Former soldier Jacqui Lambie calls on defence chief to resign and accuses top brass of ‘throwing diggers under the bus’ to protect themselves after Afghan war crimes report – as she insists ‘truth will come out’
- Jacqui Lambie accused the ADF top brass of ‘throwing diggers under the bus’
- She appeared on the Today show following report into alleged war crimes
- A four-year investigation uncovered credible evidence of 39 unlawful killings
- Senator Lambie said it was time for Angus Campbell to step down from job
Jacqui Lambie has accused the ADF of ‘throwing diggers under the bus’ and claims the ‘truth will come out’ in the wake of the bombshell report on alleged war crimes in Afghanistan.
A four year investigation by Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force, Justice Paul Brereton, uncovered evidence of 39 unlawful killings and two cases of torture by Australian troops in Afghanistan.
The Tasmanian senator, who served in the Australian Army from 1989 to 2000, said it was ‘upsetting’ the ADF have not looked at their own leadership – and accused it of abandoning troops.
‘[They] threw those diggers straight under the bus to cover their own backsides,’ she told the Today show on Thursday morning.
A four-year investigation by Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force, Justice Paul Brereton, uncovered credible evidence of 39 unlawful killings and two cases of torture by Australian troops in Afghanistan. Pictured: A soldier on duty
Lambasting top brass’ behaviour, Ms Lambie called for Angus Campbell, the chief of the Defence Force, to step down.
‘I think it’s time for fresh blood,’ she said.
‘I think that era is over and I think him and some of his mates at the top, it’s time for other people to come through and take that leadership over.
‘It’s time for Angus to go.’
Mr Campbell initially promised to revoke medals from all 3000 special forces soldiers who served in Afghanistan during 2007 and 2013, when alleged war crimes were committed.
But in the face of public pressure and interventions from the prime minister, General Campbell now says no final decision has been made.
Jacqui Lambie (pictured on Today) has accused the ADF top boss of ‘throwing diggers under the bus’
Today host Allison Langdon said the inquiry was ‘really clear that the top brass knew nothing about this’.
But Ms Lambie quickly disagreed and claimed it was ‘rubbish’ the top brass were not across the allegations.
‘After ten years in the army and what I’m hearing, you know evidence will come out eventually,’ she said.
‘I just don’t believe it. There is just no way you could not know what was going on.’
Ms Lambie claimed she even heard ‘bits and pieces’ on the allegations back in 2014.
Senator Lambie said it is time for Chief of the ADF General Angus Campbell (pictured) ‘to go’
Having interviewed more than 400 witnesses and examined tens of thousands of documents, Justice Brereton found there was credible evidence of 23 incidents in which a total of 39 Afghan nationals were unlawfully killed.
Justice Brereton identified 25 current or former ADF personnel accused of perpetrating one or more war crimes.
A few of the Afghan nationals killed were not participating in hostilities, while the majority were prisoners of war.
‘None of these are incidents of disputable decisions made under pressure in the heat of battle,’ the report said.
‘The cases in which it has been found that there is credible information of a war crime are ones in which it was or should have been plain that the person killed was a non-combatant.’
Justice Brereton found credible evidence some soldiers carried ‘throw downs’ such as weapons and military equipment to make it appear the person killed was a legitimate target.
As well, there was evidence junior soldiers were required by their patrol commanders to shoot a prisoner in a practice known as ‘blooding’ to notch up their first kill.
Ms Lambie claimed it was ‘rubbish’ the top brass were not across the war crime allegations