Inside the system

More evidence of Australian soldiers’ war crimes

Australian SAS troops committed war crimes in Afghanistan, according to allegations in a secret report released to Fairfax media. It shows how the Australian military is nothing more than a killing machine.

In 2012 one SAS soldier summarily executed an Afghan villager, Ali Jan, kicking him off a cliff and then killing him, in an incident Fairfax itself examined. That SAS unit likely carried out other summary executions and covered up killings of civilians.

A secret report was completed in 2016 by a consultant working for the Defence Department, Dr Samantha Crompvoets. She heard from insiders who told of the “unsanctioned and illegal application of violence on operations” in Afghanistan and behaviour that demonstrated “disregard for human life and dignity”.

The report says these are the result of “problems deeply embedded in the culture” of the elite military regiment.

NSW judge Paul Brereton, an Army Reserve Major General, has been investigating the claims, hauling more than a dozen SAS members in for questioning. “Regiment members said they had been questioned for up to five hours in Sydney and Perth”, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

This is not the first time there have been reports of war crimes by Australian troops in Afghanistan.

Last year the ABC reported on a string of incidents, a number of them confirmed as the subject of Brereton’s investigations, after being leaked hundreds of pages of Defence Department incident reports.

In 2012 Australian special forces allegedly shot dead a 14 or 15-year-old boy, Khan Mohammed, leaving his body to be discovered by villagers. The killing was never reported up the chain of command.

In another incident in September 2013, a father and his son, Bismillah Azadi and Sadiqullah, were allegedly shot while sleeping.

A “decorated special forces veteran” also told the ABC that SAS soldiers had discussed carrying “drop weapons” to plant on the bodies of Afghans they had shot, in an effort to make it look like they were armed insurgents.

Afghans came to hate foreign troops for their continual raids, bombing and killing of civilians—so it’s no surprise that some Australian soldiers saw ordinary civilians as the enemy. Australia should never have joined the US effort to invade and occupy the country in the first place.

Even Dutton’s department admits migration creates jobs

In 2013 then Prime Minister Tony Abbott promised one million new jobs in five years.

But immigration produced two-thirds of them, a joint study by Peter Dutton’s Home Affairs Department and the Treasury has found. The effect was even larger for full-time jobs, accounting for 72 per cent of those created.

More recently, Tony Abbott and Peter Dutton have been calling for cuts to immigration, claiming it is hurting local workers.

But the study found, “almost no evidence that outcomes for those born in Australia have been harmed by immigration”.

In fact migration created more jobs, “The most statistically significant associations were with stronger labour market outcomes for the Australian-born”.

It noted that many of those who arrive to work bring partners and children with them who do not enter the workforce, yet still consume services, adding to demand in the economy.

Rich Liberal electorates clean up from tax cuts

Wealthy Liberal electorates in Sydney and Melbourne will get the biggest benefits from Malcolm Turnbull’s income tax cuts. The Australia Institute ranked the change in household disposable income expected from the tax cuts for every electorate in Australia.

Turnbull’s own seat of Wentworth, which includes wealthy harbourside suburbs like his own residence of Point Piper, will do better than any other electorate.

The Liberals hold seven of the top ten electorates to get the greatest benefits. The other three are inner city seats held by Labor.

Matt Grudnoff, Senior Economist at the Australia Institute explained that the plan, “mostly benefits high income areas and wealthy inner-city electorates”.

“This is a tax cut that truly delivers for the top-end and leaves everyone else behind.”
US corporations hand $1 trillion back to shareholders

Major corporations were handed a windfall as a result of Donald Trump’s corporate tax cuts passed last year.

And the bulk of the gains are being handed back to shareholders, through a record $1 trillion in dividends and stock buybacks by US companies this year.

That’s the conclusion of a report by S&P Dow Jones Indices analyst Howard Silverblatt looking at companies listed on the S&P 500 index of top US companies. These companies will spend just 15 per cent of that figure on actual productive investments.

Apple alone announced in May that it would return $100 billion to shareholders through buybacks. That is 333 times what it has given its workers in the form of bonuses, Americans for Tax Fairness pointed out.

Workers across the US are missing out, with wages rises still a paltry 2.7 per cent a year on average—just 0.2 per cent above inflation.

Corporate tax rates in the US were slashed from 35 per cent to 21 per cent as a result of Trump’s plan.

Over 1000 jobs lost at ABC

The ABC has lost 1012 jobs since 2014, according to its chief finance officer Louise Higgins, speaking at Senate Estimates. The cuts began when the Coalition cut its budget by $254 million the same year.

All up 205 job losses were due to the closure of ABC retail stores, of a total of 939 employees sacked. In Tasmania alone 20 sites have been closed, including stores and reporting posts.

Last month’s budget saw a further cut to the ABC of $84 million. Another 22 journalists lost their jobs that month.


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