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Alleged SAS War Crimes Report

This seems to be the prevailing view within the aussie army.

Curious, I'm hearing the exact opposite, albeit from a relatively junior friend. He was, however, operational during the period. His view is that the feeling among the ranks is that any failings are very much individual and that the "collective guilt" caused many to exit stage left as it became the dominant paradigm. Culture was most certainly an issue, but it was a small minority that caused this. I guess the inquiry report will shed some light.
 
It's part of forcing a culture change, not an answer in itself. Personally I'm not convinced it'll make much difference but I get the logic behind it.
I don't get the logic behind, it appears to be something easy to do so they can claim they are "doing something".
Heavy punishments for those directly involved, plus some endings of careers if discovered they either turned a blind eye or were negligent for those higher up the food chain will change the culture for those who are a bit keen on killing, more than a uniform and badge change.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
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I don't get the logic behind,

The logic is that it will help bring an end to a culture of SF being above the rules that govern everyone else, which also reminding them that they're meant to be professional soldiers rather than outlaws.


Heavy punishments for those directly involved, plus some endings of careers if discovered they either turned a blind eye or were negligent for those higher up the food chain will change the culture for those who are a bit keen on killing, more than a uniform and badge change.

Agreed, but it's not an either or.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Curious, I'm hearing the exact opposite, albeit from a relatively junior friend.

Poor phrasing on my part. I meant it seems to be the prevailing view among the command. I can imagine rank and file may view it differently. I don't know many aussie guys who'd be impartial on the subject so I suspect you've got a better sense of it.
 
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The logic is that it will help bring an end to a culture of SF being above the rules that govern everyone else, which also reminding them that they're meant to be professional soldiers rather than outlaws.
What a load of bullshit that is then. You remind people they are not above the rules by punishing them when they break them, not make meaningless gestures. If a regiment in the UK was acting like cnuts would you change one of their badges in the hope they would stop acting like cnuts?
 
Agreed, but it's not an either or.
It can be. If people like killing people more than their duty demands then a change of uniform will not stop that. The threat of heavy punishment might.
 
I don't get the logic behind, it appears to be something easy to do so they can claim they are "doing something".
Heavy punishments for those directly involved, plus some endings of careers if discovered they either turned a blind eye or were negligent for those higher up the food chain will change the culture for those who are a bit keen on killing, more than a uniform and badge change.
A couple of observations;

“Heavy” punishments for those involved are not in the gift of the chain of command. It may be stating the obvious, but the alleged crimes have to be investigated by the appropriate police authority, charges framed by the appropriate prosecuting authority and proven beyond reasonable doubt in the appropriate court of law. Even when found guilty, the punishment that can be awarded are those laid down in law, not by the chain of command. Those, if any, who “turned a blind eye” have also likely committed a serious crime. They too need to be dealt with through due process. Same with those, if any, who were negligent. Even if their acts weren’t criminal, they can’t simply be sacked without following the correct administrative process.

Thing is, it’s quite likely that the criminal investigations will never provide enough evidence to secure convictions. So what happens then?

The badges and uniform thing may appear to be window dressing, but there isn’t much else that Findlay can do until due process has been followed. The criminal and administrative investigations have to be properly conducted and that is rightly going to take time. Meantime, he has to act. There’s plenty of examples of toxic unit culture being built around emblems and ceremonies; removing them is absolutely part of the process of regeneration.

Whether the unit can actually be restored is another question; it wouldn’t surprise me to find that they are disbanded.
 
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A couple of observations;

“Heavy” punishments for those involved are not in the gift of the chain of command. It may be stating the obvious, but the alleged crimes have to be investigated by the appropriate police authority, charges framed by the appropriate prosecuting authority and proven beyond reasonable doubt in the appropriate court of law. Even when found guilty, the punishment that can be awarded are those laid down in law, not by the chain of command. Those, if any, who “turned a blind eye” have also likely committed a serious crime. They too need to be dealt with through due process. Same with those, if any, who were negligent. Even if their acts weren’t criminal, they can’t simply be sacked without following the correct administrative process.

Thing is, it’s quite likely that the criminal investigations will never provide enough evidence to secure convictions. So what happens then?

The badges and uniform thing may appear to be window dressing, but there isn’t much else that Findlay can do until due process has been followed. The criminal and administrative investigations have to be properly conducted and that is rightly going to take time. Meantime, he has to act. There’s plenty of examples of toxic unit culture being built around emblems and ceremonies; removing them is absolutely part of the process of regeneration.

Whether the unit can actually be restored is another question; it wouldn’t surprise me to find that they are disbanded.
Many of these allegations were investigated at the time by the ADFIS without success as I have mentioned before. After the fiasco of the charging of the 1 Commando Regiment Reservists in 2009, the SASR Sqn in the Special Operations Task Group refused to cooperate with the ADFIS from the Sqn Commander down. So what makes them think that they can obtain enough evidence now. Witness evidence on its own will not be enough without supporting forensic evidence.

Findlay is being replaced as Commander Special Operations Australia by a Commando officer who has never served in SASR for the first time.

It is highly unlikely SASR will be disbanded. The KSK in Germany hasn't been disbanded despite them having more Nazis in their ranks than the LSAH. Most soldiers serving in SASR now did not serve in Afghanistan.
 
Many of these allegations were investigated at the time by the ADFIS without success as I have mentioned before. After the fiasco of the charging of the 1 Commando Regiment Reservists in 2009, the SASR Sqn in the Special Operations Task Group refused to cooperate with the ADFIS from the Sqn Commander down. So what makes them think that they can obtain enough evidence now. Witness evidence on its own will not be enough without supporting forensic evidence.

Findlay is being replaced as Commander Special Operations Australia by a Commando officer who has never served in SASR for the first time.

It is highly unlikely SASR will be disbanded. The KSK in Germany hasn't been disbanded despite them having more Nazis in their ranks than the LSAH. Most soldiers serving in SASR now did not serve in Afghanistan.
The fact that from Squadron Commander downwards refused to co-operate with ADFIS is, I think, rather telling. Institutional failure to co-operate with a lawful investigation is not behaviour that garners trust.

I too made the point that there is a huge gap between having evidence of misconduct and having evidence that will stand up in court. But there cannot be closure to this if the evidence isn’t tested in court.

The outcome really depends on whether Brereton identified a small rogue element as Findlay suggested or if it identified a much wider problem. If it was just a small rogue element, then it’s sortable. If there was institutional cover up or failure to cooperate with lawful investigations from top down, then it’s a far bigger issue.

I think the Canadians disbanding the Canadian Airborne Regiment after the Somalia affair is a much closer parallel than KSK.
 

The Weekend Australian has a story labelled 'exclusive' titled per the link above which is paywalled, so I'll copy/paste what I think are the important bits; the bolding is mine.

Chief of Army Lieutenant General Rick Burr has written to all Australia’s soldiers to prepare them for the release of a report expected to contain shocking allegations that a small number of troops carried out multiple war crimes in Afghanistan.

He sets out to reassure them that the ADF’s Special Operations Command (SOCOMD) has been extensively rebuilt and assures personnel that if they need welfare support, the army will provide it.

General Burr, a former commander of the SAS Regiment that is the focus of many of the allegations, says these claims are “extremely serious and deeply troubling”.

NSW Supreme Court judge Paul Brereton, a major-general in the Army Reserve, has spent four years investigating claims that Australian special forces breached the Laws of Armed Conflict while on operations in Afghanistan between 2005 and 2016.

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds said recently that the investigation was nearing its conclusion and warned that Australians would be dismayed by its findings.

General Burr tells the soldiers the inquiry is “a serious and sensitive matter” of which there are different levels of understanding across the army. “I want all of Army to understand what the inquiry is and what it means,” he says.

We asked for this Inquiry to understand what happened and to determine if there is any substance to the allegations.”

General Burr says it is important to note that the inquiry is administrative in nature and is not a criminal investigation. It is independent of government and the ADF chain of command to ensure its integrity.

He said the annual report by the Inspector-General of the ADF in February reported that there were 55 separate lines of inquiry at that time. “These concern alleged unlawful killings of people who were non-combatants or were no longer combatants and also cruel treatment of such people,” General Burr says.

“As we wait for the report, I remain concerned about the impact on those of you who served in Afghanistan and other operations with integrity; reflective of who we are and what we stand for. Please continue to look out for each other and understand your service and commitment is appreciated. It’s important that we support each other and get through this together.
 

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