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Ex-Australian SAS trooper says 'Western moral standards' don't apply

19 Jun 2018 Daily Mail Online

A former SAS trooper says Australian soldiers can't be held to 'Western moral standards' when fighting in Afghanistan.The anonymous veteran hit out at recent reports of a damning Defence Force inquiry accusing the special forces regiment of war crimes.Soldiers engaged in 'unsanctioned and illegal application of violence on operations', which showed a 'disregard for human life and dignity', the 2016 report alleged.Claims included the execution of numerous Afghani civilians, one who was kicked off a cliff and another whose prosthetic leg was kept as a souvenir.

A former SAS trooper says Australian soldiers can't be held to 'Western moral standards' when fighting in Afghanistan (two SAS troopers pictured in Afghanistan)The trooper, who spent nine years as an infantryman and five years in the SAS, argued tough tactics were necessary when fighting insurgents.'Our enemies don't like us and they do their best to kill us with no moral restraint and complete impunity,' he wrote for the Michael Smith News blog. 'The SAS cannot fight enemies like that by adhering to normal Western moral standards.'If we did, it would be leveraged as a weakness by the enemy. We have to keep them guessing about our limits.'The soldier mocked the report's findings that the SAS had a 'disregard for human life and dignity' by stating that their only job was to kill.'We are not sent out to deliver a personal dignity entitlement to our enemies. We go out to kill them,' he wrote. He said Taliban and other fighters 'don't have much use for a Human Rights Commission' and said there was 'nothing dignified' about their tactics.He did not directly address the allegations but claimed the inquiry was doing 'immense damage' to Australian troops.

The anonymous veteran hit out at recent reports of a damning Defence Force inquiry accusing the special forces regiment of war crimes (Australian infantry pictured)The trooper slammed an 'idiotic' call for Afghans to dob in Australian soldiers for war crimes to contribute to the ongoing inquiry.The ADF website has a page calling for confidential tips with the line 'Notices placed in local Afghani newspapers' at the bottom.A version of the ad in Afghanistan's Dari language is also publicly available on the ADF site.'What a propaganda gold mine; and you can be certain the enemy will be using it against us,' the trooper wrote.

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He then pointed out that the Russian government had done just that, citing ABC reports on the leaked 2016 report.The report 'points to Australian troops' systematic, unauthorized and groundless use of weapons, particularly against civilians,' Russia's foreign ministry said.It said ABC reports revealed 'shocking facts about cold-blooded murders committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan'. The trooper referred to this as 'total bulls**t created by our taxpayer-funded broadcaster to be used by our enemies against us'.He said the allegations were just rumours that would not be backed up with evidence as even if they did occur, troopers would never turn on each other.

The trooper slammed an 'idiotic' call for Afghans to dob in Australian soldiers for war crimes, including this ad in Afghanistan's Dari language placed in the Arman Monthly in MarchThe soldier said the SAS and ADF more broadly would be subjected to a 'bombardment of allegations' to be investigated at taxpayer expense.'SAS unit members [will be] taken away from their duties to 'help' the investigation and for interviews with investigators,' he said.'SAS tactics and operational security [will be] compromised by our own Government and Defence force due to a call for an open investigation.'He also predicted 'the enemy' would be handed 'bags of money' in compensation and and the SAS ranks would become even more secretive.'There are plenty of problems in Australian society. There is definitely a problem in the ADF,' he concluded.'But it's not the war fighters. It's our leadership and the tone they set - from the PM down.'The leaked report by defence consultant Samantha Crompvoets interviewed current and former soldiers and senior officials and reviewed classified documents. An SAS interviewee said 'horrendous' and 'disgraceful things happened in Kabul... very bad news, or just inappropriate behaviour, but it was pretty much kept under wraps'.One case detailed in the report was where an SAS trooper kicked a handcuffed Afghan shepherd named Ali Jan off a cliff to his death.The father-of-eight left his home to buy some flour in September 2012 and was arrested along with dozens of others for questioning.A junior soldier described witnessing a trooper grab one of them, walk him to the edge of a rocky 10m cliff and kick him off the edge.Another soldier told the inquiry he saw Mr Jan's body at the bottom of the cliff. Both accounts were corroborated by others.The soldier who allegedly kicked him reveled in a 'warrior ethos', encouraged an escalating enemy body count and tacked a 'kill board' to the patrol room wall.

Soldiers engaged in 'unsanctioned and illegal application of violence on operations', which showed a 'disregard for human life and dignity', the 2016 report alleged (stock image of troops in Afghanistan)In another case, an Afghan man who was killed by machine-gun fire during a military mission had his leg removed and it was taken back to the SAS base in Perth.The prosthetic leg was kept as a souvenir and used as a novelty drinking vessel by soldiers, the report alleged.In a separate killing, a junior trooper on his first deployment to Afghanistan was pressured by higher-ranking soldiers to execute an elderly, unarmed detainee.Some soldiers said they overheard the Easter Sunday execution was to 'blood the rookie' - a kind of initiation into the job of killing.Others said it was just another example of 'competition killing' among some Special Forces teams.Another case described a boy being shot by a helicopter because his shepherd's crook looked like the radio antenna of a Taliban scout.Also listed were the deaths of a father and his young son in 2013 after special forces raided an Uruzgan village and claimed the man aimed a pistol in their direction.Villagers alleged the father was shot while he was asleep in bed with his son, who soldiers claimed not to know was there.

Original Link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5861813/Former-SAS-trooper-says-soldiers-shouldnt-held-Western-moral-standards.html?ITO=1490&ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

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