Unpalatable as it may be, if you go back far enough into the history of the ADF, there is precedent for abuse of prisoners.
I’m sure the majority of service personnel behave themselves in very difficult circumstances as they did when I was a member forty years ago, but to assume that nobody ever stuffs up is, put simply, the height of naivety.
After all, the ADF is made up of the full cross section of humanity, and there will always be a small presence of psychopaths and bigots in any group.
This incident has an eerie similarity to allegations made by asylum seekers recently.
There are always a few cowboys in any unit. The quality of the ADF these days isn’t leavened by conscripts (whose presence improved the average IQ of the army significantly) so it’s entirely possible that one or two personnel lost the plot, particularly if they were members of *TSE aboard the Parramatta.
What is fact –
1. A number of asylum seekers had burns on their hands after their boat was intercepted by Australian military personnel.
2. Australian authorities refuse to release any details of incidents on that boat, claiming operational security.
3. Pepper spray was used in this incident (confirmed by Scott Morrison).
Some unanswered questions -
1. How were these people burned? Are we expected to believe that the burns were accidental or self inflicted?
2. Why are details of the incident denied to the Australian public? Is there something to hide?
3. What other restraint was used? What training did the special squad have in the use of forcible restraint?
The media has a responsibility to report – the military to investigate. It is claimed that an investigation has taken place. If this is the case, and there is nothing to hide, why haven’t the results been released?
Why is the ABC being so trenchantly condemned? Is that a very effective and contrived smokescreen?
There is a very nasty stench about the incident. The truth will come out, even if it takes as long as it did for the truth of the water torture incident linked above.
*TSE – Transit Security Element – Drawn from Army, Navy and Air Force. You’d have to wonder what kind of macho adolescent would be attracted to a unit that routinely manhandles desperate and unarmed men women and children.