‘Disturbing’ stories about Australia’s elite forces: probe

A slew of disturbing stories about the conduct of Australia’s elite special forces in Afghanistan and elsewhere will be examined by an independent investigator, the Chief of Army says.


Lieutenant-General Campbell: stories warrant ‘deeper consideration’. AAP

Lieutenant-General Angus Campbell has told Fairfax Media that a “range of unsubstantiated, third-person, hearsay stories” warranted “deeper consideration, but independently”.

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He said he had asked the Inspector General of the ADF, former naval officer Geoff Earley, to investigate.

General Campbell declined to say whether the claims included unlawful killings and breaches of rules of engagement in combat, but military sources say some involved fatalities.

Fairfax reports that episodes that have angered the hierarchy include having topless barmaids at the Special Air Service Campbell Barracks in Perth and commandos filmed in Afghanistan bashing golf balls into the fields surrounding their bases.

Defence has denied Australian involvement in an incident in Oruzgan province in 2006 in which a taxi was mistakenly fired upon, killing an Afghan civilian man, blinding a woman and seriously injuring a girl.

But Fairfax reported in 2009 that Defence possessed material showing Australian special forces involvement.

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