Opinion – Honouring our bravest heroes

There was once a provision for the award to be rescinded for infamous conduct.
Eight VCs were thus forfeited between 1861 and 1908.
In 1920 King George V insisted no recipient should forfeit his medal no matter how grievous his subsequent actions.
There are just four living Australian VC recipients, one from Vietnam and three from Afghanistan. Each understands the responsibility of being a recipient and the scrutiny which their post-award experience brings.
Of the four awards for Afghanistan two were made for aggressive leadership in extremely hostile circumstances, one for rescuing an Afghan soldier and one for drawing fire at extreme personal risk.
It has been revealed one recipient, Ben Roberts-Smith, who holds multiple gallantry decorations, has been mentioned in inquiries being conducted into allegations of irregular behaviour by Australian troops. That is ironic given troops are sent into combat to kill their enemy and capture ground usually at great personal risk.
Armchair warriors may pontificate on the morality of war but the reality is quite different.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

TodayTonight Adelaide TV – Betrayed Soldier

A summary of the Karel Dubsky saga by Today Tonight Adelaide – see it here:

RCB Recognition – Response to Minister Chester and VCDF’s Rejection

Yesterday, Friday 13th July the RCBRG sent the following to those named and all politicians in the belief that they as evidence based decision makers will read the facts of the matters themselves and act to have the Government’s decision reversed or to recommend the appointment of an independent of government public inquiry.

RCB RG REBUTTAL OF THE GOVERNMENT’S DECISION

Dear Minister for Defence Personnel D. Chester and VCADF VADM D. Johnston,

This correspondence to you with copies to all parliamentarians, addresses the recent form letters signed by you Minister and VADM Griggs and in some cases, by individual local politicians who have added some variation.

In all those letters is the continued assertion that Rifle Company Butterworth (RCB) service in Malaysia during the Communist Insurgency War/Second Malaysian Emergency 1968-1989 was peacetime in nature and rejection of our continued requests to have that service properly recognised as warlike. RCB (Army) first deployed to Air Base Butterworth 1 Nov 70. RAAF personnel were already there.

Common to all is a fundamental question – Why won’t the Government consider the facts uncovered by the RCB Review Group and made available to them instead of engaging in a sustained deception regarding RCB’s service?

  • Even though numerous submissions using irrefutable evidence have been made.
  • Even though it has been repeatedly demonstrated where Defence bureaucrats have got it wrong and/or deliberately misrepresented the facts using selective information to uphold a predetermined view.
  • Even though any fair-minded reader can readily see the facts for what they are.
  • Even though the RCB Review Group has not been given the opportunity to personally present and contest the facts with the Government and/or its advisors.
  • Even though nearly every other similar deployment has had initial recognition re-graded (correctly) from peacetime to warlike service.

From all the evidence it is clear that a pre-determined position of denial and deception continues to this day. A deliberate rear-guard action is being carried out by pressured elected officials who are influenced by their professional public service employees whose task is to provide fearless and honest evidence-based advice and support in accordance with their code of ethics. Instead, what began as a strategic deception plan has now become an acute embarrassment for a different generation of politicians and supporting officials. 

Attached are the RCB Review Group’s response and rebuttal of these form letters and a copy of our current complaint submission to the Defence Ombudsman of administrative deficiency and misfeasance within the bureaucracy.

We beseech you and all addressees to consider these documents and, as evidenced based decision makers, to make their own mind up and then act collectively to right this dreadful wrong before we are forced to take the steps necessary to bring this matter before the Australian courts of both legal and public opinion.

As a follow up to this correspondence we will be seeking to meet with all parliamentarians in their electorate office to discuss the matter.

Yours Sincerely,

Robert Cross
Leader RCB Review Group
(07) 3352 4612
0402 986 454
[email protected]
4/15 Gardiner Street
Alderley, Qld 4051
12 July 2018

Attachments:

 Download  Download

 

Distribution – c.c

The Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister
Senator the Hon. Marise Payne, Minister for Defence
The Hon. Bill Shorten MP, Leader of the Opposition
The Hon. Richard Marles MP, Shadow Minister for Defence
The Hon. Amanda Rishworth MP, Shadow Minister for Defence Personnel
Senator the Hon. Richard di Natoli
Senator the Hon. Pauline Hanson
All Federal Parliamentarians
Secretary Department of Defence
Chief of the Australian Defence Force
Chief of Navy
Chief of Army
Chief of Air Force
Australian Army History Unit
RAAF History Unit

 

Opinion – Who Defends our Defenders?

Last week Defence admitted former Lt Colonel Karel Dubsky was an innocent victim of the Jedi Council witch hunt that terminated his career and left him a shattered man. That makes it hard to miss the irony that another of nation’s defenders was led to the scaffold last week in the shape of Australia’s most decorated contemporary soldier, Ben Roberts-Smith VC, MG.

 

In an extraordinarily tasteless article, Fairfax Media alleged Mr Roberts-Smith was being investigated for unspecified “breaches of the laws of armed conflict” in Afghanistan. It was claimed this was part of Major-General Paul Brereton’s wide-ranging trawl through 15 years of service by Australia’s special forces soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

By Fairfax’s own admission, this inquiry is supposed to be conducted behind closed doors. There are very good reasons for this, not the least of which is that many of the operations in question were and remain classified. Another is that the evidence of such crimes is notoriously unreliable, especially when if comes from possible enemies.

The greatest difficulty, though, is the nature of war itself. Combat pits men against each other in circumstances where the exigencies of battle, and the need for self-preservation, often take precedence over the rules of war. This has always been so.

Claims of Australian soldiers killing surrendering Germans in the First World War were so prevalent that even Bean refused to dismiss them, and cited the “primitive bloodthirstiness” of battle for soldiers performing unseemly deeds.

In “Storming the Falklands”, former paratrooper Tony Banks related the distressing scenes at the Wireless Ridge, where British troops made a night attack with fixed bayonets and were told to take no prisoners. A terrified young Argentine soldier surrendered, pleading for his life, and begging not to be killed. A brief argument occurred among Banks and his comrades as to who was going to kill the man before a tarpaulin was thrown over his head; he was shot and then bayoneted.

If these things happen in war between uniformed combatants, how much more difficult is it to strictly comply with the rules of war when the enemy deliberately does not? Insurgents do not wear uniforms; they stash their weapons to blend into the population and pull them out when it suits them to attack. They use non-combatants as human shields. It is easy in these circumstances for innocent civilians to die.

Add to that the frustration of seeing colleagues killed, dismembered and wounded, and seeing rescue helicopters shot at, or enduring renegade Afghan “allies” murdering Australian soldiers in their compounds. The moral certainty of Punt Road pundits is a luxury often unavailable to the Australian soldiers in combat zones.

None of these things was a deterrent, however, to the almost salacious way in which this most recent story was reported, including the claim Ben Roberts-Smith “declined to answer a series of detailed questions sent to him by Fairfax Media.”

Given this is a confidential investigation he should not have to. In fact, details of the investigation should never have been published until they were completed.

What is most disturbing is the frequency with which investigations of allegations against soldiers make their way into the media, when details of military operations do not. Even when investigators illegally seize soldier’s psychological records – which are supposed to be confidential – this rarely makes it into the press. It suggests the source of the leaks is not soldiers themselves, but powerful and deeply entrenched interests within Defence.

All of this leads many to suspect that political interests are triumphing over military imperatives. When two cadets at the Australian Defence Force Academy in 2013 streamed images of one of them having sex with a female cadet, the Sex Discrimination Commissioner was sensationally invited to conduct a wide-ranging investigation into the role of women in the ADF.

Although Broderick herself had no military service and no expertise in military operations, she took it upon herself to make sweeping recommendations about the participation of women in frontline units. Normally, decisions about the structure and composition of military units are determined solely by the nature of the enemy and what is necessary to capture or kill them. Disturbingly, her recommendations were accepted in spite of her total absence of military qualification.

Fears and suspicions of political agendas are now running rife throughout Australia’s service personnel. They fear the insidious attacks on their dignity by those who have always found reason to confuse service of one’s country with militarism. They fear all they stand for being sullied by cheap shots from moralising television hosts.

Most of all, many fear there is nothing to protect them against civil litigation by supposed Iraqi and Afghan “victims” bringing claims through Australian courts. In the United Kingdom, hundreds of soldiers have suffered years of torment before the courts and the Iraq Historic Abuse Team (IHAT) inquiry, with no end to their nightmares yet in sight.

The same could happen here. Our service men and women are all too aware that the Brereton Inquiry could be but the start of an avalanche of inquiries and investigations stretching years into the future.

Hanging Australian service personnel out to dry now happens with distressing frequency. It certainly happened in service at home to Karel Dubsky. It has also happened on numerous occasions to Australian soldiers operating in Afghanistan. Consider the soldiers who spent years facing charges regarding the death of civilians in a night attack in Afghanistan, only to have the charges eventually withdrawn. There are other similar cases to which I am privy, each of which has brought untold distress to decent men and women doing their best in a morally vacant world.

Allegations of war crimes by Australian servicemen and women need to be seen through the prism of a war where front lines do not exist, and where it is almost impossible to judge the outcomes of their actions against the moral standards prevailing in leafy suburbs back home. At the very least, the media should abandon the sensationalism and scandal in which a small portion now revel.

Against this backdrop, it is only fair to ask, who defends our defenders?

Bill O’Chee is a former senator and a former officer in the Australian Army.

 

Help us in the Case Supporting the CSC Campaign

We believe the The Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation’s (CSC) exclusion from the Royal Commission is wrong and want the Government to reverse its decision.

The CSC  is the Trustee for both our ADF Military Superannuation Schemes (230,000 clients) and the Australian Public Service Schemes (470,000)

 

 

We believe this is wrong and have lobbied the Government for the CSC’s inclusion HERE   The ALP supports our request

It is important to note that members of the ADF cannot elect to have their
superannuation contributions made to a fund of their choice, nor can they transfer
their employer contributions to another superannuation fund. This means that current and former ADF personnel do not have the freedom to move their superannuation to another fund should they be dissatisfied with the Trustee’s conduct.

In recent years, several issues have arisen with respect to the way the  CSC administers the ADF Schemes. Specifically, these issues relate to members who are in receipt of invalidity payments (Veteran Beneficiaries):
    1. the CSC’s inability to administer the ADF Schemes in accordance with  their respective Trust Deeds and governing legislation;
    2. the lack of regulatory review of the CSC’s conduct to ensure that it is meeting its obligations under its Trust Deeds;
    3. the CSC’s persistent failure to conduct itself honestly, fairly and transparently in its dealings with its members/beneficiaries and in accordance with Modal Litigant Rules; and
    4. the CSC’s inability to resolve issues and complaints made by its members in accordance with natural justice principles.

READ THE CASE FOR  CSC INCLUSION

In this document, are specific examples of the CSC’s conduct which has
fallen short of the professional standards and benchmarks of conduct expected not only by a financial services provider, but more importantly, as a Commonwealth Government entity.

We believe that the CSC should receive the same level of scrutiny as any other
financial services entity included in the Royal Commission and by excluding it the
Royal Commission would fail in upholding the fundamental right of all Australians
“to be treated honestly and fairly in their dealings with banking superannuation and financial services providers. The highest standards of conduct are critical to the good governance and corporate culture of those providers.”

You can help us in two immediate ways:

Ring your local MP and register your concern, and

If you have had any adverse experiences in dealings with the CSC then please contact Brad Campbell or email ADSO at [email protected] with details

 

Change of Command as New CDF takes over

The ADF has a new Chief after ACM Binskin handed over command to General Angus Campbell at a ceremony in Canberra.

The newly promoted GEN Campbell thanked ACM Binskin for his 40 years’ service in the ADF.

“The work that Air Chief Marshal Binskin and his leadership team have undertaken since 2014 has set a strong foundation for the ADF’s people and capabilities,” GEN Campbell said.

ACM Binskin said he was honoured to serve as the CDF.

“Not one day has gone by without a new challenge, or more importantly, a new achievement by the ADF – and that is what has made the last four years very special.”

Since ACM Binskin assumed command in July 2014, the ADF has deployed more than 27,000 people to over 30 operations around the world.

“I am extremely proud of what the men and women of the ADF have achieved during that period,” ACM Binskin said.

“Whether it is patrolling above or on the waters in South East and North Asia, or Pacific and Indian Oceans; working with other nations to help protect themselves and develop their own capabilities and capacity; protecting our own borders; supporting regional friends after a natural disaster; or helping everyday Australians; the ADF has done an outstanding job.

“I congratulate General Campbell and his team on their appointments and wish them well for the future.”

GEN Campbell said he was honoured to accept leadership of the ADF.

“It is a privilege, it carries a significant burden of responsibility. This is a great organisation filled with people who every day do extraordinary things in the defence of our nation and its interests.

“The Chief of the Defence Force may be one amongst the ADF, but it is a team. I very much look forward to the challenges, and to the comradery and teamwork that will get us through those challenges over the next four years.”

9 July 2018

OPINION – Repudiation too little too late

IT was Australian Chief of Army David Morrison who stridently declared in 2013, “the standard you walk past is the standard you accept”.

Last week, in one of his last acts as incumbent CA, incoming CDF General Angus Campbell released a statement declaring Lieutenant Colonel Karel Dubsky had never been a member of the infamous Jedi Council.
It was a belated repudiation of Morrison’s actions but well short of an apology.
Morrison’s insistence Dubsky was part of the Jedi Council cost him his career and almost his life as he passionately fought to defend his reputation.

READ MORE

Opinion – Ross Eastgat

Defence Retreat – Lt Col Karel Dubsky

Army Media Release – Statement of service on retired Lieutenant Colonel Karel Dubsky

“Karel Dubsky was not a member of the group that called itself the Jedi Council and did not participate in the activities of that group. He freely assisted New South Wales Police and the Australian Defence Force Investigative Service with their investigations. On 20 October 2013, the Chief of Defence Force, General Hurley, accepted that Mr Dubsky was not part of the activities of the Council.

Defence would like to recognise Karel Dubsky�s service noting that he was a graduate of the United Kingdom Command and Staff College and conducted operational tours of East Timor in 2002 and Afghanistan in 2006/07.

Karel Dubsky was medically discharged from Defence in January 2015 as a result of injuries sustained during his service.”

Angus J Campbell, AO, DSC
Lieutenant General
Chief of Army
25 June 2018

SLANDER RETREAT

2 Jujy 2018 – Defence Minister Marise Payne reveals she personally intervened in the case of Karel Dubsky – a senior soldier falsely accused of taking part in the Army’s so-called Jedi Council Sex Scandal   https://www.facebook.com/AndrewGreeneABC/videos/543110309437253/

 

27 June 2018 – TV Channei 7 reports there are calls for former army chief General David Morrison to be stripped of his Australian of the Year
https://www.facebook.com/7newssydney/videos/2186130318077756/

 

Drone Spy – This Is Not A Mosquito!

This is an insect spy drone for urban areas, already in production, funded by the US Government.

It can be remotely controlled and is equipped with a camera and a
microphone.

It can land on you, and even has the potential to take DNA sample or leave RFID tracking nanotechnology on your skin.

It can fly through a slightly open window, or it can attach to your clothing until you unwittingly take it into your home. It can then be guided to the top of a curtain or other invisible location where it can scope entire rooms and monitor everything being said.

Given their propensity to request macro-sized drones for surveillance, one is left with little doubt that the government has big plans for these micro gadgets.

See its application in the movie “Eye in the Sky” trailer  https://www.imdb.com/videoplayer/vi1137947161

 

 

 

 

 

For the U.S., a frustrating history of recovering human remains in North Korea

At their historic summit last month, President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un committed to recovering more American remains, including the “immediate repatriation of those already identified.” Their statement raised hopes that as many as 200 sets believed to be ready for transfer could be collected in coming days and possibly more in the near future.

But the up-and-down nature of past efforts suggests the process could be fraught with pitfalls, including a mixed record of cooperation from the North Koreans. Any successful repatriation also will face the laborious identification process that has dragged on for years with the remains already in U.S. possession.

READ MORE from this Washington Post article

Australian MIA

The Australian Government’s unrecovered Korean War casualities – The Koreran War Project is closely associated with the United States’ Defense Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Accounting Agency(DPAA) and the South Korean Ministry of National Defence Agency for Missing in Action Recovery and Identification (MAKRI).

The Korean War Missing in Action Working Group was established in December 2015 through the advocacy of Ian Saunders the son of the missing Pte :John Saunders supported by the veterans’ associations (Korean Veterans Association, RAR Association, Air Force Associations, the Naval Association of Australia) and the MIA families. It is active in seeking progress towards the identification of remains still unidentified and held by the DPAA,. You can follow their minuted progress here.

Enquiries are welcome, you can contact the Korean War Project team via telephone 1800 019 090 or email [email protected] .