To the long list atop which stands the heroic whistleblowing Australian Julian Assange, add, now, the heroic Australian David McBride, whose story makes clear why the Taliban were able to walk to victory against U.S.-and-allied forces in Afghanistan:
The whistleblower McBride had been an Australian Special Forces Defence Force lawyer during the Afghan occupation who could no longer tolerate the lawbreaking, arrogance, psychopathy, and institutionalized failure, that he saw all around him being committed by and under the higher-ups in the Australian command in Afghanistan; and, so, he now risks his life in order to get the word out to the world as to why Afghans hated and despised the U.S. and its allies who were running their country during 2002-2022.
On 2 May 2021, the reporter Ron McKay, in the Herald of Scotland, headlined “The wrong target – whistleblower faces charges as killer soldiers walk free”, and opened:
They called it “going up the Congo”. This was Afghanistan, not Africa, but it didn’t matter – the object was the same. The special forces soldiers put on their body armour, blackened their faces, checked their weapons by firing into sand pits and went out on patrol.
New members were given a test – the “blooding”, they called it – where they had to shoot an unarmed prisoner. His comrades then covered it up with a “throwdown”, a weapon not issued to the army, so they could claim that the alleged insurgent was armed when he was killed. Others would cut off a hand as a souvenir. …
Here were specific instances:
In September 2013, SAS soldiers burst into the home of farmer Bismillah Jan Azadi in his village of Ala Balogh on the outskirts of the Uruzgan capital Tarin Kot. Azadi was asleep with his six-year-old son Sadiqullah under a blanket on the verandah of their house. They were shot as the[y] lay.
The soldier who shot them was later cleared in an internal investigation, claiming Azadi had pointed a pistol at him.
In another incident in the same month, an Afghan on a motorbike with a woman passenger was shot dead because SAS troops believed he might be a spotter for the Mujahideen. There was no evidence he was. The passenger was badly wounded. Again, two 14-year-old boys were stopped by an SAS patrol, who decided they might be Taliban sympathisers. Their throats were slit and their bodies bagged and thrown into a nearby river.
Troops even filmed their atrocities. One SAS soldier standing over an unarmed civilian asks his superior “you want me to drop this c***”,” before executing the man as he begged in a wheat field.
IN 2014, David McBride was a major, a military lawyer for special forces. He began compiling evidence of war crimes. Over several months at night he gathered top-secret files from computers at the high-security joint operations headquarters near Bungendore, east of of the capital Canberra. Then he would drive home and stay up for hours compiling a lengthy dossier charting the atrocities, but also detailing how they were widely known by the military hierarchy and ignored. …
A series of sham military trials, he continues, were carried out to divert attention from “a series of murders that was carried out simply to terrorise the population” and carried out by “decorated and famous soldiers”. The ones they pinned the medals on “were actually psychopathic killers” is how he puts it.
WHAT they called these murderous sallies was “going up the Congo” [hearkening back to Belgium’s imperialism in the Congo]. He recounts: “We couldn’t beat the Taliban on normal grounds so the idea was that if we just kill indiscriminately the Afghan people would fear us more than they would fear the Taliban. Needless to say it wasn’t a very good plan.” As a result, the local populations hated the SAS soldiers and “many of their sons joined the Taliban”.
Anyone inside the military who wanted to speak out about it was in fear of their own life, McBride says. “It’s something of the Apocalypse Now story with life imitating art and I think what was most worrying for the government was that some of the key people had medals pinned on them by the Prime Minister, the Governor-General.”
He continues: “I think they were prepared to throw innocent soldiers under the bus to take attention away from the really big elephant in the room.”
McBRIDE had his completed dossier on the war crimes and at first he tried to push it up the line to his superiors, but it was ignored – the cover-up continued. Then he went to the federal police and was again rebuffed. So he decided to go to ABC, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, which jumped at the information and screened a seven-part series, The Afghan Files, based on McBride’s evidence.
It did not have the effect he intended. In June 2019, police raided ABC’s headquarters in a five-hour trawl and took away files. They raided and arrested one of the journalists who had worked on the programmes, but no charges were brought.
“I thought quite early someone would pat me on the back and say ‘good on you for picking this up’ but they didn’t,” McBride says with an air of bemusement. “It shows you our society is sicker than I thought, because I had real trouble in getting anyone interested in the story.”
Except his military bosses – for the wrong reasons. “It was the end of my career and I almost committed suicide. It [the story] spent years in the wilderness, no-one wanted to know,” he says. “I almost wanted to get arrested in the end because I thought my last card in the deck would be to be in front of a judge and jury … and I could call some of the generals and ask them, ‘Did you know about the war crimes?’”
He describes it as a high-risk strategy. “But the only way justice is going to happen is if we have a court case and some senior people in Australia have to answer some hard questions.”
LAST November, after a four-year inquiry sparked by McBride’s revelations, the Brereton Report (named after Paul Brereton, a Supreme Court judge and army major-general) was published. Although heavily redacted, it confirmed former major McBride’s allegations. …
None of the 19 troops alleged to have carried out killings has yet been prosecuted. The only person who has been is the whistleblower David McBride. He faces five charges, including theft of classified documents and unlawfully disclosing information. His trial will take place later this month.
He realises the stakes. “Lifetime’s imprisonment, that’s the worst case. I believe in this cause so strongly that I’m prepared to do that,” he says. “If they can get away with this then Western democracies are on a trajectory to ruin. If we’re not already the bad guys of the world then we will be soon.”
Then, on 26 October 2022, the Guardian bannered “David McBride will face prosecution after blowing whistle on alleged war crimes in Afghanistan”, and reported that,
The man who blew the whistle on alleged war crimes committed by Australian troops in Afghanistan will face prosecution.
Lawyers for the former military lawyer David McBride withdrew an application to have him protected under whistleblower laws after the commonwealth moved to suppress expert evidence.
McBride is being prosecuted for allegedly leaking a cache of documents to the ABC that informed a series on alleged war crimes in Afghanistan and led to a much-publicised federal police raid on the ABC’s Sydney offices in 2019.
Two experts were set to support McBride’s case, but commonwealth lawyers sought to have their testimony quashed under public interest immunity laws. The laws suppress information that would prejudice the public interest if they were made public.
McBride said there was little prospect of success without their evidence.
“The government played the national security card to the absolute hilt,” he told media outside the ACT supreme court on Thursday.
In The West (U.S.-and-allied countries), ‘national security’ is the regime’s standard excuse to be what the regime actually is but denies being. ‘National security’ ‘explains, for example, their having imprisoned another heroic citizen of Australia, Julian Assange, now for more than ten years without having ever convicted him (nor even tried him) of anything.
A 1 February 2020 academic discussion of the McBride case, linking to six documentary sources, is here. Whereas the Australian stooge-regime has simply abandoned to its UK and U.S. masters Julian Assange, the prosecution of David McBride is entirely the Australian regime’s operation.
This is what a person gets for being a hero in a despotic tyrannical regime that declares itself to be a “democracy.” Dictatorships that declare themselves to BE dictatorships have at least that degree of basic honesty going for them. What do the U.S.-and-‘allied’ (actually vassal) ones have, but the lie that they are “democracies”? How can ANY country that allows an imperialistic master-regime (in this case, the U.S.) to control its international policies — its foreign relations — BE a democracy? Can it even possibly BE a democracy? How ludicrous is such a claim? In countries like this, U.S.-and-‘allied’ goons wreak mayhem, get promoted, while whistleblowers get prosecuted. Is THAT a democracy?