Australia had to reveal heinous crimes its troops committed in Afghanistan, even after it prosecuted a whistleblower and raided a TV station. Its time for the U.S. to launch serious investigations of its own conduct in war, writes Joe Lauria.
Collateral Murder video released by WikiLeaks.
The report of a four-year Australian government investigation into alleged war crimes by the countrys special forces in Afghanistan was published on Thursday, revealing unspeakable atrocities against civilians.
The report details how at least 25 members of Australias Special Air Services (SAS) were involved in 39 murders of civilians. The reports description on page 120 of just one incident suffices to describe the nature of these crimes:
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.
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
Learning to Kill
The report on page 29 describes a practice known as blooding:
the Inquiry has found that there is credible information that junior soldiers were required by their patrol commanders to shoot a prisoner, in order to achieve the soldiers first kill, in a practice that was known as blooding. This would happen after the target compound had been secured, and local nationals had been secured as persons under control. Typically, the patrol commander would take a person under control and the junior member, who would then be directed to kill the person under control. Throwdowns would be placed with the body, and a cover story was created for the purposes of operational reporting and to deflect scrutiny. This was reinforced with a code of silence.
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