Ethics & Morals

Australian officer loses court case

Ben Roberts-Smith, a highly-decorated former member of Ausralia’s elite Special Air Services Regiment, lost a defamation suit today against newspapers which reported that he had killed unarmed civilians in Afghanistan. He claimed the reports undermined his reputation by portraying him as having “disgraced his country and the Australian army,” Dismissing the suit after more than 100 days of hearings, the ruling judge said “the respondents had established the substantial truth” of several allegations. [node:read-more:link]

Social media scrubbing war crimes

Some social media platforms have been erasing posts about potential human rights abuses I what one executive has acknowledged may be an “overcautious” policy of deleting offensive content. YouTube and Facebook’s parent company, Meta, say they try to balance the duties to bear witness while also blocking possibly harmful posts. [node:read-more:link]

Fortin case under more scrutiny

The Military Police Complaints Commission is looking into how military police handled the sexual-assault allegation against Major-General Dany Fortin, who was cleared of misconduct and acquitted by a Quebec Court last December. Fortin says he was the victim of a biased investigation and the Commission said today that his statements about senior military officials make it a matter of public interest. [node:read-more:link]

Military sexual offence cases updated

The Canadian Armed Forces’ Provost Marshall, Brigadier-General Simon Trudeau, reports that 93 cases of criminal sexual offences have been referred to civilian police since December 2021 and 64 are under investigation. The others were declined and while Trudeau offered no explanation, some police had concerns about the strain on their resources. An additional 97 cases reported to Military Police were not referred outside. [node:read-more:link]

Alcohol common in misconduct cases

The Department of National Defence is increasing its 24/7 emergency contacts service for uniformed and civilian employees who have been sexually assaulted. In announcing the upgrade, which includes some backdated financial help for legal costs, the Canadian Armed Forces' Chief of Professional Conduct and Culture also acknowledged that alcohol abuse is a frequent factor in assault and other misconduct. [node:read-more:link]

Alleged U.S. leaker detained

Jack Teixeira, 21, a member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard arrested in connection with leaked classified military documents was remanded in custody today by U.S. Federal Court in Boston. Arrested by the FBI April 13, he is scheduled for a further hearing April 20. [node:read-more:link]

Alleged military leaker arrested

A 21-year-old member of the Massachusetts Air National Guard was arrested today by the FBI. He is described as the head of a small online gaming chat group through which classified U.S. intelligence documents have been leaked in recent months. [node:read-more:link]

Ukrainian POW video disgusts Zelenskyy

A video purportedly showing Russian troops beheading a Ukrainian captive with a knife has prompted Ukraine to liken its invaders to Islamic State terrorists and call for an International Criminal Court investigation. The Kremlin called the images “awful” but Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said today that “there is something that no one in the world can ignore: how easily these beasts kill.” [node:read-more:link]

Australian SpecOps culture reviewed

A four-year-long Australian inquiry which found “credible” information that current or former Special Air Service personnel were implicated in allegedly unlawful killings or mistreatment in Afghanistan has prompted a review. It focuses on a “warrior culture […] that has departed from acceptable norms” in the SAS and addresses overreliance on the SAS with inadequate downtime between deployments. [node:read-more:link]

Army officer charged with assault

The Department of National Defence has confirmed that the deputy commanding officer of the Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa, part of 33 Canadian Brigade Group tasked with training light infantry, faces a civil trial on charges of sexual assault, interference and exploitation. Major Robert Baker, a logistics officer in the Canadian Armed Forces since 2007, was charged by the Ontario Provincial Police. [node:read-more:link]

Both sides killing POWs in Ukraine

The UN Human Rights Office said today that its monitors have documented dozens of summary executions of Ukrainian and Russian prisoners of war as well as torture, the use of human shields and other abuses. Its report was based on interviews with hundreds of POWs, half of them Ukrainian troops released by Russia and the other half Russian troops held in Ukraine. [node:read-more:link]

Australian charged with war crime

A 41-year-old Australian special forces veteran was remanded in custody today on a murder charge resulting from the alleged death of a civilian while deployed to Afghanistan. The first of its kind in Australia, the arrest follows a four-year inquiry which resulted in recommendations that 19 operators be investigated over 36 alleged war crimes between 2005 and 2016 [node:read-more:link]

Globe & Mail protects anonymous source

An anonymous veteran federal public servant was identified today as the source for a series of internationally embarrassing disclosures about foreign interference in Canadian affairs and about seeming government indifference or reluctance to act over the years. Acknowledging the prospect of eventual prosecution if identified, the whistleblower explains the reasons for sharing concerns about an evolving threat. [node:read-more:link]

Fortin saga far from over

Major General Dany Fortin, summarily fired by the government in 2021 as head of its pandemic vaccine rollout and then prosecuted unsuccessfully for alleged sexual assault while a student three decades earlier, is suing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the federal government and senior military and political figures for more than $6 million in damages. In a statement filed today, his legal team claims defamation, misfeasance in public office, conspiracy and negligent investigation. [node:read-more:link]


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