Brereton’s comments which gave rise to the Chinese tweet on Australian Afghanistan war crimes

The Brereton report sheds light on the tweet posted by a spokesperson for China’s Foreign Ministry of a digitally altered image depicting an Australian soldier holding a knife to a veiled Afghanistan child.But I have not seen any of  our mainstream media do the obvious, publish the relevant extracts on alleged killing of Afghan children by Australian soldiers.

On p, 120-121 of the Report , the following references to throat-slitting appear in two paragraphs related to the February 2016 study by Dr Samantha Crompvoets, which helped to initiate the Brereton Inquiry. ‘

‘Squirters’ were in Special forces speak people who ran from compounds when our troops advanced on/attacked them.

  1. Clearance Operations. Dr Crompvoets was told that, after squirters were ‘dealt’ with, Special Forces would then cordon off a whole village, taking men and boys to guesthouses, which are typically on the edge of a village. There they would be tied up and tortured by Special Forces, sometimes for days. When the Special Forces left, the men and boys would be found dead: shot in the head or blindfolded and with throats slit.
  2. Cover-ups. A specific incident described to Dr Crompvoets involved an incident where members from the ‘SASR’ were driving along a road and saw two 14-year-old boys whom they decided might be Taliban sympathisers. They stopped, searched the boys and slit their throats. The rest of the Troop then had to ‘clean up the mess’, which involved bagging the bodies and throwing them into a nearby river. Dr Crompvoets says she was told this was not an isolated incident. In this context, Dr Crompvoets says she was told that Special Forces soldiers were committing unsanctioned killing in order to ‘get a name for themselves’ and to join the ‘in’ group. 

(No doubt Brereton refers to these incidents in detail but that would be in the 6 redacted volumes.)

Page 103 of the report, referring to the entirely redacted Chapter 2.50 comments:

“what is described in this Chapter is possibly the most disgraceful episode in Australia’s military history, and the commanders at troop, squadron and task group level bear moral command responsibility for what happened under their command, regardless of personal fault.” 

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John Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

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