Battle rages for Diggers – RCB veterans have not surrendered nor will they…

ON the night of December 7-8 1941, Japanese forces began invading Malaya, hours before the attack on US territory Pearl Harbour,
Australia’s first casualties on December 8 were the crews of two 1Sqn RAAF Hudson bombers from six aircraft dispatched to bomb Japan’s invasion fleet.
When Japanese aircraft attacked Butterworth, some RAAF Buffaloes were in the air and tried to intercept, but they were an inadequate match for the speedy Japanese fighters.
The ADF has maintained a long relationship with Butterworth, through the first Malayan Emergency 1950-1960, Confrontation, Vietnam and the second Malaysian Emergency (Counter Insurgency War 1969-1989) to the present day.
From 1958 to 1988 the airfield was an Australian military asset, known formally as RAAF Butterworth.
From 1970 an Australian Army infantry company has been deployed to Butterworth, though successive Australian governments have employed various subterfuges to camouflage their real role.
Although the deployment was officially described as training with Malaysian forces, its actual, formally denied role was to be a ready reaction force to defend, if required, the RAAF assets including Mirage fighters based there.
There is no doubt until 1989 there was a real threat to Australian personnel and assets based at Butterworth, nor that RCB was established and armed to react to that threat should it eventuate.
Yet successive Australian governments have consistently refused to recognise RCB service as warlike, and concede appropriate veteran benefits to those who served in that period.
The RCB veterans lobby group, have gathered a massive database of previously classified material which indubitably supports their claims for recognition.
They will not rest until they clear the fog of bureaucratic and political obfuscation which continues to deny their evidence.

READ  ROSS EASTGATE’S FULL ARTICLE

Note a correction to the article: Robert Cross is the RCB’s veterans lobby group (RCB Review Group) leader of which Ted Chitham (past CO 8/9 RAR 1974-1976) is a member.

“RCB veterans have not surrendered nor will they…” Ross Eastgate

Opinion – Rewriting Australian Army History – The Revisionists Strike Again

THE Australian Army commemorates March 1, 1901, as its official foundation date.
Since 1986 the Australian Army has published a glossy publication,
Brief History of the Australian Army, which is now in its fifth edition. The latest edition, which now devotes its first chapter to “European Settlement and the Aboriginal Resistance 1788-1920”.
Pardon, run that by again?
Engaging in so called frontier wars against Aboriginal resistance, as the current brief history edition claims, were never part of our army’s history.
Yet again the politically correct Canberra-based social warriors are rewriting history to suit their own agendas.
The Australian Army’s proud record since 1901 should be freed of such slurs.

 

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Look back at VP Day, cost of war

LOST in all the media fog over past days was the 73rd anniversary of Victory in the Pacific in World War II.
Japan surrendered on August 14, 1945 after US aircraft dropped atomic weapons on Hiroshima, then Nagasaki.
Until these devastating attacks Japan had shown no inclination to end hostilities, despite Allied preparations to invade the Japanese mainland.
Historians can only speculate what that may have cost in lives and materiel, or whether it would even have succeeded as had the Allied invasion of Europe 14 months earlier.
Victory in Europe was declared on May 8, 1945 when Germany surrendered.
However, despite Japan’s capitulation, formal surrender ceremonies would not happen until September 2, when US General Douglas McArthur formally received Japanese representatives aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

Opinion – Sinking $50b into antiquity

Ross Eastgate – 2 August 2018

AUSTRALIA’S first submarines were British designed and built E Class boats.in 1911 and delivered in 2014. Australia’s future submarine fleet, decades away from introduction into service will rely on the same propulsion technology as the RAN’s original boats. Because, apparently, boffins somewhere deep in Canberra’s bowels are concerned the RAN won’t be capable of dealing with multiple new technologies simultaneously.
In 15 years when these boats eventually enter service, leadacid batteries are likely to be as technologically relevant as dial telephones…

READ THE FULL ARTICLE

Poem – What Happened to the Soap Box in the Park

What happened to the soapbox in the Park?      

(A time when anyone could speak their views)

I am not sure I’m a full quid

After watching what the Vic police did

To keep opposing groups apart

Let’s look out at how it happened for a start

 

Law abiding citizens hired a venue to air their personal views

Which I thought was their legal right, the same as me and you

However, a tribe chanting “racists” arrived on the scene

Bullying and threatening just like Hitler, Mao and Stalin had been

The mob knew their murky history and knew what to do and say

The brown shirts of yesterday have arrived in OZ to have their way

They hindered the flow of movement and traffic came to a halt

Meanwhile law abiding citizens at the meeting were at no fault 

Enforcement of our laws is becoming more lopsided by the day 

More so when the innocent were charged a fee and must pay

Surely it’s a clear message to louts that they can have their own way 

While for lawful citizens, free speech is now what you’re told to say 

It’s time, fellow Aussies, to get our heads out the sand

There is a clear threat we are losing what was once a lucky land 

If you’re standing on soap box in the park to preach what you believe 

Soon will be Thought Police with arm bands, ordering you to leave

There is one suggestion I will leave you with this very night

Remind every politician that all Australians have rights

To stop appeasing a noisy few and reach out to make us as one

Give us back our way of life, or pack your bags and run

George Mansford July 2018

 

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

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.

 

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.

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Opinion – Ross Eastgat

Opinion – Murky waters of SASR allegations

IT WAS ironic that on the 22nd anniversary of the Australian Special Air Service Regiment’s most costly disaster the regiment was facing allegations of serious misconduct. The allegations made against some SASR personnel who have operated in Afghanistan are that they encouraged, tolerated or concealed what might in some circumstances be considered unlawful acts.

The facts of those allegations are in dispute, and those who may be formally accused remain innocent until proven guilty.

The issue has ignited passionate debate within the wider defence community, which would be well advised to moderate open discussion, particularly on social media.

Ross Eastgate

The West Australian Editorial – Many Dangers Exist in Sitting in Judgement of the SAS

Modern war is like nothing that has gone before. The opposing sides do not line up in clear sight of each other, one army in red and the other in blue, and march at each other. No, today the fog of war weighs heavier than ever. So those who would sit in judgment of the special forces soldiers who fought in Afghanistan should keep a few things in mind.

Firstly, everything that you may have read in some media reports are purely allegations or accusations. It must be remembered that nothing has been proved against any members of the Perth-based Special Air Service Regiment. The reports have come from unnamed sources on one side only. We haven’t heard from the other side. We simply do not know the intimate details of what really went on — what these highly trained soldiers were really facing.

Secondly, these men were fighting to maintain the freedoms that we enjoy in this country — the key word here being “fighting” . They were in a war. It was a war unlike any other fought in history — a war in which the enemy was often almost impossible to identify. An enemy that may have masqueraded as a friend one day only to try to kill them the next. It is very easy to sit in our comfortable lounge rooms in the safety of Australia and pass judgment on situations that happened in circumstances many of us can’t , for a moment, even start to understand.

Thirdly, these men who fought for our way of life have now had unproven accusations hanging over their heads for many years. Why our top military leaders think this is an acceptable way to treat these men is incomprehensible. And what about the effect this is having on the soldiers’ families, who have had to sacrifice so much.

Former defence minister and head of the Australian War Memorial, Brendan Nelson, has said he was increasingly worried for the welfare of soldiers caught up in the investigations and their families.

It is now recognised how poorly our country treated our soldiers when they came back from the Vietnam war, and how that had such a detrimental effect on their wellbeing. Surely our country has learnt enough not to treat another generation of soldiers the same way?

Are we a country that is going to tear down the very people who have put their lives on the line to maintain the life we so cherish? Is this the sort of country we want to be?

12th June 2018