The Sunday Telegraph
A FORMER SAS soldier chosen to fight the WA Canning by-election for Prime Minister Tony Abbott has delivered an extraordinary speech responding to allegations that soldiers under his command cut off the hands of dead Taliban soldiers.
Captain Andrew Hastie, 32, has revealed in his first public speech to the WA Liberal Party that he ordered the investigation into his own troops and was personally cleared of any wrongdoing.
“I have now left the Defence Force with a clean slate, having defended our nation against the Taliban and Daesh,” he said.
“I am now taking the skills I learned in the army and if elected will use them to be the best representative for the people of Canning.
“I have not lived my life behind a desk pushing paper and talking about the concepts of freedom and democracy. I have acted. I have put my life on the line for this country and for that freedom.’’
He also accused Labor of “not having our backs’’ when he was fighting in the Middle East, an issue that prompted him to enter politics.
For the first time, Captain Hastie also revealed that not only was nowhere near an incident, he was in the helicopter.
Confronting allegations splashed across Fairfax newspapers today that officers under his command are still being investigated, he also criticised the length of the Defence investigation.
The allegations were published in Melbourne’s The Age newspaper under the headline “Question of conduct’’ in a report that noted Captain Hastie was not involved in the incident or present when it occurred.
It is alleged that the hands of three Taliban fighters were cut off for the purpose of fingerprinting in 2013.
“I can say with great confidence that those soldiers involved directly with the incident were acting in what they believed to be the appropriate process laid out by defence.”
Captain Hastie acknowledged that mistakes sometimes happen in a “high-pressure war zone where people are trying to kill you’’.
“It is true as reported that I wasn’t at the scene of the incident when it happened. I was in fact above and away in a helicopter orbiting overhead,’’ he said.
“When I became aware, I did what I was required to do and promptly reported the incident up the chain of command.
“I can say with great confidence that those soldiers involved directly with the incident were acting in what they believed to be the appropriate process laid out by defence.
“As the then Defence Force chief David Hurley said ‘We were engaged in a high intensity, complex and dangerous battle’. It is critical when you fight the Taliban that you gather evidence and do what you can to investigate ... the identification of your enemy.’’
“He’s fought for our country in the field. He will fight for Canning in Parliament.”
Captain Hastie also revealed that an inquiry had found “my actions at the time were appropriate’’.
“All but one of the troops was cleared,’’ he said.
“The investigation was launched after the issues was raised up the chain of command and it was raised by me.
“The investigation into this single soldier has taken two years and four months and it hasn’t been finalised. As reported, there are differing views as to whether the incident constituted a breach of the rules of war.
“People who serve, put their lives on the line to protect our country. I have always stood up and fought hard to represent the troops I lead and if that requires ruffling feathers, I have done that and I will do that again now.
“Out of concern for the soldier involved, I am disappointed that my candidacy has brought this issue to the forefront of media attention.
“The least we can do for that honourable soldier is to ensure that the investigation into the incident is done fully and quickly.
“This issue has cast a shadow for almost two and a half years over this man’s life. I believe the Defence Force has a duty of care to finalise its investigation more quickly.”
The Prime Minister said he was proud Captain Hastie had chosen to extend his public service into politics.
“He’s fought for our country in the field. He will fight for Canning in Parliament,’’ Mr Abbott said.
Two Comments on above Daily Telegraph story
"I'm a retired senior RAAF Officer. Labor *hate* Defence. They demolished the budget resulting in entire capabilities going unfunded. They deliberately forced Defence to publish any internal "Hot Issues Briefs" - something no other Department is required to do - in order to try weaken public support for the ADF.
Labor hate Defence and guess what, Defence hate Labor.
If you want to increase the risk of Australian's losing their life on the battlefield, vote Labor." Scott.
"Geez If you did not like Gillard you were a Misogynist, If you don't believe in Climate Change you are a denier, If you don't believe in Same Sex Marriage, your Homophobic, if you don't believe in Hilal your a bigot, if you don't want scores of Illegal Immigrant coming to out shores your Racist, if you don't believe in the Hijab, your a racist.
So now if your a Former SAS Soldier your a Mutilator.
I am sick of Labor and there cohorts labelling people just because some may have a differing view.Labor is full of hate." Martin.
ISBN : 9780980677874 Author : Hal Colebatch
and to INCREASE the number of "immigrants" who say that they are obliged, by their Religious belief's, to destroy us.
Under the Rudd / Gillard Green Loon / Rudd Labor Governments Australia's Defence spending was wound back to that of the 1930's
Why would ANY Political Party in Australia want Australia to be defenceless against such people?
This is what former Labor leader Mark Latham was prepared to say publicly, one can only imagine what his Comrades say privately about Australia's Finest when they think Australian's are not listening.
Andrew Bolt discusses the Labor smear on his show HERE