Letter to the ABC

October 25, 2021

Reporters  Mark Willacy, Alexandra Blucher and Dan Oakes.

–  on behalf of November Platoon, 2012.

Over a year ago, on 20 October 2020, the ABC published an article based on the account of a US Marine who alleged that November Platoon of the 2nd Commando Regiment had executed a “prisoner” in Afghanistan in “mid-2012”.

In this story, the ABC stated that, “A United States Marine Corps (USMC) helicopter crew chief says Australian special forces shot and killed a bound Afghan prisoner after being told he would not fit on the US aircraft coming to pick them up.”

This is an appalling and preposterous lie. The ABC should be ashamed of this failing of basic journalistic practice.

The entire story is based on the account of one man who insists on using a pseudonym yet, bizarrely, agrees to have his face shown.

This ‘former Marine’ claims he saw members of November Platoon “tackle and hogtie” seven prisoners then, upon being told that a US helicopter only had room for six prisoners, “And you just heard this silence and then we heard a pop. And then they said, ‘OK, we have six prisoners’. So it was pretty apparent to everybody involved in that mission that they had just killed a prisoner that we had just watched them catch and hogtie.”

The impact of this story has been immense, particularly given that it was published on the evening of October 20, 2020, dominating the news cycle on the following day.

That day, 21 October 2020, was the eighth anniversary of the death of Corporal Scott Smith, who was a member of the November Platoon Group, and therefore one of the accused in your article.

This story was based on the unsubstantiated claims of one US Marine whose account cannot form the basis for the assertions made by the ABC. In the following 12 months there has been no follow up or correction to the published story.

November Platoon is calling for:

  1. A request a written apology from the ABC and the reporters to the men and families of November Platoon.
  2. A call for an independent review of the ABC story published on October 20, 2020.
  3. A call for the ABC to publish a full correction to this story including an unqualified, genuine apology to the members of November Platoon.

To view the full letter click on the link: click here.


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