Saturday August 31 2013

– Australian elite special forces soldiers are being investigated over claims they cut the hands off at least one Afghan insurgent’s body to identify him by his fingerprints.
A “potential misconduct” investigation against members of the Special Operations Task Group centres on claims that soldiers amputated the hands and took them back to their base to use for fingerprint identification, it is understood.
The Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley, issued a statement on Friday saying the military was continuing to investigate “an incident of potential misconduct” in Afghanistan after the amputation claim was reported yesterday by several media outlets.
Last night Defence Minister Stephen Smith told ABC Radio that while puzzling and confusing, the allegations appeared to be true.
Mr Smith said he and General Hurley were shocked by the news, but he did not want to rush to judgement.
“It’s difficult for me to prejudge but the available evidence suggest that what is essentially asserted occurred. We now have to try to work out what were the facts and circumstances associated with that.”
The claims stem from an operation on April 28th in which Australian special operations soldiers, along with Afghan special forces, killed four Taliban fighters. The operation in Zabul province targeted a Taliban leader responsible for an insurgency network in and around Oruzgan province, according to a statement released in early May by General Hurley.
That statement announced the Australian Defence Force was investigating potential misconduct, but provided no details. It said the complaint had been reported through the Australian chain of command.
Yesterday General Hurley said the April 28th operation had been “a high-intensity, complex and dangerous battle”. He said the misconduct investigation was continuing.
Australian soldiers are obliged where possible to identify the bodies of suspected insurgents they kill.
The special operations group – made up of the SAS and 2nd Commando Regiment – had access to a high-level, US-operated biometric database that includes photos, fingerprints and retinal scans of many Taliban commanders and soldiers.
The investigation appears to be focusing on the claim that soldiers cut of the hand of the Taliban commander to identify him by his fingerprints, rather than take the whole body back to their base at Tarin Kowt.
While mutilating a corpse is forbidden by the Geneva Convention, the alleged amputation might not be illegal if it was done out of “military necessity”, said Neil James, executive director of the Australian Defence Association.
– David Wroe and Bianca Hall


About Jumpin' Jack Cash

Deep connections are the most important aspect of my existence. I don’t care if people don’t know what they want. I love books. I’m cynical of love stories, although I’m romantic. I adore gardens. I like women who challenge me. I love the rain as an excuse to stay inside and dream. I'm furiously impatient. If I ask you a question best to tell me the truth as I'm likely to already know the answer. I'm a carnivore. I continuously underestimate the magic of fresh flowers in my home. I love warm rain in the summer. My mood elevates to epic proportions when the sun shines. Tell me not to do something and I'll do it twice and take photos. Running is my antidepressant. I loathe lies. I rarely forgive a lie. Loyalty and honesty are my most noble virtues, and I value them more than anything in other people. I love to love, and am able to fall in love very quickly, although it's only ever happened once. I understood myself and fixed myself only after destroying myself. My greatest excitement comes from deliberately getting lost in foreign cities. I can be extremely loud and frighteningly silent. I hate insinuations. I love storms. Justice for all. I'm a proud man, but welcome the influence of the feminine soul. I have two sisters. I’m a dreamer. I’m a deep thinker. Don’t deal with guilt trips or drama that well. I'm extremely stubborn and persistent. I'm brilliant at keeping secrets. I love driving. I become absolutely and completely lost while watching a burning fire. When the toast pops from the toaster I’m never ready and shit myself. I play the guitar, but require much improvement. Solitude and warmth of the sun are perfect together. I’ve been married once and now divorced. I’m a music junkie. Chocolate mousse is the shit. I curse too much. I find it difficult to make friends. I spent four years as a firefighter. I’ve run my own company since 1991. Bright lights, big cities. I’ve been an executive producer of a feature film. Some people don’t care, and that’s the biggest let-down of the human race. There are cures and solutions for many evils, but no remedy for the worst of them all - the apathy of human beings. The sound of the Italian language being spoken is as good as my favourite music. I hate corrupt cops. I relentlessly and passionately pursue anybody and anything that sets my soul on fire. I'm a dog lover, and all my dogs are considered family members. I have an obsession with photography. I have some close friends who are household names, but shall always remain anonymous. I’m crazy but not lazy. Losing a soulmate has hurt me badly. My two young sons are the nucleus of my universe. I love airports. I love freedom. If you are dishonest or disloyal, I can erase you from my life and memory immediately and permanently. I yearn to explore, dream about and discover as many friendships, deep connections and places, one possibly can in a lifetime.
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