Lambie: Has Australia’s SAS been involved in torture and / or breach of International Human Rights during training exercises?

JLN Independent Tasmanian Senator Jacqui Lambie has urged the Labor Party, Greens and Independent Crossbench Senators to support her Notice of Motion next week that will call on the Liberal government to produce all video recordings since 2002, of the Australian Army’s Resistance to Interrogation Training (R.T.I)

Senator Lambie’s Notice of Motion was prompted after SAS Trooper Evan Donaldson reported to her and the Federal Police that a serious assault, involving torture had occurred while he was participating in an ADF’s Resistance to Interrogation (R.T.I) exercise.

Senator Lambie’s call for the production of these R.T.I video recordings is supported by Michael Kearns a retired US Air Force officer, Academic and Author – who also served in the Australian military and authored our SAS’s Resistance to Interrogation Program in 2001.

“Michael Kearns flew from America to Australia recently so he could spend time with Trooper Evan Donaldson after he heard reports that Evan had been seriously assaulted and tortured while participating in a SAS Resistance to Interrogation (R.T.I) exercise.

Michael Kearns was the US counter-terrorism / escape and evasion expert who the Australian Defence Force relied on in the early 2000’s to author and establish our SAS’s RTI training. He speaks with a lot of authority and insider’s knowledge on the subject.” said Senator Lambie.

“When Michael Kearns says that he has concerns about possible human rights abuses and torture which may have occurred on our SAS’s RTI training after speaking with Trooper Donaldson – it’s time for the Parliament and Australian people to listen. Michael makes the important point, which was confirmed by the Chief of the Army during recent estimates hearings, that all SAS RTI training is videoed.

Mr Kearns supports my call for all those recordings to be brought before a Senate Committee (in closed hearings to protect identities and operation security) so that our Senate can independently satisfy itself that the systemic torture and/or human rights abuses which happened in America during similar military programs, was not repeated in Australia.” said Senator Lambie.

“The 2 key questions I want answered are:

1. Has Australia’s SAS been involved in torture and/ or breach of International Human Rights during its training exercises?

2. Trooper Evan Donaldson is one victim – are there any more?

Mr Kearns has indicated that he would be very happy to give evidence to the Senate Committee and that its work would be made easier if the Committee requested the Department of Defence released to the closed Senate session the two Defence Instructions on RTI:

1. Army Land Warfare Publication (LWP) INT 2-1-3 (2001)

2. Defence Instruction (General) OPS 39-1 (8 December 1998)

Michael Kearns will be available for media comment in Canberra tomorrow 29.2.16, from 1.30pm at my Senate office.” said Senator Lambie

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