A shocking Australian military outline into war crimes has found evidence that elite Australian troops unlawfully killed 39 Afghan prisoners, farmers and civilians.
Australian Defence Force Chief Gen. Angus Campbell said Thursday the shameful record included alleged instances in which new patrol members would shoot a prisoner as a way to achieve their first kill in a practice referred to as “blooding.” He said the soldiers would then plant weapons and radios to strengthen false claims the prisoners were enemies killed in action.
Campbell told reporters in Canberra the unlawful killings began in 2009, with the majority occurring in 2012 and 2013. He said some members of the elite Special Air Service encouraged “a self-centered, warrior culture.”
The chief used to be announcing the findings of a four-year investigation by Maj. Gen. Paul Brereton, a pass judgement on and Army reservist who used to be asked to look into the allegations and interviewed more than 400 witnesses and reviewed thousands of pages of documents. Brereton really helpful 19 soldiers be investigated by police for imaginable charges, including homicide.
“To the people of Afghanistan, on behalf of the Australian Defence Force, I sincerely and unreservedly apologize for any wrongdoing by Australian soldiers,” Campbell said.
He said he’d spoken directly to his Afghan military counterpart to express his regret.
“Such alleged behavior profoundly disrespected the agree with placed in us by the Afghan people who had asked us to their country to help them,” Campbell said. “It would have devastated the lives of Afghan families and communities, causing immeasurable pain and suffering. And it would have put in jeopardy our mission and the safety of our Afghan and coalition partners.”
In addition to the 39 killings, the outline outlines two allegations of merciless remedy. It says that not one of the alleged crimes were dedicated all over the heat of battle.
Only parts of the outline have been made public. Many details, including the names of alleged killers, remain redacted.
The outline said a complete of 25 current or former troops were involved as perpetrators or accessories in 23 separate incidents, with some involved just once and a couple of more than one times.
It said some Australian troops would incessantly carry “throw downs” — such things as foreign pistols, radios and grenades that they could plant on those they killed so the Afghan civilians would appear like combatants in photographs.
The outline said lots of the alleged crimes were dedicated and concealed at a patrol commander level by corporals and sergeants, and that while higher-level troop and squadron commanders had to take some responsibility for the events that happened on their watch, they weren’t primarily to blame.
The outline paints a picture of a poisonous culture in which soldiers were competing against those from other squadrons, accounts of deaths were sanitized or embellished, and plenty of procedures to make sure safety and integrity had broken down.
“Those who wished to speak up were allegedly discouraged, intimidated and discredited,” Campbell said.
The outline really helpful 19 soldiers be referred to federal police for crook investigation. Campbell said he’s accepting all of the outline’s recommendations.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has already announced a special investigator will help pursue imaginable prosecutions because the workload would overwhelm existing police resources.
Many troops are also likely to be stripped of their medals and the defense force will undergo remarkable structural changes. The outline says that where there is credible evidence of illegal killings, Afghan families must be compensated immediately by Australia without waiting for the crook cases to proceed.
“This will be the most important step in rehabilitating Australia’s international repute, in specific with Afghanistan, and it is simply the correct object to do,” the outline states.