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Australia SAS shake-up considered ahead of Brereton war crimes inquiry findings

17:01  19 september  2020
17:01  19 september  2020 Source:   abc.net.au

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Sweeping changes to Australia's SAS are being considered as elite soldiers brace for the findings of a long-awaited inquiry into alleged war crimes in The ABC has been told 20 members of the SAS will also be temporarily transferred to the 2 CDO next year. An inquiry into alleged war crimes by special

"I will never get back those 502 days I was locked up in immigration detention," Mr Thoms said. "But the memories of those dark days will live with me forever." SAS shake - up considered ahead of Brereton war crimes inquiry findings . ABC NEWS.

Defence insiders believe the changes are aimed at breaking down a © Provided by ABC NEWS Defence insiders believe the changes are aimed at breaking down a "tribal" and "isolated" culture in the SAS. (ABC News: Emma Machan)

Sweeping changes to Australia's Special Air Service Regiment (SAS) are being considered as elite soldiers brace for the findings of a long-awaited inquiry into alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.

Since 2016 the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force (IGADF) has been conducting a secretive examination of the conduct of special forces in Afghanistan.

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A letter written by Justice Paul Brereton suggests some soldiers may be distressed by the findings . The head of a long-running inquiry into alleged war crimes committed by Australian Special Forces in Psychological support is expected to be provided to soldiers ahead of the investigations findings .

The men rounded up by the SAS had their heads covered and hands bound as the special forces went house to house looking for the Afghan soldier. He said if soldiers were found to have acted unlawfully, charges could be laid under the war crime provisions in the Commonwealth criminal code.

The investigation led by New South Wales Justice Paul Brereton has uncovered numerous allegations of unlawful killings committed by SAS members and their commando colleagues during the lengthy conflict.

Justice Brereton's soon to be completed report is expected to highlight deep cultural problems and successive leadership failures, particularly within the elite Perth-based SAS.

In March an investigation by the ABC's Four Corners program detailed new allegations that unarmed civilians were unlawfully killed by Australian special forces in Afghanistan.

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Ahead of its release, the ABC can reveal the selection courses for Australia's two elite fighting units, the SAS Regiment and 2nd Commando Regiment (2 CDO), will be merged from next year in a move Defence claims is aimed at improving "efficiency".

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This regiment member welcomed Mr Brereton 's inquiry , saying the truth about alleged war crimes had to The Brereton investigation was commissioned after Dr Crompvoets delivered her findings to the Credit:Department of Defence. Another “SOF insider” told Dr Crompvoets of a cover- up culture

SAS and 2 CDO conducted most of the operational work in Afghanistan, and in Australia they also respond in counter-terror operations.

"As part of Army's Training Transformation, Special Operations Command continues to explore the opportunity for efficiency improvements in conducting a common entry process," a Defence spokesperson told the ABC.

"In part, COVID-19 restrictions have slowed progress on this task, and so options are still being developed with the approach for special forces selection yet to be confirmed."

Defence insiders believe the initiative is instead aimed at helping to break down a "tribal" and "isolated" culture within the SAS, by bringing the soldiers closer to their special forces rivals in the commandos.

"This signals an intent to move SASR and 2 CDO onto a level footing, that is equal in the pecking order," one special forces member told the ABC, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

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The Australian Federal Police says it is yet to receive any referrals about alleged war crimes from a This week the ABC revealed New South Wales Supreme Court Justice Paul Brereton is helping the The inquiry has already heard from one serving commando who alleges he helped cover up a war crime in Afghanistan. AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time which is 10 hours ahead of GMT

“Investigations into alleged war crimes should focus on the people responsible, not those who exposed the atrocities,” Pearson said. “Australia’s reputation as a rights-respecting nation both during peacetime and at war will hinge on how the government addresses the most egregious cases of alleged abuse.”

As part of these efforts, the ABC has been told 20 members of the SAS will also be temporarily transferred to the 2nd Commando Regiment in next year's first deployment rotation, although Defence has declined to confirm the plan.

"Army's approach to career management involves employing our people in various parts of Army as a way of sharing their experience, broadening their skills, and preparing them for future employment and rank progression," a Defence spokesperson said.

Neil James from the Australia Defence Association welcomed the move but said more radical ideas may be needed to help Special Forces Command deal with the fallout of the war crimes inquiry.

"Broadening the through-career professional interaction of special forces personnel with the rest of the ADF is the best way to fix institutional culture problems," he said.

"Common training of diggers from different types of SF (special forces) units needs to be far more than the shared initial entry-standards testing tried previously."

Senior Defence figures say other more radical options such as disbanding or rebranding the SAS have been discussed, although the department insists the idea is not being considered.

"Army is not planning any restructure or renaming of the Special Air Service Regiment," a Defence spokesman said.

Mr James said while disbanding the SAS would not be a sensible move, there were other administrative changes that could be made.

"If disbanding whole units is off the table, disbanding disgraced sub-units might still help in sending the strong message needed," he said.

Last month the ABC revealed Australian special forces would for the first time be led by an officer who had not been a member of the famed SAS, in what defence insiders consider an important "cultural shift" for elite soldiers.

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usr: 3
This is interesting!