Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Friday, 20 November 2020

Shame

 

Pic courtesy The Conversation

The media, in Australia and worldwide, is salivating over the release of the redacted Brereton Report.

Even if only some of the allegations are proven, the whole episode is deeply shocking, shameful and sad.

Shocking, because Australians have always held their military in high esteem, and these revelations come as a shock, even if we've been drip-fed rumours for years now. Shameful, because they reflect on everybody who has served or is still serving. Sad, because of the destruction of the lives of the Afghani victims and their families, and the effect they have had, and will continue to have, on the soldiers who were involved.

I can't begin to imagine the suffering being experienced by those incriminated, either directly, indirectly by association, and the fallout that is eating its way up through the chain of command. It seems inconceivable that commanders had no inkling that this behaviour was happening. It seems to have continued across a number of deployments and a number of units.

The reportage has often been over the top and sensationalist, but this is our media in 2020, and sensational reporting sells. The ABC deserves kudos in doggedly pursuing the story, and having the courage to see it through. Two ABC reporters risked everything.

The publicity has reminded me of occasional episodes when we took prisoners. One incident (covered in the chapter entitled TAOR in my memoir) involved my patrol encountering a party of about twenty civilians, woodcutters, whom we encountered in a no go zone north of the task force base.  

We stopped and searched them, and had to hold them all day until the local Vietnamese authorities came to collect them. We treated them well, gave them food and water, and provided shade. The whole episode was actually enjoyable for me, as there were half a dozen kids in the group, and I reverted to teacher mode, finding out that these children were quite advanced in their understanding of long division. It's amazing what can be accomplished with a stick writing on the ground, even when there is no common language.

Perhaps the worst aspect of this whole sorry episode (apart from the deaths of the Afghans) will be the burden these diggers carry for the rest of their lives. The suicide rates are already over the top for this generation of returned soldiers.

Comments closed.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

"What are you on about, you idiot?
What statistics?
You are weird.
Piss off.
Blackbeard 1"

What? You aren't aware of the blogger's obsession with Catallaxy Files?
That's where he spends all his time; this vanity blog of his is simply a minor diversion from posting Wuhan Flu statistics of Americans dying. Thats weird.
Almost as weird with his full time occupation of justifying his lack of a moral compass when he agreed to be conscripted into the Vietnam war. He was wrong then and has spent 50 years running from his conscience.
John Grey.

Anonymous said...

The only "shame" belongs to the Prime Minister and Defence Force Chief Angus Campbell who have publicly called the accused soldiers guilty.
Not one ounce of evidence from the Brereton inquiry has been made available to the public but we are expected to believe the report is totally correct.
That assumption is rubbish.
John Grey.

1735099 said...

Not one ounce of evidence from the Brereton inquiry has been made available to the public but we are expected to believe the report is totally correct.

There is plenty of evidence, 318 pages of it in fact. Read the full report, which is linked in my post. If you don't have time to read the whole report, he is an extract from the executive summary -
However, the Inquiry has found that there is credible information of 23 incidents in which one or more non-combatants or persons hors-de-combat were unlawfully killed by or at the direction of members of the Special Operations Task Group in circumstances which, if accepted by a jury, would be the war crime of murder, and a further two incidents in which a non-combatant or person hors de-combat was mistreated in circumstances which, if so accepted, would be the war crime of cruel
treatment. Some of these incidents involved a single victim, and some multiple victims.
16. These incidents involved:
a. a total of 39 individuals killed, and a further two cruelly treated; and
b. a total of 25 current or former Australian Defence Force personnel who were perpetrators, either as principals or accessories, some of them on a single occasion and a few on multiple occasions.
17. None of these are incidents of disputable decisions made under pressure in the heat of battle.
The cases in which it has been found that there is credible information of a war crime are ones in which it was or should have been plain that the person killed was a non-combatant, or hors-de combat. While a few of these are cases of Afghan local nationals encountered during an operation
who were on no reasonable view participating in hostilities, the vast majority are cases where the persons were killed when hors-de-combat because they had been captured and were persons under control, and as such were protected under international law, breach of which was a crime.

Anonymous said...

Had a quick squizz at the report and findings, but was unable to find any evidence offered other than that there was a report compiled Stating that there is credible evidence, that may, in the event of a criminal investigation, lead to charges being laid against alleged perpetrators.
Can you give me a quick indication to where I might have missed "evidence" that led to the findings. The majority of the report appears to be an explanation for the setting up of the enquiry and justification of same. What you call evidence is the findings of the adjudicator. Evidence is what led to his belief and subsequent report. This report is the initiator for a criminal investigation, so we are a long way from the final act. Looking forward to your reply.
Not J.G.

Anonymous said...

"Two ABC reporters risked everything." On what basis do you make that assumption?

1735099 said...

Evidence is what led to his belief and subsequent report.
Thank you.
You've provided the explanation yourself, and saved me the trouble.

1735099 said...

They risked imprisonment for considerable periods of time. It's difficult to earn a living as a reporter in clink - https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-10-15/dan-oakes-afghan-files-prosecution-decision/12771304

Anonymous said...

Blogger, do you read your own posts?
The stuff you cut and pasted said "credible information"; "if accepted by a jury"; and "if so accepted".
The stuff you posted is a set of conclusions, not the evidence.
The extract you posted are part of the findings of the enquiry - not the evidence.
Nothing to indicate the veracity of the sources nor what evidence has been presented.
As I said, no evidence has been presented to the public and we rush to judgement at our peril.
John Grey

Anonymous said...

The full report also leaves room for a finding that does not mean "guilty"
"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. Generally, it is analogous to a finding that there are reasonable grounds for a supposition. That is consistent with the ‘scoping’ function of the Inquiry,"

To repeat - "this is not a finding of guilt"
John Grey.

Anonymous said...

"Evidence is what led to his belief and subsequent report.
Thank you.
You've provided the explanation yourself, and saved me the trouble."
C'mon blogger - one of your few readers asks a legitimate and intelligent question and all you can come up with is a juvenile taunt?
You must be very unsure of your facts to avoid angering.
Like the time you refused to define a term you used re the American Presidential election: "electoral college district".

John Grey.

Anonymous said...

Make up your mind, blogger.
Do you believe your first comment "Even if only some of the allegations are proven"
OR your second and opposite comment "There is plenty of evidence, 318 pages of it in fact".

Evidence indicates something happened. Allegations are unproven.

Anonymous said...

"the fallout that is eating its way up through the chain of command"
Wrong again, blogger.
Brereton has expressly absolved high command from any and all responsibility and accountability.
Only the grunts will be thrown to the wolves.
John Grey.

Anonymous said...

"The ABC deserves kudos in doggedly pursuing the story, and having the courage to see it through. Two ABC reporters risked everything"
What a lot of rubbish.
Publicising leaked documents is no risk at all, especially when a billion dollar corporation is behind you.
John Grey.

Anonymous said...

"There is plenty of evidence, 318 pages of it in fact."
"Evidence is what led to his belief and subsequent report."
As you point out by these two quotes 1735099 you don't comprehend the difference between evidence and a report about allegations. You believe that the report contains evidence where it does not. The report is a starting point for an investigation, much the same as a report of a crime to a policeman that will be investigated by those responsible for investigating the crime...The copper at the counter (Brereton) compiles a report and then passes it onto detectives or squad to follow up. As in Brereton's report the only evidence the report offers is that the report was actually made and that there is a case for an investigation.
The "evidence" is the collection of videos, statements and records of interview and any available forensic evidence whereupon he reported. None of that is in the report so your 318 pages of "evidence" is either your fabrication or an indication of your lack of knowledge of the investigative process.
Yes I was a copper and yes I have recommended briefs of evidence for prosecution in court and have prosecuted in Magistrates Courts.
I am not John Grey.

Anonymous said...

Does the principle of shared responsibility make the blogger complicit in the My Lai atrocity?
Of course not.
Similarly, all past and present members of the 2nd squadron of the Special Air Service Regiment should not be held resposible for any allegations.
John Grey

Anonymous said...

Yet more people climbing on the unconscionable anti-military bandwaggon.
"Former Defence Force chief Chris Barrie has called for the Australian War Memorial council to be cleaned out amid concerns it has been too close to special forces soldiers who are now subject to allegations of war crimes." Barrie is probably trying to divert attention from himself.
John Grey.

Anonymous said...

"We treated them well, gave them food and water, and provided shade"
You would say that. The real facts may be different.
John Grey

1735099 said...

As you point out by these two quotes 1735099 you don't comprehend the difference between evidence and a report about allegations.
The report is based on a great deal of evidence.
Unless you believe that the whistleblowers made it all up.

1735099 said...

To repeat - "this is not a finding of guilt"

And nowhere did I say it was.

Anonymous said...

"And nowhere did I say it was."
Backtracking now, are we?
John Grey.

Anonymous said...

It's a laugh a minute watching the blogger squiggle and squirm when faced with the truth.
First he says "There is plenty of evidence, 318 pages of it in fact"
Then he backs off because he is correctly challenged on that statement. His new position is
"The report is based on a great deal of evidence."
That's quite a retreat.

Poor old bugger, he's lost it.
John Grey.

Anonymous said...

You're the one who has lost it.
You are a dead set nutcase.
Blackbeard 1

Anonymous said...

Ok Blackbeard - show me where I'm wrong.
I may be a nutcase but at least I can admit to that, unlike the poor old blogger who is stuck in Vietnam and can't get back to reality.
John Grey

Anonymous said...

"Unless you believe that the whistleblowers made it all up."
No Australian worth their salt can believe the report until they hear who said what.
It appears the investigators went to Afghanistan and advertised for witnesses.
There is no way that paid Afghanis should be believed, and inter-unit rivalry within the ADF can account for other suspect accounts.
The ABC can also shoulder blame for their blindly ideological attempt to tear down Australian institutions.

So no, I don't believe the whistleblowers.
John Grey.

1735099 said...

So no, I don't believe the whistleblowers.
No problem.
Let's see what comes out of it.
In the meantime, both the soldiers accused and the whistleblowers should be supported. Their lives would be hell right now.

Anonymous said...

Just to interrupt the "Trump kills Americans with Wuhan Flu" narrative:
"And while every death is a tragedy, the fact remains that the US has still performed better in terms of mortality than nations like Spain, the UK, Italy, and Belgium."
John Grey

Anonymous said...

"Let's see what comes out of it."
Agreed.
Hard to do when the PM and Minister of Defence have pronounced "guilty" verdicts already.
John Grey.

Anonymous said...

"The report is based on a great deal of evidence." Correction...the report is based on a great number of untested allegations and according to the perceptions of a "SAS" member...as in Saturday Afternoon Soldier. The test will come if and when it gets to court.
"Unless you believe that the whistleblowers made it all up." Whether they made it up or not matters little until what they say is corroborated or not by real evidence available to those adjudicating in a court room. In the court room the panel of judges or a jury of 12 must be convinced beyond reasonable doubt to bring down a finding of guilt. The matter hasn't been investigated yet let alone charges been laid. If you listen to the idiots making remarks and apologising, and that goose Angus with the runny nose (hope he"s been tested for Covid-1984) then the matter is done and dusted. There is a long way to go yet.
Thank you for the backflip on 318 pages of evidence to 318 page report based on what one person interpreted without requiring rules of evidence to be followed. Unfortunately, like George Pell they accused will be guilty until the proof is found out. The hammer hasn't fallen yet.

1735099 said...

Unfortunately, like George Pell they (sic) accused will be guilty until the proof is found out. The hammer hasn't fallen yet.
In case you haven't noticed, nobody named has been accused of anything.

Anonymous said...

Get your facts right blogger.
You said "nobody named has been accused of anything."

Brereton said:
"I direct that there is to be no public disclosure of the names of, or anything which would tend to identify:
a. any person who has given evidence or information to the Inquiry who is referred to in Parts 2 or 3 of Reference C;
b. any person mentioned in any finding or recommendation contained in the Report."

Nobody has been named at all.
John Grey.

1735099 said...

Nobody has been named at all.
That's what I wrote:)

Anonymous said...

Once again, the blogger censors my posts by deleting relevant posts, and then goes on to make nonsensical comments.
He wrote "nobody named has been accused "
BUT
then says he wrote "Nobody has been named" because I pointed out his error.
The two statements are mutually contradictory.

I hope his PhD supervisor has time, patience, and a working knowledge of English so he can polish up the blogger's work.
John Grey.

Anonymous said...

"In case you haven't noticed, nobody named has been accused of anything"...in case you didn't notice, there is a lot of redacted information in the published report. You have no idea who may have been named but not had their name published.
The accused and everyone involved as unit members are being admonished publicly and denials and the Dandrews defence of I know nuffing by commanders are being pushed as a reason not to investigate or bring charges against upper echelon personnel. The unit as a whole is accused by association. If you think the families of those personnel are not affected because no names have been published then you have absolutely no idea. There are nineteen members and their units who are fully aware that they are in the sights of their accusers. By not naming them every patrol member of SAS is accused and like Pell, guilty until proven otherwise, until the names are published. The names won't be published if no charges are laid. If prima facie evidence admissible in a court cannot be produced there will be no charges, but the mud still clings to the reputation of the unit and each member. Do you remember the BS that was going around in the sixties and seventies about those that served as baby killers in Vietnam? This is unforgivable, even for a good mick like you. Angus runny nose should reassess his position within the armed services as should Brereton, and I am not suggesting promotion for a job well done. Morrison and all the apologists and those that believe this has been proven should be ashamed. Your obvious stance on this puts you in that category. This matter should have been kept out of the public domain until charges were preferred.
You didn't deny the backflip, you did notice that in my haste to edit that I left the "y" on "they". Did you put a red mark through that and mark me down? You had nothing to say about my comment's thrust. Is that an acceptance of the content by reluctance to debate it? You are showing promise.
I am not J.G.

Anonymous said...

You're making a fool of yourself John Grey. You're going around in ever decreasing circles.
Blackbeard 1.

1735099 said...

in case you didn't notice, there is a lot of redacted information in the published report.
It's redacted so nobody is named.
The unit as a whole is accused by association.
And that is wrong, but nothing in my post accuses anybody of anything. I make observations about the way the media has handled it. Once the cat was out of the bag, the commanders had no choice but to condemn it.
Read it again.
I described the allegations as shameful. That is a statement of fact.
You'll also notice that I pointed out the damage already done, and continuing to be done to the soldiers and their units, irrespective of their conduct. I was called a "babykiller" (actually a "babymaimer"- by a colleague who was teaching kids with disabilities as I was), on RTA. I know how wounding and wrong that is.
The emphasis now should be on caring for the veterans in light of the controversy.

Anonymous said...

The heading "Shame" is an eye catcher, but it is an indication that the writer has formed an opinion on the contents of the allegations, rather than the fact that making the allegations public is shameful and bring discredit to those who are implicated, their associates and and distress to their families, and all before the matters have been proven. Similar scenario to what happened to Pell.
"I described the allegations as shameful" No you didn't.
"Even if only some of the allegations are proven, the whole episode is deeply shocking, shameful and sad."
Probably should be replaced with...Even if some of the incidents described in the allegations are proven the situation, as described, would be deeply shocking, shameful and sad.
In the event that none of the incidents were proven, as with Pell, you could still say "the whole episode is deeply shocking, shameful and sad" as it was when we returned from the tour of S.E.A.

Anonymous said...

"You're making a fool of yourself John Grey. You're going around in ever decreasing circles.
Blackbeard 1."

Try making a case in support of the blogger, Blackbeard.
I'll bet you can't do it, given your constant use of abuse and a lack of facts to back your opinion.

Just because the blogger constantly spouts rubbish shouldn't mean you should do the same.
John Grey

Anonymous said...

"I was called a "babykiller" (actually a "babymaimer"

I hope you gave that ignorant lefty a swift smack on the nose.
John Grey.

Anonymous said...

Well well well.
The soldiers are guilty.
Dismissals have started.
Just as well Defence didn't send in the sociologists after the Kokoda Trail like they did in Afghanistan.
Morrison and Campbell looking after themselves.
A disgusted John Grey.

1735099 said...

The heading "Shame" is an eye catcher
You can always start your own blog, instead of rewriting this one.
You're here all day, so must have time to do it.

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