Senate supports Lambie’s call for Army to produce tens of thousands of hrs of official videos, likely to show naked soldiers being abused and sexually denigrated

 Independent JLN Senator for Tasmania Jacqui Lambie won the support of the Senate this week when her motion (see RTI notice of motion) calling for a production of documents by the Defence Minister passed unopposed.

“I was first alerted to the fact that something was very wrong with the training of our Special Force soldiers and others - by SAS whistle-blower Trooper Evan Donaldson. Evan reported to me that the Australian Army for decades have electronically recorded a Resistance to Interrogation (RTI) course where thousands of soldiers have been brutally assaulted, bound, hooded, stripped naked, abused and sexually denigrated.” said Senator Lambie.

“So I asked some questions on notice from the Chief of Army – who confirmed in writing the existence of these secret RTI courses and provided details that backed up Trooper Donaldson’s claims.” said Senator Lambie.

“In addition, I’ve had other Defence Whistle blowers come forward like Dr Steven Scally – a former Army doctor, who now practises medicine in NSW, and who admits that not only had he been a RTI course participant – Dr Scally also became a medical supervisor of these RTI courses in the mid 2000’s.” said Senator Lambie.

“Dr Scally has recently made an explosive official submission to a Senate committee where he claims that as part of the abuse and sexual denigration - he witnessed women putting make-up on tied up, naked soldiers.

This sounds bizarre, but given the fact that whistle blowers have sworn they experienced serious physical and sexual assaults – I think it’s time we ensured that the Senate committee established very quickly - whether these Army training methods are in accordance with Australia’s international obligations and Australian domestic laws.” said Senator Lambie

“We also need to ensure the ongoing mental health and wellbeing of personnel who have participated in the RTI and other training programs. As Dr Scally said to me recently, it appears that the cure is worse than the disease - when it comes to this sort of training.

 Dr Scally and also Trooper Evan Donaldson allege that information in Army medical and personal files cannot be trusted - because they deliberately go missing and are altered to cover up injuries which occur on these courses.

If this is the case, I want the guilty put in jail for a long time.” said Senator Lambie

“The Army, when confronted with evidence of the harm these courses cause - often makes the excuse that the participants were all volunteers – as if that can absolve them of any responsibility for the harm caused.

However, ADF personnel have now come forward to my office and claimed that they were assaulted and placed on these courses – without being asked if they’d like to volunteer or not.

The first time they realised they were selected for this Army training was after they were seriously assaulted by balaclava-clad thugs, tied up and had a bag placed over their heads.” said Senator Lambie.

“If past performance is anything to go by – I expect the Army to do everything thing it can to stop myself and other Senators from viewing these videos – and holding our Military Top Brass to account. I realise that I’m enquiring into the work history of many powerful Australians, including former Chiefs of our Military.

But I will personally use every power I have as Senator - to lay charges of contempt against any individual, regardless of rank or position who disobeys a Senate motion and tries to interfere with the free and fair performance of a member of parliament.” said Senator Lambie.

“I expect the Defence Minister and our Military to comply with the Senate’s wishes and deliver all recordings made by the ADF of RTI training by 28 December 2016 to assist the committee with our inquiry.” said Senator Lambie.

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RTI Notice of Motion

Senator Lambie, pursuant to notice, moved business of the Senate notice of motion no. 2— 

(1) That the following matter be referred to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee for inquiry and report by 20 March 2017: 

The operation of the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) 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

(b) 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.

Question put and passed.