Independent JLN Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie today was part of a Senate Committee hearing held in secret or “in camera” – which examined allegations that Australia Defence Force’s Resistance to Interrogation (RTI *) course had gone rouge and participants had been beaten, bound, forced to sign indemnity forms under extreme duress, then held for many days in cells, tortured, deprived of food, suffered from deliberately induced psychosis and in some cases sexually assaulted.
“I can’t say what happened at the closed to the public senate committee hearing today, because that would be in contempt of parliament. But I can direct people to the already available information contained in public submissions which are posted on the Parliamentary website:
If people care to read these 9 official submissions:
… they’ll find the information there is explosive and strongly supports the information I received from SAS Trooper Evan Donaldson which helped me create this Senate inquiry in the first place.
In particular, I hope that interested members of the public read a submission from a NSW General Practitioner (GP) Dr Steven Scally (# attached 2 ). Dr Scally is a very credible witness. He participated in a RTI course in the 1990’s as a young ADF member – and then decades later in 2005, was a medical officer who supervised 3 RTI courses.
His submission must ring loud alarm bells for this government. When a respected medical doctor makes a written submission which states: (and I quote)
I have witnessed gross mistreatment verging on torture and have been compelled to be complicit to it. I have witnessed the persecution of soldiers by sub-unit commanders who were previously the subject of a parliamentary inquiry into his psychopathic bullying, yet were nonetheless deemed fit to take command, and further ruin young lives. I have been threatened with imprisonment for not changing my medical opinion to suit the wants of command. Operationally, I have been ordered to abandon dying indigenous personnel in mass casualty situations overseas.
Whilst physical torture was generally limited, focussed strategies to humiliate and degrade the individual would occur. Sleep deprivation would be capitalised. Threats of abuse and mistreatment of fellow captives would be made to encourage compliance. States of hypnosis would be induced and exploited. Opinions would be sought from the intelligence corps psychologist on duty, to determine customised techniques to break the individual.
Medical officers being forced to change clinical decisions (not over-ruled, but enforced) was common place. Concepts of confidentiality were lost on superior officers insisting on intruding on sacrosanct doctor-patient ground, in directed attempts to sway the outcome of the clinical interaction, such as occurred in Resistance to Interrogation training, and other settings.
Threats of insubordination charges, legal action and imprisonment were reserved for the particularly feisty. So when a lieutenant colonel commanding officer asks the captain junior medical officer if it’s okay to inflict a ‘punishment’ (ie. torture) on an RTI transgressor, how impartial is the answer going to be?
‘We’re just checking that it’s okay to firehose this restrained, semi-naked and stockaded soldier (Soldier A), in the middle of the night in sub-zero temperatures, in the open view of curious and excited directing-staff onlookers, and also in the full-view of another prisoner (Soldier B), who has been told that Soldier A is being punished because of misdemeanours of Soldier B? Is that okay’. To the subjugated, morally bankrupt, operationally burnt-out medical officer, the answer is predictable. (end of quote)
… then it’s time for the Government to ensure that the Australian Army hands over to Australian Federal Police the tens of thousands of hours of RTI video recordings so that a proper assessment of whether any serious sex crimes, assaults, torture and other breaches of international human rights conventions – has been condoned, carried out – and/or covered up by senior officers in the ADF.
* Attach 1 – Terms of Reference
1 The operation of the Australian Defence Force’s resistance to interrogation (RTI) training, with particular reference to:
a what training methods are used;
b whether these training methods are in accordance with Australia’s international obligations and Australian domestic laws;
c the effectiveness of existing ADF supervisory control measures;
d the ongoing mental health and wellbeing of personnel who have participated in RTI training; and
e the matters raised in questions to Lieutenant General Campbell during the 2015-16 additional estimates.
2 That the Senate:
a notes that Lieutenant General Campbell acknowledged, during estimates questioning, that video and other electronic records were made by the ADF of RTI training; and
calls on the Minister for Defence (Senator Payne) to provide the committee, under special circumstances which protect serving and former ADF personnel identities and operational security, with all recordings made by the ADF of RTI training by 28 December 2016 to assist the committee with the inquiry.
* Attach 2 – Dr Steven Scally Submission