Afghanistan War Crimes Report: Student Artist Calls ‘Australia Character Exposed’ for Investigation

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A student artist claims the alleged Afghan war crimes are “the character of Australia exposed” and criticized the support given to stressed soldiers.

Bobuq Sayed, a queer non-binary youth leader whose parents are Afghan refugees, wrote a scathing article for the university-funded literary magazine Meanjin.

Sayed’s comments referred to the Brereton report on alleged Australian war crimes in Afghanistan that was released last week.

Bobuq Sayed, a queer non-binary youth worker whose parents are Afghan refugees, wrote the article for the university-funded literary magazine Meanjin.

The four-year investigation revealed a “shameful record” of suspected unlawful killings that took place outside of “the heat of battle”.

They included instances where new patrol members were told to shoot a prisoner for their first murder in a “appalling practice” known as “blood”.

There was also evidence that troops had participated in “body count competitions” and covered up illegal killings by staging skirmishes, planting weapons and retrospectively adding names to target lists.

Sayed has targeted Defense Personnel Minister Darren Chester for his “disregard for the structural problem underlying the Brereton report”.

But “what struck the most,” Sayed said, was the inclusion of 24-hour hotlines and advice for members of the Australian Defense Force and their families in media articles on the report. .

The four-year investigation revealed a 'shameful record' of unlawful killings that took place outside the 'heat of battle' (Photo: Australian Special Operations Task Force soldiers)

The four-year investigation revealed a ‘shameful record’ of unlawful killings that took place outside the ‘heat of battle’ (Photo: Soldiers from the Australian Special Operations Task Force)

“It makes me horrifying that the emotional impact of this report is focused on the veterans, although this is not surprising given how often this ‘bad apples’ framing obscures the extent of national complicity,” wrote Sayed.

“Perhaps these war crimes in Afghanistan are not an exceptional error in judgment, but the very character of Australia highlighted. “

Institute of Public Affairs research director Daniel Wild called the article “un-Australian.”

“These comments are motivated by animosity towards the Australian way of life and dominant Australian values,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

Australian Defense Association executive director Neil James questioned why offering hotlines and counseling to members of the Australian Defense Force and their families was “mortifying”.

Sayed's comments come after a major report on alleged Australian war crimes in Afghanistan was released last week

Sayed’s comments come after a major report on alleged Australian war crimes in Afghanistan was released last week

Sayed claimed that `` what touched the most '' was the inclusion of 24-hour helplines and advice for members of the Australian Defense Force and their families.

Sayed said “what touched the most” was the inclusion of 24-hour helplines and advice for members of the Australian Defense Force and their families.

Lawyer and former army officer Glenn Kolomeitz said it was “disappointing” that someone criticized the mental health support offered. “

The Brereton report, which was released last Thursday, attributes the killings in part to a “warrior hero” culture among special forces.

The 465-page document recommended that 19 people be investigated criminally and called for sweeping reforms of the Australian military.

The report’s findings are based only on “credible information,” which is a lower legal standard than evidence presented in criminal or even civil trials.

For prosecutions to take place, incidents would need to be further investigated to meet these higher standards of proof.

Abdullah Abdullah, head of Afghanistan’s High National Reconciliation Council, criticized the killings.

“There is no way to define this brutality. There is no way to explain what happened. It’s incomprehensible, ”Abdullah told Anadolu news agency.

Australian soldiers are accused of murdering 39 people in Afghanistan and of treating prisoners with cruelty (Photo: soldiers in Afghanistan)

Australian soldiers are accused of murdering 39 people in Afghanistan and of treating prisoners with cruelty (Photo: soldiers in Afghanistan)

One of the murders was described in the report as 'perhaps the most shameful episode in Australian military history', but the details have been completely redacted (Photo: Chapter 2.50 of the report by 'Afghanistan survey)

One of the murders was described in the report as “perhaps the most shameful episode in Australian military history”, but details have been completely redacted (Photo: chapter 2.50 of the investigation report on Afghanistan)

“These are crimes against innocent people, and I was shocked. At the same time, the Australian government made it clear what had happened.

“There has been a thorough investigation of the cases and they have all the details. And there is a commitment to prosecute those who are responsible ”.

Main conclusions of the report:

  • Special forces were responsible for 39 unlawful killings, most of them prisoners and deliberately concealed.
  • Thirty-nine Afghans were unlawfully killed in 23 incidents, either by special forces or on instructions from special forces.
  • None of the killings took place in the heat of battle.
  • All of the murders took place under circumstances which, if accepted by a jury, would constitute the war crime of murder.
  • There have been 25 authors identified as principal or incidental. Some still serve in the ADF.

In recent years, a series of often brutal accounts have emerged about the conduct of elite special forces units – ranging from reports of soldiers killing a six-year-old in a house raid, to a prisoner being shot for money. of space in a helicopter.

Another incident involved two 14-year-old boys who were arrested by SAS, who ruled that they could be Taliban sympathizers.

The boy’s throats were reportedly slit and their bodies were bagged and thrown into a nearby river.

Australian Defense Force Chief Angus Campbell said some Australian patrols had “taken the law into their own hands”, adding that “the rules were broken, stories concocted, lies told and prisoners killed”.

General Campbell said that “none of the alleged unlawful killings has been described as being at the heart of the battle”.

One of the murders was described in the report as “perhaps the most shameful episode in Australian military history”, but details have been completely redacted.

“I can’t speak to the specific circumstances,” General Campbell said.

“That’s why he’s redacted. But Judge Brereton describes something utterly shameful. It is right that it should be legally redacted. With time, at the time of history to be written, it is shameful.

He apologized for the unlawful killings of prisoners, farmers and other civilians, adding that the troops involved had brought a “stain” on Australia.

Another page simply reads: “Pages 365 through 519 (inclusive) have been removed for security, privacy and legal reasons.

“To the Afghan people, on behalf of the Australian Defense Force, I sincerely and wholeheartedly apologize for any wrongdoing committed by Australian soldiers,” he said.

“And for the people of Australia, I am sincerely sorry for any wrongdoing by members of the Australian Defense Force. “

The report covered the period from 2005 to 2016, but almost all of the incidents discovered occurred between 2009 and 2013.

The investigation recommended the defense chief refer 36 cases to the Australian Federal Police for criminal investigation.

The cases concern 23 incidents and involve 19 people.

Judge Brereton placed the greatest responsibility on the patrol commanders, holding that they were most responsible for inciting or commanding their subordinates to commit war crimes.

Daily Mail Australia has contacted Bobuq Sayed for further comment.

The alleged crimes: a chronology

2006

* Suspected first murder of an injured Afghan prisoner

2009

* Assassinations of local Afghans by members of the ADF with the complicity of the patrol commander

2010

* Alleged assault and cruel treatment of an Afghan prisoner

* Alleged killings of Afghan prisoners with the complicity of the patrol commander and suppression of evidence to cover up killings

2012

* Various cases of alleged civilian killings by Australian soldiers

* Several alleged murders of prisoners and use of “overthrow” to cover up murders

* Suspected killings of Afghan locals surrendering to Australian troops

* Alleged assault and cruel treatment of an Afghan prisoner

* Suspected killings of Afghan fighters separated from their weapons

2013

* Alleged murder of civilians

* Alleged murder of prisoners

2016

* ADF Inspector General asked to investigate rumors of misconduct and war crimes committed by Australian troops in Afghanistan

* Justice Paul Brereton and his team interviewed over 400 witnesses and reviewed tens of thousands of documents in a four-year review

2020

* Judge Brereton finalizes the investigation

* Defense Chief Angus Campbell released a highly edited version of the final report

* Credible evidence 25 current and former members of the ADF have committed war crimes

* 19 allegations referred to Australian Federal Police for possible prosecution

* 39 Afghans were said to have been murdered by Australian troops between 2006 and 2016

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