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|East Timor and their Australian lovers|
|11/03/00 at 17:12:39|
|How the East Timorese cheered when the stupid Australians came in to "save" them. Now look at them complaining!|
East Timor: Australian Army Under Fire For Militia Torture
by Kazi Mahmood
JAKARTA (IslamOnline) - Australia's Federal police, army investigators, the Naval Investigation Service and Air Force Legal Force, have combined to probe accusations that army intelligence personnel and members of the elite Special Air Service (SAS) regiment abused pro-Indonesian militia members in East Timor.
Arrested members of pro-Indonesian militias claim that members of the SAS tortured militia detainees and took trophy photos of themselves standing over the bodies of militiamen killed in a gunfight.
In a skirmish in October last year at Suai, near the West Timor border, two militia members were shot dead and nine captured after they ambushed a vehicle convoy. The dead militiamen were used to terrify other militia members during interrogation. Other reports include those of captured militiamen being covered in bruises after questioning.
Responding to the report, Army chief Lieutenant-General Peter Cosgrove said investigators would "get to the bottom of the matter once and for all."
He said similar allegations had been made last year and proved groundless, but as they had resurfaced, a new investigation was warranted.
The Army chief said he would be outraged if the allegations were correct. "If they haven't behaved properly we will take very resolute action," he said. "It is extremely out of character for these sort of events to be alleged against the sort of soldiers who are presently involved in the allegation."
Prime Minister John Howard echoed General Cosgrove's view that the allegations could be without substance. "I'm not prepared to be any more definitive than that until the investigation is completed. It is not the Australian way, but I'm not suggesting that the allegations are true," he said.
Army deputy chief Major-General Peter Leahy said if any of the allegations were proved correct, they were "against our key values and ethos," and undermine the good work of Australians in East Timor.
A handful of Australian soldiers were reprimanded and sent home earlier this year after East Timorese women in one village made claims of drunkenness and sexual harassment, allegations that were later proven true.
On the home front, General Cosgrove is dealing with an inquiry into the activities of the elite 3RAR paratrooper's battalion, which he once led. A federal parliamentary inquiry is investigating claims of brutality and torture within its ranks.
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