Different country, different rules

By its nature war is brutally indiscriminate. Reports of secret defence force documents leaked to the ABC giving an unprecedented insight into the clandestine operations of Australia’s  elite special forces in Afghanistan, including incidents of troops killing unarmed men and children, is only one part of the story. The other is the system that creates […]

The ADF has no documents or knowledge about the reported use of white phosphorus in Iraq & Syria

What’s going on with coalition partners in war keeping each other informed ? One would think that would be essential to a concerted effort against a common foe. The use of white phosphorus is a case in point.  It’s use has been widely reported on but the ADF deny having any documents either by the […]

Bomb’s eye view

In March the Defence Minister Marise Payne said in relation to a Mosul Jadida neighbourhood strike on 17 March 2017 being probed for civilian death claims, that Australian combat planes were ‘not involved in the airstrike in question’.  Carefully chosen words? Even if the Australian Defence Force were not involved in “the airstrike in question” […]

Pre-empting death

When an advocate for asylum seekers detained on Manus Island and Nauru suggested to me that asylum seekers only get air-lifted to Australia when they are going to die I thought it was hyperbole. Documents released under Freedom of Information legislation suggest otherwise, confirming that bureaucrats in Canberra had prepared media talking points in the […]

Assange: Principles -v- Foreign Policy

In February 2016 the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) found that Julian Assange was arbitrarily detained by the Governments of Sweden and the United Kingdom. The Working Group recognised that Mr. Assange is entitled to his freedom of movement and to compensation.  In November 2016 it rejected a challenge filed by the U.K. […]

How many Arabs have we killed?

It was a question put to me that neither I nor, it seems, any elected representative nor any member of the defence forces is accurately able to answer. Why? If we participate in illegal military incursions into sovereign nations what responsibilities do we have for documenting the loss of life? If we honour lives shouldn’t […]