Otago Daily Times

Whis­tle­blow­ers ‘vin­di­cated’

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SYD­NEY: Aus­tralian mil­i­tary per­son­nel who spoke out against al­leged war crimes in Afghanista­n said yes­ter­day they felt vin­di­cated by an in­quiry which called for pros­e­cut­ing troops in­volved, as the coun­try re­acted with shame and anger at the find­ings’ sever­ity.

David McBride, a for­mer mil­i­tary lawyer fac­ing charges of leak­ing clas­si­fied in­for­ma­tion about spe­cial forces ac­tions in Afghanista­n, felt ‘‘buoyed’’ by the re­port af­ter years of be­ing treated like a ‘‘traitor to the dig­gers’’, his lawyer Mark Davis told Reuters, us­ing the Aus­tralian slang for sol­diers.

‘‘If the ac­cu­sa­tions that he’s pre­vi­ously made are proven right, he will feel vin­di­cated what­ever the penalty,’’ Davis said by tele­phone. ‘‘His rep­u­ta­tion will be in­tact and his sense of hon­our will be in­tact.’’

Dusty Miller, a spe­cial forces medic who tes­ti­fied at the in­quiry, told the Aus­tralian Broad­cast­ing Corp that hear­ing the coun­try’s de­fence chief pub­licly con­firm his claims was ‘‘com­plete vindi­ca­tion’’.

The re­port has been de­scribed by Aus­tralian lead­ers as one of the dark­est mil­i­tary chap­ters for Aus­tralia, just nine days af­ter the coun­try’s Re­mem­brance Day for fallen sol­diers when it is cus­tom­ary to wear a red poppy to show re­spect. — Reuters

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