The continuing silence on 4 Squadron SASR operations in East Africa

Why is no-one asking questions about Australian special forces soldiers operating secretly and apparently illegally in Africa?

A year and a half ago, in March 2012, Fairfax Media reported that troopers from Australia’s Special Air Service Regiment were conducting clandestine operations in a number of countries in Africa, including Nigeria, Kenya, and Zimbabwe.

Authorised by Defence Minister Stephen Smith in late 2010, the soldiers have, among other things, been assessing border controls, exploring landing sites for possible military interventions and possible escape routes for the evacuation of Australian nationals and military assessments of local politics and security. They are doing …

Ending undeclared wars: repeal of authorizing legislation

Michael Krepon has a useful piece at Arms Control Wonk commenting on President Obama’s speech on the use of armed drones for assassinations of alleged Taliban- and Al Qaeda-linked terrorists in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and elsewhere.

Leaving aside Obama’s attempt in the speech to limit the number of drone killings and tighten the criteria for such actions, Krepon makes an important connection in the argument about both the legality and strategic prudence of drone assassinations by linking the issue back to the foundation legal authority for these killings: the joint resolution of both houses of Congress resulting in the Authorization

A question of accountability as HMAS Sydney joins USN Carrier Strike Group

As we know from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, many ADF personnel have been embedded in US military forces, serving alongside US military personnel, often in war zones. The most recent example concerns the insertion of the RAN guided missile frigate HMAS Sydney into the United States Navy’s Seventh Fleet, home ported in Yokosuka, Japan. The Sydney will become part of the protective screen for the core of the fleet the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN-73), and operate as a part of the Washington’s Carrier Strike Group.

The question arises of the legal status of the Sydney as …