SASR , the bullshit that has fallen on those magnificent men.

In relation to the media / political assassination of Christian Porter and the defence of his innocence till proven guilty. This is disgraceful and utterly absurd, yet obviously now in Australia you are now found guilty in the court of public opinion and by far left wing biased politicians and media. He has been defended by Morrison and others and still the media and far left persist to crucify him.

So my point is I am finding it hard to come to terms with and I am bloody angry with the instant guilt and punishment that was and is being incurred on our Special Forces soldiers that without trial, civil and military even under the Defence Act have so far been somehow found guilty and have been made to show cause why they should remain in the Army.  They have lost pay, have been suspended from all duty, have been hung out to dry as war criminals, lost their good name and earned respect and yet have not faced any prosecution whatsoever. All this because of an agenda driven report by an incompetent Brereton of those in SASR and  the Commando Regiments who conducted operations against an insidious and fierce enemy in Afghanistan, who Australian politicians sent to fight on behalf of Australians. Where ludicrously and so bloody well incompetently based on evidence apparently garnered from Afghani’s via adds by our government in local Afghani newspapers. Does this not ring of stupidity and system failure ? Do Australians really think Afghanis will be honest and accurate in their tales of Australian atrocity’s and rampages of murder and rapine in our Army by the ruthless thugs of Australian Army ? Does Morrison and his PC wokists really take thinking Australians for mugs ?

 Because the whole contradiction here is that the same people defending Porter from the same persecution are the same people consigning our soldiers to guilt and punishment before they have even defended themselves in a court of law.

And this was started and announced before the Brereton garbage was released , namely by a holier than thou  Morrison who  obviously, with his hand up General Campbells behind,  who is beholden to his political master to say and do whatever he is told carried out the punishments I stated above  and of disbanding the  SASR 2 Sqn and the rest is now history .

 Is there someone able to take this up and get Morrison to pull his head in.

I was a respected and experienced veteran ( Veteran as in the real meaning, I have been on ops, not the peace time meaning of just having been in the ADF) serving Infantry soldier and later an  officer in the Regular Army for 30 years, I served in the Special Forces Organisation for nearly 10 years and have deployed on ops and training teams. And I will tell you now that the word is out, dont join our Army because what ever you do you will not be backed by our Government and population, because we are expendable as PC and political playthings to be abused as the politicians and the left have so successfully done and demonstrated in this case.

 And If I was a soldier I would pull the pin and get the hell out of this joke of an Army right now. Because quite frankly Australia has been white anted from the inside and is just not worth dying for. I could go on but I think you get the gist of my anger.

 Best Regards

 Mark Thorp

Soldiers probed for online posts

Soldiers probed for online posts


EXCLUSIVE

Sunday Telegraph

CYDONEE MARDON

Veterans lash ADF

AUSTRALIAN Defence personnel claim they risk disciplinary action if they are caught following a popular veterans group on social media.

The Pineapple Express, which has more than 36,000 followers, says the ADF has already investigated up to 40 people, including officers, for liking, sharing and commenting on posts on its Instagram and Facebook pages.

One former officer told The Sunday Telegraph she was investigated and found to have tarnished the reputation of the ADF for her alleged affiliation with the page, which military personnel refer to as TPE.

Her findings read: “I do not see sufficient evidence to suggest you are an administrator of TPE; however there is sufficient evidence to suggest that you were definitely aware of who was the administrator and you failed to report behaviour that held significant reputation risk for the ADF and opposed Army values, thereby making you a bystander at best and a complicit enabler at worst.”

The Sunday Telegraph has seen many of the warning letters, including this message: “Gents — points from the CUB (Commander’s Update Brief): No one is to post to Pineapple Express — current investigation is ongoing.”

The Pineapple Express believes the end goal is to identify all administrators and have the page shut down.

One administrator said the ADF had “long exercised censorship over its members to avoid potential subversion of its authority and reputation”.

“Social media policies are expected in any organisation (but) the ADF is its own microcosm of society, ironically not unlike China, where enforcement of information control is achieved through disciplinary means such as search warrants, property seizure, and punishment,” the administrator, a serving member, said.

“The real irony is their belief that social media pages such as ours would cause the decentralisation and dissension of the military, when factually the demoralisation of its people is actually caused by their own archaic policies, poor management, and lack of prioritising.

“Instead of wasting taxpayers’ money on trying to silence our page, the ADF could have instead focused their efforts, and actually worked with us, to help tackle the very real issues that exist — not least of which is veteran suicide.”

In the latest attack on the page the Defence Social Media team took action this week to remove a TPE post, claiming a copyright breach. The post showed an army powerpoint presentation appearing to be teaching troops how to report offending posts from TPE.

A follow-up post about the copyright complaint attracted hundreds of comments, such as “while some veterans are homeless, this bloke in Canberra is monitoring FB posts”.

The Pineapple Express is a veteran community page that began with satirical social media posts but has grown into a mechanism for mental health support and advocacy for veterans and currently serving ADF personnel. Defence was contacted for comment.

 

ANZAC Day March – Melbourne

This year 2021, there will not be a Gunfire Breakfast, nor an ANZAC Day March in Melbourne as we know it.

Serving ADF Veterans will Parade March from a little way up Birdwood Ave and then into the Shrine Of Remembrance (SOR) grounds.

The RAAF will lead, as this is their Centenary year.

No non-serving Veterans will march, family members nor Foreign Veterans.

Some Banners will be located on a very small piece of the SOR Grounds.

Banners and Bearers will be organised by the  RSL.

The service will be live-streamed, as will the Governor’s address.

Only the Governor and one Veteran will lay wreaths.

This year only 1500 Victorians will be permitted to attend and 1500 will be chosen via Ballot, (SOR will arrange this) and an area will be roped off for the lucky ones.

The after Parade Service will be conducted in the Sanctuary (again live-streamed).

The ANZAC Church service during Evensong, at St Paul’s, will go ahead on Sunday 18 April.

Numbers may be limited to 100, stand by, as this may change without a lot of notice.

It should be just a matter of trust

By Heston Russell

I have taken the past few months to meet with a considerable number of veterans and their families who have reached out following the release of the Brereton Report in November last year. I listened to accounts that made me shocked, saddened, disappointed and disgusted at the way that these Australian citizens had been treated.

With Australia Day just passed, the irony of just how un-Australian some of the stories are is not lost on me, confirmation of the toxic leadership culture in our defence force. I listened as wives told me how they watched their husbands deteriorate from proud patriots to being so fearful that they would take their own lives.

Mothers told me how they were torn apart deciding to send their children across the country to live with their grandparents because they were fearful for their safety at home.

Fearful because they had been contacted by members of the Australian media and faced threats that if they didn’t support an article or comment their stories would be made public.

These accounts came directly from the families of those who have already had actions taken against them by the Australian Defence Force before and after the official release in November 2020.

I heard of how during the Brereton Inquiry, actions were still initiated as far back as March 2020 to remove current serving members from active service. The removal of their financial allowances and placing them on restrictions. I heard of the complete isolation of these military personnel and their families from their workplace supervisors and support. As I sat and listened, often coming to tears as they also told of the incredible trauma this has caused their families, marriages and children, I continued to ask one simple question: Have any charges been laid? With every response: No. I even went further to ask: Have you been questioned by the police? Every response: No.

Then with the issuing of notices calling for their termination from the Army, families ‘endured’ these periods without response, filled with uncertainty for their futures.

Of all the questions and emotions that arose, I simply found myself asking: Why are these actions being taken now.

It has been seven-plus years since the last Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) returned from Afghanistan.

Veterans of all ranks, trades and experiences are filled with disgust and outrage at our most senior military and political leaders. Many felt abandoned and left with mortal injury, many veterans spoke of how this had caused them to feel tarnished and ashamed at the lack of leadership.

They query how they could identify with, let alone trust them.

However, many veterans were grateful the Australian public had front row seats to finally see these toxic leaders and their culture of securing personal and political advantage through focusing their service and support to those above but not below their rank or authority.

My hope is that all actions from here will allow this due process the support and integrity it requires. While some may speak of ‘a few bad eggs’, culture comes down from those who lay the path by example for others to follow. We must now work to further support these veterans to bring more transparency and accountability up and down the chain of command.

HESTON RUSSELL IS A RETIRED SPECIAL FORCES MAJOR AND THE FOUNDER OF VOICE OF A VETERAN.

Agent Orange Exposure Doubles Risk of Developing Dementia, Study Finds

A U.S. Huey helicopter sprays Agent Orange over Vietnam. The U.S. military used at least 11 million gallons of Agent Orange in Vietnam from 1961 to 1972. Wikimedia Commons

26 Jan 2021

Military.com | By Patricia Kime

A new study of more than 300,000 Vietnam-era U.S. veterans has found that those who were exposed to Agent Orange are nearly twice as likely to develop dementia as those who were not.

The new finding, published Monday in JAMA Neurology, is among the most substantial to date linking cognitive decline with chemicals used for defoliation during the Vietnam War.

For the study, researchers at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Health Care System examined the medical records of thousands of veterans and found a two-fold risk of dementia for those whose medical records indicated evidence of exposure.

According to Deborah Barnes, a researcher with the University of California San Francisco and the Department of Veterans Affairs, the study authors found that, over the course of time, 5% of veterans with a documented exposure to Agent Orange were diagnosed with dementia compared with 2.5% of vets with no known exposure.

“Even though the absolute rates … are low, these veterans were still relatively young, so if the risk holds, we would expect that to increase as they age,” Barnes said in an interview with JAMA Neurology.

The research also discovered that the exposed vets were diagnosed an average of 15 months earlier than non-exposed veterans — a finding that can have a huge impact on former personnel, their families and society as a whole, Barnes said.

“Studies have found if we could delay the onset of dementia by a year or 15 months, it would have a huge impact on the population prevalence over time,” she explained.

For the study, the researchers reviewed the medical records of Vietnam veterans who received care through the Veterans Health Administration from Oct. 1, 2001, to Sept. 30, 2015. They excluded anyone already diagnosed with dementia and those whose Agent Orange exposure was unclear.

They found that even after adjusting for other factors and conditions that can play a role in the development of dementia — psychiatric conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, medical conditions like diabetes and Parkinson’s, or demographic variables — the two-fold risk remained.

“We did observe that veterans who had a history of Agent Orange exposure were more likely to have PTSD in their medical records or traumatic brain injury, so they did have other conditions that could increase their risk of dementia, so we adjusted statistically and … yes, there [still] is an association,” Barnes said.

Throughout the Vietnam War, U.S. forces sprayed more than 19 million gallons of defoliant, including 11 million of Agent Orange, to clear the jungle and destroy crops. From 1962 to 1971, at least 2.6 million U.S. service members were stationed in Vietnam and other places where the herbicides were sprayed or stored.

Thousands of veterans have been diagnosed with varying types of cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and peripheral neuropathy as a result of exposure to the herbicides, according to the VA.

The research didn’t explain why exposure may be linked with the development of dementia, but one of the main ingredients of the defoliants — dioxin — is known to be stored in fat tissue where it “sticks around for a long time,” Barnes said.

“It’s possible that Agent Orange stayed in the fat tissue and is slowly being released and causing toxic effects on the brain. But we also know that Agent Orange increases the risk of other disorders that themselves are risk factors for dementia, so it’s unclear if it’s a direct effect of the dioxin, an indirect effect or possibly a combination,” she added.

The researchers said that their study has some limitations, including concerns over the accuracy of Agent Orange exposure documentation in medical records or misclassification of a dementia diagnosis.

Also, the study did not include veterans who receive care outside VA or contain any baseline cognitive scores, which could have revealed whether any of the veterans had undiagnosed dementia at the start.

The researchers suggested that additional studies be conducted to determine the relationship between Agent Orange exposure and dementia and added that they hoped it would encourage physicians to screen their patients for the condition as they age.

Dementia is on the rise in the aging veterans community, with a 20% increase expected among VA patients over the next decade, according to the department.

Barnes said she also would like to see more research on the positive steps patients can take to offset increased risk — physical activity, healthy lifestyle choices, treating their mental health diagnoses and more.

”We can’t change our past. … What you can control is what you are doing now and what you do in the future. My hope is that, even if these veterans have this risk factor, engaging in a healthier lifestyle may help them offset that risk,” she said.

— Patricia Kime can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @patriciakime.

BOOST IN SUPPORT FOR VETERAN MENTAL HEALTH 

Mental health providers, social workers and community nursing providers who provide vital services to our veteran community are set to receive a boost in funding from the Australian Government with an increase in fees from today.

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Darren Chester said the Government committed $94.3 million in the Budget to increase fees paid to mental health, social work and community nursing providers, and ensure continued high quality care for our veterans and their families.

“Maintaining competitive fees for these mental health and community support providers will enable better outcomes for our veterans and their families, and encourage providers to continue to offer services to support members of the veteran community through challenging times,” Mr Chester said.

“It was crucial that the Government continues to deliver positive change to boost support for veterans’ mental health and wellbeing, particularly as we navigate a global pandemic.

“This Government has invested in the veterans’ affairs portfolio year-on-year and will continue to do so to ensure we are putting veterans and their families first, including by regularly examining the fees paid to providers for health services.”

The $94.3 million over four years to improve mental health outcomes and ensure high quality care for our older veterans and their families, and to better support their transition to civilian life by increasing fees paid to mental health, social work and community nursing providers.

“I would like to acknowledge the ongoing advocacy by ex-service organisations and peak bodies who work with us in partnership to ensure our veterans and their families have access to world-class care and support,” Mr Chester said.

“For any veteran out there who may be struggling, I encourage you to reach out for help. Support is always available.”

More information on mental health support available through DVA is available at dva.gov.au.

For support, Open Arms — Veterans & Families Counselling provides free and confidential support for current and ex-serving ADF personnel and their families. Help is available 24/7 on 1800 011 046 (international: +61 1800 011 046 or +61 8 8241 4546) or visit www.OpenArms.gov.au

War Between US & China In “Three To Five Years”

Australian Lawmaker Predicts War Between US & China In “Three To Five Years”

by Dave DeCamp

With US-China relations at their lowest point in decades, one of Washington’s closest allies in the Pacific is gearing up for a potential war between the two superpowers. In an interview with Australia’s Seven News, Australian Senator Jim Molan said he expects a conflict to break out soon.

“We are likely in the next three to five years or in the next five to ten years to be involved in a war between China and the United States,” Molan said. The senator made the comments while discussing the budget and capabilities of Australia’s military. “The ADF (Australian Defense Forces) has never been better than it is now,” he said.

Molan voiced his concern over Washington’s current military capabilities, particularly the size of the US Navy. “In 1991, the US Navy was 600 warships strong. Now it’s less than 300,” he said. The politician who is a prominent voice in the national political commentary is also a former major general in the Australian Army.

He said further:

“It is not inevitable and if we prepare, there is a chance it will not happen,” Mr Molan told Sunrise. The former Australian Army Major-General said China has been primed for war for a “long time” as well as the US.

“They [China] are picking fights with their neighbors around the world and they have extraordinary military capability, not just in rockets and aircraft but in overall capability to do things,” he said.

Like Washington, Canberra has taken an increasingly hostile stance against Beijing in recent years, and China-Australia relations have been rapidly deteriorating. Both the US and Australia have taken steps to boost military partnerships in the Indo-Pacific with the aim of countering Beijing.

The US, Australia, Japan, and India make up the informal alliance known as the Quad. In November, Australia joined the other quad countries in the annual Indian-led military exercises known as the Malabar.

It was the first time since in over a decade that the Quad countries held military drills together.

Australia and Japan recently reached an agreement on a new military pact that will allow their militaries to operate on each other’s soil. Once the pact is implemented, it will mark the first time in 60 years that Japan allows another foreign military besides the US on its soil.

 

MORE FROM GEORGE

There are persistent contradictory rumours that 2 Squadron SASR has been secretly disbanded or will soon be disbanded.  Alas, no smoke signals that there has been a change of heart and commonsense has at last prevailed.  What is known is that when seeking scapegoats there should always be a good smoke screen to mask incompetence at the high levels of military and political arenas. 

Confusion, public anger and disbelief are very much part of the sad scenes being played in Canberra. If only there had been cool heads and clear objectivity when the alarm bells rang? 

Can we have some positive statement of intent? To help ease the troubled minds of old veterans of the squadron who served with honour; not forgetting Next of Kin who grieve for loved ones who once with immense pride, served in Two Squadron SASR

One point is very clear, when it comes to soldiering, honour, love of Regiment, a fair go and due recognition, no one, but no one, will steal such values  from those who earnt them.

George Mansford

 

Over reaction is toxic for any leader

Loyalty both ways was once the military cry

Faith, trust, duty and follow the leader, be it to live or die

From ANZAC to the Space Age, it has been the military bible

If ignored and found guilty, offenders, not units, are very liable

 

Such values cement the strongest of bonds in peace and war

They never bend or crack, even in danger where odds of survival are poor

From swearing the sacred oath to the last day of soldiering, alive or dead

Warriors live by both a creed and example of revered ghosts who once led

 

That is the way it must be if our military is to win

The task is made harder, when some in safe places consider killing enemy a sin

So sad an SASR squadron which for decades has bravely confronted enemy dens

Is now found guilty before trial, and cast to the wind with a flick of a General’s pen

 

So convenient to ignore our Armed Forces creed and justice as it should be

It insults both living and ghosts who once served; a delight for any foe to see

It dampens fighting spirit and breeds confusion to what is right or wrong

Erodes faith, trust, duty and loyalty so vital for a proven powerful battle song

 

Wake up OZ; it’s time to rid our troops of heavy cumbersome haversacks of PC

For Canberra suits to stand tall for the creed as it was, and should always be

Otherwise, replace our military with a super- size pen wielding Diplomatic Corp

And gamble that there will never ever be the need to prepare for war.

George Mansford  December 2020

Senior ‘war crimes’ investigators named

Senior ‘war crimes’ investigators named Chris Moraitis, Mark Weinberg and Ross Barnett – the top appointments to the new Office of the Special Investigator that will examine, investigate and advance ‘war crime’ allegations arising out of the IGADF Afghanistan Inquiry Report.

The top three officials in the new Office of the Special Investigator to investigate alleged Australian ‘war crimes’ in Afghanistan have been named.

Chris Moraitis, the current Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department, has been appointed Director-General of the Office of the Special Investigator. Mark Weinberg will fill the role of the Special Investigator. Ross Barnett has been appointed as the Director of Investigations, supporting the Special Investigator through leadership of investigations. CAPTION: Chris Moraitis, Mark Weinberg and Ross Barnett – the top appointments to the new Office of the Special Investigator that will examine, investigate and advance ‘war crime’ allegations arising out of the IGADF Afghanistan Inquiry Report.

Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton said the Office of the Special Investigator (OSI) would examine the findings of the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force Afghanistan Inquiry Report and beginning work from 4 January 2021.

“The task for these eminent appointees will be challenging and, as the Prime Minister has noted, difficult for Australia,” Mr Dutton said.

“They bring a wealth of experience to the very important work this office will do.

“Their combined wealth of experience will serve the office well in undertaking the significant task ahead.”

Mr Moraitis has worked on a range of challenging issues, including reforms to national security legislation, as well as treaty negotiations and international legal disputes during his career at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Mr Moraitis has considerable experience engaging international bodies, including the International Criminal Court.

“Mr Moraitis is a highly-regarded public servant with significant experience in complex policy and legal matters,” Mr Dutton said.

“He will provide strategic oversight and leadership to the operations of the Office of the Special Investigator.”

Justice Weinberg is a former Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions and judge of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria.

Justice Weinberg is recognised for distinguished service to the judiciary and to the law, particularly through reforms to criminal law and procedure, to legal education in Victoria and to the administration of justice in Fiji and Norfolk Island.

As Special Investigator he will be responsible for assessing the matters raised by the IGADF Inquiry and, if appropriate, referring briefs of evidence to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

“Justice Weinberg has had a distinguished career and brings a wealth of experience to this very important work,” Mr Dutton said.

Mr Barnett is Queensland’s first Racing Integrity Commissioner and a former Deputy Commissioner of the Queensland Police Service.

Mr Barnett’s experience includes working in major crime and drug squads and has served in senior roles at the National Crime Authority, the Australian Crime Commission and the Queensland Crime Commission.

“For nearly 40 years Mr Barnett was one of the most distinguished officers in the Queensland Police.

“He led the State Crime Command of that service and has considerable criminal-investigative and major-case experience.”

Mr Dutton said Australian Defence Force personnel serve our country with distinction and great sacrifice and their honour and our nation would be best served by ensuring the matters raised in the Afghanistan Inquiry Report are addressed in Australia and in accordance with the rule of law.

Defence personnel and families affected by the IGADF Inquiry are encouraged to access support services.

 

CONTACT – 2 Squadron SASR has been dishonourably struck off

CAPTION: Former SASR Sergeant Troy Simmonds – who’s front-cover story in CONTACT magazine issue 45 is the most read article in our history – said on Facebook this week he was “Proud to have been a member of 2 Squadron, Australian Special Air Service Regiment, now sadly disbanded due to as-yet-unproven allegations made against a small group in 2012. Thoughts go out to the hundreds of proud 2 SQN Vets since the 1960s who had nothing to do with these allegations and are deeply saddened and hurt by the dishonourable disbanding of their old Squadron. Group pic whilst in role of Counter Terrorism team for the 2000 Olympics (me front row 4th from left)”.

2 Squadron SASR has been dishonourably struck off the Army’s Order of Battle – in secret, without ceremony and despite CDF’s ‘clarification’ that due process would precede.

In the wake of the IGADF Afghanistan Inquiry Report release, certain ‘threats’ of action were made by Chief of Defence General Angus Campbell – including that 2 Squadron SASR would be struck off the Army’s Order of Battle.

A few days later, General Campbell was forced to issue a ‘clarification‘, in which he said Defence was developing a comprehensive implementation plan to action the Inspector-General’s recommendations.

He also said any further action in response to the Inspector-General’s recommendations would be considered as part of the implementation plan, which was being developed with the oversight of the Minister for Defence and an independent Afghanistan Inquiry Implementation Oversight Panel.

A planned parade to mark the reorganisation of SASR (i.e. the disbandment of 2 Squadron) was cancelled.

And yet, rumour came to us that 2 Squadron SASR was indeed disbanded in the interim – with no public announcement from either the CDF or the minister oversighting all further actions and implementations.

Then rumour became fact as one affected person then another confirmed it for us.

So now, we’re left to wonder, what of the CDF’s promise to take no further actions to implement the recommendations of the IGADF Afghanistan Report’s recommendations without public comment or government oversight?

Oh yeah, that’s right – disbanding 2 Squadron SASR was not actually a recommendation of the Brereton report – it was the Chief of Army’s own idea.

So, it would seem we were right to be sceptical and to point out the added confusion caused by CDF’s deliberate and pointed language when he ‘clarified’ his position on 30 November.