Otago Daily Times

Whistleblo­wers ‘vindicated’


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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