @ ZK2A-

    How are you supposed to take any testimony in a court of law seriously, when it’s given by someone who’s religion regards lying to unbelievers as a central principle of that religion?

    The same way Felix does (and did, as far as a certain Cardinal’s case is concerned) It’s OK so long as it achieves its political and ideological purposes at the time. They don’t much care for the subsequent overturning and imposition of legal accountability. After all, da court sed they wuz guilty, an’ thass all wot matters! So ner!

  100. John Comnenus

    The removal of the unit citation and disbanding of 2 Squadron SAS is collective punishment for alleged crimes not even charged, let alone proven beyond reasonable doubt in a court of law.

    Why is the CDF so keen to institute collective punishment before the allegations are tested in court and proven or not?

    Could it be that CDF and CA are taking “firm” action to punish the troops to distract the media and other virtue signallers from their own failure in leadership?

  101. FelixKruell

    Rex:

    I claim victory right here. Flatus wanted proof of my statement, then most obligingly provided it.

    A Trumpian victory, if anything.

    To prove your contention, you have to show I’ve dismissed an institution or investigation because it doesn’t align with my political views.

    All you’ve done so far is assume I’ve approved of every institution or investigation because it aligns with my views. Oh and defined my views as being whatever I’ve approved. Kinda circular?

  102. FelixKruell

    Dot:

    So now Felix is saying there might be self incrimination. Which wasn’t the problem before; the problem was any witnesses from the inquiry could not be subpoenaed (which was bullshit, of course).

    Not so good with nuance, are you?

    Soldier 1 shoots unarmed civilian. Soldier 2 witnesses it. Helps cover it. Plants the gun. Soldier 1 is taken to trial following this inquiry. Why would soldier 1 willingly testify?

  103. FelixKruell

    Make that soldier 2

  104. Rex Anger

    A Trumpian victory, if anything.
    4 years of head explosions, childish temper tantrums and conspiratorial plots so cartoonish it would be hilarious but for the insanity of said plotters? While still getting shit done? Yeah, I’ll claim that. Thanks trolly-kins! 😀

    To prove your contention, you have to show I’ve dismissed an institution or investigation because it doesn’t align with my political views.

    I did. And look at you go:

    😭😭😭All you’ve done so far is assume I’ve approved of every institution or investigation because it aligns with my views [So ner! -Flatus, 2020]. 😡 Oh and defined my views as being whatever I’ve approved [So NERRRRR!!!1! -Flatus, 2020]. 😡😡 Kinda circular? ,😭😭😭

    Now spack off.

    7-0 nil, the election was stolen, and one Judge, a few Generals, a hive of Canberra bugmen and some tall tales do not a broken SF organisation and confirmed war crimes scandal make…

  105. Rex Anger

    @ John Commenus-

    Could it be that CDF and CA are taking “firm” action to punish the troops to distract the media and other virtue signallers from their own failure in leadership?

    The Dave Morrison standard- Publicly shame and admonish for the woke points in haste, quietly compensate ditched members in private at leisure…

  106. Dot

    Soldier 1 shoots unarmed civilian. Soldier 2 witnesses it. Helps cover it. Plants the gun. Soldier 1 is taken to trial following this inquiry. Why would soldier 1 willingly testify?

    It means nothing when you are subpoenaed.

    Your argument boils down now to dishonesty and asserting that crown witnesses, accessories to murder, cannot be compelled to testify.

    Just fuck off.

    You are scum.

  107. FelixKruell

    Rex:

    More emoticons than a teenage girl, and about as much sense.

    To prove your contention, you have to show I’ve dismissed an institution or investigation because it doesn’t align with my political views.

    I did.

    In your head, maybe. But here? No.

    Still waiting…

  108. FelixKruell

    Dot:

    It means nothing when you are subpoenaed.

    Your argument boils down now to dishonesty and asserting that crown witnesses, accessories to murder, cannot be compelled to testify.

    Correct. Go ask a good lawyer to explain it to you. Or google it. It’s not hard.

  109. Dot

    No Felix, you have made a categorical error.

    1. If they are crown witnesses, THEY HAVE ALREADY CONFESSED. Now, they also have an incentive, but have waived a right to not self-incriminate. They can also be compelled. Now remember that you have changed your narrative here.

    2. There are no confessions thus far.

    3. The Brereton Inquiry had no special legal bar on quarantining evidence. None at all. The ABC made this up in the article you quoted but did not reference. There is no legislation enabling this at all.

    4. Even if someone confesses and that evidence is inadmissible, collecting further evidence and trying them is an abuse of process and prohibited under the Pompano fair trial principles.

    There is simply no evidence otherwise people would have been indicted already.

  110. Rex Anger

    More emoticons than a teenage girl, and about as much sense.

    Sorry Flatus. You lost. You proved my point, you are proving it again, and all your twistings, smarms and failed snarks count for nothing.

    Still waiting…

    Have fun with that, trolly-kins…

  111. FelixKruell

    Dot:

    If they are crown witnesses, THEY HAVE ALREADY CONFESSED. Now, they also have an incentive, but have waived a right to not self-incriminate. They can also be compelled. Now remember that you have changed your narrative here.

    How have they already confessed? At best, in the inquiry. Not in a court.

  112. FelixKruell

    Rex:

    It’s all there in black and white. Your accusations. But nothing to back them up. Repeatedly.

    I expected better from this blog. It’s not what it was.

  113. Dot

    How have they already confessed? At best, in the inquiry. Not in a court

    You have completely ballsed this up.

    *Brereton has powers comparable to a royal commissioner.
    *Self incrimination is not a ground to refuse answering a question; there is no bar on the use of evidence found in the inquiry for a later indictment.
    *Although an administrative process – Brereton was appointed explicitly as a judicial officer.

    PS if you want to be a smart arse, you don’t confess in court, you enter a plea, or elocute.

  114. Dot

    There’s no evidence really.

    Brereton’s powers are disturbing – he can add to the terms of reference as he pleases.

    It will take another two years for his report to be finalised.

    This is an absolute joke.

    1. A prosecution would be invalid if the compelled admissions were inadmissible and then were the basis of a later investigation which found additional evidence to prosecute. It would be an abuse of process. If that’s true it is by design because there is no intent to try anyone, but to sink the SASR.

    2. There is no legal bar anyway to using such evidence uncovered or submitted to MAJGEN Brereton. This is simply untrue and muddies the waters, to advance a bullshit PR campaign against actual warriors.

    There are no indictments because there is a lack of evidence. We can be generous and declare police and prosecutorial prudence; but if rumours of war crimes are credible with multiple coroborrating witnesses, there should at least be arrests pending interrogation and charges.

    There isn’t. There is a lack of credible evidence.

  115. Rex Anger

    It’s all there in black and white. Your accusations. But nothing to back them up. Repeatedly.

    I am not wasting my time re-proving something that gets posted, proved and reconfirmed on every thread you start your crap on. That you then use to waste others’ time by being your mendacious and twisted self.

    It’s a very poor-quality troll ambit, Flatus. You’re as bad as the old Iampeter, another one-trick pony. Up your game!

    I expected better from this blog. It’s not what it was.

    Best you get yourself some decent haemorrhoid cream, Flatus. That butthurt sounds nasty…

    As Dot says, as has every other Cat with military experience and/or greater understanding of Australian political and media grandstanding than you do, this is a witch-hunt. A political circus that has elevated rumours and hearsay into something much meaner.

    If there was concrete evidence for any of the events listed, the IGADF and every criminal investigative service Army has would have been all over them years ago. Men would have been charged and jailed, you and the other leftwit trolls here would be dancing with schadenfreude glee, and the Brereton Inquiry would never have been.

  116. FelixKruell

    Dot:

    *Brereton has powers comparable to a royal commissioner.
    *Self incrimination is not a ground to refuse answering a question; there is no bar on the use of evidence found in the inquiry for a later indictment.
    *Although an administrative process – Brereton was appointed explicitly as a judicial officer.

    That’s not what the report from the inquiry said:

    Witnesses who have given evidence to the Inquiry under compulsion may not be willing to give it to prosecutorial authorities.

    Surely they would know?

    As for confessions – you raised that term, not me.

  117. FelixKruell

    Rex:

    I am not wasting my time re-proving something that gets posted, proved and reconfirmed on every thread you start your crap on. That you then use to waste others’ time by being your mendacious and twisted self.

    You seem happy to waste your time repeatedly TELLING me that you can prove it. But never actually proving it. I wonder why…

    If there was concrete evidence for any of the events listed, the IGADF and every criminal investigative service Army has would have been all over them years ago. Men would have been charged and jailed, you and the other leftwit trolls here would be dancing with schadenfreude glee, and the Brereton Inquiry would never have been.

    It’s a bit circular – without the concrete evidence, they can’t charge and jail people. But when they go looking for concrete evidence (like in this inquiry), you claim it must be a witch-hunt, otherwise there would have been prosecutions already!

  118. Albatross

    FelixKruell
    #3670733, posted on November 25, 2020 at 5:40 pm
    […]
    I expected better from this blog. It’s not what it was.

    Sorry to hear it’s no longer up to your standards. I’m sure you liked it better when Jason Soon was around to shill for the globohomo carbon tax.

    So I imagine you’ll be fucking off then?

  119. Dot

    Witnesses who have given evidence to the Inquiry under compulsion may not be willing to give it to prosecutorial authorities.

    Yes champion.

    They can then be subpoenaed and refusing to answer may be a justice offence as they have given evidence under compulsion prior, but under oath.

  120. Dot

    That’s right.

    It’s not circular reasoning either.

    The report infers credible claims.

    Which is belief by a lack of arrests after so much evidence given under compulsion, under oath, trawling for witnesses, and so on. Five years later and millions of dollars spent. Yet it needs…more investigation!

    You are a slow learner Felix.

  121. Rex Anger

    Flatus, you are a fool.

  122. FelixKruell

    Dot:

    Which is belief by a lack of arrests after so much evidence given under compulsion, under oath, trawling for witnesses, and so on. Five years later and millions of dollars spent. Yet it needs…more investigation!

    By a different body. This inquiry wasn’t setup to effect arrests.

  123. FelixKruell

    Dot:

    They can then be subpoenaed and refusing to answer may be a justice offence as they have given evidence under compulsion prior, but under oath.

    ‘May be’?

    You seem a lot less certain now.

    Why would the inquiry make that point, if it’s so easily circumvented?

  124. FelixKruell

    Albo:

    Sorry to hear it’s no longer up to your standards. I’m sure you liked it better when Jason Soon was around to shill for the globohomo carbon tax.

    So I imagine you’ll be fucking off then?

    No, I get the feeling you’re all in your 80s and morbidly obese. I suspect if I wait a little, you’ll all die.

  125. Albatross

    FelixKruell
    #3670978, posted on November 25, 2020 at 8:57 pm
    […]
    No, I get the feeling you’re all in your 80s and morbidly obese. I suspect if I wait a little, you’ll all die.

    Please wait outside fathead.

  126. BrettW

    From the Brisbane Times : SAS war crimes: ‘killing became incentivised, a toxic culture grew’ – By Mark Wales

    There are several reasons we got ourselves into the disgraceful mess that has stained our nation, destroyed Afghan families and damaged the stellar reputation of Australia and its military. I was a serving officer at SASR from 2004-2010.

    Bad decision-making saw us overuse our special ops soldiers in a grinding war, without respite, to the point that war fighting became a “business as usual” activity. Killing became incentivised, and a toxic culture grew from an inversion of power within special ops. Operation Slipper was a mission to bring stability to Afghanistan and prevent sanctuary for terrorist planning and training. The value in the commitment and this was later acknowledged to me by high-ranking officers involved in strategy, was the alliance benefits in supporting the US in the expedition. We were making a down payment on the alliance, and keeping the costs of our national defence as low as possible. This was widely understood in the military but rarely acknowledged in public.

    The expedition force was totally imbalanced. Special Forces took the heavy lifting of combat. With 50 per cent of the fatalities and a majority of the wounds, the data supports the assertion. Using special ops was militarily and politically expedient. Special forces are small, high impact, and relatively inexpensive. The public is also more forgiving of a dead 33-year-old professional sergeant, than a teenaged foot soldier.
    We pushed our special forces soldiers into more than 1500 contacts with the enemy over eight years. That’s 3.8 per week, for eight years straight. The average SAS soldier completed more than four tours. Some completed as many as eight. The psychological impact of repeated, violent episodes in warfighting started to fracture our forces.

    From personal experience, I suffered the effects of trauma by the end of my first tour in 2007. I completed three more tours. I hid the diagnosis and kept deploying. For me and my mates, these injuries were the cost of doing business. But injuries they are, and these illnesses can reduce cognition, empathy and judgment. Ian Turner, a commando with multiple tours in Afghanistan, was committed to a psychiatric hospital, only to be returned to combat after his release. He later died by his own hand. He wrote to his sister and said: “I have spent seven years of my life overseas fighting. I’ve had enough.”

    Our “dwell time” in Special Ops was posting to counter-terrorism duties, dangerous training which has killed more SAS soldiers than Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam and East Timor operations combined. So dangerous, the army awards you a medal if you do more than 60 days of it. This is likely not enough time to reflect and repair from the experience of combat.

    Units were certified as fit for combat, when in fact many soldiers were burnt out, and some suffering from mental illness. Defence signed waivers to get around its own rest policy so it could redeploy troops into combat. During the time I served in SAS, combat became a “normalised deviation” – it became normal to head to Afghanistan, fight and to kill in a war we knew we were unlikely to win. Killing enemy high-value targets became a leading measure of success in combat, a measure encouraged by senior levels of Special Forces. Medals were awarded to soldiers and officers for performing well on this front.

    The toxic culture grew slowly at SASR as a small group of non-commissioned officers held toxic levels of influence. There was institutional-level bullying, and it was sanctioned by Defence. This created an inversion of power where difficult soldiers or leaders could be castigated by an influential group of soldiers. These behaviours may have been removing some of the best oversight the unit had at the time.

    I feel terrible that my time in Afghanistan, which I still count as my finest hours, has been tarnished.
    If the allegations are true, then our special operations units have a disgraceful streak that will overshadow an otherwise hallowed war-fighting record. The allegations are evil, and immorality at this level is not excusable. The decision-makers that green-lighted this mess of a war, year after year, are just as culpable.
    Let our elected officials, and the public, debate our decision to send troops to war, and what criteria will deem it a success. If we commit to a war, we must be serious, and alert for the duration. Long wars of choice almost never end well. This one hasn’t.

    Mark Wales is a former SAS officer. He is writing a memoir to be released in 2021.

  127. Albatross

    BrettW
    #3671019, posted on November 25, 2020 at 10:04 pm
    From the Brisbane Times : SAS war crimes: ‘killing became incentivised, a toxic culture grew’ – By Mark Wales

    Literally fucking who?

  128. BrettW

    Albatross,
    Perhaps you have not read the actual article, all above, which indicates he was an SAS officer for 6 years and completed 4 tours of Afghanistan.

    I am guessing the Editor chose the headline title SAS war Crimes.

    The Quadrant article linked above is an interesting read, particularly in relation to “blooding”.

  129. Albatross

    Yes, I’m sure the media has no problems finding some blubbering baby with RDS to trot out in cases like this. I see this one has a book coming out. Bully.

    I don’t read links Felatus posts.

  130. JC

    FelixKruell
    #3670733, posted on November 25, 2020 at 5:40 pm
    […]
    I expected better from this blog. It’s not what it was.

    Oh yea, but I never expected better from you, Ringshott. Only last week tried to doxx me. You know I always escalate, right? Payback is a real bitch.

  131. cohenite

    No, I get the feeling you’re all in your 80s and morbidly obese. I suspect if I wait a little, you’ll all die.

    Hold your rancid breath while you’re waiting bush lawyer.

  132. Albatross

    JC how’d he get the nickname Ringshot?

  133. JC

    Dunno, just thought it suited him.

  134. Albatross

    cohenite
    #3671039, posted on November 25, 2020 at 10:30 pm
    No, I get the feeling you’re all in your 80s and morbidly obese. I suspect if I wait a little, you’ll all die.

    Hold your rancid breath while you’re waiting bush lawyer.

    He’s no longer a lawyer. He was struck off for bringing the profession into disrepute on account of publically fornicating with a chicken. It was in all the papers. Reportedly the fowl was fine, and had not even noticed the deed was done.

  135. BrettW

    Albatross,
    Yes you are probably right. What would a soldier who did 4 tours with the SAS know compared to you. Your “Literally fucking who?” comment says more about you than it does about the author.

    Same goes to an article by a LTCOL who served in Vietnam who has some interesting things to say at Quadrant. You write it off merely because somebody you dont like puts up the link.

  136. Albatross

    You seem like you’ve got an axe to grind, Brett. By your metric, the opinion of Ben Roberts-Smith, who served six tours of Afghanistan, counts more than Cpl. Literally-Who. Says more about you than it does of him that you choose to ignore it.

  137. Hodor

    Oh my God,

    The SASR soldiers fight lethally for us, the population.
    The abc cockheads spit on us and our soldiers.
    The soldiers are forced to combat an enemy with zero morals who lie and are no doubt coached to draw the infidel press in and make the abc what it now is, a fucken disaster.

    I used to enjoy listening to abc radio whilst I drove a truck late into the night, but fuck me, even the nightlife has changed.

    What is the point of haranguing those prepared to lay down their lives for us?

    What’s wrong with warriors?

    This is so disheartening.

  138. Albatross

    It’s distressing Hodor. It leaves us vulnerable, in spirit as much as in practice.

  139. Dot

    This inquiry wasn’t setup to effect arrests.

    You idiot. You think a commissioner appointed as a judicial officer and who is a supreme Court judge cannot refer parties to the DPP?

    They cannot be referred because there is a lack of credible evidence.

    ‘May be’?

    You seem a lot less certain now.

    Why would the inquiry make that point, if it’s so easily circumvented?

    Okay it is a justice offence without a valid reason.

    You’re deadset idiot Ringshot.

    The AFP and ADF investigators couldn’t make an arrest after five years, they need two more?

    This is a political witch hunt to justify turning the SASR into a useless regiment of pansies.

  140. Dot

    Oh yea, but I never expected better from you, Ringshott. Only last week tried to doxx me. You know I always escalate, right? Payback is a real bitch.

    Aw sheeeit!

  141. gowest

    Watched 60 mins double down until they got to the part where they tried outing Kerry Stokes for funding defences – Apparently our heroic MSM don’t approve of anyone defending our soldiers under charge, – Lebanon forgotten already chickenshits??.

  142. BrettW

    Albatross,
    I dont have any axe to grind.

    I put up the SAS officers article because I thought it might be of interest considering most of the articles in past week have been by journalists and opinion writers who have never been to Afghanistan let alone served in the military. There has also been an ex Commando officer (Heston) who has been commenting recently and good to see. Perhaps if you did not like Wales’s article you could actually state what your issue with it is rather than insulting the author. Just a thought.

    “By your metric, the opinion of Ben Roberts-Smith, who served six tours of Afghanistan, counts more than Cpl. Literally-Who. Says more about you than it does of him that you choose to ignore it”. A minor point but the “metric” you mention are your words not mine. I made no comparison with or even mentioned Ben RS. My comment was about you deriding an SAS officers opinion. As I said how about you let us know what you dont like about his article.

    To be clear I hope that there is insufficient evidence at trial to convict anybody. I have no wish to see any SF convicted. However if any are then the evidence will have to have been very strong to get to that point. As the report indicates they are not talking about combat deaths but until we see what the cases are it is hard to form an opinion on the strength of evidence. None on this blog know the strength of evidence or lack of evidence as most of the information is redacted. As I have mentioned before one of the most difficult aspects of these cases is that some, perhaps all, are going to involve Australian soldiers giving evidence against others. In addition, from my reading, one or more of those potential witnesses may have personal issues against the person(s) they might be giving evidence against.

    The article at Quadrant is interesting. Like that author I have a big problem with the issue of “blooding” and if you believe it happened then some of those who did the shooting quite clearly may not have been keen to participate. The report suggests they have such incidents that might get to trial as it makes mention of the policy being to go for the senior soldier rather than the shooter.

    You see a lot of people commenting here and deriding senior officers, the female academic, the inquiry team, the politicians etc but not so much comment on whether “blooding” is an acceptable practice for an elite unit with a previously impeccable reputation. On the other hand after seeing what happened to Bravo Two Zero and the “Lone Survivor” incident I would never blame any team that took out a civilian who might compromise their teams lives. However my understanding of “blooding” is that any danger has passed when the killing takes place. The prosecution will have to prove any such “blooding”.

    Albatross
    #3671052, posted on November 25, 2020 at 10:46 pm
    You seem like you’ve got an axe to grind, Brett. By your metric, the opinion of Ben Roberts-Smith, who served six tours of Afghanistan, counts more than Cpl. Literally-Who. Says more about you than it does of him that you choose to ignore it.

  143. Dot

    gowest
    #3671070, posted on November 25, 2020 at 11:21 pm

    Watched 60 mins double down until they got to the part where they tried outing Kerry Stokes for funding defences – Apparently our heroic MSM don’t approve of anyone defending our soldiers under charge, – Lebanon forgotten already chickenshits??.

    Great point,

    Channel Nein were basically running a people smuggling operation.

  144. Albatross

    Brett if I’m not going to read someone else’s article, what makes you think I’m going to read yours?

  145. Rex Anger

    @ BrettW-

    You see a lot of people commenting here and deriding senior officers, the female academic, the inquiry team, the politicians etc but not so much comment on whether “blooding” is an acceptable practice for an elite unit with a previously impeccable reputation. On the other hand after seeing what happened to Bravo Two Zero and the “Lone Survivor” incident I would never blame any team that took out a civilian who might compromise their teams lives. However my understanding of “blooding” is that any danger has passed when the killing takes place. The prosecution will have to prove any such “blooding”.

    The reason ‘blooding’ is not being commented on is very simply because of the apparent absurdity of such a claim, and the further claims made by Brereton et al about its frequency.

    The concept of blooding is abhorrent and has no place in any professional and disciplined military. That almost needs no clarification or expanding on at all.

    That it is alleged to have been so common defies understanding. Remember that effectively every member who completed Selection and Cadre between 2008 and 2016 was a combat veteran. To suggest that they lacked the ability to kill and required a bound prisoner to do so for the first time is professionally insulting, and a potentially very undeserved indictment on the character of the alleged perpetrators and inciters alike.

    Futhermore, confirmed evidence of that sort of action cannot be held in confidence indefinitely. Not by inciter, perpetrator or witnesses. And not for some 8-15 years. If it was not reported within the Regiment, details would have got out long ago. IGADF and ADFIS would have been involved, the media and trolling fools like Flatus would be hooting and dancing about with malicious glee, and very serious ongoing scrutiny would be made over every ADF unit in every subsequent operation, to ensure it never happened again.

    To put it simply BrettW, in my opinion at least, the claims (in absence of any further evidencre, and considering that the media would be all over this had someone been charged over it, let alone convicted) are malicious, unfounded and emotionally manipulative. That sort of thing might be expected in a poorly disciplined military or mercenary formation, or within the script of a Hollywood blockbuster. Not within some of the most professional and disciplined units in the Australian Army. Even at their worst. Both SASR and 1 and 2CDO have too many Warriors and Old Boys within and outside of the ranks who respect, uphold and defend their own Warrior culture.

    If something actually stands up in Court, I will change my mind. Otherwise, it is a most egregious outburst of manipulative propaganda against SOCOMD and the Australian Army, and does not deserve to be given any more oxygen.

  146. Albatross

    Tells me everything I need to know about this episode that nobody has been charged with or convicted of anything and we’re already well into the penalty phase.

  147. Albatross

    Prepare for the years-long struggle-session.

  148. Rex Anger

    @ Albatross-

    Sadly agree.

    This presents very much as a fait accompli. Presented alongside the decapitated head of 2 SQN SASR and the intended stripping of the TF66/SOTG Distinguished Unt Citation and individual gallantry awards, for the (enforced/manipulated) adulation of the masses

    Same as the Broderick report in 2010-11

    Same as the ‘Jedi Council’ beatup in 2012.

    Same as Crompvoets’ Fighting With Words, and every other one of her subsequent reports and roadmaps for ‘Cultural Change’ released from her office at the behest of the Defence Department.

  149. Dot

    Same as Crompvoets’ Fighting With Words, and every other one of her subsequent reports and roadmaps for ‘Cultural Change’ released from her office at the behest of the Defence Department.

    The fact that an utterly useless sociologist got anywhere near high command and policy speaks volumes.

  150. WX

    As I wrote on the tail of another thread about one week ago: When the government/media have no fear of the populace/audience, there exists no motivation for restraint (avoidance of likely negative consequences).
    Fear is the key.

  151. Rex Anger

    @ WX-

    + 1. Thousand…

  152. FelixKruell

    At least 10 current members of the elite Special Air Service Regiment implicated in the damning Afghanistan war crimes inquiry have received “show cause” notices from the Defence Department.

    The personnel are suspected to have been “accessories” or “witnesses” to alleged murders carried out by other Special Forces soldiers but are not among the 19 personnel who Justice Brereton recommended be referred to Federal Police.

    “Defence can confirm it has initiated administrative action against a number of serving Australian Defence Force personnel in accordance with legislation and Defence policy,” a spokesperson told the ABC.

    “As the Chief of the Defence Force [CDF] said publicly last week, findings by the IGADF Afghanistan Inquiry of alleged negligence by individuals in the performance of their duties have been accepted by the CDF, and allegations will be managed through the ADF’s administrative and disciplinary processes.”

  153. Dot

    This proves absolutely nothing you halfwit.

    Murder? Where are the indictments?

    Two more years?

    Utter bullshit.

  154. FelixKruell

    It shows they’re ready taking action against those soldiers they don’t intend to pursue on criminal charges.

  155. Dot

    It means nothing.

    You cannot have an adverse finding against you for being a minor party to a criminal act that is unproven.

    This is military discipline and administrative law, not tort you oaf.

  156. FelixKruell

    This is military discipline and administrative law, not tort you oaf.

    Sigh. I wasnt suggesting anything else.

  157. Dot

    Felix finally agrees that he is wrong.

    What a plonker.

  158. FelixKruell

    Only when you mangle what I didn’t say…scroll up. Read what I actually said.

  159. Rex Anger

    @ Dot-

    Shades of Jedi Council. 2011-12 all over again.

    Innocent or not. Guilty or not. You are named. You are marked. You are doomed. Some anonymous fool at a desk somewhere has declared you ‘undesirable.’

    You may quietly get a desultory ‘compensation’ payout some time after the fact, but your professional life is over.

    And I note with interest how excited Flatus is about all this. Only a day after tring totwist and lie his way out of a demonstration that he adores and defends any institutional bastardry that is lin line with his ideologcal beliefs, he is at it again.


    It shows they’re ready taking action against those soldiers they don’t intend to pursue on criminal charges.

    Piss off, Flatus. The last lot to have this happen to them committed the awful capital crime of being sent an email by a civilian contractor with a record for breaching the Defence Emil Terms of Service and Code of Conuct. One Commando officer never even opened the thig, yet was found guilty, his Show Cause ignored, and his career arbitrarily terminated because LTGEN David Morrison had to look tough.

    Stick to lying at us about George Pell and the 2020 Presidential Election fraud, Flatus. You are on stronger ground there.

  160. Old School Conservative

    Well done to Chris Smith on Sky.
    Vigorously defending the SAS and Defence personnel and giving lots of air time to Heston Russell, retired Special Forces Commander. Russell is a powerful advocate for due process and innocent before guilty Also promoting voiceofaveteran.org
    Russell also announced that AWM told him the director’s comments re displaying the Brereton report was a private opinion and won’t be considered until after the court cases are settled.

Comments are closed.