Brereton Report into war crimes by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan
November 18, 2020 6:35 PM   Subscribe

 
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that we know of (previously)
posted by lalochezia at 7:16 PM on November 18


This is going to devolve into another chapter of the culture wars in Australia. Expect to see opinion columnists minimising the crimes as "fog of war" and similar bullshit. Meanwhile, one of Australia's richest men has has promised to fund the legal defenses of the accused soldiers.

The Federal Govt is funding a new wing of the Australian War Memorial for $500 million - there's no way they will want the criminal investigations to proceed with any kind of haste. Wouldn't be great to open a new 'you beaut' war gallery at the same time as Australian soldiers are found guilty of killing civilians. So the Australian Federal Police will drag their feet, the investigation will be under-resourced, and eventually it will peter out with just a few soldiers prosecuted for administrative reasons.

Gross.
posted by awfurby at 9:50 PM on November 18 [9 favorites]


Can someone explain why the SAS were there in the first place? I'm not especially ill-informed, but the only reason I can come up with is that the Australia is really scared of a potential East Asian war without the USA showing up to help; and Australia hopes to minimise that risk by always showing up to help when the USA has a war elsewhere.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:20 PM on November 18 [4 favorites]


Joe in Australia, you're largely right I think. The Howard Govt gave military support to the US for the initial invasion of Afghanistan, and then we kind of never left.

Our strategic posture has always been to back the US in the Pacific region, in an expectation that should we get into trouble the US will assist. The only time we've asked for help was in East Timor, and the US provided some logistical support.

But I think another part of it is successive Australian governments have never seen a war they didn't want to be a part of. It's bizarre and grotesque.
posted by awfurby at 10:35 PM on November 18 [7 favorites]


Australia hopes to minimise that risk by always showing up to help when the USA has a war

That's my understanding. Plus (then PM) Howard was at the Pentagon when it was struck on 9/11 so he was extra keen to 'go all the way with LBJ GWB.

This Parliamentary Library Briefing on why Australia sent troops to Afghanistan might help. Spoiler alert. It wasn't initially to fight, but to train Afghan National Army and provide security forces.
posted by Thella at 10:39 PM on November 18 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile, one of Australia's richest men has has promised to fund the legal defenses of the accused soldiers.

Awfurby, if you have an unlocked copy of that article, I would love to read it. A lot of shit has been uncovered in this report, and it would be good to know the names of all the people who want it covered up.

BTW, there are only around 400 Australian soldiers in Afghanistan. Which is about 1 unlawful killing for every 10 soldiers. It's fuckin' fucked and I am glad we are hearing about it now.

Australia is rife with some extreme toxic masculinity. Some of the reports are saying that junior soldiers were made to kill to 'blood' them.
posted by Thella at 10:45 PM on November 18 [9 favorites]


Disgusted with the actions of these soldiers, deeply regret that we were even there in the first place, but at least we are going through this truth-telling process and what comes out of it, to my mind, is less forgone than I think some make out.
posted by Panthalassa at 10:59 PM on November 18 [1 favorite]


I threw out some war hardcopy clippings few years back, but recall the wish of a Australian pm wanting to "involve au in foreign wars", that was the sentiment anyway.

Also recall reading on web few weeks back about usmc soldiers calling out about these particular au war crimes.
posted by unearthed at 11:30 PM on November 18


Disgusted with the actions of these soldiers, deeply regret that we were even there in the first place, but at least we are going through this truth-telling process...


Except that the whistleblower is still facing jail time

posted by moorooka at 2:04 AM on November 19 [8 favorites]


Except that the whistleblower is still facing jail time

Hopefully the case is dropped, McBride wins it, or in he worst case he is sentenced with the utmost leniency.
posted by Panthalassa at 3:02 AM on November 19 [1 favorite]


Thella - looks like they locked the article after I posted it. The Age has an article about it now: Kerry Stokes moves to help SAS members accused of war crimes
posted by awfurby at 3:14 AM on November 19 [2 favorites]


Can someone explain why the SAS were there in the first place?

So John Howard could get the Medal of Freedom from Bush the Lesser.

Mission Accomplished, as they said years back, and now these murderers are using "pointless mission, nothing to do, got bored and killed people" (true enough) as an excuse (yeah, nah mate).

That said: this is what the Australian military do. Time between Federation and the conviction of an Australian officer for murdering civilians? A touch over a year.

I'm generously not including pre-Federation.
posted by pompomtom at 3:38 AM on November 19 [4 favorites]


This is appalling but not exactly surprising. I don't understand what Kerry Stokes is thinking by supporting the accused. I understand but am still pretty bloody angry about the Australian Federal Police raids on journalists working on the story, and the whistleblower even being charged with anything.
posted by harriet vane at 3:45 AM on November 19 [2 favorites]


Incidentally: does everyone else always misread "IGADF"? I wonder if my brain just goes "Eh? Apropos."
posted by pompomtom at 3:52 AM on November 19 [4 favorites]


christ almighty disband the fucking regiment
posted by um at 4:10 AM on November 19


christ almighty disband the fucking regiment

...then reconstitute it from scratch before there's a Spud's Guard that is far worse.
posted by pompomtom at 4:26 AM on November 19


IGADF, do you?
posted by chmmr at 4:37 AM on November 19


I DO GIVE A LOT OF FUCKS (though I am very concerned about Murdoch pro-militarist media).

...just to be clear because my gag above is a touch ambiguous.
posted by pompomtom at 5:48 AM on November 19 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't be great to open a new 'you beaut' war gallery at the same time as Australian soldiers are found guilty of killing civilians.

I will not count my country among the world's civilized nations until there is a prominent memorial to this and every other similar event, both overseas and domestic, in some such gallery.

The chance of this happening under anything but a Greens government strikes me as minuscule.

I'm not holding my breath.
posted by flabdablet at 8:28 AM on November 19 [3 favorites]


In 1991 or 1992 while the Canadian Airborne Regiment was 'peacekeeping' in Somalia, a local teenager named Shidane Arone was caught possibly trying to steal food from their base and was beaten to death by a couple of soldiers. The response in Canada was outrage - a Royal Commission was set up to investigate, the victim became a household name, and the entire regiment was disbanded (and the soldier who did most of the beating attempted suicide but survived, severely brain damaged).
posted by Flashman at 8:32 AM on November 19 [8 favorites]


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